clouds


What a fantastic trip I had! The “main” destination was Portland, Maine. The weather was good one day there. That was fine. I live in the sunshine, so a few clouds did not bother me. On Saturday afternoon (the nice day), I went to the ocean. I had so much to do in so little time, that I was not even sure I would get there, but since the ocean is maybe my favorite thing in the world, it was sort of like there was no choice.

I was not disappointed. When I opened the door of the rental car, I heard the roar. I was in heaven. I had a couple of hours light enough to walk along the beach. Still in heaven. I wished that I had some wellies like a family who arrived at the same time I did so I could have gone wading without getting totally soaked and frostbitten, but I did not. I almost went wading anyway (it is not like I have never done that before in an even colder ocean), but common sense made me know I would not relish the drive back.

My camera was doing strange things the entire time in Maine. Between that and driving myself, pictures are a bit sparse, but I like this one. Those of you who live near the ocean or visit it more frequently get so much better pictures, but since I am so rarely there, this is good enough for me. Can you feel my utter bliss at being there?

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

As if I am not absent enough from this space (and yours), today I am heading east for a few days. The official reason is a stamping event, but the real reason is that I will get to three states I have never been to before (thus making me three states ahead of Prince Charming on the count, a position where he will likely never pass me–47 total). Going east in the fall is not exactly a stupid thing to do, either. Although I realize I am going to FREEZE, I can hardly wait to see the colorful leaves.

And to add icing to this lovely cake, I will be meeting Mrs. Chili and O’Mama during my trip. How exciting!

It is unlikely I will do much blog visiting, but in the event you came here to see something for

or

I am leaving you with a picture of my recent sky and the one tree I have that gets pretty in the fall.

Sunrise two days ago. The sky was amazing in every direction. (I say that too much, don't I?)

Sunrise two days ago. The sky was amazing in every direction. (I say that too much, don't I?)

This is some kind of ash tree in my front yard. It is still small--maybe 2-1/2 times as tall as me--but it really is pretty in the fall.

This is some kind of ash tree in my front yard. It is still small--maybe 2-1/2 times as tall as me--but it really is pretty in the fall.

Hopefully I will have some things to show you when I return (and I never finished my Utah trip in the blog.) Have a terrific weekend!

Last weekend began the annual Albuquerque International  Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest balloon festival. I have lived here seven  years and have never been to a “mass ascension” that was not canceled or severely limited. (Out of three previous tries.) This year, attempt #4, most of the balloons went up. This picture does not show the masses, but come back for My World Tuesday next week and I will show you more.

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This photo is not long after sunrise. (And the sunrise was later than it should have been due to a big cloud bank.) The sky is not our deep blue of midday, but I still think it could steal the show from the balloon. However, the combination of both is magical to me.

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

This photo is from El Rancho de las Golondrinas where my last My World Tuesday post was. They had a few small crops, and I liked how dried corn stalks looked against the blue sky.

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click photo to enlarge

Yesterday we went to a pumpkin patch on a field trip, so I could not resist another cornfield sky picture.

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click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

In my last post I said that it would be my last SkyWatch post from Bryce Canyon National Park, but many of  you thought it was the last post about Bryce. My apologies for that. I have to do one more. I could do ten more, but one is necessary because I have not yet shown you my favorite overlook.

When visiting Bryce Canyon, one can go to an overlook for every major amphitheater and see all of it in just a few hours. However, we spent 2-1/2 days there and did not have enough time to do all we wanted. The overlooks only made us want to see more. One day we will return and go backpacking in the bottom. (If you know anything about me and camping, you would KNOW it is an incredible place for me to even consider such a thing.)

Paria View--looking left (click photo to enlarge)

Paria View--looking left (click photo to enlarge)

My favorite overlook was Paria View. I cannot tell you why it was, but something there just moved me more than all the other places. (I honestly loved them all, and some close seconds were the Upper Inspiration Point and  Bryce Point.)

Paria View--looking right (click photo to enlarge)

Paria View--looking right (click photo to enlarge)

What amazed me at this place is that there were chipmunks on the ledges running around like it was nothing. Of course it was nothing to them, but I wonder if they ever mis-estimate a jump or something slides and they fall. (My children wondered this as well, and I emphatically told them OF COURSE THAT NEVER HAPPENS!) If they fell, there would be nothing below until the canyon floor hundreds of feet down. It made my stomach a bit queasy watching them.

Since in the last post so many of you said that sunset was a terrific way to say “Good-bye” to Bryce (and it was; it was our last night there), I decided to include a close-up of the same sunset at the end of this post, the real “Good-bye.” (For now at least.)

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click photo to enlarge

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

The photos below have nothing to do with this post. I had no pictures to put with the post, so I just took a series that I was pretty sure would never make it to SkyWatch Friday. This is a sunrise about 3 weeks ago. The pictures were taken within about two minutes and I think include the view from every direction from my house.

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click photo to enlarge

Before I started blogging, I hesitated quite a long time to do it, even though pressured to do it by two of my cousins. The main reason was time. I  knew I did not have time. I still do not, as evidenced by my irregular posting and visiting. But another reason is that I thought it was a bit narcissistic. I thought WHO CARES about the daily happenings of anyone else.  Before I dove in myself, I spent several months reading other blogs. I realized they are not all self-absorbed. (I do not read the ones that I think are.)

However, I have been thinking about my blog lately because one fairly regular reader and commenter once said something like “whatever your blog is about.”  I laughed (I often laugh at his comments; he has a wonderful sense of humor whether or not he means to be humorous.) because it is true.  My blog has no theme. I knew it would not, but it is glaringly apparent when compared to the blogs I visit. Most could be categorized as something. Mine cannot. It is about me. It does not get much more narcissistic than that. And this post will probably be the worst yet. Thank you to all you who come here even though the topics are so varied and there might be three sentences one visit and an epistle the next. And for putting up with me.

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click photo to enlarge

Today I did not really want to say anything about September 11 because so many others have. I also find it irritating how something so tragic that drew a nation together for a few days (or an afternoon?) is now often used in a political sense to tear it apart. (Certainly not everyone, but I have seen plenty of  “Remember 9/11, and be sure you remember why this event makes me right in my political opinions.” I have seen this from opposing viewpoints. Can we just remember a tragedy without being disparaging?) I rarely mention politics in  this space because I hate politics. I hate extremes. I think all sides have extremes. I think the extreme left and the extreme right both want to take away freedom–just in different ways that appeal only to them. (My viewpoints make both sides upset, so if I really got into this, I would likely alienate my entire readership.)  I hate statements that have little other purpose than to be inflammatory. I hate it when people can dish it out but cannot take it.  So I choose to avoid the topic entirely–most of the time. Which is why I was going to avoid any mention of 9/11.  But something compelled me to tell my part of that day’s story. I was pregnant with Chic. I was at work. The tiny television in the Conference Room was on for people to watch the horrific scene over and over. (I am personally not a fan of watching the same tragedy over and over.) Then the Pentagon was hit. Just a couple of weeks before that Prince Charming had been doing an internship at the Pentagon. (Leaving my pregnant self home alone much of the summer.) What was horrible before was real then. But real for me was not, and will never be, what real was for the people who lived and worked  in New York City and Washington, D.C. on that day or who lost someone. They know real. The rest of us just speculate.

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click photo to enlarge

In my car today, on the way to drop off some stamps and to pick up Chic, I suddenly started crying about my mother. There is  nothing special about today in relation to her, but maybe I was thinking about the 9/11 loss. Chicklet was talking to me, and I could not even speak. When I started blogging, I thought I would write a lot about my mother. About her life. About her death. About her 10-year dying process. But I have written very little. Some days I want to just unload it all. But part of me is afraid. The few times I  have discussed her before, the reactions have not been at all what I expected. My reason for wanting to share her story has to do with lessons learned. It is not about me at all. I do not want sympathy or consoling words. I want people to understand what happened and why. I guess I do not know how to say it in a way to make people understand, or else I am not ready. But today, I missed her.

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click photo to enlarge

Last Friday (or Saturday, I don’t remember when it went up) I did a post and said I would see you on Monday. I did not. The day had several totally unexpected things happen (I spent most of the day in front of the computer working on things for Art Class), but ended well (and also unexpectedly) with an afternoon/evening with our “gaming friends” playing Settlers of  Catan–Cities and Knights. (And have been behind blogging since.)

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click photo to enlarge

Now for some more random (and hopefully lighter than the first two sections) things…

1– I  have decided I do not like cooking much right now. Nothing has changed, really, but I get SO. MUCH. ACCOMPLISHED on days I do not cook. I am great at multi-tasking, but I think I hate it. When I cook, I want to focus on cooking. When I cannot focus on it, I think I would rather not do it at all.

2– Our electricity has been flashing lately for every thundercloud that goes over. I realize this is common in some parts of the country (southern Missouri, for example), but it is not common here. And it is starting to get on my nerves because I am at a computer so much of the time.

3– I have two times a day when I can think–really think. Those times are when I exercise and when I cook. (And cooking might involve so many other things that it does not count.) But I am thinking about a post relating to my aerobic activity which is biking (usually to school, but sometimes in the neighborhood). It will mostly be a rant, but I cannot get it out of my head.

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click photo to enlarge

4– My husband is gone. He will be gone most of the weekend at a seminar related to his position at church. I hate it when he is gone. (For many reasons not the least of which he is not here to have water boiling on the stove to add to my bath when it gets cold–because I do not like running water in the tub because the wait for hot water is too long.)

5– Tonight’s bath is scented with Black Amethyst from Bath and Body Works. I was not into that scent much during the heat of summer, but I am liking it a lot again now. (Have I told you how absolutely glorious September is in this part of the country?)

6– My biggest project of the week has been doing my taxes. No, not estimated quarterlies, but the ones that were due on April 15. The last few years we have filed for extensions (even though we always get money back) because I do not have time to do them (and Prince Charming, forgive me, is useless in this area). But they have NEVER been this late. If I were married to Daryl (which I think is impossible because neither of us are lesbians, though neither of us oppose them and their relationships, and who also has a wonderful 9/11 post today), she would have divorced me by now for how long this has taken. Prince Charming is just happy he does not have to bother with financial things.

7– I really, really, REALLY do not like word verification on Blogspot. Really.

8– When I grow up, I want to be her.

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A few weeks ago I showed a picture (sorry, it’s at the bottom of the post if you want to go look) and said it was my second-ever lightning shot. It was my first intentional one, actually. But earlier, the same storm produced the scene for the shot below. I did not know I had captured lightning until I uploaded and viewed the photos. I like this picture better than the other one, but I am into orange and gold skies.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge (I think it's worth it.)

Were it not for the signs of civilization, I almost think this could pass for Mars.

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

My last My World  Tuesday post had a little about the Indian Slant Village near Mandan,  North Dakota.

This photo is of a lodge pole outside an earth lodge at the village. Apparently these interesting items have to do with spirits and the religion of the Mandan Native Americans.

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For the record, before I moved to New Mexico, I compared all skies to “North Dakota” blue.

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

On our trip last month we drove through  Wyoming. I have some connection with that state, and I cannot explain it. It does not look significantly different than North Dakota or South Dakota, but I think it is a little wilder somehow, and I love it. I always say I would love to live there. How we would make a living is another question, but it still has a big draw for me.

I did not take many pictures in Wyoming. I just watched and soaked up the beauty. But this storm was so wonderful I had to get a picture to show my fellow SkyWatchers. Due to its movement and ours, over the course of a couple of hours we were almost fully on three sides of it. The lightning it produced after dark was spectacular (but behind us).

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

There are so many things I want to say here. Some of somewhat importance (at least to me), and some of no importance at all. I just do not have time. Sometimes I have time to think, but usually that time does not allow to type something. (Usually it is when I am riding my bicycle. Sometimes when cooking.)

So instead of writing something meaningful (to me) that has been going through my head, I thought I would let  you in on a lot of the non-meaningful things, which hopefully might hold some fun and humor…

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A week ago yesterday, Prince Charming brought home some special  Godiva chocolates for me. Do these things not just LOOK so lovely that you would almost want to put them on a shelf and look at them forever? But you cannot have your cake, and eat it, too, so I will admit to their only being two left.

1.Godivas

I am a “save-the-best-for-last” type of girl. (Which often means I do not get anything because someone else grabbed it all.) So the ones I have left are the “pretty ones.” That would be the orange one and the green one. These things have been to DIE for. They are ice cream flavors (L to R): Orange Creme, Neapolitan, Pecan Caramel Sundae (OMG!), Mint Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut.

He also brought home a little package for Chic and Chicklet to share (not so fancy for them). At 5 and 7, he is already ruining them for the men who will later enter their lives, but I thought about that a little, and I think it is good that they will have some high standards. (Hopefully in areas other than chocolate as well.)

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5.ChocChipCookies

Here is the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe Chic used to make the cookies a couple of posts ago.

1 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 lg eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2-1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine flour, soda and salt in medium bowl. Mix well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugars with electric mixer at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until just blended. Do not overmix.

Add flour mixture, chocolate chips and nuts. Blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 18-22 minutes (20 minutes almost always works at my location) or until golden. Transfer immediately to cool, flat surface.

Note: The recipe does not actually call for nuts, but believe it or not, I do not have a  huge sweet tooth. (Ignore that Godiva bit above.) Too much sugar gets to me, and I like nuts in cookies. Besides the texture, it sort of balances the sweet.

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All of the cards have been mailed for my giveaway. (To Maria, Fishing Guy and Leia.)  It was a little later than I planned because Prince Charming is the designated Post Office gopher.  He had some unexpected travel which meant some crazy work hours before that, so he just had a chance to do it.

The banner for Painted Maypole is in process. I just got the paper I wanted to use. It was not as bright as I expected, so I am going a slightly different direction with it. I hope to finish it by Monday. I just loved how these scraps looked in the waste basket, however, so I had to take a picture.

6.BannerScrap

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In September we will have lived in Albuquerque for seven years. Also in this house for seven years. We initially thought we would be in this house about five years, but things never work out that way. Now we are not sure we will ever leave, so I have finally decided to break down and paint. I am not a fan of white walls, but most of my walls are white because I cannot decide what color to paint them. We have painted the girls’ rooms, and I hated every second of it, so if I paint, I want it to be something I know I will love. I will NOT be painting the next phase (living room, dining room), so that will be expensive. That means I definitely want to love it. So I got a bunch of paint chips a year ago (yes, some things move slowly here), and I finally picked out some colors. I called a friend I trust to look at them for me. She liked one, but not the other. She suggested I buy samples and paint in the areas I would be painting and look at it for a while. I have. I think she is right. I love the colors, but I do not think they match “us.”  What do you think about them?

Although this is not exactly what the colors look like, this picture represents them the best. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Although this is not exactly what the colors look like, this picture represents them the best. (Click photo to enlarge.)

This is the giant wall--probably about 20 feet (6+ m?) high that I want to do in the reddish color. The art we have is four paintings that will cover most of the wall.

This is the giant wall--probably about 20 feet (6+ m?) high that I want to do in the reddish color. The art we have is four paintings that will cover most of the wall.

The rest of the living room/dining room will be in the "other color." This is the picture of the stair/loft wall which is the most noticeable wall for the color. (Ignore the fact that unnamed members of the family view this wall as a laundry hamper and shelf for anything they feel like putting on it.)

The rest of the living room/dining room will be in the "other color." This is the picture of the stair/loft wall which is the most noticeable wall for the color. (Ignore the fact that unnamed members of the family view this wall as a laundry hamper and shelf for anything they feel like putting on it.)

I think we’ll keep the reddish one and go for a brown or gold instead of the orange-ish one. Back to the store for more samples. I am also thinking a pale yellow might be OK. It sort of has to match some art we have had for a VERY long time just sitting around waiting to be put on the walls. I do not know why these things take me so long to figure out.

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There was no sand at the pool, but I liked this picture, and sand makes me think of water.

There was no sand at the pool, but I liked this picture, and sand makes me think of water.

This next part will probably alienate someone. I apologize for that, but not for my opinion.

Last week on our pool day there was an obvious mom’s club there. I was reminded very clearly why I am not a member of a mom’s club. There are only three topics discussed by most of the women in such clubs. (At least the one’s I have briefly been a part of or have witnessed. I know there are better ones out there, but it is not important enough for me to search through the garbage to find one.) None of these topics interest me, but often they irritate me. And my smug self was not disappointed because the overly loud conversations overheard were about the #1 topic–cosmetic surgery, specifically breast surgery (bigger/smaller/whatever). So predictable. So glad I was not part of it. (In case you are interested in the other two topics, in order they are “husband bashing” (my least favorite) and “one-upping everyone else on the exploits of their children.”)

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Tonight our family went to find a letterbox. We were coming home near sunset while a monsoon storm was building. It made some fantastic clouds, but the big news is that I got my FIRST EVER shot of lightning! This photo is actually my second shot. I am saving the first shot for a SkyWatch post (probably not this week).  This is not the best picture in the world, but I am somewhat pleased with the one I will show later. It was an incredible sky!

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

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I have so many other things to say, but just cannot work it in right now. I hope you are having a great weekend!

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