Friday, May 13, 2011

Short Trips

Blogger's problems have kept me from posting Friday Fave Five in a timely manner.  However, I have finally been allowed back online and am posting FFF and linking up to Susanne (if she is back online now too).  Gratitude and thankfulness are the focus of this weekly post.  Here is what has made me grateful and thankful and just plain smiling-happy this week.

I've never kept secret the fact that I love to travel.  This wanderlust of mine is shared by my husband (and children--we taught them well by example and participation).  While I do love simply being at home, I also enjoy short trips to keep the travel bug in balance.

1. On Friday late in the afternoon, we gave in to the urge to wander.  Packing a quick picnic supper and grabbing our jackets (a wise move it turns out), we jumped in our Honda and headed up the highway to the nearby beach town.  It was a gray and misty evening; sometimes you couldn't tell where the ocean ended and the sky began out at the horizon.  Most of the beach goers had given up and gone.  But the pelicans!  The pelicans were patrolling the coastline in formations of three, four, five and six member squadrons.

They were dive bombing, searching the area for unwary schools of tasty fish.  (Do you see that kamikaze pelican in the right background zeroing in on its target?)

Occasionally, a single pelican would break formation to inspect a suspicious intruder.  This bird was keeping pace with the human matching stroke with flap as he scrutinized the black wet-suited surfer.

2. Mother's Day was spent quietly.  The children duitfully called to wish me a happy day.  Whenever they call, it's a happy day for me.  In the evening, we decided to escape again for a couple of hours.  Another picnic of peanut butter sandwiches, veggies and coffee was packed and we headed back to the beach, this time to the closest sandy spot near our house.  The wind was nasty, so we opted to stay in the car and just enjoy the view of Mugu Rock and the coastline, sunny this time.  We searched for pelicans (I could gaze at pelicans by the hour!)  but the only birds around were the seagulls which I also find amusing and interesting.  But there was ONE whale cavorting in the sea just off shore and we watched it for a long time as it breached, blew water from its breath hole and submerged again and again.  A beach sunset is a wonderful way to end Mother's Day.

3. As if that wasn't enough traveling for a week, I hopped a commuter train on Tuesday morning and rode to Los Angeles Union Station.  A friend and I had arranged to meet up there and spend the day walking around LA.  After a short stroll through Olvera Street (the birthplace of Los Angeles, located across the street from Union Station), we headed toward downtown.  After all these years of living in and around LA, I had never noticed the Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.  So we walked into the courtyard.  I was mesmerized by the bells (and the jacaranda trees blooming out their lovely lavender flowers in the background across the street).

Then we strolled past the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  I do wonder though why there was a car parked by the front doors.

This building baffled us.  Was it an office building, apartments or condos?  A storage facility?  My best guess is that it's a movie prop left over from one of the Terminator movies.

My friend left to return home and I had over an hour to wait for my commuter, so I discovered a coffee place right in Union Station (!), ordered a soy hot chocolate, walked through the waiting room, sat down in this elegant courtyard, pulled out my knitting and pretended that I was in an exotic far away place on a grand adventure.  Which, you know, I really was. Los Angeles is truly an amazing city!

4. The rest of the week I've been happily returning home after teaching my classes and picking up a fun new book to read.  My son knows me well and shares a love of fantasy with me, so of course he knew that this book would please me greatly as a Mother's Day gift.  Book One of The Kane Chronicles, The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.  It's a kids' book, but I'm loving it, especially after reading the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series.

5.  Other reading material I'm enjoying this week is the British edition of Country Living.  A student's mom receives a subscription to the magazine and when she's finished with it, she passes it on to me.  I read it and then give it to Donna, the lady who owns the local tea shop.  Currently, I'm four months behind, so I'm reading a little each day this week.  Country Living British style is a beautiful magazine, a feast for my eyes and satisfaction for my wanderlust soul.

That's what I've been wandering around doing this week.  Have you had any adventures?


ellen b. said...

Glad blogger finally fixed their glitch. Love the photos and the adventures you had. The magazine sounds fun. Oh yes, I'm wandering. There is so much to see in D.C.! Oh I heard today they are going to open up the FBI headquarters to tours again in the next year or so...

Susanne said...

Now those are my kind of travels. Sounds like lots of fun and I love your pictures. I love pelicans too, we have some that make their home on our river.

Lisa notes... said...

How fun to be able just to wander around like to such interesting places!

I'm glad Blogger is back up again too. Have a great weekend!

Catherine said...

Sometime, the best destinations are close to home. I'm in a NYC suburb, and I can always find something new or fun to do. I'm glad you had some nice outings. (and were kind enough to share your beautiful pictures!)

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Well, no adventures are lovely and picturesque as yours! Love the post of your travels -- and the pictures are just GREAT!

Tracy said...

Hi, Willow! I could not live without the British edition of Country Living magazine...LOL! The subscription is one of my indulgences. ;o) Family time and travels... sounds soo good. I like the "rush" photos to the Trains. We'll be traveling ourselves next week--cramming in lots this weekend and will start getting ready... can't wait! Happy Days, my friend ((HUGS))

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Lovely travels you've been enjoying!

Knitting Linguist said...

What fun adventures! I, too, love to travel, and little mini-trips are a great way to go. Having just taken the train up to LA myself, I agree - it's a pretty amazing city to hang out in (and concerts in Disney hall are well worth going to - the acoustics are astonishing!).

Anonymous said...

i love that you don't make yourself crazy with details before embarking on an adventure. i tend to act like the perfect food, etc is needed in order for the trip to be wonderful. then i am fatigued and don't enjoy the trip and people.

thanks for reminding me that simplicity in preparation and destination is often best.

david mcmahon said...

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, Willow.

Love the shot of the pelicans. Have you ever thought about putting your images on Red Bubble?

Wanderlust is a great thing. Our family, too, enjoys getting away, even if it's just for a day trip.

Jane said...

Sounds a wonderful week Willow. no wandering for me sadly. Jane x

Brenda said...

Los Angeles is an amazing city and I'd like to spend more time there. I had some trouble with blogger on Friday as well and they even lost my post for a few hours, but finally everything came back to normal.

We occasionally take picnics to the beach and eat them in our car, its not a bad way to go!

nikkipolani said...

I like how you "treat" your wanderlust. Short trips and quiet enjoyment :-)

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Love your beach picnics ~ I enjoy the beach in the evenings too, but it does get cold.

I'll have to check out the book as I love Fantasy and sci/fi. My mother is English and loves that magazine too.

Sharon Lynne said...

Great post. Maybe I will get to Union Station some day.

Have a great summer!

We're not off until the middle of June.