Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Last Week of April Showers

It truly has been 'April Showers' here at Willow's Cottage this week.  It is unusual to say the least that we have rain in April.  And this week, it has rained several days.  Although I appreciate the benefits of the rain, I'm looking forward to May Flowers!  I appreciate the blessings that God brings me each week, also.  Here are five:

1.  I love this video of my hometown which a Portland friend posted on facebook.  I watched it with great fondness for the beautiful place of my childhood (and a decade of my children's childhoods).  I remember the views.  In the video, I saw the steps I sat on as a young girl at Washington Park and gazed at Mt. Hood.  Seeing the bridges reminded me of driving with my brother across the Markham Bridge in his new black convertible, top down, my long blonde hair blowing in the breeze.  Great memories of growing up in a wonderful city!

2.  I read This post at becomingminimalist and want to share it with everyone.  In so many ways it describes my journey through the years.  Since early adulthood, I have walked the voluntary simplicity road which is now called 'minimalism' by most people.  Voluntary simplicity or minimalism isn't involuntary poverty; it's choosing to live simply with only what best graces your life.

3.  On the subject of minimalism, simplicity and decluttering, this week I met in real life a wonderful woman whose blog I've been following for a long time, for two years (shortly after she began blogging in March 2010).  Colleen of who lives in Australia has been on holiday in the US for a couple of weeks with her husband, and they had a long layover in Los Angeles.  After emailing back and forth, we decided to meet at The Getty Center for a few hours.  Just think, if the internet didn't exist, if we didn't have similar interests, we would never have met!  I'm so glad we did, both virtually and physically.

Willow and Colleen at The Getty Center
Los Angeles in the background

4.  A gardening mystery contest.  What flowering plant is this?  I know; do you?

5.  This magazine is my absolute favorite!  Country Living, British edition, is a delight which I enjoy monthly.  The mother of one of my students receives it from a friend who subscribes to it.  After she has read the current issue, she sends it to class with her daughter to give to me.  It makes my day!  I read it avidly and then pass it on to someone else, sometimes two someone elses, and it eventually ends up in the hands of the lovely lady who owns the local tea shop All Things Tea.  Each issue is read, treasured and passed on to at least four people.  I know I live in a mediterranean climate and the gardening advice is mostly useless for me; I know that it's geared for the English market and I live in the US;  but I love it and read it cover to glossy cover every month.

These are just five favorite events in Willow's Week.  I take joy in searching for positive, pleasing things in my life.  It just makes the week go better.  Thanks to Susanne who faithfully hosts Friday Fave Five, and thanks to all the other people who post their faves to encourage the rest of us.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Whimsical and Delirious

When I was strolling through the museum at Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades last week, I watched for fascinting doors and windows.
Here is an interesting sample.  The Getty Villa is essentially a museum built as a replica of an ancient Roman villa. The Romans loved bright colors and ornamentation.  The outer court walls are painted with images for examples.
Which are the painted doors and windows and which are the real windows?

The real door leading to the kitchen gardens.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things That Make Me Smile

Looking for happenings in my week to make me grateful, I choose to focus on what has happened to make me laugh at least smile a little bit.  It's Friday and time to write my Friday Fave Fives and link them to Susanne's blog.

1.  Sometimes I am ambivalent about teaching.  I love to teach but in the spring, particularly after Easter Break, I am weary and am ready to retire.  I'm sure most teachers experience the same feelings of ambivalence.  Then I have a week like this one.  My students obviously took time to write carefully utilizing the skills I've taught them, and their paragraphs show their love of writing and the advances they have made in the past eight months.  Listening to them read their stories, I am encouraged.

I don't teach for the income;
I teach for the outcome.

2.  Last Friday, I went with friends to visit one of my favorite Los Angeles landmarks: The Getty Villa.  The Villa is a replica of the Villa de Papyri in Italy which was commisioned and financed by J. Paul Getty to be used as a museum. I never grow tired of returning there.  I love to wander through the museum and around the gardens.  It was gray and raining, but that didn't dampen our spirits or interest.

The pond near the gift shop was still beautiful in the rain

Oh yes, I could enjoy this kitchen garden!

3.  The Beatles.  Love their music!  Tonight at the university a Beatles Tribute Band called Paperback Writer performed in the large area in front of the library.  For two wonderful hours we watched people of all ages dancing, rocking, singing to those tunes memorialized by The Beatles and sang along too to "Hey Jude" and "Yellow Submarine" and "Penny Lane".

4.  Things that make me laugh.  On the way home from the university this evening, The Professor spied an unusual sight.  He spotted an opposum cravenly cowering, standing majestically, squatting by the side of the street near our neighborhood.  We seldom see possums around here, at least not live possums.  Usually they're road kill.  Possums, as you may know, are not noted for their large brains or high intelligence.  In fact, possums have notoriously tiny brains for the size of their bodies.  Jokes about possums abound.  So we wondered--had the possum already crossed the road or was it waiting until the traffic waned (our one and only car in sight) to dare the dangerous road crossing?  You know the joke about possums?  Question:  why did the opossum cross the road?  Answer:  We don't know. No possum has ever made it across alive.  Poor possums--I always laugh when I see one; they're just so dim witted.  I admit it; I have a weird sense of humor.

5.  Plants for my garden.  Last Saturday, we ordered four heirloom Sungold cherry tomato plants for the local hardware/garden shop.  Some years, for some unknown reason, the order isn't filled. So just in case the store wasn't able to fill our order, after class today I stopped by another garden center and bought four heirloom Sungold cherry tomato plants and two Roma plants.  That's six tomato plants, in case you're counting.  When I arrived home, I noticed there was a message on my phone.  The first garden shop had called to say that my order for the four Sungold plants had arrived.  Oopsie.  I now have ten tomato plants. And one rather small garden plot.  So if you live in hollerin' distance of me, and you would like a tomato plant, let me know :)  I have a couple to share.  But really, you can never have too many fresh home grown tomatoes...

That was Willow's lovely Week.  How about you?  Did you do any spring planting? Enjoy some good old rock and roll?  Have a hearty laugh with a friend?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors #20

Is this a ceiling?  Are they skylights? Windows?
Whatever they are, they let in light, and they are awesome!
Very high up above the heads of the students using the computers in the California State University, Channel Islands library, the colorful flags of many countries hang from wires, backlighted by the skylights/windows/ceiling.

Linking to WWDD at Toby's blog.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Across Two Weeks in April

 I missed last week's Friday's Fave Five because we were a little busy with company.  I'm glad to be back this week to share what's happened here at Willow's Cottage.

1. The little ones came from San Diego for their first visit to Meema and Bapa's house.  Of course, they just had to go blueberry picking.

Walking through the university halls was rather exciting too.

2. The hummingbirds are back!  Actually some of them never left, and I've been feeding them all winter, but now there are more of them including this shiny one which frequently enjoys the view from the tip top of my plum tree.

3. I love the California mission architectural style.  Every week I pass Olivas Adobe on my way home from a tutoring session.  Tuesday I decided to stop and walk around the grounds.

There were other people there with cameras photographing the owlets nesting in a magnificent eucalyptus tree.

4. and 5. Finally, I spent a morning with my friend who loves to garden even more than I do (and has a larger lot than I) and after we chatted over Earl Grey tea and scones, we strolled through her back garden.  She grows orange, tangelo, and avocado trees, cultivates several raised beds with veggies, raspberries and grapes, all in her small Southern California backyard. While I was there, I asked her to take my picture since I was wearing my birthday sweater.

Details:  handspun wool/silk blend, dyed by Red Fish Dyeworks.
Pattern:  Liesl
After wearing it the first weekend, I decided that the neckline was too wide, so I single crocheted a couple of rows around the top to tighten it.
Several people have asked me if the sweater is crocheted because the stitches are loose and open.  No, it's knitted in an old traditional stitch pattern called feather and fan.

This was Willow's Week.  I am linking to Susanne's Friday Fave Five.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

An Easter Window

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California.

This new cathedral was built just ten years ago after the old one was condemned as the result of the 1994 earthquake which devastated many older buildings all over Los Angeles County.  Its 27,000 square feet of windows are made of alabaster.  Even seen from outside in the courtyard, these windows are wonderful and wondrous.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors #18

This afternoon I typed 'door' into my computer to search for photos which I have labeled with that word.  As you may imagine for someone as enthralled with doors as I am, there were many options.
Accoring to the notes in the title of the photo, this door is in Westminster Abbey, London, England.  I remember being fascinated with the carvings on the corners. 

And a slightly open door always beckons to me... 

Here is the link to other doors and windows around the world.