Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Time

Let the summer break begin!  Here are my Friday Faves for this first week of My Summer!

Flags on Ventura Pier

1.  Last Friday evening, we met up with friends who live in Los Angeles.  Usually, they drive up here (to do things like help us move!), but this time we met in the middle, in Calabasas, where there is one of our favorite restaurants--Sharky's!  They have The. Best. Burritos!

2.  The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle (Contest) Festival was awesome!  I spun yarn and demonstrated spinning techniques for hours and hours.  My favorite part is talking to the kids and explaining how long it takes to clean the wool, spin it and then knit it in to ONE pair of socks.  And I produced more than one full bobbin of Cowichan wool yarn.  (The link can give you some information on the kind of wool I was spinning--if you care.)

3.  Safe trip to Santa Monica.  I needed to act as chauffeur for a friend who was having a day surgery in Santa Monica.  Although the occasion wasn't great fun, we both enjoyed our drive through the Santa Monica Mountains and along the beach on Pacific Coast Highway.  After all, how many people can state that they drove to the hospital on PCH?  The extra part of the fave was, yes, safety in Los Angeles traffic.

4.  I've been knitting a small shawl using some handspun silk yarn dyed with indigo and a natural white llama and silk yarn, also handspun, one strand of each.  Finally, I got the hang of the pattern and am almost finished with it.  Every once in a while I enjoy a knitting challenge.  [Once it is finished and blocked, I'll post a photo of it.]

5.  The Professor posted his grades, and now he's on summer break!

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 15, 2015

More Faves in Mid May

Whoa.  It's mid day on Friday already.  I did begin a Friday Fave Five post last night but didn't finish.  There is a lethargy that happens at...

1.  the end of the teaching year!  Yes, yesterday was my last class. While I love teaching writing skills to children, I also love the free time of summer vacation.  Usually, I allow myself a day or two to relax before I tackle the very last part of my teaching year--the last set of compositions to correct.

2.  Another reason and a FAVE  which actually causes more lethargy is Rain!  I'm a native Oregonian.  You know what that means.  We Oregon natives have webs between our toes.  We don't tan; we rust.  When days are cloudy and dark and it's raining, we hibernate because we think it's winter.  Well, evidently, Southern California is having a uncharacteristic weather-- rain and thunder storms in May.  The Oregonian in me shows itself and I go into 'winter mode' which means hunkering down inside with a hot cup of coffee which also means I'm feeling lazy.

3.  All the years we lived outside the US made us much less aware of American holidays.  In Indonesia, we didn't celebrate Fourth of July or Thanksgiving.  Mother's Day and Father's Day at that time weren't a big deal.  Even now, I don't get all 'expectant' about it.  All I care about it that my kids check in with me which they all did.  That made the day complete for me.  An added bonus was lunch with The Professor's sister and our nephew.  We might have sat on the outside patio/courtyard of the restaurant for two hours...

4.  Time in my garden.  Lettuce is ready to pick. Tomatoes are ripening.  Basil is growing.  As a Mother's Day gift to myself (with The Professor's agreement), I bought some "color spot flowers".  Usually I don't plant non natives or annuals in the garden.  These are in pots.  I think I might like pink and purple.

5.  Can anticipation be a FAVE?  I hope so.  This week I received my comp tickets to The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival.  Every year our handweavers and spinners guild is invited to participate as demonstrators.  It's my favorite venue to do this!  Can't wait for Sunday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

What's In My Garden This Week

Mid May is making its mark in Willow's Garden.

The Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are turning -- gold.

The herbs are healthy.
Sweet basil is just waiting to be thrown into a pasta dish this week.

Slowly making its comeback from near death over winter, the chocolate mint is pushing out a few green  and aromatic leaves.

In the lavender patch, a honey bee is busy collecting pollen.

Since this is Southern California, the ubiquitous California poppies are blooming their hearts out after a mist of rain last weekend.

This bougainvillea lives in a large pot by the front steps.  Even after ten years, it still produces beautifully.

A new addition to the back bank this spring, this California native plant, chocolate daisy, is bravely establishing itself in the clay soil.

The prayer of a gardener
Thirteenth Century Cisterian monk Guerric D'Igny

Lord Jesus:
You are the true gardener;
You are its creator and cultivator,
And the guardian of your garden.

You plant the seeds by your words,
You water them by your Spirit
And you make them grow by your power.

Lord, who is allowed into your garden,
Becomes himself a well-watered garden
That keeps growing and blossoms,
And its fruits are multiplied.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

May Flowers

What a week.  Again.  It seems like spring is always spent going full speed ahead.  This week did.  But.  We survived.  And now it's Friday.  Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.
Here are my Fave Five from Willow's Week.
[Insert small note: as I am typing this, it's RAINING!  Any amount of rain is a miracle which we so desperately need.]

1.  I love poppies.  They just pop up in my garden--well, it is the California state flower, after all.   I picked a tiny bouquet and brought them in to the kitchen.  They're wonderful while they last--but poppies don't work well as cut blooms--within a day they had all wilted and dropped their petals.

2.  Sunday was the annual local hospice sponsored Garden Tour.  This year's chosen gardens were...undistinguished.  We had expected more focus on water wise, drought tolerant gardens considering the dreadful state of our lack of water here in Southern California.  Still, it was fun to wander around other people's gardens.  I did notice a color theme.  Lots of orange, terra cotta, and green.

3.  Also on Sunday afternoon, we grabbed a bit of lunch with The Professor's sister and her two sons.  Since our own children all live far away, we especially appreciate the time we can spend with our nephews and their little ones.

4.  Once a year,  the performing arts dept at the university presents "Arts Under the Stars, a free evening of outdoor art, music, film, theatre and dance performances by CI students."  Dragging our blankets, jackets, caps and chairs with us, we joined the throngs on the lawn in front of the university library and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

5.  Lunch with one of the nephews after teaching one day this week.  He works near where my Thursday classes are held.  He recommended Thai food, and I happily agreed.  And at the same time, some legal advice and information.  It is so very useful to have a lawyer in the family :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy May Day

It's May First.  Happy May Day!  Warmer weather, winding down the school year. prepping the garden.  It's also Friday and time to pause in this stress filled week and ponder reasons to be grateful.  Large and small blessings.  It's all good.  Here are the Friday Fave Fives of Willow's Week.

1.  I admit to being entranced with my resident reptiles.  This little guy is a western fence lizard.  We greet each other on the patio or sidewalk.  Fortunately, he's not poisonous.

2.  I'm not an adventurous cook, but I found a recipe that incorporates both tofu and kale in a yummy baked spaghetti.  This one I like!  Compliments of Hummusapien.

3.  A unexpected whirlwind trip brought The New Boy and his mom back to California just two weeks after their Huntington Beach trip.  This time, the occasion wasn't joyous--a funeral.  I joined them on the trip--just a four hour drive, an overnight, and another four hour drive back.  The New Boy was a trooper.  On a lighter note, he discovered what you can do with a piece of fruit and a permanent marker.  Meet the menagerie.

4.  I love spending time with my daughter, no matter the circumstances.  Can I just say how proud I am of her?  I should have named her Charis (Grace in Greek) or Mercy.  And of course, it was so crazy I didn't get a single photo of her.

5.  I love the little things that catch my eye on a busy day.
Tiny shamrock flowers.
Not large enough to really count as flowers for May Day, but they're so sweet.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April Is Moving On

Hello!  It's Friday!  That means Friday Fave Fives at Willow's Cottage.  It's been a crazy week.  I'm not sure why, but it just was.  Maybe it was the two evenings we spent at the university listening and watching the performing arts students present their capstone programs.  Oh, and the new small group from our church is meeting on Tuesday nights.  Yeah, busy.  So I'm a bit late writing my Fave Fives, but I am nonetheless truly grateful for the opportunity to look back over my week and CHOOSE to be THANKFUL.

1. Medical people.  A friend of ours has been in the hospital for a week.  Finally home, he is still needing a doctor's care.  I am thankful that we have excellent health care and especially modern medicines like penicillin which heal infections.  It's not something we should take for granted.

2. Evidence of spring.  When the jacaranda trees bloom, we know it's really spring!

3.  Funny captions.  My sister-in-law, knowing my love of all things yarn related, sent me this picture and comment.  She is a quilter and mentioned she had seen the same photo with a caption about fabric.  It made me laugh.

4. Adorable students.  I assigned my writing students to write about someone they admired.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many of them wrote about their dads.  So sweet.

5. One of my classes challenged me to write the same assignment.  So I did.  And guess, what?  I wrote about my dad!  Here is what I wrote.  I'm truly thankful I had a great dad.

            I admire my father.  My dad whose name was Frank was very tall.  He was six feet two inches.  By the time he was six years old, he was taller than both of his older brothers.  Like me, Dad had light blond hair, fair skin, and bright blue eyes.  Dad grew up on a dairy farm in Southern Oregon where he learned to drive a tractor before he was a teenager.   When he was thirteen, his father died, so he had to help more than normal with milking the cows and caring for the crops.  He told me he didn’t enjoy helping his mom in the kitchen, but because he did, he was an excellent cook.  During World War II, my dad joined the Army-Air Force.  Unfortunately, he became very ill and suffered permanent damage to his heart, but that didn't stop him from choosing to live a happy life afterward.  Ever since I was a tiny girl, my dad has been my hero.      

 I admire my dad for many reasons.   Obviously, although he was ill most of his adult life and spent much time in the hospital, he still worked hard.  My earliest memories of my dad are of him reading to me.   Every night, he would sit next to me on my bed and read me a book.  I still own some of those bedtime story books we read together.   Since he was not able to attend college which was a great disappointment to him, he insisted that both my brother and I finish our college degrees because he knew that education was very important.   He was our best supporter!  Additionally, he hoped I would become a teacher and encouraged me in that endeavor.  Some people called my dad stubborn.   But I called him determined.   He was so stubborn that he lived to be eighty years old!  All my life I will remember my dad and how he loved me, taught me determination and was my champion. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When You're Seven

There is so much to do and see in Huntington Beach, California when you're seven.

The sand and surf provide unending adventure.

Bolsa Chica Nature Reserve has birds, more birds and even more birds.

Huntington Beach is a famous place for surfers.

There are always pods of surfers playing in the waves just offshore.

Mr. Seal, Mr. Seagull and Mr. Pelican are hoping for a handout.  Fish, please.

When you're seven, Huntington Beach is the perfect place to spend spring break.