Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mission La Purisima

As we were driving away from Solvang which we visited during our camping trip to Gaviota State Beach, we decided to return to the campsite via Lompoc and spend an hour touring Mission La Purisima.  Because it is now preserved as a California state park, it has remained as one of the few mission that still reflects much of the way of life in the early missions where priests, native Americans, and Spanish soldiers all lived within the mission compound.

We slowly strolled through the buildings and around the mission grounds since we did not have any fixed schedule we were required to keep other than exiting when the park closed.

mission bell

an outbuilding

grain mill

the simple paintings and decor in the chapel

Of course I was fascinated with the old spinning wheel.  The spinner/weaver lived a simple life.

I was suprised to learn a few months ago that wild mustard is NOT a California native plant.  It grows everywhere so I assumed that it was native to our mediterranean flora.  If my source is correct, the wild mustard was first introduced to California Alta by the Spanish padres who sprinkled the seeds along El Camino Real, the road one traveled from mission to mission from San Diego to Sonoma, so it would be easier to follow the trail and not stray and become lost.

Here the wild mustard thrives on the grounds of La Purisima

marking both sides of El Camino Real.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Welcome! It has been a quiet week here at Willow's Cottage. Catching up on chores, writing more lessons, especially vocabulary words.  Learning new tricks in Microsoft 2007 thanks to The Professor who is just brilliant when it comes to formatting vocabulary quizzes.  This evening (Thursday) we have been at the university attending the annual welcome-back-to-campus librarians' reception for faculty and families, so this Fave Five is short on prose and long on photos.

1.  Happy to be back at our farmers market

But still remembering our wonderful week at the beach. And getting our photos uploaded.

2.  This seagull was the perfect model

3.  Views of Gaviota Pier on the Pacific Ocean, California

A favorite place to fish

or stroll on the beach

Or sit and relax and watch the sea gulls

4.  Speaking of campfires...

5.  Visiting Mission La Purisima State Park

Lovely to remember while I'm sitting at my desk planning lessons for September and October and December.

How was your week?

Thanks to Susanne for hosting Friday Fave Five.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I'm Wearing

My current favorite shoes

I had no idea that crocs could be so cute and so comfortable.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So Much More

Since I have been camping at the beach all week and just returned home this evening, I don't have much time to write and I certainly haven't had time to upload and sort all the beach photos I snapped, so this will be a short check-in here.  But I think it is important to spend time every Friday (or Thursday evening) reflecting on things for which I am grateful through Friday Fave Five.  It is just my Friday thing and really So Much More.  Susanne at Living to Tell the Story always posts a link for anyone who wishes to participate in Friday Fave Five and you can join us if you want to.

1. We love to camp!  It had been way too long since we had pulled out our gear and gone camping, so it was especially fun to pitch our tent and roll out our sleeping bags.  Three nights of camping by the beach was mostly peaceful.  Winds gusting up to 60 mph (yes, really!) tested our resolve to stay up and burn the last piece of our firewood at night, but nothing beats drinking our morning coffee while staring into the campfire flames.

2.  This week I've been without my cell phone.  Over the past 4-6 weeks, my provider has worked with me to determine the source of the problem of my malfunctioning phone.  Three. new. phones.  Hopefully, this newest phone will work properly.  The fave?  A mixed blessing.  I relaxed a bit more without being tied to email and facebook.  Also, I do appreciate the customer service and good attitude I've received from the manager and staff at the store.

3.  We have Great Neighbors.  They keep an eye on our place when we're gone and my next door neighbors watched for the new cell phone to arrive by UPS and took it in to protect it while we were gone.  We knew it would be delivered during the week so we asked them to keep it until we returned this evening.  They picked up our paper for us too.  Good Neighbors are truly a blessing!

4.  Long bike rides.  6 miles.  14 miles.  9 miles.  In some of the most beautiful places in the world.  Photos later, after I've slept in my own bed for 8 hours.

5.  After a hiatus of several weeks, our small group of friends (including two other Great Neighbors) are back meeting together for a Bible Study on Sunday nights.  We've missed being with them, so it was good to resume our regular Sunday evening get togethers.

I know there is So Much More I could add to my faves this week, but part of my brain is still at the beach, another part is already sound asleep and yet another is concentrating on camping clean up.  I invite you to tune part of your brain into the Thankful Channel and remember what you can be grateful for this week!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Dog Days

How was your week during these Dog Days of August (in the northern hemisphere, anyway)?  What wonderful little moments did you experience this week?  At Susanne's blog Living To Tell The Story, you can add your Friday Fave Five and share what five things, large or small, made your Thankful list this week.

Here's mine:

1. We finished our week of dog sitting by venturing out to the beach with his lordship.  We could have spent our walking time gazing at beach apartments facing the ocean, imagining what it would be like to sit on that balcony and enjoy the beach scene view every day,

we could have laid out our beach blankets and watched the sunbathers, the surfers and the boaters,

or the colorful bikers whizzing past on their color-coordinated cycles;

but mostly we did this--watched and waited while our four legged charge investigated every curious smell at every post, garbage can and tree.

2. This is County Fair week!  On Tuesday, I was scheduled to demonstrate spinning during the three hour afternoon shift at the Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild booth, so The Professor and I drove up to Ventura in the morning, wandered around the fair visiting the textile arts building (of course!) and checking out what exactly Fried Kool Aid was (yes, truly, it was sold this year along with the chocolated covered bacon and all the other usual suspects of fair food).  I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with so many people who strolled past our booth, stopped to watch us spinning and weaving fiber into beautiful fabric.

3. Evidently, I signed up for the perfect day to volunteer because we discovered that The Beach Boys were performing that evening!  Of course, we stayed for the concert!  What fun it was to sing along to all the Beach Boys songs with a standing room only crowd of Beach Boy lovers of all ages.  They certainly got a rousing cheer for "I Wish They All Could Be California Girls" and "Surfer Girl".  That's not surprising since all the women in the audience were California Girls and we were in a stadium no more than 1/2 mile from Surfer's Point in Ventura.  They sang for almost two hours!  What's your favorite Beach Boys song?

4.  The rest of the week when I wasn't typing up lesson plans for next school year (yes, it's coming on really really fast), I was busily knitting on the February Lady sweater.  Making great progress, I'm done with the body and nearly finished with the first sleeve.

5.  Do you ever happen upon a book that you've heard about but then forgot and when you see it, you think, "I've heard about that book. I think I'd like to read it."  When we were in the local libary yesterday, I saw How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill sitting on a shelf.  I grabbed it and sat down right there and began reading it.  It was good; not great, but good. Gill is an entertaining story teller and his story of being "an advertising executive who had it all, then lost it all--and was finally redeemed by his new job, and his twenty-eight-year-old boss, at Starbucks" grabbed and held my attention through the whole book.

So that's it--Willow's Week.  There was actually so much more--another phone call from The Grad Student, this time from Singapore, to tell us he was on his way to Indonesia for the next six weeks of study.  And there was eating our fresh ripe garden grown tomatoes.  And more reading.  And more knitting.  And more organizing.  But those are topics for another day or another Fave Five.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Dog Days of August

Can it really be a week since I posted?  I think I've been having a lazy week.  At least I'm checking in on Fridays to write my favorite weekly post, Friday Fave Five which is hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

1.  At the end of all of Ellen's travels and activities in Southern California, she and her daugther needed to drive back to LAX and drop off their rental car.  Their departure happened to coincide with my arrival in the LAX area to spend a week dog sitting for my friend.  So, of course, we met up for lunch.

2.  The dog sitting has involved walking a ninety pound pit bull, feeding him, playing with him, getting licked by him.  Mostly Lord Surrey spends his daytime hours doing this:

3.  The Professor and I have been doing a bit of that, too, while staring at blue skies, green palm trees and brilliant pink bouggainvillea blossoms

and ambling along the same familiar haunts in the LA Beach Cities.  I mentioned to him that I have probably taken dozens of photos of this beach over the past four years.  But I never tire of gazing out at the pier and the surf.

4.  Because the local yarn shop which I used to frequent when I lived in LA is closing, I've been able to purchase some knitting needles in sizes/styles I didn't own for a discounted price. (Yeah, I know. It seems impossible that someone who knits as much as I do would not have every knitting needle in every size  But, I don't.).  I also scored the Cascade 220 wool yarn in cream that I needed to finish a crochet project and four skeins of blue baby type yarn to knit up a sweater for my great nephew to match one that his twin sister already has.  Everything in the store is 50% off!

5.  It seems that I am not the only person who loves, savors, and saves quotes.    Here are two more I've gleaned recently in my reading and listening.

An African Proverb: Wherever man goes to dwell, his character goes with him. 
Willow's paraphrase:  Wherever you go, there you are.

"Generosity is the outward expression of a contented heart."  Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist

Oh, here's a free BONUS fave!  I think almost everyone in the world knows that Border's book stores is going out of business.  Since we were still holding a couple of gift cards, we searched the shelves this week for volumes we've been wishing for.  I scored a copy of the most recent 2011 Newbery Award book Moon Over Manifest by Clara Venderpool at the discounted price.

So this has been Willow's Week.  What's been happening in your neighborhood?