Friday, October 09, 2015

Almost Mid October?

I'm a bit late writing my Friday Fave Fives.  Obviously I had a bit of a busy week.   But I like to hit the pause button and spend some time reflecting on gratitude.  Friday Fave Fives is a good way for me to do that.

1.  We had RAIN.  It rained 1/2 inch on the weekend!  I know, I know.  I am shouting about 1/2 inch of rain?  Really??  Well, here in our drought plagued West, 1/2 inch of rain is a treasure.  The geraniums loved it.  So did we all.

2.  That RAIN gave us a short respite from the heat.  Although the record breaking heat is back again (103F when I checked at noon), I loved the promise of November and December when our temperatures will hopefully drop into the 50s, 60s an 70s.

3.  During the weekend, I took my spinning wheel on Saturday and Sunday to Reyes Adobe and demonstrated hand spinning.  I enjoy the time chatting with other spinners, explaining the spinning of fibers to adults and children.  The Fave Bonus is that I actually get some fiber spun.  This is 100% llama fiber from a very dark animal appropriately named Ebony.

4.  I appreciate the staff at Reyes Adobe.  They plied us with water and offered us coffee.  Who wouldn't want to volunteer to work with these pleasant people?  In addition, they encourage me to sell my hand knit hats and even provide a little table to make sure the sale items are easily noticeable.  I sold almost all of the hats I brought!  (Generate Hope is going to receive another nice sized check from the proceeds.)

5.  A spinning friend stopped by one afternoon this week with a box and a bag and said, "Here, look through these.  It's all donated yarn.  Take what you want for your hats."  So I did.  Yeah, I realize that in knitting down my stash, I ought not to be taking in more yarn, but I will be spending the next few months replenishing my hat inventory, so I appreciate getting free yarn.

So that was Willow's Week.  I'd love to hear from you what blessings you experienced this week.

Friday, October 02, 2015

October Comes Crawling

A quiet week doesn't always produce exciting eye-catching photos or exciting news.  But it still can contain moments and occasions of appreciation and thankfulness.  Yes, we saw the lunar eclipse.  No, I didn't take any photos of it.  Yes, I drove past the beach.  No, I didn't stop and snap a picture.  It was just one of those 'I can only focus on today' kinds of weeks.   Here are Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Rather Quiet Week.

1.  We attended a neighborhood meeting one evening this week.  One of the topics discussed was the progress on securing portions of the hillsides which flooded last winter in the two rainstorms we had and produced horrific mudslides and damaged more than a dozen homes in our area.  I'm thankful that the city and the neighborhood are working together to protect our property and our lives particularly in anticipation of a record rainfall this winter.  [We need the rain.  I just hope it falls in small but steady amounts rather than in torrents.]

2.  My decision to cut a day of teaching from my schedule this year was a good one.  I have had time this week to just sit and relax, do some reading, actually finish my Bible study lesson.

3.  My grandson makes me laugh.  His little five year old mind spins waaay faster than his age and size might suggest.  He was talking to me on the phone and I just sat and laughed.

4.  Finished projects make me happy.  I had been procrastinating on doing finishing work on a few around twenty knitting projects.  I'm not a fan of weaving in the ends on hats or anything else, but I sat down on afternoon [see #2] and finished them all.

5.  Among those projects in #4 were some hats which I needed to mail.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, I just did it.  I stuffed those hats into padded envelopes and braved the post office crush.  But now they're truly DONE and gone to bless the heads of two people who will likely have a lot less hair in a few weeks than they do right now.

Of course, you can't leave this page without a photo, can you?  Here are a couple of pictures I took in other years about this time.  This is October in Southern California.  Ripe yellow lemons, crispy brown sycamore leaves, bright pink bougainvillea, and the ubiquitous palm trees.

Friday, September 25, 2015

On Autumn and Aging

We have passed the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. [Happy Spring to everyone below the equator!]  All over the internet, people are posting beautiful photos of red and orange leaves, pumpkins, warm sweaters, and cuddly blankets.  Here where I live [that would be what we affectionately call SoCal], we are bracing for more hot weather, Santa Ana winds {these winds are blistering hot as they blow from the Arizona desert}, and more wild fires.  No cool days for us.  No spiced cider by the cheery fireplace.  No cuddling under woolly afghans.  One good thing about all the sunshine and heat is that my rose bush likes it and presented me with three lovely blooms this week.

 As we enter another season, I've been considering seasons of my life.  Am I in the 'autumn of my life'?  Maybe.  I think it's important to maintain a positive and thankful attitude in every season and that's one reason I focus on Friday Fave Fives. Click on the link to join others who post their FFFs each Friday.

1.  This week I have been deep cleaning my floors.  By deep cleaning I mean on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor with a wet rag.  The fave is NOT the scrubbing.  What I appreciate is the fact that even though I am of a certain Medicare eligible age, I can get up and down and up and down and recover enough to do it again the next day.  Two more rooms to go...

2.  Have you read The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner?  This fascinating book makes my faves list this week.  I have been reading it during summer break and am nearly finished.  There is so much interesting and thoughtful material in it regarding how to live a longer and healthier life. [Daily activity like getting up and down from the floor multiple times a day is good for you and may keep your body limber and help with balance. So my floor scrubbing will make me live longer, right?]

3.  This week was the first meeting of our Small Group from church.  We hadn't met during the summer, so we enjoyed getting reacquainted with the others in the group. [According to Buettner, people who have community and faith also live longer, more fulfilled lives.  So I score there, too!)

4.  It has been hot, hot, hot here.  The grey foggy mornings are deceptive.

One would expect a cool rainy day, but, no, the fog burns off and the temperatures rise to the mid to high 80s and low 90s. That foggy moisture?  It hangs around and we have humidity which we are not used to.  I'm thankful for air conditioning!   And I'm thankful that I get an adequate daily dose of Vitamin D from the sunshine.  [We all know that Vitamin D is essential for health. I'm doing my part by being out and about in the heat and humidity sunshine.]

5. is a website that has lots of free knitting patterns.  I'm filling my knitting patterns file  on the computer with lots of sweaters and hats to make this autumn and winter.  Did you know that knitting is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp as you age? [Knitting helps prevent dementia, so maybe I won't lose my memory as I age.]

How was your week?  What are you doing to keep healthy and live longer?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Doors and Rain and Beaches and Students

Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives.
Hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story

1. Rain!  Did you hear that it rained in Southern California this week??  We really don't know what to do when it rains but we're always happy when it does.  This buzzfeed video made me laugh!

2. I teach homeschool kids how to write.  That's my job.  But teaching kids is more than just a job to me.  Teaching is my opportunity to 'change the world', to influence children (and their parents).  I love it when moms and older kids return to the upper classes and take the time to drop in and see me, give me hugs.  I check how tall they've grown--I'm always the shortest person.  When I greet the new parents, I hope I encourage the ones who know they have children with learning challenges.  Making a difference with these students is the real reason I teach and it encourages me to see the hope in their eyes.

3. I found this quote by Mother Teresa:

Let no one ever come to you
          without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness:
Kindness in your face,
Kindness in your eyes,
 Kindness in your smile.

4. How I love living near the ocean.  One evening, we took our dinner to the beach.  We sat in our car during dinner, then walked a bit to enjoy the sunset.

5. I have a thing for doors and gates and windows.  I love photographing them.  This week at The Professor's university, I walked past this door on the way to the library.  There's just something mysterious and at the same time inviting about doors, especially ones left ajar.

And you? How was your week?  Were there open doors, inviting sunsets, encouraging words?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Rec

I am an avid but very amateur gardener.  I've planted flowers and vegetables yearly for the past twenty-five years when I moved back to the US from Indonesia and settled first in Oregon and then moved to Southern California.  Along the way, I've collected a few books on Gardening.  Among my favorites for veggie gardening is Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening because I like the idea of intensive gardening and not having to weed.

Recently I checked this book out of my local library, and I'm hooked.

Believe it or not, I'm actually taking notes.  Brett Markham writes in an easy to read style and knows what he's writing about.  I don't want to become self-sufficient on 1/4 acre, but I am finding so many excellent ideas which I can implement in my tiny Willow's Cottage garden plot. He has a blog, too, although he doesn't update often.  I don't think I'll implement his ideas for raising chickens for either eggs or meat.  However, I'm enthralled with his instructions for building raised beds and trellises.  I *heart* gardening!  And I *heart* reading about gardening.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Walk on the Beach

There's nothing better than a walk on the beach  At sunset.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


I feel a bit subdued today, as should we all no matter where we live.  It's 9/11.  Never Forget those hours of horror as we watched people perish in the Twin Towers of New York and the Pentagon and on Flight 93.  Where were you that day?  Do you remember what you were doing that day?  I was on my way home from my first trip to Europe--Rome, Italy--I had flown with my daughter to LA and was waiting for my ride to LAX to fly home to Oregon.  Needless to say, I didn't make it home that day.

It seems odd and yet completely fitting to share the small blessings of this week with Friday Fave Fives.  For me, it's a tradition--Friday's blog post is Willow's Week in Friday Five Faves.  I still need to do that.  It helps, I think, as we remember September 11, 2001.

1.  It has been HOT here this week.  Temperatures have been in the high 80s and low 90sF.  And it's so dry.  The only consolation for the heat has been the stunning sunsets.  The evening cooler temperature is a blessing!

2.  We live on the edge of the rugged Santa Monica Mountains.  Regularly, we see wildlife hanging around or wandering through the neighborhood.  This week we saw a large raccoon on our nightly walk.  One day as I drove into the driveway, I startled a deer who had been browsing and grazing on the bank behind our house.  After I snapped the photo of the sunset above, I walked around to the back of the house and there was the sentinel daddy quail standing guard in the bush at the top of the bank.  Honestly, I think quail are the cutest birds alive.  I'm blessed to share my land with wildlife.

3.  This is my last week of summer break.  I guess it's not really break anymore since I've been spending hours every day working on lessons.  But in between I've run errands and been to the library and just sat at home and read.  I'm thankful for these last quiet days.

4.  After one long session with those lesson plans, I rewarded myself with a Pumpkin Spice Latte (soy, of course).  I buy one a year.  It was worth it.  (not my photo)

5.  I posted this photo of the two hats I made this week on facebook  (same photo I posted here yesterday).  Lots of people 'liked' it and one friend made a comment [The leaves are perfect!]  which got me thinking... I'm going to knit this pattern with orange and brown leaves.  More inspiration!

These, my little blessings, are what filled my week.  Obviously, it's not a complete list of what I am grateful for--the Labor Day dinner with friends, the small group meeting at our home on Sunday night ought to be included.  I am thankful that this weekly Fave Fives helps me Remember God's Grace and Blessing to me.