Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Lovely Visit

We had a special treat around here the past week: My Mom flew in from San Diego for a visit with us Salt Lake City family members.

The first two days she was here it snowed non-stop.  That was just fine with her and with me.  We sat by the kitchen window or the living room window, watching the snow fall and chatting away.
Friday night Bernie grilled salmon outside on the barbecue while the snowflakes fluttered about him.

Saturday evening we all attended church and went out for Indian food.   My dad doesn't like Indian food so when we asked what kind of restaurant Mom would like to eat at after church, she quickly asked for Indian.

Sunday we lingered over the newspaper,then Bernie went to Jeff's to watch the Master's golf game on Jeff's huge television.  The weather was clearing a bit, so Mom and I drove to Temple Square to enjoy the flowers.  It was still pretty chilly out; it felt good to go back to Jeff's house and watch the end of the Master's golf game cuddled up under heated blankets.
 Jeff and Rachel then hosted us for a delicious scallop dinner. 

Yes, Meowsie and Cheeto were most happy to visit with Great Grandma Dustin.   Cheeto was happy to keep an eye on the dinner preparations while we all visited around the kitchen counter.

I did mention we got a LOT of snow the first few days of the visit, right?
Like eight inches of wet whiteness.
My quest to photograph individual flakes resulted in a few respectable shots.

(Sometimes I kind of like the ghosty clear flake photos.)

Snowflake shapes relate to cloud temperature rather than air temperature.  I really like the kind of flake that looks like stars with little tree like wisps on each spoke like the one in the first pictures, and I was pretty puzzled by the thick coated shape snowflake that were falling at one point.

Turns out that is a rimed snowflake crystal, the kind of crystal formation that creates graupel, a word we had never heard before and yet have come across several times in the past few days.

THIS website has been my inspiration to attempt to photograph snowflakes, or at the very least start looking at snowflakes to see if I can identify them like I do with flowers in the summer.  Since it snows here so much of the year I might as well enjoy snow in every way that I can.

By Monday morning we had sunshine again.  The crocus in the garden looked so cute popping up through the snow rapidly melting on the ground.

Obviously it was time to get out sand see at least some of the 230,000 daffodils blooming at Red Butte Garden.

The grounds are quite steep in places and the walkabout is a good distance.  A free wheel chair was provided for us as my Mom has a permanently broken tendon in the top of her foot that makes long walks very difficult.
Jeff was able to take some time out of his work day to join us; he has become quite a gardener himself over the years and we all enjoyed reading the various plant tags to learn a little more about the plants that grow in the new place we now call home.
(Gardening in Utah is very different than gardening in coastal Southern California, just in case you didn't happen to know that!)

It is still very early in our spring season.  The pruned roses are still just sticks and thorns, but the quail bobbed around to make up for it.

We thought this was an interesting growth...and had no idea it was an up coming peony bush!

I find it most helpful to take pictures of the plant labels for future reference.

Another kind of peony.  Isn't the twisted leaf formation interesting?

It was a pleasure to let Jeff steer us along.  He knows the garden very well and knew which paths to take that would avoid the need to climb stars. 

The bare branches against the cloudy skies were artful in themselves, but I confess I am more than ready to see blossoms and leaves again.

Another week...or two...or maybe three the garden will be fully in springtime, right?

But on that day, wintry snow still competed with the spring flowers.  The snow couldn't win over the flower fragrance though!

I did see one butterfly flapping past us
 in the breeze and lots of bees and one very proud magpie strutting by.

Snow capped mountain in the distance, and snow filled daffodil beds:  These kinds of seasonal conflicts add to the dismay of living far apart.  We would have loved to been able to set a date to visit the garden again in a couple of weeks.  I guess pictures will have to serve for that visit to happen.

We were astonished to see a bonsai Fig tree inside, bearing full sized beautiful figs.

Oh how tempting to keep returning to the garden on my yearly pass and snatch the figs when they reach the peak of ripeness.
We wondered which staff members have already staked a claim on each fruit!
Wonder if they could be bribed?
(Wonder how the fruit got pollinated inside too.)

After Jeff left us we drove down to IKEA to do a little "look-see".  Mom was able to find a light weigh bedspread, I got a couple of small items as well.  Lunch of a Swedish open faced shrimp sandwich was the perfect light meal for mid day.

Bernie had worked all day, but had snuck out to a bakery to purchase a dessert treat for our dinner.  We had first seen chocolate porcupines in Switzerland, and hadn't indulged in one while we were there.  He decided we should finally give one a try.
I hardily recommend that everyone add a chocolate porcupine to their dinner menu plans as soon as possible!
He also created some delicious home made pizza combinations; a nice and easy meal for all of us to enjoy.

I did mention we got a lot of snow while Mom was here?
We took a drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon on Tuesday morning to both enjoy the scenery and to get breakfast at Silver Fork Lodge.
The snow pack completely filled the lodge's front windows.

It is a favorite restaurant of ours year around.  Their sour dough pancake starter is over fifty years old!

The fall colors can be seen outside during the fall, and the cozy fire is just a perfect place to dine during a snowy winter day.

In summer time humming birds buzz about one's head when one is dining outside; that lures us to come there for a meal when we are out camping in August.

Tuesday we had Flickers visiting outside.

One can always count on plenty of birds to watch while dining there any time of the year.

(Gotta be quick though...those birds won't stand around posing all day!)

Mom's last night with us was Tuesday and it was decided that my birthday would be celebrated with her on that night.
My dinner choice was the Aristo's Greek restaurant that we used to regularly visit when we would come up from Texas to visit Jeff.
Somehow we had not been there since we had moved here ourselves; the moussakka was every bit as good as I had remembered.

A huge serving meant plenty left over for the lunch the next day too.

Bernie selected a French wine to take along from home.
I am not a huge wine fan, but this bottle was delicious.

Bernie had also ordered a Chantilly Cream Cake for us to have as dessert back home.
Oh it was a light as a feather!

Gifts from Mom and Jeff were opened; while others were saved to be opened and enjoyed on my birthday proper.

(While we were at IKEA I had purchased a few bottle of Swedish Easter soda, a drink the Swedes called Paskmust. 
Apparently "Grandpa Lindquist" had concocted the recipe back in 1910 and it is reportedly available and consumed only at Easter.
It is made from barley and hops...and we tried to figure out what it tastes like.
Sort of like a combination of Dr. Pepper and Pepsi, but not sweet was one description we came up with.
Worth a try...I liked it quite a bit!

Bernie had the birthday candles read to go.

I did blow out the candles and made a wish.   Bernie re-lit them on my slice of cake.

Do birthday candle wishes count if you blow out candles two days before your birthday?
I guess I will just have to keep blowing out candles over the next couple of days, wishing for different things each time to find out the official birthday wish granting time policy.

I forgot to mention my other dessert guest.  Rachel had a class she had to attend that evening, but Jeff felt that Cheeto should be included in the party. He swung by his house after dinner at the Greek restaurant to pick up my grandcat for a visit.

We got lots of laughs over the resident cats reactions.  Bitsy kept creeping up to placid Cheeto and staring at him.
Clearly she knew he was some kind of animal, but surely not a cat!
Eventually our cats sat on the stair steps looking intently down on Cheeto.  We haven't seen their eyes so big in a really long time.
(That's Bitsy's eyes glowing in the background.)

Cheeto is a really good sport.

I think Jeff is a really good daddy to his cats.

(Tate:  I am not going to look again. Is that thing gone yet???)

Then the visit drew to a close.  One last hug and off to the airport.
Each visit is sweet in its own way, and sad when it ends.
We plan to be out in San Diego soon so it wasn't quite so hard to say good bye this time.
So as I write this on my actual birthday, it is snowing again.  I was born at three minutes to midnight so I am enjoying knowing these are my last hours as a 56 year old.
It has been another good year

Thanks Mom for visiting us, and thank you for being my mother!


Vicki said...

Oh, what a lovely time you had with your Mom! Doesn't it make you feel like a sad child when you have to tell your Mom 'bye?' (It does me.) I know you all enjoyed your time together.

Well, maybe not so much the furry members of the family...

Happy Birthday, Jill! :)

Vee said...

Happy Birthday, Jill! It looks as if you had a wonderful visit with your mother and had just the right amount of getting out and of staying home and being cozy. Hope that remaining snow is on a steady melt.

Lovella ♥ said...

Beautiful ...I so enjoyed the pictures and smiled often and especially as I read the cake wish. .so sweet.
Happy Birthday Jilly.

RoeH said...

I always loved early spring in Utah and Idaho. Sounds like you're having a great time.

Kathie said...

Happy Birthday Jilly!! (cute :)

What a wonderful time with your mom - you are so blessed to have her. I miss my mom, and probably always will, even though it's been almost 20 years since she died. I'll be so glad to see her again someday and feel her arms around me and her kiss on my cheek. There's no one that loves you like your mom!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Your mom's visit was a beautiful birthday present. Happy Birthday to you!!

Judy said...

Happy Birthday, Jilly! And how fun to have your mom come out and spend some time with you. Wishing you all the best in your 58th year. How does that sound?

ellen b. said...

Such a sweet photo of your mom and you. I'm glad you had a nice visit and lots of celebrating! Wow look at all that snow!

Mrs. Fry said...

First visit to your blog.
Happy Birthday!
Loved the bird shots. So cool to see different birds.