No blogging time today.  But some fun stuff is coming.



(Just learning how to use flickr, so this mosaic isn't exactly what I was hoping for . . . I wish Matt and Heather weren't all the way over on the other side of the pond--I'd have called them this morning for a tutorial.  I think there's a way to post these so you can click on each individually to enlarge?  I feel lucky even to have broken the code on how to make this stinking, not-what-I-had-in-mind mosaic though.  It'll just have to do for now.  I've only got about 10 minutes left of my 90 mins of internet usage here my hotel room.  If you're sensing a hint of technology frustration here, you're right on the mark.)  

Harrod's is a favorite stop for me while in London.  My sweetest memories of this fantastically fantasmic store are from my first visit to London with Natalie.  Our enchantment on discovering the luxury bathrooms for the first time comes to mind.  (Yesterday, Greg had the camera with him in the Men's room or I'd have shot them, too.  But it's just as well.  We're now 10 years since and they're not quite what they used to be.  In all fairness here: time has taken it's toll on me too.)  

Harrod's food courts are still breathtaking.  Greg and I first sat down at the Caviar Bar but changed our minds after a quick look at the menu which announced $425 servings. For lunch.  How to choose?  Fresh sushi? The seafood bar? We settled on Harry's deli where we each ate chicken noodle soup and 1/2 sandwich for 50 pounds ($70 US) for the two of us.  I've shot Greg's soup, lox and bagel here.  My Reuben was a wonder.  No Russian dressing (ala Carnegie Deli in New York), but I soothed my disappointment with a dollop of Raspberry Horseradish relish.  I know, at first I was incredulous, then curious, surprised, then enchanted.  We wandered, literally wide-eyed,  through the Confectionary surrounded by miles and miles of exquisitely displayed chocolates, y chocolat.  I did my best to resist these Sirens, but finally succumbed to a creamy, mouth-melting chocolate and hazelnut praline.  (My pants got tighter just smelling this little delight.) The photo of those red currants in Produce needs to be billboard size to give you the same feeling they gave me.  Here among art gallery-quality displays of vibrant fruits and vegetables, I found exquisite pomegranates for a mere 6 pounds, a piece ($8 US).  I almost bought one--they were perfect.  On to the perfumery.  Here, the 6+ foot tall floral arrangements were impossible to capture without a wide angle lens--there were at least 40 of them, balanced atop each perfume counter, I imagined some lavish, royal wedding.  I settled for close-ups of the Calla lillies.  If the pictures above were whole, you'd see one of the dozens of impeccably dressed sales women standing with here with her arms folded, ready to politely remind me that I am NOT allowed take pictures here.  So we were off to Men's furnishings, where Greg found Dior ties at L100 a pop.  Oh, and I wish you could really see the opulence of the Egyptian escalator with it's uncharacteristically quiet shrine to Princess Diana and Dodi.  

Natalie, Natalie, I wish you were here! 


A good thought

Every relationship--husband and wife, parent and child, best friends, colleagues--is dependent on trust.  It is not possible to have a relationship with someone you cannot trust.  The only thing you can have with someone you can't trust is a strategy.    Sheri Dew,  Saying It Like It Is
Photo Credit:  Nicolas Moulin

A Magnificent Milestone

Our beautiful, smart, talented, tenacious, loving, generous, and truly gifted Jenny will graduate from the University of Utah on May 8th. It's been a long road with many unexpected detours, but she has determinedly stuck with her dream to graduate and we are so, so proud of her. Jenny, when I saw this video, it made me think of you. If you can accomplish all that you've just accomplished, you can do anything! 
JENNY, you are a ROCK STAR ! 
to see what you'll make happen next!
I think we should all meet here this summer for lunch.


Un peu de FUN.

Heather and Stephanie, I believe this post's especially for the two of you - and Cole and Cole.  I'm needing a little break from French practice.  My head is starting to hurt.   So, I wandered around the l'internet for a while and ran into this fun siterobotscrapyard's photostream  (yes, strange name, but if you love 'Uglies' you're gonna love it) on flickr It was just the fun diversion I needed.  (My studies must be working, I'm having a very hard time writing in English.  Not to infer that I'd be doing any better en français.  My poor little brain isn't sure where it lives right now.)  D'accord. Mon détournement est terminé.  Je retourne à  mes études.



Last Thursday morning when I left for the airport, my front yard looked like this:

24 hours later, this was my "front yard" . . . 

Came in on the the red-eye early this morning and (in just six days) my front yard now looks like this:


Snail's Pace

What a world we share.
You, me, these snails.
Jen captured them 
(with her cell phone!)
As she walked to work 
This morning.
With a click
They shot to the sky
And landed in my computer.
Through more magic 
I don't understand
Here they are
In yours.


While I'm out . . .

I'm going to be on the road (well, in the air too) for the next few weeks, so I'm going to let the old blog lie fallow for a bit. I'll try to post now and then from wherever in the world I might be . . .  Stick around, it'll be fun to see where I turn up. Maybe I'll find myself a Garden Gnome costume and pose for pics here and there.  A n y w a y . . .

Since I won't be an everyday kinda gal here on the Skinny Link for a while, I thought I'd post a fun little everyday something to keep you busy while I'm gone. (Devil's workshop and all that, you know.) This is really fun. You're going to love it. The Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia, in cooperation with a local television station, has been video tracking the nesting, laying, hatching, and feeding of a clutch of 
B A B Y  E A G L E S ! 
And for the benefit of Mr. Kite--and all of us out here in Internet Space, they have created a site which allows us to follow this miracle, LIVE!! (No! Really? Yes! Really! How cool is that?) I'll post a few pictures of what y'all have missed so far, and when you're done sighing over these, you can go HERE and watch the live action. (During daylight hours, natch. ) Have fun, and Abisynia!


For the past several days, I've been watching Edgar and Lenore build a nest outside my bathroom window. It's been fun to watch the two of them work together. Lenore seems to do a lot of supervising, but she also finds and brings in building materials for the project, too. Actually, the nest they've been working on was much more compact and tidy than what you see here. . .
This morning, I heard some very loud, urgent birdsong coming from the building site. My camera was downstairs (darn), but the call was so frantic, I skipped the camera and ran in to see what was up. There was Edgar perched on the side of the hummingbird feeder, his tiny talons grasping the chain, chirping his little heart out--in alarm.  It was immediately clear why. A big fat robin has taken over his and Lenore's nest! I watched helplessly as Edgar tried to scare him away, but it was no use. The robin must be four or five times Edgar's size. I wish there was something I could do.  Hopefully, he and Lenore will still have time to get another nest built before their eggs are ready to lay!
I hate to be judgmental, but old Mr. Robin appears to be a bit of a slob. And a jerk. Why don't you just go and find your own nesting site, mistah!

My little Brit.

This is our--Hawaiian born--Raleigh.  Delightful little chap, isn't he?  I'm not quite sure who 'Charlie' is, but his name seems to be integral to the production of this accent.


House hunting.

So, since Edgar and Lenore have been house hunting, 
I thought I'd put out this lovely model for their consideration.   
It's just a one bedroom, but it's in a great neighborhood--
just outside my family room window.  
(And, they can listen to conference!)  
They're still thinking about it. 
I'll let you know if they make an offer.

Are you kidding me?

This is what we woke up to this morning.  
Kinda gives new meaning to the phrase 
"Be careful what you wish for . . ." 
(Not quite exactly what I had in mind, ya know?)  

No, today's pictures weren't shot in black and white.


Hungry for summer

I am not posting this picture because of it's high photo quality.
It's here because of it's high I'm-longing-for-this qualities.
I'm ready to drink from the sprinkler
and walk barefoot across the lawn.
I'm ready to watch sun peek through the trees
lay in the hammock
wake up to bird song
feel sun-pinked shoulders
smell teriyaki salmon on the grill
listen to the stream and grand baby giggles
sleep out on the tramp,
hear crickets sing
and watch a distant star fling itself across the sky.
I am ready.  For.  Summer.

Right now.

Would the wind and the cold please stop already?

Photo:  Lincoln, Cardon & Lily, front lawn.
Way, way, waaaaaay last summer.


Swan Song

Over 30 years ago, when I was still single, I read somewhere that swans mate for life.  Unlike other birds, who are pretty indiscriminate about their choice of a mate (or even mates), swans stay monogamous throughout a lifetime.  I still remember thinking that this was the most romantic thing I had ever heard.  I loved it especially because I had seen so many marriages fail, and I ached when I saw the deep pain that came of these failures.  
So, when Greg and I first got engaged, instead of an engagement ring (we were pretty poor) we gave each other a simple, framed photograph of a pair of trumpeter swans, soaring side by side through a deep blue sky.  Right now, it's hanging in the hall right off the kitchen, and I walk past it several times a day.   For thirty years it has hung in our homes, from one end of the continent to the other, through some very rocky times and of course, many easy and wonderful days, and I've never let it become invisible to me.  I stand in front of it often, and remind myself how romantic it is.  I let it remind me of the unbreakable commitment, the covenant Greg and I made to each other when we knelt together at an altar in the Salt Lake Temple so many years ago.  
Once, when we were in Oiso, Japan on business, a young man, probably about 23-years-old, came up to me during our lunch break and ask if he could sit down at our table.  In his gracious Japanese manner and halting English he told me that he hoped to marry someday, but he was afraid.  His own parents were no longer married. Could he ask, please, if I could give him any advice?   How was it, please, that Mr. Link and I had made "such a lasting marriage of happiness?"  
I could see the sincerity and the hopefulness in his eyes.  I could also see the fear.  So we talked about swans and promises. We talked about covenants--serious promises that invite and include God in a marriage.  I assured him that if he would work to become a man who knew how to keep his word--not only with himself, but with God, he would also become able to recognize the woman who also knew how to give and keep her word.  It would take work, but if he would be careful to find his swan, the two of them could confidently create "such a lasting marriage of happiness."  

I have been stunned at the number of marriages that implode following the loss of a child.  But now that I've lived under the stress that such a loss places on a heart, I've come to understand the pain behind that statistic.  And I realize how blessed I am to have found my swan.  I was  reminded of this blessing on Saturday, when Greg volunteered to be the one to clean out Gavin's car. When he came back into the kitchen it was obvious he'd been crying, that the  job had been just as painful for him as it would have been for me.  But he did it anyway.  He did it because he wanted to save me from that pain.  He did it because in covenant with God, he had promised he would love me, and take care of me--forever.  Even if the sky got darker than he'd ever imagined it could and the winds blew harder than he'd ever imagined he could bear. He did it because he gave his word to me and to God that he would fly at my side, through any storm, forever.
I am so blessed.


On Snow and the Promise of Spring

Greg took this picture of Lone Peak the other morning, standing in his bathrobe, knee deep in snow, out in the front yard.  Soon these snow covered peaks will be skirted by the early green of spring.  Now there is my favorite part of any year: snow in the mountains and green here in the valley.  But we're still waiting for that shy season to take hold, and for the last three weeks we've had back to back snow storms.  Any snow country dweller will tell you: This can get depressing--especially after April has already whispered in your ear that she's here.  Of course, my early daffodils heard her and cheerfully shot up three weeks ago.  They've since been hit, over and over, by frigid and fowl weather, and when I walk to the mailbox I can hear them whimpering to me from under the snow.  They'll be fine.  The moisture is good--and we're piling up mountain snow pack which makes for a good water year.  When the good Lord sorts out his weather and decides to send snow, well then, snow's my choice.

General Conference was welcome and needed.  Nourishing and comforting.  To me, conference is like sitting down with a beloved brother or uncle, and feeling his tender arm around my shoulders.  I lean into him and ease back into warm words of wisdom and love.  This weekend, I drank in precious, healing waters I know Heavenly Father wanted me to hear.  He's been feeling after me and is concerned I know, but I'm still bowed down under the weight of grief come again too soon.  If I were a bird, the coyotes would have got me by now.  God understands this need to hide, I'm sure. He waits and watches, arms folded,  a patient smile.  He knows I'll find my balance and open up again, come out into the light.  I will.  Everything in it's time.
We cleaned out Gavin's car on Saturday.  Well, Greg did.  I love that man. Afterwards, I stood in the laundry room and hugged a shirt that Gav had left in his trunk . . . how long ago?  Long enough that his smell was missing.  I searched for it, buried my face in that shirt, tried to imagine it.  It wasn't there. But I could feel him in the thin, smooth cotton against my cheek, and I held him tight to my chest and cried.  Hot, yearning tears.  I don't resist them when they come.  In many ways, they're part of what I have left of my boy, and it's good to feel them on my face, taste their salt on my lips.

Today, I loved these words from President Uchdorf:

We need the refining lessons of the journey 
to craft our character 
and purify our hearts.


A good thought

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone . . . in our own home.  Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start.                               -Mother Teresa

Twitter Recall

Don't watch yesterday's video (4.2.09).  It stinks.  
This one is better.  And shorter. 
Which is mostly why it's better.  Of course.
Brevity is the soul of wit.


Real time twitters.

So, here's a video of the latest on Edgar and Lenore. Actually, there are two different pairs of house finches hanging around the feeder these days. I'll bet they're related to each other.  I know we had at least one finch nest in the yard last summer, so it's reasonable to imagine that more than one bird from the same clutch might return here to breed. "Hey, that Link yard was a pretty cool place to fledge.  Lots of trees, a feeder, a stream. Let's move there and start a brood.  You'll love it Lenore, I promise." We've found more than one humming bird nest tucked in the trees over the years. (Tiny, about the size of two golf balls, stacked.)   And there was that abandoned finch nest the painters cleaned out last spring.  I can understand the draw.  Greg and I came back to the mountains to raise our kids.    Come June, the meadowlarks will begin to advertise it over and over, "Al-pine is a pretty little town!"  I'm looking forward to June. 

It's been a long day. I've been battling with DirecTV, trying to get them to agree that my television isn't getting the signals it needs to let us watch TV and that my HD receiver really does need to be replaced.  I had another repairman (repairperson? well, today's was a man) here today for an hour and a half. He crawled around on the roof for a while--everything was good up there--and when he left, the TV was finally working.  But of course, tonight it isn't. Again. So I was back on the phone with Tech Support for another hour (not counting hold time).  Normally, no TV wouldn't be a big deal, but my eye isn't up to reading and Greg is so stressed, a little televised diversion would have been a welcome relief tonight. (It also would have been kinda fun to watch the final episode of ER.  Anyone catch it?)  Oh well. It's just TV.  I mean, really.  Just TV.  

But, sheeeez!  I've let my ego turn this into one of those "It's the Principle of the Thing!" situations. We've been having the same problems over and over for the last four months . . . we wait on hold and then do their phone assisted trouble shooting, and I crawl around in the dust behind the unit with the phone taco-ed between my shoulder and my ear and a flashlight in my mouth.  I block out days to wait for repair service calls.  And we continue to pay our bill . . . we even pay an added monthly 'insurance' charge for cryin' out loud . . . you'd think we'd have working service after four months of this hoopla. They certainly aren't giving us any kind of break on our monthly service fees, even while we can't watch TV.  And, or course, it's not really anyone's fault.  At least not anyone I've talked to or worked with.  They're just employees. What can they do? Welcome to the 21st century. When things are good, they're very, very good, and when they're bad they're awful.

I'm certainly pleasant today, aren't I? Think I'll go to bed. Let's see what kind of signal my dreams are receiving.


Snugglie Bugglie Time

Once upon a time there was a mommy who loved to rock her baby while they read stories together. Oh, how they loved to snuggle up with a good story!  They called it their Snugglie Bugglie time, and both Mommy and Baby thought it was just about the very best time of the whole day.  Then, one day, Baby grew big and a new baby came to live with him and Mommy. Imagine how happy they were!  Except for one sad thing. When they all tried to snuggle up for story time together, they discovered they had a SQUASHEY problem!  Oh no! Their rocking chair was too little for Sugglie Bugglie Time!  So Grammie went surfing and discovered this wonderful idea called the  Storytime Rocker.  

And they all lived happily ever after.
The End