Thursday, July 17, 2014

Routine Week

Having been home in our own place for a full week, I am beginning to feel rested and centered again.  Life takes on its usual routine which can be so very comforting.  It's also great to be back on my usual Friday Fave Five schedule (thanks to Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for hosting).

1. We visited a new Wednesday farmers market in town because the market was closed on Saturday for our Camarillo Fiesta Days which is held in the same place.  Some of the Saturday vendors were there and greeted us like long lost friends.  Sprouts, carrots, lettuce, broccoli were bought (and consumed).

2. We have resumed our big clear out and declutter which we began before we left on our road trip.  We've pulled out bags of stuff--clothes, old towels, and the like.  Oh, it makes me happy to have more open space in closets and drawers.

3. Part of the clear out included our storage shed.  We finally made the decision to let go of our back packing packs.  We haven't used them for years.  I listed them along with some quart canning jars and a lovely solid wood quilt rack on a local resource exchange site.  Today they are gone, and I'm $60.00 richer.  I love the double win--declutter and get cash for it.  And the buyers were thrilled to get a good deal.

4. This week on Bastille Day was our wedding anniversary.  When you've been married as long as we have, you don't need all the fuss (we never did; we're quiet people), so we drove up to Santa Barbara and visited the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens.  We've been there before but wanted to stroll again through the native California garden along the famous Mission Creek.  In fact, we bought ourselves an anniversary present:  a year membership to the garden so we can visit as often as we want.

5. Back to our anniversary---I am a most blessed woman.  We have had a wonderful and long marriage.  We both possess a refined sense of adventure and that has worked well for us--we've lived in crazy places and done crazy things.  We share the same goals to live as true Christians and share the same beliefs.  Sometimes people ask us for advice for a successful marriage.  We have two suggestions.  1) Don't take everything seriously.  Laugh a lot.  Like every day.  2) Don't make everything a hill to die on.  It is guaranteed that if everything is so important that you make it a hill to die on, you will die on a hill.  Give a little, or a lot.  Choose your battles.  Happy Anniversary to The Professor and me!

A fun snapshot.  I was trying to photograph the wild flowers as we were driving through Cimarron Canyon in New Mexico.  What I got was a surprise.  Prairie you see them?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

Friday, July 11th.  I've missed a few Friday Fave Fives because of our travels.  There's SO MUCH to catch up on!  Here's the link to FFF at Susanne's blog.

1.  Home after 6,845 miles and 4 1/2 weeks.  That is a fave on so many levels.  We *heart* traveling, but it's great to be home.  (cleaning, laundry, garden, meetings...)

2.  Projects finished.  I knitted 25 hats and gave away 5 of them.  I also made The New Boy his afghan.  By the time we reached home, I had knitted my way through all but 3 works in progress I had taken on the road trip.

3.  Wonderful memories of visiting people and places.  Here's a list of the US states we drove through, in order:  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Lousiana, Alabama, Florida, Alabama,Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally back to California.  We visited children and grandchildren and siblings and cousins and friends.  Oh my.

4. Favorite town.  At least this week as I sort through photos.  Taos, New Mexico.

World Heritage Site: Taos Pueblo

St. Francisco de Asis church in south Taos

5.  Special knitting projects to keep me busy the rest of the summer.   Infant size Plain Vest by Pickles--with a little hat.  Pink?  Yup.  For a new little PAL joining our family in October.  Excited?  Yup.

It's SO GOOD to be back with the regular schedule of Friday Fave Fives!

Friday, June 27, 2014

On The Road 2

I've been absent from Friday Fave Fives hosted by Susanne for two or three weeks.  When I travel and have uncertain internet access, sometimes it just doesn't work.  But I'm back again.  Not from my road trip, back on to Friday schedule.

1.  Road trips involve long periods of enforced sitting in one spot.  For me because I'm not the primary driver of the vehicle, this can either feel like prison confinement or like extended relaxation.  I choose extended relaxation.  Mostly in the form of knitting.  I planned carefully and brought way too many several projects which were in some stage of progress.  I even made a word document on the laptop to keep myself on track.  I had fifteen projects listed and nine of them have been crossed out.  Hats, more hats, accessories for knitted bunnies.  I didn't include on the list the afghan I am making for The New Boy which is nearly finished. (Photos to come)  I am fortunate that I am one of those people who can read or do projects in a moving car.  Good thing, too, because I don't do well with confinement.

2.  We are seeing so much of the southern United States again on this trip.  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, (Tennessee and Kentucky again), and Ohio.  What's the best part?  It's two, really.  First we love visiting new places.  So far, my favorite new spot was Santa Fe.  The colors really are the vibrant tan, turquoise and orange that you see in pictures.

3.  The other favorite part is spending time with my little ones.  Of course.

4.  Hilarious conversations.
     New Boy:  Meema, I'm an omnivore because I eat meat and plants.  Are you an omnivore?
     Me:  No, I'm an herbivore.
     New Boy:  What's an herbivore?
     Me:  I only eat plants.
     New Boy:  I'm an omnivore.  I love chicken.  Chicken makes my tummy soooo happy. {Pause}  Can we go to McD....?
     Me:  No.

     New Boy, after perusing a science/biology book:  Meema, did you know that BABIES are at the top of the food chain?  They are predators and have NO predators that eat them.

5.  Yesterday was The Professor's birthday.  He did four of his favorite activities, all in one day:  visited an arboretum, had coffee at Starbucks, wandered around a museum, and finished up the day with an outdoor play with his wife, his daughter and his grandson.

There is so much more that I just can't put in to Five Faves!  One last photo of a Florida sunset.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We Found Our Way to Santa Fe

So, here's why it's been quiet around here lately.  No posts because I've been living life in the passenger seat of the CRV.  We did pass through Santa Fe on our way east.  From Phoenix, Arizona, you drive north past the Mogollon Rim to Flagstaff where you catch Interstate 40 which in places parallels Route 66.  Meandering along the still existing portions of Route 66 makes The Professor a happy driver.  Santa Fe, New Mexico was our first destination.  Two nights camping at +7,000 ft elevation in mid-June=it was a little cold.  But it was fun.

I've always wanted to visit Santa Fe.  There is SO MUCH history there.

We visited San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the Continental United States.

The interior is of course similar to that of the California missions.

I found this deer hide tapestry which was created in the 1630s fascinating because it reminded me of the tree bark paintings from Papua, Indonesia which we own.

Another historic building is The Palace of The Governors.  As you might expect with The Professor as a companion, we spent a few hours there.  The Palace of The Governors was first public building erected and occupied by the Spanish in 1610 as the northernmost outpost of the Spanish Empire in The New World.

Santa Fe is not simply an historical destination.  It is also a spinner and weaver's (and knitter's) paradise.  Even the walls along the downtown stream advertise spinning and weaving.

There are (at least) two weaving shops/studios in the downtown area.

On the edge of the plaza is Handwoven Originals, a small shop where handwoven items are created on location.

The lovely lady at Handwoven Originals directed us to Miriam's Well (Santa Fe School of Weaving) which is owned by Miriam Leth-Espensen.

After wandering through Santa Fe museums, plazas and streets for hours, we decided we needed some coffee.  So we googled 'coffee' and, huh.  Up popped Coffee and YARN!  We couldn't resist.

Yarn and Coffee--the perfect combination.  In the same place.  He drank his coffee and read a book.  I sipped mine and knitted a pink hat.

There was SO MUCH MORE we saw in Santa Fe.  Architecture.  Art.  More later...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gardens in Phoenix

We have been visiting family in Arizona.  They know we love gardens, so they arranged for trips to two spots.*

*Disclaimer:  photo rich post.

The first one was Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park near Superior.  When we arrived, the temperature outside was already over 100F.  That didn't stop us.  It slowed us down some.  But it didn't stop us.  This arboretum did not disappoint.  We walked about 1 1/2 miles mostly in the sun with some stretches in the shade.  Although a creek runs along the edge of the gardens and a pond lies in the middle, this is mostly a desert garden.

One way to keep people on the trails

Since evidently we hadn't had enough of the sun and three digit temperatures, we continued on to Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  By this time we were hot, hungry and thirsty, so we didn't stay long, and I didn't take as many photos.

If you ever have occasion to visit Phoenix, I hope you will enjoy these two gardens as much as we did.

Friday, June 06, 2014

On the Road

Welcome to Willow's Cottage Friday Fave Five.  This is the On the Road June 2104 edition, issue one.  As usual, I am linking Friday Fave Fives to Susanne's blog.  Here are Willow's five points of thankfulness:

1.  One positive result of having your home tented and fumigated for termites (besides being rid of the termites) is spending two nights away with friends.  One night last week we stayed at our neighbors' beach house. (Those termites were why we were out at Hollywood Beach.) The next day we drove to the Beach Cities of Los Angeles and slept at another friend's home.  We had been planning to meet up with the mommy and daddy of our favorite pit bull buddy, but it just never worked out.  So instead of fussing about being evicted from our house for two nights, we found the blessing--time with friends.

2.  Walks on the beach in LA--we loved the beaches in LA when we lived there.  It's always great to stroll along spots where we have made so many memories.

3.  BYOD evening with our BFFs.  A few months ago, we set up BYOD--Bring Your Own Dinner get togethers with our friends.  Our busy lives sometimes keep us from inviting friends over for dinner.  You have to clean. You have to cook.  Enter BYOD.  It's so easy, and no one has to work hard to make a meal which accommodates every one's choices.  Everyone is relaxed.  We sat down at the table, and three hours later we had not moved to the living room or even to the patio.  Perfect!

4.  Now we're gone from the Cottage again--off on another adventure, an expotition.  We had intended to simply leave the house empty.  It's not an issue in our community.  Neighbors look in on each other and we always tell our close neighbors when we'll be gone.  But when another friend asked if she could house sit, we took her up on her offer.  Win for her, win for us.

5.  That adventure?  YES! Another road trip!  We were on a bit of a tight schedule because the work on the house cut significantly into our prep time, but we made it on to Interstate 10 heading east  and blew through metro LA with a minimum of traffic problems which is a significant issue any time you drive around Southern California.  Now we're in Arizona hanging out with The Chaplain and his wife for a few days.  Be prepared for more photos like this--cactus, sand, beautifully sculpted mountains, and wide open blue sky.

And here are bonus jacaranda photos--
By the time I return from points east, the purple splendor of those towering trees will be a distant memory.

A street lined with jacarandas~

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Friday always means Friday Fave Five here at Willow's Cottage.  No matter what has or hasn't happened at home or on the blog, my Fave Fives are an anchor in my week.  Susanne has been posting Friday Fave Fives for a LONG time, and I love participating because it forces encourages me to focus on thankfulness every week.  So, here they are.  My Friday Fave Fives:

1.  World's Best Neighbors.  They just put themselves up yet another notch on the list.  Due to work needing to be done on our house, we had to vacate it for a couple of nights this week.  Enter Best Neighbors Ever.  They offered to let us stay in their beach house over night.  And the place comes complete with close proximity to Hollywood Beach.

2.  Lunch out.  A friend invited me for lunch this week, let me choose the restaurant.  We chatted and had so much fun we will be making plans to meet up again this summer.

3.  More Clearing Out.  It's a great feeling to see the difference in the cottage.  So. Much. Lighter.  And it motivates me to keep on clearing.

4.  Jacaranda trees are blooming.  I think I mention these flowering trees every May.  All year they just grow and act boring.  THEN.  In May, they bloom and it's glorious.  Purple flowers in the trees, purple flowers high in the sky, spent purple petals on the ground in parking lots and streets and gardens.  I had thought jacarandas were California natives, but no, they're not.  Evidently, they're native to South America.  Wherever they originated, jacarandas certainly love our mediterranean climate.

5.  You can never have too many flower photos, right?

That's Willow's Week Wrap Up.  And I leave you with one quote:  'Thankfulness can chase away a thousand thoughts of shame.'  Emily P. Freeman