Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Adventures

Wow.  It has been quite a couple of weeks.  Not much down time for blogging, but lots of time for family!  Here is a catch up Friday Fave Fives.

The mid Atlantic East Coast is a lovely place.  But the time spent with family was the best.  Within two weeks, we spent days with all of our grandchildren.  That never happens!

Hiking in the woods.  While the children played in the water, The Professor and I escaped for a hike in the woods.  What I love about Not-Southern-California nature hikes is the shade provided by the tree canopy.

Annapolis, Maryland.  The Professor had never been to Annapolis, so we took an excursion there one day.  The children were mesmerized by the harbor filled with boats and jellyfish.

The adults enjoyed the history and architecture.  Annapolis was at one time the capital of the United States and is still Maryland's state capital.

Train museum.  It was our wedding anniversary and we were asked what we wanted to do.  Why, visit a train museum, of course!  Hurry!  We have a train to 'catch'!

Train heaven!

Getty Villa.  After returning to the West Coast, we quickly prepared for a visit from our PAL.  On her list of places to see was the Getty Villa since her Auntie Mimi had never been there.

Seashore.  Little desert girls need a seashore visit, too.

Willow's Two Weeks Away were filled with adventures and children!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

An East Coast Sojourn

I am writing from my daughter's living room.  Last week, we were visiting Daughter #1 (Older Daughter) and this week we journeyed even farther east to Daughter #2's home (Younger Daughter).  This is a yearly (or more frequent) event, this visiting east coast family.  These are my Friday Fave Fives for this week.

1.  Of course, I always have to state that my first fave in traveling is arriving safely.

2.  Time with our grandchildren.  We picked raspberries and fed horses at the farm of a friend's friend.

3.  Theater in the Park.  We watched The Countess of Monte Cristo.

4.  Hiking in the woods

5.  I love visiting places where there is lots of green!

(Next post--photos of other grandchildren!)

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Midsummer day was bright, sunny and quite warm here at Willow's Cottage.  This week's Fave Fives* include just normal activities.  I like weeks like this and am thankful that it's peaceful and quiet. *link to Susanne's blog so you can participate if you would like.

1.  The Professor and I attended a thank you brunch for volunteers at the county fair.  We do enjoy  helping out and it was nice to be thanked.  I even received a five year award.

2.  Tuesday:  maybe the best day of the week.  I just stayed home and didn't get farther than the mailbox.  I'm thankful for summer days.

3.  I have decided to branch out a bit in creativity.  My sister-in-law inspired me to begin artistic journaling.  So this week, I bought some pens and pencils and just started.

4.  The Professor had fun this week.  He designed, planned and executed the installation of a drip irrigation system.  This way the watering of the garden will be automatic when we travel.  The best part?  I think it was the solar powered control box.

5.  I love to hike.  Today, I joined a couple of other people for a hike up Conejo Mountain which overlooks my community.  Five+ miles with lots of up mountain and down mountain. I think I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

[That road making the sort of left hand bend in the middle of the photo?  That's Highway 101, El Camino Real.]

The views were amazing although the sky was hazy because of the smoke from the wild fire just north of us.
(Below--memories of the fire that swept along the mountains three years ago.)

What are you thankful for this midsummer week?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Two Thousand Two Hundred Excuses

I have an excuse for being AWOL.  2,200 excuses.  That's how many miles we drove on our trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Here is Willow's (Two) Week catch up with Susanne's Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Time with my brother is especially precious. It is just the two of us. For many of our adult years we have lived thousands and thousands of miles apart, but now it's easier (less than a thousand miles!).  I have been pondering how to describe relationships among siblings.  Maybe this is how.  My husband has my heart.  My brother has my history.  Because he was older than I, my brother bossed me, protected me, helped me.  (I wonder how many potential dates or boyfriends my brother scared off...)  This photo captures our love for each other and our joy at being together.

2.  The World's Best Neighbors gave me a 'celebrate retirement' present!  The Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Knitting T-shirt!  Here I am wearing it while I 'knit with a goat'.  (Goat provided by older brother)

3.  Visiting the communities where we lived for many years provided lots of opportunities to visit people.  Church friends and former college buddies.  So many lunches and dinners.  One evening, we spent three hours at one (sort of semi-fast food) restaurant talking, eating, laughing with people who included the college professor who was my department advisor.  Three hours!  And we could have talked for another three hours if the shop hadn't closed at 9pm.  (For the record, the staff seemed to enjoy our rowdy, joyous laughter, our switching seats at the table, our passing of the old college yearbooks around to share pictures and stories.)

4.  One day, we decided we wanted a quiet hike.  We needed the tranquility of a forest.  There is no place like the Pacific Northwest for hiking under fir trees and beside streams.  (LOOK!  WATER! and GREEN ferns!)

5.  People have asked if we are bored driving an sitting in the car all those hours.  The answer is no.  Fortunately, we travel well together.  I had lots of time to knit and read.  Here are a couple of samples.  Hats for my niece's family.

Those 2,200 miles passed like a blur.  But now I'm home and my garden is calling to me.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Green, Blue, White, and Blue

Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Cottage.  Short because we're traveling.

1.  A birthday present was ordered in March and delivered this week.  A friend is a potter and made these BLUE bowls:

2.  Commercial blueberry season is over for the year. The Blueberry Lady called to tell us, "Come glean some berries."  So we did.  Sixteen quarts of BLUEberries frozen!

3.  Road trip!  I just can't post photos of California's Central Valley.  Too much drought.  So here are pictures of Mt. Shasta with WHITE SNOW!  That's Southern California's drinking water for next year.  And I love the view.  As I told The Professor, I probably have 100 photos of this mountain.  It never gets old.

4.  Until you've been gone for awhile, you don't realize how much you miss the evergreen trees. Warning:  over the next two weeks, there may be a plethora of GREEN photos at Willow's Cottage.

5.  That first hug.  When you haven't seen your only brother for a year, there's nothing else that comes close to the feeling of rightness and settledness of hugging him.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Busy Week

Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Week.  I thought that my first week of retirement would be filled with hours of contemplating my future projects and considering which ones to move to higher priority.  Oh well.  Lots of my plans were changed and that's just fine.

1.  I didn't expect to be driving all over the place this week.  But that's how it all turned out.  Son #2, Dr. Mike, was here for two days before leaving for another adventure in Western Australia. (Maybe I should rename him "Indiana Jones".)  So that involved two trips to Los Angeles plus some fun side trips to favorite stores where he could gather his supplies.  Any time spent with our boy is a fave since we don't see him on a regular basis!  Even time sitting in the car is treasured time.

2.  An added bonus was that while Dr. Mike was choosing the right back pack and the warmest sleeping bag, I found a great shirt to wear while I am hiking this summer.  It's UVP treated, long sleeved, but also thin enough to wear in summer.

3.  We didn't expect to be attending a friend's memorial service.  We had a trip to our old stomping grounds where we attended college and where we lived during some of our early married years and where we attended church during our home assignment times.  We found out on Wednesday night that a celebration of the life of one of our very dear friends from those years (and from The Professor's childhood) was on Thursday evening.  So we drove the 1 1/2 hours to participate in her memorial service.  So many of our college friends were there that it seemed like a college reunion, too.

4.  The Professor turned in his grades at the university so we truly are on summer break!  We thought he would be finished on Tuesday, but he decided that spending those days with Dr. Mike was more important, so he finished on Thursday, but still before the deadline.

5.  I have been looking for some pots to use for plants outdoors on the patio.  Finally, we found some at our local garden store.  When I couldn't decide which to buy or find two identical pots, The Professor said, "Just get them both."  So I did--because you can never have too many cute pots for even cuter plants.

Query:  has anyone of you switched to Windows 10?  There may be a desert of photos displayed here until I figure it all out.  The above pictures are displayed solely because The Professor is a wizard of technology.  So far, I am not a fan...of Windows 10.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's a Wrap

Happy Friday!  Happy Friday Fave Fives!  Here is Willow's Week...

1.  The door on my front loading washer broke.  As I was pulling it open after it finished a load of towels, the plastic handle snapped.  It wasn't completely detached, but I couldn't open the door.  As I stood there contemplating how I was going to rescue those wet towels from a moldy, mildewy death, suddenly I had an inspiration.  One might call it a McGyver moment.  DUCT TAPE!  Duct Tape will hold that handle together.  Duct Tape fixes everything.  So I did.  And it does.  To be sure, this is merely a temporary solution, so in the next few weeks, there may be more Faves on the subject of either new washers or repaired washers.

2.  "You are invited..."  My nephew's wife is imminently expecting their first child.  Last weekend there was a baby shower.  So I nudged my sister-in-law into accompanying me on that perilous journey to Los Angeles County to celebrate this new addition to the clan.  Other sister-in-law was there too and we had a gay old time laughing together and hanging out with the grandmas to be and the aunties, too.

3.  Congratulations to me!  As of this week, I am RETIRED!  I taught my last regular writing class.

4.  The end of the year is always fun and the students were in great form as we closed out the year.  We played Mrs. Willow's IEW* Jeopardy which they love. They shared goodies and also showered me with lovely gifts.  Obviously, they are aware that I love my coffee because there were a couple of caffeine related gift cards.  *Institute for Excellence in Writing--the curriculum I teach.

5.  I think the best gift I received was orchestrated by my most creative teenage helper who is practicing to be a TA.  She secretly arranged for all the students in the Thursday classes to write notes to me which she printed and bound into a book of memories. So. So. Sweet.  I will treasure it forever.