Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Last One for the Year

This is the last Friday Fave Five that I will post for 2011.  Thank you, Susanne, for faithfully hosting FFF so we can focus on being grateful for the large and small blessings of the week.

The past week has been symbolic of the way the whole year has gone---busy, busy, busy.  There has been almost no time or opportunity for online time.  But my time has been taken up with much more important things.

1.  We have been down almost at the Mexican border with California being 'Meema' and 'Bapa' to three very busy preschoolers.  The New Boy has been getting to know the two little ones who may become his cousins.

2.  The boys had a special day with Meema and Bapa.  We rode the San Diego trolley around the city.

Watching out the window

Snuggling with Bapa for security

3.  All my children were in the same city at the same time.  This is a very unusual event, so unusual that we commemorated it with formal pictures.

The Four Siblings (in birth order from youngest to oldest)

4.  Morning snuggles with The New Boy.  he tiptoes into the room and peeks to see if we're awake.  Then he jumps up on the bed and climbs in under the blankets to say, "Good morning!"

5.  My Christmas present from The Professor:  it's not something you can see, but it's something you can hear.  He hired a piano tuner.  When we're back at The Cottage, I'll be able to play my favorite tunes (such as Moonlight Sonata) without wincing.  Thanks, Honey!

Happy New Year 2012 to everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Birthday

My Dad
Along the (Mighty) Columbia River Highway
On the Oregon side
Summer 1942
(I know it was summer because he isn't wearing a coat and it's not raining)

This photo was taken when my dad was twenty years old.  He had left the dairy farm where he had grown up in southwest Oregon.  The youngest of three boys, he had had his fill of milking cows and mucking out stalls.  So, shortly after he graduated from high school, he moved from Myrtle Point with several friends from the football team and took a position at Boeing near Seattle working on planes being built during the run up to the US's entrance into World War II.  Soon after this picture was taken, Dad left for Army Air Force basic training.

Yesterday was his birthday.  He would have been eighty-nine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not a White Christmas

More like a Brown and Blue and Green Christmas

Just a few miles north of the Mexican Border

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fourth Week of Advent and Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!

Or as The New Boy announces,

Happy Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Third Week of Advent

It's the third week of December.  As of Friday, December 16, there are nine days until Christmas.  Cards are arriving in the mailbox.  Christmas music is playing in the house and car.  Soon, soon, maybe I'll begin addressing envelopes (yes, I'm running really late this year).  As always, since it's Friday, I'm pausing to post my Friday Fave Fives which is hosted each week by Susanne at her blog Living to Tell the Story.

1.  My daughter's surgery last week was 'uneventful' and considered by the doctor to be 'successful'.  I am thankful for wise and skillful surgeons.

2.  My drive from near the Mexican border north through FOUR Southern California counties, much of it during rush hour traffic, took FOUR hours!  I think that's a record for me.  A facebook friend asked how I'd done that--it was truly mostly luck in choosing the fast lanes and ducking around the back-ups.

3.  We have had alternating rain and sunshine.  The rain we need because Southern California is an arid place.  The sunshine we love because, well, because we're Southern California sunshine addicts.

4.  I think I have received a year's supply of goodies as Christmas gifts from my very sweet students--chocolate truffles, peanut brittle, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate covered raspberry candies, to name just a few.  Undoubtedly, I am going to need to ration these desserts out for the next fifty-two weeks and share them with family, friends and neighbors!  But I'll keep the Starbuck's card for myself.

5.  Anticipation!  I am now on Christmas Break!  Three weeks!

And this Sunday I will light the third Advent Candle.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Second Week of Advent

It's Friday and time for Friday Fave Fives which is hosted by Susanne on her blog Living to Tell the Story.  Firday is the day I look back on my week and think about what events or activities impressed me with grace and gratitude.

1.  How many times during this week did I say, "Wow!  It's SO clear!"  (At least fifty!)  Because the Santa Ana winds blew again most of the week, the skies were crystal clear and everywhere I turned, I could see the mountains and beaches and islands that I know are there but not always visible.  We could see the silhouettes of the Channel Islands miles out from the coastline.  And the sky itself provided rich beauty in brilliant clouds and blowing palm trees.

2.  On Saturday and Sunday, we doggie-sat our friends' pit bull.  They live near the beach so we took advantage of the location and walked along "The Strand".  Windy days are perfect for kite flying on the beach.

We walked until the sun dropped below the horizon.

Sometimes boats really do sail off into the sunset.

3.  Winds bring beauty to our area but they also can bring wild fires.  On Saturday morning we had to detour from our usual exit to by our home because there was a fire right on the edge of the freeway less than a mile from our house.  Why would I choose this as something I'm thankful for?  I'm thankful that we have an excellent and well trained group of fire fighters in our county.  They respond quickly and know how to deal quickly with a potential disaster.  This nearby fire was contained to only twelve acres, there was little damage to property and no one was injured.  Things could so easily have ended very differently but for our wonderful fire fighters.

4.  Thursday afternoon, I drove to San Diego to stay with my daughter after she had surgery.  I'm thankful that I have a job that allows me to be away on long four day weekends so I can be available to help when I'm needed.

5.  Because I stopped in Orange County to have a late lunch with the pit bull's 'mommy',  I managed to hit San Diego right at rush hour.  The shining red lights of the cars in front of me were strung along the lanes like Christmas lights around a roof and the white lights facing me for miles on the opposite side of the freeway were as bright as Christmas tree lights.  Fortunately, I was relaxed, knowing that eventually I'd arrive at my daughter's house.  I had the company of Celtic Woman and Boney M singing Christmas carols and a marvelous choir performing The Messiah.  Do other drivers sing O Come All Ye Faithful and Little Drummer Boy at the top of their lungs, or am I the only one?

So that was Willow's Week.  I hope your week has been filled with beauty and song, too.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

First Week of Advent

1. I admit to not yet being in the Christmas spirit. Because I'm not a shopper, the gift giving part of Christmas does not excite me.  However, our family tradition of drawing names and buying ONE gift for ONE person helps me generate a little bit of interest in that part of Christmas.  This month I'll be planning and purchasing a gift for my youngest girl.  Of course, The New Boy is exempt, but we'll be choosing a small gift that will fit in his suitcase and instead focusing on an activity to enjoy together during the days we'll be together.

2. However, I do love Christmas music!  As I am typing this, I am listening to Celtic Woman singing O Holy Night.

3.  Although there are no decorations inside the cottage yet, the December camellias have been decorating their bushes along the side of the front porch.

4.  The box of hats for the Chicago area food pantry kids' Christmas party was sent off just before Thanksgiving.  I heard this week that it had arrived--all twenty-six hats inside.

5.  Now I am knitting some Christmas projects.  No photos of those yet--obviously.  That would spoil the surprise.  I'll give you a hint, though.  They involve several balls of different colors of yarn and a knowledge of fair isle technique.

I shall light the second Advent candle this weekend, the candle that represents LOVE.  It follows the first candle, HOPE.  This week, among my offerings of gratitude through Friday Fave Five, I send my LOVE to all, friends and family, and my thanks to Susanne for hosting FFF every Friday.