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.


Weekend of Delight

"Every day," says Mary Oliver, "I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight."

As Mary says, every day I see something that stops me, grabs me, and fills me with delight.  After I read Mary's poem I started silently naming my "daily delight". Often I am unable to photograph my delight of the day, but often the camera (phone) is at hand.  My goal (and I'm not all that great at follow through of goals, is to take a photo of that special moment. 

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Friday night, while Laurie and I ate our sushi, and a ray of sunshine graced the plate. We both were filled with the delight of a delicious dinner and the warmth of the sun shining through the window.

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After dinner we visited a very fancy gift shop, a shop we both enjoy, but where we rarely buy anything. This time we both found little treasures, items that brought us delight. I found a pencil with a lead of six color, which change color with each letter as I wrote. I had to buy it and I love writing or drawing with this pencil full of delight!

Saturday I visited Red Butte Garden and had one of the most delightful visits ever! As I walked through the Fragrance Garden (which is already filled with heady scents), an immature scrub jay sat on the branch of a leafless tree. I watched with joy as he fluffed up his dark gray breast and tried his best to squawk, only creating a funny kind of croak. I stood very still and watched for a long time and was rewarded with sight of an adult popping from a pine tree to feed the little one.

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After the feeding the baby must have needed a drink of water as, in a surprise move, he jumped down to the walk at my feet and drank from the sprinkler head.  (That is my shadow!) He drank a couple of times and then flew back to the branch for another feeding, dropping once again to drink from the sprinkler. This time I had my camera at the ready, as I had slowly taken it from my back pocket. My lesson of the weekend was delightful things will happen in unexpected ways when you stand still, pay attention, and stay open to the joy. 

Mindful

by Mary Oliver

Every Day
      I see or hear
          something
               that more or less

kills me
      with delight,
             that leaves me
                   like a needle

in the haystack
    of light.
           It is what I was born for—
                  to look, to listen,

to lose myself
      inside this soft world—
            to instruct myself
                   over and over

in joy,
    and acclamation.
          Nor am I talking
                 about the exceptional, 

the fearful, the dreadful,
       the very extravagant—
               but of the ordinary,
                     the common, the very drab 

the daily presentations.
         Oh, good scholar,
               I say to myself,
                     how can you help

but grow wise
         with such teachings
                 as these—
                       the untrimmable light

of the world,
        the ocean's shine,  
                  the prayers that are made
                         out of grass?


I'm So Excited!

And I just can't hide it...

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Woohoo! The newest member of my Alabama Chanin library arrived in the mail! I'm brimming over with ideas and building desires. The package was lovely, as inside was an Alabama Chanin notebook, pencil, and tape measure, as well as the new book bursting with patterns. However, I first must work on the two projects I've already have in process.

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You may remember the market bag I started ages ago and abandon when the T-shirt arrived? While I know this T-shirt is going to take many, many hours to complete, I will be happy to return to the market bag, which will be pure fun to carry. I predict it will take me many more hours to complete than the T-shirt.

With each petal I cut I hold my breath, hoping to do a good job and not cut through to the layer below or more of the petal than I should. I have been very careful, taking great care to do it well. The flowers on the front piece of the T-shirt are ready for beading and I only have eleventy-gazillion beads for the job.

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Time is the only factor in this equation, but tonight I have all to myself and the plan is to start the process of sewing on the beads. How many per petal and how should they be spaced? Should I bead the outside as well as the inside? Many questions and possibilities bounce around my head and I don't think the answers will come until I start. I'll keep all the Alabama Chanin books by my side as reference, but try  to not become distracted by the beauty of the projects inside.  The trick is to stick to my own work and the process in front of me. 


Pull Out Your Library Card

Carole, as librarians are wont to do, would like us to list the last 10 books we read for Ten on Tuesday. I've a few good books on my list and few so-so choices and I hope this helps you find something to read.

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1. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood - This book was a reread for me as Margaret Atwood's visit was on my mind. This book is darkly humorous and I enjoyed every word. I loved the characters, a group of girlfriends, frenimies really, and laughed out loud as they retold their stories, revealing secrets and whole of the story. 4 stars. Audio, March 23-24th.

2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars - This story grabbed me, held me, mesmerized me, and shattered my heart into a thousand pieces, but left me with hope for many of the characters. McCullars tells the stories of several memorable people, the lonely, the mis-fit, the misunderstood, all incredibly poor, but full of spirit and heart. It will take a truly amazing to knock this out of the #1 spot of my 2015 reads. 5 stars, with highest recommendation to all. Kindle, Feb. 23-Mar. 24th

 3. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin - This covers 24 hours of a young man's life, his religious conversion and his step away from the religious life. John Grimes is a young black man in the 1950s, and it is difficult to imagine what life would be life for a poor black family living in that time. James Baldwin brings that era very much alive, as he tells this coming of age story, driven by John's relationship with his father and with religion. I was touched in many ways by the story and found Baldwin's language lyrical and substantial. This is a very important book from one of America's great authors. 5 stars. Audio, Mar. 5th-10th

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - Another sci-fi choice, read only because Margaret Atwood was coming to town, and wanted to brush up on her most recent fiction. I found the story disturbing, as the world she created reminded me a little too much of our own. Distopian fiction is a beyond me, even when dosed with humor.  4 stars. Audio, Feb. 20th-27th

5. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout - I wasn't a huge fan of Olive Kitteridge, Strout's big hit, and I read this book under protest (as sometimes happens with book group choices). I liked it not at all. I didn't go to the discussion and I'm not willing to write about it here. 2 stars, because I finished it. Kindle, Feb 2nd-21st

6. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - Told from the letters and diaries of both an old woman, Roseanne, who is housed in an asylum, and a younger man, Dr. Grene. The narration moves back and forth, unveiling both their stories as it goes. The language is marvelous and their stories unfold slowly, relating surprising elements I won't spoil. 5 stars. Audio, Jan. 26th-Feb. 16th

7. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill - Told from the perspective of a unnamed wife, who at one time, wrote to her husband from the "Dept. of Speculation". This is another audio book narrated by the author and I appreciated the way she spoke softly, as if relating her secrets, telling of the uncertainties in her marriage and life as a mother. 4 stars. Audio, Feb. 2nd, a one day read.

8. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - This was a favorite of many of my friends, but I just couldn't get into the story. I found the characters to act more like children than scientists and was very put off by the story. I stretched to give it 2.5 stars. Kindle, Jan.21-Feb. 1st

9. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - You may have heard all the hype about this book and many of you may have already read it. It was a page turner, a good mystery, and it was hard to pick out the villain until the end. 3 stars, okay, but didn't live up to the hype.  Audio, Jan. 26th-27th

10. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson - This was perfect book to listen to because of the free verse style.  Jacqueline tells her story, her way and I listened to this book because she was the narrator. Having her read her ow words brought so much more to the story. 5 stars and marvelous. Audio, Jan. 22-23rd

At the moment, I'm reading, in both audio and paperback, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I loved this book the first time I read it in 1995 and I'm loving it again this time. As a bit of a distraction, I'm also listening to Raven Black (Shetland #1), a mystery. Next up, a recommendation from Carole, The Golem and the Jinni

What's #1 on your reading list?


Treasured Times

Weekends like the one just past are to be treasured and I am doing just that. I stayed in the moment as much as possible and took nary a pictures (as usual) until Sunday rolled around and I knew I had to have something to share. 

16424432154_3a056b4ce4_oThis picture cost me a toe nail and any further walking for the day. My foot slide under a rock smashing the nail past the quick just as I took the shot. Poor me. 

Friday I had a lovely dinner with a friend and, afterward, we had a chance to walk through our favorite book store. I picked up a copy of Mary Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud. 

Saturday, morning as I made my morning tea, a suddenly remembered there was a possibility I could see the moon in eclipse. I ran out the back door in my nightgown and saw a the shadow of the sun on the moon. The air was too chilly and I ran back in for my coat and jeans, then ran back out into the street, and watched the moon as the shadow passed creating a crescent on the setting moon. 

That afternoon, after Smith left for work (the midnight shift-poor guy) I met a friend for dinner and a movie. Sushi was our evening treat followed by a night with Cinderella. It was fun to go to a movie (a rare occurrence) and the message of this movie was a good one...Have courage and be kind. Don't be afraid to be yourself.

Sunday morning I let Smith sleep while I made my pot of tea and breakfast. As I stood in the kitchen I heard piano music and a woman singing. The sound was ethereal and I was mystified as to its source. I walked out into the warm windy morning, just as light was coming over the mountain. A beautiful voice and piano were carried on the wind and I listened with eyes closed. Later Smith told me the church across the street, the very one who allows us to use the land for our garden, had a sunrise service and that was the source of music. 

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Our evening was spent cooking a delicious dinner, which included a salad made from lettuce we grew in our  carport garden box. It was tender and delicious, the first crop of the season! Our menu, which we saw as a nod to Easter/Passover, was lamb roast, rustic mashed potatoes, and asparagus, plus the salad, of course! 

I hope your weekend was as restful and delightful, with just a little magic thrown in. 


Delving Into Mystery

As of late, Vicki has been my hero. She not only helped me (inspired me, really) to change my banner, but  also dyed the yarn for my next project, Romi's Mystery Shawl 2015. I was thinking of the sea and sky and Vicki captured my vision perfectly. Since the project is a mystery, I'm cannot be sure what's in store and I'm curious to see how the colors work throughout.

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You may or may not remember I started a sweater, but I've been dawdling and only work on it while at SnB. In fact, I haven't done much in the way of knitting or sewing, it's mostly been reading when I have any leisurely time. I've been waiting for this shawl in lieu of starting anything new and tomorrow it begins. 

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But, I have reach the point where I'm cutting the petals of the design on my Alabama Chanin T-shirt and I'm hoping to try beading and sequining this weekend. Even if I stitched this project non-stop it would be a month of Sundays before it was finish.

This is the proof I do my crafting for the process, not the finished project. I love every stitch I put into my knitting and sewing, and if I didn't it would all be for not. Enjoy the process, my friends!