Saturday, January 31, 2009

Out and About

We'll be OUT in east Los Angeles County and ABOUT family business today.

No time for photos. No time for blogging. Not much time for knitting, except during the drive there and back again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Friday Fave Five

There are two reasons I look forward to Friday. It's my first 'Saturday' as I work Monday through Thursday. And then I get to post my Fave Fives.
1. Birthday dinner for Son #2 on Sunday afternoon. He asked for Swedish meatballs and rice, asparagus and broccoli. He also got green salad and ice cream. He stayed for several hours and we all played a vocabulary guessing game which you can find at
2. Although the wind has been "mariah" strong, the sunshine is back. Our temperatures have been ranging from 42F to 62F in the mornings. Thursday was our warmest day with temperatures in the mid70s. It's lovely to walk in January and February. The weather is pleasant but not too warm. The sycamore trees are bare and we can see the bird nests high up near the tops of the trees.

3. On Tuesdays I tutor in a Ventura neighborhood very near the beach. I've discovered a park and beach called Marina Park in the area, and the past two Tuesdays I've walked there either before or after tutoring. The park is on the north side of the Ventura Channel and Harbor. We have visited the south side often as it is a more commercial area. The north side of the channel is all residential and much quieter.
4. I have been picking and eating the mandarin oranges from the tree on the side of our house and taking some of the fruit in to school and sharing. Just doing my part to increase Vitamin C intake and prevent more colds and flu in the classrooms.

5. Flylady is doing a Super Fling Boogie this week and the next two weeks. I've been motivated to fling old clothes from my closet and old magazines I was sure I'd always want and reread (not). It feels great to recycle and pass clothes on to bless someone else!

I hope you've enjoyed reading my Fave Five this week. Read about others' weeks at Living to Tell the Story.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grey and Rain Last Week

Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Henry Wadsworth

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday Fave Five

My Fave Fives for this week seem to all be botanical in nature.

1. On Monday, The Professor and I took The New Boy to the Blueberry Lady's to pick blueberries. Yes, blueberries in January! Acres and acres and acres of blueberries.

(We pause here to insert a notice: Please eat blueberries! They're good! And good FOR you! If you eat them fresh in January and February [or any other month], they might have been grown on THIS ranch!)

We picked several quarts, some to eat fresh and others to put in the freezer 'for later'.

2. I inherited nine camellia bushes when I moved to this house. They bloom in different months but mostly in the winter. I don't pay much attention to them, don't fertilize them or give them extra water. But they bloom their little hearts out. There are HUNDREDS of camellia flowers on those nine bushes!
3. I found thise little treasure under a leaf when I was watering and weeding.

4. The pink geranium was snuggled up to the rosemary bush.

5. The plum trees all over town are blooming! I've seen them blowing their white petals in parking lots, front yards, and street corners. The unseasonably warm weather we had earlier this month forced their buds into full bloom.

For more Fave Fives, go to Susanne's blog, Living to Tell the Story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Storm Coming

The weatherman says a storm is coming. Clouds have been gathering for a day or two.

The sailors have tethered their boats and lowered their sails at Ventura Harbor.

But the surfers know that the surf's up and stay out on the waves as long as possible.

We're hoping for rain.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Today is Son #2's birthday.
His name is Mike, he is an engineer, he's a wicked poker player and a great volleyball player.

Twenty eight years ago, I had no idea who or what he would be. He was a tiny bundle of preciousness, a gift of grace from God, born early and small in the middle of the jungles of Papua, Indonesia. I think he had a happy childhood, playing in the jungle, learning from me to read and to add and subtract, swimming in the tropical ocean.

I know that vacationing in the Baliem Valley of Papua and gathering fossils from the river banks, living among primitive tribal peoples and observing their humanness and sameness and their differences to all the rest of the world made a deep and lasting impression on Mike. So much so that anthropology has been bred into his bones and blood. So much so that when he decided to look at graduate schools and career changes that anthropology, the study of those first neighbors, first friends, is pulling him in to an area of academia that, while it has surprised others who know him less well, seems to me, his mother, a perfect fit for the little boy who carried his bows and arrows around the village in a string bag, who learned to build fires the Moskona way and burned his eyelashes off playing with that fire, bamboo tubes and kerosene, who rode in an airplane before he rode in a car, who was called by all the people in the village 'Manir Meyokda' (the little village chief) because he was one of their own.

I'm excited to see where this next year takes my #2 Son.

Happy Birthday, Mike!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday Fave Five, Mid January Edition

It's Friday and time for

1. The Professor gave me Saturday last weekend just to play. And he drove. Farmers Market. Coffee. Thrift Stores. Used Book Stores. Beach.

2. Speaking of Thrift Stores and Used Book Stores, I have to say I scored, and scored BIG. Besides finding an Elizabeth Goudge book (currently reading) and a couple of children's favorites I wanted to add to my children's literature bookshelves (Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Betsy, Tacy and Tib, Understood Betsy), I picked up ten (yes, TEN) more Newbery Award books. It is a life goal of mine to own and read all the Newbery Award titles. Since the award was started in 1922, that's a lot of children's books. The books I added to my bookshelf were

2000 Bud, Not Buddy
1980 A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal
1977 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
1967 Up a Road Slowly
1959 The Witch of Blackbird Pond
1958 Rifles for Watie
1949 King of the Wind
1941 Call It Courage
1938 The White Stag
1929 The Trumpeter of Krakow

3. Still speaking of books, I was the delighted recipient of these two volumes when the mother of one of my tutoring students gifted them to me from her bookshelves.

4. I have alluded to the unseasonably warm weather we have been having, temperatures in the 80s all this week. The camellias are bursting with blooms.

5. A four day weekend to look forward to!

For more Friday Fave Fives, join us at Susanne's blog Living To Tell The Story.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Channel Islands Sunset

After our weeks of clouds and rain, we Southern Californians flocked to the beaches to revel in the brilliant sunshine and even more brilliant sunsets.

Ventura, California

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


After Twelve Days of Christmas and however many months that the retail markets try to sell anything related to what it labels "The Holidays", I feel like I've seen enough RED and GREEN to last a lifetime. My eyes yearn for a restful palette.
Violets on an antique lavender rimmed plate to hold my chocolate covered cherries.

Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses wrapped in royal purple light up the reflections in the swirly round oil globe.

Even the sunlight shining through a prism casts cool soothing lavender and purple splotches on my blue area rug.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Memories of Fragrance and Color

'Rose otto' and rose water are produced by steam distillation from the fresh petals of this rose.
Chelsea Physic Garden


Chelsea Farmers Market


South Kensington Flower Shop

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Fave Five

This week I am home from my wanderings in San Diego, back in the classroom, recovering from a cold, and enjoying these Five Faves.

1. When The Professor had to drive home on Friday to lead the weekly Bible Study, I stayed behind in San Diego to help with MamaMia's Moving Day. The reward was a train trip home on Sunday morning! Amtrak's Surf Liner route took me along the Pacific Ocean.

2. I hadn't seen the New Boy much for a week. It was fun to watch him watch his favorite soap channel.

3. I have reconnected with a very dear college friend. Her daughter found me via facebook and contacted me. The emails have been flying back and forth between Michigan and California! We have discovered that we are both 'still knitting'.
4. Lying low with a cold can have unexpected good results. The Professor took over the cooking this week. Barbecued salmon with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and salad. Tortellini with homemade marinara sauce. Taco salad. He's a good cook!
5. Another benefit of illness: I didn't feel like doing much after working, tutoring, and walking with Ellen, so I sat around every evening and READ. I finished two great books. Sanna and the Dragons by my friend and fellow knitter Roxanna Matthews. Wrenn- Egypt House by Alice Lynn, a writer friend of Roxie's. I really want to tell you about these two books in another post. I loved them both!
To enjoy others' Fave Five lists, visit Living To Tell The Story.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I haven't mentioned that our Eleanor Elizabeth accompanied us to Chelsea Physic Garden. She enjoyed the garden immensely.
Especially the Edible Plants area.

There were all the usual normal every day plants in the edible garden. Tomatoes. Green Beans. Onions. Garlic. Rhubarb. Carrots.


No, Bunny! They're for LOOKING AT, NOT EATING!

Eleanor thought that maybe she could nibble her way through this really large humongous green monster leaf.

Even a Bunny couldn't eat a whole GIANT leaf. It might work better as a papa san chair.

Oooooh! Pretty flowers to chew on!

Ummm, no. Not so tasty.

This is more like it! Red Clover!

After our discovery walk through the Edible Plant Garden, Eleanor wanted to visit the Gift Shop where she had seen a quite handsome bear on a display table.

The Gift Shop! What a delightful place! Everything a gardener could want, need or imagine!

Even this sweet little Terracotta Pot Man

I loved the cotton shades!

The docents at the shop recommended Jekka's Complete Herb Book as the best resource available. It was a tempting purchase, but I decided against buying it. We had traveled to London from Los Angeles with only our backpacks and I didn't want to carry the weight back home.

I hope you have enjoyed our visits to Chelsea Physic Garden. If you ever have the opportunity to travel to London and decide to go to the garden, it would be wise to check the website for visiting hours.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

After Tea

Yesterday I showed you what The Professor and I explored before having lavender scones, clotted cream and jam for tea at Chelsea Physic Garden. We sat outside under the trees and enjoyed looking around at the signs of a working, functioning garden.

After we sipped the last of our tea and wiped our lips, we ventured out again to see the Fish Pond at the other end of the garden.

We passed the Rock Garden on the way. The Rock Garden is famous because the various rocks for assembling it came from different places including

"stones from the Tower of London, Icelandic lava (brought to the garden by Sir Joseph Banks in 1772 on a ship named St. Lawrence), fused bricks and flint. This curious structure has been listed Grade II* and is the oldest rock garden in England on view to the public. It was completed on 16th August 1773. "

The Fish Pond was much more overgrown with lily pads and other pond plants than when we visited in 2004.

Wild flowers lined the edges of the rectangular pond.

It was hard to tell which bright orange spots were koi swimming under the surface and which were reflections of the orange poppies.

The reflections looked like a Monet painting.
I don't wish to overwhelm anyone with too many photos of this magical place. Shall I post one more set of photos tomorrow?