Friday, June 26, 2015

Whirlwind of Travel

We've been home for three days from our road trip. Suitcases are unpacked.  Laundry is washed.  House is clean.  I think I'm rested.  It's time to resume normal activities such as Friday Fave Fives--that time of the week when I review and recount with gratitude what has blessed me this week.

1.  Going from most recent to most distant-- today is The Professor's birthday!  Happy Birthday to my husband of almost forty-two years.  He still makes me coffee in the morning; he still makes me laugh every day.  And he's still cute.  Here we are with my brother and sister-in-law on the Columbia River in Oregon.

2.  Brother and his wife share a wedding anniversary with us.  So whenever we are together at any time near the date, we celebrate!  Happy Anniversary to us!  Our day included a visit to the End of the Oregon Trail exhibit, and drive up the Columbia River Gorge to Bonneville Dam and dinner at McMenamin's, a popular pub chain which buys and renovates awesome old buildings and sells awesome beer.

3.  Visits with friends.  On our 2,500 mile trip up the West Coast of the US, we connected with several people from our past.  Church friends, High school friends.  College friends. And family, of course.

4.  We managed to carve out one day to get out and hike.  I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and lived there for a dozen years as an adult.  But there are so many places I never knew existed.  Like Canema--a very early native American settlement and later a pioneer community just upstream from the Willamette Falls in Oregon City.  In fact, my sister-in-law's mother lived there as a child.  I never knew.  So we decided to explore the nature park there.

Look!  Water.  Lots of water!

And green stuff growing!

5.  What precipitated this trip?  It was the graduation of our son from Stanford University!
[If you scroll down, you will find more photos of this momentous occasion.]
PhD in Anthropology

Dr. Mike

And now, we are home for a bit and waiting expectantly for the imminent arrival of our PAL and her parents for a birthday visit to Bapa!  Happy Weekend!  Let us count our blessings--safety, friendship, beauty.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Doctor Mike, that is!
My #2 Son graduated this weekend from Stanford University.  PhD in Anthropology.

Are we proud parents?  Oh yes!

Many people are celebrating with us.  Last night, I posted these photos on Facebook and  as of the time of writing this post, there were 150 'likes'--a combination of my friends, The Professor's friends, and Doctor Mike's friends.

[This also explains my lack of commenting on other blogs.  Sorry!  Gone traveling.  Be back soon.]

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Here and There

Mostly there.  I did not intend to be gone  a lot this past week.  It just happened.  But I am thankful that, since it's summer, I have the adjustable schedule which allows me to change my routine.  These are the events that stand out to me this week and for which I am thankful--wherever I was.  
The Fave Fives of Willow's Week.

1.  On Sunday, my friend asked me to help her by driving to LAX to pick up her son because she is not used to driving in Los Angeles traffic. I happily agreed.  It was a great time to spend with her and then to get acquainted with her son.  The traffic was OK except for the fact that all ramps for the 405 and 101 freeway interchanges were closed.  It's a good thing I know my way around the San Fernando Valley.

2.  Then the next day, Monday, I turned around and went back down to Los Angeles.  An email from Daughter #1 informing us that she had an unexpected business trip to Southern California prompted us to set up a visit with her to view the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at California Science Museum.  No photography allowed.  I snapped this photo of the banner outside the exhibit.

3.  Then, since I could, I accompanied Daughter #1 to Hungtington Beach (again) even though The New Boy wasn't with us.  (He's visiting his auntie and uncle and cousins on the east coast.)  She worked.  I played.

4.  Rain!  One morning, we woke to more than usual June Gloom.  It was downright cloudy and misty.  The Professor reported that there was real rain at home.
Southern California beaches aren't always sunny.

Surf camp never gets cancelled.

5.  Although I did spend some time watching and listening to some work related videos/audios and writing up notes (and knitting, of course), I enjoyed a couple of beach walks.  Oh, how I love the beach!  I added a few shells to my collection.  I am enchanted with the colors of all the different types of shells.

It's always lovely to have precious time with my girl who lives so far away and to know she is thriving in her new job.  And The Professor was able to drive down for one night and hang out.  Knowing she is back home safe and sound after another full day of travel is comforting to her mama.

I think next week will include some travel, too.  It's that time of year....

Thursday, June 04, 2015


June is a pleasant month!  Some weeks it is harder to focus on Five Faves, but this week the Friday Fave Fives just jumped out of the week for me.  My week included but was not limited to these faves.

1.  Berries and BYOD.  Friday afternoon, we drove out to our friends' blueberry ranch bringing with us dinner.  We had decided on a berry picking expotition with BYOD afterward. (BYOD:  Bring Your Own Dinner)  The blueberries have begun sharing some of the acreage with blackberries, so we were able to sample some ripe ones and pick a few handfuls which we have been enjoying on our breakfast cereal in the mornings this week.  As always, we loved the company of two our oldest friends as we shared news of children and what we have been learning of life.

Dessert included sherbet and sorbet with--of course--berries.

2.  We live in a part of Southern California which surprises people.  Although we are only about fifty miles from downtown Los Angeles, we live in a prime agricultural area.  One afternoon, we hiked up the hill at the edge of our neighborhood where we could see the large fields of produce being grown.  Yes, those are cacti adorning the hillsides.

Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

3.  June Gloom.  May Gray has given way to June Gloom.  We joke that this is the time when Southern California weathermen take their vacations and simply mail in their weather forecasts:  "Early morning coastal fog and low cloudiness, giving way to sunshine later in the day."  That's June for you here, and this week has been exactly that.  Those days always end with incredible sunsets.  I love our June weather!

4.  Arts Alive.  Our community artists who are part of this group of  galleries and studios had a weekend event.  Since some of them are members of our spinners and weavers guild, we were invited to participate and demonstrate our spinning and weaving.  A wonderful time was had by all, including me.

5.  Finally, I finished this shawl, Blossoms by the Brook.  I spun the fibers and knitted it last month.
Particulars, if you are interested.
Yarn:  one strand of natural white llama and silk blend, one strand of silk dyed with indigo
Needles:  size 8
Although the shawl is knit with silk and llama and is quite warm, because it is really a 'shawlette', it is perfect for wearing on foggy summer mornings and cool afternoons.

These are some of my favorite parts of Willow's Week.  Blessings are found in life as we live it.  Do share your best blessing of this week!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

End of May Blessings

It was a slow, slipping into summer week.  I love it.  The blessings were just simple ones, but I am still grateful.  Here are the Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Week.

1.  Checking stuff to do off our to do list.  Deep clean one room a day.  Check.   Clean out and organize shed.  Check.  Daily exercise--bike rides, walks.  Check.  I love summer!  Our summer schedule is 'our schedule'.

2.  Did I just write, "I love summer"?  Waking up in the morning and reciting, "Let's see.  Today is the Saturday we call Thursday!"  It's so relaxing -- and we really need that after our crazy spring.

3.  One thing I love to do is putter around in my little garden.  This week I repotted my chocolate mint.  It had become root bound, so I pulled it all out and replanted it.  There were enough leaves on the bits that didn't go back in the pot to make a yummy cup of tea.  Served with a couple of ginger cookies, it was the perfect afternoon snack.

4.  I also started an experiment.  I'm a huge fan of ginger root tea.  Because I can purchase great fresh ginger at the farmers market, I always have a supply on hand.  In fact, this spring, I had a bit extra which began to sprout.   I got to wondering if I could grow ginger.  I did some research and finally decided that if it doesn't work, it's not a big deal.  It's an experiment.  Here is my pot--we'll see....

5.  I love being able to bless someone else with something I am not longer using.  We had some moving blankets stored in our shed and decided to let them go.  I posted an offer for them on my resource exchange group and a family who is moving out of state this weekend jumped on my offer.  The dad came by today and picked them up.  Win-win.  I recouped a small portion of  money from my investment in them and gained some more room in the shed, and they have padding for their furniture for the move.  I threw in a couple of boxes and some packing paper--Yay!

How was your week?  Any blessings?

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!