Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Birthday

Some really weird things happened this summer.

1. My goddaughter Victoria got her wings and flew the coop.

2. My birth-daughter Kelty and her husband Duane
completed their BYU studies and moved to Chicago.

I felt a bit of a VOID
as I considered my upcoming birthday.
No kids in town. Not one.

WELL . . .

. . . without so much as a moan from my end,
some dear friends got together
and created the PERFECT CELEBRATION.

They put on a scrumptious Mexican buffet
with all kinds of fabulous side dishes.

The festivities took place under the stars!

How cool is that?!

Lots of storytelling and laughter
while the fire warmed our toes as well as our spirits.

"Thus nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendships." - Cicero

Wow. I get that. I REALLY GET THAT.

And while we're on the subject, here are some Amigas Buenas
who recently joined me in the Provo City Art Stroll.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Florence 1923 - 2007

Today is my mom's 86th birthday.

My dad was awfully lucky to snag that gal, 66 years ago.

Her kids were pretty darn lucky too!

The six of us don't agree on everything,
but we are unanimous in thinking our mom was AMAZING.

This woman loved to hop in the car and go places.
Across the desert! Across the country!!

A full tank of gas made her happy.

She was an earthy gal,

finding joy in the seasons, the critters,
the light on the mountain, a spectacular cloud formation.

She appreciated beauty and taught us to look for it.

If there was an adventure within arm's reach,
Mom was game.

She was taking flying lessons and planned to become a pilot.

Instead she raised a flock of kidlets
and gave us wings to rise on the wind currents.

Unquestionably, we are all adventurers.
(Thank you Dad, as well as Mom.)

I know my mom had one birthday which wasn't very fun.

It was her 29th.

It was SUPPOSE to be fun. She got gussied up for a Halloween party . . . in a pumpkin costume (Dad was the pumpkin's escort.)

Then a certain daughter put a monkey wrench in the plans. Perhaps this little gal didn't like being a part of the wacky pumpkin decor. Or maybe she was just feeling cramped, because she began kicking and hollering "Let me otta here." From what I've heard, she kicked hard enough to send a whoosh of water onto the carpet at the party house.

So, the poor birthday gal
had to excuse herself as politely as possible while that daughter of hers continued with out-of-control gestational tantrums. They lasted for HOURS and HOURS.

No. It wasn't a fun birthday.

However, there WAS a silver lining.
My mom and I were able to share
54 birthday celebrations TOGETHER
due to the events of that day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Still Vibrant Hues

It's not New England.

It's Utah.

Shots taken TODAY in the canyon behind my home.

My dog on the path. (HAPPY.)

This year's almost-daily rainfall through May and June
gifted us with extra-vibrant autumn hues.

Even the native Utah Oaks (sometimes drab)
have joined in the colorful choir.

As I head down past the Forest Service's green gate
at the base of the canyon,
I feel like I've FEASTED at a lavish banquet.

And I have.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Just returned from a long weekend near Moab, Utah with girlfriends. Stayed at the Pack Creek Ranch. It's situated just below the La Sals mountain range with fabulous hikes, just right outside the cabin door.

Here's the dive:

The shot BELOW was taken within a mile of our lodgings.
The geology in southern Utah is Over The Top!

When we weren't hiking, we were eating and laughing. Oh. There was the hot tub too. (Quite the amenities for $32 per day, per person!)

We all shared the cooking duties and meals were simply scrumptious. Lots of healthy veggie meals.

The terrain around Moab is extraordinarily diverse.
We were dealing with a cattle drive on a steep mountainside . . .

. . . and an hour later, we were hiking in red rock country
with bizarre formations like THIS:

Stunning beauties abound in the desert.

The lichen create a kaleidoscope of colors.

My favorite part of the trip - the morning I awoke at 6 a.m. and took a two-hour jaunt as the sun rose over the La Sals, creating a spotlight on the red rock ridges on the other side of the valley.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Farmers Market

One of the joys of the harvest season is our downtown farmer's market. It opens in June and continues running every Saturday until mid-October. The setting is a century-old park with big ole trees planted by the pioneers, a scattering of picnic tables, and large shaded grassy areas.

I go to the market to buy the fresh organic produce grown by the very people who receive the dollars out of my wallet.

I also go to meet up with friends who are ambling through the market. People are usually in congenial spirits. We chat as we sample produce, hummus and salsa.

If I'm up for lunch, I can go for Hungarian, Lebanese, Mexican, Polish, Southern BBQ, Argentinian empanadas, and the best thing is that most meals are below $5.

People are in happy spirits at the market.

Vendors display their offerings with pride.

There are splashes of brilliant colors.

And all-but-forgotten home crafts are making a comeback.
Like bookbinding.

In the photo below, the sign says "$1 each", but "each" included 2 potholders. Apparently these items were created by a woman with Alzheimer's who crochets up a storm to pass the time and only needs money for more yarn. I happily purchased two and I cherish them.

I'm particularly fond of the colors born out of the earth.

They look fabulous and taste even better.
(If you haven't tried a Utah Honey Crisp apple yet, DO.
They rival the Fujis.)

Last week, I bought bunch of beets.
They were ginormous.
Like nothing I've seen at a grocery store.

After 90 minutes of roasting,
I cut open a beet and the fire engine red inside
was a complete surprise.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Autumn in the Rockies

I've been EMBRACING the glory of this season.

Lots of hiking.

And cherished moments when I punk down
on the ground,
just to marvel.

Last weekend, I climbed the Timpanooke trail -
the very trek I took just four month
after getting my spine rebuilt.

(The story of that Victory Climb can be found HERE.)

This time around, I went with three girlfriends
from my book group.

Saturday was the PINNACLE of Autumn.

The "Quakies",
as we fondly
call our aspens,
were turning golden

The maples
were brilliant
and reds.

(I simply wanted to bottle up those vibrant colors and save them on a shelf for the snowy months ahead.)

This panorama view can only be seen if you are willing
to hoof it . . . up, up, UP.

We sidled along some cliffs to reach a really cool waterfall.

Here's Ellen, our 20-year-0ld friend from Belgium,
feeling effervescent
from the healthy IONS created by the cascading water.

If we'd kept going, the trail would've turned into THIS:

We were content to stop short of playing mountain goats.

Been there. Done that.

* * *

On Monday, I took another friend on a back country road,
just twenty minutes from my front door.

We situated ourselves on a ridge
with a birds-eye view looking into Rock Canyon.

BTW, Rock Canyon looks entirely different,
according to WHERE you are standing.
This shot was taken looking towards
the upper regions of the canyon.

As we perched on our promontory rock,
we dined on drippy peaches (from a local orchard)
and dark chocolate cake (from Magleby's restaurant.)

All our springtime rain (and boy did it rain)
set the stage for eye-popping hues in the fall.

Yes, my friends. The colors really looked like this.
I took the photos. I know.

* * *

Then Tuesday evening came.
Huge gusts of wind blew in a torrential storm.

And by yesterday, our dear Mount Timpanogos
was decorated with a layer of icing.

The transient nature of autumn
exquisitely painful.

I love it anyhow.

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