Monday, February 27, 2012

Doors and Windows #13

Whimsical Windows and Delirious Doors
hosted by Toby

This is another photo from my files.
Hampton Court, England
June 2008

A door leading into a building in one of the inner courts.
Old wood, older brickwork.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two weeks worth

I missed posting my Friday Fave Fives last week. 

1.  We were here. Sort of.
San Diego Bay.  The fleeting view from Coronado Bridge.

Downtown San Diego and San Diego Bay

2.  Taking an adventure trip to Coronado Island with Mama Mia and two little ones was an added enjoyment to a long weekend.  The main purpose of our visit was to attend the adoption party(ies) for a very special little girl who was officially adopted by our family friends.  We are so very thankful and excited that EHL has found her forever parents and her forever home

3.  I was visiting with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and she completely amazed me with her generosity by offering to give me one of her looms.  I am so excited to own a working weaving loom!  I will be even more excited when I buy a shuttle and actually begin weaving on it.

4.  Not being much of a morning person, I seldom never wake up early enough to watch the sunrise.  I'm more of a sunset person.  Sunsets like this one.  Do you see the contrail shooting from the upper right corner of the cloud?
Photo taken from my front porch.

5.  Because my birthday is St. Patrick's Day, I obviously have an affinity for all things Irish.  I'm also a little bit Irish, probably having enough Irish blood flowing in my veins to fill my big toe.  That still makes me Irish, right?  There's a new Irish pub in town, and last year on my birthday we endeavored to celebrate there only to be turned away because the waiting line was hours long to get in to drink green beer.  Even for an Irish lass whose birthday is March 17th.  So when the university faculty held a faculty union happy hour at Brendan's, we decided it would be a fine time to visit.  It was particularly fun for The Professor to socialize with other faculty, and I enjoyed it too, chatting with faculty and spouses.

6.  Since I missed last week, I can't stop with five.  The Professor and I enjoy reading mystery stories.  We have embarked on a mission to read all the Dick Francis novels in chronological order of publication.  Yeah, we're weird like that.  Borrowing the books from the library, we are now reading #17 and #18.  For those who don't know, here is a little background information on Dick Francis:  he was a British jockey, at one time the Queen Mother's official jockey.  After his retirement, he began writing a racing column for newspapers and eventually became a famous murder mystery novelist.  Almost all his books' plot somehow involve British horse racing.  Reading his books, we are learning a fair amount about steeple chasing and flat racing as well as English geography, besides guessing 'who done it' before the last page.

7.  One more, OK?  This is truly the best and most important.  My beloved daughter-in-law was not well last week and ended up in the hospital.  To add insult to injury, it was her birthday.  That's the not-fave part.  The fave part is that she is home and is going to be fine.  We are thankful!

I appreciated the emails I received checking in with me to make sure eveything was OK here at Willow's Cottage since I didn't post anything last week on FFF.  It's comforting to me to know that people noticed.  Thanks!  The weekend was just so very busy and filled with family time.  However, it is good to 'be back' and in a routine which means I can link up to Friday Fave Five at Susanne's blog.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Whenever I travel, at home or abroad, or even when I just wander around my neighborhood or town, I'm always on the prowl for unique doors and windows.  Particularly doors.

I loved the wrought iron doors at the entrance to the British Library.
London, England.

Just in case you are lost and not sure where you are, the British Library reassures you--

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors #11

A bit closer to home, this building is located on the campus of California State University, Channel Islands where my husband teaches.

Typical Southern California mission architecture with institutional windows.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Knitting, Spinning, Picking

I am so thankful for Friday Fave Five hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.  Otherwise, this week, I might have allowed the opportunities for gratitude to just slip by in a fog of cloudy days, a backlog of papers to correct and lessons to prepare.  FFF helps me lift my lazy head and notice life's bountiful blessings.

1.  Have you seen The Muppets movie?  The Professor and I finally made it to a small local theatre to watch it at a Friday afternoon matinee performance.  Three dollar tickets.  Almost empty theatre.  Hilarious entertainment.

2.  Considering that here in the cottage, I knit nearly every day, working on a hat, scarf, sweater, afghan, or bunny, lately I have not photographed and posted much of my handiwork.  This week I finished three projects and finally, finally, I took some pictures.

A reversible cable scarf.  Bright orange bulky yarn.

This red hat is knitted from bamboo yarn.  Sadly, the color isn't true.  The hat is actually much 'redder' than it shows in the photo. Think Cardinal Red.  It's leaving soon in a mailer headed for Stanford University.  I hope The Grad Student is pleased with the result.

I completed a second scarf but the color is just too off in the photo to show its beautiful burgundy.  Not lavender. (My frustration with poor lighting is one reason I am lazy about photographing my finished objects.)

3.  Saturday, I spent several hours demonstrating spinning at a local elementary school's Winter Faire.  The handweavers/spinners guild is invited every February to join the festivities, and I thoroughly enjoy talking with the people, explaining the spinning process, and of course having an entire day to just sit and spin.  I finished spinning some green and blue variegated silk/merino wool fiber.  Then last night while we watched a recorded episode of White Collar, I plied it into a two-ply yarn.  It's off the spool but not ready for photographing yet.

4.  Reconnecting with a cousin of my dad's who I'd lost contact with. The Christmas card I sent was returned, and I didn't know how else to contact her or her son.  Then a serendipitous email from a mutual friend led to reassurance.  I'd missed her.  I was worried.  My heart is happy.  Now we're emailing back and forth and planning a visit.

5.  After a drippy, drizzly beginning to the week, we've ended up with beautiful weather.  Temperatures were in the low 80s (fahrenheit), and I went blueberry picking.  Now I have four quarts of fresh blueberries to enjoy!

blueberry fields in the late afternoon almost dusk sun

Are you wondering about picking fresh blueberries in February?  Our climate is perfect for some strains of blueberries.  You can enjoy them this month too if you purchase Driscoll blueberries from your local store.  They might have been picked on my friends' blueberry ranch just seven miles from my home.

This is just a small glimpse of five favorite moments in Willow's Week.  Did you have any favorite moments or hours?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors

I have a thing for doors.  And windows.  When I saw the title of Sara's blog post today, I couldn't resist clicking over there immediately.  I found out that she had joined a meme to post photos of -- doors and windows.  It's just my thing!  Sara's link took me to Toby's blog and now I'm hooked.  So here it is:

And here's my contribution for this week.
Since it's dark, and I cannot run out and photograph any doors at this time of night, I trolled around in my photo files from February 2011 and found this photo of windows in downtown San Diego.  I had been walking in the Gaslamp Quarter near Fifth and Broadway.

A study in windows.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Gratitude in the Midst of Busyness

Even when I have busy, tiring weeks, I feel it's important to pause to reflect on gratitude, to focus my thought on thankfulness.  This is why I love the following quote: 
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

 And this is why I love Friday Fave Five which is hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.  Here are my five favorite moments from Willow's Week.
1.  I cannot tell you how much I love homemade raspberry freezer jam.  I make my own.  I love it on toast. With peanut butter.  My lunch sometimes often includes a simple slice of toast with peanut butter and jam.  And raspberry is my favorite.

2.  Herons are one of my favorite birds.  Fortunately, I live in an area where herons are abundant.  This guy was posing for me recently at Channel Islands Harbor.

Along the creekbeds, I watch for them as I drive to work.  This week I spied a white heron (is this an egret?)  in an unusual spot.  Not in its normal habitat.
(full disclosure here: this is a heron I photographed at San Diego Zoo)

The white heron I saw this week was confusedly wandering, lost and bewildered, along my street.  While it is true that I live two blocks from an artificial lake which is in the middle of a golf course, this bird was seriously out of its preferred environment.  But he/she/it was so cute. I just had to slow down, stop, open my window and shoot some photos.

3.  Every day as I cross under the freeway (Hwy 101) to access the onramp, I look to the right up the road and over a field of citrus trees and in front of it at a row of poinsettias growing tall and semi-wild.  It thrills me every time I see the brilliant red blooms glowing over the dull greens and browns of a Southern California winter.

4.  Another walk. Ventura Harbor this week.

5.  The internet.  After being without internet at home for almost three full days, I am happy to have access again.  It's a little freaky how dependent we are on technology to work, play and communicate.

That was my week.  Busy and filled with compositions to correct, but also filled with blessings when I searched for them.