November 23 - Grateful Day

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The first blog I read this morning was Bonny's and her quote by Henry David Thoreau, which said it all. "I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual." The perfection of that quote hit me in my heart. It is truth.

Since July 13, my last day of work. I have said to myself on a daily basis, "I am so grateful for this life." I feel it, I say it, I acknowledge it daily, because I never thought I would be here. Retired and loving it. I haven't even begun to tap all that I want to do with my one "precious life" (as Mary Oliver calls it). 

First and foremost I must acknowledge my gratitude for sharing my life with a wonderful man. I couldn't have picked anyone more kind and generous. I am fortunate and so deeply grateful. 

Second I am daily grateful for my home, the warmth, the light, the food that is there without worry. My daily life takes for granted my car, my mundane tasks of grocery shopping, or of buying dinner out. I have SO much more than so many others. My heart is near to bursting with gratitude. 

There is so much more that fills my heart with gratitude, not least of which is technology. By the grace of opening this screen, I have at my finger tips a wealth of friends, some near, some far. Friends I see regularly would not have come into my life without the internet. Friends I have never met would not be in my life without the internet. I feel I am the most fortunate person in the world. I have so much. I have a wonderful life. I could not wish for more. 

 

 


November 16 - 3TT

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Every day this week I could have shown you pictures of amazing sunrises and sunsets. For today's picture I had to run out of the house, nightgown flowing, slippers flopping, just to stand in the gusty winds (storm's a coming) to capture this bit of delight. 

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I bought this amaryllis with so much hope and joy, but it has done nothing but disappoint. No buds, not one, only leaves coming up all sorts of places you don't expect leaves, and then, they just flop over without warning. The bulb has plenty of water, but flop go the leaves. A few days later they might start the process of standing upright again, only to flop down. I confess to trouting for the pot, which is white ceramic with a little red stripe. I saw Christmas blooms in my future, but sadly that appears not to be. I will vacating my house of this bulb and starting fresh, hopefully with better luck. This time I went big time with a double bulb planter and I'll find a new single bulb for this cute pot. 

Last, but not least, I bring you a new musical find. A few days ago I heard Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile's Guest DJ gig on NPR  (I'm a fan of All Songs Considered), which lead me to buy their collaborative album. After listening to it through a couple times I ended up humming Over Everything for the rest of the day. 

You can find more 1, 2, 3 Things posts over on Carole's blog.


November 9 - 3TT

I'm stealing the 3TT Title from Vicki because I thought it clever! Today I'm joining Carole and gang because it's Thursday. 

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1. Today is actually the day I have nothing whatsoever planned to say (or do). I got up and out of the house early today as I take a water exercise class three days a week at the community pool. The early class is small and much less noisy  because few chatters in the group (and few kids are up at the hour). We're there to get it done and get on with our day.

2.This is the prettiest leaf I've been able to find this fall. Most of the leaves are off the trees (our grounds crew is happy about that) and the Christmas lights are almost up. I just listed two of the best reasons for living in a condo (snow removal and lawn care or two more). 

3. Today is a quiet day with no obligations or plans. My first order of business is to call the doctor and see if I can get that MRI scheduled. The next thing is going to be reading for awhile and then I might splurge and get a manicure. I never paint my nails and usually go for nice plain buff shine. The nails have grown to dragon lady length and I'm more of a short as possible girl. 

Happy Thursday, everyone! 


November 2 - Tiptoeing In

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 1. Our autumn has been long, glorious, and luxurious, just as autumns should be. The leaves have been showy, vibrant, and languorously lovely. The trees had the benefit of a wet June, which, despite the hottest summer on record, brought the colors into their most vivid colors.  

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2. September and October have been dry, no snow, no rain, no damage to the trees or the leaves. Blue skies have been the perfect complement to the reds, golds, oranges. I don't think there has been a more beautiful autumn in the last dozen years.

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3. I've been walking through Red Butte Gardens, through our neighborhood, and through our city park, Murray Park. I lived near this park during my high school years, I still do, and I've enjoyed rediscovering it, noting some of the excellent changes made over the years. Recently I found a little treasure in the park, which I think I'll save that for another day. 

Today you can head on over to Carole's and read (or join) the other blog who have joined Three Things Thursday


Good-bye August!

UnnamedWhen Mary learned I did not take photos every day, she was a little surprised. She had a little talk with me and I told her I would work on being more consistent. Then, my phone died and I ended up replacing it with an iPhone. Collecting daily pictures became easier when Mary told me about an app  she used to "Collect" her daily photos into calendar form (which was not available for Android). The app made taking photos more fun and it keeps me focused, as I don't want  miss a day. Only once did I end up taking a photo late at night when I remembered I hadn't even taken my phone out of my pocket. Thank you for your help, Mary! 

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Hello September! 

You have such potential to be a beautiful month and I hope you live up to that potential. On our trip up the canyon we could see the leaves changing to a dull rusty brown. Mountain color will not be your catch phrase. The very hot dry summer has take its toll on fall hues, as our summer was 6 degrees above normal, the hottest summer on record. September, your cooler days and nights will be very welcome.

September, you make being outdoors more enjoyable and your change on the landscape is interesting to watch. I have to say I'm not fond of the waning days, with light disappearing from the evening sky, but your sunsets can be exceptional. The Knitter's Retreat scheduled for your last weekend is something we all look forward to and this year is no exception. But, please, September, take your time, linger, PLEASE. You're a month we all love to celebrate! 


Three Good Things

The Think Write Thursday topic for  today "is to write about 3 good things that happened this week. We all know that focus on the GOOD is GOOD for us so let's do it!" 

35048349454_2103eaa287_h1.  A while I posted about my newest hobby, Postcrossing. Every few days I receive a postcard from a different Postcrosser somewhere in the world. This week I reached the milestone of 650 cards (coming and going). I have "met" some of the nicest people from hundreds of cities.  In just a few words we share our hopes, dreams, a little about our lives, and the local where we live. The world feels smaller, closer, more connected.

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2. Packing (yes, me!) for a trip to Southern Utah. I have a date with Will and company. I'm heading south with Camille and we're going to see Guys and Dolls, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Shakespeare in Love. Since I haven't been to the Festival in years, I'm very excited! 

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3. One good thing that's coming up is tomorrow is my LAST DAY AT WORK!! I am sad to leave my work friends, as they are all caring, lovely people. We have worked together for many years, through thick and thin, through change after change, and milestone after milestone. I feel very fortunate to have had them in my life. Every photo in this post is from my office view. I see it in the morning when I'm walking into the building and I'm going to miss it very much!

On to a new adventure!


Yes! Howdy March!

I've been waiting for you ALL WINTER!

I LOVE you March! Let me count the ways.

1. I LOVE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! You can hate on me all you want, but I love it. Time change is a sign of spring and I love spring! Plain and simple. #bringitonicantakeit

2. Well, March IS my birthday month so it would hard not to like March for that reason alone! Right? I may be getting old (my body lets me know daily), but I enjoy a good reason to celebrate and any birthday is worth celebrating. cheers

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3. May may be known as the flower month (April showers and all that), but March is when the first colorful blooms start to show off. Pansies are coming alive (if you planted them last fall) and bulbs, bulbs, bulbs! Daffodils, jonquils, crocus, and early tulips have a way of making their way out of the ground and into the added sunlight. They will make themselves known by growing up through several inches of snow and they will survive, even thrive, after being pounded down by the worst of weather conditions. Spring is intrepid and so are her flowers. #lovemesomeblossoms

4. Sunlight, sunlight, sunlight, sunlight.  Nuf said.

5. March is a month of varied conditions, which (can) include many warm days, days that are all about patio time! I enjoy the fickleness of March weather. Sun, snow, rain, or all three on the same day...I'm speaking of pure entertainment. There may be  acts you don't care for, but it's a matter of hours, or maybe minutes, before better weather comes along. Spring is a roller-coaster ride of conditions. Wheeee!

IMG_0061This was last week--the sign now says 2 weeks to Spring Planting!

6. GARDEN! Time to plant root vegetables, broccoli, cabbages, and if you're very brave, peas and lettuce. You'll only lose a few seeds if things freeze. This is a gamble worth taking, believe me! #justdoitidareyou

7. March is my Bloggiversary! Vicki tallied our time in blogland at 13 years! OMG! It all started in 2004 and that seems eons ago. There was a "gang" of us, many of whom no longer blog, but we're still friends (phone calls, emails, snail mail, Instagram and FB (which, if you can stand it, is a good way to stay connected).  I'm happy to (still) be here. 

8. March is the beginning of long, light-filled evenings. On Thursday evenings throughout the winter a group of us gardeners g0t together at the local burger spot. We talked garden talk, making plans, egging each other on, and betting on who would have the first peas. This month we plan to meet in the garden and cook our own burgers on the grill. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can enjoy our first garden evening (maybe towards the end of the month). 

9. Renewal! Everything I've mentioned about March helps awaken me from the funk of winter's dark and chill. The changing sky, the warming air, the longer days, and the smell of the earth, fill my senses. I am reminded that life is ever changing, that the worst is oft short-lived and, always, from the dark comes light. Spring fills me with hope as I reconnect in a visceral way to nature. I no longer need to stay deep within my home, cowering from the frost and gray--I know the light and warmth are coming.

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10. I am looking forward to seeing the gardens at Red Butte come alive during March. February, your snows covered the little snow drops, which I didn't get a chance to see. BUT, March days will surely be warmer and the bulbs will start to show off, creating beautiful flower beds of many colors. (The new water conservation area opens in May!) #gardensforever

Welcome, March! I LOVE YOU! 

Think, Write, Thursday brought to you by Carole and Kat


Traditions

December traditions have changed over the course of my lifetime, but each and everyone has created a wealth of wonderful memories. One of the greatest gifts I have ever received is that every Christmas has been safe, fun, exciting, rich with tradition and abundance, plus I have always been surrounded by people I love.

P_r14alkwjxc70039My second Christmas

For many years, Christmas Eve was the best day of the Holiday festivities. Last minute baking left the kitchen warm and aromatic. Mom would lay out a feast on the table for us to nosh on, and we "pieced" our way through the evening of joy. Freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies, and candies  are among my favorite childhood memories.

Every year mom made each one of u (4 girls!) a new flannel nightgown, which we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. Mine was usually pink or blue, with ruffled yoke and hem. How I loved the first nights wearings of  that fresh, crisp gown, which was well worn by the next Christmas. 

We'd listen to Christmas songs, or we'd gather around the piano and sing our own carols, always waiting and listening for the sounds of Santa. Later in the evening we'd watch the news on our old black and white TV as the announcer tracked Santa's progress from the North Pole. We went to bed when he warned children the needed to be asleep or Santa might not stop! 

I'm thinking of the years there were 5 of us kids, a house full of noise, laughter, laundry, lights, gifts for the neighbors and baked goods abounding, the piles of packages under the tree, and the general chaos of life--that is what I think of when asked what Christmas means to me. Many traditions have changed through the years, and I can't think of one year that Christmas wasn't full of magic and joy. Riches beyond words, that's the joy of Christmas tradition. 


The Beauty of December

December is the season of lights, which I admit, bring to me a sense of wonder and awe. I can stand before a display of lights my mouth agape, my eyes wide with joy,  oblivious to the world around as I am transfixed by beauty I behold. I love the light (as I'm sure you know by now). 

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We spent Thanksgiving with our friends Monica and Steve (a wonderful day) and as we were driving home that evening we caught sight of a well lit tree off in the distance. We drove up a side street that led to a small cemetery and found at its center a very large tree covered with white lights. It was ethereal, magical, and we exclaimed to each other, with delight and wonder, how beautiful it was. As rarely happens when you're an adult, we were filled with awe. It felt like a gift to be among the first to see it.  

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The sunrises and sunsets are quite wonderful this time of year and the cloud displays before, after, and during a storm can surround the mountain tops with garlands and crowns. You know I love my mountains and winter can really bring out their unique beauty. White, snow covered mountains and clear blue skies are are also commandingly exquisite. 

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This time of year the golden glow glorifies our view in a way that isn't seen during the other seasons. December's light is the beautiful of the year and I must fill my heart and soul with this beauty before January's dingy skies move in.

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December is filled with with wonderful people, friends and family, parties and gatherings, (which is when I keep my phone in my pocket). I'm hopeful there will be time for Smith and I to be together this month, as well. 

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December offers more time indoors (demands it, actually), and that means more time to knit (maybe blog). I hope to be able to show you the TTL Mystery shawl I finished, and the Julianna shawl that's nearly off the needles. December's cold and snowy days offer the gift of knitting and reading time.

Just as Bonny said in her December post, December marks the beginning of the return of light. Solstice is a day of celebration and joy. I so look forward to the shorter nights to come. 


That Very Best Breakfast

Camping

It's been years. Back in the 80s, which is so crazy. How can it be that long ago? Let's say it was 1983, during the years we spent camping, sleeping on the ground, often without a tent, and cooked breakfast and dinner on an open fire. We often reminisce about the amazing meals we had. Like the time Camille readied a huge prime rib roast to cook as soon as we arrived at our campsite. We would head off to the wilderness of the High Uinta mountains and four-wheel the mountain trails until we found the perfect spot. We liked to have a creek or a lake nearby, which made life a little easier, but was not necessary. As soon as we found the perfect place we'd build a fire and get the coals red hot. The rib roast was slow cooked in a pit, surrounded by hot coals, and it was the best piece of beef we ever had. We were starved by the time it was ready, but it sure was worth the wait.

But, I should be talking about breakfast as it's Kat and Carole's "Think Write Tuesday".  When we were on our camping trips, breathing in the fresh mountain air, our appetites were enhanced. We took extra care in planning our meals, as one need not eat tin foil dinners when four-wheeling in the wilderness. Our friend Dave was the chef and everything he cooked was delicious and memorable. I could go on and on about his meals, but his mountain breakfast is something we still talk about, brag about, really.

Dave was always the first one up in the morning and he'd start the fire and put on the coffee. He would make sure there was a flat rock on the edge of the fire pit for his big old fashioned enamel coffee pot to rest. He'd get the water boiling and then tossed in a big handful of coffee and let it boil until it was dark and strong. When you wake up in the wilderness, nothing smells better than strong coffee.

The next thing he did was cook up a ton of bacon in his well seasoned cast iron skillet. When the bacon was nice and crisp, he's slice a bunch of bagels and crisp them up in the bacon grease. The best way to eat a crispy bagel is to slather it with cream cheese and topped with crisp bacon. The bagels were the perfect appraiser to what comes next, mountain eggs!

Mountain eggs are the pièce de résistance. They cannot be repeated without an open fire, a wood fire, in the middle of the wilderness. To begin Dave would add a cube of butter (yes, I said cube) to the leftover bacon grease, and as the butter melted, he crack a dozen eggs (or so) into a bowl, stirred until fluffy, then poured them into the skillet. As the eggs cook, he'd add in chunks of cheddar cheese and a big bunch of sliced jalapenos. The addition of the "mountain pepper", ashes from the burning wood, was the true seasoning for the eggs and that just happened as they cook. When the eggs were the right consistency, Dave liked them custardy, he'd serve them up to the hungry, waiting gang.

Food and friends make the best memories.