Organizing

Sadly I have had little time to sew on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt. The bag with the T-shirt pieces, the beads, needles, and all other needed accoutrement, sits beside my chair in a neglected state. My evening hours have been taken up with other activities and any leisure time has been taken by reading and/or knitting. There is the Mystery shawl to solve, as you know.

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But, Saturday, while running errands, I stopped by a big office supply store and picked up a few helpful organizational tools. Vicki gave me a tip on some cool boxes she found to hold the eleventy-gazillion beads that come in an Alabama Chanin packet.  

All my beads, all my needles, all of my thread bobbins, the AC notebook, plus all the other supplies needed to work on a project, are now kept together in a storage box and the beads are safely stowed inside clear tiny boxes. Now to find more time!


Wednesday's Are For Knitting

Isn't that what Carole's says?

I am slowly knitting Romi's Mystery Shawl and it is every bit as beautiful as I hoped it would be. Vicki's blue-tifully dyed yarn has knit up just as I'd envisioned and the color change we made early on was a good choice. My original colors were too light in contrast, but it was only when I knit a couple of rows of the new second color, I knew it had been the right decision. 

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All the clues have been published and their are several finished shawls floating around for you to see (if you wish). The border on the shawl is quite brilliant and I'm excited to see my finished shawl. If only I could knit faster and/or had more time. C'est la vie--it will be when it will be. Now the mystery is when the shawl will be finished. 

This month my book group is reading Mink River by Brian Doyle. I haven't read enough to give you a review, but the humor and writing have captured me. I even read the description of a man's workroom out loud to Smith and he was captivated, too.  The story seems to have a little of everything, including quite a bit of humor, fantastic characters, and little mystery thrown in, too. 

Is there something good on your night stand? 


Mexico On Her Mind

Buenos Dias, amigos!

You can tell Carole still has Mexico on her mind and that she is dreaming of Mexican cuisine, as she picked 10 Favorite Mexican Foods, in honor of Cinco De Mayo. Carole has been to Utah and  has been to our world famous Red Iguana and Lone Star Taqueria. Both restaurants have been featured on TV shows and in food magazines. They are not to be missed if you make a trip to Salt Lake City and, although chances are you'll be waiting in line for awhile, they are both worth the wait!

I'm not adverse to making my own Mexican food and, on occasion, I do, but the west is graced with many places to pick up ready made Mexican food, and it's any easy choice if you want a break from cooking at home.

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1. Lone Star is very near our home and we visit on a regular basis (last night!). My first choice is always the fish taco and it doesn't matter what type of fish is featured for the day. Every salsa is delicious, but don't miss the jalapeno mayo!

2. Tamales! Good tamales are easy to come by around here and, while you may enjoy making your own, I can pick up a  variety of very tasty tamales at any farmers market or grocery store. 

3. How many different kinds of salsa can you make? About 100 (or more)! Chips and salsa are about the best snack you can ask for.

4. My favorite item at Red Iguana is the Tostadas. Layers of deliciousness, starting with beans, then the meat of your choice, garnished with lettuce, sauce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream and black olives. YUM!

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5. Although...I usually have a hard time choosing between the tostadas and the moles! The Moles are to live for and they are all superb! Red Iguana is known for their many flavors of moles and I bet you can't pick just one.

6. Guacamole! The avocado is the food of the gods and it's very versatile. Guacamole can be enjoyed with chips or as a topping on any other Mexican delight. Whether you make your own, or enjoy it in a restaurant, guacamole around here is fabulous!

7. Enchiladas have moved down my list as I can no longer enjoy my favorite, the cheese enchilada. What's an enchilada without cheese?  I can still dream!

8. Do margaritas or beer count as food? Well, maybe not, but I sure love having one or the other with Mexican food. Since beer is off my list, my favorite would be the margarita! Ole!

9. I do like a good Churro and a local establishment makes them gluten free. They're amazing! I could fill up on dessert!

10. One visit to Red Iguana they had a Mexican fish soup on the menu, the special for the day. It was similar to this recipe and it was delicious. I check every time I go, although it's been awhile since we've fought through the crowds. Maybe we'll have to go for an early dinner this weekend and see if it's on the menu. 

Amigas and amigos, you'll have to come to Utah soon and try our wonderful Mexican fare!

¬°Buen apetito!

Do you have a favorite Mexican food? Maybe everything!?


Weekends Are Always Nice

I needed the weekend more than I can express and (of course) it went by in a flash. 

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~Friday night, we started the weekend with a trip to the garden where we found the asparagus was coming up.  (Isn't that a lovely bouquet!?) We thought it had not survived the very dry winter, but luckily it's doing well and we were able to harvest what we found, still leaving enough to reseed.

~ Saturday I taught my needlepoint class and, afterwards, had lunch with a friend. Despite seeing each other weekly, Shelley and I rarely have time just to chat, so we enjoyed a delightfully long lunch.  We've known each other since the 80s and we've been through many hair and clothing styles together. 

~That night Smith and I had dinner together. He grilled delicious grass-fed burgers while I wilted spinach (from the garden), with the addition of garlic from last years harvest. We're thrill to have a little harvest to enjoy, as well as, the fruit of last years garden. 

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~ Sunday I ran the usual errands, including a quick trip to downtown SLC before heading to SnB and knitting time with girlfriends. That evening we grilled another delicious dinner (along with more spinach from the garden).

~I knit on my Romi's mystery shawl, both at SnB, and during the evening hours. I'm just beginning clue 4, but not concerned about finishing "on time".  The last clue was published on Friday and I've been able to see a few finished shawl pictures. I know I'm going to love this shawl and my color choices (dyed by Vicki) were perfect. More to come on that front. 

I know the week ahead is going to be as busy as the last, but the weekend gave me a little more fortitude to face the fray! I hope you had a lovely weekend, too.


Pocket Poetry

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By the stream I dream in calm delight, and watch as in a glass,
How the clouds like crowds of snowy-hued and white-robed
maidens pass, 
And the water into ripples breaks and sparkles as it spreads,
Like a host of armored knights with silver helmets on their heads.
And I deem the stream an emblem fit of human life may go,
For I find a mind may sparkle much and yet but shallows show,
And a soul may glow with myriad lights and wondrous mysteries,
When it only lies a dormant thing and mirrors what it sees.

By the Stream - Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 - 1906

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Thank you to Kym for sharing poets.org's project. I knew April was poetry month and I've read a fair share of poetry in celebration, but on this last day of April I thought I 'd share a poem with you.  (As a side note, the Poetry Foundation app is a great way to read poetry when on the go.)


In My Office

Another week with lack of blog posts cannot and shall not be. I am here, still trying to keep all the balls in the air. The office seems to be a place of urgencies, which leaves me ready to collapse at the end of the day. However, there is always something going on in the evenings and collapsing is not on the agenda.

Why oh why, is it I cannot pick up my phone and snap and picture?? This lack of thinking is why I haven't joined something like 365 (and no--it would not spur me on).  I am going to try my best to see if I can create something from "nothing". 

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This is how I personalize my work space. The tray under one of my computer monitors holds a few oddments; washi tape (which I have never used but have/had intentions of doing so), a sand dollar from Whidbey Island, WA, and a schedule of pay-dates (very important dates to know). The assortment of "sign here" stickies are used on occasion, but always at the ready.

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On the wall of my desk is a sticky note from Smith, which he long ago tucked into my lunch box.  When I happen to glance up and see it I take it as a bit of encouragement to get through the day. Not only do I use a boatload of sticky notes in the office, they are our #1 mode of communication when we're passing in the night.  The tea mug I bought at my favorite tea shop sits atop a coaster that was a gift from Vicki and it reminds me of all my faraway friends who are there silently sending encouragement, too. 

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One of my favorite things on the desk is a beautiful calendar by which I watch the days pass.  Each monthly scenes is peaceful and season specific. I love turning the page on a new month and seeing a new beautiful landscape (soon!).

My work day is full of paperwork and staring at a computer screen (or two), but having a few dear things near me gives me a feeling of home.  I may as well make my space my own. 


Weekending

"There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun." ~ Thomas Merton

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The rainy weekend was brightened by time spent with friends and the laughter and joy they bring to any leisure time. I also enjoyed the company of my Smith, despite his having to wake at o'dark thirty and head off to work. It's a cruel time of day, especially for him, but it gave us a couple of evenings together. Sadly, Smith also works until midnight the next two evenings this week. It's a good thing he's an adaptable sort. 

Sunday we woke to mountain (thankfully only mountain) snow and a day that stayed cold, cloudy and gray. How nice it was to see the setting sun hold promise of a brighter Monday.

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My weekend entertainment was provided by the birds. I spotted a scrub jay visiting the roof in search of peanuts, so I tossed a up a handful. Immediately I heard the very loud chirping of a robin and knew something was up. I watched for awhile as the robin chased the jay and the jay, in turn, chased the robin. The poor robin must have a nest in the pine tree by my back door and the jay was an unwelcome visitor to the neighborhood. I was completely entertained and, as near as I could tell, the jay flew away after hiding his peanuts. (The above picture was taken at my office, but the scrub jays of home are just as beautiful.)

Most of my weekend is spent catching up with chores; making sure I have good food for my lunches, doing laundry, leaving the house somewhat cleaner than it was at the start of the weekend, plus, any number of other things we all have to do. After hearing about many people in the world who have no home, no place of warmth or safety, I feel very humble to have a home to care for and grateful for all that I have. 


In the Pink

CrabappleIs it possible to get sick of seeing spring flowers, pretty pink blossoms, or for that matter, any flowering plant?

This week I'm trying to keep many balls in the air, and sadly, I'm not a very good juggler. When I have a few minutes I head out into nature, either Red Butte Garden, or into our own little garden where the garlic and peas seem to be doing well. 

The other thing that helped me disappear was a book (I just finished it last night), The World Before Us, where the ghosts held me fast. Beautifully written, part ghost story, part mystery, and certainly a story of searching--searching for answers, searching for memories, and searching for self. This is a book I recommend, as it captivated me, although I have a hard time saying exactly what it was that hooked me. Perhaps, it was just the all of it. 

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There has been a bit of knitting, a little beading (which I'm totally in love with) and, well, as I said, a whole lot of balls to be kept in the air. When I learn to be a better juggler, I'll be back. 


Winter Delight

We can hardly say "winter returns" when we really haven't had much of a winter. Tuesday morning was very warm, over 60, and moving in from the west, came a huge dust storm with hurricane force winds, which proceeded to take over the city, filling our eyes and lungs with the dust of the west desert. It was 75 by lunchtime and when I left work it had started to rain mud. I couldn't even see out my back window for all the dirt that fell from the sky. By the time I left for SnB the temperature had dropped 40 degrees and a rain/snow mix was falling. 

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By morning it had snowed a couple of inches and it snowed all day. Although it stayed very cold, the snow kept falling and melting and falling some more. All in all it amounted to at least 8", more than we've seen over the last 3 months combined. The best news was the mountains reported upwards of 3 feet! By the weekend our temperatures will be back in the 70s, so who can argue with a day or two of winter?


Count the Delights

Carole took a cue from my post of yesterday and decided today's Ten on Tuesday should be about 10 Everyday Things that Delight.  I often make a mental note of at least one thing that is my daily delight and it doesn't have to be something grand, and once you start taking not it's easy to find what it is that delights.

Myview1. My view! My mountain, at any angle, brings me so much delight on a daily basis. If by chance the view is obscured by cloudy weather (which happens infrequently), I have it in my minds eye and know it is always there looking over me.

2. My iPod. I've expounded on my love of my back pocket friend, but the books, podcasts, and daily pedometer count it gives me is a daily delight.

Thejayfamily3. Cheryl calls me a scrub jay magnet, and I am as attracted to them, as they must be to me. As you can see yesterday, it has nothing to do with the copious number of peanuts I scatter. I had not a single one with me on Saturday, and the babe still dropped to drink at my feet. I feel chosen.

4. This year spring arrived in January and it's put on a show ever since. We have loved our extended spring, as well as the roller-coaster weather. If it's cold today, just wait until tomorrow as it will be beautiful once again.

Springflowers5. Because of the extended spring, the flowering season has been long. A variety of daffodils have been blooming at Red Butte Gardens since January and every time I go I see something new and interesting, not to mention beautiful!

6. One of my daily delights is friendship. It might be face to face, in a letter, an email, a text, or a blog post, but every day I have the joy of friendship with so many lovely people.

Mytea7. I gave up coffee when I had surgery 5 years ago and I have explored the love of tea ever since. My cupboard is full of delicious varieties from all over the world, and I've become a bit of snob.  How much do I love the warmth of a cup in the morning and cold sip of tea iced at the end of my day? The thought brings pure delight.

8. Seriously, how many of us could live a day without at phone attached to our hips? I love putting it aside at the end of the day and rarely look at it past 6:00, but it is my lifeline for much of the day. The camera, the calendar, the connection to family and friends, it offers in a variety of ways. It is a double edge sword, but we all carry it for protection and connection. A smartphone is a daily delight.

9. My knitting, or sewing, or reading, or writing! Every day I must do something to create and use my hands. It is a very sad day I cannot do one or the other and a day I can do all, or at least, several crafts, is a wonderfully delightful day.

Whiskey10. The end of the day on the days I am home with Smith is one of my greatest delights. We sit and relax, read and sip a tiny shot of a good whiskey. This doesn't happen daily, but just the time to truly unwind is truly delightful.