Monday, March 31, 2008

Downtown Glendale

While visiting The New Boy, I have been able to explore a little bit of the Phoenix area. Years ago, I had stopped by to see an aunt who was living in Glendale, a town in the greater Phoenix area, and so I decided to see what the town is like now. We loaded The Boy up in his stroller and wandered the streets of Downtown Glendale. There are antique stores, tea shops, parks, a library, and much more. The downtown reminds me of Downtown Fullerton or Old Town Camarillo.

The local library is located in a park and of course since The Princess was with us we HAD to go in and look over the used books for sale. I'll show you the treasures I found--tomorrow.

Evidently Marty Robbins once lived in this area--

We were ready for coffee and a snack when we passed the Marty Robbins Plaza and found a wonderful independent coffee house, A Shot of Java.

A Shot of Java is owned by Lisa and was voted 'Best of Phoenix' neighborhood coffee house in 2007, and we can see why!

I highly recommend this coffee shop. When you go to the Phoenix area, stop by for mocha and caramel frappes or an awesome Americano!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Boy Takes A Hike

Our Boy took his first hike!

We met his Mama's BFF (Best Friend Forever) from Papua, Indonesia days and hiked in Thunderbird Park in northern Phoenix.

He enjoyed looking around the park at all the wildlife, birds and desert flora. We saw quail, ground squirrels, rabbits and more!

Lupine plants.

Desert sunflowers.

The Palo Verde tree, the state tree of Arizona, photosynthesises through its bark.

Thunderbird Park has numerous hiking and running trails switchbacking up and down the hills, but we decided to stay on the paved roads since The Boy wanted to view the park from the comfort of his stroller.

From the tops of the hills, we looked down over western Phoenix to the White Tank Mountains in the far distance.

It was a really fun afternoon and The Boy wants to go back again and explore more of the trails, maybe from the security of Mama's Baby Pack.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baby Pink

If you were a new girl, would you like this kimono?

And this elf hat?

New born size, for the next baby girl I meet.

Mason Dixon Knitting kimono, Simply Soft yarn, size 8 needles.

Charmed Knits elf hat, Simply Soft yarn, size 8 needles.

It doesn't suit Our New Boy; he prefers blue.

Seven weeks old.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Resurrection Day

Christ the Lord is risen today! Hallelujah!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Photo Challenge: Experimental


Palm Springs, California

Kudos to Sherida for giving me the idea!

For more Photo Challenge pictures, go to Spun With Tears.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Colors: Purple and Lavender

The purple and lavender plants of Spring, in no particular order.

Jacaranda trees in bloom. This photo was taken a year ago near the USC campus in South Los Angeles.

There is some debate about how to pronounce the name of this tree. We thought that the correct pronunciation was with the Spanish 'h' sound for the 'j', as in Hawk-a-rahnda. You can see rows and rows of them from the 110 Freeway, lining the streets below, reaching west to the beach and east to the desert.

MamaMia and The Professor made up a little ditty in honor of Purple Jacaranda Trees in Springtime:

(use the Spanish pronunciation)

Jaca-, jaca-, jacaranda!

See them blooming- ovah yondah!

When I drive my purple Honda,

I look like a Jacaranda!

But evidently the tree originated in a region where its name is pronounced Jack-a-randa. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Wisteria blooming on vines tangled over a trellis in Old Town Camarillo.

Lavender surrounded by wood chips on a front garden border.

Mexican Sage

A close up photo of tiny purple lobelia blooms

Lavender Lantana, used mostly as ground cover in my 'edge of the mountains' neighborhood.

Purple bouggainvillea cascading over a stucco wall.

Purple geraniums

"Freeway Plant". I have no idea what the proper name of this plant is. My neighbor simply calls it the freeway plant.

A vibrant and showy succulent.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day!

Yes, it's my birthday!

I am a St. Patrick's Day Birthday Girl.
I am wearing my lucky shamrock necklace today. If I wear it on St. Patrick's Day, I avoid getting pinched by anyone who is foolish enough to try and pinch me. You see, as a St. Patrick's Day Birthday Girl, I have a lifetime exemption from the "pinching if you're not wearing green" business. This necklace is especially lucky because it was bought on St. Patrick's Day for me by the person who made me a St. Patrick's Day baby--my mother. I was pregnant with Kiti and visiting my mom and dad in BOSTON.
My mother and father thought about naming me Patricia, in honor of my date of birth and also in honor of my great uncle Pat who was also a St. Patrick's Day baby. But they thought better of it and changed their minds at the last minute before committing the name to official paper.

The kindergarteners were all in a doodah today because 'Lucky the Leprechaun' visited the classroom yet again and this time spilled the green paint and walked through it, leaving little footprints. However, he was sorry about it and left us all pieces of gold covered candy.

I got to wear the birthday crown and carry Birthday Bear with me.

Now I am home at Willow's Cottage and shall enjoy the rest of my day looking at green growing things in my garden.

The new green leaves on Mayflower Rose.

The green carrot top leaves of the California poppies.

The wonderful sagey green of my favorite lavender plant.

The snappy, smelly green of the catnip I grow for the grandkitties.

All while wearing my olive and avocado green gardening clogs.

I am not wearing green clothing, nor should I be. I should be sporting orange because in Ireland (the land of ONE of my ancestors) the Catholics traditionally wore green on St. Patrick's Day and the Protestants wore orange. I'm not wearing orange either; I have on navy slacks and a navy sweater because it's my birthday and I am wearing my favorite color.

Anyway, it's fun to drink green beer and look for green four leaf clovers. All I could find today was old, withered three leaf clovers in the front school yard.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Colors: Yellow

Yellow is the most common color that we think of when we consider the colors of Spring. Daffodils are the ubiquitous flower of choice in Spring gardens.

There are many other yellow Spring flowers. We find them everywhere along the Southern California coastal areas in February and March. Some of the plants are domesticated and some are still living out in the wild hills and along the beaches.

These yellow blossoms of spring grow on vines and we can see them in front gardens as we walk along the sidewalks in Old Town Camarillo.

The Bush Sunflower, a California native, grows on the slopes and in the valleys of the Santa Monica Mountains. Everywhere.

Wild Mustard pops up on road sides, along paths, in front and back gardens posing as weeds.

In February, when The Professor and I hiked in Camarillo Regional Park , we noticed these very odd plants blooming all over the hillsides of the mountains surrounding the park. The thick brown stalks looked more like tree trunks than flower stems. And yet the leaves reminded us of ferns or cultivated garden plants. A little investigation provided the answer. This is giant Coreopsis (aha, no wonder they looked like garden plants gone hugely bad!).
The giant Coreopsis remains dormant during the dry season. But after the winter rains moisten the soil, it "explodes with green foliage and bright yellow flowers. The flowers may last several weeks, depending on the amount of rain that has fallen. [Quite a bit this year.] After it blooms and disperses seeds, giant Coreopsis returns to dormancy in anticipation of the summer drought."*

That's why I had not noticed them before. They've been dormant. Now they're blooming all over the hills and mountains. The specimen above is blooming on the mountain behind Willow's Cottage along with hundreds of its seedling buddies.

*Native Plant Garden, Guide to Island Plant Adaptations by Bill McCawley, Western National Parks Association.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I rode this


with him

for 6 1/2 miles.

My steps this week were lower because I took two days off and gave in to a headache. For the five days I walked, I averaged 9,804 steps per day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Photo Challenge: Green


For more photos, go to spun with tears

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Memories of England's Doors

Front and Back Doors of Bath Abbey

Door into the history of St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury

A Door in a Door of Learning, Oxford

Two Doors into the Refreshment of your Choice, London

For more "door posts", go to or "The House in Marrakesh".