Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gearing Up

It's almost School Time.  I'm trying to ignore it, but Time has a way of ignoring me.

1.  Weather change.  It has been hot (for me, anyway) the past two weeks, but on Wednesday the temperatures dropped and the weather has been practically perfect.

2. On the weekend, the fruit guy at the farmers market gave us around fiften pounds of his 'culls' which were bruised of blemished and he couldn't sell. This week I made a batch of peach/nectarine freezer jam, put up seven quarts of frozen peach/nectarine slices (think: fresh fruit pies in November!), and dried six trays of plums in the dehydrator. That's a big bunch of fruit preserved for fall and winter! And if I'm working in the kitchen I can ignore the date on the calender that says it's almost the end of summer and time for school.

3.  Monday a spinning/weaving friend came to visit.  She agreed that the changes I'd made in my selvedge edges were a great improvement and she gave me some more pointers.  Maybe I will figure out this weaving business.

4. I've been working on lesson prep for the school year and I discovered that I had made a big mistake in the yearly plans starting just before Christmas that had a negative trickle down effect all the way to the end of the school year. That's the bad news. The good news is that I caught it before I had made any more changes and now it's fixed. The fave is that it only took 3 hours to correct which truly is an easy fix.

5.  It's back to school time for the university, too.  The Professor has been diligently working on campus this week preparing for his full complement of classes for the fall.  It's always fun to attend the Librarians' Reception for faculty and staff which always includes a yummy appetizer buffet complete with chocolate fountain and wine bar.  The best part of the reception is meeting the new faculty and greeting the people we haven't seen for a few months.

This is a short and sweet update on Willow's Week.  I'd love to hear how your week went and the little blessings and points of gratitude that you noticed.  Susanne has a link up on her blog to share Friday Fave Fives and you can join in if you want.  Photos are all from the Orchid House at Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Just in case anyone had any uncertainty on the topic of whether I have a fascination with reflections, here is more evidence that I am enthralled with pictures within pictures (not that anyone really needed any more evidence).

This window at Mission San Juan Capistrano is reflecting the courtyard garden.  Note the wooden beam across the top of the window and the stucco walls, both of which are typical of early California mission buildings.

Isn't this a most whimsical view of the 'gathering place of the community' in early San Juan Capistrano?

Follow this link to Toby's blog and Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This Week In Time

It's Friday and it's Time to capture the past week in words and pictures.

1.  Perhaps you know (or perhaps you don't) that I used to live in Indonesia.  Our family lived in a very remote area on the western half of the island of New Guinea which is an Indonesian province called Papua.  Sometimes those years seem so very far removed from my life today but the experiences and events of that time certainly changed me and shaped the perceptions and lives of my children.  My older daughter found this article written by one of the pilots who flew us in and out of our helicopter only allocation and posted it on her Facebook page.  I loved the comment she wrote and the response from her older brother which I am sharing with their permission.  Scroll down through the comments at the end of the article and read what the passenger in the story had to say as well as others who were 'on the ground' that day.  I'll just state that while I was never in a stalled plane, I certainly experienced my share of scary situations involving sketchy weather.  Mission Aviation Fellowship pilots are indeed some of the best in the world!

Older Daughter: 
Brings back some memories of some tense moments while flying in helicopters and single-prop planes, though I experienced none as dramatic as the one detailed in this article. The missionary pilots in Papua are some of the best pilots in the world. Recently, I was chatting with my parents and remarked on how many people we had known who lost their lives while serving God in flying those skies. My parents told me, "That is one of the most dangerous places in the world to fly. Didn't you know that?" No, as a small child, I was full of trust, in God, in the pilots, in my parents. I did not know that it was dangerous to fly; I always felt perfectly safe. And with people like Uncle John Miller (and so many others - Dave Rask, Paul Bergen, to name a few more) at the controls, I WAS as safe as humanly possible. The Lord did the rest.

Older Son:
I don't think I ever realized how dangerous it was either. The grace of being a wide-eyed child, I guess. Of course, it also helps me handle some of the flying I did in Afghanistan a little better too. The Blackwater Aviation mail plane flying in between the peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains has few thrills compared to flying over the Papuan Jungle in a helicopter with the doors off.

2.  In keeping with the sub-theme of Papua, The Professor and I were 'special guests' of the 1st-4th graders at their after-the-Wednesday-night-church-dinner meeting where we shared what we did when we were living in Papua (linguistics and Bible translation) and showed these very curious kids some fun things like pig arrows, bird arrows, string bags and batik sarongs.

3.  Today is August 17th.  It's Indonesian 'Fourth of July', their Independence Day.  Selamat Hari Kemerdekaan to all my Indonesian friends!

4.  OK, on to other things.  Sunday I went to the Ventura County Fair and spent a few hours spinning and talking with people who stopped at the booth for our local handweavers and spinners guild.  It's always fun to explain that 'No, spinning isn't a dead art.  There are still lots of us who spin and weave.

5.  Finally, I received a text message from Older Son telling us that since he is currently in LA and has evenings free, we can drive down to have dinner with him this evening.  That's where we'll be!  So excited!  So much to talk about!

This has been Willow's Week in just five little faves which barely touch on this lovely week.  Susanne hosts Friday Fave Five and you can join too and share what has blessed you this week. And yes, I know the photos have nothing to do with the topics, but I decided to put them in just because I like them.  All of them were taken at or near Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Look At This Window

The Amtrak train stops in San Juan Capistrano, California on its way to San Diego.  When I was visiting there, several trains made their scheduled stops.  Having taken this same train from Camarillo to San Diego, I know the passengers are watching out the same windows that we are staring at.  Even the sign encourages everyone to "LOOK" which is of course what one is supposed to do with a window.

Linking to Toby's Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Camping Trip

San Onofre State Beach is in northern San Diego County.  Tucked into the coastal area of Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps Base, it is the perfect place to spend a week camping in August, which is where we were last week.

1. We biked every day.  One day we rode north to San Clemente with our lunches.  That was an ambitious trip for me.  But I did it!  The beach views were stunning and fortunately it was easy to be distracted from the many ups and downs of the bike trail by the scenery.

2.  Camping just isn't camping without a campfire.

 And s'mores.

3.  San Onofre is close to San Juan Capistrano which is about 20 miles north past San Clemente.  We decided to tour the old California Mission San Juan Capistrano, famous for its faithful swallows.  Years ago, we had visited the mission but we returned and spent several hours walking around the ruins, gardens, and museum listening to the audio tour guide.  It's just an incredibly beautiful place.

4.  The last evening we were at San Onofre, our youngest daughter MamaMia brought the two little ones up to camp overnight.  Neither child had ever been camping, so they were very excited!  What excited MamaMia most? (not really, but her enthusiasm was obvious!)

"Oh Daddy! Oh Daddy!  Thank you for the booze!"

Note: MamaMia is an adult :)  Nevertheless, I did 'card' her before allowing her to choose her own mini-drink.  It ain't easy bein' a foster mom.

5.   Is there anything more lovely than a beach sunset?

These were the highlights of Willow's Week. It was a great getaway and we returned to Willow's Cottage happy and contented (and a little bit dirty, smokey, and sunburned) and grateful for the opportunity to enjoy one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Here is the link to Friday Fave Five on Susanne's blog Living to Tell the Story.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Mission Statement?

The hanging on this blue door in San Juan Capistrano, California might be the mission statement of the family who lives here.


I like it.