30 July 2013

Wordless Wednesday

columbine greenery


cross a log

fast shutter speed waterfall

slow shutter speed waterfall

wildflower paradise

The Lizard

bluer than blue

blue reflection

Daisy and Lupine

Paintbrush and Little Elephant Heads

Daisies and Lupine

bistort, larkspur and sneezeweed

Lupine and Corn Lily at Blue Lake

neon paintbrush



Queen's Crown




All Good Goes Somewhere

favorite fortunes

Somewhere in my collection of stuff, I have a neat little stack of Chinese fortune cookie inserts I've saved over the years because they couldn't possibly be chance.

Such as the one I got at a press conference back in 1991 when I was covering a visit by a then huge celebrity who was being brought into town by the owners of a Chinese restaurant. We reporters and photographers were treated to a big bowl of fortune cookies. No one had been digging in, so the restaurant owner made a plea for us to please take them all. Take them to our families and co-workers. Just take them!

I drew a fortune that read, "You will have success in everything you adopt."

I was just a few months away from the finalization of the adoption of my first child, a 10-year-old boy who'd been placed with me five years earlier and who had been subjected to some of the most astonishing red tape on the planet. He had been a handful. He had been more than a handful. There were times when he had been just shy of a nightmare. He'd had a very rough life before he came into my home. He desperately needed stability and love. But those things do not sit well initially with someone who has never had them before.

Of course, my eyes teared up, and I suppose my facial expression gave away any secrets I might have tried to keep from my (all male) peers and journalism competition.

"What's wrong with you?" they wanted to know. Surely this famous guy had not brought me to tears.

I gently placed the fortune down in front of me so they could read it for themselves, and I told them I was about to adopt a special needs child following a battle that had taken five years and more tears than I could count.

To my surprise, those pesky reporters dove into the over-sized punch bowl of cookies and ripped open every single one, crushed every single cookie and read every single fortune aloud. Not another cookie in the entire bowl contained the word adoption.

That fortune was just the shot of determination and perseverance I needed to get through the final few of months of tangled red tape. During the moments and sometimes hours of wondering where the convoluted process was taking me, I'd pull that tiny little treasure from my wallet and read it again.

"You will have success in everything you adopt."

The adoption was finalized on Christmas Eve's Eve that year, the last day the court would be open for adoptions until after the new year. My first baby, a ten-year-old boy, at long last was MINE. My name was on a birth certificate in a space other than "Name of Child." I had not endured nine months of labor, but I can assure you, I survived five years of labor pain.

"All good goes somewhere" was another of my special fortunes. I don't remember when or where I got it, only that when I read it, I was so moved, I stuck it in my wallet to join the stack. From there, it spent a great many years taped to an eye-level shelf in the darkroom of the newspaper for which I worked so I could see it every day and remember it whenever things seemed darker than the darkroom. When I changed careers, that tiny piece of paper was taped to the top of my computer screen at my new job so I could read the fortune every day and remember it whenever things seem to be going horribly wrong.

When we had to move to another floor at work last November, all personal items had to be removed before the paid movers did their job. I wasn't sure I'd get the same computer monitor back when all the moving and construction was complete, so I removed "All good goes somewhere" and the other three fortunes that had joined it over the years and carefully packed them with all the other personal stuff that had to go home with me. I think I may have put all the special fortunes together in one place once I got home, but I don't remember for sure.

Where the stack is now, I'm not sure. I haven't had much time or reason to search. My new office space doesn't have as much room, so I haven't brought back in all the personal junk stuff I took home. I'm sure the fortunes are in my basement, neatly tucked away, along with all the other treasures I've neatly tucked away over the last who-knows-how-many years for safekeeping.

I guess even if I don't ever find those fortunes again, just by writing this post, I'm keeping them alive.

"All good goes somewhere" came to mind again when I received an invitation to donate blood in a drive in the building where I work. Everything has been so crazy the last few months, I haven't really had time to share some of the most memorable events of June. This upcoming blood drive reminded me of one I need to hold onto forever, just like those fortunes.

I try to donate blood as often as I can because my blood is special. I don't understand the technical aspects; I only know my blood is considered very rare and receives special handling whenever I do donate.

I typically do not donate in May or June because of the bicycle rides we do every year. I had donated in April and didn't plan to donate again until July or August. I skipped the next donation I was eligible for because of Ride the Rockies.

Bonfils Blood Center called me the off week between Ride the Rockies and the MS-150 to ask if I would donate on a specific day at a specific place. I would be at girls camp that week, so I politely declined.

A couple of days later, Bonfils called again and pleaded with me to make time to donate before going to camp because a baby needed my special blood right away. Bonfils said because of vacations, they couldn't find anyone else with the right blood; I was the only one. I didn't know that the first time they called, or I would have donated that very day!

I scheduled to donate the next morning before work and notified my bosses, all of whom insisted I was needed more at Bonfils than anywhere else in the world at that moment and to please do whatever I had to do to make it happen.

I had donated in the building where I work once the very same day I had ridden 30 miles to work, and I was not able to ride all the way home that night. The Lizard had to rescue me after about 14 miles.

I knew donating might mean I could have trouble at camp and that I might not be able to do all the miles during the MS-150 the very next weekend. But I knew my blood was highly oxygenated after Ride the Rockies the week before, so that baby might be getting just a tiny bit of extra oomph as my blood was transfused. How could I say no?

I donated. The heat at camp was more of a hindrance than donating blood. We opted for the 60-mile route on Day 2 of the MS-150 instead of the 75-mile route to beat predicted thunderstorms, but I felt fine during the ride, even though I was a pint lighter than normal.

If I could have donated all eight pints that baby needed, I would have, in a heartbeat, no remorse whatsoever. But Bonfils doesn't let donors do that. You may donate only a pint at a time, something like every six or eight weeks.

If I had donated prior to Ride the Rockies, I wouldn't have been eligible when my blood was needed.

I don't believe this happened by coincidence. No way.

I'm not eligible for the next blood drive in the building where I work because I donated in mid-June. But I'm eligible a couple of weeks after that.

And just maybe someone special will need a pint by then.

Everything happens for a reason. And all good goes somewhere.

29 July 2013

Snowflake Monday

I guess that's why they call it the blues...

Eight years ago The Lizard and I attempted to celebrate our one-week anniversary with a hike to Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. I'd had emergency back surgery eight months earlier, I was pretty darned sore, and rain began coming down steadily, making the steep trail slippery and causing The Lizard to worry about lightning. We turned back before reaching the goal.

A week later, we made it up that trail. The wildflowers were armpit high and thicker than a forest of trees. The lakes literally were blue. I'd never seen anything like this magical place in my life, and I burned through a camera battery and two memory cards in no time.

Dazzling Upper Blue Lake

Blue Lakes Grandeur

We returned to Blue Lakes three years later, me a bit stronger, the weather a bit dryer. The late frosts we had that spring had decimated the wildflower population in the Blue Lakes basin. Nevertheless, the hike was fun, and I got some great shots of hummingbirds and hummingbird moths.

We made the trip one more time this month to celebrate eight years of being hitched. I got off work late, and we had to drive through the night in order to beat forecasted afternoon thunderstorms during our hike. Halfway up the 3.3-mile climb, we encountered mounds of pea-sized hail two and three inches deep. All the leaves, flowers and pine cones had been sheered from this section of the forest, perhaps during the night while we were driving.

We thought there would be no wildflowers at the lower lake once again.

hail and debris

stripped by hail

Fortunately, the hail storm must not have crossed over into the Blue Lakes basin. All wildflowers were present and accounted for.

I shot 472 photos!

I've been having wildflower withdrawals for a year now because back injury stole last summer from me, and Colorado's drought has not been kind to many wildflower basins and meadows for the last couple of years.

Blue Lakes hummer sipping larkspur

This hike more than made up for what I've been missing. Blue Lakes was worth driving through the night, and it was worth the strenuous hike in new hiking shoes that threatened to blister my toes.

I am so thankful I live in Colorado.

More photos of this gorgeous setting on Wordless Wednesday!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Blue Lakes Snowflake

Finished Size: 7 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Blue Lakes Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: 1 sc in same ch, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc, * 1 sc in next dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in same dc; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in starting sc.

Round 3: 1 sc in same sc, *1 sc in next ch 3 sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, 1 sc in next sc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc.

Round 4: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3); * 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 10, 1 dc in 6th ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp, ch 3, sk next dc, hdc and sc, 1 dc in next sc, ch 3; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc and last ch 3 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5; bind off.

Round 5: 11 dc in any ch 5 loop at the top of a spoke, * ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (another dc picot made), 11 dc in next ch 5 loop at top of spoke; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook; sl st in top of starting dc.

Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st, * 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 5 dc in next dc, 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 dc in middle ch of next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same ch, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 2 dc in 1st dc of next 11/dc group; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 7: 1 sc in same ch, * 1 hdc in next dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, sk next 5 dc, 3 dc in next dc (middle of 5/dc group), ch 3, 3 dc in same dc, ch 3, sk next 5 dc, 1 dc in next dc, 1 hdc in next dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, [ch 3, 1 dc in same sp] 2 times, ch 3, sk next dc picot; 1 sc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Blue Lakes Snowflake Rock

26 July 2013

Friday Funny

If I hide right here, maybe the boss won't see me.

More links to potentially make you spew on your computer screen...

Not only is this a fabulous shot, but the happy couple included a bit of fiber in their nest!

Cool or what?!?

The cute little graphic at the top of this post tells the story of spring in my neck of the high plains.

Those were the days.



Yup. (Scroll down.)


Oh, dear.

Thanks for the awesome link, Phil!

Reuse a wedding dress.

25 July 2013

Missing Marvelous

exquisite Italian dandelion

I was still experiencing wildflower withdrawals when I rode up Deer Creek Canyon and then around Chatfield Reservoir to build mileage recently. I didn't realize I was experiencing hot air balloon withdrawals, too!

Balloon withdrawals because at one time, Chatfield Reservoir hosted a wonderful balloon rally every August. Sponsorship was lost when the economy tanked, and only private concessionaires fly at Chatfield now. When the wind isn't blowing... Which it was this day. Leading to an early landing.

up, up and away

My heart soared when I saw the top of a balloon above the trees!

tally ho

I had to get closer!


once upon a time

Hey, what the heck?!?  You didn't even get off the ground yet!

NO! NOT YET!!! I'm not done taking photos!!!

Deer Creek Deer

This little lady ran alongside the cyclist ahead of me for quite a good distance up Deer Creek Canyon. We'd just watched "Dances With Wolves" the night before. So this day was "Dances With Deer."


bindweed shadow

Mrs. Micawber wondered during the MS-150 last month what the tall, white flowers alongside the road might be. I had to look them up.


Prickly Poppy. With an unwelcome houseguest.

red clover

Quite a few of these come up in our rennovated front yard garden. They came with the dirt. Along with various varieties of thistle and dandelion, curly dock and wild sunflowers. Initially, I didn't know what these leaves were, so I waited for the first blooms before pulling them. Before the blooms came, I realized the leaves were clover. I decided if they were pink, they could stay. They were white. So I pulled them. More are growing now. If any this shade come up, they get to stay.

to dye for

I want to dye with bull thistle. I've heard I will be thanked if I cut off all the seed heads I can find. But I will need at least a couple of pounds of them! What color do you think they will produce?

(That's why I am still attempting to dye with plants. Final color mysteries present just the right degree of excitement.)

And oh, how I long to dye yarn and fabric the color of chicory! One of my favorite colors in the wild!

chicory breeze


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