Thursday, March 9, 2023

March Melange

Time waits for no woman - hence the diary page twitches to March 9 without my having paid homage to the thrills and frills of February!  It just will not do. So I bring you my melange, my medley, my potpourri of happiness and happenings.  I care not if I hop like a bunny from March to February and back again - if it will bring you even a smidgen of joy, my job here will be done!

Speaking of bunnies, this little one posed motionless outside my bathroom window, less than three feet away, for at least 15 minutes.  Do you suppose it thought it was invisible?

Snow - an amazing miracle.  Have you ever really thought about it?  All those teensy individual flakes, piled up, one upon another.  Strong enough to support a bunny, a cross-country skier, a snowmobile.  (It is still at least a foot-and-a-half deep on our property.)  And the sculptures it can create.  The scenes befitting of a Currier and Ives plate.  I never tire of its beauty and I hope you don't grow weary of my snow photos!

The next photo is closer to home - our "side yard"!  I love how the (rare) sun is casting long shadows of the trees.  The sun is still low at this time of year, but at least the days are lengthening!

I celebrated another revolution around the sun last month, and of course snow sports were part of the festivities.  Here I am posing with the "snow ghosts" at Big Mountain on my birthday.  This phenomenon is the result of layers of rime ice accumulating on the trees throughout the winter.  For more information, check out this link for a quick read.  

(Note: the name of the mountain is Big Mountain - the ski area is called Whitefish Mountain Resort.)

I am grateful for all the warm greetings, cards and gifts I received.  Spousal Unit took me out for dinner, followed by a winter film festival.  It is thrilling to watch other people ski/ride off cliffs into deep powder!  

In late February, we took a trip to Portland, Oregon for a Bruce Springsteen concert.  A few days before we arrived, Portland had over 6 inches of snow and then temperatures plunged into the teens.  It left roadways, parking lots and sidewalks quite treacherous.  We had to forego some of our planned sightseeing (parks and other outdoor venues) because we feared falling and suffering serious injuries.  But we could not resist visiting several of the waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge, made all the more spectacular for the ice around them.

Check out these videos.


You could spend days exploring the street art scene in Portland.  As I already mentioned, the icy sidewalks rendered lengthy walks out of the question, so I only captured three murals that I saw during one brief stroll.  If I went back again, I would make it my mission to scour the Central Eastside Mural District and the Alberta Arts District.

(The Blanchet House mural was especially poignant in light of the homelessness crisis in Portland.  Everywhere we went, tent cities dominated the landscape.  Blanchet House was founded in 1952 by a group of University of Portland alumni as a house for hospitality in the model of those established by the Catholic Worker Movement.  With an original focus on feeding the unemployed, Blanchet House has grown to provide clothing, hygiene items, community, and transitional recovery programs to thousands of people every year.)  The subject of homelessness cropped up in most of our conversations that weekend; we did not identify many new solutions, but we sure agree that our country can do better than this! 

If you search for "things to do in Portland", you can be sure that Powell's City of Books will be near the top of the list.  Covering an entire city block, Powell's has grown into a Portland landmark and the world's largest new and used bookstore.  The place was teeming with people and so many books that I might have been forever discouraged from my on-and-off again thoughts of writing a book.  I did make note of several books that I would like to read!!!

Would you be surprised that donut shops would also make the list of must-dos?  I can't tell you how many boxes of "Voodoo Donuts" that we observed as we gingerly picked our way along the sidewalks of the Pearl District.  It made me wonder about the blogger that recommended Blue Star as the donut of choice.  I can tell you that I sure savored my Lemon and Lime Curd Donut!

As we maneuvered our car to a new parking spot (time limits on parking,ok?) we spotted a World Market.  Oh my.  I don't know (and I am not sure I want to know) how much more the population needs to grow in our area to merit a World Market, so we go and salivate at every installation that we come across.  Just look at these tulips!  (but no, I did not buy them.  We did find some Tete de Moine cheese.  Ooh la la!)  We had an early dinner at Jake's Famous Crawfish Restaurant - yum!

And what can I say about Bruce?  The man is 73 years old.  He has released 21 studio albums during a career spanning six decades, most of which feature the E Street Band.  And I swear that he did not break a sweat during the 2 hours and 45 minutes that they played!  Young folks, take note!  


Back at home, I launched into March with a shamrock frenzy.


Meanwhile, the critters confront the daily challenges of winter.  Twenty Elk waiting to cross on Big Mountain Road.


Bald Eagles fishing at Hodge Lake.

And my favorite - the Ermine bounding along the front edge of the house.

Maybe they should take a page from these pink beauties and be a greeter at Hobby Lobby.  (LeeAnna - this is for you!)


This week, LeeAnna's prompt is "What would you like to have in a dream studio space?  Have you ever seen a studio space you wish you had?"  In this post from two years ago, I wrote about my new standing desk in our loft.  It satisfied much of my dream studio wish list - a terrific view, lots of light, a standing desk, large working surface.  The one thing it lacks is adequate storage for oddly shaped craft items such as rolls of cross-stitch fabric.  My sister-in-law in Utah has a large room she uses for quilting - the previous owner was into card-making and had specially designed cabinets for card stock - turns out they are perfect for fat quarters.  I would love to have her storage options!

Hop on over to I Like Thursday at Not Afraid of Color to hear more!

Linking to Monday Murals

Joining Eileen for Saturday's Critters 

Linking to Mosaic Monday

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Munch and Make Returns

As faithful readers know, stitching makes me happy.  Stitching WITH FRIENDS takes me to a state of bliss.  Throw some mouth-watering delectables into the mix?  Practically euphoria!  Munch and make, a craft gathering with neighbor ladies, has returned after a three-year hiatus.  (OK, I knew it had been a long time, but really three years?  Yes, pandemic first and then life, busy life.  Anyway ...)

One friend plied her needle on the table runner you see at left.  And do you know, she gave it to me at the end of the afternoon?  I was SOOOOO touched.


How about this quilt?  My neighbor is a prolific quilter and prefers to have one quilt at a time in production.  On the day of our gathering, she was finishing the binding.  You probably cannot see it, but the corners of the quilt have nests with little eggs in them.  Love the plump birds on this incredible work of art.





Everyone brought goodies - sugar-free chocolate, oat cookies, lemon blueberry ricotta cake, fresh fruit.  The panda nestled among the munchies was hand-made by another neighbor during our gathering.


My project is the cross-stitch for my sister that I first shared in this January post.  It's coming along nicely; I am head over heels in love with the blackwork patterns that make up the flower at the center of the design by Lesley Teare.


I hope to have another Munch and Make in mid-March - watch this space!

If you would like to see the previous Munch posts, go to March 17, 2019April 11, 2019, October 6, 2019 and January 29, 2020.


I am joining Lee Anna at I Like Thursday this week.  The prompt is "What thoughtful things does your special person do for you, or you do for them?"  Spousal Unit brings me coffee in bed most mornings, a routine that began when I retired.  He has always been the cook in our family - even though it is one of his "responsibilities" in the house, I still consider the effort he puts into cooking overall, and finding new recipes (almost always a hit), to be one of the things about him that I truly appreciate.  Occasionally, I try to surprise him.  A note left in an unexpected place, or candy just for fun.  After Valentine's Day, I perused the on-sale Valentine's candy and was delighted to find this.  It would be a long story to explain the boxer shorts with the hearts, but it has a funny meaning for us!




Linking to Mosaic Monday

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Red Ribbons and Bows

I generally do not decorate for every holiday.  Before I retired, I didn't have the time.  After I retired, I swore off collecting more "stuff".  Stuff has to be stored, and we have prioritized our valuable closet space for outdoor equipment!  And yet, Valentine's Day, with red dominating the color scheme, is easy on me.  I already have many red articles in the house, and some "Christmas" items can be re-purposed for Cupid's Day.  Let's take a look!

My Mom's apron doubles as a table-runner in this tableau and her vintage tomato strainer has red handles, seemingly meant for this occasion!  The Handarbeit candlestick holder already held a red candle, and it was joined by the matching flask.  Handarbeit, which means "handwork" or "handmade, is marked on the bottom of each piece of pottery. 

 At the other end of this table I placed two brandy snifters, partly filled with plastic candy hearts.  (I'll admit these hearts were one of my few purchases a couple of years ago to augment my decoration stash.)  Another candelabra with the requisite red candle moved from the fireplace to round out the arrangement.  


For years, we had had several garlands of red beads, and they have been used in many ways, most frequently at Christmas.  Since we moved into our log home five years ago, I had yet to find an appropriate place for them during the Christmas period.  As we packed up the Christmas decorations at the end of January, Spousal Unit noticed them in the bottom of the box, and suggested it was time for them to find a new home.  Of course, this was quite motivational to me, and you won't be surprised to see that I found several creative uses for them!

Did you notice the red ribbons with the pine cones?  Those were recycled from Christmas crackers several years ago!  The mantlepiece is strung with a glittery red tulle; the massive red vase was a retirement gift from colleagues in Poland.

My decorations extend (slightly) outside as well, thanks to Spousal Unit.  You see, he gave me a complete set of garden flags, one for every holiday/season, as a Christmas present.  Doesn't this flag brighten up the monochrome scene below?  (The dark something to the left of the flag is my metal moose sculpture, almost overcome by the snow.)

I am joining LeeAnna for I Like Thursday.  This week, the prompt is: What do you like about Valentine's Day?  Do you have a special cake or truffles, for instance.  Do you give cards, get chocolates, give gifts?  You could send flowers to a best friend, or give a sweet heart necklace to your daughter, or call your Mom ...  It's about love and showing it.

As you might surmise, I like decorating!  Generally, Spousal Unit and I do get each other cards, but not much more than that.  Going out for dinner on Valentine's Day is no longer "special" in my book - reservations are almost impossible to get, and prices are exorbitant.  I prefer surprises, such as a small bag of chocolate hearts that I gave Spousal Unit a couple of weeks ago.  Beyond my dear Spouse, I don't do anything formal for anyone else on Valentine's Day.  I do make an effort to find simple but meaningful ways to show love throughout the year, from hand-drawn cards to scheduling video calls with family to organizing social gatherings to commenting on blogs!

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  JESUS CHRIST

Love is sharing your popcorn.  CHARLES SCHULZ

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants.  But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.  ELIZABETH GILBERT


Linking to Mosaic Monday


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A January Jumble

Jumble (noun) = an untidy collection or pile of things

Jumble (verb) = mix up in a confused or untidy way

BRITISH = articles collected for a jumble sale

Well, "untidy" and "confused" are negative words to me, but this post is certainly a "collection" and a mixture.  So, "jumble" it is!


As most of you know, our last cat, Maggie, crossed the rainbow bridge on September 21, 2020.  I don't miss the dust and the litter boxes, but I do miss the affection that accompanies a loud purr and rubbing on my legs.  So, it has been a joy to interact with several cats this month, including cat-sitting for neighbors vacationing in sunny Florida!


Speaking of critters, it has been a bumper month for trail cam photos - the Bald Eagles have returned to fish for Northern Pike at the lake below our house.  I wrote about this in February 2021, when Golden Eagles joined in the feast as well.



Here is the patch of open water - the "fishing hole".  Last summer, the beaver built a secondary dam below the main dam, which has created this little catchment.  Apparently, the fish are swimming through gaps in the main dam and wind up in shallow water that makes for easy pickings for the raptors.  Bad decision!  The camera is positioned on the other side of the water, so the views you are about to see are looking toward where I am standing to take this picture.  (click on the pictures to make them bigger)

All of this happened in the space of a few minutes.  Later that night, another raptor came to the "restaurant" - an owl!  This is the first time I have ever captured one with my trail cam!

I have been doing a little cooking once a week, to give Head Chef a break.  I didn't take pictures of week 1 - Normandy Pork Casserole - a recipe from Low Carb Diabetic - and I would recommend the dish!  Week 2 was Slow Roasted Salmon, and I am not giving you the link since the spices overwhelmed the salmon.  But I documented my work ...


Speaking of food, Head Chef gave us a New Year's resolution - Eat More Jam!  How many jam/jelly/related jars do you have?

I am joining LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color for I Like Thursday.  The prompt for this week: What are your favorite colors?  Do you wear them or decorate with them?  As I look around the house, I see many shades of brown, augmented with blues and reds.  As we bought furniture over the years, we went for subtle shades and used pillows and blankets to add the color.  If I consider my closet, the base palette is brown and black, but with a rainbow of blouses, scarves and sweaters.  Is there a specific color your family would say is your favorite?  Purple.  My bridesmaids wore purple, and I have a purple suede outfit from the 1980's that Spousal Unit wishes I would wear more often!  Has it changed over the last few years?  Today, my style choices are functional - designed for our active and outdoor lifestyle.  In other words, not much purple and no suede!!!



This week, I am also linking to Rain's Thursday Art and Dinner Date.  Her theme this week is scarves.  I wrote an entire post about scarves on February 10, 2019.  This was one of my favorite collages from that post.

Finally, I leave you with this whimsical fairy house that my neighbors created from a tree stump, lovingly harvested from the property of my Dear Neighbor Friend.  I am so thankful to live here, and to have so many "jumbles" to share with you.

This week, I am also linking to:

Brian's Home for Thankful Thursday.

Eileen for Saturday's Critters.

Mosaic Monday


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