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.