Friday, October 17, 2014


I have the best reason in the world for showing up late for Friday Fave Fives.  How could I say anything about my week without making THIS my best, first fave?

Introducing my new little PAL.
Born on Monday evening.

We drove out to Phoenix Thursday afternoon and immediately ran upstairs to see her and hold her.  Oh, she is adorable!  Everything else about our week dims into insignificance.

However, in accordance with finding five faves in my week, I will add four more...

2.  Music.  On my way to work, I get a little bored in the car.  My brain tends to subconsciously move to singing.  I never know what song is going to pop up.  This week it was How Great Thou Art.  I felt like I was channeling George Beverly Shea.  Surprised that I remembered all the words to at least two verses, I sang all the way to work.

3.  More songs.  Saturday and Sunday, I spent many hours demonstrating my spinning craft at Reyes Adobe Days in Agoura Hills. Across the courtyard under the grape vines, the fiddler was singing and fiddling.  One favorite of the audiences gathered around was The Streets of Laredo.  Okay, I used to sing that song when I was a kid.  But I just realized that I originally learned the lyrics from The Smothers Brothers.  I never knew these weren't the real words.

I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy;
You can see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy, too;
You can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys;
So get yourself an outfit,
And be a cowboy, too.

So now this song is alternating in my brain with the much more lofty hymn in #2.  Thanks to my posting these lyrics, you can join me in the endless Smothers Brothers Streets of Laredo song loop.  You're welcome.  

4.  Whenever I can, I offer my hand knitted hats for sale.  This weekend exceeded my expectations.  I sold all but ten hats!  Generate Hope is going to get a substantial donation.

5.  More PAL LOVE

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2014

My First World

As I sit at my computer and ponder what are the five best things of my week, I'm hard pressed to decide what to write.  Today I am having deeper thoughts than normal.

Do you know that term people bandy about--"First World Problems"?  I live in a First World country although I haven't always lived here.  I've been considering First World privileges which I don't always value.  I am reminded this week as I write my Friday Fave Fives to be thankful for my First World privileges.

1.  No one shot at me this week.  Now, I've been around 'hostile guns' before, particularly when I was living in Los Angeles.  So that's not just a 'Third World' problem.  But sometimes people will ask me about my day, and I simply say, "No one shot at me today.  It's been a good day."  They look a little startled ,and then they laugh but with an understanding that, 'Yes, we live in a safe and secure spot in the world'.

2.  This week, I took showers with HOT running water.  The water was clean and warm.  Truly, it's a luxury.

3.  My clothes are new(ish) and clean.  The washing machine and dryer did their jobs, and they weren't squatting at the side of the stream scrubbing the shirts and slacks.

4.  I ate my fill of fresh fruits and vegetables.  In fact, I ate my fill of all the food I desired.

5.  Oh yeah, about that clean water.  I drank lots of it.  No need to boil it before I drank it or used it to brush my teeth.

Also, I have the amazing privilege to own a camera and take photos whenever and wherever I want.  Here are three for your enjoyment--just random pictures from my files.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Eric at Rethinking the Dream posted a few paragraphs this morning on his blog which got me thinking.  He in turn had been inspired by Faith at Minimalist at Home.  Basically this chain of reactions is about 'what do you love sometimes and therefore can do without?'

Of course I have my list.  Photos.  I have a love/hate relationship with them because organizing all the old family photos overwhelms me.  Dishes.  I inherited many tea cups from my mother and grandmother.  I use my favorite mug for tea.  Then I thought of yarn.  Do I love yarn sometimes?

I think I love yarn all the time (or I love almost all of my yarn all the time).  The yarn I don't love at all leaves the house quickly or never makes it in the door at all.  The rest of the yarn--I love.

As I pondered the why of my loving yarn, I realized that I love yarn because all I have to do is mess around with it a bit with my hands and a couple of sticks, and wa-lah!  I have a hat

 or a cowl or a sweater

 or gloves

or a bunny! 

 And these are all useful things.  I love yarn because it is always, ultimately useful.  I can give up the dishes, (some of) the books, the clothes.  But let me keep my yarn.  I love it always, not just sometimes.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

October One

Friday Fave Fives with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story...

The crisp, bonfire, autumn month of October.  It's filled with pumpkins and orange and yellow and brown.  Except here in SoCal where I live.  Today it was 99F, and yes, it was hot.  Those winds from the desert east of us, Santa Ana Winds, were blowing.  While everyone else in the more northern latitudes in North America is facing FALL, it feels like high summer here. Most of the time I am thankful for my mediterranean climate even though we don't participate in the typical autumn cooler days and possibly rainy evenings.  As I sit here sweating with the windows open to catch whatever breeze I can, I am looking back on my week, considering my blessings.

1. An email received from the mother of two former students just letting me know they miss being in my class and still consider me one of their absolute favorite teachers ever.  Made my whole week right there!

2.  Thai food from the restaurant has been keeping us fed for FIVE DAYS!  We ordered two extra dishes when we ate there on Sunday and with our own rice to supplement, the leftovers have lasted us for the whole week.  I appreciate not having to cook while we are in this limbo state of housing.

3.  Of course, if this is Willow's Cottage, there will be fiber related activities.  Currently I am crocheting.  This time it's a granny square blanket for our new little one who is going to make her appearance THIS MONTH!  Will I finish her blankie in time???  I am thankful for a bit of extra time this week to focus on making our little PAL's cuddle blanket.

About half done with the squares
100% mercerized cotton by Tahki Stacy Charles
Size G hook

4.  A real live hand written on paper letter!  Recently I have been corresponding (don't you just LOVE that word?!) with a long time friend from college days.  We've been writing each other LETTERS.  LETTERS WITH STAMPS. LETTERS DELIVERED BY THE POSTMAN.  I received one this week.

5.  Finally, I want  to wish my granddaugher a very Happy Birthday!  Eight years old!

So this has been a recounting of the Five Blessings from Willow's Cottage this week.  Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Autumn, Happy Weekend

Here at Willow's Cottage, it has been a Super Busy Week, this first week of Fall  The reason for our overwhelmingly crazy week was that we have moved all our possessions into storage while a major renovation is happening at our house.  I've been so tired, I've been falling asleep holding my knitting needles or my book--just nodding off.  I'm certainly looking forward to a quiet weekend.  But before the weekend begins, I want to share my Friday Fave Fives hosted by Susanne--a necessary part of my week to keep me accountable for maintaining a heart of gratitude.

1.  While we are 'displaced', the world's best neighbors have offered their primary home to us while they 'vacation' at their beach house.   We are able to be right 'next door' to our property while all the changes are happening and we can be on hand to keep an eye on the progress. I mean it, these two are truly the BEST NEIGHBORS EVER!

2.  Two other friends answered our plea for muscles and showed up on two Saturdays this month to help us move big things like pianos and bookcases and beds into the storage pods.  BEST YOUNG, STRONG FRIENDS EVER!

3.  My former TA, Miss P, came over on Saturday and helped me pack up the last minute items like the refrigerator food and the pantry.  We work together well, having had two years of practice in the classroom.   BEST PACKER EVER!

4.  This school year, I have two different teacher assistants assigned to three of my classes.  Partly, they are in class to observe and learn the program I teach, but mostly they just help in whatever way I ask them.   I truly appreciate their help and input in making our classes run smoothly and efficiently.  BEST TAs EVER!

5.  Our mechanic is fantastic.  He is experienced.  He's honest.  This week he gave me great advice on a automobile check up and changed my windshield wiper--for free.  BEST MECHANIC EVER!

I am so thankful for these people who act selflessly and kindly in our lives.

And again--I am dipping in to the archives for photos... four years ago this weekend, we were in Northern California--Humboldt County where we both have roots...celebrating The Professor's high school reunion.  It's a place of rolling surf and fog, gigantic Redwood trees and hanging moss--so very different from where we live now.

Happy Weekend!  Be Blessed!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More About Natchez

A little more about Natchez, Mississippi.

 It's at the southern end of the Natchez Trace where groups from the north gathered to begin their return trip after having ridden down the Mississippi River in flatboats or larger vessels.

Lovely gracious Southern homes abound in the old down town area.

Another point of interest in Natchez is the Great Sun Ceremonial Mound.  Here is a link to more information about the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and the Ceremonial Mound.

Boys and Girls, that is your history lesson for today.

Monday, September 22, 2014


I missed a number of days of posting a daily photo.  Hopefully, I can resume and stay on track.

Mississippi River
seen from
Natchez, Mississippi