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January 2014
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March 2014

The Process of Strength

A few days ago I wrote a post about my experience with pilates and how it has changed my body. My insecurities took over and I decided not to publish it. I didn't think anyone would want to read about my process of strengthening.  That same day Cara published a blog post about her journey of working out at the Bar Method and how much it has helped strengthen her inside and out. Her story was mesmerizing, not only because it resonated with my experience, but, also, because she is one of the many people who encouraged me during my quest.


By the time I put in 8 hours at the office the only thing I really want to do is head home, have something to eat, then relax through the evening. But, this past July I decided I needed to find something to get me off my butt and into some form of exercise. I was a skinny weakling with too much back pain.

In fact, my back was killing me, hurting all the time, and the doctor told me the only thing to do was strengthen the muscles that support the spine. I had no muscle mass and I knew he was right. PT turned out to be either too much of one thing that would aggravate my pain and/or proved to be slow to bring on the results I needed (now!). In truth, I hated it. Not the therapist, who was good (if cautious), but every single one of the exercises was a big fat bore. I quit.

I knew the next step was up to me and, as it turned out, I met up with a friend who was having heart surgery and needed some advice and assurance. We had dinner and she picked my brain and I picked hers. She has had more issues with her back than any one person should have to endure. She told me about reformer pilates and how it had changed her life, diminished her pain, and strengthened her body more than any other exercise she'd tried. Hearing her accolades strengthened my resolve. I called the gym the next day.

Fortunately my first class had only two other participants and the instructor was able to help me throughout the class. I was hooked and immediately bought a package of 18 classes. I bought 18 more when that was done and 18 more after that. I've made it to class 2 to 3 times a week for the last 8 months and my body has changed. I have muscles. Muscles that know how to fire, know how to support me and hold me upright, which feels amazing.

As the doctor told me 2 years ago, it IS up to me to make the decision and I feel very fortunate to know my choice of exercise has worked out to be the best one for me. (Sorry I don't have pictures as beautiful as Cara's to go with my post.) If you've stuck with me through this whole post, I thank you. The encouragement I've had from you, my friends, has been invaluable.

I'm Feeling It

Today I'm feeling ToT as Carole asked just what it is I'm feelin'...

I feel like having a party--here, on the blog. We'll talk later in the week, as my blogiversary is March 1st!

I feel amazed that people have been reading my blog for 10 years.

I feel fortunate to have met many of my dearest friends, both near and far, through the blog and I know they will stay life long buddies.


I feel excited for spring. Smith has already planted beets, radishes, lettuces, and onions, along with other early spring crops. Fresh, homegrown salads!

I feel strong! My regular attendance of Pilates has been extremely beneficial for my body. More on this later in the week, too.

I feel disorganized as my kitchen cupboards feel too small. The problem is there is nothing old or expired to be discarded. They need to be organized by usage (or something). The pantry, on the other hand, could use a good cleaning out.


I feel like a good host, as I made (GF) chocolate chip cookies for Cheryl's hubby who joined Smith and me for dinner. Only fortitude of restraint stopped us from eating the whole batch.

I feel chagrin over my knitting progress. Am I a knitter? Sometimes I wonder if my status isn't slipping, but I am nearly finished with the back of Hayward and, also with the first front of Acorn Trail. If only there were more hours...

I feel successful, as I should be able to meet the goal of a letter a day this month! I've enjoyed the process, which is about reaching a goal with no attachment to outcome.

I feel too busy this week and I'm slightly stressed over it, as I won't have time to relax until Thursday. The week should fly by! 

How do you feel?


Much Ado Friday

Friday's are quiet days at the office, as everyone is working to catch up their paperwork of the past week. I was typing a letter when my boss came running past my desk with the shocking question of where to find the closest fire extinguisher. He said the dumpster behind the building was on fire. We had to break the glass to get to the extinguisher, where upon he ran out the back door to try his hand at putting out the fire. Smoke billowed up but after emptying the tank into the depths of the can, smoke still poured forth. The fire department had been called, but the police arrived first. One , then two, then three cars pulled up the scene, each with an extinguisher in the at the ready. The police in turned emptied their three onto the fire to no avail. And we waited, still, for the fire truck.

When the big red truck arrived they were unable pull into our driveway, so had to drag a hose across the fence from the property next door.



It didn't take long to put the fire out, as they pumped water on it from the truck and raked through the trash to make sure the fire was totally out. 


The diversion was welcome, but too short, and before long, we were back at our desks catching up with paperwork and hoping for another diversion that would take us outdoors, once again, into the beauitful day. 

Happiness is a Birthday

Yesterday was Smith's birthday and the only thing to do on a day that was also a holiday was something we never get to do! Off to the National History Musuem of Utah we went. We've talked about it for ages, but its hours of operation are during the time we usually work and we've been dying to go, so even though we knew it would be rife with children, we went.


The building is nestled against the foothills of our valley at one mile above sea level elevation. The children in attendance were multiple, but well behave, and we had a good time, albeit not able to do much that was interactive.


The child in us grumbled but, overall, the adult in us was delighted at the way the children were amazed. We played and smiled and laugh and had our eyes opened at every turn of the century and ended up spending four hours of our afternoon in the exhibits. 


We created earthquakes, saw lakes formed, and deserts take over, saw how native peoples lived and where dinosaurs roamed, looked at baksets, and blankets, and clothing, rocks, crystals, and caves. We saw fish and elk, deer and mice, ants, beetles and toads. AND, you'll never believe it...


...ate chocolate! We learned how chocolate is grown, traded, and how it gets from pod, to bean, to bar! We tasted the cocao nibs, and then, some of Utah's finest chocolate bar creations.  We had  so much fun exploring the wonders of our landscape and delighting in the beauty that is not only Utah, but the world around us. We were awed by the complexity of nature. 


At the end of the day, we celebrated at our favorite place to eat (sushi!) and endulged in a wonderous chocolate creation. Smith had a day to remember and we had a day full of laughing, learning, and delight. It was a fabulous weekend. 

PS. We have not watched much of the Olympics so ToT was lost on me. Go, team USA!


Winter here has not lived up to its reputation, gracing the mountains with only small amounts of snow. Much needed precipitation has been pushed either north or south due to the high pressure over us. We'd like our snow back (and many of you would like to give it back, I'm sure).

Last day of sun Feb2
January ended with enough snow to brighten the view and February skies were blue enough to show off the white mountains. This past week rain has moved and melted away the piles of dirty snow. The warm winds will continue through the weekend. It's too early to call this spring, but it feels like spring and acts like spring. See...


There are little shoots coming up in the garden where I planted over 100 crocus bulbs, along with a few dozen snow drops. Every day I check to see how much the shoots have grown. The crocus do well and come up every year, which is why I planted more in this spot, but snowdrops are such ethereal, tiny flowers. Hopefully, they come up this year and show off their delicate white petals. I'll be watching carefully so as not to miss their short visit. 

Part of My Heart


1.Many of my favorite places are in the red rock desert of southern Utah.


2.Red cashmere shawl knit with a glorious red yarn spun by our Cookie.

3.My favorite fruit is a red apple of any variety (except Red Delicious).


4. My favorite red veggie (or one of them) is a fresh-from-the-garden tomato.


5. Our favorite item in the freezer is the (red) tomato sauce, we roasted last summer.

6. The card and red heart-shaped treat I bought Smith for Valentine's Day. (shhh, don't tell)


7. The depth of the red fall leaves against the blue sky and mountains of Utah.


8. My red iPod. The cover is red, but the iPod itself is red, too. It gets me through many a day, walk, and/or mundane task.


9. The red strawberries inside of my favorite needlework box. I stitched this box in 2000 and loved creating something useful, yet delicate. (The linen is 40 theads to an inch.)

10. My healthy red heart. (My doctor took pictures of it during surgery, but I'll spare you.)

Two Days

I am amazed at how fast and furiously a weekend can go by. It doesn't seem fair two days pass by in a blink of an eye. 


Friday night we went to the 50th anniversary concert of the "Morticians"! The guys got together in their college days and formed the band, played around the little college town, as well as neighboring towns, and were very popular. They've been together only a few times over the last 50 years, and played a few more gigs, but they always have a great time when they do. We had a great time, too. 

Since I had a very busy week, Saturday night we relaxed and enjoyed a nice dinner together. What a relief to have nowhere to go. We only had to cooked dinner and enjoy each others company. 


Sunday, Smith worked and I had a day to catch up with myself. I talked to my dad who lives in AZ and enjoys frequent "hikes" with his buddies to the surrounding recreation areas. They recently took a hike in the Sedona area and, after our conversation, he sent a few photos.  He's 86 and doing very well. He credits his well-being to staying active and engaging with friends. (Dad's in the middle.)

I finally had time to knit a little and read a little, but I'll tell you about that later in the week. 

Following along with Amanda 

Party Hardy

We had a little party and I took a few (mostly blurry) photos, but I thought it worth sharing them, nonetheless.

Our SnB group celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a party and a gift exchange. Our group has been through the best of times and the worst of times. This is the place to come for support, encouragement, solace, and joy. Together we have celebrated births and mourned deaths, cared for each other in sickness and health. It's been a marriage of like minds and we're built true friendships.

The gifts this year ran through the gamut of patterns and yarns, but each one was exceptional, as well as, appreciated by all. The gifts are wrapped and out of view so no one knows what they'll get until the package is opened. It's all we can do not to open our secret gifts until everyone has one in hand. We then open each one and oh and ah, as the gift is revealed.


Jacquie received the exquisite beaded cowl you can see here, which was knit by Melanie. Behind her is Caroline who received Laurie's Linen Stitch scarf (the 10th one she knit).


Laurie recieved Barley, a hat knit by Cheryl, which you can see here.


Cheryl received Anna's amazing hat, knit in 1x1 twisted rib with a crown knit of star stitch. I'm sorry I don't remember the name of the pattern. eta: Anna shared the link in the comments below. 


Anna received perfectly matching mitts knit by Caroline in a fun colorway.


Susan (sorry for the very blurry picture) received Jacquie's 10 Shades of Gray cowl. Believe me, it was knit with 10 shades of gray.


Melanie received wrist warmers knit by me (black and brown under the sleeves of her sweater) and I received a bright red scarf from Susan!


I had the luxury of time, as my photo was taken a few days later by Smith.

Other friends joined us at the party, but since we all had fun in the moment, few pictures were taken. We're looking forward to many more years of spending afternoons and/or evenings together to bitch, to laugh and to gossip and knit! We love our grrls!

In the Now

Carole asked us to do something a little different this week for ToT and I sit here wondering if I can pull this off and if I have time while I do other things. 

It is 7:00pm Monday and...


I am...planting two pots with the herbs Smith started a few weeks ago. My plan is to have a table in the junque/guest room with a few small planters of herbs and such. This is an evolving project. 

I am...making a large pot of curry lentil soup, which will be dinner one night and my lunch for a couple of days.

I am...enjoying the lack of inversion and waiting for the storm(s) that have been predicted this week. You know how much I love the blue skies and white mountains and I wouldn't mind a goodly amount of snow.

I am...listening to The Spinning Heart while I cook and do other things around the house. The Goldfinch was good and, I think, it's a story most of you would enjoy, albeit, a very long one. However, you'll be turning the pages quickly to find out what's going to happen next. (I know you weren't impressed, Kym.)

I am...looking forward to a night out with a grrlfriend I haven't seen in awhile. Also, on Friday night Smith and I are going to a concert venue/recording studio to hear a friend's rock and roll band. My week is shaping up to be rather busy which means...

I am...too busy to get much knitting done this week, but with SnB I should get a couple of inches knit on one sweater or the other. My shoulder is bothering me again, so it's a good time for a break.

I am...thumbing through seed catalogs to round out our garden goodies.  I think I've found a nice fennel bulb and a spicy radish we should order.

I am...over the next month, watching through the window for the ground to be revealed (if it doesn't snow soon), as I want to see the first little sprout from the snow drops I planted last fall.

I am...watching sweet Moxie, who has finally started to climb the stairs again, as his back legs were too weak to give him thrust. This week his legs seem stronger. A wonder-dog he is.

I am...writing a letter to be posted in tomorrow's mail, as I am doing every day (mail day) this month. I've enjoyed the discipline of A Month of Letters for three years now and we all like a wee bit of mail in our mailboxes.

I am...wondering what you're doing now.

The Weekend Looked Something Like This


Because I had a free Saturday, Cheryl and I decided to go to a favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, Mazza Cafe, for lunch. Cheryl saw Turkish coffee on the menu and told me how it was made and how good it was, so we each ordered a cup, and it was as delicious as she'd predicted.


Finally, after weeks and weeks of gloom and gray, the inversion got busted! Everyone was delighted to see the weather patterns change and the skies clear. There could even be more snow coming through this week. We're rather envious of our friends to the north who have snow totals we'd love to have in the mountains. Keep your fingers crossed there will be more snow headed our way. 

How was your weekend?