Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn! Southern California is starting to look like fall, with a few falling leaves, even though the temperatures are still warm and there has been no precipitation.

There is another fire raging in Ventura County. I could see the smoke and drove through falling ash on my drive home from tutoring this afternoon. The winds are gusting and humidity is low, which unfortunately makes for perfect fire conditions.

The rest of September I will be mostly absent from Blogland. I have several deadlines looming, some self imposed and others imposed upon me. I am also getting used to a new job schedule, which always takes extra energy. I'll be back as soon as I can with photos and catch up news. I promise to post that Carrot Top Soup recipe for Clarity and photos of the spun yarn for Mary P. Oh, and there is a shawl, a hat, a scarf and more yarn (this time green and blue) to show, once I get them all photographed.

I'll be back soon, before Autumn really sweeps in with piles of orange and brown leaves and overcast days.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday Fave Five, #54, Mid September Edition

It's Friday (again) and it's Friday Fave Five time. FFF is a weekly post for many people who focus on the happy, and positive events in their week.

It was a very busy week here at Willow's Cottage, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to choose to think about the 'good stuff'.
1. The Professor and I spent the weekend here:
Los Angeles' Beach Cities is always a happy place for us. We kitty-sat while our friends were gone and appreciated the opportunity to be away from our routine and get a little beach walking time.
2. Gelato! Dark Chocolate! Love it!
3. This merino/silk blend fiber slipped through my fingers quickly and turned into a lovely yarn.
4. Shopping in Manhattan Beach. In three very quick stops, I found office supplies, t-shirts, a work blouse, black capris, and a kitchen scale. This makes my FFF for two reasons. I do not enjoy shopping and being able to complete all those purchases with a minimum of effort is a definite highlight for me. Finding a scale (at Sur La Table) that can be used for weighing fiber has been on my to do list for quite some time, and now it can be crossed off. The scale can be put to use making sure the skeins of yarn I spin for sale are the correct weight as well as length. This expedition was almost painless and was certainly helped by several ounces of, ahem, coffee.

5. The Professor and I met old friends and co-workers for lunch on Tuesday. PF was in Southern California visiting from Florida, traveling around with MS1 who lives up in Santa Barbara not too far from us. During our years in Indonesia, we worked side by side with these women and have great love and respect for them. Two hours over lunch just wasn't long enough to catch on everyone's news! Hearing and speaking the mix of English and Indonesian languages in our speech was like music, a secret song that only we four were singing.

This is a quick recap of 'Willow's Week'. To join in, go to Living To Tell The Story.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fave Five #53

This week is officially the fifty-third Friday Fave Five. I checked in my post history and found that this is my fifty-first FFF!

This week has been a good and busy start to my school year. But I want to focus my faves on the weekend when The Professor and I took a quick overnight trip to Anaheim, California. If you are human, were ever a child, or are even a little bit literate, you will recognize the name of that city as being the hometown of DISNEYLAND, DOWNTOWN DISNEY, and CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE.

Riding boats through the Pirates of the Caribbean tunnel, climbing up the Matterhorn, and visiting with Minnie Mouse and Goofy are not the only attractions at Disneyland. Last weekend Disneyland hosted the Half Marathon and Chaplain Dan, The Princess and her sister ran it for the first time.

We joined the hundreds of people cheering the 13,000 participants. Since the starting time was 6am, we drove down Saturday night and stayed in a motel near Disneyland to be on hand to see our three favorite runners at the beginning of the race.

We were able to follow their route and wave and shout at them at two different spots.

And of course we were there at the finish line to congratulate them!

We were so proud of their accomplishment, and so was Mickey!

My five faves?

1. Spending Saturday evening with them, sharing dinner at The Block, an outdoor mall in the vicinity.

2. Cheering them as they ran past us. We were amazed that we were able to spot them among the thousands running down Disneyland Drive at the beginning.

3. Finding an open coffee place at Mile 4 so we could sip some refreshment while they ran out of Disneyland and through the city.

4. Being at the finish line to hug them and congratulate them on a good run.

5. Dining with them and The Princess's parents afterwards, just enjoying being together, promising ourselves and each other that we would all walk and run and train and join the throng of racers NEXT YEAR!

Do you think we could really do it?

To read what other people are thankful for this week, go to Susanne's blog!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sun and Moon



Same evening

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Fave Five, #52

Is this really #52?!

I have enjoyed doing this Friday meme. I know I've written several times how just knowing that I would be posting something for FFF made me look at my week's events differently. Susanne, thank you, thank you, thank you, for faithfully hosting this group of thankful people each week.

Here are mine for this first week of September~

1. The Professor took a quick trip to 'that other place way far away' when Our New Boy and his Mama live. It seems that Kiti's car didn't get the memo about lasting 200,000 miles. It almost made it, but died a very sad death, and everyone knows that the Mama of a toddler really needs transportation. With his red Superman Cape flapping in the wind behind him, The Professor flew off to help corral The New Boy at car lots and offer sage vehicle purchasing advice. How many Superpapas would do that? And on Monday night, Son #2 donned his Superson cape to brave LA traffic and pick him up at LAX, saving me from that freeway caper.

2.While The Professor was away, I played. With my food. Knowing that cooked carrots are way down on his fave food list, I decided to do the unmentionable to those sweet little farmers market carrots and cooked up some Cream of Carrot Top Soup. I had found the recipe in a gardening book from the library called Edible French Garden by Rosalind Creasy and was intrigued. Are carrot tops actually edible? After cooking carrots and potatoes with various herbs and adding a little milk to the pureed veggies to thin them a bit, I blanched the carrot tops and blended them with some of the soup base. It was delicious!

3. Ellen B and I have been walking a little earlier in the morning this week because of the higher temperatures and poor air quality due to the fires in Southern California. The deer, quail and bunnies have been out early too. Why is it that rabbits sit very still like little bunny statues, thinking that we don't see them squatting right in the middle of a driveway?

4.It's official! My whole family has taken to enabling my photography addiction. On our drive home from (a very yummy) dinner at a local Thai restaurant, Son #2, who was driving, looked in his rear view mirror, turned left and did a 180 onto the gravelly road side by the field near our neighborhood, exclaiming,

"Mom, you've got to take a picture of this sunset!"

Yes, I did. And, so, I did.
The smokey atmosphere over Southern California is producing some amazing psychedelic sunrises and sunsets.

5. Speaking of Son #2, he drove away yesterday morning from Willow's Cottage to begin a new adventure. The Professor says I should change Son #2's name to The Grad Student. Stanford. PhD. Anthropology.

6. Susanne, I just have to add one more! While The Grad Student was doing the gallant deed of braving the Los Angeles freeways for me on Monday evening, I accompanied my friend to a meeting where I watched her greeting and interacting with the parents of the students she has taught in past years and will be teaching this year. Her enthusiasm and passion for her students and for teaching writing skills was evident in every encounter. I have stated for years that my friend is one of the best teachers I've ever known and Monday night's experience only reinforced my opinion. I am so very fortunate and thankful for the opportunity to work with her and assist her in teaching those students.

I hope you have enjoyed the adventures of this edition of Willow's Week. To participate in Friday Fave Five or just read others' FFFs, go to Living To Tell The Story.

Have a great week, everyone! If I don't get around to visit everyone's posts, it's only because, like last week, I just got overwhelmed by the heat.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Los Angeles Fire Departments

Thank you to all who are thinking of and praying for our firefighters. My nephew was on a strike team yesterday but is home now resting, recharging so he can return to his post.

The fire departments here in Southern California aren't always fighting fires, although this week it seems like they do. Sometimes they rescue boaters whose capacity to sail extends beyond their ability to control their craft.

Heroes are everywhere!