Something New

Welcome to the new Zeneedle! Thanks to the most awesome Vicki for all the hard work in making the header look more like mine! I love it and love the new look Typepad's Nimble design has made possible. There may be some tweaking, but I'm excited about the new look and hope you are, too.

Did you know it was my 11th Bloggiversary the beginning of this month? I just skipped right over it, but now there is need of celebration, don't you think? I think I'll tell you Three Things About Me Right Now. Exciting, eh? 

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1. I'm a shaggy dog in need of a haircut and I'm wondering if I need a change. Not short, just different. Any suggestions? 

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2. I'm trying out my artistic skills by doodling and drawing, follow the steps on this blog. She has great ideas and some easy techniques, although, I think she makes everything look easy. 

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3. I'm loving the weather (so sorry my Eastern friends!) and spending time in the garden walking the labyrinth. It's going to be a fabulous weekend.  


I Dare Not

Living without cheese is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I gave up gluten happily and I've given up a few other foods, too. But...cheese, dear cheese, how I do miss you!

Carole asked us to pick our Ten Favorite Cheeses, which lead me to spend an hour and half feeling sorry for myself, but I decided to give in and list a few of the cheeses I miss most.  (PS.I have no cheese in the house for a picture.)

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1. Some of my very favorite cheeses are from a local company called Beehive Cheese. Their signature cheese Barely Buzzed has won a ton of awards. I also adore their TeaHive.

2. Baked brie or Camembert with sprigs of rosemary and gloves of garlic. This is to.live.for. Monica served this on Christmas Day as an appetizer and it was a hit.

3. Good ol' English Farmhouse cheddar.

4. Any cheese from Wisconsin. (I had to throw that in for Vicki.)

5. Goat cheese covered with  (Massachusetts) cranberries. (I had to throw that in for Carole.)

6. Stilton with lemon peel. So, good with wine.

7. Parmigiano-Reggiano (I can still eat small amounts with a lactaid.)

8. Feta cheese in a Greece salad. (Sheep's feta with a lactaid is also ok.)

Don't feel sad for me. There are many wonderful foods available to me and I eat a wide variety of things. I'm just a pain for other people to feed, not for myself.


What's Happening Now

Watching ...House of Cards. I losing interest in Frank and his wife and would rather watch the last episode of Downton....hopefully tonight.

Reading ...The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, I was hooked after reading the first page. I haven't decided on my next audio book.

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Knitting ...I'm having a bit of a redux, as I bought a lovely kit of Zen Yarn Garden in the Monument Valley Series. What else would I do with three complimentary colors, except reknit my favorite shawl, Germinate

Dreading ....I'm trying to not dial up the anxiety level, so I dread not.

Listening to... Jazz on the NPR website because they no longer podcast the shows. This does not make me happy, NPR!

Thinking about ...completely redoing the look of my blog. But, if the red umbrella goes, it won't come back and that stops me in my tracks.

Celebrating ...next week, my birthday.

Planning ...be outdoors in the extra light of day. Hurray for DST!

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Itching to ...finish outlining of the petals on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt and start to cut (and bead). 

Drinking ...The last of my Royal Golden Safari tea from TeaZaanti. I need to find a new favorite and Hong Shui or Gin Shan Creme are running neck and neck.

Needing to ...try out some of the crafting materials I purchased. Needing to carve out the time to do.

Organizing ...I still haven't tackled the pantry (after months and months of wanting to do so).

Inspired by ...Beverly and Maryse who have been sharing their artwork on Instagram. And, by Kym who is sharing her artistic pursuits on her blog.

Delighted by ...The snow! Any precipitation that comes to the very dry West is welcome, although, spring is returning this weekend.


You Can Laugh At Me Now

Well, seriously, this weeks 10 on Tuesday puts me in a laughable situation. I don't "do" footwear. Very few shoes reside in my closet and most are all the same shoe, maybe varying in color, but all the same brand, shape, and shoe. My shoes are basic utilities and lack much style, but I'm willing to share what I have.

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1. Keen's, my #1 shoe, the shoe I wear every day of the week. The style changes only slightly, but the shoe always has the same fit. I have 2 pair of black (one pair in good shape, the other quite worn) a pair in maroon (cordovan?), and a recent splurge, red. The picture above was not taken for the benefit of this post. As my luck would have it, I rushed out of the house a few weeks ago and did not notice until late afternoon that I had on two different shoes. Ha, ha, the joke is on me!

2. Slippers- This is my standard after work (at least in winter) footwear.

3. Boots (one pair) an UGG knitted style I wear once in a blue moon (especially this year).

Sandales

4. Back to the Keen, I also have a pair of close-toe sandals.

5. Workout shoes-I bought 2 years ago.

6. And, to round out the wardrobe, another pair of Keens, my walking/hiking shoes.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the pretty shoes everyone else has in their closets. My days of having a closet full of choices are long gone (happily).


Ten Five Star

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Books on my current reading list.

A caveat, my friends: For the most part, the books I read are not happy books. They're usually difficult, heart breaking, thought-provoking, and tell a story that must be told.  This list is of the most memorable 5 star books I've read this year. ToT List for today is 10 Favorite Books of 2014. 

1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving -  This book was a page turner and I became complete wrapped up in the lives of John Wheelwright and Owen Meany. The story ran the gamut of emotions, with a focus on humor. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

2. Blue Horses by Mary Oliver - I have been opening this book to any page and reading it aloud ever since I brought it home. I copy inpiring sentences onto my chalkboard and keep them on view for a few days. My "One Word" revealed itself to me through this book.

3. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - This novella is not like the movie with Audrey Hepburn. It is darker and delves more deeply into Holly's character and her personal history. 

4. Light In August by William Faulkner - Faulkner's language soars. I was swept away with his descriptions of place and the way he had of drawing a scene I could step into. I could, also, feel the desperation of his characters and understand their struggle. The small southern town and its people surrounded me as their story was told. Faulkner deserves all the praise heeped upon him over the years.

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - The book tells the respective stories of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy, alternating chapters between the two as they come of age during WWII. This is a book you shouldn't miss and is another I highly recommend to all.

6. A Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan - This is a brutal book, a grim reminder of the horrors of war. Few people know of the Australians held in POW camps by the Japanese during WWII or that they were forced to build the Thai-Burma death railway. Their story needed to be told, but it is one of the most difficult and disturbing books I've ever read.

7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Adichie tells the stories of Nigerian immigrants and the challenges they face when adapting to a new country. She sheds light on the many aspects and facets of race issues in Western cultures.

8. A Marker To Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik- Marked by the Liberian war, Jacqueline, the main character, lives in the shadows on a Grecian isle. She is barely surviving, unseen, haunted, and nearly mad with grief and guilt. The story was a hard one to shake, but well worth the read. 

9. The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan - I'll admit to having a soft spot for Irish novels. Each chapter of the book is narrated by an different character, all of whom live in a small Irish town, which has been adversely affected by the collapse of the economy. The stories are poignant, sometimes funny, but beautifully full of Irish idioms. They center around the violence that affected the town in the wake of the collapse and the demise of the local building firm. I listened to this book, but it's only 150 pages, which would make a quick read.

10. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - If you could live your life over and over again until you got that one thing right, that one thing you think could change the world, would you? 

Many of the books I "read" I listen to, but some I read and, often, I'll do both at the same time. What you choose to read is up to you and I know many of the books on my list will not make it to your reading list, but if anything strikes your fancy, I hope you'll have a go.


The Warm Cozy

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This is the annual Thankful Edition of ToT, but never does it hurt to reiterate what one is grateful for even if it is exactly as in years past.  I would love to hear from you and for you to tell share with me, as you visit this blog, what is one thing that you are especially thankful for this year. 

This year I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for the warmth of a roof over my head.

This year I am grateful for the job I have that pays for the gas to warm my home.

This year I am grateful for the cup of tea that warms my hands and fills my body with its warm fluid.

This year I am grateful for the warm friendship of my book group and the beautiful home we met in last night, gathering around a warm fire.

This year I am grateful for the warmth of the blanket covering my lap as I type.

This year I am grateful for the warmth from the space heater I use when feeling a little too chilled.

This year I am grateful for the warmth from the heating pad keeps the pain from my back.

This year I am grateful for warm soup, full of fall vegetables.

This year I am grateful I for the elctricity that comes into my home and runs all the warming devices.

This year I am grateful for the wool shawl covering my shoulders. 

This year I am grateful for the caring, warm, and genuine love of my hubby.


The Worst Case

My sister faced the ToT question a few years ago as a forest fire approached her house. She had a few days to think about what she would need, but not everyone in this situation has that luxury. She was out of her house for almost 6 weeks, but her town was saved (due to nature's capriciousness) and while she was happy to have a home to come back to, she joked she had rebuilt it into the house of her dreams during the time she was away, that she was disappointed to come back to the same old house. 

Loosing your home would be about as hard a trauma as anyone could go through and it is impossible to know what would be missed, but a few obvious things come to mind.

1. Important papers would be very hard to replace, so we keep them safe, in one place.

2. I love my antique Japanese table as much as any other thing in my house and I would mourn it's loss. The rest of my furniture I can only wish would go up in smoke.

3. Every hand knit item made by someone else would be most important of all my knitting. The love that went into each one while being knit cannot be replace. 

4. The water color painting by my entrance way. It's on  "permanent load" from a friend. It's a scene of a place in the So. Utah desert and I find the colors peaceful and the painting facsinating to study. 

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5. The Evertt Ruess prints Smith gave to me for an Anniversary gift years ago. 

6. My wedding ring and a few pieces of jewelry, but in the all of it, none of it is all that important to me. 

7. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Any picture in my house, especially the ones my father took of me and my siblings. 

8. Our cars (in the carport), even though, they are beaters, they would be able to give us a freedom of movement without relying on someone else. 

9. Some of my hand stitched treasures, as they are dear and I will never be able to stitch the tiny stitches they are would require. 

10. My computer, which wouldn't be a big loss, but it has my favorites and there are a slew of pictures saved on it, too. 

Have you given this subject much thought? It's something I pray never happens to any of you. 


The Weekend Accounting

Carole's ToT consists of sharing 10 Things We Did This Weekend. The request couldn't have come after a better weekend as our weekend was full!

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Saturday graced us with perfect fall weather, which was just what we wanted for the annual Harvest Fair at the SOUL Garden.  Along with the monthly work day, preparations were made for an unknown number of guests. Tables were decorated, a fire pit filled with kindling, and bails of hay were placed to create seating around it. Weknew participants would want to stay warm by sitting near the warmth of a fire.

The weekend not only was full, but it created in me a feeling of gratitude, as I felt the bounty at my fingertips.

This weekend I watched as little folk decorated pumpkins and...

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I visited with our citiy fire fighters and paramedics (before they were called away on an emergency).

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I went on a hay ride and as we rode by a haunted cabin, we were frightened by zombies!

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I learned from Dr. Dread that his horn is called a euphonium.

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I kept the fire going when the temperatures started to fall as the sun went down.

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I watched the sunset and took multiple pictures of the changing sky.

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Smith wanted me to see the amazing black widow spider his buddy created out of a electric cart of some sort. I'm not often afraid of spiders, but this one would rise up and try to bite!

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We also met a couple of celebrity folk, Wonder Woman and Fred & Wilma!  15518621035_a6d9eafc1e_z

We sat around the fire long after dark and listened to 8 year old zombie stream of conscious 'scary' stories.

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Sunday the day was much colder, and started with a sprinkle of rain. We braved the chill and went to the local farmer's market. The squashes and pumpkins, and other veggies for fall harvest, filled the booths. By afternoon the sky was clearing and the sun was out to warm the air. 

The best part of the weekend was spending it with Smith. It has been a month of Sunday's since we had two weekend days together. Who knows when we'll be that lucky again.


My Ride, Be-Beep

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Sky on Sunday after the rain storm. I like to drive up the mountain, that's as close to a picture of my car as you'll get. It's too dark at the moment, in any case.

This edition of ToT is brought to you by a person who just couldn't care less about what make or style of car she drives. That isn't to say I don't have criteria, as I want something reliable and preferable foreign. I've only had about 10 cars, which made easy to come up with a list.  Only one of my cars was brand spanking new and it is likely it will be my only new car.

1. Austin America- British Racing Green, very small, rare, and extremely unreliable.

2. Triumph Spitfire- One of my favorite cars, as it was fun to drive, unique, midnight blue, soft-top in summer, hard top in winter. The downside was its reliability, or lack thereof, and its inability to handle much snow.

3. Nissan Datsun B210- Old, cheap to buy, cheap to fun, cheap to fix, reliable, and red.

4. Subaru - New to my sister, who sold it to me a year after she bought it. It was reliable and red. After a few years I sold it back to her and it ran for another 15 years. It was quite the car.

5. Old Mercedes- White, big, diesel, and boring.

8. Volvo - Another tank, pale blue and top of the line when new.

7. Old Audi - yellow, unmemorable, but it did live on in my family after I'd moved on to my next car.

8. Honda Accord- My very favorite of all my cars, as it was reliable, nondescript white, and I had it for 14 years. If I hadn't totaled it (it doesn't take much to total a 14 yo car), I'd be driving it today.

9. Toyota Camry the First- Black, fast, racy, and short-lived. It threw a rod, leaving us stranded in the dessert.

10. Toyota Camry the Ugly- My current car knows what I think of her ugly color, but she also knows how much I love her and her reliability. The poor old thing has 190,000 miles on it, but I have every reason to believe I'll be able to drive her for a few years more.

What's your ride and do you love your car, or are you as ambivalent as I? 


Autumn Readiness

The nice thing about condo life is ease with which we can be ready for winter. No outside work needs to be done, no repairs, no winterizing, no need to put anything to bed. Thank isn't to say there isn't plenty to do around the house, or in the community garden, but having the yard and house taken care of by others, certainly frees up ones time. My list of 10 Things I Do To Get Our Home Ready for Fall is.

Autumnlight

1. Clean up the patio and put patio furniture under cover to protect it from the upcoming weather.

2. In the garden we harvest, weed, discard vines and tomato plants, till the soil, plant fall crops (garlic and onions), cover the ground with mulch, and wash our hands of it until next spring. By the time the harvest is gathered and the garden put to bed, we're happy the season is over.

3. Empty the carport garden pots and tuck them away for the winter. Next year we'll plant differently, as the tomatoes didn't do well because of the extra heat fom the asphalt and the lack of afternoon sun. Herbs and flowers will be enough.

4. It's been a year since we last organize the freezer and it's time to nake room for the garden harvest. How everything can become so discombobulated, I'm not sure. We only freeze a few things, but having summers bounty at the ready brings a little summer into the winter kitchen.

5. Plant bulbs in the front garden to replace the bad bulbs planted last year and hope they don't fail again. I like a little flower show in late winter, early spring, and I hope to have a better showing next year.

6. My wardrobe is small and the only change I make is to add an extra layer of clothing, such as a sweater or a shawl, always, always a shawl. It's time to check over my favorites and make sure they are cleaned, repaired, and blocked.

7. Organize clothing by repairing, washing, and readying garments and shoes that need attention. Yesterday I dropped off a pair of shoes for repair and a coat that needed to be pressed. I also need to check my decreasing number of hand knit socks to ensure any needed repairs are done before a bigger hole appears...a stich in time and all that.

8. Make sure the electric blanket is in working order and there are enough extra blankets and throws to keep the chill at bay.

9. Check the furnace and change the filters to make sure everything is in working order when needed. It is not enjoyable to spend a freezing cold night (or longer) in ones own home.

10. Ummm, relax and enjoy a job well done?

Better late than never. I wrote this last night, but forgot to publish.

I'm not ready to say good-bye to summer! What about you?