Friday, February 27, 2015

Bye, February!

Wow. The second month of 2015 is done.  I don't think I'm keeping up very well.  I'm even late with my Friday Fave Fives.  Here are my 'stop and breathe and be thankful' moments from this week.

1.  Fave!  A hike with my hubby!  Between the three or four grey days this week, we have had beautiful, brilliant, sunny days.  One of those sunshiny days we decided to hike in Hill Canyon (again).  Before, we have always walked in the canyon, but this time we trekked up the side, navigating the switchbacks to get up to the top.  It was worth the walk!


2.  Fave!  Did you notice the yellow dots?  Those are correopsis flowers, a California native spring blooming bush.  Evidently you can't take too many photos of blooming correopsis.  I had to cull through and only choose a couple pictures.  Love these flowers!




3.  Fave!  Did you see the musical video of the llamas on the loose in Sun City, Arizona?  I laughed out loud the whole way through!  Love those llamas!


4.  Fave!  Some new reading and dreaming material.  A lady in my Tuesday Bible Study group gifted me some knitting books and patterns.  Since she no longer knits, she wanted me to have them.  Ones I won't use I will pass on to other knitters.  Yay for new knitting ideas!

5.  Fave! Another walk, this time by myself in the hills above my neighborhood.  Lured onto the trail by the sight of more correopsis, I followed the trail above the dry creek bed to capture more pictures. 





No, you can't take too many photos of these wonderful spring blooms.  They will be gone in a week or two so I enjoy them while I can.


A little bonus bloom:  lupine

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More February Fave Fives

How was your week?  Can you even watch the news any more?  I take a deep breath and focus and CHOOSE to be thankful, to not take life and beauty for granted.  Friday Fave Fives helps me do that.  Thanks to Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for providing this venue each week.

1.  After almost completely ignoring my garden for the past several months, this week I have been able to spend a bit of time out there.  This is what I found.  The first California Poppy is blooming in my garden!


The lavender and Point Sal sage are growing chummy and attracting the honeybees.



2.  I have been knitting through several skeins of wool yarn.  Around here in SoCal, people don't wear wool.  It's too hot.  So this yarn is being made into hats to give away.  I'm almost done.  Eleven more hats finished.  The fave is really double--I use up my stash and I can bless other people.





3.  Lent began this week.  It had kind of sneaked up on me, and I wasn't prepared.  Usually I choose something to 'give up', to focus my attention somewhere.  On Thursday, I was still pondering it when I had an interaction that brought everything together.  A young man who lives on the other side of the world and who I have never met in person has been part of our lives for more than ten years because we sponsored him through secondary and technical school in his home country.  Now he lives a long way away and keeps in contact with people through our amazing world wide access to social media and other internet venues.  My communication with him deeply touched my 'mother's heart' and I immediately realized that my Lenten focus is supposed to be increasing my prayer times for my children and grandchildren, including this grown up orphan who is making his own way in the world.  Having found an unused notebook, I decided to write the Bible verses which I am praying for them.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I can do this small thing for the children of my heart.

4.  I know that I have mentioned my TA and how much I enjoy her.  But she just keeps on blessing me each week with her attitude, her conversations, her talent in helping in class.  How can you not love a coworker who enters the room and exclaims, "I'm so happy to be here this morning!"  And she brought me a scone and an Americano.

5.  A little love from Phoenix showed up in my messages.


So that was Willow's Week!  So full of blessings!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I *heart*

Last week was just one of those weeks when there was simply too. much. to. do. Writing lesson plans exhausts my brain, so there was not much bandwidth up there to spare for blog writing.  Fortunately, my work load was much lighter this week--maybe there is a little itty bit of spare brain to use on documenting the blessings of the past two week with my  Friday Fave Fives.

1.  First and most endearing is this story.  At least a month ago, I was wearing my favorite turquoise earrings and LOST ONE of them.  I know it was just an earring.  But I really liked this pair and I had made them myself.  I knew I had been in three stores that day so after arguing with myself about the silliness of it all, I finally went back to each place and asked if anyone had found an earring.  No luck.  I resigned myself to it.  I was still disappointed.  I was sad.  Here's the amazing part:  on Sunday morning, we stopped by our local Starbuck's and grabbed a cup of coffee on the way to church.  One of the barristas, Ashley, called to me and said that she had been looking for me for awhile.  She handed me my earring!  She had found it, remembered I had asked about it, and saved it to give me.  Ashley's dedication to service blessed me so much!  It made my whole week!



2.  We're having a heat wave.  The temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit which has made pushing myself out the door for a walk so much easier.

3.  Spring is truly here in Southern California.  We had rain last week so the hills are green and the flowers are popping up!  The yellow coreopsis and  the poppies and the lupine are blooming!  I know it's hard to see the small patches of poppies and lupine in these photos but they're there, gracing our parched and stony mountainsides.  I had to zoom in quite a lot to catch the poppy patch.



Closer in, the poinsettias and bird of paradise are easier to photograph.



4.  I am making more progress on knitting through my yarn stash.  Last week I posted an update on the hats I made in January.  Since then I've added another eight hats to the pile.

5.  Those magical words---"I'm heading down for a visit.  Can you pick me up at the train station?"  Son #2 is coming!  Can't wait!

Bonus:  It's my daughter in law's birthday!  She was born on Valentine's Day, and we *heart* her and the joy and love she has brought to our son.

Monday, February 02, 2015

What I'm Knitting

Last summer I began this hat on our cross country road trip.  Quickly I realized that focused fair isle knitting is not ideal car travel work.  I put it away and finally pulled it out over Christmas break to finish it.
100% bamboo yarn
size 6 needles.


After a hiatus, I returned to knitting these flower fair isle socks.
100% wool
kind of my own pattern since I found fair isle designs I liked and used them with a basic sock pattern
size 3 dpn



More hats for the NICU
I turned in 7 little bitty hats and then finished these two last week
acrylic baby yarn
size 3 dpn


In my efforts to use up my yarn stash, I have been knitting hats from 100% wool,  Around here, no one wears wool hats, so these will be gifted to charity, specifically this organization.  It hurts my heart to know that there are children anywhere in the world who are cold and miserable.  I can knit them hats.








I am also working on another shawl.  No photos yet.  It's silk and alpaca handspun (by me).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The End of January? Already?

Can it be the last days of January already?  This first month of 2015 has flown by.  I am glad I have the Friday Fave Fives to make me stop in the whirlwind which is my life and give account of the blessings of the week.


1.  After way too many months, I finally finished this shawl.  Made from my handspun alpaca fiber, it is something with which I'm quite pleased.  The finished and blocked size is 26 inches by 84 inches.  The pattern, Bird's Nest Shawl, can be found in Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle.  The recipient, she who I call 'the world's best neighbor' looks lovely all wrapped up in it.

2.  My mother taught me by example to notice and appreciate the beauty in the world around me.   I'm not usually one to rise before or with the sun.  In winter, it's a bit easier since the sun lies abed later.  I do love watching that busy old fool, unruly sun, gliding over the hilltop behind my house and pushing through the high fog--if I'm awake.


3.  Truly, I'm more likely to be attentive and appreciative of sunsets.  The mountains across El Camino Real to the south glowed with gold in the sunset.


And to the north behind my house, the setting sun highlighted the rock outcropping which stuck up from the green grasses.


4.  January is nearly finished.  I will need to trim the mandarin orange tree.  So the last few ripe fruit will be eaten this week.  I try to ration them out because I love them so much.


5.  My dear friend, The Blueberry Lady, dropped by and delivered---blueberries!  Freshly picked and frozen by her, these berries are now in my freezer and waiting to be consumed with my breakfast cereal.  As much as I love my local blueberries, handpicked with love, the best part was sitting and chatting and sharing a cup of tea.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Books, Birds, Birthdays and Veggies

This week's Friday Fave Fives is focusing on the little blessings that I noticed throughout the week.  Nothing profound or particularly significant.  Some weeks are like that, and that's OK.

1.  The Professor's car has been been at the mechanic's shop so we have been sharing my car I have been driving him to the university.  I am always struck with the beauty of the campus with its California mission architecture and its signature 'bell tower'.   I'm thankful that his place of work is so pleasant. (And his four classes are full with waiting lists...)


2.  I love where I live.  Did you eat any fresh vegetables this week?  Those vegetables might have come from my county.  These cabbages are growing in the fields between our neighborhood and the university.

 Support Ventura County agriculture.
Eat more cruciferous vegetables!

Are these little lettuce plants?


A lemon orchard


3.   Even the herons love living here.  Finally, there's a bit of water in the river beds.


4.  It was Son #2's birthday this week.  He is a remarkably content young man.  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and his reply was simply, "Nothing.  My birth and life is gift enough."  I think I'll take him out for Ethiopian food next time he visits.

5.  I discovered that my Thursday TA loves Elizabeth Goudge's books as much as I do.  Whenever we chat between classes or at the end of the morning, we discover more and more reasons we just 'click' as people.  It's a great blessing to have a congenial and dynamic woman to work with.  And obviously, if she reads Elizabeth Goudge's novels, she's a perceptive, brilliant, discerning reader, too. Right?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunshine

These photos are especially for those of you who are snow bound in northern places where the sun refuses to shine.  May they cheer you up!  All of these hills were burned in The Springs Fire in May 2013.  Since we have had some rain this winter, they are now verdantly green.





Just so you know, not every day is sunny.  This morning's fog covered the entire Oxnard Plain and shrouded the Santa Monica Mountains.