Friday, October 31, 2014

A List of Little Loves

In the midst of another whirlwind week, I am pausing to give thanks for the little blessings.  Friday Fave Fives with Susanne, as usual.

1.  Happiness is sitting quietly watching the glowing pink and turquoise sunset.

2.  Happiness is also sitting quietly with a morning cup of warm coffee and watching the sunrise.

3.  Happiness is rain in the weekend weather forecast.  Here's hoping!  (I NEVER thought I'd EVER write that!)

4.  Happiness is proficient and careful workers: dry waller, plumber, electrician, cement pourer and brick layer.

5.  Happiness is anticipation of a week to spend with my grandson The New Boy.

A bit of knitting therapy.  Gryffindor House scarf.

And tea with a friend.

Happy Weekend.  I hope you can find a list of little loves, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Unlnteresting Can Be Good

Hello, it's Friday Fave Five time.  Lately, I've been so overwhelmed with life and responsibilities that I have hardly had time to write here at Willow's Cottage more than once a week.  Hopefully, soon, I'll be back on track.  But I am committed to focusing on Fridays and being thankful for the blessings from the week.  Thanks, Susanne, for leading Friday Fave Fives.

1.  I can tell it's autumn.  It's a little tiny bit cooler at night.  There have been a few foggy mornings. No leaves are shimmering gold or glowing burnt orange.  This is as autumnal as it gets here.  Yeah, it's not much...but it's a sign.  What a re-leaf.

2.  I am enjoying the birds which gather at my neighbor's bird bath daily.  Although I have no idea what kind of birds are playing there, I am amused by them.

3.  I do love my job.  Teaching late elementary school students means I get the best of all worlds.  They're still children.  But they're old enough to interact and contribute to discussions.  Why is it that the GIRLS write stories with sad and brutal endings more often than BOYS do?

4.  Last weekend we were in the land of dry deserts and palo verde trees and saguaro cacti.  The more than fourteen hours in the car was a small price to pay to see our new grandgirl.  Her parents asked me to bring the baby sling/wrap I used to carry my babies, but it is temporarily packed up with the rest of our belongings, so I made a new one.  Gotta love facebook!  I put out a request to my Papua friends to measure the dimensions for an Indonesian selendang, and within just a few minutes, I had the information I needed.  A quick trip to the fabric store for batik material and a spool of thread, an even quicker cut and sew session, and we had a perfect fit.

5.  My husband knows me so well. I asked him if he had a suggestion for a fave.  His immediate thought was, "Sharky's burritos".  Oh yeah!  We do love Sharky's!  I dropped by this afternoon and picked up two burritos to go for dinner--they're generous enough that they fill us up for two meals.  Sharky's = nom noms.

My week wasn't exciting, but it was one of those quiet work-a-day weeks which most often fill our months and years.  And that's ok.  I've been blessed with an uninteresting week.

Friday, October 17, 2014


I have the best reason in the world for showing up late for Friday Fave Fives.  How could I say anything about my week without making THIS my best, first fave?

Introducing my new little PAL.
Born on Monday evening.

We drove out to Phoenix Thursday afternoon and immediately ran upstairs to see her and hold her.  Oh, she is adorable!  Everything else about our week dims into insignificance.

However, in accordance with finding five faves in my week, I will add four more...

2.  Music.  On my way to work, I get a little bored in the car.  My brain tends to subconsciously move to singing.  I never know what song is going to pop up.  This week it was How Great Thou Art.  I felt like I was channeling George Beverly Shea.  Surprised that I remembered all the words to at least two verses, I sang all the way to work.

3.  More songs.  Saturday and Sunday, I spent many hours demonstrating my spinning craft at Reyes Adobe Days in Agoura Hills. Across the courtyard under the grape vines, the fiddler was singing and fiddling.  One favorite of the audiences gathered around was The Streets of Laredo.  Okay, I used to sing that song when I was a kid.  But I just realized that I originally learned the lyrics from The Smothers Brothers.  I never knew these weren't the real words.

I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy;
You can see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy, too;
You can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys;
So get yourself an outfit,
And be a cowboy, too.

So now this song is alternating in my brain with the much more lofty hymn in #2.  Thanks to my posting these lyrics, you can join me in the endless Smothers Brothers Streets of Laredo song loop.  You're welcome.  

4.  Whenever I can, I offer my hand knitted hats for sale.  This weekend exceeded my expectations.  I sold all but ten hats!  Generate Hope is going to get a substantial donation.

5.  More PAL LOVE

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2014

My First World

As I sit at my computer and ponder what are the five best things of my week, I'm hard pressed to decide what to write.  Today I am having deeper thoughts than normal.

Do you know that term people bandy about--"First World Problems"?  I live in a First World country although I haven't always lived here.  I've been considering First World privileges which I don't always value.  I am reminded this week as I write my Friday Fave Fives to be thankful for my First World privileges.

1.  No one shot at me this week.  Now, I've been around 'hostile guns' before, particularly when I was living in Los Angeles.  So that's not just a 'Third World' problem.  But sometimes people will ask me about my day, and I simply say, "No one shot at me today.  It's been a good day."  They look a little startled ,and then they laugh but with an understanding that, 'Yes, we live in a safe and secure spot in the world'.

2.  This week, I took showers with HOT running water.  The water was clean and warm.  Truly, it's a luxury.

3.  My clothes are new(ish) and clean.  The washing machine and dryer did their jobs, and they weren't squatting at the side of the stream scrubbing the shirts and slacks.

4.  I ate my fill of fresh fruits and vegetables.  In fact, I ate my fill of all the food I desired.

5.  Oh yeah, about that clean water.  I drank lots of it.  No need to boil it before I drank it or used it to brush my teeth.

Also, I have the amazing privilege to own a camera and take photos whenever and wherever I want.  Here are three for your enjoyment--just random pictures from my files.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Eric at Rethinking the Dream posted a few paragraphs this morning on his blog which got me thinking.  He in turn had been inspired by Faith at Minimalist at Home.  Basically this chain of reactions is about 'what do you love sometimes and therefore can do without?'

Of course I have my list.  Photos.  I have a love/hate relationship with them because organizing all the old family photos overwhelms me.  Dishes.  I inherited many tea cups from my mother and grandmother.  I use my favorite mug for tea.  Then I thought of yarn.  Do I love yarn sometimes?

I think I love yarn all the time (or I love almost all of my yarn all the time).  The yarn I don't love at all leaves the house quickly or never makes it in the door at all.  The rest of the yarn--I love.

As I pondered the why of my loving yarn, I realized that I love yarn because all I have to do is mess around with it a bit with my hands and a couple of sticks, and wa-lah!  I have a hat

 or a cowl or a sweater

 or gloves

or a bunny! 

 And these are all useful things.  I love yarn because it is always, ultimately useful.  I can give up the dishes, (some of) the books, the clothes.  But let me keep my yarn.  I love it always, not just sometimes.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

October One

Friday Fave Fives with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story...

The crisp, bonfire, autumn month of October.  It's filled with pumpkins and orange and yellow and brown.  Except here in SoCal where I live.  Today it was 99F, and yes, it was hot.  Those winds from the desert east of us, Santa Ana Winds, were blowing.  While everyone else in the more northern latitudes in North America is facing FALL, it feels like high summer here. Most of the time I am thankful for my mediterranean climate even though we don't participate in the typical autumn cooler days and possibly rainy evenings.  As I sit here sweating with the windows open to catch whatever breeze I can, I am looking back on my week, considering my blessings.

1. An email received from the mother of two former students just letting me know they miss being in my class and still consider me one of their absolute favorite teachers ever.  Made my whole week right there!

2.  Thai food from the restaurant has been keeping us fed for FIVE DAYS!  We ordered two extra dishes when we ate there on Sunday and with our own rice to supplement, the leftovers have lasted us for the whole week.  I appreciate not having to cook while we are in this limbo state of housing.

3.  Of course, if this is Willow's Cottage, there will be fiber related activities.  Currently I am crocheting.  This time it's a granny square blanket for our new little one who is going to make her appearance THIS MONTH!  Will I finish her blankie in time???  I am thankful for a bit of extra time this week to focus on making our little PAL's cuddle blanket.

About half done with the squares
100% mercerized cotton by Tahki Stacy Charles
Size G hook

4.  A real live hand written on paper letter!  Recently I have been corresponding (don't you just LOVE that word?!) with a long time friend from college days.  We've been writing each other LETTERS.  LETTERS WITH STAMPS. LETTERS DELIVERED BY THE POSTMAN.  I received one this week.

5.  Finally, I want  to wish my granddaugher a very Happy Birthday!  Eight years old!

So this has been a recounting of the Five Blessings from Willow's Cottage this week.  Happy Weekend!