Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Fave Fives, January Style #4

What a week!  It was a week spent inside a Superior Court courtroom and jury deliberation room.  Yes, I spent four days this week (as well as two days last week) on jury duty.  I'm done now with my civic duty for a year.

What are my Friday Fave Five take-aways that I am thankful for this week?

1.  I'm thankful that I live in a country where people can serve on juries and there is law and order, and (for the most part) that law and order are upheld.

2.  I'm thankful for a sweet and wonderful nephew who although he is a busy lawyer took two lunch times to pop over and have lunch with me.

3.  I'm thankful that traffic wasn't bad.  Highway 101 traffic can be terrible, but I didn't really have any difficulty arriving on time or being delayed on the way home.  Even in the rainstorms, the traffic only slowed a little.

4.  Rainstorms!  Yes, once again rain is in my fave five list!  The storm on Monday was impressive.  I vote for a couple more of those in February!

5.  A chamber orchestra concert on the weekend.  The very talented director of chorale and orchestra at the university presented a concert featuring five teenage performers for our county at the concert.  It was amazing, and The Professor and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

No photos this week.  Who wants to see the inside of a courtroom?

Monday, January 23, 2017

An English Adventure, Part 2


Avebury is an ancient village in England.  To give an idea of its location, think of it as west of London, east of Bath, and north of Salisbury.  Avebury is a village built in and around ancient pillars similar to Stonehenge.  In my opinion, while Stonehenge is awesome to visit, Avebury is much more interesting because one can walk around the village and touch the stones in the circle.  Stonehenge is cordoned off, and no one can walk inside the stone circle.

The Professor and I had visited Avebury  in 2004, but my daughter wanted to see this ancient site.  One of her life goals is to visit all the ancient sites on a list she has.  Yes, interest in ancient history is a theme in Willow's family.

The first order of the day was LUNCH.  Lunch in the Red Lion Pub.

Eleanor enjoyed her lunch, too.

It's always a good thing to kiss the lion.

How can I describe the amazing experience of walking around this place?
The village itself was lovely, even in the rain, or maybe especially in the rain as the misty atmosphere added to its mystery.  Wouldn't you love to live in a place like this?

The church and the chapel

And the sheep!  There really were sheep grazing everywhere.  I wonder if it ever occurs to those sheep that they are wandering around in a famous and aged place, or do they just focus on that next chomp of grass?

But it was the standing stones and circles which delighted and drew us to this place.
This link and this link and this link will describe the history and significance of the stones.  There is just too much for me to write, and the official sites do a better job of it.  But here are photos of our experience there.

The stones along the ridge way led us to our next adventure...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Friday Fave Five, January Style #3

Happy Friday! How was your week?  Mine was a bit unexpected.  Reporting for Jury duty turned in to court room turned into sitting on a jury.  I'll be busy for a few days...
In the mean time, I will still be thankful for the blessings of my week.
Thank you to Susanne for hosting us every week!

1.  The Professor and I aren't big on dining out, but it turned out that we ended up eating out twice on Sunday.  Lunch was with The Professor's Sister which is always fun.  And then in the evening, we spontaneously decided to have dinner with The World's Best Neighbors.  More than the food, the fellowship was precious.

2.  On Monday I met up with two very special people.  They don't live around here anymore but had time to stop by and visit with me for a bit.  ELLEN at and her husband.  Ellen and I were walking buddies for years until she moved away.  It was great to catch up with them.

3.  A couple of little KNITTED goodies for their expected grandbaby.

4.  How many times do I have to say Hurray for RAIN before y'all get really tired of hearing it?  But, truly, we are thankful for the rain that fell this week.  AGAIN.  We are hoping that our area will finally join the rest of the West in creeping out of our years long drought.  We're looking forward to more RAIN this weekend!

5.  A bit of  SUNSHINE in the middle of a rainy week.
In my garden.

What  were the events blessed you this week?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An English Adventure, Part 1

In October 2016, I received a text message from my daughter.  "Wanna take a vacation with me?"  Of course, my immediate response was "Sure!"  Then, I asked, "Where?"  Her reply?  "England!  Lots and lots of ancient sites to visit!"

So Eleanor Elizabeth and I consulted  The Professor and he agreed that England was a great holiday spot since Eleanor Elizabeth's first trip anywhere was to England a few years ago.  That trip had been in the summer, so I knew EE would need warmer clothes and some wellies.

Yes, we arrived safely in Heathrow!

Our first stop (after customs, of course)  was Caffe Nero.

My intention during our trip was to journal our experiences each evening.  I did well the first two nights...
Here is an edited version of our experiences on our first day in England.

We landed in Heathrow!  Customs was painless with the BEST officer--he wants to move to Appalachia and buy a farm so he can own guns and Rottweilers.
At Caffe Nero, we were served excellent coffee by an even better barista who even filled my water bottles.
Off to Swindon by coach (bus).  It looks like Ohio or Oregon!  Sheep!

What could have been a disaster ended up being an adventure.  We successfully boarded our coach to Swindon and made the transfer to the bus to Berwick Bassett.  However, the driver dropped us off one stop past ours even though we had specifically asked him to stop at Berwick Bassett.  Of course, we discovered this error only after wandering around the village without finding our Air BnB and finally asking a lady who was walking her two dogs in the twilight.  She explained how to walk 'along the river' and through the fields to avoid the scary and truly dangerous two lane road with NO shoulders.  So we followed her directions as best we could in the approaching darkness ('you'll know you have crossed the correct stile because the hen house will be on your right') and after keeping the river on our right, climbing fences, landing in puddles, and tromping through mud in the newly furrowed fields, and following the ONLY light we could see in the darkness, we arrived in Berwick Bassett the back way and were warmly welcomed by Lizzie.  We had assumed there would be a pub where we could eat dinner, but no.  Our hostess kindly shared some leftovers with us so we climbed into bed very tired but with full tummies.

A home we passed in Berwick Bassett.

Because we were planning to visit Avebury, we chose to stay in this lovely little village.  I would happily recommend our accommodations to anyone traveling to Avebury.  It is a three or four mile bus ride to Avebury and gives one a great experience of British small village life.

More to follow--a Day in Avebury...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday the Thirteenth

Happy Friday!  It's not an unlucky day!  This is the day I dedicate a post to focusing on the Five Faves that celebrate what I have appreciated in my life during the week.  I link up with Susanne at her blog.  You can too, HERE.

1.  Rain, Rain! Please stay!  While 60% of California is no longer considered in drought, our area is still lacking.  Evidently, our ground water is seriously depleted.  So we are always thankful for rain.  (Didn't I say that a week ago?  Rain just doesn't get old here.)  In particular, I am thankful that the rainfall has been steady but fairly light.  There have been a few rock slides but nothing catastrophic like we had in our neighborhood two winters ago.  No photos.  Rain pictures are a bit boring, being grey and drippy.  One day this rainy week, someone commented, "Stay dry in this [yucky] wet weather."  My response was that since I'm an Oregon Girl by birth and upbringing, I hardly notice it.

2.  On Wednesday I tutor a delightful young man.  His mom (and her boss) always makes sure that we have a place to work at her office.  (Boss is the father-in-law of one of my former TAs, so that is an additional delight for me.)  I love keeping my brain active in the tutoring and this kid just makes it easy and fun.

3.  I was early for tutoring, so I popped into sit a bit in the coffee shop nearby.  Imagine my delight when I placed my Hidden Natural Histories of Herbs on the table and glanced at the next table over and noticed Herbal Remedies on that table!  It turns out that the young woman sitting there with her book is enrolled in the same online class I am to study herbs and herbal remedies!  What a small and delightful world we live in.

4.  In these unseasonably cold period of weather, I am constantly thankful for the lovely warm jacket with a cozy hood which my daughter gave me to wear during our trip to England (I know, I know!  I still haven't posted any photos of that trip!).  It's wonderful!  She bought one for her and one for me.  I've been wearing mine every day!  Here is a photo showing my daughter wearing hers in Dorchester at the Roman Town House site.

5.  I didn't realize that my friend and I could spend FOUR HOURS chatting just to catch up.  How I treasure my dear friends, each one!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Let There Be Peace

I don't know about you, but I'm really DONE with strife.  It seems like the news--internet, TV or print-- is all about strife and problems.  As I was perusing the newspaper this morning, I closed it up and told The Professor, "Humanity is hardly living up to its best."  There were arrests, arraignments, murders and on and on.  Of course, I know that sensational news is what sells.  But it certainly does not promote PEACE.

This post isn't a rant about anything.  It's about my word for 2017.  I don't make resolutions.  Hopes and goals is what I call my focus for each year.  I usually choose a word in December or early January that distills what I want for focus in the year.  For example, in 2013 I chose SAVE.  LIVE was my word in 2015. Last year, 2016, it was SIMPLE.  If you care, you can click on the years and read those posts of hopes and goals for those years.

For 2017, I have chosen the word PEACE.  Several times in the past few years, people have entered my home and declared, "This is such a peaceful place." (That may have some connection to my decluttering tendencies-- peacefulness is easier in uncluttered places.)  I began to notice how often those comments were made and wondered about it.  It is true that The Professor and I live generally quiet and contented lives.  No one is more content in his outlook on life than is the The Professor.

Then this week I opened a packet of herbal tea from Traditional Medicinals.  TM always has an inspirational quote on the tab holding the string to the tea bag.  But this time the tab had only one word--

I realized that this is what I am craving.  A peaceful home, a peaceful attitude, a peaceful life.  I sure wouldn't mind a peaceful world, either.  It will just have to start here, in me, at Willow's Cottage.   This year I want to focus on keeping that PEACEful sense not only in my home but also in my physical, spiritual, social and mental life.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Hello 2017

My first Friday Fave Five for the New Year.  My wandering adventures are over for a while now.  Seven weeks is a long time to be away from home.  I treasure all the moments I can spend with my family either traveling or helping at their homes, but it is nice to settle in again at Willow's Cottage where my yarn stash and needles reside.

1.  While we were on the East Coast, we drove in to Washington, D.C.

 to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Older Daughter has a special interest there--the project she works with is featured in a display.  Here she gave us all a short presentation on 'her missile'.

Even Eleanor enjoyed the impromptu lecture.

I loved watching my girl's enthusiasm for her job and understanding a tiny bit of what she does all day.

2. As always, I am thankful for safe travel. We had an uneventful, smooth, albeit long, flight back to the West Coast.  And I have to mention Uber.  Son #2 Dr. Mike has been using Uber for years.  So he convinced us, and yes, Uber is great!

3.  Time changes are always 'fun'.  We are catching up on our sleep and adjusting to the three hour time difference.  The fave here is that I have the luxury to sleep in.

4.  RAIN!  Yes, we Southern Californians are weird like that.  We so seldom get a good cleansing rainstorm that when more than one arrives back to back to back, we are ecstatic.  I was born and spent my first eighteen years in the Pacific Northwest, so I know rain.  This rain is like Oregon rain--slow, misty, soft. Not the usual torrential downpours we experience here.  We left in the rain from the east coast and arrived to rain here.  So far this week we haven't seen the sun.  That's very unusual, but we are thankful because we NEED RAIN.  (note:  as of mid week, we have had a bit over four inches of rain this season--more than any of the past six years of drought.  And now it measures at 5 3/4 inches!)

5.  I love it when I get those texts from my best neighbor:  Help!  Knitting issue!  She popped down in the evening and I talked her through how to 'turn the heel' on a sock.  I love sharing my knowledge (Yes, I'm a born teacher--just can't stop teaching.)
I have been pondering my word for this year 2017.  I think I've distilled it down to a 'postable' paragraph.  Hopefully, I'll have time to write it up and post it this weekend.  In the meantime, enjoy a lovely winter weekend, friends!