Saturday, December 27, 2014


I don't make New Years Resolutions.  It seems to me that resolutions fail epically in encouraging people to make positive changes in daily activities. Usually, one makes a resolution but doesn't have the plan in place to make that resolution last and so the momentum lasts only a few days or weeks at the most.  I prefer 'hopes and goals'. Some years at the end of December or early January, I have chosen a word that I think will identify what 'hopes and goals' I want to focus on during the coming year.  In 2011, I wrote a blog post about my word of the year which was Simplify.  Evidently, in 2012, I didn't write about that year's word because I have no post in my archives.  My word in 2013 was Save.  I seem to have skipped 2014, too.  In keeping with the trend of choosing a word every other year, I am focusing on LIVE in 2015.

This coming year I want to:

Live simply.  Continue to reduce the clutter and excess possessions in my life.  I don't plan to get rid of everything but 100 items and throw away things I use on a regular basis.  But I will keep what is useful, beautiful and has a happy memory which makes me smile.

Live healthfully.  I am making a commitment to exercise more consistently--three times a week for a half hour.  That doesn't include the nearly daily three mile walks I take.  We are still working on the details of this one.  Should we join a gym?  How about buying the equipment we would need and doing it on our own?  Healthy living also involves healthy eating.  We mostly have this part covered as I eat a whole foods plant based diet and The Professor adds in some cheese and meat.

Live mindfully.  This one could cover so much.  Here I am focusing on limiting my schedule to allow time for rest and relaxation.  I want to choose activities which add value to my life, my family's lives, and which are in line with my life values.

Live devoutly.  I want to focus more of my hours on prayer, Bible study and meditation.

Live thankfully.  Being thankful and grateful means not complaining or comparing.  Many people write a daily diary stating three things they are grateful for.  I'm not sure I have the discipline to write a quotidian journal, but I want to think thankfully on a minute by minute, hour by hour basis.

These 'hopes and goals' for 2015 which are embodied in the word Live are not new to me or unusual for how I have lived my life for years and decades.  They simply have a slightly different emphasis in the details for this year.

Have you made resolutions, written a list of hopes and goals, or chosen a focus word for 2015?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

I like the fact that Christmas Day leads right in to Friday Fave Fives this year.  Yes, I realize that I was awol last week.  Everything was just too much.  We were exhausted from moving back in to our house.  The Professor was finishing up his semester grades.  We had no internet.  This week we still have no internet but Son #2 and The Professor showed me how to tether my phone to my computer. Wah lah!  Internet!

So here are my Friday Fave Fives for the two weeks.

1.  Obviously, we are happy to be settling back in to our home after all the changes and renovations.  The best part is unpacking and having everything available again.  All our clothes are in their proper drawers.  My yarn is collected in the same spot as my needles.

2.  Son #1, his wife and our PAL came for a whirlwind three day visit.  They shared our first night of sleeping here again.  Would you believe I took NO photos??  I wasn't even sure where my camera was at the time.  I know. I know.  Epic grandmother fail.  Our little one is growing and is two months old.  She coos.  She smiles.  She's adorable.

3.  In our family, we don't load up on Christmas gifts.  Our tradition among the adults is to draw names and buy one special gift for one person.  My daughter in law received my name this year.  I have to say she is the BEST gift giver.  Knowing I love children's books and collect Newbery Award Books, she bought me several of the volumes I didn't own yet.  Now my collection is nearly complete.  I am missing only 1989's winner and the two most recent award books.  The best part?  I have books on the shelves waiting for winter reading!

4.  Our nephew and family were in the area for a family gathering and we caught up with them on Sunday for lunch after church.  They too have a new little girl, only a month old.  They stopped by the house to pick up a little knitted gift for her; her big four year old brother played Legos, and we chatted for a bit before they left for their across Los Angeles County drive home.  A pleasant time was had by all.

5.  Our streets are mostly clear of mud now from the mudslides in our neighborhood.  One morning a three man crew from our church arrived with shovels in hand to help us scoop mud from the front street gutters which were still filled and blocking any rain/water run off from flowing to the drains.  They cleared the areas in front of two of our neighbors too who could not get out to do the work themselves.  We were certainly thankful and grateful for the help of those strong young men.  And we continue to be thankful for how small our damage was compared to the people who live just 1/2 mile from us.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas week.  May your last week of 2014 be filled with joy, peace, simple pleasures and many finished knitting projects.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December Faves, Take Two

I love Christmas, but it is also a stressful time.  This month it is more important than ever to focus on for what I am thankful.  Thanksgiving may be so-last-month, but giving thanks is always a current event.  Susanne's Friday Fave Fives is a great venue for doing that.  As I stare at mud everywhere on my street and in my neighborhood, I have been reminding myself of this quote I read last week (my paraphrase):  Be thankful for the many things that are right, and don't focus on the few things that aren't.)  Yes, my neighborhood is a mess.  But we are safe.  If you google mudslide, Camarillo Springs, California, you can read more about it.

1.  Strong and willing helpers were definitely a fave this week.  We had to move our piano.  Although it is a smaller upright spinnet, The Professor and I can not move it ourselves without help.  We asked around and could find only one young big strong guy to help us (huge shout out to Jason who is awesome!).  Then our dental assistant replied to our comment that we were stressed about moving the piano--as she was cleaning our teeth---her husband is big and strong and willing to help. And they brought another strong and big guy with them.  So we the guys got that thing moved right in up the five steps and into place in its new home.  They also moved all the book boxes (they asked, HOW MANY boxes of books do you have???) and the book shelves in less than a half hour total.  What a blessing it was for us to have found willing and strong helpers.

2.  As of Thursday afternoon I am on Christmas Break!  No more explanation necessary.

3.  Oh, those students of mine--they are hilarious and adorable.  One set of classes wrote poems and made cards.  One girl wrote a cinquain poem:

Ms. (my last name)
You're very nice.
I think that you should know
that I love you. Have a Merry

4.  This hawk has been hanging around.  The little wrens and finches aren't thrilled, but I think he's quite handsome.

5.  Blogger got hacked this week.  Did anyone else have a problem?  My blog spent about a day redirecting to some ad site.  The Professor did some research and found out where that issue was and knew google was working on the problem.  I'm thankful it's fixed and I can just let someone else do the fixing.

Have a happy weekend!  Hug the people you love, and be gracious to the people who are grumpy.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

December Faves, Take One

Hmmm, it is Friday and I am a bit stumped.  I'm not going to lie or pretend.  This has been a crazy and challenging week.  Therefore I am searching my memories of the past seven days to find the little blessings to share with you in Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Oh yeah.  Saturday!  We took a hike!    I love this hiking trail.  It's easy.  It's level.  It's gorgeous.

2.  After hiking, we stopped by S*bucks and I ordered a soy hot chocolate.    Yum!

3.  Rain!  About 1.5 inches.  Any amount helps us fight the drought.  And sometimes rain comes with rainbows.

4.  And no mudslides.  Following the disaster from Halloween night where our neighborhood was inundated with mud in the first rain storm of the season, our local fire department and disaster relief teams gathered in the parking lot of the golf course and evacuated people from 75 homes.  But fortunately, although there was A LOT of water running down the streets and through our gardens, there were no mudslides and no more homes destroyed.  [If you want to know more details, google Camarillo Springs mudslide or just click here.]

5.  An email from Son #1 that stated "We checked our schedule.  We can come for a visit December 16-19."  'We' means Son #1, his beautiful wife and our newest grand girl!  Can't wait!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Crochet, too

Sometimes it is a good thing to switch from always knitting.  Crocheted granny squares are simple to create and singularly adorable when they're finished.
Best relaxation therapy ever:  Our PAL's new blanket for her crib.

Granny Squares Crib Blanket
Crochet hook #G
Cotton Classic Yarn, 100% mercerized cotton
70 squares, all different combinations of five colors (red, light green, dark green, blue, yellow),
edged in light cream