Monday, December 28, 2009

Colors of the Montana Winter

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I got a new camera for Christmas.  It was a gift from my hubby.

Now, I have to tell a little story.  Our friend Greg suggested my hubby be called Captain Vegas in my blog.  I like that name, since my hubby currently lives in Las Vegas.  But since he’s actually a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, he’s going to be called Col. Vegas. 

So anyway, I took my gift from Col. Vegas out on my walk today. 

Walks are supposed to calm and center people, but it took me a long time to calm down.  I was excited by my recent sales at my store and my head was full of sewing ideas.  The Crazy Canyon Trail system seemed like a fitting location.   

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I have been holing up in the house sewing and winding down from Christmas.  My fingernails are stained with fabric dye (see it?):  

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and I’ve been wearing the same three outfits for two weeks.

It felt good to be outside and breathing cold, fresh air.   But I wanted to get back to my wool and colors and thread.  Usually the winter landscape doesn’t start bothering me until about February or March, but today it looked colorless already. 

So I set myself the task of finding colors.  Here’s what I found. 

A sort-of color on a ponderosa pine tree.  I love ponderosas, which smell of vanilla on a hot summer day.  Okay, that’s one color.  What would you call it?  Burnt sienna? 

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And of course there’s pine-tree green, like you see in the background above.  Somehow, though, the preponderance of white and gray in the Montana winter makes my mind blank out the green.  From town, the wooded mountainsides just look black.  It’s only up close that you see the needles really are green.   

I found a few others.  Pale yellow…  

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Citron green…now that’s a real color! 

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More green… 

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Teensy little shriveled up rose hip…red! 

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And yet another cold-looking green…

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Finally, a little bit of blue.

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My Montana grandmother used to say that if there was enough blue in the sky to make a Dutch boy’s pants, the weather would turn clear.

What do you think?  What size is a Dutch boy?   


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Wishes for My Readers


“We shall find peace.  We shall hear the angels, we

shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.”

—Anton Chekhov

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2010. 

I appreciate you! 

love, Sallymandy

photo by CanadaGirl2000 on Photobucket.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dog Days of December

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Whatever special day you may be celebrating this December—even if it’s just the coming of winter—remember the lesson of the doggie on the couch who doesn’t care what she wears. 


Monday, December 14, 2009

Trapped in a Jail of Love

64f7.jpg people in a boat image by nascarfanatic2488

My 12-year-old daughter and her friend are in the back seat talking about their futures.  About husbands.       

The rush-hour traffic is fierce, but I’m straining to hear.      

The friend says, “I’m going to be a scientist.  I’m going to have a  big house and one horse and one kid.”

My daughter says, “Nice.  I’m going to be a photographer.  But what about a husband?”

The friend (whose parents’ marital situation is stranger than fiction) says, “No husband.  I’m going to adopt.  Who needs a husband around the house?  Seems like it would just be easier.” 

I’ve been thinking about this all weekend. 

I have a husband, but he’s not around the house.  Once upon a time he worked at home, and boy, was he ever around the house.  And then he moved away because it was the only way to support his family.  That’s the kind of husband he is.  

Today I notice things he’s not here to do.  Sidewalk shoveling.  Decoration-box hauling.  Furniture moving.  Christmas tree putting up.  Car gas tank filling, running-toilet-fixing, doggie-poo scooping.  Being the heavy with an almost-teenager.     

Since he’s been gone, I’ve missed him and not missed him.  I wake up with an emptiness inside that’s tied to his silent office downstairs.  I feel sad, remember that this was the best choice for our family, then get up and feel grateful for the freedoms this change has brought to me—freedoms I could not exercise with another adult working in the house.      

One day when SeeSpotRun was four, I captured her on the couch and wrapped her in a bear hug.  I held her close to me until she yelped “Help!  Help!  I’m trapped in a jail of love!” 

Girls, if I told you something true, would you listen?  The you who wants to be free and the you who wants to be joined are going to lock horns forever.   

Marriage?  Husband?  Children?  They’re traps…in a jail of love.badwater



SSR and Sallymandy in Death Valley National Park, November 2009.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Speed Cleaning with Sallymandy

retronewyear60xmas.jpg retro vintage after party domestic kitchen man woman couple mess clean apron image by Nocturntable

So, today I came home from meetings and errands to a house that would make my grandmother

purse her lips.   

Between sending a husband to live in Las Vegas, starting a small business, taking care of 1 cute daughter and 2 cute doggies, impending holidays and now being the only adult in the house, well…let’s just say my housekeeping standards have reached…

…a nadir!!     

I’m not complaining.  I’m not a neat-freak.  I love our lived-in house because it’s proof that a lot of exciting, nurturing, interesting things happen here.  But everyone has a limit. 

Looking around my kitchen with its corners filling up with piles, I felt a creepy anxiety.  I seemed unable to start.  All messes seemed equal in importance. 

frightened woman

What to do??



A friend of mine always starts cleaning with her sink.  I looked at mine, full of dishes.  I remembered a trick I used to use on myself.  I set the microwave timer for four minutes and challenged myself to empty the dishwasher.    

I whirled into action.  I stacked up everything that went in the same cupboard and staggered across my microscopic kitchen to unload.  I easily threw out details like putting the silverware handles the same direction and I just slammed the silver spoons into their compartment.  I scoffed at nesting the cereal bowls large-to-small as is my habit. 

Guess what?  In 2 minutes 45 seconds I was done.  I used the remaining time to stash the dishes from the sink into the dishwasher—foregoing my usual practice of arranging and rearranging until I use every last centimeter of space

I didn’t quite get the counter wiped down, but in four minutes, I had an empty sink.  woman-cooking-main_Full


how cool is that? 





Sometimes the smallest task can seem overwhelming.  That’s especially so when there are so many small tasks that they really do add up to one whopping mess. 

Here’s a very short list of other messes that frighten me: 

The mishmash of dog collars, hair tie thingies, Chapsticks, stamps, paper clips, pennies, batteries, and pen caps swimming around in a big white ceramic dish by my blender.

The National Geographics on the shelf that someone at a school or Girl Scout group could use for a craft and are too good to recycle.

The mismatched-sock drawer.  

The bag of papers left from SSR’s last school year.

The four-foot papier-mache dragon left from SSR’s last school year.

The styrofoam salt atom model left from SSR’s last school year.

What about you?  Do you have any really scary messes in your house?  How do you keep your quarters livable in a busy season? vintagewoman


Do tell! 

Love, sallymandy