Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hiking at Satwiwa

As promised, I am sharing our day in the Santa Monica Mountains.  We hiked six miles of hills, cliffs and stream beds.  This is an area which was burned over during The Springs Fire last year.  That fire swept through the coastal mountains from Hwy 101 by (and past) my house and down to Pacific Coast Highway.

The next month, June, I hiked in the burned area and it looked like this:

Nine months later, it doesn't look much better.  There has been almost no rain to encourage new growth.  There are tiny spots of green where vegetation is reestablishing, but truly it still looks like a wasteland.

On the other hand, hiking here is still beautiful in its own way.  We shared the trails with birds


and other hikers.

There are so many exciting places to explore
like the Chumash lodge

tops of hills

dry creek gullies

shale slides

Sometimes you just have to stop and sit until you catch your second wind.

 Were we really down in that valley?
Did we really hike that far?

Yes, we were.
Yes, we did.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Whirlwind of Gaiety

OK, let me catch my breath for a minute.  I've had a busy week.  Weeks brimming with activity are stuffed with blessings.  Besides the usual church services, teaching schedules and daily chores, we added five special events.  Because my daughter and two grandchildren were here, the week overflowed with happy times.  Here are Five Faves to share with you on Susanne's Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Family time.  All of The Professor's siblings met for a picnic along with some of the kids (well, they're adults, but they're our kids).  This happens maybe every fifteen years or when one of the kids gets married.

2.  Friday was Valentine's Day and I spend the afternoon at ... the beach.  With my grandbabies. (Oh, and my daughter was there, too)  They're explorers.  Finding mussels and starfish in their natural habitat are important discoveries.

3.  Saturday we took our little ones to Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center and Bookstore.  It was a very foggy day.  But the exhibit inside is small enough to keep them interested just long enough.

4.  Then, an old college friend called.  He was in the area with his grandsons and wanted to have dinner.  Authentic Mexican food, please.  A pleasant time was had by all as we caught up on life.

5.  As if that wasn't enough, we had a last minute meet up the next night with friends.  Seven for Indian cuisine in Santa Barbara.  The best part about this evening was listening to the conversation of some really bright math guys.  No, that wasn't the best of all-- that was chatting with my ninety year old friend (the mom/grandma) and admiring how wonderful she is.  (When I grow up, I want to be just like Faye!)

And I didn't even mention our six mile hike!  (Come back in a couple of days for a full report on hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.)

For a couple of rather quiet people who value their down time at home, that was a whirlwind week of gaiety.  I think I'll spend a couple of days sitting and knitting to let my brain catch up with my body.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lovin' the Week

Often by the time Thursday night arrives, I'm tired.  All week I think about what blessings have come my way and plan in my mind which ones I want to include in Friday Fave Fives.  Then, Thursday happens.  I'm tired.  I'm sleepy.  It's hard to remember what thrilled me on Monday.  This is why I love Friday Fave Fives so much.  I'm pushed to remember and be thankful.  That's a good thing.

1.  Lovin' the connection.  A new phone.  I needed a new one.  Finally, we decided it was time and drove over to the T-Mobile store.  We'd done our research so choosing the phone didn't take long.  Black 4G Android with a really cute purple cover.

2.  Laughin'.  A reunion with two former colleagues from our years in Papua, Indonesia.  Both are older retired single ladies.  We sat for hours and reminisced.  Margaret is a great story teller, and we laughed and laughed.  (Yes, Barbara, it was that Margaret.)

3.  Lovin' the sunshine after a little bit more rain.  The last half of this week, it's been light sweater weather.

4.  Lovin' a special woman.  Today is a very special day.  Yes, it's Valentine's Day, but that's not what I want to celebrate.  Today is my lovely daughter in law's birthday!  Happy Birthday to The Chaplain's wife!

5.  Lovin' my beach.  Even a short walk by the sea refreshes me.

And now I have a whole weekend to be lovin' on my daughter and grandkids because they are here for another visit!  I hope you're lovin' your weekend too.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Is It Really February?

It seems like this year is charging along faster than I expect.  Here it is the end of the first week of February and I feel like I've just celebrated New Year's Day.  One change I'm endeavoring to make this year is to meditate on gratitude every day.  Daily gratitude meshes well with my usual Friday Fave Fives.  Since I'm thinking each evening about what I'm thankful for, it makes writing about my favorite blessing of the week easier.  Gratitude begets gratitude.

1.  Rain.  Yes, again this week rain makes my fave five list.  One day we had a bit of misty spitty precipitation which we could hardly have counted as rain.  But Thursday (today) it really rained.  Less than .25 inch, but it soaked in our very dry ground, and we are grateful for it, every drop.

2.  This book.  The Professor and I and his brother and wife attended a book reading by George Morgan, the author of Rocket Girl.  Rocket Girl is about Morgan's mother, Mary Sherman Morgan, who was the first female rocket scientist.  It's a fascinating biography.  I bought a copy to read and then share with my own rocket scientist, my older daughter.

Cover art

3.  Someone asked me to crochet some rosettes to add to a beanie.  While I may be a knitting ninja, my crochet skill level may be labeled elementary at best.  Beginner is a little too advanced for me.  So when I foolishly agreed to make those flowers, I had to learn some crochet.  Fortunately, I could call my crochet queen daughter and get some emergency crochet help.  I spent waaay too much time on these, but I think I've got it now.  I love learning new needle skills.

4.  I finished a bit of relaxing knitting after the stress of crochet.  These are fingerless gloves for a friend's husband.  Knitting often makes my Fave Fives list because creating useful things gives me great joy, and knitting is a restful and relaxing activity for me.

5.  Last, but not least-- Happy Birthday to my SIX year old grandson, The New Boy!  Oh, I love this boy!

And so ends the week on a happy thought--watching this boy grow into a young man and praying he will become a man of God who is a credit to his mama and a blessing to the world around him.