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archive for December 2010

simple presence

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Recipe: baked eggs

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I plopped my skis down on the snow and looked up at the sky: blue bird day. I could see clouds of my breath billlowing out in front of me, slowly expanding and gently swirling up into the frigid air, illuminated by shafts of sunlight. A calm, brilliant morning – Christmas morning and perfectly silent. Ice crystals plastered every surface, glistening. I flared my nostrils and took a deep breath letting the cold crackle through my nose down into my lungs. I love winter.

plenty of good skiing to be had in the national forests

the winter sun throws long shadows

Jeremy and I spent the morning and part of the afternoon skinning up into the local mountains and then skiing back down. The wilderness was entirely ours. I love hitting a stride and going into auto-pilot while my mind runs in seven different directions, pausing only to exclaim “gorgeous!” at every view of the snowy high peaks that opened before us. At the end of the year it’s natural to take stock of what has been and what is to come. To reflect on the influx of people in your life and those with whom you have parted ways. Thinking about what was good and what wasn’t so good and how to improve upon it before starting our next lap around the sun. My quads burned and my sunnies were fogging up from the heat and sweat off of my face. It felt great.

At home, I made a small batch of Chinese potstickers for dinner and we had oranges as dessert. Simple is good. There were no presents, just presence… presence of mind and heart and the occasional belly rub (for Kaweah). It works for us.

glowing halo of clouds over james peak (sunset)

I’ve completed a few of those rag quilt projects over the weekend. My friend just had a baby boy and I swore to myself that I would not go to see him until I finished his baby blanket (incentive to really get it done). Now I can finally visit with him and he’s not even in college yet! Flannel rag quilts are so soft and warm – perfect for a December Colorado baby, don’t you think?

i hope he’ll love it until it’s threadbare

Buried in my stash of fabrics was a small metric ton of dark flannel left over from other projects which I decided to turn into a flannel rag quilt for our own baby. Labor of love. All quilts are a labor of love.

kaweah is a sucker for soft and cushiony things

Lately, I haven’t been much for cooking elaborate dishes. I don’t know about you, but when I’m cooking and shooting for the blog, I feel as if we are always eating something new. That’s fine except for one problem – we love a lot of the old recipes. I actually like how quickly I can cook something when I’m not shooting every damn step and washing my hands over and over and over again. In an effort to move toward simplicity, I have been drawn to recipes like baked eggs.

a little kale, bacon, cheese, and herbs never hurt anyone

finely chopped herbs mixed with the cheese

**Jump for more butter**

a welcome winter

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

It’s the first week of winter! You realize that from now until the summer solstice, the days are going to get longer – you know this, right? That knowledge has already put a spring in my step although the relative increase in daylight doesn’t do it for everyone. Jeremy wants those absolute daylight hours – 12 or more. Personally, I love the nightlife. And by nightlife, I’m not talking about dance clubs.

Everyone was abuzz about the total lunar eclipse Monday night, but we had clouds and snow in our forecast. I can’t say I was devastated because I was going to ski in the morning. Total lunar eclipse or the promise of snow: either way, it was a win. As we rounded Kaweah up to go to bed, I stepped out on our deck to see if the moon was turning red. All night we could only glimpse a hazy glowing blob rising in the East through the clouds. I had low expectations. But at 12:45 am, the moon was almost directly overhead and there was a giant hole in the clouds. We call those “sucker holes” and usually they reveal blue sky. This time, they revealed the moon.

oh, you beaut of a girl

What a way to kick off the winter season! Within two seconds of that shot, the moon was obscured and I didn’t have to feel guilty about going to bed instead of staying up to watch the entire eclipse. And we have been skiing. I even met up with my longtime friend from junior high (okay, from math camp) who now lives in Breckenridge. It’s been 25 years! It’s nice to know that the friends you were close to in your youth grew up to become genuinely kind and good skiers adults.

morning light on jeremy

graham doesn’t want his picture taken, but the lens is wide…

their puppy (who looks a lot like kaweah, but is much better behaved)

This has been a week of projects. I finally broke out the pressure cooker my MIL gave me for my birthday three months ago and… I LOVE IT. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I also infused yet another gallon of cheap vodka with the behemoth Buddha’s hand citron that Todd and Diane shipped to me recently. Oh, and the sewing machine got dusted off too.

that smells so nice!

flannel quilt

Most of all, this week has been about spending time with my pack and not so much online. I had my annual mammogram and ultrasound on Tuesday. I don’t define myself by my cancer and as a rule, I don’t let fear dictate my life. I’ll admit that every time I go in for a mammogram or MRI, I wonder. I wonder what the results will be for a second and then I don’t dwell.

of pure heart and simple mind

sunlight and cloud patterns

Getting outside is something the three of us love to do. Kaweah thoroughly enjoyed her romp in the snow and it was great to stretch my legs after hours of quilting. When we got home there was a message for me from my oncologist. All of my scans came back negative. At the bottom he wrote: Good news. Merry Christmas. I read it aloud to Jeremy who smiled and gave me a hug.

Merry Christmas, however you do it. xo

wishing you a salted caramel new year

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Recipe: salted caramel ice cream

Remember my plan to keep things low key and unbusy this month? Well, that hasn’t happened so far and I think it’s mainly because I am not a low key kind of person. But whatever. As long as things get done and we’re all having fun, then it’s cool, right? And it’s time for those end-of-the-year type of activities like squaring away annual financial records, shipping presents to the niece and nephew, and our new year’s photo card to share with everyone. That includes you, dear reader. Go on and click over – the post will still be here.

happy holidays and let’s rawk the new year!

Then there is the business of the winners for Michael Frye’s book(s) giveaway. You know that a random number generator is just too pedestrian in the House of Butter (and it’s not truly random according to the resident astrophysicist, “It will produce a nice and uniform distribution of numbers that will pass most tests for randomness, but it’s a repeatable process given the same seed.” Thanks, Jeremy.) We are all about introducing as much randomness as possible. Jeremy started with ten three-digit numbers taken from the least significant bits of independent channels of a gravitational lens spectrum about half-way back to the Big Bang. All you need to know is that it is RANDOM. I then took the NUMBER mod NUMBER OF ENTRIES (=127) to determine ten semi-finalists from the comments. Then Jeremy assigned ten of Kaweah’s toys to a number 1-10, which I assigned to the corresponding semi-finalists in random order. Then the final act of pure randomness…

kaweah just wants a treat

the dumbbell!

the dog! (with an inadvertent paw at the fish)

jaws of death in action


and finally the bone

Are you lost yet? The winners of the three Light and Land ebooks are: dumbbell = Michelle (mountains, Cascades), dog = Audra (Colorado/Hawai’i), and ninja = Emily (Ireland). The winner of the signed copy of Digital Landscape Photography is bone = Jason (Pripyat, Ukraine). Congratulations to our winners and I will email everyone about their prizes shortly! Thanks to everyone for sharing the places they want to photograph and big thanks to Michael for generously providing the prizes and his incredible knowledge.

here’s the paperwork

And now it’s time for something sweet… and salty. I made this back in August, but salted caramel ice cream has no season as far as I’m concerned. Caramel is timeless and salted caramel is sexy timelessness. Salted caramel ice cream? Um – sexy, timeless and indulgent!

place the sugar in a pan (preferably a wide one)

the edges turning brown and melting

**Jump for more butter**