Officially Summer

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There was a reason we took an extra day off for this first weekend of summer. Memorial Day Monday is notoriously crowded no matter where you go, but on Tuesday, everyone goes back to work and peace reigns.  Our Favorite Breakfast Spot is very crowded on weekends, but during the week there is no wait and the kitchen can prepare a meal to my specifications. It felt so good to once again be sitting on the deck in the clean mountain air.

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The day after a holiday is the perfect time to visit Silver Lake because everyone else was there for the Holiday and we had the trail mostly to ourselves. The aspens have not yet leafed at this elevation and the meadow was filled with dried grasses. Since snow totals were higher than they've been the past few years, there is a good amount snow yet to melt. Silver Lake sits in a glacial bowl and is fed only by snow runoff. This year the lake is fill nearly up to the boardwalk.

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On the backside of the lake where the walkway wends through the forest, we had to hike over piles of snow and jump over streams of running water. Parts of the lake were still iced over. The sounds of birds filled the air, a sure sign of mating season, but we did not hear the usual scolding of squirrels or the quacking of ducks. We also did not see moose (as we have many times in the past) but we did hear a frog, Our first ever!

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Part of our afternoon was spent in the garden, but I returned home to get out of the sun and relax a little. I did a little knitting and reading before starting preparations for a nice dinner together. While working around the house I listened to The Queen of the Night, a book that has everything! Intrigue, sex, prisons, murder, mystery, music, PLUS, beautiful descriptions of gowns and costumes* (after all it is historical fiction of an opera singer's life during Napoleon the IIIs reign). I rarely read books of this genre, but I'm trying to stretch my reading muscle. I decided on the audio format because the book is quite long (over 600 pages) and when listening I can use my hands to get things done. Best of all, this book fits on both my Read Harder list (historical fiction set before 1900), as well as fills a Bingo square (set in a place you'd like to visit). Win-win! 

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Yarn is wound, directions printed, and needles at the ready, but I have yet to begin my TTL Mystery Shawl. Tonight will be quiet, which means I'll be able to listen to my book and work through the first clue. I hope to finish the sock this weekend as well!

Enjoy your weekend, my friends. 

*For more information about the costumes and the book, read this Vogue interview with the author, Alexander Chee.


Relaxing, Being, Doing

Sunday's pop-up showers did very little to dampen our spirits or put a damper on the joy of summer fun. Monday's weather was just as picture perfect as you'd want the first day of summer to be. We used up every minute of our days off as best we could and we're still out there having a great day today!

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1. The first thing I did to kick off my summer was to get a pedicure. My toenails are now a happy summer blue and I enjoy wearing sandals to show off the color. My fingernails are my usual buff only, no polish, thank you. 

2. Smith worked late Saturday night, but I enjoyed a nice evening out with a girlfriend. Girlfriends are the best!

3. There has been a whole lot of reading going on and I am happily ensconced in two fabulous books. I'm listening to Queen of the Night, by Alexander Chee, and reading (in good old book form) Chicago by Brian Doyle. I LOVE this book. Doyle wrote one of the best books even, Mink River

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4. Sunday morning I visited my mother's grave, left flowers, and told her I missed her. I've visited her here for 26 years and in a months time both mom and dad will be here.

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5. Sunday evening we visited my niece, Shauni, and had dinner with her family. After dinner she gave us the gift of playing my father's viola. Dad gave it to her a few years ago when she was playing with an orchestra. He had played in community orchestras throughout his life and was so pleased to pass on this lovely legacy to his granddaughter. 

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6. Monday Smith helped Shauni's husband, Jordan, till a patch of ground in their backyard. I stopped by the garden center and bought the plants needed for their first vegetable garden. Now in the ground are tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers, a great start!. Jordan was as pleased as he could be to have a chance to dig in the dirt and create a garden in his own backyard. I predict success will be his. 

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7. Smith and I had the chance to just kick back and relax, sit on the patio, and look up at the incredible blue sky above our heads. I was able to  knit, or read, or chat with the occasional neighbor who stopped by. I sipped ice tea and daydreamed. Usually we have little time for this much chillaxing and we enjoyed every little moment of it. 

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8. I printed my BOTNS Bingo card and found books on my TBR that fit into many of the squares. I may easily get one Bingo, but not sure I can, or want to, go for a black out. I will be asking for suggestions on certain squares as I fill in my card. 

9. I also started AsKatKnits Summer KAL and knit on my sock.  It won't be finished this weekend, as I had hoped, but I am very close and should have a finished pair by the weekend! I also wound the yarn to ready for the TTLMystery Shawl KAL. Wednesday I will begin and hope to get off on a good start. Needles are ready.to.go!

10. Smith and I have still more weekend to enjoy, as we have today off together, too! YAY! We are going to fit in as much work, errands, fun, kick-backing, and joy as we can. Summer is off to a grand start!

You can read more ToT posts over at Carole's blog. How did your first summer weekend go? 


KAL Squared

Thank you so much for your kind wishes and condolences. Grieving has its ups and downs, made all the more apparent because the memorial is a month away. My family is working on Dad's memorial and looking forward to the day we will all be together. However, that isn't the only reason for my blog silence, in fact, I'm not sure I can even pin-point what it is, but I've decided when the motivation strikes, I'll blog, or at least, try to. 

At the moment, I am happy to report I'll have a 4 day weekend. AND, Smith and I will have 3 of the 4 together! We can't remember the last time we had that many days in a row off TOGETHER! Smith has had very few holidays off at all. The luxury of time is something neither of us have on a regular basis and we're looking forward to luxuriating. This weekend we may tackle a few home improvements and/or maybe take a day trip. BUT, doing "nothing" is at the top of our list. There may also be exploration of a new cocktail recipe (or two). I need to stock up on lime!

Part of my plan for tomorrow is to do some organizing, contemplating, deciding, and joining. One thing I know for certain is I'll be joining Kat's summer KAL.  This is a KAL with NO rules(!) and, since I have a few things I'd like to finish up, plus a couple of new things on my "to knit" list, I jumped to join. As an added bonus, Kat's KAL comes with recipes and cocktails! I have been knitting socks (which I may have already told you) and might be able to finish them this weekend. I'll count them as my first finish of the KAL! Win-win! (I typed "wine"-is that a sign?) 

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As soon as Kirsten announced her new Mystery Shawl KAL I knew I had to knit along. Every one of her mystery shawls has been a big win and Germinate, Liz Christy, and Algiers are in regular rotation and are more oft on my shoulders than most of my other shawls. I feel like I can't lose by joining.  Another win-win! The pattern calls for two color of yarn and since I had a few skeins of beautiful gray Marianated  Yarns just sitting around, I thought they should go to work. I think I've decided on the two darker grays, Steady Rain and Build an Ark, because this has been a pretty wet spring. 

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I may be overly ambitious with my declarations as I'm in the midst of shoulder PT. Knitting (and computering) has caused considerable pain in my shoulder and arms, but with the help of my doctor, and now the PT, the issues are being addressed. I've been able to knit (for short periods of time), plus work on the computer without additional pain (a big win, because that's what I do for a living). In addition to KALs I'll be doing my PT homework!

This weekend looks to be a big WIN-WIN all around!  Here's to the kick off of summer!


Remembering

I've found it is very easy to walk away from the blog when things start to tilt. There were numerous reasons my voice fled, but two things came along that knocked me off my feet.

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My father passed away on April 29th--not necessarily unexpectedly, but rather suddenly. He was 88 and worked to stay active until the last. He had two buddies, and the three of them liked to drive around and look for new places to explore. For many years they were able to hike the trails of Arizona, but the last couple of years they've explored the back roads in a truck.

The week or so before he'd told me about a day trip they'd taken to a mountain they liked to explore. When they started back down they ended up on the opposite side they'd intended and got a little lost. He laughed as he told me they had to follow the railroad tracks and find a place to cross before they could get back on the right road. He had a blast and said the three of them (one friend older than he) had made a list of places they still needed to see. He certainly loved the landscape, an appreciation he passed on to me. Putting together his memorial service is my next hurdle.

FamilypictureThe last time we were all together (2009).

UnclebobUncle Bob (2012)

A week later we got a call from Smith's cousin letting us know dear Uncle Bob was in hospice. Two days later he passed, which only added to our grief. Grief is heavy. It weights down the heart and changes ones view of the world, at least for awhile. Maybe forever.


Poems Fit Perfectly in Pockets

I always have a poem in my pocket. In a small notebook I keep in my purse, the notebook that keeps my to do lists and grocery lists, I will copy a poem--one that is small enough to fit on one page and which speaks to me on that day. I have a couple of shelves of poetry, but the books I pick up most often are Mary Oliver's, as I know many of you do, too. 

The book I have been reading from most often this spring is A Thousand Mornings. Since I am a morning person, the poems speak to my heart. It was hard to chose only one from the book, but I bring you....

An Old Story

Sleep comes a little while. Then I wake
in the valley of midnight or three a.m. 
to the first fragrances of spring

which is coming, all by itself, no matter what. 
My heart says, what you thought you have you do not have.
My body says, will this pounding ever stop?

My heart says: there, there, be a good student.
My body says: let me up and out, I want to fondle
those soft white flowers, open in the night. 

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Thank you, Kym, for reminding me to participate today!

Poem in Your Pocket day, by the Academy of American Poets 


Daily Sound Track

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Swimming out of the fog to bring you the 10 Albums I Love, brought to you by Carole's Ten on Tuesday. I have these 10 albums on my iPod (as well as many others I love). Several of them are also in my car and I listen ALL the way through almost every time I listen.

John Coltrane - Love Supreme

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (or Sketches of Spain)

Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde

Gary Clark Jr. - The Story of Sunny Boy Slim

Joni Mitchell - Blue

Van Morrison - Moondance

Beethoven's Op 133

Aretha Franklin - Aretha's 30 Greatest Hits

Bob Marley - Legend

Let it Bleed - Rolling Stones

Santana - Santana

What's on your list of favorite albums?


Get Out

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As spring warms the air, the flowers start to bloom, and the days grow longer, I love to be outdoors soaking in the warmth of the sun and feeling it on my face.

1. Garden: Watching the garden come awake, the garlic comes first, then potatoes make an appearance. It's time to plant peas, carrots, beets, radish and lettuce. Soon we'll be able to make freshly cut salad.

2. Walk: Early in the season I enjoy walking to the garden as there isn't much to carry home. Later in the season I'll wish for a wagon to haul the harvest home. Maybe that's something I should look into.

3. Picnic: We enjoy eating out of doors, whether the patio or an impromptu gathering at the garden. Going up one of the nearby canyons and finding an open picnic spot is another fun way to spend an evening. The birds will serenade us all through dinner.

4. Read (or Knit) (or Sew): Sitting on the patio with a good book while the wind chimes tinkle and the clouds roll by, is my idea of heaven.

5. Visit: While in the garden we visit with other gardeners and, at home, we'll visit with our neighbors. When friends come for a visit we'll serve drinks on the patio and revel in the fresh air after being cooped up in the house all winter. Yay, spring!

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6. Watch the sunset: Sometimes we'll drive out to the Great Salt Lake, or find a place to view from a higher vantage point, but often we walk to the school yard next door, which gives us a full view of the changing sky.

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7. Watch the sunrise: I step out my back door and watch the sky turn from pink to gold. It's easy, if I get out at just the right moment.

8. Drive through the canyons: The canyons are minutes from our door and I love the drive up any one of them just for the fun of it. I know Big Cottonwood like the back of my hand and love the twists and turns, the beautiful sights of rising peaks, and rushing waters of the stream below.

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9. Watch spring awaken the earth: The crocus have been coming up in waves. Wave one came through a couple of weeks ago and wave two is happening now. I have white blossoms with purple bases, lavender blossoms, and pale yellow blossoms that look so delicate and sweet. I hadn't realized I'd planted so many and I'm very pleased to see they are so lovely.

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10. Just be: One of my favorite things to do is look up into the blue sky, watch clouds come and go, or the jets and their contrails float by. The best time to be outdoors is now before the heat of summer and while the sun is bearable and enjoyable. One day may offer snow, rain and chill, but the next day could be warm and glorious. Take time to enjoy the sampling of all mother nature has to offer. 

 Ten on Tuesday brought to you by the inimitable Carole


Weekending After Another Break

This is where I say, life has had a way of getting "in the way". I had to look at the calendar to see what I'd been up to, as the past week has been a a whirlwind. Suffice it to say, the week was full of busy fun. I'm not great at remembering to take pictures and I'm not great at chronicling my life for the blog, but there was a jazz concert, an afternoon at the movies to see a special production of As You Like It by Shakespeare, and a evenings out with girlfriends. There was even a little time with Smith. It was a great week! And then, it was the weekend!

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After work Friday, I set off for a much needed haircut. I thought I'd share this photo is of "my mountain" from the shop, which is just a few miles south of where I live. The day was beautiful, but because there was a  northerly breeze, it was cooler than it appeared. I was more than ready for a haircut and asked how long it had been. They told me less than 4 weeks! My usual is 5 weeks. But, then she then they said hair grows more quickly in the spring than in the winter. Did you know? Do you know it is spring? I am here to attest it is so. 

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As you can see the apricots are in bloom and this week a winter storm is forecast for 2-4 inches of snow in the valley! In the 5-6 years we've been in the garden we have never had a single apricot. This year is true to form. At least I had a few minutes to commune with the beautiful blossoms. 

I have not had much time (or much inclination) to do any sort of crafting. I have a sock on the needles and a sweater, too. I have not put a stitch into my Alabama Chanin T-shirt, but I have been reading, spending a lot of time with friends, and generally enjoying a life is as it should be! 


Welcome Spring!

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The garden near our front door is dotted with crocus of white, orange, lavender and purple. Last fall we planted over 100 bulbs and their coming up in small bunches, dependent on the amount of sunlight they receive. Some have barely started to peek though the ground and others have already come and gone. This little patch of white and lavender is my favorite, so far. The first day of spring was sunny, but the warm winds forecast of a coming storm. It's hard not to begrudge the cold temperatures, but we are in need of more snowpack and the ground could use a drink. The tug of war between winter and spring will g back and forth for awhile, but spring will win in the long run.

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Smith under-the-stairs greenhouse has been put to use the last few weeks. The tomato starts are looking particularly good! They'll be ready to put in the ground by the time planting season is here. I can't wait for the garden to start producing deliciousness for our table. Root vegetables are already in the ground (radishes, beets, carrots) and spinach has been planted, too. The only thing we have to loose is a few seeds, so the gamble of gardening has begun! 


So Many Years

Over the years I've taken many knitting classes, several from Nancy Bush, who is our resident guru of all things folk, especially all things Estonian. Nancy taught me to knit socks (cr. 1995), lace, colorwork, and anything folk oriented. She brought in other designers, such as Elizabeth Zimmerman (I missed that class) and Sally Melville. Wooly West was a fabulous shop and we Salt Lake knitters were very fortunate as Nancy brought the world of knitting to our feet. 

This weekend our local Knitter's Guild sponsored classes from the inimitable Nancy Bush and I was fortunate enough to take the Estonian Lace Sampler and a Roositud class. I took the same classes many years ago (maybe 15ish years), but enjoyed them just as much this time around, maybe more. 

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The classes were a birthday present to myself, as today is (are you ready for this,  my 66th birthday. Also, over a dozen years ago I started this blog, so this day holds a double celebration. My life changed the day I hit publish for the first time (2550 posts and 72,000 comments later) and I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to have so many dear friend, near and far, seen and imaginary, as I do today. You have all made my life better, richer, broader, and more dear. Thank you, friends.