Friday, July 20, 2018

First and Foremost

Do you know the slogan "Safety First"?  That's my mantra this week.  Safety.  Five days.  More than 1,900 miles.  Three states.  And back again.  My Five Faves for Friday are basic and the same.  I haven't even had time to deal with photos yet.  Tomorrow?

1.  We were safe.  Day One of our trip we drove from home near the Pacific Ocean to eastern Arizona.  Temperatures ranged from 61F to 105F.  Altitude changed from 200 feet to 6,910 feet.

2.  We were safe.  Day Two we met Dr. Mike in north western New Mexico to convoy in to Chaco Culture National Park and promptly missed our UNMARKED turn and got lost.  After hours and hours of traveling on washboard ridden dirt roads we arrived at our camp.  Before we were finished setting up our tents, it started to rain.  And it rained for six hours.  But.  We were safe.

3.  We were safe.  Day Three.  Trip out of the park and back in.  This is not an easy drive.  Chaco Canyon is truly in the middle of NOWHERE.  But we also had time to visit the important sites of ancient Chaco culture--the great houses and kivas.  It rained again, but that thunderstorm was fortunately of short duration.  But we had food and water and shelter.  We were safe.

4.  We were safe.  Day Four.  We said a sad goodbye to Dr. Mike as he headed back to Santa Fe and we turned our car toward the west.  Washboard roads.  Vast lonely landscapes.  Actually, rural New Mexico is beautiful.  Finally, we arrived safely at Chaplain Dan's house in Arizona and were greeted with glee and hugs and kisses by our PAL!

5.  We were safe.  Day Five.  Believe it or not, our PAL is now old enough to begin preschool.  We were offered a tour of the place where she will be attending beginning next month, and then we shared an early lunch.  About noon, we bade her and her parents farewell.  Another day of altitude changes, extreme weather and heat and LA traffic, and we arrived Home.  We were safe.  We are always thankful for safety on our trips.

And it was worth every minute, every mile, every adventure.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Firsts on the Second Friday in July

I had several FIRSTS this week and want to celebrate them here and share them with others at Friday Fave Fives.  Although it was a quiet ,slow and (for us) very hot week, I found ways to stay cool and engaged.

1.  I finished my FIRST set of hand woven tea towels.  With help, I cut them off a large floor loom and learned the correct way to hem them.

2.  I even pulled out my sewing machine for the FIRST time in a long time to finish up the hemming.

3..  I warped my FIRST loom!  This ten inch Cricket Loom is designed for weaving scarves, mostly.  My friend walked me through the process while she was warping a second one.

4.  For the FIRST time I visited my friend's studio for the group knitting/spinning/weaving afternoon.  I had been to a pre-opening event but hadn't been in since it has opened.  Threadbender Textiles is a store/studio which teaches weaving to special needs young adults. They are learning a skill and then have a venue for selling their creations.  I'm sure I'll be back.  Eleanor tried a bit of spinning, too.

5.  No photo for this, but I made a vegetable lentil soup with this year's FIRST potatoes from the garden.  It contained carrots, kale, basil, parsley and rosemary from my garden, too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


June and July have been/are months to finish projects.

I have had this afghan on my needles for several months a while.  Made with some leftover grey, cream and very bright yellow acrylic yarn (Simply Soft), the blanket sat around in a drawer waiting for me to find another skein of the yellow to finish it up.  I couldn't find the right color in any local store in my area.  So when I went east in the winter, I first raided my daughter's stash but that didn't produce quite enough yarn in that brilliant yellow.  Finally, I found a skein in one of her craft stores.  It still took a few months for me to remember to pull it out and finish it.  The color combination looks okay although the yellow isn't really my color.  Most likely, it will end up on my daughter's sofa because she loves these colors.

I spent several evenings practicing my weaving on my new to me loom.  The result is three tea towels.  Don't ask me the EPI because I don't know.  A friend warped the loom for me and I just followed instructions.  Over the weekend I cut the towels off the loom and then pulled out my sewing machine to hem them.  For a first project they are okay.  Don't look too closely.

On the needles right now are hats (of course) and a new bunny which I'm knitting for a friend.

Friday, July 06, 2018

The Best From the Beginning of July

Good Morning!  It's Friday!  Here is Willow's Week in Fave Fives.  I always link to Susanne where we all share our best memories from the past week.

1.  As I was searching for a file on my computer, I noticed a folder that was labeled My Children.  Hmmm... what was in it, I wondered.  When I opened it, I was taken back to my children's early childhoods when I saved memories of their little comments and antics.  It was a delight to read.  For example, my two year old daughter stated, "Daughter, Mother, Father.  Dan is not a sun. Sun is in the sky."  My number two son loved 'Pink-n-Robbins' ice cream.  My youngest girl thought that popsicles were “popagatah-gatah”.   That may have been a mixture of Indonesian and English like my older sons' statement, "Tidak go!"

2.  The Fourth.  We stayed home, shared dinner with World's Best Neighbor, then walked up to her place above us and watched the fire works.  I love 'quiet' holidays.

3.  Speaking of World's Best Neighbor, on the weekend we celebrated her late husband's life at his memorial service.  He was originally from

Britain and that showed in all the memories and photos and comments at his service, including reminders of his humor.  We were privileged to be his neighbor for more than a decade.

4.  Mutual friends had moved away but returned for his service so we were able to host them and spend an evening out at an Irish pub with them.

5.  I *heart* my garden!  Evidently, I'm really good at growing lavender and rosemary.  One small lavender plant yielded three bunches of lavender to dry.  And my rosemary TREE has overwhelmed the rest of the garden.  Out it has to go.  So I started a new rosemary plant in a pot and it's thriving, too.

What best things are you remembering today?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

Two Week Catch Up

June has been a busy month.  We've traveled a lot of miles.  I want to share for my Friday Faves Fives some highlights from our travels.  So here are Willow's Weeks (two!) for sharing my favorite things from the the past fourteen days.

1.  On our return trip from the Pacific Northwest, we skirted around San Francisco (yeah, been there, done that) to spend just a couple of hours with our Army Reserve Chaplain son who was at Moffet Field doing some training.  How amazing is it that we would intersect there for just one afternoon?

2.  That evening we stayed in Marina, California, which is a little town near Monterey.  Monterey is famous; Marina is not.  But I found that little town to be delightful.  One reason we were there was to visit the former site of Ft. Ord where The Professor 'enjoyed' many hours of Army training back in the day. The Army fort is closed now and is the site of California State University, Monterey Bay.  Visiting the campus was a walk down memory lane for him.

3.  Then the next week. Chaplain Dan and his family drove out from their desert home to visit friends in Orange County.  So of course we hopped in our car and joined them one day at the beach.

I should warn you--following are some extremely cute and sweet pictures, so if you need to be careful of cuteness overload, please proceed slowly.)

Our water baby headed straight for the beach!

She loves playing in the surf with her daddy.

Hey guys! I found a cave!

4.  After a day of rest back at home (you need that if you navigate the LA freeways), we drove to LA and met them at the Los Angeles Farmers Market.  The best part (besides being with them!)?  The whole reason we chose to have lunch there:  the Singapore Malaysia Indonesian restaurant Banana Leaf!  The BEST 'es cendol' in LA! (Es cendol is a drink sort of like boba tea)

Perusing the menu

5.  We had intended to visit the La Brea Tar Pits in West LA, but on a whim, we changed our minds and drove farther west through Beverly Hills and Bel Air to the Skirball Museum because during the summer it has free admittance for all military and their families.  Skirball Museum is another one of those small gems that may not be well known but has marvelous exhibits.  PAL's favorite was the Noah's Ark interactive exhibit.  It deserves its own post--so much creativity!

See why I was not in communication much?  I was having too much fun!  Happy weekend to you all! And remember to stop and think and be thankful.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pacific Northwest

I grew up in the Pacific North West part of the United States.  Normal for me was rain all winter with a bit of snow thrown in.  Forests of fir trees. Mountains topped with snow year round.  Flowing rivers.  I thought everybody was familiar with tall green trees and white towering mountains until I moved away.  Every year I try to revisit my roots mostly because my brother still lives there, but partly because the forests and mountains call to me.

The sound of water tumbling over rocks and logs in a rushing river is seldom heard where I live now among the arroyos and dry creek beds.  Sitting by a stream in the summer sun is music for my soul.