Friday, November 30, 2007

Green Sweater

The green sweater has been mailed off, but I have some photos to show you and since Blogger is being nice to me today, I have been able to upload them.

The pullover is made from Brown Sheep Company's Cotton Fleece (80% cotton/20% merino wool), Wild Sage.

Knit 2, purl 2 ribbing throughout with cute little mock cables on the v-neck, cuffs, and hem.

Cables on the V-neckline

Cables and buttons on the cuffs

and on the side at the hemline.

I like the detailing on the neck. After picking up stitches around the neck, I knit six rows of stockinette and instead of binding off, I folded the edging and sewed the live stitches to the inside of the neck on the pick-up row.

This sweater was fun to knit, especially since it is a gift for my dear daughter Kiti. It was also a quick knit. And I love the green color, just right for Christmas.

It rained today. We really need the rain, and it did sound so cozy. I woke this morning to the tap, tap of the raindrops on the roof, reminding me of the rainy mornings of my childhood in Oregon. This afternoon after running errands to the post office, sewing machine repair shop and Trader Joe's, we stopped to sit a bit, have some coffee comfort while I read another chapter in TCLADH.

And then this evening we watched The Solid Gold Cadillac, a black and white movie, a comedy about a young woman who foils the attempts of crooked tycoons trying to take over a company in which she owns a mere ten shares of stock. What a cute movie, and the best part is the last scene that shows a lady sitting in the stockholders' meeting knitting a pair of socks.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bah Humbug

I am not yet into the Christmas spirit.

Bah humbug! Blogger won't let me upload photos of my finished green sweater.

Bah humbug! I have more than 100 pages of my textbook to read, study, memorize, digest, understand, comprehend, contextualize, strategize, whatever, in the next week so I will be prepared to take the three exams for CTEL (Certification for Teaching English Learners) on December 8th (I had the date wrong, oops!). The text is titled The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Handbook, A Complete K-12 Reference Guide and it is 344 pages of very dense educationese language. I have been reading every afternoon until I am too sleepy to continue marking important phrases and sentences with my yellow highlighter and then typing up notes on the laptop for studying next week. I'd much rather be writing a Christmas letter and addressing Christmas cards, but I cannot focus on anything but the test prep. I just don't have time.

Bah humbug! I don't feel like I can take the time tonight to drive up to Ventura for knitting night at Anacapa Fine Yarns. I'd love to go and sit with other knitters and talk about my Christmas present plans and the fact that the green sweater is ready to be mailed off to Kiti tomorrow. But, bah humbug, I really need to read one more chapter of TCLADH tonight.

I will get into the Christmas spirit on December 9th. It would also help if blogger would let me show off the finished sweater.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Golden State

When I was a little girl, our family would take our summer vacation in August, and every year we would drive from Portland to San Francisco. My parents loved that town and they loved the drive down the Pacific Coast through the Redwoods--those magnificent towering green giants.

Now I was a Portland girl. I was used to big tall Douglas fir trees, miles and miles of them in the forests, covering Mt. Hood and the coastal mountains. Green was everywhere, and trees were everywhere, and I took it all for granted.

When I was seventeen we moved to a small town not too far east of San Francisco. And then when I was eighteen, I moved to Los Angeles for college. I had never been to LA before, and it was a shock.

My brother and I were driving south and we came to The Grapevine. This is the section of Hwy 5 that winds through the mountains from the south end of California's Central Valley and over into Los Angeles County. The name accurately describes the winding road--grapevine--all twisty and curly. The highest pass has an elevation of 4, 144 feet so there were steep uphill climbs and plenty of curves.

One would expect The Grapevine to reflect to color of the plant--green. But it didn't.

As I said, it was a shock. The Grapevine wasn't green. Nope. It was yellow and brown. And it was hot. Like over 100 degrees. My brother's Oregon car engine wasn't used to that kind of weather and it overheated. We rehydrated the car and climbed back in and started up the last hills and passed a sign that said, "Angeles National Forest". Ummmm. There were no trees here. Is this a forest? Hahaha! Not like our green majestic forests at home in Oregon!

Back in those days of the San Francisco road trips, I noticed the California state slogan was "The Golden State". I asked my dad one day, "Why is California called the golden state?" He replied, "It's because the hills are gold, not green." Because he was my dad, of course I believed him. I think he must have been teasing me. California is The Golden State because the California Gold Rush of 1849 was the impetus that launched California into its run toward statehood in the United States. I didn't know my American history then.

I have traveled up and down The Grapevine too many times to count in the years since that first trip south to Los Angeles. We drove it twice each direction just in this month. It was cooler in November than it was that August afternoon when I was eighteen, but it still looks much the same.

Still Golden.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Malibu Fires

Yes, it's true. Malibu is burning again.

The Professor told me when I woke up yesterday morning in Chula Vista, "It looks like we'll be taking the 101 Fwy home today instead of driving up Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy). There's another fire in Malibu and the road is closed."

As we were driving the freeway north toward the coast and home we could see the plumes of smoke in almost the exact same place as last month's fire. I was going to take a photo but I realized it would look just like the pictures I had taken last month. The headlines of today's Daily News read "Deja vu in Malibu". You can read the stories and see an interactive map on their website, The interactive map shows evacuation areas and burn lines.

Thankfully, the fire is not affecting us other than changing our travel plans a little yesterday. We are, however, keeping an eye and an ear alert for any changes. The winds have died down and it is cloudy today; better weather for fighting fires.

I have been gone for the last four weekends, visiting family, helping my daughter pack to move, celebrating Thanksgiving. Now I will be focusing on three things:
Chaplain Dan's deployment
CTEL tests I have to study for and take on December 10th.
I'm sure I'll need to take many knitting breaks, so I am planning my projects:

Final touches on green sweater for Kiti.

Gifts for friends for Christmas. Sorry, no sneak peeks.

Baby blanket.

Baby sweater.

Final finishing touches on Aran sweater.
Finish blue Cashsoft sweater I started for myself last summer. Remember this?

Do you have knitting projects planned to keep you rested and refreshed during this busy season?

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Princess Publishes Her Thanksgiving List

After reading my I Am Thankful list, The Princess decided to write up a Thanksgiving list of her own.

She is thankful for

sand dollars
fizzy lemonade
Pizza Hut that delivers
ready made chocolate chip cookie dough
dvd rental machines in the grocery store
walks on the beach

And the Marine PFC's sister (both of whom celebrated Thanksgiving with us) is thankful for

being able to rescue her brother from being stuffed into a stranger's car at Camp Pendleton and whisked off to a well wisher's home for Thanksgiving dinner (which is actually a very thoughtful thing that many Oceanside families do for lonely Marines far away from home)

and like any proper Middle Earth lore lover-- good food, good friends, and South Farthing Longbottom weed

Chaplain Dan, Marine PFC, The Marine (who is married to MamaMia)

Black Friday

Black Friday. The day of all the days of the year I avoid stores and shopping. I choose not to buy anything on Black Friday, although for me it's not that big a deal as I so thoroughly dislike shopping at the best and easiest of times. Why would I want to shop on the busiest day of the year?
MamaMia works part time in retail, so she had to report for work at 2:30pm today. The rest of us left at the Thanksgiving Day location scattered in different directions, some to Barnes and Noble or Best Buy, one to the sofa in the living room armed with a good book, The Princess and I to the beach for a stroll in the sand.
The wind surfers were out in full force at Silver Strand State Beach. The park is located on the sand-spit that forms the outer edge of San Diego Bay between Coronado and Imperial Beach. The point in the northern distance is Point Loma on the north end of San Diego.

To the south is Imperial Beach. And beyond that, Mexico.

Sand dollars lay in the sand at the water's edge. The beach lover in me had to pick up several specimens and carry them home. The sand has gold flecks, not silver, so I wonder why the beach is called Silver Strand; it should be Gold Strand.

Another thing to be thankful for: beaches to explore!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I Am Thankful

I am thankful for

my husband The Professor
my children
a pleasant home
good friends
knitting needles and yarn
natural beauty around me
the opportunity for a good education
military men and women who protect me
running water
hot water
physical safety
financial security
God who loves me and saved me by His grace
clean water
a rewarding job
my grand kitties
my bicycle

A number of years ago when The Professor and I were newly back living in the US, we were struck by our appreciation of some simple pleasures we had not had in Indonesia. We came up with our Three Great Goods in Life list.

For us, The Three Great Goods in Life are:

A comfortable bed
A hot shower
A good cup of coffee

May we all be thankful for the simple pleasures.


We are in Chula Vista, down near the Mexican border, celebrating Thanksgiving at MamaMia's.  I'm not even sure what the final people count for dinner will be because it keeps changing all the time what with friends and Marines coming and going.  At this moment, the count is either 14 or 16.

I want to wish all my dear readers (isn't that such a great Victorian phrase?) a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Signs of the Season

Gardening in Southern California regularly surprises me. I grew up in Oregon and after leaving there at age 17 and moving around the world a few times (literally), I ended up back there in my hometown of Portland for 12 years. During those years, I grew a vegetable garden. I planted all my favorite flowers--hydrangeas, roses, lavender, cosmos--and learned how to pull up the tomato plants after the first frost killed them, how to protect the roses from the 15 degree cold snaps that Portland would occasionally endure.
Then I moved to Southern California.
This is the place where my potted tomato plants winter over from year to year. These little cherry tomatoes are on a bush that is finishing up its third year in the pot. Look! Do you see the six little green tomatoes? And the yellow blossoms? What is happening here? It's NOVEMBER, it's THANKSGIVING.

The camellias in my grandma's Oregon garden and later on in my garden bloomed in early spring. Here in Camarillo, my camellias (all nine bushes) are blooming in NOVEMBER.

This David Austen rose is named Mayflower. It smells wonderful and its old fashioned petals open up and curl a little and then they quickly wilt and drop off leaving a sweet memory on the steps by my front porch. Its mommy was Mary Rose and I think its daddy was Gertrude Jekyll. I had a potted Mary Rose on my south facing porch in Oregon. It died one coldish winter. The Gertrude Jekyll rose that I planted in memory of my mother whose name was Gertrude grew near the mailbox by my driveway. I dutifully cut back its bare branches every February.

It's NOVEMBER and my Mayflower rose is blooming its little heart out.
The seasons are all mixed up down here. Is it the influence of nearby Hollywood where no one or nothing is allowed to grow old in the land of eternal youth?
No, it's just the weather, the California Mediterranean climate that brings us poinsettia trees perenially growing larger and larger, flowering out with those big, floppy red blooms most of the year, not those wimpy little Christmas house plants that bloom once and then never bloom again and you throw them in your compost bin in February. Zone 23 in the Sunset Western Garden Book.
This morning, the temperature was 51 degrees and it was foggy when I left for work, and I was freezing. Shivering, I drove the six miles to school wearing a long sleeved shirt and a sweater. I layed a sweatshirt over my legs, and I pulled on my gloves because the steering wheel was cold. Now the sun is out and it's in the low 60s.

It may be Thanksgiving week, but it's not an Oregon November.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One of Those Days

Sometimes late autumn days in mediterranean Southern California fool you. You think it's summer. Pure blue sky. High 80s.

I woke up yesterday to One of Those Days. A shirt sleeves and sandals day. Clear, clear, crystalline, azure and turquoise day.

One of Those Days like when Farmer Bill out in Iowa is sitting in the living room listening to the -10 degree wind whistling around the corner of the barn, delaying his tramp out to the barn through three feet of snow to milk the cows by watching a UCLA football game on TV and he sees the blue sky and hears the announcer tell the world that the temperature is 78 degrees. He looks at that screen and yells out to his wife in the kitchen,

"Martha! Start packin'! We're sellin' the farm and movin' to California!"

Which is what my great grandparents did except they went to visit some relatives in Oregon on the way to California and loved the Willamette River Valley and never left. My cousin Donna and I are the only ones who ever made it to California.

And yet. And yet. The great weather comes with a price as the world saw last month. It doesn't rain much and wild fires are a constant threat.

I hear it when people talk about the weather about the fact it hasn't rained but 4 inches here since LAST fall. I sense the tension in their voices, see the wariness in their eyes.

Are the Santa Ana Winds going to start up again this week and bring more hot dry winds to drive sparks in a fiery fury that will burn our forests, our towns, our homes? AGAIN.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blogger Of Integrity Award

I was given a Blogger of Integrity Award by Mary at Mary's Writing Nook. (link on my fav blogs, Writing Nook)

This award was originally created by Aussic Cynic, who posted:
"After looking, reading and watching many many Blogs and bloggers I decided to issue some recognition to those fellow bloggers I feel maintain integrity in their Blogs. All these bloggers incorporate within their wonderful sites, an integrity not always seen. They share terrific stories, topics, discussions and images."

Mary gave it to me--
For Creativity:
Willow at Willow's Cottage. Willow is always busy knitting up some beautiful creation. Currently she's working on a lovely sweater.

Thank you so much, Mary. Your choice truly surprised me. I knit because my fingers just don't want to stop. So much yarn, so little time! The results are much less interesting to me than the process, so I rarely keep anything for myself. I sometimes don't recognize my work as being creative. It just happens and I don't really think about it.

Do you want to see the sweaters I am working on?

Child's Aran Sweater
designed and knitted by Willow
for the final project of the Master Hand Knitting Certification
It has been knitted and blocked. All I have left to do on it is sewing the seams, photographing it being worn by a model, and writing up the pattern in correct format.


The back and front of an Aran sweater should be the same. This is the back. The sleeves echo two of the body designs.

When I am not working on the Aran sweater, I have been knitting a sweater for Kiti. The pattern is from Interweave Knit, Summer 2006.


The whole sweater is worked in knit 2, purl 2 ribbing, except for the twisted stitch cables on the sweater and sleeve bottom edges.

I still have to finish the front neckline and work up the sleeves. I would like to give it to her at Thanksgiving, so I'm knitting on it every spare moment I have.

A Meme To Fill Out While Procrastinating

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night. The Professor.

2.What were you doing at 0800? Making myself finish getting ready for the day. I'm supposed to leave the house about 0800.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Talking on the phone with MamaMia.

4. What happened to you in 2006? That was the year when I asked The Professor in October if one could die of stress. Daughter's wedding on Sept 23, receptions on Sept 29 and Oct 7, moving said daughter to San Diego County (twice, Oct and Dec), moving The Prof. and self on Oct 15, son's wedding on Nov 11 in Arizona.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "What did you ask me?" to The Professor.

6. How many beverages did you have today? One cup of coffee, part of a travel mug of coffee, two bottles of water, glass of smoothie.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Brown with a little gold ring around the end.

8. What was the last thing you paid for? Christmas pressies from a guy who had the stuff on display in the teachers' lunchroom. I asked the secretary, "Do you trust me? Can I borrow $2 until tomorrow?"

9. Where were you last night? Home with The Professor, sitting on the futon, knitting and watching Jeopardy, Bones and a UCLA basketball game.

10 What color is your front door? Umm, not sure, gotta go check...yup, it's white.

11. Where do you keep your change? In my wallet.

12.What’s the weather like today? High 80s. Sunny and breezy, I'm thinking the Santa Ana Winds are wanting to start up again.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Chocolate. Chocolate with anything but peanut butter mixed in it. Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato from a gelato store near the Coliseum in Rome.

14. What excites you? The beach, a good book, a great knitting pattern and yarn, a vacation trip, mail, my husband and children, the idea of having grandchildren, watching a kid 'get it' while reading.

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Yes! Last haircut I got was terrible and I am NOT going to HER again. Time to get it done so it will look good at Thanksgiving.

16. Are you over the age of 25? heheh, I always tell my students, "You never ask a lady her age!"

17. Do you talk a lot? I guess I do. My daughter once told me I'm quite loquacious.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yep, yep, yep, three of them.

20. Do you make up your own words? Yes, it's a game with The Professor and me. Magoola-boola--animal poop. Wawa--wallet. Picture squeak--picturesque.

21. Are you a jealous person? Sometimes. Don't nobody mess with The Professor!

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Alice, my knitting friend. Anne, the young woman at the lys.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kristie, my wonderful walking buddy!

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? MamaMia.

25. What does the last text message you received say? No idea. I know I have one stored that MamaMia sent that starts, Mommy, I love you... but I don't text message people.

26. Do you chew on your straw? No. I wash and reuse them so I never mess them up.

27. Do you have curly hair? I used to have straight hair, but lately it's getting a little wavy. It's nice because I always wanted curly hair.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? Does going for a walk count? Otherwise, to school tomorrow morning at 0800. See #2.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? I don't pay much attention.

30. What was the last thing you ate? My blueberry/strawberry smoothie.

31. Will you get married in the future? Did it once in the past, am still married, no intentions of doing it again. The Professor and I are going to die together so we don't have to live alone.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? Hysterical laughter. Anyone who knows me is also laughing hysterically. I watch movies but never have ANY memory of the names, plots or characters. I'll ask The Professor. Oh yeah, he said The Ten Commandments with Yul Brunner as Pharoah, you know the old one. The Professor has a life goal of watching all the Academy Award winners for all the categories, so I watch a lot of movies with him. Maybe it's because I am also knitting or spinning at the same time that I don't remember them.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? I like lots of people. I like the teacher I work with, most of my neighbors, many of my relatives. This must be one of those teeny bopper questions.

36. Did you cry today? Nope. I was thinking about Chaplain Dan leaving soon for the Middle East and I got a little teary eyed, but no I didn't cry.

37. Why did you answer and post this? Because I am sitting here on the futon again, resting after my morning with the kindergarteners, still nursing the cold one of them gave me two weeks ago.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. Let's see. How about

Bethany at Red Yarn

Sherida who just had a baby boy and is home now and has time to blog

Sara at Much Ado About Something

Monica in her Forever House

MamMia or Kiti who probably don't have time to spend on it

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mission San Buenaventura

If you live in Southern California, you are always aware of the Spanish component of the area's history. Spain was the first major colonial power to settle in California, and the even Spanish presence is only 250 years old. So young compared to the rest of the world.

Spain had conquered most of South and Central America in the Sixteenth Century but had not moved into California Alta, the area north of Mexico. The main reason for failure to colonize California was the harsh desert terrain that had to be crossed to get there and the lack of good harbors to sail ships into to land soldiers and colonists. It wasn't until 1769, just seven years before the beginning of the American Revolution, that Father Junipero Serra endured the northward overland trip and arrived in what is now San Diego and established the first Franciscan mission, Mission San Diego de Alcala. His personal goal was the conversion of the California Indians who lived along the Pacific Coast although his goal was often supplanted by the intentions of the Spanish king and his soldiers--colonizing the area in the name of Spain to provide revenue for the Spanish crown.

Father Serra eventually established thirteen missions along the western part of California as far north as Sonoma, north of San Francisco. Each of the missions was about a day's walk apart. Through the many changes of government that California has experienced, the missions grew, prospered and languished, closed and reopened or were left to fall into disrepair.

Today, all thirteen of the missions still exist in some fashion. Most of the churches are still used for worship. One mission, Mission Nestra Senora de la Soledad, is merely a pile of rubble that historians are working to reconstruct.

Mission San Buenaventura, just fifteen miles from Willow's Cottage, was established in 1782, and is still an active church parish with a school connected to it. The Professor and I visited there recently. The church is located on Main Street in Old Town Ventura, just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

All the missions were built in the same style which has come to be known as "California Mission" style. Tile roofs, stuccoed tan walls, bell tower.

The chapel interiors use dark beams which were sometimes painted. The chandelier has been modified for electricity, but the style is typical of the architecture.

The walls are usually decoratively painted.

Each mission also had an enclosed garden. The fountain in the middle of the Ventura garden is really lovely.

Details of the tiles

There is a museum across the street from the Ventura mission, and there is also a park.

A group of Chinese workers settled in Ventura in the Nineteenth Century, drawn by the agricultural opportunities. There were not many Chinese but they all lived in one alley. After the immigration laws of the early Twentieth Century limited the number of Asian workers, most of the Chinese left Ventura, but the alley remained.

Because the Ventura plain was fertile, agriculture flourished. A reservoir and aqueduct were constructed to provide water. There has been limited archeological digging done, but the remains of the reservoir can still be seen on the hill above the mission.

The road traveled by Father Junipero Serra as he visited his mission outposts came to be known as El Camino Real, The King's Road. I can remember as a child visiting San Francisco and seeing the bells that hung on poles placed along the highway inscribed with the words El Camino Real. Now I pass one of the bells every day as I pull on to Highway 101 North to drive the few miles to school.
El Camino Real, The King's Road, the very same road traveled by the Franciscan Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California Missions.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thanks And A First Anniversary

We are on a long weekend trip to California's Central Valley to visit Kiti and help her finish packing their belongings for the move to Arizona. We've enjoyed our extended rests and talks between the busyness of packing.

The grandcats are creating numerous distractions like jumping in and out of boxes, meowing over dinner, escaping to the back yard to explore which is EXPRESSLY forbidden. Hobbes knows how to push open the sliding glass door.

Thank you all for your insights into writing. I've read and reread your comments and take both pleasure and inspiration from them. I have a three hour drive home on Monday to ponder more--so much wisdom in your words!

I am using Kiti's computer so I can't post any photos. I'd love to show you the sweater I am quickly finishing for her. Next week!

I also want to wish a very Happy First Anniversary to Chaplain Dan and his Princess. Unfortunately, they cannot be together today as Chp. Dan is on active duty for three weeks. As you think of them today, send a sweet wish their way!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I thought when I first read about November being National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo2007) that I would like to join, in spirit, if not in actuality. I thought I'd commit to writing every day, maybe not writing a novel, but writing something.

Well, that lasted, like, maybe, one day. Because I was traveling and visiting and knitting and sitting around in coffee shops with MamaMia. And because I just don't have a novel knocking around inside my head.

My academic advisor in college (BA in English Literature) liked my writing and he told me years later that he had thought I would end up being a writer. I'm sorry to have disappointed him in that quarter. We've remained friends through the years and see each other occasionally. (The Professor also knew him growing up and was friends with him.)

I realize that what I like is writing letters, short notes, vignettes, not novels. I like the 'conversation' of emails, letters, thank you notes, blog entries. Immediate feedback.
I think I can't, or don't choose to, stay focused for that long. If I know I am writing for an audience, I don't get bored. Each day is different and I can write about what interests me today.
Short and to the point.

Those of you who are writers and can sustain the writing of the novel, how do you do it? Do you look at the big picture all the time in your mind? Or do you just focus on the details?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


The wedding The Professor and I attended on Saturday afternoon was a joyous celebration. The bride was truly radiant!
I loved the basket of hydrangeas that welcomed us to the reception room.
The foundation flowers of the table arrangements were actually grass.
The wedding cake wasn't a cake. There was a small top layer with the words Live Love Laugh written in icing around the edge. But all the rest of the cake was -- cupcakes. Vanilla, chocolate, red velvet. Decorated with the same autumn flowers placed everywhere in the reception room. The photos aren't all in focus. I had to snap quick shots before the guests grabbed the cupcakes and ate them all.

Congratulations, Ron and Sharon!

Monday, November 05, 2007

On The Train

If The Professor does not accompany me on a trip, I think the best way to travel is by train. A train provides the best of all worlds except good coffee. I rode the Amtrak Surfliner from Camarillo to downtown San Diego, a trip of five hours. Five hours on a train = five hours of knitting! I scored a window seat on the ocean (west) side of the train car, but by the time we were far enough south where the tracks run out to the coast, it was already dark.

So on the northbound trip back home on Saturday morning, I made sure I again got a good window seat, so I could watch the beaches fly by. I knew I wouldn't get as much knitting done on this three hour journey. There is just too much to see out the windows. After we left the city and until we reached the coast, my view was mostly this:

My first peek at the beach!

Having taken this train route before, I knew to expect wonderful ocean views. Often one can see dolphins or porpoises swimming off shore a bit. So I knitted with my fingers but not my eyes, and kept a close watch for the playful black animals bobbing up and down in the surf.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any sea animals.

I did see surfers

and more surfers.

These sea birds were all clustered in one area where a stream washed into the ocean. They were all certainly happy that breakfast was being served. I wondered what was on the menu Saturday morning.

The train travels right along the beach through the towns of Solana Beach, Oceanside, San Clemente. This is the San Clemente Pier. Students of Twentieth Century American history will recall that Richard Nixon's Western White House was in San Clemente. That was the place where he retired to spend the last years of his life. I think he chose a very beautiful spot. I once saw photographs of his San Clemente home. The style, as you would expect here, was Old California Spanish--lots of white walls, terra cotta roofs and steps, bright colored tiles. As the train rumbled through town, I wondered if Nixon ever walked along the pier at sunset.

The tracks move inland after leaving San Clemente, traveling through the lovely town of San Juan Capistrano. The mission is not visible from the train, but there were little shops and restaurants with surrounding gardens all along the station.

After short stops in Irvine, Santa Ana and Fullerton, the train pulled into Los Angeles Union Station. Seeing Union Station always gives me a thrill. I think about all the people who have caught trains here, or arrived in the early 1900s to seek their fortunes, or embarked for the east for school and business. I love the movie Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand and one of my favorite scenes is when the girls in the Follies arrive at the train station with their trunks and furs. I can close my eyes and imagine the excitement and hustle and bustle of the passengers making their way down the steps and along the corridors and entering Union Station, looking around, as I do each time I pass through, at the high ceilings, the magnificent chandeliers, the tiled floors and walls.

Then I walked out to the front into the warm November California sun and turned around to look at the landmark clock tower.

Welcome to Los Angeles Union Station! Enjoy your stay!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fires to Fog

Was it less than two weeks ago that San Diego County was burning? Just twelve days ago that the Santa Anas were blowing and inciting the flames into wildfires?

It was hard to believe when I was in Chula Vista and every morning looked like this:

On a foggy morning, we do love our coffee.

I went with MamaMia and her friend Southern Belle to San Diego State University on Thursday and Friday and attended several of MamaMia's classes. I took my knitting and acted like I understood the French conversation.

On the few occasions when Southern Belle and MamaMia don't go to campus together, MamaMia can take the metro train. This is the station on campus.

The campus is much larger than Channel Islands, being a much older university. This is the original building on the campus. The five bells in the bell tower reminded me of the California missions.

Many of the buildings on the campus were built in the mission architecture style. When new buildings are erected, it is not always easy to match and complement the old style.

The new library

Usually by noon the fog burns off and the skies are Southern California Blue, again. The clock tower is another campus landmark.

Besides going to college, I enjoyed playing with Angel the cat, taking walks, hanging out with a cup of coffee, lounging in the apartment hot tub, visiting the local quilt shop, just sitting around and knitting.