Friday, April 20, 2018

Greetings From Another Place

Hi!   I've been silent all week from my computer, using only my phone for communication. There are several reasons for that, all of which lead me to being so very thankful.  Here is Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives.

1.  I took a plane trip.  Two, in fact.  They were supposed to be on the same day and connected by only an hour's wait in a transitional airport.  But.  Yeah.  A maintenance problem with the second airplane grounded me in North Carolina, three thousand miles from home and several hundred miles from my destination.  No, that wasn't the fave.  The fave was that I was given a hotel voucher and two meal vouchers because the issue was maintenance and not weather related.  And that's one reason why I was not in constant communication much on Monday and Tuesday.

2.  I was proud of myself for being brave and leaving the airport and over-nighting by myself in the hotel.  It really really helped that two other travelers banded together with me to make sure we got the correct shuttle and were back at the airport the next morning in time to check in.  The fave?  That there were nice, kind, pleasant people traveling with me.

3.  This was so sweet, but also it made me a little sad.  When my grandsons heard that my plane was delayed 13 hours, they cried.  They had planned to meet me at the gate with SIGNS they had written to greet me.  With my delayed flight, they had to miss picking me up at the airport.  Sad? Yes. But sweet?  Oh so sweet.

4.  Both of my daughters drove to the airport to pick me up--both of them taking a couple of hours off work to meet me.  Mama was feelin' the love.

5.  Lastly, I had a bit of a disaster with my laptop computer.  For the second time on this fairly new computer, the keyboard quit working.  Last time, The Professor was able to do a really weird fix on it that he read online and it actually worked.  But this time, he couldn't find that information to relay to me, so I was without a computer until this morning when I visited a big box electronic store and bought a wireless keyboard.  And now I can type, and that means I can type in a password to get internet access.

BONUS:  And the main reason I made this cross country trip.  My younger daughter had surgery on Wednesday.  I drove her to the hospital for the procedure, waited for news, drove her home.  I having been helping with the kids and caring for her.  All is well.  She is recovering.  I'm so thankful!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Extreme Week

Have you ever experienced a fifty degree change in temperature in one day?  That's what happened to us this week!  Willow's Adventures in Southern California include some other ups and downs.  But let's focus on the ups, the Friday Fave Fives right now.

1.  The Professor and I decided to join my brother and sister-in-law for a few days in Death Valley National Park.  Now I know you all realize that Death Valley means hot and dry.  And yes, it is. And it's often extremely windy.  But it is also beautiful!  If you like the American Southwest, you will love the magnificent expansive views and breathtaking colors of Death Valley.

2.  With my brother as guide since he has visited there numerous times, we drove to  Devil's Golf Course, Badwater Basin, and Artist's Palette.

282 feet below sea level.  Lowest point in North America.

Oh, the vivid colors at Artist's Palette!  The photo doesn't do it justice.

3.  Sitting around in the morning by the pool and jumping in to cool off--so refreshing!

My view from under the palo verde tree.

4.  Laughing and chatting with my brother and sister-in-law--the best part.

5.  This may seem a bit like not-a-fave, but really it is a fave.  The wind was SO STRONG that it blew over our tent.  Of the six stakes we had in the ground, only one was not dislodged.  Fortunately, that one stake held the entire tent.  We didn't have to go chasing after our tent and sleeping bags and duffel bags.  (We did lose our footprint cloth but found it later four campsites away.)

In the end, we decided to cut our trip short and drive home late at night.  Again, we are thankful for a safe drive home in gusting gales of wind along magnificent canyons and valleys.

From 105F to 55F, from 4956 feet above sea level at Towne Pass to 282 feet below sea level, it was a trip of extremes.

Friday, April 06, 2018

April is Here Already?

You know those weeks when all of a sudden it's the end of the week and you think, "Where did the week go?"  That was Willow's Week.   I didn't even take a single photo.  But here is what I did do and how I focused my attention.  And this doesn't even include Good Friday and Easter services at church!  Sharing my Friday Fave Fives:

1.  We drove across the north end of Los Angeles for a loonngg way to visit an old friend.  He is in the area for some medical stuff and we wanted to see him.  This man helped save my life and my (unborn) son's life when we lived in Indonesia.  He answered our request of air transport when I developed malaria and flew a single engine plane across the province AND THEN a helicopter into our village to evacuate us.  So, yeah, we'll drive across LA to see him.  It was a great time of reminiscing.

2.  Every day I've been out in the garden, babying my snap peas, lettuce and basil plants.

3.  A friend recommended a book to me. I found it at the library.  I've already finished it.  The Chosen by Chaim Potok.

4.  I belong to a Prayer Shawl group.  Although we meet only once a month, I greatly enjoy the fellowship and the purposeful activity of this group of people.  And (no photo proof) I started a poncho design based on dimensions which a friend shared with me to create an easy to wear poncho for people having chemo who need to be warm but also have their arms unwrapped. (photos later when I actually have enough to show).

5.  My last remaining uncle has been in the hospital.  That is certainly NOT the fave.  But the fave is that his children are keeping in good contact with us cousins to give us daily updates.  I am thankful for the long time connections with my cousins and also for easy communication via cell phone texts.

Bonus:  Easter dinner with my friend Ranch Lady at their ranch with lots of other people.

The ranch used to grow blueberries; now it's strawberries.

What has resonated with you and for what do you give thanks this week?

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter!

Christ is risen!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Five Loves

Happy Friday!
I'm checking in with Willow's Week in
with others hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.
It is Good Friday
and Resurrection Sunday!

1.  I love fiber.  Especially fiber I make myself.
Four ounces of wool and silk blend.

2.  I love herbs.  I love learning about them.  I love growing them.  I love using them.



Wooly Lamb's Ear

3.  I love hiking.
Hill Canyon is one of my favorite places to hike.  The Professor and I managed to get in a short hike partway into the canyon this week on an otherwise very busy day.  It was glorious.

4.  I love Lent and Easter, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
 My Lenten Rose has bloomed just in time to celebrate, too.

5.  I love spending time with friends.  On Tuesday, I walked with one friend.  One Thursday, another friend and I spent two hours wandering around a local garden and another two hours chatting over lunch.  

What did you love about your week?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Treasuring March Days

All of a sudden, it is quiet again at Willow's Cottage.  After the delightful visit of my sister-in-law, we were treated with three days with PAL, her mommy and auntie.  They arrived just in time to celebrate my birthday.  But other things first in this celebration of Willow's Week at Friday Fave Fives.

1.  After I said a fond farewell to my sil when I dropped her off at LAX for her flight home on Saturday, I enjoyed a couple of hours with my walking buddy from the years I lived in Los Angeles.  There's nothing better for your birthday breakfast!

2.  We have a dear older friend, our mentor, who is suffering from the effects of a stroke.  I sent her a hand knit shawl to wrap her in my love and prayers.

3.  Yeah, I drove to LA and back on my birthday.  Fortunately the traffic was much better than I expected.  That was most likely because everyone was hanging around Irish pubs drinking green beer instead of driving on LA freeways.  Yes, I share my birthday with St. Patrick.  Lots of cards and texts and calls made my day.

4.  The best present though was the arrival of my PAL!  We enjoyed our days with her and her mom and auntie.  One day, we visited Kidscape in Pasadena.  I'd never been there but PAL's mommy remembered it from her childhood, so she wanted PAL to experience it.

Obviously, playing in the mud kitchen was her favorite activity!

There is a four story climbing tower in a cylinder, so we girls crawled and climbed to the top while The Professor held all our bags at the bottom.  A fellow adventurer took our photo at the top of the tower.

5.On the last day of their time with us, we joined them in Los Angeles before they continued their drive to Orange County to stay overnight with friends.  A visit to the Los Angeles City Library was a must since PAL's mommy had worked there as a volunteer before she met our son and married him.

There was so much more to our time together--family dinners, reading books, playing with Meema's toys, strolling around Grand Central Market in downtown LA.  These were more days to treasure in my heart.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mid March Happiness

It is time to be back on schedule and at Willow's Cottage, scheduling includes doing my
each week.  Yes, I missed last week, but I am back and ready to jump in again.

1.  I'm very thankful for Gypsy Cold Care tea and echinacea drops.  Fortunately, my cold did not materialize in a nasty way. I credit my herbal teas and drops.

2.  I'm thankful that I was feeling great by Monday because I received a Very. Important. Visitor. My sister-in-law arrived for a five days visit!  We have been buds since high school and then she married my beloved brother and so became my sister-in-law.  Am I not the most fortunate person?  My relative by marriage is a favorite friend!

3.  Sister-in-law had never been to Santa Barbara so although it was raining cats-and-dogs, we decided to go ahead and show-her-the-town.  Our destination was Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and we drove past Santa Barbara Mission.  Usually people don't photograph lovely places in the rain, but I think they are still beautiful.

4.  You know that friend who you can laugh with about most anything?  That's my sister-in-law and me.  When you've been friends since you were fourteen, you have a lot to laugh about.

5.  Daily walks, even in the rain, were favorite activities for both of us.

Oh! And the rain!  Yes, I am thankful for RAIN!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Back Up

Thank you, everyone, for your encouraging words and for checking in.  I am fine, now.  I wasn't very sick or for very long, but I needed to get healthy fast because I had a reunion to attend AND I have company.  Here's a little happiness to share:

Always make sure you are headed in the right direction.

Watch for the small things--like a tiny feather on a hummingbird sage.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Heads Up

Or rather, heads down.  If you happened by today to say hi and check in on my usual Friday Fave Fives, I'm sorry I haven't posted.  I'm on the edge of getting sick and trying to rest.  Hopefully, I'll be back in a day to catch up.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

In Like a Lion?

March.  A new month.  Here at Willow's Cottage in Southern California, it looks like March will be coming in like a lion tonight with a strong winter rainstorm.  We are not complaining as we desperately need the rain although much of Santa Barbara County just to the north of us is under mandatory evacuation.  We're hoping there will not be a repeat of January's devastation.

And this first Friday in March here are my Friday Fave Fives--with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story who hosts us every week as we reflect on our blessings.

1.  I do love March for a couple of reasons.  It's my birthday month and it's SPRING which means spring flowers.  These flowers are blooming in my garden right now.

                         That come before the swallow dares, and take
     The winds of March with beauty.
                                    William Shakespeare

2.  I love books and saw this on facebook.  I understand that Kindles and audio books have their place, but I love a REAL book.

Benefits of books
 no glare
    no battery
                                                         dog ears (I don't do that; I use a book mark)
          no pop up ads
                                                probably won't get stolen at the beach
      smells good

3.  March also means my garden is beginning to take shape.  Along with last week's tomato plants, I now have snap peas and kale planted.  And the spinach seeds have been put in the starter pods.

4.  The Professor and I took a little break and enjoyed an outing for a coffee.  We each had our drink and a book.  Often, it's those quiet moments that are most refreshing.

5.  Speaking of coffee, I visited a new-to-me coffee place, meeting up with a friend who asked me for help with a knitting project.  Believe it or not, that coffee place is only three miles from my house and I'd never been there.

Friday, February 23, 2018

February Faves

Friday Fave Fives

Even if I don't post anything else on my blog during the week, I think it's important to share my Five Faves of gratitude every Friday.  Susanne hosts this weekly group of thankful people HERE

1.  Yes, more hiking faves this week.  The Professor and I are taking advantage of the days when our weather is warmer.  I realize that warmer is a relative term. My apologies to all people suffering with snow.  Our 'cooler' temperatures are more like balmy-ish spring days for many.  It did get down to FREEZING here over night a couple of nights.  But we do try to fit in hikes when we can.  One afternoon we walked from the local mall to where we thought we could enter the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden only to discover a locked gate.  So we returned to our car and drove around to the entrance and hiked for just a bit there.  The garden is small but is connected to a park and baseball field.

2.  We had heard that there was a path on the south side of Calleguas Creek but had never found the entrance point for the lower section of it.  So one day we set out to explore.  We hiked along the edge of the dry creek bed

and came out on a major road.  Thinking we could continue east, we were deterred by this:

Oh well, it was a great hike and we learned more about our city's walking paths.

3.  Gifted yarn.  Other people's leftovers become more hats.  This yarn will soon be turned into NICU and children's hats.  Already I have made a few and sold several (six!) NICU hats to a friend who will gift them to her pastor's new premmie son.

4.  I love those texts that say, "Hey, do you have time to skype with PAL?"  Of course!  We always have time to skype with our sweet grandgirl!

5.  We scored two plants of our favorite cherry tomatoes.  The local hardware/nursery had just put them out that day and we just 'happened' to stop by to look for something else and spotted them.  They're already planted and thriving.

So that was Willow's Week of Wonderful Blessings.  How was your week?

Friday, February 16, 2018

February Faves

Friday!  The end of the week!  It's time to look back at how I've been blessed this week.  Susanne hosts a group of thankful people each week on her blog.  Join in if you want with your own 

1.  My decision made, we purchased this camera.  I chose a 'point and shoot' again because I just don't want to expend the necessary energy it would take to learn to use a dslr camera.  I'm satisfied.  I've taken quite a few photos and finally figured out how to upload them to my computer.
Canon PowerShot SX730 Digital Camera w/40x Optical Zoom & 3 Inch Tilt LCD - Wi-Fi, NFC, & Bluetooth Enabled (Black)
2.  I just started a new thing.  Every day, I am writing a short diary entry just about what I did that day.  I'm not much of a journal person, but I recalled that my grandmother and my mother didn't write in journals; they simply recorded their daily activities, especially if they were on a vacation or extended trip.  So I decided to just write a simple summary of my day.  So far, it has been working for me--that is, I haven't abandoned the effort yet and it has been almost a week (which may be a new Willow record).

3.  Since I can check my diary and remember what I did during the week, I can report here that on our evening walk the other night, I was struck with just how much I enjoy walking in the evenings.  I think we began this tradition more than twenty-five years ago when that was the only time The Professor and I had any downtime.  I know that even now it is refreshing for us to walk in the moonlight and starlight.

Walking into the sunset

4.  Do you celebrate Lent? (Does one celebrate Lent or observe Lent?)  Most years, I contemplate a way to observe this season, either by giving up an activity or food or by including something in my daily routine--like reading a devotional or inspirational book.  This year I have chosen two things.  First, I am spending some time each day in decluttering my home.  One day it was accumulated papers.  Another day, I finally organized the coin collection books and so was able to 'declutter' a bunch of duplicate pennies I've been planning to check. [note here:  I've been a coin collector since I was a wee girl and my uncle taught me about collecting coins.]

5.  Another thing I'm doing this Lenten season is read a devotional book.  My artist group is joining together and we are each reading a different book and then sharing what we are learning each week.  My choice is Henri Nouwen's book The Return of the Prodigal Son.  Although the others are familiar with him and his writings, Nouwen is a new author for me.

a couple of fun photos, just because.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Walks and Talks

It's been a warm week at Willow's Cottage.  Literally.  The temperatures have been way higher than is normal.  Shirt sleeve weather.  So I did get some gardening clean up done.  Mostly, though, I just did 'the usual'.  But even in not-so-interesting-just-regular weeks I can find so much to be grateful for.  Here are Five Faves from my week.  Friday Fave Fives is a great way to focus my attention and be thankful.

1.  I've been contemplating the camera purchase.  For some reason, I just couldn't settle on what I wanted.  Knowing that a DSLR camera takes better photos, I was thinking of moving up to that.  But.  I am not sure that right now I want to put in the hours and hours of tackling the new technology I would have to learn to be up to speed on it.  Every time I'd think about it I would not have the excited and anticipatory feeling I ought to have; it was quite the opposite.  This week a friend was telling me about a hard decision she made because she kept feeling anxious and not excited about the situation and decided she needed to step away from it.  She made me stop and think---hmmm, that's how I'm feeling about the step up to the new camera.  Her comments helped me decide.  I really appreciated that.  So this weekend I'll be getting a simple upgrade on the same kind of Canon I have had for the past several years.  I truly can't wait to photograph the shawl I have almost finished!

2.  The second comment someone else made this week encouraged me.  She noted, "God is always at work behind the scenes."  That gives me comfort and confidence.

3.  This week I was out to the blueberry lady's ranch twice.  On Super Bowl afternoon, we took BYOD (Bring Your Own Dinner) and enjoyed football (the guys), burritos (all four of us), and a walk around the ranch (the girls).  Then on Tuesday morning, I drove out there again to walk with my friend and encourage her to get back into exercising.  By the way, the blueberries are mostly gone, having been replaced by strawberry fields.  Such is life in the agricultural world.  (So does that mean that Blueberry Lady is now Strawberry Lady?  Maybe I should just call her Ranch Lady.)

4.  Have I ever mentioned ginger turmeric tea?  Oh my!  It's marvelous!  We've been drinking a mug each most every day.  There's no caffeine, so we can enjoy it in the afternoon.

5. Last weekend we were invited to dinner at the home of a young couple in our church.  Their two children have been in the 'babies' room where we occasionally volunteer on Sunday mornings so we have gotten to know this sweet family.  It was a delight to spend time with them and their two little ones.  Now I'm looking forward to reciprocating and pulling out the grandkids' toys for the littles to play with.  When your grandchildren don't live within 500 miles of you, it's a delight to pretend to be surrogate grandparents once in a while.

Enjoy your weekend!  Will you have snow or rain or sun in the forecast?

Friday, February 02, 2018

What I Did This Week

The lack of a camera to document my week has been frustrating for me.  We did look at cameras but I have not yet decided which camera I want.  In one sense I realize that I have become lazy in writing because 'one picture is worth a thousand words' and therefore I don't have to write as many words in a blogpost.  So today I am writing my Friday Fave Fives and not adding photos (which feels very weird to me).  But there is still much for which to be grateful!

1. and 2.  Walking and hiking are favorite activities for me.  This week we took two walks.  The first was along the beaches beyond Ventura.  We parked at the west end of the city and walked about two and a half miles up the biking/walking trail toward Santa Barbara.  The weather was perfect.  The air was clear.  The scene was peaceful.  It was the perfect place and day to walk by the ocean.  Then another day we hiked in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The area is called Satwiwa and is the site of an ancient Indian settlement.  Where we walked was mostly through meadows although there was enough up and downs to make it more challenging.

3.  On Wednesday we drove into Los Angeles.  How on earth could that be a fave when the traffic is always horrendous?  Well, we took the opportunity take a walk on The Strand which is the beach walk in the South Bay beach towns, to have lunch with a friend,  visit another friend who is in rehab from a stroke, and finally to pick up a friend/neighbor at LAX airport.  All in all, it was a wonderful day and was worth the traffic stress.

4.  My sister in law (one who lives in our town) had a birthday.  So we celebrated with lunch after church on Sunday with another sister and a nephew.

5.  Any excuse to start a new knitting pattern is a good thing, right?  My daughter asked for help on a pattern, so I figured I might as well try out the pattern myself.  Makes sense, right?  In the end, she chose a different pattern to use to knit a shawl, but since I had already made a lot of progress on my 'sample', I decided to just keep on  knitting.  I'm half done.

Thus ends my attempt to express Willow's Week with any photos.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

It's the End of January?

Wow, this week just flew by.  It's already Friday again.  Here is what I like to call Willow's Week when I join others in focusing on being grateful for FIVE FAVES on FRIDAY.

1.  We have been getting in a walk almost every day in our quest to return to our regular routine.  One day we hiked one of my favorite trails--Hill Canyon.  It's such a blessing to be able to be active AND to have beautiful places to enjoy nature.

(photo from archives)

2.  Our weather has been sunny and pleasant.  Perfect for being outside. [ And here's a funny thing:  randomly, my weather app on my phone started giving me update information in Turkish!  And then, the temperature started showing that it was 81F!  I suppose that somewhere in the world it was 81F--maybe Istanbul?]

3.  We have come to sad conclusion that my camera cannot be resurrected.  The fave?  Well, we'll be shopping for a new one.

4.  Thursday evening we attended the opening of a multi-media exhibit at the university:  Finland at 100.   Finland is beautiful!  And fascinating!  Did you know that Angry Birds (the video game) was created by a Finnish company?  And Marimekko the nature inspired clothing and accessory designer is also a Finnish company.  A bit of trivia:  the longest word in Finnish is:  

(photo from my phone)

5.  Tangerines!  I wish I had my camera so I could photograph All.The.Tangerines. on my tree.  We've had a bumper crop this winter (yes, there are December ripening citrus!) and now we're giving away fruit AND eating a bunch of them ourselves every day.  YUM!  I  LOVE tangerines!

And so there is Willow's Week in Five Faves.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Five Reasons I'm Thankful This Week

This week I've been adjusting to jet lag, a three hour time change, and renewed routines.  Truly, I'm happy to be back home.  Here are five reasons which are my Friday Five Faves.

1.  Although there was ice and snow on the roads as we left for the airport Saturday morning, we arrived safely and in good time for our flight home.  I'm thankful for safety on highways and in the sky.  And that there isn't snow in Southern California.

2.  Hugs and more hugs from friends who cried, "You're back!"  World's Best Neighbor and I have had lots of catch up conversations.

3.  World's Best Neighbor sent me a text to tell me that she had booked us in for pedicures.  Now my feet look and feel so nice.  Added bonus was the drive to Ventura included a few peeks at the beach and ocean.

4.  Our mail was being held while we were gone.  So this week I've enjoyed opening all the Christmas cards and letters we received over the whole season.  It was wonderful to read them all.

5.  We are back in our walking routine.  How I've loved seeing our mountains and palms trees and brilliant sunsets.

6.  Bonus:  On Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to see our nephew and his wife walk into church service, and they were equally surprised to see us.  They didn't know we were home yet, and we didn't know they were visiting The Professor's sister for the weekend.  As usual, we enjoyed lunch with them after church.

Unfortunately, as we were driving to catch our plane last weekend, my camera broke.  Result:  no photos.  [insert sad face]

Friday, January 12, 2018

Finding Faves in Cold Weather

We are still with our daughter in 'not Southern California' this week.  The weather has fluctuated dramatically between almost pleasant temperatures and frigid ice and snow.  I'm not a fan of cold winter weather, but I can choose to find joy, gratitude and thankfulness.  Click over to Susanne's blog and join in celebrating gratitude with Friday Fave Fives.

1.  A couple of days it warmed up enough so we could walk on paved paths without slipping on icy patches.  One of the walks was at the local arboretum.  Now we have walked these paths in every season.  (And, yep, I forgot my camera.)

2.  Another day, we walked on a bike path along a creek.  It wasn't a long walk but it was enough to keep us active.

3.  Lunches with our daughter and her coworker.  Twice.  Good conversations ranging from healthy eating habits to theology and everything in between.

4.  Picking up The New Big Boy from school, something we seldom have the privilege to do.  We even met his teacher and some of the administration people.  Good connections.

5.  It makes us happy to know that the next generations are keeping up the habit of visiting the library regularly.  I love the statue on the top of the arch in the local library parking lot.

We fly home tomorrow.  Goodbye, snow.  Hello, home!