Friday, August 26, 2016

Winding Down the Summer

Can it really be the end of August and the end of summer?  Many kids I know (including my littles) are all back in school.  It seems like this week 'just happened' with everything winding down slowly.  All week I thought about Friday Fave Fives and watched for 'those moments' of blessings which I always know are there but I forget to acknowledge them.  So here are my Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Week.

1.  This week the mornings have been perfect for sitting outside with my coffee.  What can be more calming than watching the monarch butterflies and the tiny hummingbirds flitting and flying around the garden?

2.  All of the floors in our house are vinyl tiles which look like tile (I love the look!), but we do have a couple of large area rugs.  So this week, yes, we cleaned them.  The Professor runs the cleaner and I run around wiping up the water around the edges.  We make a great team, we both get a good workout, and our rugs are clean.

3.  I had work done in my mouth by an oral surgeon.  What it comes to dentists and all those guys, I'm a baby.  But this doctor did everything just right to help me, and my time in the chair of torture was very limited.  Win. Win. Win.

4.  The Professor for the Win, too.  He drove me to the surgeon's office, stayed there, drove me home and even bought me soy ice cream.

5.  University classes begin next week, so The Professor has been on campus a few days for faculty meetings.  It's just now beginning to sink in that I'm not just on summer break now--I'm really retired.  I'm excited to plan my days and weeks now with projects, but not too many of them.  Those times spent in the garden (see #1) have been focused on just how I want to do this retirement thing--sifting through my thoughts, making goals.


Friday, August 19, 2016

This Week in Five Faves

We are nearing the end of summer break for The Professor.  In fact, he has ridden his bike to the university campus a couple of times to spend the day in his office.  It definitely feels weird to not have lesson plans looming over me, to not be thinking subconsciously all the time about source materials, assignment sheets and checklists.  But I think I can deal with it. {insert large smiley face here}  The weeks are different in summer and in retirement.  Every day but Sunday feels like Saturday.  Indeed, The Professor calls Monday the First Saturday, and Tuesday Second Saturday, and so on.  It takes more effort for me to focus on getting something done and also on remembering what happened on Fourth Saturday.  That doesn't make it any less important.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives.

1.  My Garden.  I consider my little garden to be a place of serenity and calmness.  This week we planted a couple of fall crops-- dinosaur kale and red carrots.  I do love me an experiment.  The kale I planted in the spring and yes, it does grow to dinosaur size.

2.  Butterflies and Lizards.  The monarch butterflies are hatching.  It's a good thing it's that time in their life cycle because the caterpillars have eaten every green thing off my three milkweed plants.  Finally, I caught a photo of one.  They fly and flit around constantly after they hatch because they are trying to dry their wings.


And the lizards are so cute.  Here is a baby lizard.  He couldn't have been more than 1.5 inches long.



3.  Yarn.  The movie.  One evening our local yarn shop sponsored/arranged for the showing of an indie film titled "Yarn".  The Professor and I decided we'd make it a date--dinner at our fave Mexican restaurant (Sharky's) and then drive up to Ventura to watch the movie.  I was amused that of course I saw many of my guild friends there, but most of us had knitting in our hands or our bags.  An added bit--there were a surprising number of men in the audience and not all of them were husbands accompanying their wives.

4.  Cooler weather.  This week our temperatures have been Ventura County perfect.  I know so many people are either very hot or very cold, but here it has been high 70s, morning coastal fog to keep things cool, sunny days after the cloud cover breaks and evaporates.

5.  My computer desktop screen rotates photos from my files.  This week one appeared from the trip we took to England several years ago.  So I looked back at those files and 'relived' our trip.  I love the memories!  Bath, England.



Bonus quote of the day:  "The problem with a good book is that you want to finish the book but you don't want to finish the book."  So true!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

On My Walk Today

What I saw on my walk on the hill above my house.  This morning it was sunny, mild and breezy, just perfect for a quick trek along the deer paths through the dead dry bush and grey stones.  I came across a white beehive which had honeybees hovering around it.  I had no idea there was a beehive up there.


These pink blossoms were actually quite small and about the only things blooming on the hillside.


As I neared the area where sprinklers were watering the ivy (yeah, ivy isn't my idea of a great option either), I noticed brilliant orange flowers arranged along vines which were growing out among the ivy.


I'm not sure what this plant is.  Now I have a fun project--identifying the mystery vine.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Fave Fives in Mid August

It's Friday and I am posting a bit late as we were out on Thursday for a long long day.  Better late than not at all, right?  Especially when it comes to being thankful.  So here are my Friday Fave Fives.  The link to others is HERE.

1.  Lunch with a friend.  She was my Precepts Bible study leader and we attend the same church. In addition, we are sort of in the same time of life, so we have lots in common.  Starting at the lunch place, we continued our conversation over coffee.  We just had so much to talk about--we still weren't done. There's always another time...

2.  The hat I knitted for that sweet little one was happily received.  Big brother was standing nearby, so I asked him if he'd enjoy a hat too.  He replied, "Yes, please!" {so polite!}  Brother chose a World War II watch cap in navy blue.  It's on the needles now.  I love knitting for people who appreciate it!



3.  Speaking of knitting, the World's Best Neighbor asked me for some knitting advice.  The result is that I have a new scarf project.  I'm making her pattern with her so we can compare notes.  Details:  sock yarn, size 7 needles.


4.  We went to the county fair again this week, this time as revelers not workers.  I love the theme!  We truly are a country county although we share a county line with Los Angeles County.  And we truly do have ocean air at the fair.  The fair grounds are literally across the bike path from the beach and you really can smell the ocean as you stroll down 'main street' (unless you're right by the bbq place!)


5.  First time ever at a fair:  a vegan option advertised on the menu board.  I think the clerk was a bit amused at my enthusiasm.


That's it for Willow's Week.  Summer is winding down although the temperature isn't.  I hope you have a great weekend and find many many blessings in your days.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fairs, Museums, Birthdays, and More

Hello!  Welcome to Willow's Week in Friday's Fave Five hosted by Susanne.

1.  Reagan Library and the Vatican Splendors.  We spent a lovely day with friends at the Presidential Library and the special exhibit from the Vatican.  So many highlights!  So many moving moments and displays.  But everyone's favorite is always Air Force One and Marine One.



2.  Much of my week has been focused on preparing for and working at our county fair.  Our guild has a booth and I worked there demonstrating spinning the first two days.



(Did you notice the blue ribbon?  Our exhibit earned first place in our division, and we also received an award for education.)

3.  One of the days, (probably because we won the awards), we were featured in our local newspaper.  Every year, every day of the fair, one of the reporters does a story on some part of the fair.  His stories are always fun to read.  Who knew that he would come interview US?  Here's the link to videos and article.  I think everyone enjoys Tom's columns because they're funny and not about negative stuff in the news.

4.  Best news ever:  Son #2 sent a message saying, "Just got my seat.  Almost there!"  and then, "Shutting down over here."  And finally, "On the ground."  Back in the USA!  He has been away all summer researching but is back now.  That makes my mama's heart happy.

5.  In other children news, two had birthdays this week.  Although we can't celebrate in person, we always make sure we all communicate our love and felicitations in calls, emails and texts (and cards or packages delivered by USPS).

How was your week?  I hope you found many blessings!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Monarchs of the Butterfly Kind

See?  They really do eat everything.





There are one or two caterpillars left on the milkweed plants now.  The rest of them have waddled off to build their silky sleeping bags.  According to google, the butterflies will emerge in ten to fourteen days.  In the meantime, I am cajoling the milkweeds to start again and produce more leaves.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Five Faves and a Bonus

All of a sudden, I realized, "It's time for Friday Fave Fives"!  What happened to the week?  Because it has been a bit unusually warm here, I haven't been paying as much attention to what day it is.  Mostly I've been staying inside enjoying the AC.  However, the week has had many blessings besides the air conditioning.

1.  Lunch with The Professor's sister.  We live in the same town, and sometimes it's just fun to hang out together.  The three of us ate our favorite burrito place after church services on Sunday.  I'm truly blessed to have a fun and witty sister-in-law.

2.  During the summer our church does 'Wednesday Night Dinners'.  We assemble and enjoy a meal together.  Everyone is welcome and there always lots of visitors.  This week, it was Taco Wednesday-the food was fantastic.  And then the evening was topped off by a concert by a local Blue Grass Band Brush Arbor.  It was great!

3.  I was sitting near a mom and her little daughter.  The four year old was mesmerized by my knitting needles.  So I offered to knit her a hat.  She was so cute.  "Any color hat is fine," she said as she smiled shyly.  Finally, she decided that light blue would be fine.  So now I have some light blue yarn and I'll be casting on for a sweet girl's new hat.

4.  I've been trying stay motivated and busy even in the heat.  So I have declared the rest of the summer as 'Focus on One Area' Time as I declutter and clean around the house.  Right now I'm focusing my attention on PAPERS.  I discovered a couple of file folders that could be passed on to the people who will be taking over my classes.  Also, I cleaned up a bunch of random papers on my desk.

5.  The sweetest part of going through the papers was rereading a bunch of cards and notes from my students.  I know I don't 'need' to keep them, but reading them gives me great joy, so I keep them.  If you had been  a little bird in the window, you would have heard me saying, "Awwww."  And "Ohhhh, sweet."  And "Sniff, sniff."  I think I'll keep them forever.

A little bonus--my milkweed plants have been thriving, which is a good thing since this week the monarch caterpillars are back in force--I counted nineteen of them on my four plants.  Fortunately there are adequate leaves for those ravenous things to consume and they have been doing just that.  The milkweed doesn't LOOK like it's thriving, but I know that as soon as the caterpillars depart and make their cocoons, the plants will put out more new leaves.  I spotted one butterfly hatched out already.  I love hosting the monarchs in my garden!