Thursday, February 28, 2013

Marching In

Happy March-- the month of Spring, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, and the Ides of March!  Just knowing that March is here makes me happy.  It makes me frivolous.  I can't be serious during early March.  I've been teaching and knitting and cleaning.  But I can't concentrate on such grown up activities.  There will be time next week to talk about such things.  Here are my Official First Day of March Faves.

It appears that March is coming in like a lamb around here.  That is if coming in like a lamb means really warm sunny weather. In all fairness, it might mean coming in like a lion, taking the weather by force and turning it unseasonably hot.  The forecast tells us that it's going to be a warm weekend.

1.  In celebration of March, I walked through my little garden and photographed flowers.  The osteospermum burst into bloom this week.

2.  It's camellia time!  Willow's Cottage garden has nine camellia bushes.  I didn't plant them.  They came with the cottage.  Camellias remind me of my grandmother who had several camellia bushes in front of the porch at her home in Portland's Multnomah Village. We grandchildren would crouch between the porch and the bushes when we played hide-and-seek.  I still remember dampness of the earth under those bushes and how easy it was to watch the world, unseen by the neighbors, peeking through the stiff dark green leaves.  Seeing the camellias bloom brings back wonderful memories.

3.  I am not sure the name of this flower.  Does anyone know?  The leaves are long skinny spears.  The flowers are not long lasting, but while they are blooming, they're beautiful.

4.  Do you know what these buds are??  They're plum blossoms!  Yes, if all goes well, like there's no rain storm, no killer Santa Ana winds, no other unexpected problems, we'll have plums this summer.

5.  March 2nd is Dr. Seuss's birthday!  Find a Dr. Seuss book and read it this week.  If we were challenged to do it, I think The Professor and I could quote from memory the entire Dr. Seuss's ABC book.  Yes, we read it to our children that many times.  Did you read Dr. Seuss books?  The Professor liked To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.  I can never decide which is my favorite--maybe The Foot Book or One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Which one was your favorite?

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

"If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good." 
― Dr. Seuss

"Today was good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Flowers, Blogs and Quotes

Greetings from cool but sunny Willow's Cottage.  It rained this week.  It has been sunny.  And not warm.  And windy.  It was a week for hot coffee, wool gloves and an extra fleece vest.  Leaves are popping out on the rose bushes.  But I haven't been out in the garden much to admire them.  Here are the fave five tidbits from Willow's Week which have warmed me from the inside out.

1. My friend has a blog!  Do you love photos of gardens?  You'll love garden celebrations!  I took these photos of her garden acres several years ago.

2. A very unexpected phone call.  From my oldest cousin.  As far back as I can remember, he has NEVER called me.  So when I answered a call from an unknown number (but not unknown area code), I was astounded to find who the caller was.  Admittedly, my first thought was, "Oh, no.  Who died?"  because why else would he be calling?  It turned out that he wanted me to connect with his oldest grandson who was writing a paper on cross cultural experiences for his cultural anthropology class and wanted to interview me.  It was great to talk to both my cousin and his grandson.

3. A potted tulip is blooming in the cottage.

4.  I love this quote by William Morris:  "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

5.  Here's another random quote which resonated with me this week.  It's from an article in British Country Living magazine.  "To bake is an elemental act of creativity".  Now I'm wanting to pull out my bread pans and bake some loaves of my favorite honey wheat bread.

And a bonus quote:  "Better craft than gold".

Have you found any famous or obscure quotes you love?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More Spring And Lots of Love

It seems that this year I can't get enough Spring.  Everywhere I look, I find more flowers.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do even if you won't be seeing green for a few more months.  Remember, in October, while most of North America will be experiencing beautiful crisp fall weather, we will be dealing with the dry, hot, burning winds and the brown dead shriveled up vegetation which characterizes a Southern California autumn.  Allow me to revel in the green while I can.

1.  On Saturday, The Professor had to be at the university for meetings regarding the upcoming performance for which he is doing the lighting tech design.  I tagged along.  My first stop was the library to look for a book in the children's library section (they didn't have it).  While I waited, I sat in the sunshine and corrected papers.

The view from the front entrance

Then when he was finished, we decided to take our Saturday walk around the campus which includes a small residential community called University Glen.  The weather was perfect for walking--light jacket wearing weather and the sun was shining.

Looking back toward University Glen

Native flora blooming because it rained in January

The busy bees are happy

Our first pussy willows 

I was surprised to see that the giant coreopsis is blooming.  A quick check through my photo files shows that  other years it has bloomed in March.

2.  A beach walk with these little guys for company.  They weren't much interested in me since their entire attention was taken with playing tag with the waves.

3.  I am not a big Valentine's Day fan because both of my parents passed away in the days before the fourteenth.  But this year I chose to focus not on the sadness that Valentine's week brings to me but on the blessings I can associate with the day.  The most important one is that Valentine's Day is the birthday of my wonderful daughter-in-law.  She is a jewel and my son is definitely blessed.  Wishing her a Happy Birthday makes the sad thoughts disappear.

4.  I have the most adorable students!  They often come in to class carrying little gifts.  Cupcakes, candies and even flowers.  But the best are the notes that accompany the pressies.  My favorite was written by a very quiet student who struggles with writing.  In her note, she assured me that she is learning a lot about those paragraphs :)

5.  Of course the best Valentine's gift is my husband.  I do adore him.  I appreciate that he works hard and takes on extra jobs to bring in a bit more financial security.  He makes me a latte every morning.  He helps with the laundry and cleaning.  He cooks.  Love that man not just for what he does but mostly for who he is.

Knitting Bonus:  six hats knitted this week to be added to the growing pile of goodies which will be for sale at a boutique in March.

Onward we go into Spring!  Let's look for the blessings in each week, each season.  Linking to Susanne's Friday Fave Fives.  (note: my laptop is literally, physically falling apart--long story involving a little accident a year ago-- so if I am not present much right now online, that's the reason.  I think I'm getting a new one soon)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Signs of Spring

Friday Fave Fives is brought to you by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.  This is Willow's Week in five short glimpses of gratitude.

Even people who live in a Mediterranean climate need encouragement that winter will soon be over and spring will arrive.  I'm just not a winter girl.  Give me sunshine and warm weather!  I discovered more bits of evidence that spring is near.  This gives me the impetus to persevere for another month until spring officially shows up on the calender. 

1. Narcissus in my garden

2. This little pink plant is bravely blooming in the median on the overpass above Highway 101.  You can see it if you are waiting in the left turn lane for the red light to switch to green.

3. As I walked some students from class to the parking lot to meet their moms, one boy observed this chrysalis and pointed it out to me.  We had a moment of fun photographing it.  Soon, soon, it will burst open and a butterfly will pop out.

4. One evening this week we enjoyed a pleasant dinner with the co-leaders of our Adult Bible Fellowship group where we planned the schedule for the next few months.  Of course the topic of vacations came up.  Now we are already thinking about Spring Break and Summer Holidays.  It's amazing to me that Christmas is hardly over and we are talking about summer.

5.  The winter fruits are ripening like crazy.  Daily, I am picking mandarin oranges, but I can't keep up.  My students are sharing the avocados and lemons from their trees too.  We're NOT complaining!  More guacamole for all of us!

What are your favorite signs of spring?