Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If You Are a Deer,

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  I am not happy.

The crime scene.

The evidence.

  I WILL get you for this.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Six Miles of Beauty

The absolute highlight of Willow's Week which I'm posting for Friday Fave Five was a six mile trail I hiked with a friend this week.  Although the morning was foggy and gray, by the afternoon the sun had burned off the coastal cloud layer, and the sun was shining.  It was windy, but that didn't stop us from driving out to the Pacific Coast Highway and turning south toward Malibu.

Generally, most people do not realize that the coastal area between Pt. Mugu just south of Oxnard (well, technically it's east because the coastline along there traverses east/west, not north/south) is an area designated as Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  There are 500 miles of hiking trails which range in elevation from sea level at the Pacific Ocean to over 3,000 feet at the highest peak, Sandstone Peak.

We've been casually planning this hike for more than a month, saying, "Yes, let's hike next week.  Oh, wait. Sorry, I'm busy with ....  OK, we'll try on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Saturday or another day which ends in 'y'."  Finally, we impulsively decided, "Today!"  So we did it.

Six miles.  Sea level to 1,250 feet.  Fifty photos.

Here are my five favorite photos.

1. Purple sage in the twilight.  In the background below us is the Pacific Ocean.  Near the bottom of the trail.

2.  Of course, I had to photograph flowers.  This vibrant yellow daisy like flower blooms everywhere in the spring.

3.  Bright orange penstemons grow along the trail.

4.  Because we were hiking in the late afternoon into the early evening, the moon rose over the ridge on the east.

5.  Yes, we really were that high.  Standing on the ridge looking straight down on BOTH sides of the trail.  Somewhere down there along the beach's edge is Pacific Coast Highway.  Do you see that itty-bitty, tiny, little bump to the left of the sun's reflection on the ocean below the cloud on the left?  That's Mugu Rock, the famous monolith you pass when you begin to drive inland past Point Mugu Naval Air Station.  It towers above your car.  But from our perch, it was barely visible.

This was my 'mountain top' experience this week.  I can't wait to hike up there again!

And a bonus:  my friend shared a quote she found which she declared is something I might have said.  I seems to be famous among my acquaintances for my tendencies toward simplicity/minimalism.

Thank God for the things that I do not own. (Saint Teresa of Avila)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Parties, Zoos, Trains, and Books!

Here's Willow's Week in Five Faves.

After my long weekend away in San Diego, I'm back home and recovering from a very busy four days.  Well, when you have two little ones around, you don't have much down time.

1.  We went to a party.  Maybe some day we'll be a forever family.

2.   We went to the zoo.   This family of four is certainly a flip flop family.

3.  On Monday, after spending a couple of precious quiet 'just two of us' hours with my youngest girl in downtown San Diego, I took Amtrak home.  I love the train.  Since I've been on this train route many times, I know where to sit for the best views of the ocean and beach.  Even on a gray and dreary day, and through a train window, the view is gorgeous.

4.  Books!  I got books!  In the mail!

My friend the pit bull mommy sent me this book for my birthday.  It's the next best thing to owning my own dog.

5.  Then, my friend Meg from Minimalist Woman and her husband Steve Johnson (the Minimalist Photographer) sent me a copy of Steve's newest book!  Oh joy!  So much information to digest to improve my own photo skills. Plus incredible photos to drool over.

Obviously, my week was stuffed with much more than these Five Faves, but I can't share it all.  So I had to limit myself.  Some weeks that's easier done than others.  Yes, I photographed a few flowers.  Yes, I taught my classes.  Yes, I read a book.  But These Five Things shone in my memory.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Little Danish

If I posted these two photos, would you know where I had visited this week?

Anyone who lives in California would likely guess Solvang and they would be correct.  Solvang is a small town located in the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara.  It's a major tourist destination because of its beauty, its proximity to many wineries, and its Danish history and culture.  Although I spent only 24 hours there, it was a highlight of my week.  In fact, here are the FAVE FIVE highlights.

1.  Time with five other women who are also artists and who have been participating in a study group with me for the past two months.  Our overnight retreat in Solvang was the culmination of our focus group time.

2.  For me and the other spinner/weaver in our group, our favorite spot was Village Spinning and Weaving Shop.  Each time I wander into that store I smile happily as I gaze at All. Those. Spinning. Wheels. All. That. Wool.

3.  I love an early morning cup of great strong coffee.  The other coffee lover and I rose first and we walked along the streets searching for an open cafe.  We definitely scored with Bulldog Cafe.  And chatting with my friend made it all that much better.

4.  I can't not take photos of flowers!

5.  The Food.  Solvang specializes in goodies of a Danish nature.  Oh my!

If you ever are in California and driving between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Highway 101, be sure to take the exit for Solvang and delight yourself with a visit to this little town.

Note:  I will be computerless from Friday morning until Monday evening.  While I can check email on my phone, it will not be easy for me to steal borrow time on my daughter's laptop to visit other participants in Friday Fave Five which makes me rather sad.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Restful Break

After missing last week for Friday Fave Five, I am happily back on schedule.  This first week of April 2013 I have been on Spring Break from teaching.  Here is a sample of my simple days this week.

1. We had some April Showers on April 1st.  No foolin'.  It was a cloudy, misty day.  But we took our fun day and walked at the beach anyway.

2. On Monday we also decided to have lunch out.  Usually we aren't the going out to lunch or dinner kind of people, but we stopped at Pick up Stix and had the most delicious lunch we've eaten in a long time.  Being vegan (yes, I am) and focusing on plant based, no added oil meals means eating in restaurants is severely restricted.  But the amazing waitress at Pick Up Stix was helpful and cheerful in offering excellent and tasty options.

3.  Although our mornings all week have been the typical 'early morning coastal fog and low cloudiness', Tuesday was a brilliantly sunny day.  Since I had to be in Ventura to tutor a couple of writing students, I made a lunch detour to Ventura Harbor's beach.  Oh I do love all the moods of the beach.

4.  During my two weeks of Spring Break, I've had so. much. fun. working on a knitting and felting project.  I have posted photos of my sets of felted bowls here.  Basically, I took some hand spun and hand dyed (by me) wool which had been waiting for inspiration for several years and I knitted it all up into bowls.  It was a truly fun spring project.  And they're useful, too.

5.  There are so many other faves I could choose for the past two weeks, but one quote, a prayer, has been floating up in my memory which describes my spring break--mostly because a spring cold attacked me just as my break began.  "Take my tired body, my confused mind and my restless soul into your arms, and give me rest, simple quiet rest."  Henri Nouwen.  I have truly had a simple quiet rest for which I am most thankful.

How about you?  Did you get a spring break?  Did you experience simple quiet rest?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Mid Week

Monday it was misty and foggy.
The sea had no energy.

Surfers Point was more like Sit Around on your Board and Wait Point

But. Tuesday.
Beautiful.  Sunny.
Surf was up.

And today, Wednesday, it has been a sit on my patio and drink tea kind of sunny day.

I'm still loving these felted bowls.

The pattern is HERE if you want to make them.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Bowled Over

I assure you that I am not obsessed.  Really.
I just like making knitted and felted bowls.

I had some not so nice, a little bulky and uneven skeins of wool which I had spun YEARS ago.  I had even dyed them myself.  But they weren't fit to make into anything wearable.
Felted bowls were the perfect projects to use this yarn to its best advantage.

Some are large enough to use as yarn ball holders.

I'm loving them.