Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ventura Beach

Yesterday the rain came down in bursts, off and on, but mostly on, so I abandoned the daily walk in favor of taking an afternoon field trip with The Professor to Ventura to check out some used book stores.

On the way, we stopped at an anonymous home and garden supply store to choose faucet handles to finish up a shower project that successfully stopped the leaking of both hot and cold water. (Isn't it great that The Professor is a handyman, too?) I wandered over to the plants department, not being particularly enthralled with the idea of looking at all the faucet handle choices. I found a lovely one gallon French lavender because, you know, you can never have too much lavender. We looked for another rosemary plant, but evidently it's a little too early in the herbs season for rosemary.

The Happy Wonderer had kindly given me the addresses for the book stores so we dragged up Ventura's Main Street toward Old Town and the (Buenaventura) Mission district and visited two of the three shops. Abendego Books and Bank of Books reminded me of Powell's Book Store in Portland--immense, stuffed with used and well loved books. The two stores are owned by the same people, as is the third one, The Cookbook Store. Bank of Books has a large basement book room that extends under Main Street and also under the shop next door. I am very proud of myself as I resisted bringing home a number of books I discovered on the shelves and limited myself to only one hard back book, "Gentian Hill" by Elizabeth Goudge (a new author to me) and two more copies of National Geographic Magazine, January 1989.

You may well wonder why I have an obsession with that particular edition of NG--we now own six copies. Why? Because we are mentioned in the article called "Two Worlds of Indonesia". A National Geographic writer came to our village of Mouyeba in 1987, looking for 'the end of the world', the most primitive place in Papua, to interview the people and see for himself how different the worlds of the Papuan interior and the Jakarta urban center were. At that time, the only way in and out of Mouyeba was by helicopter. We often stated that we didn't live at the end of the world but we could see it out the back window of our house.

Then it was time for an early dinner. In my excitement to have an outing with The Professor, I hadn't bothered to eat much lunch and I was hungry. We settled on having fish and chips at a funky little shop on Seaward Avenue, just a block from Ventura Beach. After enjoying the atmosphere of the shop, eating surprisingly excellent coleslaw, chips, fish, and onion rings, and licking our fingers, we went across the street to Full of Beans Coffee Shop. Do you remember that I mentioned that it was raining yesterday? The rain had stopped, blown out to the east by a very strong off shore wind. It was getting colder all the time, mainly because of the chill wind. Our poor Southern California bodies are used to warmth and by the time we got across the street I was shivering. We blew into the shop, the barista took one look at me and asked, "Hot chocolate?"

How did she KNOW?

We took my hot chocolate, picked up a jacket for The Professor and a fleece blanket for me from the car and strolled onto the beach.

It was a short walk. The wind was just too strong, although the sea gulls loved it.

Is there anything more beautiful than a Pacific Ocean sunset?


Mary said...


I love all the photos. My favorite is the one of the sunset. Such beauty makes my heart sing.

I'm so glad that you've been enjoying my postings for Black History Month.

Glad to have time to visit after such a long time.


ellen b. said...

Beautiful and I'm glad you found the bookstores. You'll have to let me borrow one of the National Geographics so we can read the article. We went to Farmers market at 9:15 on our way home from Ventura, yep we were done with our walk at 8:45...

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Oh Willow...

There is nothing more beautiful than a sunset over the Pacific... or a day with your sweetie browsing through used bookstores, buying a favorite plant, and eating really good food!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Reflection Through The Seasons said...

Hi Willow..... Yes, like you I would have wandered off into the garden department, that’s more my kind of thing..... That’s a healthy looking French lavender you selected. Do you ever take cuttings from rosemary, they are so easy to root.

The beach does look a bit chilly, but what a magnificent picture of the palm tree against the sun setting sky. Love it!

Have a good week. Marion

Adrienne said...

Hi, Willow -
I loved your photos and your day out together. I have family in your area. I know the Ventura area a bit and could visualize where you were.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for leaving your sweet comments. Please come by again soon to visit. I'll be back here to see what you have to share.

roxie said...

Oh, oh, oh, what a lovely day! I feel I've been right there with you. How delightful!

Knitting Linguist said...

What a gorgeous day -- thank you so much for sharing it with us. It has all of my favorite elements, bookstores, good food, the beach, and best of all, good company :)

BTW, the fieldwork in Fresno was not linguistic documentation this time (although there are some Native California languages spoken in the area), but story documentation. We're back safe and sound!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Those bookstores sound divine!

Jane said...

Hi Willow sounds like a perfect day,i would have kept you company in the plant department (I trained in Horticulture when i left school - but had to stop 8 years ago due to a back injury, which thankfully healed very slowly. I then started working in schools as admin support) We've just got back from visiting my parents, so I missed a couple of posts. Love the one about your grand-kitties, they'll have to learn to put their paws over their ears! I love your pictures of plants in your garden. jane x

Anonymous said...

Wow! Simply. The nature is really wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I really like your photos. :) It sounds like you've had an ideal day! Your grandson is just darling.

Marg said...

I love the way you refer to "My Professor" It gives me an interesting picture of both of you.
Enjoy those beach walks. We have to travel far and wide for the ocean.
But it calls our name regularly.
Those pictures are so beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like an a perfect day
- all the elements
a companion
a garden center
a book store
the beach
hot choc
What more could one ask of life?
Do let me know if there is some way I could read about your life in Indonesia - it sounds fascinating.

Tracy said...

Feel like I've had a mini vacation just looking at these photos, Willow! What a wonderful outing...and talk of herbs has me dreaming of spring/summer days to come! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

There is award for you on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Who knew there were such wonderful bookstores in Ventura?! It's a bit far for me to drive, but the area sounds terrific with your adventures that day.

Barbara said...

What a lovely trip. food, walks, beach, sunset, BOOKS. What more could one ask for.

Bethany said...

You are one of the most interesting people I know! I wish we could see the NG article!! And I loved your pictures of the ocean. It's been awhile since we've been near the beach and I'm thinking it's time to make plans to go again! I would have loved your evening too!

The Empty Nest said...

I love the city of Ventura. I used to go to all the antique stores. I haven't been there in awhile. Not since my sister died. We used to have a great time there.

I live in Simi Valley.

kate smudges said...

I enjoyed reading about your walk, Willow. What a perfect, idyllic time - and you got some Lavender too!!

The beach looks so beautiful, even if a bit chilly. You are lucky ... used bookstores ... hot chocolate and being with someone you love.

Islandsparrow said...

What a very lovely day! I hope you enjoy your E Goudge book. She is one of my favourites!