30 November 2023


Boy, my latest call from Invision Sally Jobe sure extended Thanksgiving for me! No bad boys this time!

28 November 2023

Chilly Chile on my Chili

Hatch chiles taste good on just about anything. I even love chiles in some deserts. Oooooooh, and in hot chocolate!!! With cinnamon... YUM!

We just spent a week with Lizard's mom, who isn't a big fan of spicy hot. All that was available to dress up my meals was mild salsa. First chance I got, I bought a jar of more suitable black bean and corn spicy salsa from the nearby grocery store. (And which Lizard and I used completely up by the end of the week!)

I learned salsa is pretty darned good on scrambled eggs! I guess I should have known this all along because I LOVE spicy breakfast burritos (with no meat).

I used to roll my eyes at my kids when they smothered their eggs with ketchup. Who's the crazy one??? I drench mine, in essence, with spicy ketchup!!!

27 November 2023

Snowflake Monday

I recently was working from home when I had to log into a program I had not used in a while. Updates had been made, and certain policies had not been applied, and I was the first one in our office to find the error. Now the entire office has access to that program again.

First time I logged into the rebooted program, I got several minutes of "thinking" animations, with cheerful, uplifting automated messages such as, "We're spiffying up the place for you!" and "We're decking the halls for you!", with quick little prompts in between pleading for me to be patient because the program would run so smoothly once they were done and not to shut down my computer until they were done. Really cracked me up. And that's just what we all need this time of year, right? Computerized enthusiasm!

Today's snowflake was originally designed back in October of 2012, and I ran out of that batch of hand-dyed gradient blue thread before the prototype was done. I quickly finished the (then uninspiring) flake and set it aside to write a pattern one day.

When I chose this snowflake to share today, I decided to give it a spiffy, cheerful upgrade to forever salute the people behind our technology who try to give us reasons to grin even when software and hardware don't meet expectations.

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!

Finished Size: 5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 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

Upgraded Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in ring, [ch 2, 3 dc in ring] 5 times; ch 2; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Don't pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [in next ch 2 sp work (1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 5, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc)] 6 times, omitting last 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 3: 3 sc in gap before next dc, [ch 3, sk next ch 3 sp, in next ch 5 sp work (1 dc, ch 12, sl st in 11th ch from hook, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 15, sl st in 13th ch from hook, ch 2, 1 dc, ch 12, sl st in 11th ch from hook, ch 1, 1 dc), sk next ch 3 sp, 3 sc in gap between next 2 dc] 6 times, omitting last 3 sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: I've been stiffening my flakes with undiluted, full-strength water soluble school glue for quite a while now, and I've been squishing the glue onto and throughout each flake with my fingers (yucky mess!!!) instead of gingerly painting the flakes with glue. Yes, it's a mess. But it's faster. And stiffer.

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 snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

24 November 2023

White Friday

Snowflake crochet doesn't always come easy. We'd found ourselves stuck in a hotel one summer night at least 12 years ago when unfavorable weather (dangerous lightning) brought an early end to a backpacking trip. We made a quick run to the local department store, a very mini version of the typical establishment, and I was horrified to find not only NO thread crochet hooks in stock, but no crochet thread either!!! How could that possibly be!?!

As soon as we got back home from that trip, I put my emergency thread and hook storage in the car, and I've carried it around ever since. Everywhere we drove, I always had the tools I need to design a new snowflake, should the inspiration arise.

We don't get to enjoy 14er climbs or cross-state cycling trips these days, but I've still got that emergency stash in the car. White Friday Eve (very late in the evening of Thanksgiving Day) in 2022 was spent winding a big ball of white thread from that stash so I could design a new snowflake on White Friday while we were visiting my mother-in-law.

I'm finding myself becoming more creative in White Friday photography with our adaptive travel limits. We actually did make a road trip prior to Thanksgiving in 2022, but our desert destination boasted no snow and no forecast of snow the entire week of our family Thanksgiving visit. However, during a White Friday bicycle ride along an irrigation ditch, we found white.

Alkali leaches out of the soil (or bricks) when it rains or snows in the high desert. The white residue also can be rinsed off with water. When you're hungry for snow like I always am, alkali apparently can be the next best thing.

Even though I didn't have real snow, I did have snowflake photos from eight days earlier that needed to be edited.

I fully intended to string about 100 white crocheted snowflakes during White Friday 2022, but I was too busy (having WAY too much fun) making jewelry. Including one white necklace...

I did make one white snowflake.

And one white snowflake necklace. I encased a white glow-in-the-dark rock inside the middle of the snowflake.

And I did finish stringing a few snowflakes. Not enough. Stringing snowflakes is pretty boring for me...

The best part of our no-shopping White Friday last year, however, was finding a safe way to climb down into the nearly dry irrigation ditch (and then back out after I was done) to shoot genuine white ice!!! In the desert! Hundreds of miles from my youthful stomping grounds, White Sands National Monument!

23 November 2023

My Best Day Ever, the Sequel

I wrote about the dress I made for my special day back in 2021. I designed a snowflake on my special day that year. I saved the rest of the story for an equally special day. What day could be more appropriate than Thanksgiving?

And now, I have yet another miracle to add to my story. I'm SO thankful I get to share my special day here once again! Updated with the most incredible surprise...

Everything about our special day in 2021 was a miracle. Literally everything.

We had long hoped to be sealed in the San Diego Temple on the anniversary of our civil marriage. 2020 happened, and all temples were closed. That temples began phased opening in time for our anniversary was an answer to the prayers of many, not just us. Limitations remained. Numbers would be limited, and we could go only to the closest temple.

I had hoped my brother and my mom would be able to join us if and when we could finally be sealed. Too many restrictions remained in place. If we were able to go to the temple during the summer of 2021, there would be no family members present to celebrate with us. That was a painful pill for me to swallow. I also didn't know at the time I wouldn't get to see my dad alive again. Yet another bitter pill.

And yet, being able to go to the temple again after such a long absence would still be a tremendous blessing. I kept having the feeling I should not wait. I didn't know if it meant Lizard's health would continue to deteriorate or if the world situation would continue to get worse. As it turned out, there was a little bit of both. Among other difficulties, Colorado was plagued with horrific wildfires. The smoke in the air was awful, but it sure made for some wonderful sunrises and sunsets. I'm very thankful we moved forward with our 2021 plans, even though sacrifices were required.

When we first began trying to schedule a date, I was unable to get the actual day of our civil wedding anniversary off from work. Then I learned the Denver Temple, the only temple we could attend during pandemic restrictions, would be closed for its regular maintenance break the week of our anniversary. If I'd been able to secure that day off, we would not have been able to go to the temple that day. An unusual blessing, but a blessing nevertheless.

One of my friends suggested I schedule our sealing date on a different day so we could have two anniversaries to celebrate. I requested a different day off, and not only did I get that particular day, but the following day as well. In a way, it would be a sort of second honeymoon for us, and I relished the thought.

Because temples were going back into operation on limited schedules with limited volunteers, the scheduling process was quite modified. I cried when the temple entered its regular maintenance closing without our sealing scheduled. I assumed I would have to secure yet more time off much later in the year. I wasn't the only bride awaiting a temple date.

To my utter delight, a volunteer called me during the break to schedule! Because of Lizard's special needs, the temple staff suggested I divide our special day into two to make it easier on him. Less time sitting still. And I already had the two days off!!!

The temple staff was beyond helpful in making adjustments and modifications to accommodate Lizard's special needs. I purchased his clothing, and on the day of our sealing, at his request, I let him try to get dressed by himself. (Buttons, belts, zippers and other assorted tasks are challenging for him these days.) Half an hour before we were supposed to leave, I noticed he had not put on his Sunday best yet. He was decked in his khaki utility shorts and Mt. Rushmore T-shirt. I asked if he knew he was expected to wear his Sunday best. He not only was shocked, but devastated because his church clothes, unbeknownst to me, were in the dirty clothes. He thought the white temple clothing he would be changing into inside the temple was the only "frou frou" he needed.

I immediately performed a rush wash and dry on his clothes while he panicked. Before we left, he asked if I had our "coupons." Meaning, our temple recommends (sort of like a driver's license, required for temple entrance). His sense of humor injected joy into what could have been a very stressful rush to arrive at the temple on time.

We arrived at the temple right on time. (I always schedule "get ready" time at least an hour prior to what we really need these days because EVERYTHING takes longer.) Lizard was quickly escorted into the temple by kind and patient volunteers aware of his needs. Waiting for anything now has the potential of making everything more difficult for him, and he didn't have to wait at all. We also managed to schedule during the very short time period in which masks were not required. Just two weeks after our sealing, masks were required once again. Which brings up yet another miracle I had no way of recognizing at the time. NONE of the people in our small group got sick as a result of our sealing. All of us remained healthy.

Walking into the temple with Lizard that first day was the most incredible feeling! He has taken me to so many temples all over the western United States, and he has always waited patiently for me outside. This time, he went INSIDE with me. It was just about the best feeling in the entire world for me!

Lizard was seated at the back of the chapel for easy escape, but he didn't need it. He rarely is able to sit still longer than ten minutes, so an hour was asking a lot. He did beautifully. He was able to remain seated the entire hour-plus session.

Special arrangements were made for the second day of our temple date, too. Lizard once again was able to stay seated the entire time, even though he was in his medication down time. One of my dearest friends used my phone to snap some photos of us outside the temple. I neglected to bring my good camera because I just had too many other things on my mind. A hawk was pearched on the temple spire! A holy hawk, we called it. I returned later in the day, hoping to be able to get a close-up of my winged friend, but it was not to be.

Lizard was miserable when I asked if I could go back to the temple for a few photos with the good camera. I knew he didn't want to because he was so restless and agitated, but he said yes. Even though he knew I'd likely spend an hour.

Not only was the hawk missing, but there were not that many different varieties of flowers, either, so photos didn't take more than about ten minutes. I wanted to Photoshop a flower frame for one of our temple photos. Each of our friends who were able to attend sent us photos. I try to do something fancy like a flower frame for each bride I shoot, and now I've done it for me!

Now that temples are open again and back to normal schedules, I try to go through a session (sort of like a church service, but on weekdays or Saturdays) at least once a month. Sometimes I'm able to get off work in time to go a little more often than that.

In July and August, a hawk was perched atop the temple spire when I arrived. But I didn't have my good camera with me. In September, I didn't make that mistake. I knew the odds were not in my favor, but that red-tail knows the best place to hang out in all the metro area. My holy hawk (I don't know if it's the same one as in 2021) posed endlessly for me! I feel as if my special day has come full circle!

As time goes on, Lizard's Parkinson's grows worse and takes a little more of my sweetheart away from me. Lizard would not be able to make it through an hour-long church service now, just two years later. Our 2021 timing really was perfect, even if it wasn't what I'd dreamed. Being able to be sealed during everything that was going on in the world that year brought me so much joy, faith and hope I had not been able to maintain without all our unique sealing blessings.

When a marriage occurs outside our temples, it is performed "until death do we part." When a marriage occurs inside our temples, it is "for time and all eternity." We believe we will still be husband and wife when we complete this life's journey.

I continue to lose a tiny bit of my favorite person each day, but I know I will see him again after we both pass on, and I know we both will be whole there. Parkinson's will no longer have my Lizard... I will have him!!!

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