Dear Readers,

The picture is a hay rake I saw during my last visit to Tennessee to see my daughter.

click photo to enlarge

I realize I have been absent a long time–almost a month. I have not turned on my “blogging computer” in that time more than two or three times. I apologize. All of you know life gets in the way sometimes. It got in the way very big and very unexpectedly after my last post. I have no idea when I will be back–if I will be back. I hope to be back, but I cannot predict anything.

Here is a little of it:

-Three months ago we had three pets. We now have one, and the other one we thought was lost as well. That has been a lot of stress, never mind time.

-Chic is still in Tennessee, and that takes a lot of time. Writing extra letters, sending extra packages, Skyping on her schedule and visiting. And although it is what is best right now, it is an emotional drain for us.

-Chic’s school here will be better next year, but there is giant upheaval that is causing extreme amounts of stress and time drain. Prince Charming is on the school board, and one week there were three meetings. There are meetings, interviews, etc. at least every two weeks, usually more, and private consults in between. (And I am so glad Chic is not here to be in the environment of upheaval.)

-A very good friend of ours has some serious health problems. We only recently learned the extent of the seriousness, and we know that we are among a handful in the know. Not only do we need to lend our time and support, but we want to.

What I hope is that this is like a new job with lots more responsibility. When I first get a job like that, there is often a big learning curve. It seems overwhelming, and I work late. But then suddenly, I figure it all out, and I am often bored like I was at the previous job. But I have not been bored in a long, long time. My schedule is always at maximum capacity, so extra things never fit. I might make them adjust with time, but I might not.

My life has thrown a lot at me lately that I have chosen to let take a lot of my time. I believe it is important that I do that, but the thing that has had to suffer is blogging (and Facebook). I have not even had time to get on here and do a post like this although I knew I should a few weeks ago.

I will be back when I can… if I can. But I think of you all the time. I  miss reading your blogs, but I know I cannot allow myself to do that right now or the daily things will not get accomplished. And I have a lot to tell you and show you, but now just is not the time.

Love you and miss you,

Louise

Last Sunday after we left the Track and Field Championships, we saw this foreboding sky. We were not in a place to get a good picture so hoped it would last until we got to a good spot. This is not nearly as intriguing as when we originally saw it, but a few days later, it looks interesting to me.

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

In August I promised to do a post on Antelope Island for My World Tuesday. Finally, here it is.

Although I have been to Salt Lake City many times for conventions for my business, I had never been to the lake.  This time my family and I made a point to spend part of a day there, and we chose Antelope Island. Wise choice. We will go back every chance we get when we are in  Salt Lake City.

We really thought the lake would be pretty non-exciting and smelly. It smelled a little, but was not bad. It might be worse at different times of the year.

We drove the 17-mile length of the island and took one hike. There are thousands of birds there as well as antelope and buffalo. (We only saw buffalo.) What a beautiful place. (Most pictures can be enlarged when clicked.)

The water was such an icy blue.

We hiked through these boulders, then I just sat and absorbed the view.

The boulders had many areas where the girls could play and hide.

Part of my view from atop a boulder.

We saw quite a few buffalo, but the bird on the back of this one makes it my favorite picture.

The terrain of the island as we drove from one end to the other.

This is the view one direction from the causeway as we were leaving. The number of birds along the causeway was astounding. And the colors and reflections captivated me.

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!

I have shown “my” mountain before, but this weekend I was in Corrales, a quaint country village outside of Albuquerque, walking along an arroyo and got some new pictures from a different angle. It was a springlike day, giving me some hope for warmth, but it is over now. We had more rain and snow today.  (Sorry for the graininess in some of the pictures. I did not realize until I uploaded that I had one of my camera settings not exactly where it should have been.) All pictures will enlarge when clicked unless otherwise noted.

This is the arroyo along which we walked. Chicklet is in the bottom. During other seasons there are varying amounts of water in this. It stretches for several miles along the "back road" of Corrales. One rarely can take even a short walk beside it without seeing people with dogs and horses.

this photo will not enlarge when clicked

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!

My life the past month has been packed full of travel. The biggest part of three (out of four) weeks have been traveling here or there. Last week/weekend, I went to visit my friend, Reluctant Farm Chik.  It rained. Then there was fog. Then it rained. Then there was sleet. One day the clouds were thin enough that one could barely see a shadow, and everyone was so excited that “the sun was shining.” I think I have lived in the Southwest too long. The sun was NOT shining. It was gloomy.

Usually this time of year I get comments about how my sky is bright and pretty while the other skies are gloomy. I apologize that I have not been home enough to give you a beautiful, cheerful sky picture, but I think this one has some interesting elements. (If you go back a little on RFC’s blog, you’ll find her “Pond Watch” entries to SWF. This is the same pond.)

click photo to enlarge. (It WILL be prettier.)

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

Some of you will think I do nothing but travel. It is not true, but I know it seems that way. (Some of my friends think I travel ALL the time.) The past two years have had a little more than usual, I will admit.

Anyway, we are heading out for Thanksgiving. And at our destination, internet access is quite limited. I can see my e-mail periodically, but no blog visiting unless I go someplace that has wireless, which I usually do not have time for. We will be visiting Grandpa M and Grandma D. A year ago Grandma D was very sick, and she has not fully recovered. I will be cooking and such while we are there.

Chic and Chicklet are excited beyond belief. They LOVE visiting there. Grandpa M’s yard is 3 acres. That’s just the part he mows. They are not used to so much space and revel in it. (So do I.) They also get to see friends they love more than anyone. It will be a nice time.

I am slowly working through all the very heartfelt and nice comments from my two “tolerance” posts. But if I do not reply to your comment right away, know that I appreciate it. I was hoping to have more on this series by now, but life is busy, and the story has many facets. I do want to say that those posts were more of a background. The tolerance issue has bothered me for a long time, but how it applies to our family is the background for the much bigger story. I promise to get to it; it consumes my mind a lot these days.

So I will not be here for My World Tuesday or SkyWatch Friday, so I’ll leave you a couple of pictures and a recipe.

What I saw when feeding the birds a couple of chilly mornings ago.

A new bread I tried last week. I think it was called Armenian Peda bread. I have no idea if it is authentic, but it was really good, and actually quicker than most yeast breads I make.

I apologize I do not have a picture of the following recipe. I only make it on Thanksgiving, and last year I got sick that day so did not care much about taking pictures. It is my very favorite Thanksgiving food. (I turned it into Thanksgiving food.) Prince Charming does not like it (he has a few vegetable hang-ups), so I triple the recipe and eat the leftovers for a few days.

Company Brussels Sprouts

4 bacon strips, diced (I use soy “bacon”)
1 dozen Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons snipped, fresh chives,
1 carrot, thinly sliced
10 stuffed green olives, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt

In a skillet fry bacon until just cooked. Drain, reserving 2 tablesppons of drippings. Add remaining ingredients; cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender. Yield: 4 servings.

That’s the official version. Since I do not use “real” bacon, and I try to be healthy when it does not impair flavor, I do the soy bacon in the microwave, then saute everything in the wine for a while (leaving out the olive oil), then add the bacon at the end.  I LOVE this stuff!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving if you live where it is celebrated. If not, just have a wonderful two weekends and a terrific week in between!

It was 19 degrees this morning which means these wonderful cosmos are now gone, but through September and most of October, they just make me happy.

2009.10.29.SWF.CosmosAgainstSky

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.