140: From sunset to sunrise

(Looking down the spiral stairs at sunset.)

We had a lovely sunset yesterday, the colors reflecting off the snow.

The snow looks almost like sand dunes to me.  Perhaps that’s wishful thinking, a result of the desire to be on a warm, tropical beach, soaking up the sun.

We’re having another frigid day here in the Bogs.  It’s too cold to stay outside for long.  I step out for a few minutes, then run back in.  A turtle shifting in and out of its shell.  You’d think I’d be used to the cold by now.

(Blue on blue.)

Or maybe there’s no way to really get used to temperatures near zero.

I keep reminding myself that under all the snow and ice, under the cold, under the soil, seeds and bulbs are beginning to awaken.  Spring is there, waiting for the right time to blossom.

So, while visions of spring dance through my head, let’s look at flowers.  Flowers lit up by warm sunshine.  Sparkles of sunlight on water.  Reminders of how colorful the world can be.

(On the shore of Shadow Mountain Lake.  Colorado.)

This series of photos were taken on a hike near Shadow Mountain Lake in Colorado.  Shadow Mountain Lake is near Grand Lake, the largest natural body of water in Colorado.  Shadow Mountain Lake and Grandby Lake (also nearby) are man-made lakes.

We stayed in a cabin in Grand Lake during our last trip out to Colorado (August 2010).  It was a good location as we were close to Rocky Mountain National Park as well as other hiking areas.

The wildflowers in August are amazing.  I must have taken about a thousand photos of wildflowers.  What does one do with all those photos?

Put them on her blog, of course.  😀

Another Challenge

Sun salutations can energize and warm you, even on the darkest, coldest winter day.

~ Carol Krucoff

(Sunrise.  Ocean City, New Jersey.  September 2008.)

I have a confession to make.  I have been slacking when it comes to my daily yoga and meditation practice.  Some days I do it rather half-heartedly.  Other days, I don’t do it at all which means it can no longer be called a “daily” practice.

(Sunrise.  Ocean City, New Jersey.  September 2008.)

So here it is, my 10-day yoga challenge:  I will commit to getting up early (by 6am) every day for the next 10 days and starting my day with yoga.  I know it takes longer than 10 days to establish a new habit, but I’m trying to reestablish a habit.  Besides, I can always recommit at the end of 10 days.

Anyone want to join me on the mat during those early hours?  There are plenty of free yoga practice videos to be found on the internet.  From YouTube to YogaJournal to YogaYak and more.  I’d love the company.

Since daily blogging has helped me keep my outdoor commitment, I’ll be adding a little something about my 10 day challenge each day.  If I don’t, feel free to ask, “Hey!  Did you do your yoga practice today?”  It will keep me accountable, something I’ve found works well when I’m trying to establish (or reestablish) a habit that is good for me.  Funny isn’t it, that the things that are bad for us don’t take as much work to become habits?  Or maybe they do and we just don’t notice since we’re not really trying to establish them as habits.

Mountain pose teaches us, literally, how to stand on our own two feet … teaching us to root ourselves into the earth … Our bodies become a connection between heaven and earth.

~ Carol Krucoff

Today’s CD

Ocean Colour Scene, Mechanical Wonder.

My friends and visitors from the U.K. have probably heard of Ocean Colour Scene.  I’m not sure about those of you from the U.S. and elsewhere.  I was first introduced to their music by a good friend who lives in England, and have been a fan ever since.  (Thanks, Nickie!)  Listening to this today, as well as looking them up on YouTube, reminds me that I should look into their new stuff.

You can sample some of their music here and here.

75: Real snow

(Snowy creek scene.)

Did I call that last dusting of snow “real snow?”  Because I was wrong.  Last night and today have brought on the real stuff.  It’s been snowing like crazy.  It’s amazing how fast it accumulates.

(The sun tries to make an appearance, then gives up.)

I may regret the expenditure of energy from this morning’s walk.  I intended to go out for the required 30 minutes and come right back in.  I forgot that it takes time to make your way through the snow.  I had to shovel the porch first.  Then make a walkway to the barn.  It’s best to do this so the snow doesn’t get tamped down where it will freeze and become ice later on.

(Looking at the barn from the front porch.)

The porch isn’t really a porch, as you can see.  More like a few slabs of concrete with a roof over it.  Making this area into a lovely porch is on our to-do list of home improvement projects.

(Real snow on the pumpkin.)

I ended up outside for over an hour, trudging through some pretty good sized drifts (some almost 2 feet high).  I think we’ve gotten about 10-12 inches of snow so far, but it’s hard to tell with the wind swirling it around, leaving some areas piled high and others practically bare.

(Prayer flags in the snow.)

I wasn’t able to capture the shots I really wanted.  The wind was blowing in the wrong direction.  I would have ended up with a lens full of snow.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

It was a lovely walk and I enjoyed every peaceful moment of it.  I might have stayed out longer but I thought it best not to overdo it.

Today is all about clear liquids.  No food for me.  Just clear liquids.  I had some green tea, a glass of apple juice, and cup of broth for breakfast.  I made up some Jello (something I meant to do last night) and plopped the bowl into the snow just outside the door.  In case you ever need to know this, putting a bowl of gelatin into a pile of snow will cause it to gel quickly.  In about an hour.  It’s better than the quick-gel method.

Lunch was a bowl of pineapple Jello, a cup of broth, and some more apple juice.  I am tempted by the food in the fridge every time I open it, but the consequences of eating (the possibility of having to do this over again if the right results are not achieved this time around) are good incentive to stay on track.

I had planned to make this into a kind of spa day.  There are people (celebrities even) who pay big bucks for a day of fasting and colon cleansing.  So I got to thinking I might take it easy today.  Do some gentle yoga.  Soak in the disco tub for a little while.  Give myself a mani-pedi and a facial.

(Today’s moment of sunshine:  I wouldn’t mind being here right now.  Grand Lake, Colorad0, August 2010.)

But as soon as I was out of bed my mind started running this seemingly endless loop of all the things I need to do over the next few weeks.  For someone who isn’t going to be eating solid foods today, I sure do have a lot on my plate.  It occurred to me that since tomorrow is going to be a do-nothing (except go to the doc) day, maybe I ought to be doing lots of things today.

(Snow squiggles and loops on the pond.)

I decided to get the loop out of my head and down on paper.  A to-do list.  Having started with that, I see it’s true.  There is a lot to be done.  The next step was to prioritize.  There is still a lot to be done but at least I know where to start.  I also know where I need to start cutting back in order to create more time for the things on the to-do list as well as find some time here and there for myself.

The end result is that one of the things I need to cut back on is (you guessed it) my computer time.  That means a little less time over the next few weeks visiting other blogs and (hopefully) shorter blog posts from me for a while.  I will try to keep up by reading and spending less time commenting.  At least that way I’ll know what all my blog friends are up to.

Well, I’d better go.  I started the real prep for tomorrow’s Birthday Fun at noon (as instructed).  I’ll be downing more stuff at 3pm and then again between 4pm and 6pm.

I have a feeling it is going to be a LONG night.  Heh.

Sunday signage

(A Cinderella story?)

During our last evening in Grand Lake, Colorado, we were strolling along the boardwalk looking in the shop windows and checking out the restaurants when we came across this sign in one of the bar (pub) windows.  At least I think it was a bar.  I’m not entirely sure, but M agrees with me that it was probably a bar.

(Along the boardwalk in Grand Lake, Colorado.)

So now I’m wondering…  Did Jon find the woman?  Was she looking for Jon, too?  Were there any ugly stepsisters and evil stepmothers involved and creating obstacles for them?  Has true love brought them together?  Will they live happily ever after?

What do you think?

Sunday signage

(Welcome to our cabin!)

This is the cabin where we stayed in Grand Lake, Colorado.  We found it online via TripAdvisor and it was a gem of a find at a reasonable rate.  Grand Lake caters to tourists and there are cabins within the town that are kind of crowded together.  This cabin sat a little outside of the main portion of town but was still within walking distance of the western-style boardwalk where there are shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

The cabin was lovely and rustic, as these places tend to be.  One of the things that puzzles me is why they bother with a television in rustic cabins.  There was no cable (or internet connection).  Granted, we could have watched DVD’s or videos, but one of the reasons I like to get away is to leave all of that behind.  Even on a rainy day I’d rather spend it reading, doing a puzzle, talking with the people I’m on holiday with, or just watching the rain.

But I guess it makes some folks feel more comfortable to have a television around, even if there is nothing to watch.

(A view through a cabin window)

There are so many things I love about Colorado that I hesistate to start a sentence with “one of my favorite things about Colorado” because there are so many favorite things it almost dilutes the word favorite.  I’m going to risk it, though, and tell you that one of my favorite things about Colorado are the aspen trees.  I adore them.  I could spend all day watching the aspen leaves shiver (or “quake”) in the breeze as the sunlight plays on their leaves.  I want to see them in the autumn.  I want to see them in the winter snows.  In fact, I’ve added that to my list of things to do before I die:  See the aspens throughout the seasons.

The cabin we leased was located within a stand of aspens.  I could have spent days just watching the trees, the quaking leaves, and the play of light in between and on the trees.  Who needs television when you have aspens to entertain you?

I’ve tried capturing the aspens in photographs, last year and this year.  So far I have not come up with a photo that matches what I see.  I think that’s true of most photographs, to be honest.  It’s hard to capture or improve on what Mother Nature has created.  Or what our mind’s eye beholds.

In other news…

(Relaxing on the deck just before sunset)

I haven’t done or posted a self-portrait lately (other than that glimpse of me in the window from a post a few days ago).  I’ve been feeling kind of round and fuzzy and not quite in shape physically or mentally.  I was feeling in great shape when we came back from Colorado but my focus has gone from self-care to vegetable care.  Even house-care has fallen by the wayside.  Almost a whole week went by without one load of laundry being shoved into the washer by me.

I’m also feeling sad.  Anniversaries are not always good things.  It was at this time last year that I put aside the usual harvest activity because things were going terribly wrong with my mother.  It was not unexpected but… it was.  Denial has a way of getting its hooks into you no matter how well educated you might think you are in regards to the situation.


Life is feeling fuzzy right now, blurry the way it does when you have tears in your eyes.  I’ve stepped out from behind the camera, the sunglasses, and the fuzz a few times before in my blogging adventures.  I’m sure I’ll do so again.  When things are not quite so round and fuzzy.  But for those of you new to my blog and tired of looking at my feet, you can find the me from one year ago here.

Today should cheer me up more than a bit.  We’re having friends over for fish tacos on the new patio and deck.  It’s first little party since we almost-finished the patio and I’m looking forward to it.  They are fun people so it should be a fun time.

There is still some landscaping to be done around the patio.  Once we complete that, I’ll take a final shot of it and fit it into a little slide show I’ve made of Project Patio.  Or, if it doesn’t look like we’ll get the landscaping done this year, I’ll wait for a pretty day and shoot it as is.

SkyWatch Friday: Colorado

(Poudre Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park)

We had some beautiful skies here in the Bogs yesterday.  The clouds cleared out and the color was an autumnal blue — that clear, crisp, gorgeous blue we normally see in late September and October.

I can’t show you those skies, though.  I was busy getting caught up around the house, processing and freezing vegetables, and getting ready for a visit with my granddaughters this weekend.  I did get out to enjoy the lovely weather and beautiful skies, but didn’t bother with the camera.  To be honest, I still haven’t uploaded all of the photos from our Colorado trip and the thought of more photos to sort through is not appealing to me at this time.  I enjoyed the day and gave no thought at all to taking pictures.

The photo above is from our recent trip to Colorado.  The skies in Colorado were beautiful, too.  They seem to almost always have a deep blue clarity to them that we don’t see often here in the Bogs.  Sometimes, when the days were hot (as they frequently are in August), the skies reminded me of the desert.  The skies in Colorado are bigger than our skies here, too.  We have trees and hills and houses and all sorts of things that block clear views of the sky and horizon.  But out there, the skies are wide open (unless you happen to be in a canyon, in between mountains).  It is one of my favorite things about Colorado.  I never feel claustrophobic there.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a wonderful place for watching the skies and for stargazing.  M and I went out there one night to enjoy looking at the night sky and to watch the meteor showers (the Pleides were at their peak that night).  One of the volunteers at the park is an astrologer and he gave a talk about the night sky, including showing us how to find and identify some of the summer constellations.  I found it all fascinating.

The skies in Colorado are almost constantly changing throughout the day.  At least that is how it has been during our two visits.  The mornings frequently start out clear and blue (as in the above photo taken at Grand Lake).  If you look carefully at that photo (click on it — or any of the photos — for a larger view), you’ll see some clouds building on the horizon.  Those clouds slowly moved in throughout the day.  Sometimes they brought rain.  Sometimes they didn’t.

We saw several rainbows while we were in Colorado.  I have no pictures to show, mostly because they would happen when we were driving down the road and my camera happened to be stored in the trunk of the car.  I usually keep it with me but there were a few times — rainbow times — when I would throw my backpack into the trunk, forgetting that my camera was still in it.

(Shadow Mountain Lake)

I have plenty of photos of the  Colorado skies to share with you in the coming weeks.  Perhaps that should be “in the coming months” as I took over 1500 photos during our two week trip.  It’s possible it’s much more than that but I refuse to admit it as it might make me look like a photography addict or something.

To view beautiful skies from around the world, please click on the link below.

In other news…

M and I are celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary today.  It’s a quiet celebration.  He’s at work doing his work thing and I’m at home with a bushel of tomatoes and another peck of peppers to process.  I’m going to make spaghetti sauce today, which can be frozen.  I’ll work on canning the rest of them sometime this weekend.  We’ll have a real celebration sometime next week (dinner out, champagne, etc.).

We’ll be going to the county fair tomorrow with our granddaughters and their parents, something that has become a bit of a tradition with us.  I’m looking forward to it.