Friday, December 29, 2006

Odds and Ends for the End of the Year

I haven't posted for a week. Christmas happened. And a wonderful Christmas it was! All the kids came home this year. All nine of us were in our little house, eating, sleeping, watching Muppets Christmas Carol, playing Iron Dragon, opening our presents, playing tricks on each other. It was a memorable day and I am so pleased that all the kids made the effort to come to our place between other in laws' celebrations and their own traditions.

My gifts to the girls were hand made and embroidered felted bags. I made one for a friend, too, and one for myself. I received several books to add to my life goal collection of owning all the Newberry Award Winners--The Door in The Wall, The Tales of Despereaux, Lloyd Alexander's The High King, Strawberry Girl, Bridge to Terebirthia. My year subscription to Real Simple is a gift that will keep giving me pleasure all year. John listened to my request for two books- Frugal Living for Dummies by Deborah Taylor-Hough and Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice by my good friend Roxanna Matthews.

I want to recommend the latter book to every one, especially people who enjoy reading fantasy and/or have a knowledge of knitting, spinning and weaving. Roxie is a Certified Master Knitter, professional weaver and spinner. She weaves in knowledge about all aspects of fiber arts and her story line kept me turning pages and not wanting to put down the book to sleep or eat. You can eat while you're reading, you know...

I wish you all a Happy New Year! Ours will be spent in Phoenix celebrating with Dan and Jennifer enjoying a Lord of the Rings movie marathon and eating hobbit food at regular intervals-- lembas, bread and butter, mushrooms and bacon, dried fruit, rabbit stew.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lesson Nine

Lesson Nine

St. John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation

Text: John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone,, was coming in to the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Song of Praise

Joy to the World

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.
Isaac Watts and G.F. Handel

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lesson Eight

Lesson Eight

The wise men are led by the star to Jesus

Text: Matthew 2:1-12

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

"Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem saying,

"Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then opening their treasure, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

This Little Babe

The little Babe so few days old is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth, at his presence quake, though he himself for cold do shake;
For, in this weak unarmed wise, the gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears, he fights and wins the field, his naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries, his arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, Cold and Need, and feeble flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall, his bulwark but a broken wall.
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes, of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound, the angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ, join thou in fight, stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest war, this Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this heavenly Boy.
Words by Robert Southwell, music by Benjamin Britten

This Little Babe is sung allegro and animato in four, six and eight parts, fugal- with all the parts starting and stopping at different places (like much of the Messiah). When we sang this carol last year, it was both my favorite and most difficult piece. Try saying "the crib his trench, haystalks his stakes" three times very fast.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lessons Six and Seven

Lesson Six

St. Luke tells of the birth of Jesus

Text: Luke 2: 1, 3-7

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Lesson Seven

The shepherds go to the manger

Text: Luke 2: 8-16

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Sarior who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those
with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

Sussex Carol

On Christmas night, all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
On Christmas night, all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King's birth.

Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
When from our sin he set us free
All for to gain our liberty?

When sin departs before his grace
Then life and health come in its place.
When sin departs before his grace
Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King.

All out of darkness, we have light
Which made the angels sing this night.
All out of darkness, we have light
which made the angels sing this night:
"Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forever more, Amen."
English traditional carol

Song of Praise

The First Noel

The first Noel, the angel did say,
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east, beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest, o'er Bethlehem it took its rest,
And there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then let us all, with one accord, sing praises to our heav'nly Lord,
That hath made heav'n and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind has bought.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

English Traditional Carol

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lessons Four and Five

Lesson Four

The peace that Christ will bring is foreshadowed.

Text: Isaiah 11:1-3a, 4a, 6-9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jess, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord...

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor...

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Lesson Five

The angel Gabriel salutes the virgin Mary.

Text: Luke 1:26-35, 38

In the sixth month [of Elizabeth's pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his
kingdom there will be no end."

And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God."

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

And the angel departed from her.

And the Glory

And the glory of the Lord whall be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)
from Handel's Messiah

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kitty is Sakit

Sakit is the Indonesian word for sick. That's what this little kitty is. Sick. I have cancelled everything I was planning for today and tonight.
We have a Christmas tree. John is setting it up now. If I have any energy tonight, I'll decorate. But I'm not betting on it.
The only good thing about being sick is that you get to sit home (or lie down) and watch movies and knit. If you have energy to hold your head up.

Nine Lessons and Carols- Lesson Three

Lesson Three

The prophet foretells the coming of the Savior.

Text: Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness , on them has light shined.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."
Thanks be to God.

Song of Praise:

Joy Has Dawned

Joy has dawned upon the world,,
Promised from creation;
God's salvation, now unfurled,
Hope for every nation!
Not with fanfares from above,
Not with scenes of glory,
But a humble gift of love--
Jesus, born of Mary.

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels,
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place,
Shaped the earth in darkness,
Laid against his mother's breast--
Vulnerable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb
Gazing at the glory.
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story.
Gold, a King is born today;
Incense, God is with us;
Myrrh, his death will make a way
and, by his blood, he'll win us.

Son of Adam, Son of heaven,
Given as a ransom.
Reconciling God and man--
Christ our mighty Champion!
What a Savior , what a firiend,
What a glorious mystery!
Once a babe in Bethlehem--
Now the Lord of history!
Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend, c. 2004

You will notice that Joy Has Dawned is a new song, written in 2004. I like that the hymns can be changed from year to year. I am a big fan of Getty and Townsend's music. They write interesting yet singable tunes and the words, the words are always right on and meaningful.

Even so, I usually start to hum bars from The Messiah as we are reading Isaiah 9, especially as we get to "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace".

Monday, December 18, 2006

Nine Lessons and Carols

Every December our church performs Nine Lessons and Carols which is a performance started in 1880 in Truro, England that has been sung and read every year since, somewhere. King's College Choir in Cambridge is famous for its performance each year.

We have sung with the choir other years, but it just didn't happen this year; even so we thoroughly enjoyed participating in the congregation yesterday. As you read here, if you know the tune, feel free to hum or sing along.

Call to Worship

Once, in Royal David's City, stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby in a manger for His bed.
Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable and His cradle was a stall.
With the poor and mean and lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.

Jesus is our childhood's pattern; day by day, like us, He grew.
He was little, weak and helpless; tears and smiles, like us, He knew.
And He feeleth for our sadness and He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes, at last shall see Him through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle is our Lord in heaven above.
And He leads His children on to the place where He has gone.
Henry Gauntlett & Cecil Alexander (c) public domain

Lesson One

God tells sinful Adam that he has lost the life of Paradise and that his seed will bruise the serpent's head. Text: Genesis 3:8-15; 17-19

Adam Lay Ybounden

Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond.
Four thousand winter thought he not too long.
And all was for an apple, an apple that he took,
As cleckes finden writtein in their book.
Ne had the apple taken been, the apple taken been,
Ne had never our Savior, our Redeemer abeen.
Blessed be the time our freedom gained was,
Therefore, we moun singen, Deo gracias!
Words anon, 15th century

I was familiar with the first song. The first verse is sung by a young boy chorister and is haunting and sweet. The second song was new to me. The music was written for the 15th century words by Boris Ord, 1957.

Lesson Two

God promises to faithful Abraham, that in his seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
Text: Genesis 22:15-18
"And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Clean House

My friends just left after cleaning my house and doing what little "yard" work I have on the cement outside. It looks beautiful and I am deeply thankful for their help. And I think it was reciprocated as they are looking at moving by January 1st, and have no idea where in LA they can afford a place to live. And then I opened our earnings statement for this period and found that we were given a bonus. Blessings abound!

The furniture has been moved so now we can go out and buy a Christmas tree! The spot is waiting! Maybe tonight.

Yesterday I made bread. A friend of mine is allergic to milk so I made French bread and used about 1/3 whole wheat flour in it.

Laurel's Kitchen French Bread

Dissolve 1 packet active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. When yeast has proofed, add 2 1/4 cups very cold water and 5 1/2 cups bread flour white or whole wheat or a combination)and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt.

That's it for ingredients. The methods for french bread are what set it apart from ordinary, mortal bread. French bread is slow rise, and so after you knead it forever, you set it to rise and you 'deflate' it twice. Because of the very cold water in the ingredients, the first rising is especially slow. I made two long loaves but forgot that bread rises OUT not UP when it's not in a loaf pan. Next time I'll make very skinny loaves so I don't get the flat bread look I got last night. The key to making the bread crusty is to start with a very hot oven (425) and SPRAY warm water on the bread before you put it in, then every 4 minutes until the crust is golden brown. THEN you lower the heat to 350 and finish baking (total about 1 hour). Final product was delicious (if I do say so myself). I'd show you a photo, but- ahem - we already ate most of both loaves. Next time, maybe.

I am prepared for my class tomorrow. I get to masquerade as a college teacher and be a guest presenter in an education class (curriculum, I think). Then in the evening, we are going to Gautum and Vicki's wedding! I think the groom and his roommates will be here over night because the apt is full of family members. viva la wedding and congratulations to the bridal couple!

Monday is my last school day until after New Years. I am so looking forward to enjoying my break.

Our family will gather together to celebrate Christmas!

I have big plans for the photo album mess, I want to get in some long walks and bike rides, and of course I am hatching all kinds of ideas for knitting. I really want to knit up some pillows, afghans and maybe a tea cozy or two. I have some special yarn for a vest that is calling...what to do first. Oh yeah, finish the Christmas presents.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

buying presents

I am finished with Christmas present purchases. John has a couple to buy to round out the stocking surprises, but I AM DONE. Yeah!

I'm having a hard time realizing that Christmas is 11 days away...I'm thinking maybe three-four weeks. Yesterday I bought a fir and cone wreath at TJ's and put it on a table in the dining room. That is the first decoration I've put out. No worries though, the weekend is coming. I hope to have the house cleaned and ready for decorating by tomorrow afternoon. (secret: a friend who needs a little extra cash right now is coming to clean tomorrow--it's a symbiotic relationship).

Mike, et al, will be staying here during the wedding weekend for his friends and the back rooms will be ready. The afghan is still laid out on the bed and I haven't started stitching. Just don't quite know where to begin on that thang.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gift Ideas

Not for me. For Mike. This is for people who are buying gifts for him.

After The Ice. He left his copy in Hawaii.

Three book trilogy about Horemheb by P.C. Doherty
An Evil Spirit Out of the West
The Season of the Hyaena
The Year of the Cobra

I am preparing a talk about dyslexia and about teaching reading in the inner city. I will be talking to a Biola University class on Saturday. I did this lecture last year, but I can't find my notes so I am preparing a whole new talk. I enjoy talking about what I do, so I'm looking forward to the time.

As we are getting in to the Christmas season, our calendar is filling up. I intentionally stayed home from a Ladies' Tea yesterday afternoon, knowing it would just be too much for the weekend. Our drive to Bakersfield to meet Deb and Debbie was wonderful but took most of the day on Saturday and then we house/cat sat overnight so we were gone a lot of the weekend. I'm taking a lesson from a friend who encourages me to save time for myself. She's right, of course, and I am working at allowing myself downtime.

This evening John and I are meeting with his Monday a little social time. I'm baking cookies to take. I love Christmas baking and I'm seriously taking this afternoon to do the baking. It's so good to plan out the time and then do it.

Tomorrow is a super busy day with teaching, dentist appts, meetings and then hopefully shopping before John has class and I go walking on the beach with Kristie.

Wednesday is the usual teaching then racing for the beach cities before traffic hits to have dinner and go to my Bible class. Thursday is a normal schedule too, with daily duties and WI small group at night.

Friday--help with set up for the Toy Store at school.

Saturday--lecture in the morning and then Gautum and Vicki's wedding in the afternoon.

All this to say, I don't need any more activities.

We don't even have our tree yet or any Christmas decorations out. Many presents are wrapped and we are drinking out of our Christmas mugs, but I haven't opened any boxes of decorations. Maybe this week.

However, all my Christmas cards are written, sealed and mailed.

Knitting? Oh yes, lots of it, but I'm not talking. Don't want to spoil any surprises.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sleepy Kitty

According to blogger, I am posting my 100th post tonight.

As it is almost bedtime, this will be quick. Besides I'm sleepy.

Fridays are nice because I don't go in to school. Today the farthest I ventured was my side yard to plant the mum Mia brought up on Thanksgiving Day. It was not thriving in the house, so I planted it outside, hoping it will revive. I spent a few minutes outside clipping faded roses, watering the pots, and harvesting catnip and basil. The catnip is drying and the basil was used in a fettucine dish for dinner--just basil, garlic and tomatoes sauteed in olive oil and tossed with fettucine (whole wheat from Trader Joe's).

The rest of my day was spent quietly cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry. This evening we finished watching the first disk of Netflick's Bones Season 1. Love that show. Besides loving to watch movies, I am happy to sit in my grandma chair and knit while I watch. I don't worry about running out of yarn. I have a whole dresser full, four drawers. Can't have too much yarn.

I am looking forward to having a new digital camera. I really am hoping for one for Christmas. If I don't get one, I plan on purchasing my own. I really miss the one I share with Mike when he is using it (like now). I have some great knitting stuff I want to share but can't without a camera.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to seeing Deb and Jeff. We're meeting in the middle between LA and Fresno to give them a nice grandmother's sheet music cabinet.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A friend from Portland just published a fantasy book about a girl and knitting. Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice by Roxanna Matthews. I've ordered it, can't wait to read it.

I'm wondering how my nephew Bob's job will be affected by having a new chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

My neighbor blessed us with a motorcycle cover for our bikes. Now it can rain.

I love aha moments. Like seeing WHY a student isn't getting what the vowel sound in cap is... phonemic awareness--or rather the lack of it. Hearing that a coworker thinks we need more handwriting practice in lower grades to ensure automaticity in middle school. (her aha moment)

We now have heat.

Our phone line is fixed.

Earl Grey tea tastes great with chocolate chip cookies.

Monday, December 04, 2006

new laptop

Deb mentioned in her blog that technology hates her. It's genetic. She gets it from me. John went to the store alone to make the purchase. I won't take any chances with my ruining every device in the store by my presence. Now last night we excitedly opened the box and John set up the computer and I sat down to turn it on and do all the new downloads with John looking over my shoulder and OF COURSE our phone line is out and we have no land line and then last night our wireless connection wouldn't work either. We had to wait until this morning to complete the set up. But it's done now and I have a new laptop computer! Thanks to Jeff for good advice on brands to buy.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

View from my Kitchen Window

Years ago my mom subscribed to Country magazine. This mag was not about country decor which was in vogue at the time, but it was about living in the country.

One of the monthly features was View from My Kitchen Window. Women would mail in photos they took from their kitchen windows. Usually there would be a barn, a mountain, field, stream, cows, sheep, in the view. At various times in my life, I've had jungle, jungle, jungle river, neighbor's fence, rhododendrons in my kitchen view. In the Pueblo del Rio neighborhood my view was a blank wall.

But, now I have a view again.

I present the View from My Kitchen Window: facing south looking over the school yard to the Vermont Ave onramp to the 10 Fwy.

Eat your heart out, Country magazine!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back to My Needles

I'm really not much of a crochet girl. I knit and crochet left-handed and I have difficulty reading and following crochet patterns, so I mostly knit and only crochet for sport. I'm more of a knit girl.

Butwhen Tim and Mia bought The Design Source Book of Home Decor by Judith Shangold and I saw the crocheted afghans I decided to try my hand, as it were, on a crochet afghan. I have been crocheting hexagons in seven colors. When the afghan is finished, there will be 226 hexagons, and I will have to slip stitch them all together. (What was I thinking?!) Since this one is a wedding gift for Cori Lee Neubauer, I am pleased to do the work and I really think it's going to turn out well.

Cori, if you read my blog, STOP NOW, and don't peek. Everyone else, The Victorian Garden in progress...


We are truly blessed to be able to use the World Impact Beach House in Oxnard for rest and relaxation. After the busyness of the fall, we were definitely ready to get away from LA and unpacking and all the noise, dirt and craziness of ministry in the inner city.

Oxnard is the perfect place to have a rest. In sunshine or fog
We spent four days reading, biking, walking on the beach, watching movies, grabbing a leisurely cuppa at a local coffee place. I spent lots of time saying, oh I'd love to live here forever. We have jokingly (?) told ourselves that we really should become beach bums. It's in our blood and we certainly spent a lot of time during our engagement months so many years ago, just hanging out at the beach and we've never gotten tired of it. For four years, we lived in a tropical beach town on the island of New Guinea called Manokwari. Family beach trips were a weekly event. Yep, it's definitely in our blood.

We don't care if the weather is foggy and cold or warm and sunny. We have been known to walk a couple of miles in the rain at the beach.
The beach has always been a solace for my soul. Just what we needed.

Ventura County Country

During the weekend just past, we took a four day hiatus from inner city living, and we went up to Oxnard to stay in the Beach House. On the way we stopped at the Gerry Ranch, owned by the Gerry family and operated by our good friends, Will and Joy. The Ranch is a delightful place to visit and we go as often as we can. We've actually lived on The Ranch on two different occasions, and whenever we visit, it seems like we're going...home.

After a quick lunch we jumped (climbed really) into the hyper golf cart and took a ride to the top of the ranch to get a view of where we were heading to the beach in Oxnard.

Through the new blueberry field where the university is doing a study...
up the hills to the overlook where we can see almost forever across the Santa Rosa Valley and the Gerry Ranch... along narrow tracks...
to the top of the world.

Thanks, Will and Joy, for a great visit!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wedded bliss

We are back from Phoenix and Dan and Jennifer are married.

The happy couple with JR and Deb.

Waiting for the bride.
from left in the back: Mike, Tim, Jeff, Phil, Bonifacio
front and center: the groom

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Weekend

We are leaving tomorrow morning to attend the wedding of the Soldier and the Princess.

We plan to arrive in Phoenix the middle of the day and put ourselves at the disposal of the bridal couple.

Friday: rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, including visit with cousins Donna and Larry, arrival of Jim and Julene, Tim and Mary and various Price family relatives.

Saturday: wedding

Sunday: gather with family to watch Soldier and Princess open wedding gifts, drive back to Los Angeles.

I have a dress, Mia has a dress, Deb has a dress.

viva la wedding

Los Angeles has been having a heat wave. On Monday the temperature was 95 and yesterday it was 88. (these reported temperatures are not official, they are from the temperature gauge in my car). When I was talking with Jim, I mentioned that I was watering my potted plants outside because I didn't want them to wither and die from the heat. He snorted at me and said that, yeah, they were watering their plants in Portland, too...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Everyone within earshot of me over the past three months knows I moved. Three weeks ago. Between two of my children's weddings.

Even though this move was not my choice in either timing or location, now that the act is done, I am seeing the positive aspects. I am basically a sociable person and where we were living was not a sociable place for various reasons--we had few neighbors, being on a one way, one lane street with major Los Angeles train tracks running next to it, we were in the middle of a semi light industrial area, we had razor wire across our back fence and tall iron gates in the front of the house (trust me, these precautions were necessary). So living where we do now, I have enough neighbor and coworker interaction to satisfy my social self.

I am also a person who needs a sense and place of safety. The other house certainly did not provide that sense. Break-ins and attempts always left me feeling vulnerable and on alert even in my sleep. So being in this little house behind another house and having a dog (and it's not mine and I don't have to feed it, walk it or clean up after it) in the yard, and living in a "safer" neighborhood is helping to heal that raw edge of stress.

The most challenging part of this move (besides the timing) has been decluttering, downsizing and simplifying our possessions. For many years, I have supported the idea of simplicity and in general I have lived a life of material simplicity. It helps that I don't enjoy shopping and I don't like knick-knacks around. But this move has pushed me into facing daily, in every room in the house, the need to remove more items and belongings. I am looking at every dish, book, sheet, towel, picture and saying, "Is it useful, do I love it, does it have a happy memory?" If I can't answer yes to all three questions, I am getting rid of it.

Moving provides an opportunity to redecorate. This little house is really a cottage and it is full of light. I am choosing colors and styles I have never used before for the curtains, throws, tablecloths, towels, and futon covers. I would never describe our style as "cottage" but it seems to be working with our Danish modern furniture. Never fear, there is still enough cobalt blue around to satisfy even me.

We have been recovering from the financial surprise of paying for a wedding, three receptions, a rehearsal dinner, lodging, and transportation to two states in six weeks. So we are looking for ways to conserve our income. Not commuting to work by train and car will certainly help, a smaller house equals smaller energy bills, and creative ways to save on internet access will save a little. The kitchen here is inviting and has a window so I enjoy cooking more, so we save on restaurant food. And last but not least, we are farther from Starbuck's.

Over all, I've been enjoying the challenge. Which surprises me. Although there was a time last week when I wondered if one could die from stress.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Catch up

Today's weather report is different-- still cloudy at 11:00am.

No students today b/c WI is doing a strategic planning session. John is involved both today and tomorrow.

So I am home (actually right now I'm in the classroom b/c neither of our computers are working at home) and then at 2:40 I will go to Union Station and pick up Mia. We're going to hit the stores for mother of the groom dresses and then in the evening tackle the last of the unpacking and play the "where on earth can I put this ? " game.

I am in a Bible study on Wednesday nights that is different than my usual study. It's called Stages of Faith and is designed to help you see where you are in maturity in your Christian faith (1 John). I'm finding it challenging and very good. This week's study focused on the need for other people to interact at a deep level in your life, the community you have around you. I realize that I am really blessed in this area. Not only do I have a wonderful husband and family, I have true friends in both Oregon and Los Angeles. You know who you are...

I read a statement today about doing your best at what you do best (paraphrase). What do I do best? Knit, create a comfortable and peaceful home, teach reading. My passions.

Someone asked me to post photos of our new place. I will soon. Gotta have the computers up and running first. I am pretty happy with the little rooms in the back, especially the room with the guest bed. Mia will be the first guest, so she gets to try it out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

More Wedding Photos

In the forest at Triggsted Farm

Wedding Photos

At long last, here is a photo of Mary on her wedding day. These photos are candids taken by her brother in law, Steve.

cold and weather

Not cold weather. The temperature today was actually in the 80s. And sunny.

I have a cold. I seldom get sick. Headaches, yes. Tired, yes. Cold and flu-- almost never. So today I started feeling "it" early in the afternoon and by 4:00 it was evident that I am coming down with a cold. Bummer. I have soooo much to do this weekend.

We are planning to get a lot of stuff done in the house to get settled. Like putting away the rest of the camping gear and doing repair work on the washing machine faucets and the bathroom faucets, all of which still leak. I am in the middle of sewing curtains for the back bedrooms and John is going to put up the curtain rods. I don't have time to be sick. This is our only free weekend between now and Thanksgiving.

We are also going to dinner tomorrow night with friends John and Kristie at Lucille's, a wonderful smelling bbq place that serves humongous portions and I'm going to be too sick to eat much. Bummer again.

I went to awards chapel today. It just cheered me up to be there. Got hugs from several old students, notably Cierra and Eva who were in my 2nd grade class in Watts. And from Melissa, my star pupil from last year. Toni and Tory Jackson both got awards and that tickled me as I used to work with their grandma Virgie in Watts.

I am thinking that SOMEONE who used to live in my house took off with some of my crochet hooks. I went looking this evening and can't find several sizes I thought I had. Practicing a new crochet pattern is a good sick bed occupation. I'm learning a pattern so I can make a Victorian Garden crochet afghan for Cori and Travis. I had to use a J hook but I need a G or H. I wonder where those hooks are? ANYONE know?

Friday, October 20, 2006


I wrote a blog this afternoon but of course Blogger messed up and didn't publish it. This is especially frustating b/c I haven't updated in over a month.

In the past month I have:

been in charge of one wedding and three receptions
ridden/driven about 3,000 miles up and down the Pacific Coast states on Hwy 5
moved Tim and Mia to their apt
moved us to our new baby house on the freeway

I am tired.

We actually moved last Saturday. We are starting to feel settled. I can see the floor in most rooms. The baths look pretty good. As soon as maintenance fixes the leaks under ALL THREE sinks I'll be able to put away bath and kitchen things. It looks like maintenance is letting John do the work on the faucets. Today I hung curtains in two rooms and purchased material for two other rooms down in the fashion district in LA.

I promise more updates, more often, now that we're moved and home again for a couple of weeks before heading to Phoenix for the next wedding.

monthly update

It has been more than a month since I updated here at Willow's Cottage. In the past month I have:

traveled/driven 3,000miles up and down the Pacific Coast on Highway 5.
planned and given one wedding, three receptions.

I'm tired.

I have not

knitted much.
written much.
exercised much.
been to the beach much.

Things have gotta change around here.

Actually, the move was not as bad as it could have been. After no/little response to our pleas for help, several people came through in amazing ways to assist us: Tim, Mia, Mike, Andrew, Vicki, Joe, Sarah, Doug, Ingrid, Jenn, Glenn and Sharon, Tammy, Tracy, Richard and Bob. Bryan has gained a special place in my regard for his appeal for help, especially considering that he moved that day too. Debbie deserves special note for helping me pack AND unpack my dishes and lots of other stuff, move furniture and generally keep my spirits up.

Now we are playing a game of reverse musical chairs, moving furniture and boxes from one place to another and working out how everything can fit in to our baby house. This morning we did the bedroom. I think we've figured it out and can even put the elliptical machine in there.

Two sides of our house look out on to the school play yard. I enjoy hearing the voices of the kids at recess. It's fun to watch them playing. I thought the noise might bother me, but I find that I like it. The half block commute to school is so much better than the 6 miles on inner city streets and the 10 Fwy and 110/10 interchange.

My goal is to be settled in before we go to Phoenix for Dan and Jennifer's wedding in November.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weather in Oregon

The 10 day forecast now shows NO RAIN on Saturday the 23rd, high temperature of 77! Perfect weather for an outdoor wedding!

On our Way

We leave early in the morning for Oregon! Tim and Mia are already there. She reported this afternoon that they have picked up their marriage license. It's really happening.

I am leaving feeling a bit unsettled for several reasons. The packing is "in process" (read: there are boxes and piles all over), we still have two rooms and a few touch ups to paint in the new place, and our neighbor's place here (the townhouse next door) was broken in to over the weekend. We didn't hear anything, didn't even know they were gone for the weekend. The evidence points to a homeless person being the perp, considering what was taken and "the smell". Please pray that our home will remain safe while we are away. And pray for Ron and Louise--it's so hard to feel violated by a break-in.

Time to pack-- wedding clothes for all three of us, knitting books and projects for the drive and the days after the wedding, lots of other wedding stuff...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Packing and Weather

Alas, no knitting news. I had intended to get to the lys this morning after J and I got our hairs cut, but we turned north instead of south on Sepulveda Blvd to go back to pick up Tim and Mia at Starbuck's, and I forgot. We went to the evil bridal shop that STILL doesn't have Mia's dress altered, and there it was, no knitting shop stop.

We are all packing. Today's list includes items from my grandmother's cedar hope chest-- a lovely embroidered dresser scarf, various knitted items from J's babyhood, and my children's babyhood. (Note to Deb: I thought that the animals on the pink vest I knitted you were kitties, no, they were owls. My wol is aptly named.) There were also my great, great grandma's white apron, her organza wedding dress and a blue taffeta jacket with round jet buttons. My great grandfather's seabag with his name, O. Gericke, stencilled on it. I really shouldn't mention these items if I don't post back in Mia's purse.

I am now taking a break from packing dishes. I have many dishes. I don't buy dishes. I inherit dishes. Teacups. Heisy clear crystal bowls, plates, candle holders, serving bowls, candy dishes. Noritake china. Salt cellars. More teacups. Now they all have to be packed VERY CAREFULLY in lots and lots of bubble wrap to be transported BY ME in MY CAR the six miles to the 20th street little house on the freeway. I love the dishes and I love to use them. I don't keep them hidden away for "good", I use them and display them. As my sil says, "I never met a dish I didn't like."

Rea, I am having coffee with Cynthia tomorrow. I know we will fondly say, "We miss Rea!"

Oh yeah. Weather report: early morning coastal fog and low cloudiness, giving way to sunshine later in the day. This report could be mailed in every morning for the next month.

Friday, September 08, 2006

More Than Weather

After two more days of HOT and SUNNY, it looks like today's weather is going to be COOLER but still SUNNY.

Have you recently, or ever, moved? Remember the mess, the explosion of belongings everywhere, the point of maximum expansion? We're almost there. I can't pack the kitchen until after Mia and Tim's reception here at the house next month, but most everything else is going on schedule. Almost all the books are packed. In this house of bibliophiles, that's half the boxes. I packed up the Indonesian artifacts, shells I collected on Papuan beaches, pretty much everything except the carved cassowary eggs. Those will go separately in their own box in my car under my personal supervision. (NO, they are not on the endangered species list; we checked.)

I have packed my yarn. In a very big box. With great care and tenderness. I shut my lovelies in it and taped them in, and wrote J & L Yarn on three sides of the box. We really are moving, I've prepared my yarn. If I need yarn for a project, I'll have to go to my LYS (local yarn store) and get more. (YES! heheh)

Today I plan to pack my spinning supplies. dye pot, carder, spinning wheel. The wheel is a Lendrum folding travel wheel, so all I have to do is fold it up and put it in its traveling case. It, too, will be moved personally by me along with the cassowary eggs.

Lovely weekend ahead. Tim is coming from Camp Pendleton, we plan to get in a walk or bike ride, more packing. What's on your agenda?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Weather on September 5th

HOT, sunny, HOTTER

The thermometer in my car registered 103F at 1:15pm.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weather on September 4th

Sunny, hot and windy.

On this date 34 years ago, John and I got engaged!

We went down to Hermosa Beach to The Strand and had breakfast at Martha's 22nd Street Grill. Good food, worth the 1/2 hour wait and the horrible parking.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Weather on September 3rd

Sunny and hot.

Are we bored yet?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

Breaking the Silence

It seems that I have taken an unintended hiatus from blogging the past two weeks. My life has been very busy and very stressful. What have I had/do I have on the current plate?

school year starting, but my program on hold for a few weeks, so I'm helping out wherever
Tim's safe return from Iraq
planning a wedding in Oregon across a state boundary, 900 miles away
planning three receptions, two in Oregon and one in California
getting shoes for Mia and Tim's wedding
packing to move on October 15th
house sitting for friends near the beach
John traveling to Wichita for five days
Dan moving to Phoenix last weekend
Mia and Tim packing her belongings to move to their apt, which they don't have rented yet
repairing, cleaning and painting new house which I can't begin until after Sept 10th
being gone out of state Sept 19th-Oct 4th
moving Tim and Mia's collective belongings from Oregon to California, via our house for a pick up of her things- we've reserved the truck already
buying a dress and maybe shoes for Dan and Jennifer's wedding
pulling together all the names and addresses to send to Jennifer for wedding invitations

I just don't have much time for blogging or posting pictures. And the digital camera has taken off again in Mia's purse.

Knitting update: I have been knitting dishclothes for Mia. I finished knitting Elizabeth's tam. I have started knitting a pair of socks for Laurie. The socks are being knitted on size 8 needles using worsted weight yarn, so I do not think the socks will take too much time to knit up.

Today I got up at 4am to drive John to LAX to meet the rest of the guys going to the TUMI conference and catch his 6am flight from LAX. Then I climbed back in bed and slept for a while and then got up and took Mia to the metro station so she could go to the LaBrea Tar Pits. The dig workers were being filmed by National Geographic and they wanted Mia to be there. She is in a lot of footage; maybe she'll get in the film! She is very photogenic and easy to film and photgraph, so I'm sure she was an asset to the filming. Then I ran errands, had lunch with a couple of friends and then went to the Cotton Shop and finally found brown material and pink ribbon to metamorphisize my shoes for the wedding.

I spent quite a while just sitting in the loft and reading this evening. It has been quite windy today so the palm trees were moving around and I could hear the sound of the fronds brushing against the building.

I got to thinking about how people will always post their mood or the music they are listening to. My moods are personal things and I don't listen to music, so I thought I could post weather. Here in Southern CA weather reporting is pretty boring. Here is the weather post for the past month:

Sunny and Hot

BUT today the report is:

Sunny, Warm and Windy

So there you have it, dear readers-an exciting and innovative change in our weather.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tim Is In Kuwait

That statement says it all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I knitted a brown tam for Elizabeth W. last weekend. After it was completely finished, I realized it was TOO SMALL. I had not checked my gauge and my needle size was too small. I knitted 5 stitches to the inch, instead of 4 inches. With 78 to 108 stitches on the needles at different times, I was several inches too small. (Do the math yourselves.)

So...I tinked it all and started over yesterday morning, using size 10 needles instead of size 9. I have a looser stitch, but the size will be correct. I like the color and texture of the yarn, so I think the end result will be good. Stay tuned for a photo of the finished tam.

Selamat Hari Tujuh Belas Augustus


Happy Birthday to the Republic of Indonesia.

Today, August 17th, is Indonesia's Independence Day. All the years we lived in Indonesia, either on the island of Java or in Papua province on the island of New Guinea, we celebrated this day with our Indonesian friends. So, in honor of those memories, I wish Indonesia many more years of independence.

Monday, August 14, 2006


We are planning two weddings are our house. Mia and Tim are getting married on September 23rd. Dan and Jennifer's wedding will be on November 11th. I want to celebrate another wedding--four years ago on August 10th, Deb and Jeff were married. I found these candids taken by a friend on their wedding day. Deb and Jeff may never have seen them.

Deb and Jeff

Family shot: Jeff, Deb, John, Linda, Mary, Dan, Mike

Happy Birthday Kiti

Yesterday, August 13th, was Deb's birthday. She arrived in the world at 6:10am Saturday morning, 29 years ago. 8 lbs, 3 oz. 4 hours of labor. Northridge Hospital, Reseda, CA.

As I wrote the above words, the first story about Deb that came into my mind was the first story about Deb. She was switched at birth. True story. Because I was on the phone chatting to my friend who is now my sister in law, the nurses took another new mom from the recovery room and moved her into the room that was assigned to me, BUT they neglected to change the paperwork. So when I was taken to my room, it was actually the room assigned to the other mom. But NO ONE remembered to change room designations on the papers. Soooo...when I asked for my newborn to be brought to me I was given A DIFFERENT BABY. No one checked our bracelet/ankle IDs. Yes, the baby had dark hair, really odd ears (I told Deborah it was ok that her ears looked like nobody else's in the family, we'd just grow her hair long to cover them), but I loved "her" immediately. It was only after I had cuddled her awhile that I unwrapped the blanket to check that she had all her fingers and toes and looked at her ankle ID. It read, MARTINEZ, BOY. Ahem, I knew I'd given birth to a girl, I checked, nope this baby was a boy. Hmmm, my last name isn't Martinez, it's Price... Panic set in. Where is MY BABY? When the nurse answered my call button summons, she said, "What's the matter, Mrs. Martinez?", I answered, "I'M NOT MRS. MARTINEZ, I'M MRS. PRICE! WHERE IS MY BABY?" As you can imagine, panic set in among the nursing staff. MY BABY was eventually found peacefully sleeping in the crib labeled MARTINEZ, BOY, but her ankle ID said PRICE, GIRL. When I was finally reunited with my own baby, I wasn't inclined to give her back to the nursery during the rest of my stay in the hospital. I checked, yup, looked like I remembered my baby looked like in the delivery room, actually looked like my grandma, right sex, right ankle ID. I know that I came home from the hospital with the right baby because Deb looks just like me. When she was 13, someone in a restroom looked at us and commented, "Well, you could never deny that she is yours." Little did she know how welcome those words always are... In fact, we look so much alike that Deb quickly got tired of people saying, "You look like your mom!" and we made the deal that I'd give her a dime every time someone said it. She got rich...

Deb and Mia

Deb looks like me, but she is her father's daughter. I am awed that I could have given birth to someone as smart as Deb. (I knew she'd be beautiful!) My chemist, theologian, rocket scientist daughter who also has incredible musical talent, writing ability and the good taste to love cats.

It was lovely to see you on your birthday yesterday, Deb. May you have many more years of living and loving.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Today, August 3rd, is my first son's 31st birthday. Happy birthday, Dan!

I have seen so many changes in Dan's life and circumstances in the past year. He has graduated from seminary with a Master of Divinity degree, been ordained, graduated from Chaplain Officer's Basic Course, taken US Army oath of office. And if that's not enough, he's met and become engaged to the love of his life, Jennifer.

It's amazing to me that the little 7 lb 11 oz baby I held for the first time in the afternoon of August 3, 1975, (round red face, lots of dark hair, long, long eyelashes) has grown into the wonderful man he is--a military chaplain dedicated to bringing hope, help, comfort and understanding to American men and women around the world, a thoughtful son, a kind older brother who always takes time to listen to his siblings' conversations, a good friend to many people. I think he's going to be a great husband and (maybe) father.

Some of my favorite memories of Dan are from the early years in Indonesia--his leading Deb out in to the jungle to play and then "protecting" her when they got lost, his pulling Mike out of the stream behind the bush house in Meyerga, his shining face when he said, "Mom, today is Michael's first Christmas!", his thoughtful birthday gift to me--a rat trap (well, we really did need one!), his love of stories about him, Mouse and Joey that John made up every bedtime.

Dan has always loved to read. I taught him phonics at age 5, and he has never looked back (Christmas break his first grade year, he pulled Lord of the Rings off the shelf and "read" the whole first volume in one day). Now, when he moves from Whittier the end of this month, he'll pack How Many boxes of books?!

So, happy birthday, Dan, may God give you many more years to serve Him and make your parents even more proud of you than we are today!

Monday, July 31, 2006


Today Mia turns twenty! I no longer have a teenager in the house!
Mia, named Mary Katherine Price (or Maria Katerina on her Indonesian birth certificate) was born on July 31, 1986, 9:58pm Papuan time, in Mulia, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Mia has always thought it was cool that she has both an Indonesian and American birth certificate and she is officially "an American citizen born abroad". Her first passport photo was taken at age 2 weeks. She spent her first four years in Indonesia, then 12 1/2 years in Oregon and the past 3 1/2 years in Los Angeles. My Mia is a delight and has always added so much to our family. Her three older siblings alternately indulged her and tolerated her, but they could never ignore her. Her mommy and daddy adored her, even while they wondered if they would ever get her to obey without an argument. And now she is grown up, a friend to those siblings she tormented and looked up to, a college senior who loves to muck around in old bones and mud, a beauty who is beloved by her Marine, a daugher who continues to amaze her parents with her wisdom and delight them with her cheery disposition.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MIA, our anak bunksu, Mia Maria, Bud, fashion police, care taker. And in the next twenty years, may you continue to grow and mature into the woman God is making you, the wife Tim needs, maybe the mother to some of the world's most beautiful children, an archeologist of renown.

And may you someday actually get your driver's license!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thinking about my neighborhood

I took a walk on the beach this evening. All the people I passed on the beach and the walk to and from greeted me with a smile and a hello. That is so different from my neighborhood in south central where people don't walk alone after dusk unless they have to.

Mia told me a story that our next door neighbor at home related to her. He has a dog. The other day two neighbor boys got a local gang member's dog and put it in the yard with his dog hoping to get the two dogs to fight. But the dogs were better behaved than the boys and refused to fight. The neighbor caught them in the act, made them go get the dog's owner to retrieve his dog. You can imagine how pleased this person was to find out what the boys tried to do and he took appropriate measures with voice and hand to insure that the boys don't do this again.

The buildings on either side of us have graffiti; the walls along the metro train line are also covered with graffiti and there is trash dumped all the way down the other side of our street along the metro wall. At various times there have been old shingles, old wood, garbage and numerous mattresses, chairs and sofas laying in the 3 foot strip along the wall. Not a pretty sight. What a contrast to the clean streets and flower beds here in MdR.

And yet, when we move to the little house on the 10 fwy in November, I suppose I'll miss the neighborhood and the place I've called home for over 3 1/2 years. I know I'll miss the little neighbor girls, the people at the local Starbuck's, and driving by the nature park. It is always bitter sweet for me to leave a place I've lived in, and God knows I've done it enough times.

Here I am

sitting in Marina del Rey, spending a full day in my own company. It doesn't happen very often and I am treasuring it. I haven't left the house b/c I'm waiting for the vet tech to arrive. I want to meet her and talk with her about the cats I'm catsitting.

I think I'd enjoy the house/cat sitting life. People who ask to have their cats cared for in their absence are always generally nice people. It's a joy to stay in their homes and play with their kitties.

This day is consisting of reading my Bible, doing my Bible study, blogging, writing thankyou notes, reading Down Range, a really good book about PTSD in military people returning from combat zones. Chaplain Dan gave it to me to read and pass on to Mia and to Tim.

Speaking of Chaplain Dan, he took his oath of office on Monday with John, me, Mia, Jennifer and Melissa as witnesses. Very moving and I'm so very proud. Then we spent 2 hours together discussing plans for Dan and Jennifer's future. Ahem--it's official. Dan and Jennifer are engaged and have set a wedding date, tentative and based on USArmy cooperation. May I say here that I am thrilled with Dan's choice, I already love Jennifer so much!

And speaking of Mia, she's off to SF tonight to enjoy a weekend with two anthro guild friends.

And speaking of Tim, the countdown to his departure from Iraq is under 20! We have prayed for his safety there for so long. And we'll continue until he touches down again on US soil.

Yesterday we spent four very hot hours sitting in the HOT socal sun on asphalt on Dodger Stadium hill to watch our nephew Bobby Price graduate from Los Angeles City Fire Department Academy! Congratulations to Fireman Bob! We wouldn't have missed it for anything, even the heat!

I was thinking yesterday about our nieces and nephews, 11 of them. Each one is talented and so special in his/her own individual way. We have IT techs beloved by customers, computer programmers, a fireman, a couple of college students, a mom, some office workers, a child care helper. All of them are in their twenties and thirties. (Mia is the last one to leave teenagehood and she will be 20 on Monday!) I love them all and love to hear of their accomplishments. I imagine that they don't much notice my enthusiasm, but that doesn't matter to me; I just enjoy celebrating their lives.

So to all the cousins, including my own children: JR, Dan, Thomas, Deb, Billy, Laura Jane, Matt, Steve, Mike, Bobby, Derin, Beth, Becky, Jesse and Mia--I love you all!

The rest of my day will consist of more reading, some swimming in the pool, a walk on the beach, a little knitting and maybe some movie watching...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

burn, baby, burn

It's 104 degrees here in south central. The temperature INSIDE our house at 4:30pm is 94 degrees.

It's time to go and find air conditioning.

Friday, July 21, 2006


It is already really warm here in south central Los Angeles at 9:30 am. My indoor thermometer reads 82 degrees. So in an effort to escape in mind at least from the heat, I looked through my photos from England--again. It is much cooler in England.

Bridge over the River Avon in Bath. We had just finished a walking tour of Bath in the early evening and were strolling back to our B&B along the river bank.

There is much more than stone circles in Avebury. Here is a lovely shot of a thatched roofed cottage. Now this is my dream home--well, one of them. I would name it--of course--Willow Cottage. Why Willow? When we lived in Oregon, I was involved in a camping ministry called Oregon Camp Cherith. All staff had bird names and I chose the willow finch--hence, Willow--and the name has stuck. I named my knitting business Willow's Cottage.

I love doors. This is actually an archway in a wall in the garden of the Wells Cathedral. The arch is framing the spring/well after which Wells is named.

I should comment on the company we had the past two days. The McCune family, currently from Odessa, Ukraine, visited Southern California and we provided housing for them. We are long time friends from early TEAM days when they were assigned to Irian Jaya but never received visas to get into the country. We had not met any of their children so it was very nice to get acquainted with them and renew our friendship with the parents.

OK, I feel a bit cooler now. Time to start the dish washer and do OK, I feel a bit cooler now. Time to start the dish washer and do more laundry.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Mia mentioned this morning as we were walking along the beach getting our feet wet in the surf that I haven't been blogging lately. That's true. Because I've been gone a lot and because I like to write about my knitting and I'm in a dry spell with the knitting.

I think it's normal to cycle in and out of crafts and art. You can obsess about fiber or whatever and then all of a sudden lose interest. I don't lose interest, it's just that something else comes along to asborb my time and energy--like wedding planning, traveling, reading. There's a season for everything and right now it's NOT the season for knitting.

I am still totally frustrated by the entralac and don't even want to pick up my size 6 needles and look at the swatch. The white sweater I'm knitting is BORING and I don't feel much like working on it.

My time is being focused this week on dentist appointments, company (a family of 5 overnight tonight and then one person from tomorrow until Aug 1), and wedding invitations which includes writing addresses and cutting and glueing 250 sets of ribbons. So one can understand why there's not much knitting going on right now.

A happy note: Mia and I had lunch at Islands with Mike. I love talking with my kids and listening to them converse with each other. We discussed the unofficial civil war in Iraq, the Israeli-Lebanon/Hezbollah conflict, the possibility of a larger style conflict in the Middle East, the reinstitution of the draft and several other topics, including playing Scrabble.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More Cat Watching

Have you ever had a cat sit IN FRONT of your computer screen and try to play with the cursor? Trooper is doing that. At least it incourages better, more accurate typing since I can't see what I'm typing.

All you knitters out there-- entralac is EVIL!

This evening I have been updating some of my files for the Level 3 Master Knitter submission. This is the part (other than entralac) that I dislike--documenting what I am knitting. I'd rather just knit. But since I've already spent the $$$ and done some of the work, I am stubborn enough to finish this. Now I remember why it took me over two years to finish Level 2. I don't like to type up the documentation.

Now the cat has moved to the empty screen next to mine and so I can see--now that I'm done typing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cat Sitting

Mia and I are cat sitting at a friend's. Now there is nothing unusual about helping a friend out, but this time, the friend is really blessing us too. This friend lives 1.5 miles from the beach and we are really enjoying the cooler and cleaner air and the quiet and peace of the neighborhood.

Today we spent most of the day in Bed, Bath and Beyond, registering for wedding gifts. I am really impressed with the quality of both the merchandise and the employees. Wish I could get married again and get some of the beautiful things Mia and Tim will have. She has good merchandise, in men and in parents!

We had lunch with Mike at Red Sesame, a Thai fast food place. Great food... and we got a detailed account of his visit to Hawaii's big island. I'm all for going to see Hilo myself now.

Knitting? It seems I've taken a hiatus. I have been very frustrated by the entralac and I have hit a wall. I decided that the best thing to do is just leave it for a bit and come back with a better attitude. I have correctly done four of the five 'rows' and am stuck on the fifth (final) row. I probably just need to reread the directions but it's hard to understand when I'm frustrated, not living in my own house, been busy with family,friends and dr appts.

More busyness on the horizon with Deb and Jeff coming down (!), alternate banquet on Sat night, Mike moving on Saturday, and our cat sitting.

Since I'm not home I can't even download photos.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Bird Flu Hits Florida Trailer Park!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Jennifer Sandoval and Dan Price

Once upon a time, a mother met a princess. The princess was kind and thoughtful and loved to study the Bible and invited the mother to join a Bible Study. Over the course of time, the mother and the princess became friends and shared tea, dinners, conversations, prayers and family outings. Then the princess moved to a faraway land and the mother missed her. When the mother's son, a soldier, visited the faraway land, he sought out the princess. Struck by her beauty and grace, the son asked for her phone number and the princess willingly gave it to him.

Read this blog in the future to find out the rest of the story.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to hold back the barbarians (Scottish) from invading Roman Britain. Much of the wall has disappeared but sections are still intact and excavations are ongoing. We walked several miles of the trail along the Wall.

Mile Markers were built to mark guard posts.

At one point you can actually walk on top of Hadrian's Wall. This is my favorite photo. I enlarged it, framed it and hung it in my living room. It looks like a trail in Middle Earth. I expected to meet Frodo and Sam or a company of dwarves or at least get a glimpse of elves traveling to the sea.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mid Summer's Day

June 21, 2004
Haltwhistle, Northumberland
55 degrees North latitude
I took this picture in the twilight on Mid Summer's Day. Still light enough to take a photo without a flash.
I spent the day with Dan at his apartment again and helped him put together his "I Love Me" notebook of military orders, promotions and citations. I am constantly amazed and so very proud of my Chaplain Dan when I see how he is respected in his chosen profession.
John spent the day reading a Perry Mason novel and waiting for our car to have repairs.
Then we went to dinner at Olive Garden with Dan and a friend. We do enjoy being included in our children's lives. What a joy and privilege.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Two years ago this month John and I were in England. Enjoy my memories with me.


My fascination with doors...

Bath Abbey

Happy Father's Day

Today, June 18, is Father's Day. As a father of four, John usually scores visits from at least some offspring each year. Today the boys have it! Mia is in Oregon helping Cori get married and Deb didn't come down with Jeff this weekend. Jeff surprised us by arriving at Starbuck's for morning coffee and going to church with us. Mike joined us at the house for a bbq hamburger lunch.

My four guys! Aren't they handsome?
My men know how to do parallel play . Two sudoku and one crossword puzzle while eating their ice cream and cookies.

All that was missing (besides the girls) was Tim. We missed him today and look forward to his safe return from Iraq.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Angel the Cat loves catnip and I grow some in a pot for her and her cousins Touchy and Hobbs in Visalia. They like to take a sniff once in a while. Angel ate some fresh catnip this morning--it can't be good for her. She's in a corner somewhere sleeping it off.

Ummm, please turn your head sideways to view the drying catnip. I'm working on my photo upload learning curve.


It is amazing how much lavender one can grow in an inner city courtyard garden. I have four plants in the ground and four in pots. Three of the plants do not produce lavender worthy of drying but the other five have bloomed their little hearts out this spring. I have eight bunches of lavender drying in the house right now and the plants are still covered with budding stalks. A swarm of ants got into one of the bunches and I had to put it outdoors. I have never heard of ants liking lavender; I didn't realized that there is anything ant-edible in lavender. Weird, huh?

We are off now to REGISTER for wedding gifts, visit the stationers and look at a reception site. I think an hour in Target is about all either Mia or I will be able to handle. I am easily overwhelmed by any store and I think the housewares and bath sections have a particularly strong effect on me. I'm sure I'll need fortifying with coffee and then with dinner before Precepts.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Cold in the Garden

I have a (almost) summer cold. When I woke up Friday morning with a sore throat, I wondered. And wouldn't you know it? The sore throat progressed quickly to sneezing and coughing and nose running. On my first day of summer break, I felt yucky and ended up taking a nap in the afternoon.

So. I didn't go to church this morning because I didn't sleep well* and because I didn't want to spread my germs everywhere. I am sad because John and Dan were team teaching the adult Sunday School class today.

I decided to spend some time in the cloud/sun in the courtyard. I repotted and fertilized the three tomato plants, the basil and the Temple Flame bouggainvillea. Then I moved the plants to the shady side of the courtyard in anticipation of being out of town for a wedding in a couple of weeks, to make it easier for someone to water and to keep the pots from drying out too much if that someone forgets to water. Then I watered everything and washed down the two courtyards. A lovely way to spend a pleasant convalescing Sunday morning. Except for...

the slugs. I hate slugs. I think that they must be on the very bottom of the food chain. I cannot see any reason for their existence except to annoy me. When I see a slug, I kill it. My usual method of disposal is as follows:

ME upon seeing the slug(s): Little Slug, do you want to see God?
Little Slug: Yes!
ME: OK, let me help you!

Then I either stomp on it or cut it in half with a stone or garden tool.

Tammy asked John the other day whether he is concerned that I talk to the slugs, but I figure if it's a problem I'll just have to go to therapy.

Today, however, I found so many slugs under the pots that stomping and cutting were too slow. So, against my better judgment (for humane reasons and for concern over my garden environment) I used the -- (scary music) -- salt shaker --(more scary music). I quit counting oozing slugs after 20. And, no, I don't feel like a guilty murderer. Because I hate slugs and refuse to coexist with them in my garden. They can have the wilds of Northern CA and the Pacific Northwest, but not my garden.

*I sort of fell asleep for a while to the sounds of the dueling bands in the neighborhood. Two groups with distinctly different music tastes (loud, bass thumping vs. mariachi) cranked up their speakers to see who could annoy the most people. It was a tie. But once I woke up from an extra loud series of songs sung off key by progressively more drunken soloists, I couldn't go back to sleep until after 3am when the partyers had all passed out. Noisy nights are among the most annoying parts of inner city living.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Knitting Slump

Being unmotivated to do any knitting right now, I decided to post two of my most recent swatches for TKGA Level III.
This is a slip stitch pattern in two colors. I really like to make this stitch. I first saw it in a stocking cap pattern in Homemade Handknit and made several caps for the men in the family.

Brioche stitch is a new one for me. I had fun learning this pattern. It results in a fluffy, soft knit that would be perfect for a baby blanket.

On the garden front, I have picked a few very small roses from my David Austen Mayflower bush. I'm not sure why the blooms are so small. They look like miniature roses. No stinting on the fragrance, though.

John cut the grass so after 4pm I'll water all my little pots. The three heirloom tomatoes are coming along nicely. The basil is growing slowly. This week I cut four bunches of lavender to dry and I'm only half finished gathering the stalks. The bouggainvillea needs a serious trim as do the lantana. That's a task for next week.

June Gloom is here and I like it. I enjoy "early morning fog and low cloudiness giving way to sunshine later in the day." I don't like cold and I don't like hot.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I am messing around with my learning curve on uploading photos.

This is actually a rose photo I took at Kew Gardens in London in June 2004. I spent a lot of time and a full roll of film in the rose garden.

We enjoyed our trip to England so much and I regularly go back and look at the album I made. John likes to take my photos and make jigsaw puzzles from them with his brainsbreaker program.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Picture!

This is my first uploaded photo!

In our courtyard we have the most amazing bougainvillea that I planted three years ago. It has been seriously pruned but came back this spring and is over the wall into the neighbor's courtyard.

I will be sorry to leave this beauty when we move.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Who are you?

Which Jane Austen Character are You? (For Females) Long Quiz!!!created with


Willow as---

Emma Woodhouse
Elizabeth Bennet

in the Jane Austen characters quiz!

Thanks, Sereknitty, for a fun quiz.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday Musing

One of the responsibilities that comes with ministry is performing jobs that have nothing to do with your job description. Today we spent most of our day unpacking, sorting, and repacking four carloads of donations from one person and writing out a tax deductible receipt for the stuff. I want to be sure my gentle readers understand that we wish to be respectful and appreciative of all donors and we did this as a special favor for some dear friends. Usually we would just drop the donations off at the ministry thrift store. (I sure hope no one from WI reads this!) We just had to get it done so we can park our car in the garage. Suffice it to say that we reminded ourselves that we will NOT save anything ugly, tacky, old or smelly for other people to deal with when we can no longer take care of ourselves. And we will not hoard things that can be passed on to bless someone else.

I didn't get much time to knit, garden or read. I finished last few rows of the two color slip stitch swatch--in lime green and white wool, pulled a few weeds, and read a few pages of Dick Francis.

On a happy,happy note, Mia came home from college today. Deb drove her over after undergrad graduation, responding as usual as the older sister, always ready and willing to care for her little sister. Thanks, Deb.

Deb and Mia were reminiscing about the years that Mia spent believing that I had sent Deb to "Big Sister School" before Mia was born. Deb learned how to change diapers, brush hair, give baths, snuggle in bed, tell stories, and restrain little sisters with jump ropes tied around their hands at Big Sister School. Mia spent many years believing in Big Sister School and then many years declaring she needed therapy for all those years of deception. Gotta love the sisters.

OK, dear readers, I think that by the end of this weekend I will be able to post photos. Stay tuned.

And...congratulations to Sara Martin Brown for graduating with an MA last night! And to Bryan Davenport for finishing his BA!

You Know You Live In The Ghetto When...

you're watching Criminal Minds, a commercial comes on, and you hear the police siren.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I talked with my sil in Oregon and read blogs this weekend and everyone has mentioned rain. Well, guess what? It rained here in Los Angeles on May 22! The students had to eat lunch in the CC and play in the gym, which is the rainy day schedule. When I saw it was raining, I put my basil starts out in the courtyard to catch some water so I wouldn't have to water them in the house.

But now, the sun is out and it's beautiful. I love LA after a rain.

As usual, we had a crazy weekend. Deb and Jeff drove down on Saturday and spent the night here. We all met up at our favorite little hole in the wall burrito place La Carreta at Vernon and Compton Aves. Jamie and Laura, two former WIers who taught 3rd and 1st, respectively, at Watts Christian School with me were both in town and they wanted to eat at La Carreta. Mike and Mia came, too. After dinner, we all went back to our place and ate ice cream. John and I looked at Laura's photos of Honduras, where she is currently living and teaching. It was great to see my two good friends who kept me sane during that stressful year at WCS.

Yesterday we had our morning coffee at Starbuck's where the barrista sees me walk in the door and has my drink ready for me before I get to the counter (she's a great barrista!), went to church, then had vegetarian Indian food with Jeff, Dan and Ben. This restaurant is one of Jeff's favorites so he wanted to visit while he was down this weekend. We stopped by Walmart to pick up some Simply Soft yarn (yeah, I know, cheap yarn, but it washes well and doesn't pill and is great for baby sweaters). Then, we went home and gathered up Mia and took her back to school and drove to Whittier to see an old friend who was speaking about the earthquake disaster in Pakistan. Charlie was born in Pakistan, spent twenty years in Venezuela, and is the executive director of TEAM now. TEAM is heading up most of the private aid in Northern Pakistan. If you're interested in knowing more, check out and click on Pakistan relief down at the bottom of the page. It was good to see several old friends from TEAM years. On an aside, our nephew Thomas is working in the IT dept at TEAM and when the various people found out he is our nephew, they couldn't stop praising his ability to patiently help them with their computer problems. It made us proud--even though we didn't have much to do with his upbringing, John and our kids share some of the same genes.

My goal for this evening is to lay out and block the swatches I've knitted. While I was waiting for Dan on Wednesday morning*, I worked on a swatch with an elongated stitch. I'm knitting the Seafoam pattern from Vogue Knitting (141) and I'm hoping to finish that as well. If there is time tomorrow between teaching my classes, meeting with the principal and going to the teachers meeting, I'll start on the Woven Stitch in Two Colors pattern that I am using for the slip-stitch swatch. All the knitting is the easy part of the Level 3 certification. The pattern writing and charting and the questions to answer are harder and I always put off doing them. At least this time, I'm keeping better records.

I spent some time this afternoon planning the next four months. There are only a little more than 18 weeks until Mia and Tim's wedding!

*The eye dr said yup your eyes are bad, but you are correctable to 20/20, so the paperwork has been forwarded to the appropriate person for a vision waiver, and so, hopefully, to the chaplain candidate board...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I think we were all a little sluggish this morning after our long weekend. I know my students were---uh, what's a "g"?

We had a nice little Mother's Day dinner with just J, the boys and me at Thai Dishes in El Segundo this evening. Mmmm, that's good food there. The waiter brought us complimentary cups of chicken/cabbage/tofu soup to go with our spring rolls. Usually, IMHO, Asian soups are watery and not too tasty, but this soup was good. We added curry, spicy chicken and pad thai and thai iced tea for a great celebration with plenty of leftovers. If you are ever in Los Angeles, stranded at LAX, and need food, grab a taxi and yell, "Thai Dishes on Aviation!" and you'll get a great meal close to the airport.

My lunch companions at school accuse Classie and me of always talking about food and cooking. Well, we're good cooks and recognize a kindred spirit. I know Classie will love a taste of my pad thai and green curry tomorrow at lunch.

Oh wait. I will be playing chauffeur to Dan in the morning for what we hope is the last of several attempts to get the US military machine to give an eye exam which is the final step on his way to becoming a US Army Chaplain. This visit to LA MEPS means leaving the house at 6:15am and arriving there at 7, my hanging around for umpteen hours waiting for Dan to call and say he's done and I can pick him up. Fortunately I have yet another Dick Francis mystery and plenty of knitting* to keep me occupied.

Mia had given me some roses on Saturday and I picked up more roses from the tables at HOB on Sunday so I had them in the car in a Coffee Bean cup on the way home. Some of the petals began falling off in the car so I put them on the dashboard. While we were in McQuickfood's grabbing lunch I left the petals and when we got back in the car, what did I have? Potpourri! Smelled great all the way home. Now I know how to dehydrate my flowers! I wonder if it would work for veggies...and I wonder what J would say if I tried it.

*still working on the grey and white from the neck down raglan cardigan with hood for Baby Angel Maaz. Time to start on another TKGA swatch, this time a slip stitch or maybe the mosaic swatch.