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January 2013
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March 2013

Gray Days

There are winters, and then, there are WINTERS. This year has been a WINTER because, man, we are so tired of GRAY and COLD. It's the COLD, baby, the cold that seems to be "10 degrees below than normal", and "another week of below normal temperatures", or "nearly record breaking cold" in January. February has been no better and while the snow isn't as crazy deep as years past, we are SO over the gray, cold drawn-out days of WINTER. Thanks Caorle for a 10 on Tuesday so we have a reason to complain out loud.

1. GRAY skys, cloudy days, days with no blue sky, no change as gray does not mean a storm is on the way, it just means it's winter.
2. Inversion GRAY is day after day of gray skies, gray clouds covering the mountains, sometimes creating dangerous fog. The day never has texture and everything become over-washed with the same gray.
3. GRAY salt, gray skies, gray roads, the world looks gray, there is no light, no blue to contrast, nothing to brighten the mood.
4. The GRAY ice, GRAY snow, gray inhabits the landscape and if we can see the mountains, they look flat, have little texture and the overcast sky they turn gray.
5. GRAY moods and down cast faces of everyone you know complaining of the day after day of gray, inversions. People become crabby and short tempered.
6. THE COLD of fingers and toes, noses and ears, the extreme cold that bites right through and it has not left us. Yesterday was 20 below normal and so will today.
7. January was a record breaking COLD month, as we had day after day below normal temperatures and like to think we'd freeze to death just getting from the house to the car.
8. A house that never quite warms and has pockets of COLD, usually where I sit in my favorite chair. An office  I am left to use a small heater to warm my legs.
9. Icycles hanging from the eaves, thick and long, COLD and GRAY, leaving us to wonder if one could fall and impale us.
10. A garden covered with snow and ice, the ground likely frozen and hard. No way will we be planting greens early this March. Hopefully, we will plant a little later in the month, given the ground is covered with a foot of snow.  The GRAY and COLD have us ready to say uncle.



The weekend was a tricky one weather wise and we were either dodging flying snow or impressed by the blue of the sky.  By Sunday afternoon the snow had made its way out of the valley and the blue skies took over.  Later the moon came up over this mountain right through the clouds and it was one of the most amazing moon risings I've seen. For a time the clouds created a crown of light over the moon and it took my breath away.  It's been a good weekend so I'm going to share it via "Amanda's Weekending".


There was a fair amount of good cooking going on this weekend. I'm getting better at cooking ahead to make sure there is something easy to take to work for my daily lunch. There were also two first in our kitchen this week. I roasted my first whole fish, which was very easy to do and wonderfully tasty.  The next night I roasted this romanescue, a fractal wonder of the veggie world. It has the texture of cauliflower but taste more like broccoli. It was wonderfully fun to touch it and eat it.


I had a chance to visit a freind and see how much her kitty has grown. This boy was 1.25 pounds when she brought him home. Tommy is now a very regal, larger than life presence.


Didn't think you'd ever see a cat on my blog did you?  It was a wonderfully relaxing and productive weekend. How was yours?

Happy Monday.

Changing Winds

Have you looked at the sleeves on Chicane? The only thing I took into consideration before starting to knit was the yarn (with a swatch) and the ease of the project. I liked the simplicity of the design, and the a bit of playfulness on the sleeve, never giving a thought to its construction. Once I'd finished knitting the back I decided to try a sleeve instead of moving onto a front. A grrl just wants to have fun!

Usually I read through a pattern, marking the size I'm knitting and checking for any designer notes. I did the same with Chicane, but when it came to knitting the sleeve I was surprised by the instruction, "Cast on 16 st." 


What?  It didn't make sense. How would the sleeve fit around my arm? I had just assumed (bad word) the sleeve was knit from the bottom up and hadn't given much thought to the changing direction of the elbow.


It was then I decided to read through the sleeve and take note its construction. Holy cow! The elbow band is knit flat and seamed (neatly). Stitches picked up on one side to knit the sleeve cap and the other side to knit down to the cuff.  Imaginitive! Creative! Simple, yet amazing. I've knit several of CookieA's socks and I should have known she'd have something fun up her sleeve.

The Gift of Sun

I saw it as we drove up the canyon and became immediately enchanted. I watched it, photographed it, for as long as I could.

Nature creates amazing beauty in our landscapes. The halo stayed around the sun much of the time we hiked.

Thin clouds veiled the suns intensity and gave it an ethereal look. The halo is created by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, cold air aloft, and it's one reason our air is free of inversion.

And, the halo means a storm is coming. Since it's only February, I say let it snow.

Go Take a Hike!


Finally, I've found a way to do what I really want to do, despite the snow and ice...take a hike!

Smith had a birthday this past weekend and I decided to give him something that would truly get us out of the house and into the mountains. We have spikes on the souls of our shoes!

We passed hikers on snowshoes who were envious of how easily we moved over the trail. We headed up and down, over steep terrain, over the ice (with no fear), having a total blast. We used our regular hiking shoes, just pulled the spikes over, and took off into the pines. 

It was a beautiful day, in the mid-30s, with a few high, thin clouds creating a sheer curtain over the sun.I've never had so much fun on a winter day and it won't be our last venture out on the trails. We plan on heading out every weekend we can to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. I am psyched!
The day was perfection and we topped it off with a stop at our favorite taqueria for an apr├Ęs-fun lunch. We were very pleased with ourselves and warm, inside and out, for the rest of the day. I think we're onto something!


Kym's beautiful sweater lead me to take the necessary steps needed to jump into my first sweater in 2 years. Two years! I'm having trouble understanding my lack of sweaterly pride. Since the year of 12 sweaters in 12 months (which was 2009), I've only knit two sweaters and they were in 2011, but Kym's sweater left me hankering for something new.

The cold weather had me hankering for something very warm and I found just what I was looking for in my "favorites" on Ravelry. The yarn on hand, as well as the desire for a sweater that would go quickly, had me ogling Chicane. Look at the sleeves! They look very cool, unique, and fun to knit


Beaverslide's Natural Heather had been sitting in the stash for several years and my plan had always been to knit a jacket style sweater. Chicane fit the bill, although I'm not a fan of zippered fronts, and I'm looking into options, such as an I-cord or small button band. I just finished the back, which leaves me plenty of time to decide. I think I'll start a sleeve next...just for fun.

Be Yours, Too


How many of you think of others on Valentine's Day, but never think of yourself? Spread the goodness, as you can't give what's needed when you haven't taken the time to replenish your own reserves.

1. Buy yourself a special culinary treat. Just for today, give yourself a bit of something decedent. oh, yum

2. Send a boat load of Valentine cards to as many people as you can, but make sure you include one to YOU.  now find a mailbox

3. Dance around the house to a favorite tune and sing along as loudly as you can. sunshine came softly...

4. Go all out and have a manicure and pedicure. Polish on the toes will bring a smile to your face every morning. "so pretty and witty..."

5. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself the biggest bear hug you can manage. grrrr

6. Take a bubble bath and load up the tub so the bubbles last and last. la de da

7. Spend an hour reading that book you've wanted to read. shhhhh

8. Surprise someone with a phone call and let them know you care. hello, it's me

9. Make a list of all the good things in your life. family, friends, home...

10. Buy yourself a bouquet of spring flowers.  roses are red, violets are blue

Look in the mirror and give youself a big smile to acknowledge how much you care about the person you see.


It's Ten on Tuesday with Carole and gang!

"Extreme Ennui"


Ah, that state of extreme ennui that comes from within and settles over everything.  The term "extreme ennui" came from my friend Cindy. This winter has truly not been as bad as many I could recount, but it is that time of mid-winter when everyone needs a break. Today the day dawned with clearing skies and just a little haze, which is so much nicer than the gray days of the last couple of weeks. The sun is warming the earth as much as it can and it is promising a warming week ahead. Seeing its rays shine on the snow has lifted my heart.

I think of the blog, and you dear readers, but then I become immersed in other aspect of life and move on. I've been reading, which I may share with you later, and we have also been cooking lovely meals, but I forget to take pictures until the food is gone. I've been out with friends several times this week, but never think to share the good times with pictures or words. The blog has taken a back seat.

Saturday while I was running errands I came across the rusted sculpture and knew I had to share it with you. What a kick it would be to have this funny monster in the front yard to greet you at the end of along workday. He is, however, sadly in need of an update in Holiday attire.

Happiness is February

I'm going to employ the age old blog trick of randomly rambling. However, if I reveal too much I may have nothing more to say the rest of the week.

February is not January and you have an idea of how happy I am about that. The longass month is gone and it won't be back for 11 more months and with that thought comes relief!


February has so much good packed into a short period of time. There are two things I'm going to keep an eye on this month...the length of the day and the mailbox. So far I have mailed 3 letters for "A Month of Letters" and plan on, at least, 20 more. I will send another today and may even send multiples some days.

The inversion is still with us during the morning hours, but the arc of the sun is higher in the sky, which means there is a good chance sunshine will break through leaving us with a sunny afternoon and the orange hazy glow of a setting sun. It is better than being socked in all day through.

As per usual, I made a silly mistake in my knitting and had to take out several inches of the back of my (future) sweater. Quill languishes, but only because I do not have 4 hands (nor hours and hours to knit. I still love her.) A new, finished sweater is the carrot that keeps me knitting, although knitting is still about the process. I'm loving the yarn and the ease of stockinette.

I just finished a very good book, an intense story, written in a unique style. The Colour of Milk is the tale of a young woman growing up on a farm in 1830s England. It is a heart-wrenching story, which has stayed in my thoughts, and at 160 pages you can read it in a day. Yes, Carole, I read many sad books, but they're SO good! 

Ran out of time to take pictures, as the days are just not long enough (as yet), so all you get today is my rambles.

Silent Poetry Reading

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety-

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light-
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Wath, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

-Mary Oliver-- Why I Wake Early, 2004