Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Did You Get for Christmas?

Christmas did come and go, and it was wonderful!  All the children were here except one who is deployed as an Army Chaplain outside the US right now.  (We did have the privilege of talking with him on Christmas Day.)  And of course the New Boy charmed us all with his infectious laughter and funny speeches. 

Since it is Friday, it's Fave Five time.  The last FFF of 2010.  Susanne is hosting, as usual, at her blog.

1. Airport Runs.The anticipation of meeting loved ones in front of the Burbank Airport made the drives back and forth worth it!  Sometimes we drove in the sunshine

and sometimes in the rain. 
(If you are an Anamaniacs fan, you might recognize the Warner Bros. tower in the background of this photo.  There really is a real tower.)

2. The New Boy is currently obsessed with cars, busses, trucks and trains.  Nothing is better in his opinion than a Thomas the Tank Engine book, shirt, or dvd.  His Bapa and Meema gave him this train book

3. and the promise of a real live train ride, which he received on Tuesday.

4.  Reading books with The New Boy.  Ginger.  Where the Wild Things Are.  Ookie-Spooky.  In the Forest.  Tikki Tikki Tembo.  The Mitten.

5.  Lunch with my daughter, a friend and her daughter.  so. much. fun.

Tonight is New Year's Eve.  I think we're staying home and recovering quietly from a very busy and happy Christmas Week.  What are you doing?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let There Be Sunshine

After nine days of constant rain, Southern California is finally seeing the sun again.

Sunshine and clouds.
Reflecting life.

Today I am cooking and baking and waiting.
Waiting for packages and people to arrive.
Waiting for phone calls that state, "We're almost here!"
Waiting for the festivies to begin.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Heroes and Friends

This edition of Friday Fave Five is brought to you by the Heroes and Friends Division of Willow's Cottage.  You can find other editions of FFF at Susannes' blog, Living to Tell the Story.

1.  My husband.  Hero!  Not only does he share the laundry, cleaning, shopping, and dishwashing chores, he cooks too.  And he rescues me from horrible monsters and scary laptop messages from the cyber sphere. One evening this week as I was attempting to organize my digital photos, he sat patiently next to me, figuratively holding my hand, while I learned what for me are new technical tricks and for him is 'old hat' stuff that he probably teaches his students the first week of class.  Suddenly, a message popped up which warned of the imminent destruction of the universe!  Even he, the laptop hero, had not seen this before.  He took command of the computer, pushed a few buttons, spoke a magic incantation, and suddenly all was well again.  Hero indeed!

2.  I am doubly blessed to have a longtime (read: high school) best friend who is also a relative- my brother's wife.  Committed to each other for so many years, we chat regularly from neighboring West Coast states, sharing our laughter, tears, hopes, dreams, memories.  When we're old women, together we will wear purple, sit next to each other in our rocking chairs, and still be s-i-ls and best friends.

3.  I met a new friend this week at the monthly meeting of the local spinners and weavers guild.  She's a recent transplant from the North East part of the US.  Because we have both moved many times in our lives and we both have interests in fiber arts, we already had much in common.  I invited her to have coffee and we're already planning to meet again in January before our next guild meeting.

4.  Recently, we reconnected with friends we knew when we lived in Indonesia.  Finding out that they are visiting in Orange County right now, we are planning to drive down to see them.

5.  Today is a friend's birthday!  You know what that means!  Coffee, goodies, hugs, best wishes for another wonderful year!  I found the perfect photo for her in my digital archives and printed it on a 'birthday' card for her.

As the old proverb states,
 "Make new friends, but keep the old.
The new are silver, the others gold.

Do you have friends and heroes in your life who make every day better?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Small View

Friday again.
Friday Fave Fives.
Living Small this week.

1. Loving the unexpected beauty of small flowers.

2. A small batch of cinnamon rolls made with soy cream cheese and whole wheat flower and filled with cinnamon and maple syrup.  Surprisingly delicious while also being surpassingly healthy.

3. A small episode of procrastination yielded a large amount of baked goods.  Swedish rye bread

and six dozen cut out sugar cookies.

4. Doesn't the New Boy's Weasley Sweater look a bit small?
Time to knit another one.

5.  Some days, even a small glimpse of the sea is enough.

Thanks to Susanne for hosting Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Gratitude is Always in Season

It's back to real life and real time after a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  It's important to remember to give thanks every day, every week not just one occasion in November (if you're American) or October (if you're Canadian).  That's why I love Friday Fave Five which is hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.  You can participate too if you want.  Just add your post to her link  HERE.

1. The roads were busy but open and running at optimum speeds all the way from San Diego to Ventura County when I drove home on Sunday morning.  Even the usual slowdown places like Camp Pendleton, Orange County, and LAX were clear!  

2. My usual tactic to avoid a freeway interchange I really don't like is to cut over to the beach in Santa Monica and drive up Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu.  If the freeways are backed up, it takes the same amount of time to drive a scenic route as it does to brave the pass between the LA Basin and San Fernando Valley.  On Sunday, the views of the beach, ocean and offshore islands did not disappoint.

3. On Monday night, I drove to LAX and picked up The Professor.  I'm glad to have him home again.

4. Do you all get bored when I mention my students? They're so much fun!  I regularly get hilarious emails and questions--"Mrs. Willow, Is it OK to have 15 sentences in my paragraph?"  "Please answer me quickly." (This one written late in the evening.)  And my favorite:  "I can't wait to see you!  I really missed classes last week."

5. The weather was quite cool this week and I snuggled up under my warm blankets and cozy afghans in the evenings.  Well, it was cold for Southern California...

6. BONUS!  Christmas music!  In my car, on my computer, at home.  What's your favorite Christmas Carol?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Stats

According to,
"By the end of 2009, the epidemic had left behind 16.6 million AIDS orphans, defined as those aged under 18 who have lost one or both parents to AIDS."

It sounds hopeless, doesn't it? 

But as Mother Theresa stated, "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

One small thing we can all do is support an AIDS orphan.  You can sponsor a child through these organizations:

One of the children seen on this website is 'our boy'.  We've sponsored him since the founding of this organization.

With great love, we, each one of us, can change one child's life, one story.