Lots of News

Since I retired I have spent more on gas than I ever did when I made my short commute to work. Every week it seems I am filling up the tank! Last week was another busy one with hardly any time to rest. I drove miles and miles north of the Salt Lake Valley and and miles and miles south. This week I am exhausted and trying to keep my schedule a little lower key. Being on the go produces lots of news worthy happenings (at least newsy for my small life). 

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Thursday I traveled to Utah County (Provo/Orem area) to see my sister's new home. They are relocating from Omaha to Utah after 40 years+ of living away. There are 6 girls in my family (one boy) and 3 of us spent the day together helping Karen pick paint and carpet to redecorate her new house. She has a lot of work to do before she can move in and years of work ahead to make the house and yard her own. It will be nice to have her back in Utah. 

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Friday I came home from swim class and saw that one of my neighbors was having an estate sale. I was a little alarmed as she has been in assisted living (memory care) for some time. Of course one can't help but think the worst has happened (but then I hadn't heard anything). I found out she is alive and well (expect the memory thing) and her family was just thinning out the collected treasures of past generations. The glassware, silver service, china, and furniture was all of beautiful quality. If someone was a collector of anything from jewelry to fancy dinner service, they would have found just the thing. I am not a collector of anything, but I have an appreciation for the past. Mike (as she was called) was also a needleworker and as soon as I saw this chair I knew the work was hers. I stood before it knowing it had no business being in my house. It works with none of my decor (such as it is) and fits nowhere. No.where. But, I couldn't leave it behind. Now I have no idea what to do with it (except sit on it), but I am happy that it is mine. 

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This is a desert, but April and May can be quite wet. We don't complain about the rain, unless it comes along at inconvenient times. Every afternoon there has been a thunderstorm boil up and, unlike last week, the rains have come down. Usually they last only a short time, but the ground gets a much needed drink and the garden is happy. However, I am constantly dragging the patio cushions from the chairs and tucking them into a safe dry corner. It is a bummer I have to do this every day, but the rains have kept the garden watered and the air cool. Like I said, no complaints. My flower pots are also very happy. 

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I won't keep you in suspense any longer, although I think most of you already know the BIG news. Sunday night we drove north 40 miles to look at a litter of nine schnauzer puppies. A lovely family had both doggy parents, which we got to meet (and wanted to bring home with us) and all nine of their beautiful babies. What a treat to see the whole family and make friends with all. 

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Three of the nine (salt and pepper)

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Two black and silver, one white

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Rocio with Mom and Dad 

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Dad and three of his babies

28389953298_19d13588b7_kOur boy on the right (4 weeks old)

It took us forever to choose (how do you leave any of those babies behind!?) and I'm sure the family was more than ready for us to leave, but we finally made our choice out of the nine. We picked the one that will look most like his daddy, Chico. We're thinking through names and testing how this or that feels on the tongue and in our hearts. (We have had a tradition of picking names that start with "M", so we are limited.) Smith and I are THRILLED, scared, and so very excited! We will visit as we can, as he is only 4 weeks old and we would like to wait until he is at least 7 or 8 weeks. What do you think?!!  


Knitting & Reading - Unraveled Edition

I have been tried and true to two projects, a sock and a sweater, or perhaps a sock and a shawl, for as long as I can remember. When I've strayed and ended up working on three projects I quickly find myself turing towards monogamy. I'll eschew two projects and focus on one until that project has been finished. So, for that reason I've been working on two and only two.  Slowly I've been motoring along on my Electric Sock facing the knowledge that I will not make my goal of 6 pair of socks this year. The goalpost has been changed to 2 pair (or maybe 3), which will be better than nothing.  The plan is to have this pair finished by the end of May. 

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I've also been working on my Sunday Morning sweater (even more slowly than the sock) and now have two sleeves finished. Yesterday I cast on for the back and have a good start.  The yarn is so very lovely and knitting this sweater has been smooth and easy, perfect for social knitting, as well as mindfully meditative stitching. This yarn and pattern are why sock knitting has diminished the last few months. 

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But as happens when we say never, I knew I was sunk when Mary showed her Caylx. I tried to put thoughts of starting another sweater out of mind, but that just didn't work. Caylx worked her way back into my thoughts over and over. The Shibui yarns called for in the pattern were way out of my price range, so I took a looked at the colors of Berroco Remix on offer from Webs (the same yarn Mary's using) but I wasn't inspired because its soft neutral shades. Still Caylx stayed on my mind, and Monday I took a second look at the colors and decided Old Jeans (a deep blue), would be just the thing. I was even more thrilled to see the cost and yardage made the sweater around $24. That's unheard of in my knitting world, so I took the leap, bought the yarn and now I'm waiting by the mailbox. Caylx could be on my needles soon! 

Mary also mentioned TTL Mystery is coming up, but I've already got my next shawl waiting in the wings. When I tried on Monica's Bay's Edge shawl and saw its unique construction, and the way it sat on my shoulders, I knew it would next in my queue. And, how about that? SIX bluetiful blues! I hope to get started soon. The yarn is Marianated Scrumptious HT Gradient Set "Tangled Up in Blues". Check out the names of the blues.

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As you might have seen in the photo of Sunday Morning, I'm rereading Exit West, which is the Book Group choice for May. I've been doing quiet a bit of reading lately and have been listening to one book after another. Between the library and Audible I've had a great selection for my listening pleasure. At the moment I'm listening to 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster which Mary and Carole both liked. I'm swept up in the story and find it hard to break away, but it's a long book and it will take me some time to make it through. 

The day Mary announced Summer Bingo I pulled a card fully expecting a card with dozens of subjects I'd never read.  But, as it turned out my Bingo Card was fairly benign. I made a short list of books from my TBR I saw a place for each one. I knew I could, would be able to play Summer Bingo. 

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I've been reading up a storm and have a few good books under my belt.  Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston, is a short book which told the story of the last slave sold in America, who happened to be brought into the country illegally. I found the most interesting part of the book was the introduction which told more about Zora Neale Hurston's life than I previously known. I also enjoyed Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13 and Home Fires by Kamila Shamsie. My favorite book of April was Circe by Madeline Miller. Miller makes mythology (about which I know little) easy to understand. She explains each god as they appear and has a cheat sheet, as well. But Circe's story, the story of her exile and life alone, how she broke free and made her own decisions was fascinating on every level. At the moment I'm reading 4 3 2 1, by Paul Aster, which Mary and Carole both recommended and I am so wrapped up in the story I can hardly stop reading. 

Are you playing Bingo? Have you an action plan? 


As Time Goes By

This post was intended for last week, but Monday went by, Tuesday went by, Wednesday went by, and then I just gave up. But, I've finally put together a little catch up to give you an idea of what's been happening around here.

Celebrating! 

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A week ago Friday I spent with my kid sister (she 24 years younger than me) while she walked to receive her diploma from the University of Utah College of Education. She has reached her life goal of becoming a teacher! She had been working full time and going to school full time until this year when she started student teaching. Two months before the end of the school year she was asked to take over a Kindergarten class. I don't know how she did it all, as she is also the mother of two teenage boys! I am SO excited for her! Way to go Jana!  

Wondering!

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This beautiful, graceful flower showed up in a corner of our garden and we had no idea what it was or how it got into our vegetable garden. I put a picture on Instagram and instantly got an answer from Eileen. She foretold of horrors as the plant is an invasive weed and will take over lawns and spread never to be eradicated! It has the angelic name of Star of Bethlehem. I carefully dug out the bulbs, trying to get every one large and small. They seemed to multiply right before my eyes and I'm afraid I may have left one or two behind. I may be digging this invading flora from my garden all summer long.

Enjoying!

 SPRING!

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Cheryl sent me a message that the wisteria was blooming at Red Butte Gardens and a day or two later I ran up for a quick morning stroll. WOW! The scent, the color, the variety and beauty of the blossoms just made my heart soar. The Garden's are full of blossoming flowers but the only thing that had my eye was the wisteria. 

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When I walked past this wisteria and blossoming viburnum their two scents mingled and I about fell over. They filled the air and I felt as if I were in an enchanted garden. As Kym would say, #flowersaremagical. 

Family! 

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My niece's son had a baseball game last Friday. As the game started down came a light rain, but one inning in the rain changed to a steady pour and both teams got wet as could be. (Thank goodness for the big umbrella Shauni and I shared.) Nine year olds don't care about the weather and they played a good game. Jaren, just got an RBI and was pumped and ready to give his mom a high five! He had also fielded a ball to stop a winning run in the inning before! Despite the wet weather a good time was had by all. Go Jaren! 

Fiber! 

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Saturday morning, in the pouring rain, I drove 45 minutes north to take a  silk scarf dyeing class at the Great Basin Fiber Fair. The teacher talked about the color wheel and then showed us how to mix the dyes and dye our scarves. Each group got to use the colors of the other two groups so we ended up with three different color ways. The class was easy and informative and it felt great to walk away with three beautiful scarves. 

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After class I walked around the marketplace and had a great time running into people I hadn't seen for awhile.  There were many beautiful yarns, fleeces, handmade objects, looms, brooms, and all sorts of fascinating fibery wares. I also visited with Nancy Bush and took a walk down memory lane, as I touched all the beautiful lace creations she'd brought from Estonia and remembered the many unique techniques I've learn from her over the last 30 years(!)! 

Loving!

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My neighbor has a large patch of lilies of the valley that is just starting to bloom. As you walk by a faint scent of floral soup wafts on the air and turns your head. The flowers are tiny, delicate, and loving the rain. I watch over the patch as they seem precious and in need of a guard to keep them safe. That isn't true, they should be fine where they are, as they are, but they have a way of inviting me to care.

I'm heading over to the garden today to check on what's been growing and make sure I have pictures to share with Bonny. I also plan to have a post for Unraveled this week as well (fingers crossed)! 


Nature's Beauty

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Last week the weather guy told us the possibility of more frost was minimal as they average last date of frost was April 23rd. He was going to plant his tomatoes because he was sure there was no threat of a killing frost. That may well be, but despite his predictions we had snow yesterday. It rained buckets in the morning (and snowed for a short while), but by afternoon we had a cool breeze and sunny blue skies. The next two nights we'll be on frost watch as Smith planted a dozen tomato plants on Sunday! 

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Our condo grounds house over 100 trees of various varieties, about half and half deciduous and fir.  My knowledges of trees is very small, but I know we have Sunburst honey locust (no pods or throrns) and Ponderosa pines outside our door. We have several flowering trees, some pink blossoms, some white blossoms. All the crab apple and Russian olive were removed (trash trees) years ago. That's the long way of telling you about the many beautiful Kwanzan cherry trees. The one across the street from our condo was gloriously pink, with large blossoms (above!) that weighted down the branches. Here it is with the additional weight of snow! 

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One of the trees has been here far longer than we have and it is half dead with a gnarly trunk, but still, it is so beautiful in its own way. Eventually the management will have to removed it, as there are fewer branches alive than dead. In it's hay day every branch was covered with pink frilly blossoms, so thick the tree looked cuddly and the limbs simmered with shades of vibrant pink. When the blossoms fell the walk below was thickly carpeted with petals, a pink glorious carpet that made the heart sing. But, every year winter has taken its toll and now only a few blossoms dot the aging limbs. 

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 This year the poor tree is showing its age (I know how it feels!), but it is blossoming and trying to share its beauty and grace. We should all age as gracefully as this old tree. I love the gnarled trunk and the way the roots wrap the terrain and keep it upright. 

Smith Wassmer paintings

A few years ago (2004) my very dear friend, Thom (now gone), gave me the gift of a small painting by a well known local artist, Ted Wassmer. I have kept the painting and the sweet note Thom sent tucked away, but this year the struggling Kwanzan cherry reminded me of his gift (Dance of Spring) and I've decided to have it framed. (I know! Why did I wait?!) Do you see the resemblance to the brave old tree? I feel the gift is double fold, as the painting has come to life. 


Pocket Poem

The poem I share with you today was written by me! I am not much of a poet as I have only written one or two (the other I can't remember) and a haiku here and there (which I don't remember, either), but I give you the words that came to me while listening to a robin yesterday morning. 

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I used an image of my handwritten poem, in the style of Tyler Knott Gregson (@tylerknott). I heard an interview with him on To the Best of Our Knowledge.* He writes poems either by hand or on an old typewriter and posts them to Instagram. He is a master poet, every poem beautifully crafted. 

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! Thank you, Kym, for the encouragement to post today. 

*There is also an interview on TTBK about how knitting can improve your health. 


Three Months in a Trice

Anyone remember me?

Sometime back in mid-February this happened--the beginning of the end. How I mourned my beautiful amaryllis and the light she brought to the drear of winter. 

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Towards the end of February this happened and, as you know, when a dear friend from a far off place pops in, the heart just soars. It was so nice to see Laurie and Mr. Etherknitter if only for one night. 

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Also, arriving the last few days of February was much needed snow, which we first welcomed, but when the cold and snow seemed to take hold and stick around for  weeks, we felt it had over stayed its welcome.

40455541165_186342d897_kIt stayed and stayed day after day...

25768761537_4dbc00de4c_kafter day... 

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after day. The storms were spaced far enough apart and the accumulations were small and, in reality, we didn't have much to complain about. I know you know how it feels to have winter come and never seem to leave. The cold was bad enough, but it was the endless days of gray that start to get to me (beautiful as the pictures may be).

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That isn't to say spring hasn't done her damnedest to put on a show. See what you have to look forward to?!! The first trees started blossoming around the first part of April and they've been going on and on. The forsythia, the bulbs, and all the other blossoms that make spring such eye candy, have graced our days, although, I think the peaches, plums, and apricots might have been damaged by frost.

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Brunnera how I love you! As of today she is in full bloom, my favorite spring flower, the delicate, tiny blossoms that furl and grow in cold or warmth, then dot the ground around as the silvery leaves grow and the flowers wan. 

April has been cruel, but she may have turned a corner as the skies have been dynamic, the clouds playfully shaping themselves into all the shapes they can be. I may have been absent from the blog, as well as other on-line sites, but I have been taking daily photos and loving mom nature as much as possible.

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Our new patio furniture arrived during a snowstorm, which turned out to be the last. I know the potential for more snow is about 50-50, but for now, I choose to believe that spring is here and, fickle as she may be, I love her so.

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Silent Reading

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Kym reminded me today was Silent Poetry Reading Day, which got me to thinking about the various poets I enjoy reading and what I would like you to silently read to yourself. It could have been Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Wendell Barry or Edna St. Vincent Millay. It could also have been William Carlos Williams, or Shakespeare, for that matter. But, I decided on one of my very favorites and one I can count on is one of your favorites, too, Emily Dickinson. 

Simplicity.

How happy is the little stone
That rambles in the road alone, 
And doesn't care about careers, 
And exigencies never fears;
Whose coat of elemental brown
A passing universe put on;
And independent as the sun, 
Associates or glows alone, 
Fulfilling absolute decree
In casual simplicity. 

~Emily Dickinson

 

 


3TT - January

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If you've been reading my musings of the last 14 years you'll know I do not like January, but this January does not deserve a bad rap for the usually bad reputation of past January's. There may have been a week or so of inversion, but overall she was warmer, softer, a little more generous, and seemed to blossom into a new, happier self. But, GOOD-BYE, JANUARY!

1.The amaryllis that came into my life were real show offs and I'm glad there were chronicled throughout the month. The show continues into February as Crimson's second stem is in full bloom and the third is just starting to show signs of opening. I told Kym I plan to buy a dozen bulbs next year, as  I would like to have a real amaryllis forest for years end.

2. Happily, I finished a sweater in January and received yarn for a second! My arms used to ache after hours at work. Typing at an uncomfortable desk was not good for them (or for me), BUT, those day are over and I can now knit when I like. My hands and arms can even do a little needlepoint (sometimes), and stitch (which I do daily with Vicki), as well as knit, knit, knit. 

3. Thank you, Mary, for introducing me to the Collect App and encouraging me to take one picture a day (at least). On a couple of occasions I've had to take last minute pics before heading to bed, but, overall, I enjoy finding moments that bring delight and joy. This year I'm also trying to collect and organize my pictures on Flickr and Instagram. 

All that is left to say is HELLO, FEBRUARY!!  I love your light and your bluer skies. You might even bring in a little more snow. Your a good month, February. 

Carole's got a few more participants of 3TT over on her blog. Take a look!