Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

This is a hard day for many veterans.
We celebrate.
They remember.
They mourn.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Heading into Summer

The end of May edition.

1.  This is from last week, but I have been smiling all week about it.  I met my long time friend for a morning coffee date at 9:30.  We've been besties since our early weeks in college when we started singing together in a trio.  Our husbands know us well--we began receiving text messages telling us they knew we'd be staying for lunch.  Which we did.  Then we talked some more.  And her husband sent her this text:  "I'll keep the light on for you."  We finally broke it up at 2:30 and promised we'd get together again sooner--which we did on Tuesday at her house.

2.  Sunday was one of my favorite days of the year.  Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival and Contest.   At Paramount Ranch.  Have you ever seen a Western movie?  One where the cowboy rides into town and ties up his horse at the post in front of the store.  I spent the day sitting on that porch spinning and talking with people who came to the Ranch for the festival.  The best part is listening to the music!

3.  I sold a few hats.  Since it was so hot, most people weren't interested in purchasing hats, but I did sell maybe ten caps.

4.  One afternoon I walked with a friend around my neighborhood.  I wanted to show her where the 'secret' cut-off from the back part of the golf course cuts over to the creek.  As always, I was awed by the sometimes wild beauty of the area where I live.

ducks in the creek

willow trees and wild mustard

blue heron in the agricultural field across the creek

5.  The Professor is finishing up his grading and cleaning out his office.  One of his students left this sweet thank you gift for him.  In his words,

"Last week I was supervising a student who needed more time to finish her final exam. When she was done, she reached into her backpack and gave me these three candy bars with the printed messages. She said I had been more accommodating of her needs than any other teacher she had in high school or college. My prayer going into this semester was that I would finish strong and not coast through the semester. I guess I succeeded."

Now we are ready for SUMMER!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Keys and Birds and Sunshine all Week

I really thought I'd get more blog posts up this week but here it is already-- Friday. Usually I write about my Friday Fave Fives and celebrate what has been the best of the week.    Here it is Friday afternoon, and my brain is waking up to the fact that 1) it's past time to post and 2) hmmm, I didn't photograph the 25 hats I have ready to sell.  I totally blame retirement brain and beautiful weather.  I do have several faves, however.

1.  Mother's Day.  Since we don't live anywhere near our children or grandchildren, I treasure the phone calls, texts and cards.

2.  There is a sweet little boy we know from church.  I think he has just turned three.  Since we occasionally help out in the 2-3 yo nursery class, he recognizes us and talks with us.  Sunday, he walked up to me and said, "Excuse me.  How many keys do you have on your key ring?"  *melt my heart*  He said, "Excuse me."  So politely.  A glance at Mom's face showed me that keys are his new fascination.  So, I knelt down and pulled out my key ring and we discussed my keys.  Who can resist loving a conversation with such an adorable child?

3.  That conversation prompted me to text his mom two photos-- the first photo is of old keys I told him I owned.  And the second is of keys which the local hardware store gifted me when I went in to purchase 'the cheapest key' they had.  I love my hardware/garden store.  The clerk gave me all those keys to share with our little friend and invited him to come visit and he would show him how keys are made.  If I wasn't already a loyal customer, this would have made me one.  I can't wait to share these with C.

4.  The weather has been wonderful this week.  Our windows are open and I can hear the birds chirping, the quail calling and the owls hooting.  I love living on the edge of a rural area. where the wildlife thrives.

5.  Last but not least, it's finals week at the university.  That means that The Professor is wrapping up his semester.  The best part of it?  It's his LAST SEMESTER!  Yes, he is joining me in retirement!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Flowers, Yarn and Books to Read

I wrote a Fave Five blog post this morning and it was nearly finished when, I don't know how, the whole thing deleted itself!  (I blame it on the fact that I have two fingers taped together because of a hand sprain and I must have somehow mistyped and deleted my post.)  Anyway, my Friday Fave Fives are a bit late since I'm retyping it all...

When I was thinking back on my week and checking the few photos I took, I realized that my focus has been on three things:  flowers, knitting (big surprise there!), and psalms.

1.  Flowers.  The jacarandas are in full purple bloom in Southern California.   The three jasmine plants at the edge of my patio and covered in blossoms.  And the fragrance--oh my! Sweet and heavenly!

I love the five blade helicopter flowers.

2.  The weather has been warm enough that I have been sitting on the patio with my tea and knitting.  My stash of hats to sell has been seriously depleted and I have a venue coming up on the 21st where I can sell hats, so I'm knitting hats like crazy.  I love combining sunshine, jasmine, tea and knitting.

3.  A friend gifted me four pots of flowers when she moved to Arizona last week.  Since she couldn't take all her potted plants, she offered some to me and others.  I am enjoying the gerbera daisies and coreopsis and fondly remembering my friend.

4.  This year, for the second year, The Professor and I are reading through the Bible in a year using a chronological Bible.  Since we have just finished a section about King David, we are reading the psalms he wrote.  I'm loving rereading so many of my favorites.  HERE is the link to Psalms 121 which may be my most favorite psalm.

5.  I picked up a book the other day which has been sitting, partly read, on my table for a long time awhile and started reading it.  The Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour is his autobiography.  L'Amour was mostly known for his Western novels but the man was so much more than a pulp novel writer.  I loved this quote about book stores.  Remember, he first wrote this in 1938...

"Bookstores were fewer than today, when paperbacks are everywhere.  There were many wonderful old bookstores operated by people who both knew and loved books, and to browse their shelves was and is pure delight.
It is not uncommon today to find no one working in a bookstore who reads anything but the current best sellers, if that much.  In the days I speak of, bookstores were usually operated by book lovers.  Now they are run by anyone who can ring up a sale.  Yet there are exceptions, and to come upon them is always a pleasure."

Do you have a bookstore in your area where  the owner is a book lover?  We do and we make sure that we support it by purchasing books there.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Home Again

I was away for two weeks and a day.  I love traveling and visiting my kids.  And when it's time to be home, I love that, too.  Here are Five Faves from my second week in the east.

1.  Another walk with my friend. This time we explored a bike path along a local river.

2.  After our walk, we enjoyed lunch outside on the patio of a cute restaurant that allowed our dogs to join us.  The weather was a bit iffy, so we were the only ones dining al fresco.

3.  I enjoy playing with my daughter's dog.  Mollie loves going for walks with me.  But.  I'm second, at best.  She loves her mommy most and is always bereft when mommy leaves for work.  So cute!

4.  A safe flight again.  I am always thankful for that.

5.  The timing of my flight home was such that The Professor would have been sitting in horrible evening Los Angeles traffic if he had tried to pick me up when I landed.  So--I asked my friend who lives near LAX to pick me up and we had dinner.  This was a win-win since we seldom get to spend time together anymore and we miss that. (We used to be walking buddies when I lived in LA)  So it was a wonderful way to end my trip, AND at the end, The Professor was there to bring me home.

Thus endeth the two week sojourn to the east.  And now I'm happy to be home.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Busy Life

Life is busy right now.  I am still visiting my daughter and will be here several more days.  Even when I'm out of my usual routine, I try to focus on what has blessed me during the past week and share it with Friday Fave Fives.

1.  So many hours with my daughter and and The New Boy.  We take the dog for a walk in the neighborhood every evening.  A couple of days my daughter has taken vacation hours from work.  I treasure these times of making memories.

2.  I don't really know the area where my daughter lives, so one day I borrowed her car and just drove around on the town and country roads.  I wandered, got lost a bit, and had so much fun exploring and even 'found' a nature reserve where we can take Mollie the dog for an outing.

3.  A new to me friend (who knows both of my girls) invited me to hike with her. We took the dogs and enjoyed getting to know each other.  She's from Southern California, so we have many similar memories. (Can you say 'the traffic on LA freeways?')  Of course, we had to take a selfie!

And a photo of the dogs

4.  I have to make the place we hiked a separate fave.  I have been to Blackhand Gorge before with my daughter in the summer, so I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the area in the spring.  We walked two of the three trails and the dogs were in puppy heaven.  Isn't it a beautiful area?

the old canal waterway

tunnel blasted out by workers on the canal in the 1930s

In several places, workers carved their names and the date in the walls.

5.  Morning coffee with my girl.  Usually, we get it at River Road Coffee House, an independent coffee place which also has the world's best cinnamon rolls.

Short and to the point this week.  Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fave Fives on the Go

Friday night! Yikes! I'm late for writing up my Fave Fives! What happened?  Well, remember that last week I mentioned planning a trip to visit kids?  I flew across the US on Tuesday and have been catching up with jet lag since then.  But I am still thankful for so much!

1.  A long lunch with a dear friend.  Just to catch up before I left.  And the view was pretty good too.

Channel Islands Harbor

2.  Easter Sunday service.  It was a wonderful time to celebrate our Savior's resurrection.

3.  A safe flight.  One fun fact is that I was sitting next to a woman who shares a mutual friend with me!  Talk about a small world!

4.  The flora here on this side of the US is different, and I'm enjoying watching the trees (eastern redbud? and dogwood?) in bloom across the street from my daughter's home.  Also, these little gems are blooming in the back yard grass.  I love them!

When I was a child in Oregon, we called these buttercups.


Do you see the bee that photobombed this picture?
(bottom left corner)

I know people think dandelions are a weed, but I think they're cute and useful.

These are (I think) Virginia bluebells.  I had to look up some pictures to compare.

5.  I have loved seeing how my daughter is blooming here in her chosen home.   Lunch with co workers.  Coffee at the local indie coffee place where the baristas know her by name.  Even the people at the grocery store say hi.

I will be on the go a lot for the next two weeks while I'm visiting.  I think the New Boy and I will be doing some fun things.  Like playing chess, for example.  And stacking up memories.

Friday, April 14, 2017

April Good Friday

This year Easter is late.  Today, Good Friday, is the second Friday of April.  That's about as late as it can get.  Our April weather is typical although today the sun is shining.  I have plans to be outdoors digging in the dirt and enjoying that sunshine.  But before I venture out, I want to share my Friday Fave Fives with you all.

1.  During the school semesters, The Professor and I don't always have extra time to hike and walk (except for our nightly neighborhood walks), so it was a treat to walk along Calleguas Creek on the bike path Saturday afternoon.  Views of the creek aren't that exciting since unless it has just rained the creek bed is a dry arroyo filled with various stands of native and non native trees and shrubs.  However, the plantings along the path are beautiful.  We especially enjoyed what I called the blue spires plant (anyone know the real name?).

The bees love them, too.

2.  On Tuesday, our artists group met.  The hostess has hung many of her paintings in her living and dining rooms.  I noticed that she favors various shades of turquoise/aqua which are my favorites, too.  I have been inspired to begin switching out the cobalt and blue in my decor for more aqua.  One thing I did already is move my sweet shamrock plant to a turquoise pot and put the cobalt pot it was in into the outside garden.

3.  My daughter-in-law, PAL's mom, asked for an afghan.  She chose the zigzag blanket pattern from  I've just reached the halfway point on it!  Love the Arizona desert colors she picked

4.  About my garden--- the tangerine tree produced an abundance of fruit last year.  It comes ripe in December which is wonderful because I can open my door, walk across the patio and pull off a sweet orangey, tangy ball of yumminess and eat it when no other fruit is in season.  I hadn't even finished picking all the fruit before that tree pushed out buds and flowers were blooming.  Thank you, Rain!  If the amount of flowers is any indication, it looks like we will have an abundance of tangerines again this winter.

5.  As I noted above, it's Good Friday.  This evening we will join others in our congregation in attending our Good Friday service.  Today I've been thinking of a hymn I have sung since I was a young child.  Here are the first and fifth verses.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
  I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
  Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
  A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
  And the burden of the day.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some Things That Make Me Happy.

Reading-- Tony Hillerman mystery novels.  A friend introduced me to Hillerman.  I read one book.  I checked out four more. I might be on a binge.

Looking for tickets--- another trip to visit children.

Enjoying my garden-- the monarch butterfly caterpillars are back!  This morning I found three caterpillars on one bush.  I'm sure that soon there will be more chomping away at the leaves.

Knitting-- an afghan for my daughter-in-law.  ZigZag Blanket pattern from in four Arizona Desert colors.  No photos yet.  Also, I will be starting a pair of fingerless gloves for someone--a commission.

Learning-- I am taking an online class in Introductory Herbal Medicines.  I'm just in to my second video and already learning and enjoying it.  Also, I decided to get over my fear of crossword puzzles and have been doing the 'easy' puzzle in the local paper every day.  Fortunately, I'm married to the crossword king, so I can ask for hints when I am stuck.

Preparing--- for Good Friday and Easter.  Just focusing on prayers of Holy Week.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

April Means Spring

I think Spring is my favorite season in Southern California.  The weather is wonderful.  The flowers are fantastic.  Here are Friday Fave Fives about Spring (mostly) that I love and look forward to each year.

1.  On Saturday I took my spinning wheel and some llama fiber to California Lutheran University's campus to join a couple of other spinners from the weavers and spinners guild and demonstrate spinning at the Scandinavian Festival.  (A historical note here:  many Scandinavian people settled in the area where I live between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.  The street names are an interesting mix of Scandinavian and Spanish words.  There's even a road up the hill to the next town called Norwegian Grade.)  Every spring there is a big festival to celebrate everything Scandinavian.  I enjoy participating and showing people how fibers were and are used in creating yarn for knitted and woven fabrics.  I didn't have time to take any photos.  But if I had a nickel for every photo taken of me that day, I'd be rich.

2.  Spring means the monarch butterflies are back!  We have planted milkweed in our garden to entice the butterflies to return each year during their migration up and down the Pacific coast.

3.  Those two toned poppies I saw at the beach and mentioned last week?  Well, they popped up in my garden this week.

4.  Spring here in coastal Southern California means morning fog.  Around here, we talk about May Gray and June Gloom and joke that our monthly forecast is "early morning coastal fog and low clouds, giving way later in the day to sunshine."  Every, Day.  This week we've had April Haze on the mountains above our neighborhood.  It's beautiful!

5.  Finally, I decided to listen to my optometrist and my husband.  I bought a pair of sunglasses and picked them up this week.  I wore them out of the office into the sunshine, and my first thought was, "Hey!  I'm not squinting!"

I hope you are enjoying Spring!