Friday, April 25, 2014

Adoptions and Road Trips

Friday!  My Favorite.  I look forward to posting Willow's Week on Friday Fave Fives with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.  I missed posting Friday Fave Fives last week.  We were a bit preoccupied with a major lifetime milestone.

1.  They're OURS! They're ALL OURS!

Zoe Grace and Liam officially joined our family on April 18, 2014.  After almost two and a half years of waiting, and more waiting, my daughter and son-in-law signed the adoption papers!

Daddy joined remotely for the court appearance and celebration.
(One more reason you should always thank military personnel for their service.  They give up so much of their personal lives to provide safety and security for their country.)

With the judge.  

2. That was on Friday.  On Saturday, we said our goodbyes, hopped in the car and started east.  Six days.  Nine states.  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida.  The fave here is two fold.  I'm thankful that my spring break coincided with the adoption so I could ride along on the trip.  I'm thankful that we were safe.  No accidents, no car problems.  2,500 miles.

3. I love road trips! Camera in hand, I documented the miles.  No, I won't bore you with the dozens of photos of the endless highways.  But here are just a few... (if you scroll down to earlier posts, you can see pictures from the first two days)

Light at the end of the tunnel.
Almost there.

4.  Best hotel.  Houston.  After a truly scary first attempt at sleeping in Houston, we moved to Omni Hotel Houston to sleep safely.  (More on that later; it deserves a separate post)  My son-in-law should be awarded some kind of medal of valor or honor or persistence in protection for arranging this for us late at night.  The staff at Omni Hotel were amazing. Our room was ready with beds prepared and so many little extras added.  Zoe Grace and Liam had gift bags waiting, filled with food for the fish.

"Look at all those fighting fish!"

5.  Have you noticed the photos??  Faces forward.  Finally, we are allowed to post photos of these beautiful children.  Here they are with their beloved cousin, The New Boy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two More Days

We've made it to Oklahoma City.  That's two long days of driving.  A mom, a grandma, two kids.

Flagstaff.  Winslow.  Gallup.  Albuquerque. 

If you belong to The Professor's family, you know about Winslow, Arizona and Route 66.

So we had to stop and take photos for Bapa.

Standin' in Corner in Winslow, Arizona

The Southwest has a beauty of its own.  I love the desert, the rugged mountains, the iron red cliffs of Arizona and New Mexico.

Overnighting in Albuquerque, we visited family to introduce Zoe Grace and Liam in person to great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Another wonderful blessing.

There is just something about Oklahoma.  I love that state.  Maybe it's because it is greener than the Texas Panhandle.  Maybe it's because that song keeps cycling around in my head.  O--KLAHOMA, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain...

Even the tumbling down falling apart abandoned barns are picturesque.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Road Trip!

Leaving San Diego.

Driving East
Through Cleveland National Forest

Bare bones mountains

Narrow passes

The little ones find
clouds that look like birds

Wind turbines

Goodbye, California
Hello, Arizona

The rugged mountains, desert floor and palo verde trees remind me of Louis L'Amour novels.

It's spring, and the palo verde trees are blooming.

Easter in Phoenix

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's the Basics

Not every week is filled with exciting adventures.  Sometimes it's good to focus on the little things, the basics.  That's what I did this week.  Here is the Basics Edition of Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

1.  I am thankful for sunshine.  I know the the scientists among us will point out that without the sun, we will all die.  In like five minutes.  No sunshine = no heat.  No sunshine = no light. No life.  We should all be thankful for sunshine.  Specifically, I am thankful for the additional light we are getting as we have passed the spring equinox.  Yay, sunshine!

2.  I am thankful for green plants.  There's that whole photosynthesis thing that happens with sunshine (see #1)  and then the result is green plants.  Green plants mean food.  Food means nourishment.  Nourishment means health.  In Southern California, green plants also mean we just had some rain and the wild plants are growing again on the hillsides so the soil won't erode away and cause landslides, the deer finally have something to eat besides my rose bushes, and it's much prettier to look up at the Santa Monica Mountains and see green, not black ashes and brown dirt.

3.  I am thankful for clean water.  Many people in the world don't have clean water.  I remember having to boil every bit of water we consumed when we were living in the Papuan jungle.  Don't take clean water for granted.  It's a luxury.

4.  I am thankful for my automatic washing machine.  Last week as I was driving around town, I noticed that the car in the traffic lane next to me was filled with stuff.  Upon closer inspection, I realized it was piles of laundry.  It was evident the driver was either going to the laundromat or to Mom's to do laundry.  Have you ever lived without laundry facilities in your house?  Wasn't that FUN?  I've done our laundry in a river.  By hand.  That's not much fun either.  I may have actually kissed my washing machine.  Certainly, I regularly give its white metal top a little pat and tell it, "Thanks!"

5.  I am thankful for books.  On facebook, I noticed a comment posted by a friend telling that when people asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she replied, "Your favorite book."  She received a wonderful variety of books as gifts.  That caused me to ponder -- what is my favorite book?  How can I choose only one??  I love British authors.  Elizabeth Goudge, Scent of Water. Miss Read. The Year at Thrush Green.  Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night.  I also love children's books.  The Door in the Wall.  The Trumpeter of Krakow.  Just a fraction of my favorite books.  This week I was gifted four Miss Read books. [THANKS, Mary!)  My Easter Break reading!  I *heart* books.

These are simple pleasures.  Just the basics, ma'am.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Batik and Roses

How was your week?  I hope yours was full of blessings!  Here we are in April.  It's really April.  Almost Easter.  This first week of April was mostly a quiet one here at Willow's Cottage which was totally fine with me.  I am sharing my week in Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.

1.  I took a rest day and accompanied a friend to the studio of a batik artist.  My friend had commissioned her to transform two old white linen tablecloths and give them new life as vibrant batik creations.  Having lived in Indonesia, I have a deep love and appreciation for batik.

You can choose most any color or combination of colors from the samples.

Kathryn Hermann is an artist who lives with her art.

Tying up the citrus tree with blue batik scraps

THE damask rose
It smells heavenly

Of course, when I photographed this bloom, I was sure I would remember its name. Huh.  It's a pinkish lavender orchid.  I think.

Oh yeah.  My kind of garden art.

This guy looks real, doesn't he?

2.  Rain.  Twice this week I woke in the night to hear 'pitter pitter pat pat patter' as rain dropped onto our parched earth.  Rain on the roof, on the car, in the street, is the sound of my childhood.  Obviously, I wouldn't want to listen to rain every night, but this week it was a wonderful sound.

3.  The Professor has been busy most evenings with tech rehearsals and dress rehearsals for the play for which he is lighting director at the university (this is his moonlighting job).  I miss him being around but I have savoured the quietness of just sitting and reading* and knitting.  *reading may include reading of student compositions

4.  Decluttering.  I declutter rooms in my house on a regular basis.  You know how stuff just sneaks in and piles up?  I have to wage constant war on the creeping clutter.  Last week as I was cleaning the master bath, I noticed some medicines I had been overlooking.  You know how your eyes just pass over something because it has been there for so long?  We went through all those old meds and were able to toss all but one bottle into the plastic bag which I then dropped off at the local police station.  Decluttering makes my heart happy because I love a clean, simple, uncluttered space.  [Stay tuned for more decluttering--I may be in the mood...]

5.  I've been puttering around in my own little garden this week.  Mostly I have pulled weeds and dumped a few pots which had dead plants in them.  But I picked the first rose.

I hope you will take a few minutes and ponder your blessings and focus on what is on your gratitude list this week.