Thursday, July 13, 2017

California, Here We Are

This post is going to be heavy on the pictures. 
 You've been warned.
It's time for Friday Fave Fives.  This week my faves are going to be a little bit different.

The Professor and I have been traveling this week.  We are wending our way north to Oregon on his first post retirement trip.  Every time we have driven north from Southern California, we have had the goal of getting from one place to the next as quickly as possible.  This time, we chose to take the time to turn off Interstate 5 and explore all those places we didn't feel we had time to visit before.  Here are five of our favorite spots which we visited, and we aren't even out of California yet.

1.  Instead of blasting up the freeway through the Central Valley in blistering 100+ degree heat, we drove up Highway 101.  Its other name is El Camino Real.  The 101 goes past our home (about a mile away) as it moves north along the California coast.  So we left our house, turned north on 101 and just drove.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first day (until we reached the San Francisco Bay area.  Traffic. Yuck.).

Santa Barbara Coastal Mountains with fog hovering above the crest line

You know you're on the El Camino Real when you pass these bells

Many people don't think of California as being rural, but much of the state is.

Our lunch view.  Pismo Beach.

2.  The Professor had never been to Lassen National Park, so it was on our bucket list for this trip. Mt. Lassen is a volcanic mountain in the Cascades Range.  It last erupted in 1915.

You can see the basalt from previous eruptions littered all over the countryside.

Parts of the national park were still closed because of the heavy snowfall we experienced last winter.  So we drove out the southern entrance, around, and back in the northern entrance so we could visit the museum.

Streams!  There were streams filled with WATER!

3.  Then we included Burney Falls (state park) on our itinerary.  I had never heard of Burney Falls, but now that I know, I would recommend it to any and everyone.  There is a 1.5 mile trail on either side of the creek flowing from the falls which also includes crossing above the falls on a bridge.

Water! More water in Burney Creek!

4.  Returning to Interstate 5, we passed Mt. Shasta, approaching from the east for the first time.  I probably have taken at least fifty photos of Mt. Shasta but always from the west.  So this time the view was different and if possible even more stunning.

5.  And since we had time, once we reached Mt. Shasta City, we decided to back track a bit and visit Castle Crags State Park.  Again, we have passed this place so. many. times. and never stopped.  So we drove up to the vista point parking lot and hiked up to the viewing area with our lunch in tow.

The road to the vista point is a very windy one lane road.  In face, trailers aren't allowed.  We met a few cars and had to navigate VERY carefully at the edge of the pavement.  Not for the faint of heart.  But still worth it.

California is a beautiful place and there is so much to see!  I'm thankful for the time and opportunity to see more of this state where I live.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Independence Week

Happy Independence Week at Willow's Cottage!  Here are my Friday Fave Fives.

1. Fourth of July.  Like us, the World's Best Neighbors don't have family living nearby and were home this holiday.  So we got together for an early dinner.  Yum!  And great company.

2. and 3. Fire! That word brings too many memories too close. (2013 was the year a Southern California fire burned within 100 yds of our home).  On the fourth, there was another fire--this time across Highway 101 at our exit, slightly over a mile from our place.  We were in no danger from the blaze because the wind was blowing away from us.  The fire department was right on it and kept the burn area to just under 50 acres.  That was the first fave.  No people or structures were harmed/burned.  The second fave is that we have a great county fire department which is experienced in dealing with wild fires.  The water carrying helicopter would drop its load, swing around, and fly over our house, so we had our own private air show as well.  (I have a couple of photos but haven't uploaded them yet.  I will do that--but wanted to post this and get it out there.)

4.  My brother's birthday was this week.  He is six days younger than The Professor, and yeah, they have fun with that--Old Man, Young Punk, Respect Your Elders, Let Me Help You, Senior being some of the banter that always goes on.  One day this week, he called three times to check in and had to hang up on me--no problem--we just pick up where we leave off.  I am very thankful for a wonderful brother.

Many years ago when we were young

5.  Every summer, our church hosts Wednesday Night Dinners.   Several people in the congregation prepare a meal and we all gather together and enjoy each others' company.  It's a great way to get to know people we only see on Sundays.  This week, the evening included a fun concert by a local band which featured our worship leader on the keyboard.  Fun times!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Settling in to Summer

Although we are still experiencing June Gloom most days here in Coastal Southern California, it is obviously SUMMER.

Thank you to all of you who expressed concern and care for me last week.  I am feeling much better and the bruising and swelling are nearly gone.  Although I still have lots of stitches in my gums, I almost feel 'normal'.

1.  It's those longer evenings when we walk and it's still light out.

2.  BIRTHDAY!  The Professor celebrated a milestone birthday.  Remembering how their mother gave each child a penny per year per week for allowances, The Professor's sister presented him with the appropriate number of pennies to celebrate.

3.  He chose dinner.  Persian cuisine.  Oh yum!
No photos because, well, we ate it.

4.  I am finished with one summer project.  I decided that I wanted to knit down my stash of two different yarns that had been building up in my yarn drawers.  Lots and lots of hats.

Adult hats

Kid sized hats

Now I have plenty of hats to sell at the various venues where I'll be spinning this autumn.

4.And this is how much of one kind of yarn--the remnants fit into a quart sized baggie.

5.   This retired thing means that we do most of our errands together.  That means library, grocery store, some meetings, and one final trip to the university.
The Professor waited a couple of weeks to access some files he wanted to finish and save because other people were using the particular computers he needed (don't ask me; it was all Greek to me)
While he was in his office, I wandered outside to enjoy the beauty of the campus.
Before this property was a state university, it was a state mental hospital.  The original buildings were built in California Mission style and the university has chosen to keep as many buildings as possible and renovate them.  It's a stunningly beautiful place! He will miss teaching there (but not the grading!).

Bonus:  As we head into the Fourth of July weekend, I am thankful for the liberties I have as an American.  I do not say that lightly.  The freedom I experience is not really a right but a privilege.

Do you have plans for the holiday?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Summer!

Happy Summer Solstice Day! Yesterday, that is.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives for this celebratory time.  Summer's HERE!

1.  Our week has been a bit warm, but this morning it was foggy again.  June Gloom.  I kinda like it.

the view from the freeway on ramp

2.  It has been a recovery week here at Willow's Cottage.  I have been mostly confined to the house while I wait for the swelling and bruising from my not so minor after all oral surgery to subside.  According to the surgeon who checked on me in the middle of the week, I am making a great and healthy recovery despite the epic bruising.

3.  This spring I planted my first calendula seeds.  Evidently, my garden really really likes calendula, and I've grown some lovely healthy plants which have bloomed brilliantly.  I have already picked a bunch of the flowers, and they are drying so I can use them to make some calendula oil.

4.  Thursday I drove The Professor to Ventura for one of those early morning lab sessions.  It was my first trip out this week other than the doctor visit, so we took advantage of the day to pick up some books from the library and take a short walk among the oaks and eucalyptus trees.  I've really missed my walks!

5.  May and June are purple months in Southern California.  Mostly it's the jacaranda trees that dominate the color scheme.  But other purple (and blue) plants and bushes bloom during this late spring season.  Everywhere I turn I see the purple.  It makes me smile.

Enjoy your first summer weekend (or first winter weekend if you are in the Southern Hemisphere)!  Here are a couple more photos just to make you smile.

that necklace from my sweet tutoring student

and it isn't really summer unless there's a photo or two of the beach

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An English Adventure Part #6

After I posted those photos of England last week, I've been thinking and thinking about my visits there.  Those photos are the reason I just can't get England out of my mind; that and the fact that our friends have been hanging around our place a lot lately because their plumbing is torn up and the husband is from Dorchester.  So I decided to just start posting my photos of the England 2016 trip again.

Dorchester has a long history.  During Roman times, the town was known as Durnovaria and was located near a Roman garrison.  Because of that, there are many Roman ruins and relics in Dorchester.  Probably the most famous is the Roman Town House which is situated inside what were the walls of the city (known as The Walks).  Of course, we had to visit it.

A section of The Walks near the Roman Town House

Older Daughter standing on the outer walls.
As you can tell, there isn't much left.

Water trough?


water channels for heating the floor

mosaics still intact

All around southwest England there are beautiful black stones and they were used extensively in the buildings.

After exploring the Roman Town House, we decided that a stroll along the Rive Fromme would be an appropriate way to end our day.

Honestly, who wouldn't want to live here where there are Roman ruins and delightful river walks?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Almost Summer

Well, I didn't expect my week to end this way--a visit to the oral surgeon and meds and down time.  But, yep, sometimes it happens.  Before I crash again and take more pain pills, let me share my Friday Fave Fives.

1.  A great dentist and great oral surgeon.  I knew I had an infection at the spot of a recent dental implant.  After a quick visit with my dentist, he made a personal call to the surgeon and got me an immediate appointment with the surgeon.  That's service!  And the surgeon moved his schedule around to see me right away and arranged for me to come again in the next day to have my mouth sliced up deal with the infection.

2.  My chauffeur hubby drove me to my appointment, waited for me, bought me soy ice cream, brought me home, cooked and pureed some lentil soup for me.  Personal service when I need it!

3.  Before all this happened, though, we enjoyed a first birthday party for a great nephew.  It's fun to see how well our nieces and nephew are embracing parenthood and raising some adorable children.

4.  Knitting is happening.  For obvious reasons, I haven't photographed the eighteen (18!) hats I've made in the past two weeks.  My Simply Soft yarn stash is basically wiped out!  I have a few tiny bits of various colors which aren't enough to make even a small hat.  So now I'm on to the next yarn--Red Heart Soft.  It may go even a bit faster because the yarn is slightly heavier and I am using a larger needle size.  Hopefully, I'll get some pictures to share in the next day or two.

5.  This school year I have been tutoring one student in writing.  Each week, I drove to Ventura and spent a delightful hour with a motivated and talented fourth grade boy.  His brother had been in my classes, so I knew that I would enjoy tutoring this young man.  And I did!  This week was our last session and we both were a little bit sad about that.  He gave me a lovely African bead necklace made from shredded paper. Perhaps you've seen those beads.  According to his mom, he carefully chose which necklace I would prefer.  Of course, it had turquoise in it!  Photos coming, I hope!  I have also gotten to know his mother a bit more, and we agree that we could just be friends forever.

And so now it is time for me to rest.  I will do my best to visit the other lovely people who post their Friday Fave Fives.  In the meantime, enjoy a lovely almost summer weekend!

Random photos of England because, well, when you feel a bit yucky, browsing through pictures of one of your favorite places is therapeutic.