01 February 2013

Project Blizzard

January Sunrise

What could be more fun on a Friday than the photos that made me smile during the winter month of January, when the days finally began growing just a tiny bit longer?

Thankfully, January was not a sad month for me. I hardly had anything I could ascribe to depression, other than a nasty cold that really dug its heels in the entire 14 days I kept trying to banish it. More natural daylight at work definitely is helping, but I've also had a few momentous events bursting with smiles.

January marked the final payment on the final debt I took on more than ten years ago to help a loved one who made some bad choices. At one point, I was making three payments a month on a gesture that often felt unappreciated. This final piece of that shattered puzzle, making the final payment, has many times brought tears of joy to my eyes this month. It feels so liberating to be free of the debt!!!

lift, lift, lift...

Last Wednesday night, I graduated from physical therapy. I likely will have to do the stretches and exercises for life, but that's okay because I feel like my life is coming back to me. For eight years, I have lived with back pain that although better than prior to surgery, has been debilitating, demoralizing and yes, depressing. Now, the pain is managable and tolerable. Life indeed is returning.

pink, pink, my heart is pink

While I was recooperating from emergency back surgery in 2004, The Lizard, whom I'd been dating for about six months, bought flowers for me for the first time.

It was the first time I'd ever seen a Christmas cactus. It was the beginning of a tradition. We have added a new Christmas cactus to our collection every year since. Until 2012.

I found one at a grocery store I really liked back in November. It had blooms of every color I've ever seen. I almost bought it.

But then I decided I can make my own after this winter's blossoms are done. Several of our plants need trimming.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the gorgeous blossoms on that first hot pink Christmas cactus. All month long!

up close and personal



pink perfection

open, open, open

the whole pink enchilada

Color always seems to make me happy. That's why I love making things in rainbow shades.

I Heart Rainbows

My mailbox filled my creative life with color early in January. I nailed a colorful hand-dyed crochet thread destash, and I picked up some solid colors to go with some variegated yarn colorways I already had. Let the knitting (and crocheting) begin!

skirt leftovers to be fashioned into leg warmers

soon to be leg warmers

luck of the draw

I've never been one to be happy with just one project on my needles. I'm also trying really hard to use up thread, yarn and fabric in my stash. I've found a perfect use for some of the sock yarn I picked up on close-out nearly two years ago. It's a secret, and it likely will take a year or more to finish, but it makes the perfect closer at the end of each day, even if only for a couple of rows.

mystery sock yarn project

I'm making the cheeriest quilt I've ever worked on, thanks to the bright, springy green, and so far, it's entirely leftovers.

leftover heaven

Big smiles when in Ravelry's Star Fleet Fiber Arts Academy I was reassigned from the USS Kitchener, where I have been serving my entire two-year tour as a mere crafter with no responsibility, to the USS Noro. Of all the yarn-named ships, I got stuck on the one with the name of the yarn I love just about best! And now we find out what I'm really made of as I take on duties of First Officer...

one day they will become something, hopefully an intarsia turtleneck sweater

A few of the bulbs I planted (in pots) in September were fooled into spring when Indian summer set in. So I brought them inside before the second frost could zap them. After three months of long, stringy greens, my grape hyacinths are blooming!

Grape hyacinth - in January!

A huge accomplishment in January was successfully pedaling 60 miles on Martin Luther King Day even though I hadn't been on my bike on the road since December 1. (I'd done up to 18 miles in the basement on the trainer several times in December and January.) I wasn't sure if I could do 60 miles, and six months ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to ride again. This ride was another particularly liberating achievement. Physical therapy and hyaluronic acid are working!


And just check out those calories burned. Soon to be no more Fat Cyclist here!


Saving the best for last, after graduating from PT on Wednesday night, I received word that my replacement camera has arrived. I picked it up yesterday!

During the recent office move at work, I dropped my trusty 10-year-old first digital camera, the one I use at work and just last summer began carrying in my pack during bike rides instead of the heavy Nikon workhorse (which I adore beyond measure) because the better camera weighs so much. I was trying to increase my chances of completing difficult rides while boosing my enthusiasm for taking photos during rides when I was sometimes too exhausted and sometimes suffering too much to play with the big camera.

The little camera still worked, with duct tape, but did not look professional at work, where I need to be professional, and I worried about how the duct tape would hold up in the humidity of my pack on long bike rides, assuming I could ride again one day. (Which, yay, I can!!!) My bosses took compassion on me and presented me with a gift certificate to replace that little camera for Christmas. I waited for after-Christmas sales, and it turned out the replacement model I picked happened to be one of the most popular. And on sale, too. It had to be ordered. I waited patiently. Sort of. Every day, I wondered where my new camera was en route to its new life with me.

It's here! It's here! I picked it up yesterday. Last night was my first time using it! It is just different enough from my other cameras that the learning curve is significant, but I love it! The old camera is sad and tired, but thankful it doesn't have to endure duct tape anymore. It is enjoying its new home in a display case amongst family treasures.

my new baby

hot, hot, hot
first shot with the new camera

annual office Super Bowl Chili Cook-off
fourth shot with the new camera


  1. Wow! You accomplished a great deal in January. Way to go, girl! :)

    I adore the first picture of the sky, it's so beautiful. :)

    Sending out hugs and blessings to you. :)

    1. Thanks, Stitchy! It was a really good month. Possibly the first good January I've had in many years.

  2. Cool workout! Having said good-bye to any debt is liberating isn't it! Double joy for all! You have sent some hope for me with such lovely photos! It's just too bitter of winter here yet! This morning at last I looked it was -15 below! Yikessssssssssssss!

    1. 15 below... BRRRRR! Karen, I hope you get warmer weather soon!

  3. Life is good. You GO GIRL!!!!! What colors of Christmas Cactus do you have? The Goatmother has red and pink but that is all she has seen...well, besides white. Are there others out there?

    1. Let's see, I think there are red, pink, salmon, peach, apricot, white, white with pink and then some peppermint striped ones I saw two Christmases ago but have not seen since. I do not have the striped one and regret I didn't buy it when I saw it.

  4. Congrats on PT graduation. Must feel good as does the debt free condition you have generously made. You are one super, super busy lady, can't understand where you get all the energy to do all you do. The knitting project looks amazing, but then don't all your projects. Pictures are beautiful ... I can only imagine what will show with the new camera! Hey, wait a minute ... looks like a tasty bean salad of some sort ... what???? no recipe? I don't think I missed it. Looks like something right up my alley. Have a wonderful weekend, blessings.

    1. Thanks, Glor! Guess I'm going to have to write my new sweet potato chili recipe now, huh? It was yummy, but I didn't win the annual Super Bowl Chili Cook-off competition. The judges said they liked my chili but that it tasted like desert chili, sweet but hot. :)

  5. That's a P510, isn't it?!!! I just got the red one!!! My poor Nikon D90 feels very neglected these days!! :(

    1. You have one too??? And you like it enough to let the D90 sit?!? Wow!

      I still haven't given mine a thorough workout yet, but from what I've seen so far, the colors are just a tad off. I'll be playing more with the white balance until I get this booger figured out. :)

  6. A great month!!! I can't wait to hear how your new camera works out for bike ride photos. It's something that I struggle with - I no longer like the quality of the photos from my little point-and-shoot but my back can't tolerate my big camera. Let us know how this one works out!

    Congrats on graduating from PT. I tend to let the exercises slide when I don't have regular appts - so don't you fall into that trap! I love love love the Christmas cactus photos and the sunrise photo is sublime!

    1. I'm with you on the weight of the big camera on my back, KB. I have taken two bike rides so far since the camera arrived, but I haven't taken the camera with me. And now we get snow this upcoming weekend, so no riding... :(

  7. I love all the colours in this cheerful post. It's great to have so many things to feel positive about!

    1. Thanks, CameraGirl! My favorite is the hot pink in the flowers. I could live with staring at them all year round!

  8. So glad to hear you had a happy and eventful month. Graduating from PT and getting out of debt are awesome in themselves! Amazing photos, as usual, too! :) Deb @ RaisingFigureSkaters.com

    1. Thanks, Deb! It truly was a very happy month. I could use more winter months in the same frame of mind!

  9. Nice food shots! :)

    Hot pink is THE most cheerful colour to offset those winter-time blues. What a gorgeous Christmas cactus.

    Okay, I have serious yarn envy now. All those lovely colourways! Can't wait to see what you make. That Knit Picks Chroma (just looked it up on their website) is amazing. And Noro is, of course, the best stuff ever. Congratulations on your promotion, by the way!


    1. Chroma and Noro... aren't they just the best pick-me-uppers??? I could just look at them and not use them. Well, no, I take that back. I want every colorway so I CAN use them and play with them!


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