I left my [monkey] in San Francisco

This post is very sad.  

Brownie has been with Sebby from the beginning, the very beginning.  He has been lost and found so many times I can't even keep track.  He has been everywhere with us.  He is the best monkey.
Seb drew this right before we left on our trip

In San Francisco, we left him at a playground.  (The one in the picture above---perhaps in that very tunnel.  I can't look at this picture without getting teary.)  We were two hours south before we realized it.  We weren't planning to even go back through the city on our way home, but I kept imagining Brownie lying there, waiting for Seb.  I couldn't handle it.  The next morning, I asked Sam to take us back, and he (good patient man that he is) agreed, though with little hope.  Seb didn't seem that worried, even though we told him Brownie was probably gone.  I felt in my heart we'd find him too.  But we ran back into the fenced playground; rustled through every bush, rummaged through every garbage can, prayed.  Brownie wasn't anywhere.  Finally I couldn't justify looking any longer.

That night, driving into the dark towards home, crossing the Bay Bridge, it hit Sebby for real.  "Brownie!  Can we go back?" he sobbed.  I thought his heart was breaking.  He crawled up to my seat and I sobbed with him; his face in my shoulder, my tears in his hair.

I know.  It's silly.  Of course we'll get over it.  We do have Brownie Two (as Sam keeps telling me, when the starter goes down, it just means someone else gets more playing time).  Seb's fine.  I'm not quite fine, yet, though.  I miss that little Brownie, and who he was to my Sebby boy.  I don't like thinking of him all alone in San Francisco somewhere.  I don't like sad endings.
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Ready

Daisy believes in being over-prepared.  Happy Halloween!  
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Leafy

Catching up a little.  This group of pictures is from a couple weeks ago.  This was an interesting drive because we compared Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons on the same day, and Little Cottonwood was far brighter.  These reds just spilled down the canyon right onto the foothills.  I don't know if it's the way the sun hits this hill or what (temperature changes? angle of drainage?), but those maples were amazing.

Higher up, the aspens take over.  Yellows replace the reds.
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A matter of a few degrees*

Every Fall I feel impelled by some inexorable inner force to GET OUTSIDE and ENJOY THE WEATHER.  I am convinced that doing this will make the winter months more bearable (whether it actually does so? not sure) and I also feel a strong anxiety NOT TO MISS ANYTHING.  (I speak in capitals merely to echo the strident voice of my Inner Self.)  My other inner self tells me to calm down and that I am exaggerating the urgency of it all.  This post validates all the feelings of Panicky Self and shows Measured Self that if it were up to her, nothing would ever get done around here.

As you know, we drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon a couple Sundays ago, and while there we saw a lake with a nice boardwalk/trail around it which I had never seen before (Silver Lake, I believe)---but it was too crowded and as the hour was hastening on, we didn't stop.  When I saw later that the weather was going to change mid-week, I was really sad at the thought that we might go to our graves (so to speak) without having enjoyed that lovely walk.  So when Tuesday afternoon was sunny and warm, I bundled the children into the car and off we went.  And although Sam didn't get to come and the boys didn't do their homework and I got stuck in traffic on the way home and missed Young Women's (sorry ladies!)---I must say, it was totally and completely worth it.  Because those leaves were something so fleeting that we could have blinked and missed them.  But we didn't, my dears.  And now that day is ours forever. 

The sequel to this adventure is that we returned only five days later (the kids were anxious to show Sam every step of that trail) and it was like a whole different world.  A few degrees colder, only, and still lovely, and still wild and woods-y---but just, muted and muffled and dimmed.  And though I loved the muted version, I was so glad not to have missed that flash of brilliance earlier in the week.

If you read my other blog you have seen some pictures of this trip, but for you, my dear non-obligated readers, I include the best of them: a veritable, vegetable paradise.  It would make the most sense to order them chronologically, but because I like happy endings, I will put the most beautiful ones last.  Except for a few before/after comparisons which I will intersperse with each other.  And now you know my plan down to the last detail.
Mirror with frosted mountains.  I love the way the reflection is brighter/purer than the scene it is reflecting. [Insert commentary on virtual reality here]

If this is Fire . . .
these are the embers.
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Fresh Raspberry Turnovers


We really love picnicking in this family, so much so that I am constantly trying to think of "picnic-ish" ways to interpret all our favorite foods.  When there are Fall leaves to be seen, our picnicking (wow, that word looks weird, but it can't be picnicing, can it? Surely not) reaches its apex.  Lately we have picnicked (maybe if I keep writing it the strangeness will wear off) with some of these foods:
It was inevitable, then, that we use some of our recent raspberries (picked here, though not on that visit) to make more picnic food.  I love turnovers (the crust-to-pie ratio is excellent) so that's what we made.  I love the fact that the filling is bare-bones and only requires a bit of stirring together, and I love that (if you are not picnicking) these are superb served warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.

The best part of these turnovers is the sprinkling of coarse sugar on top!  Cinnamon-sugar is good too, but I love the crunch and the sparkle of the coarse sugar.  I use turbinado sugar from the bulk bins at Sunflower Market (this is what I use for rolling gingersnaps in, also).

Raspberry Turnovers

Enough dough for about 2 pie crusts (I used this recipe that makes 3 crusts, and used about 2/3 of it)
Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (I'm sure frozen would work, with some adjustment for the amount of liquid)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Turbinado or cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling on top

Stir together filling.  Roll out crust between pieces of waxed paper and trace around a small (4-6 inch) bowl to make circles.  (I made 11, but some were smaller than others)  Put a few teaspoons of filling in the middle of each circle.  Carefully fold circle in half, press outsides together, and flute edges.  Brush each turnover lightly with milk or beaten egg white, then sprinkle generously with turbinado or cinnamon sugar.  Cut a few slits on top of each turnover.  Put turnovers on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and chill for about 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375.

After turnovers have been chilled, bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
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Millcreek

You have to pay a few dollars to go up Millcreek Canyon, and usually we're driving on Sundays so we've never gone up there before.  This happened to be a Monday, however, so we took the $3 plunge.  It was really beautiful---the road is a lot smaller and closer to the trees than in some of the other canyons, less like a highway and more like a trail.  I liked it because it felt like we could really see a lot more of what was around us.  There are some really pretty hiking trails at the top of the road, too (we hiked just a little ways up, but it was late and getting dark, so we didn't go too far).

It was a cloudy day so the light was strange and beautiful, and these pictures all have this sort of blurriness that must be caused by me not knowing what I'm doing with the camera settings.  (Sam tries to show me, but I still don't get it right.)  They're still pretty, though---the leaf colors really glowed against the gray sky.  There was some pretty amazing underbrush too, bright-colored and lighting up whole hillsides at a time.
Yellows peeking out through the pines

Abe is so excited he got a yellow leaf!!  (My kids are easy to please)

Muted mixed with bright

That red-orange color is unearthly!

I love it when there are different varieties of tree growing together so you get this patchwork of color
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Wild men, who caught and sang the sun in flight

From Sunday's drive in Big Cottonwood, I bring you some spectacular yellow aspens.  This patch above, tucked in among the pines, was SO bright.  It glowed like a patch of those neon algae you see in aerial photos of the ocean.

The sun went in and out of the clouds, and the leaves changed colors with it.  The yellows were a true goldenrod in the sunshine, but they leaned toward chartreuse in the shade.  Then of course there were the variations within each tree . . . 

and among all the trees in a particular group.  Here the colors run together, blurred but not muddy, like watercolors splashed across the hillside.

Blurry.  But I include it because this is how it felt to drive through these tunnels of yellow--bright pinpoints of color blurring together; speed and air and yellow wind; a startling wash of sunshine splashing into your eyes and over your skin.

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A spoon of peanut butter

Do you get the hiccups very often?  Whenever my kids have the hiccups they ask for "a spoon of peanut butter" (not a spoonful of peanut butter, for some reason).  I heard that suggested as a cure for the hiccups one time and we've done it ever since.  I don't know if it works; it seems to sometimes, but mostly they just like it.  In fact, they often try to convince me they have the hiccups when they don't, but I am strict and not easily fooled (my sensitive hiccup-detector must be triggered several times before I'm willing to get out the peanut butter).

My mom used to have me drink a glass of water upside down (tricky).  And my cousin Spencer has explained the exact physiological causes of hiccups (which I don't recall) and set forth the foolproof cure (holding your breath for 20 seconds) but this never works for me as another hiccup always interrupts the breath-holding.  Any other cures out there?
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