Friday, December 15, 2017

Beginning to Look Like Christmas

Friday Greetings from a grey and frigid East Coast.  Snow has fallen and melted twice in the past week.  And now it's snowing again.  Yeah.  This Southern California girl is confused.

This week's Friday Fave Fives may be a bit confused, too.  I am thankful even in the midst of a bit of chaos and cold.

1.  Although I have visited Washington, D.C. a few times, I hadn't seen anything of the US capital except the National Mall and a few museums.  Last weekend, I stayed in DC with a long time friend who has moved there.  We were homeschool and church friends in Oregon, in a far away time and place.  We always connect if she is in California or I am in DC, but this time it was just the two of us hanging out at her home and drinking tea and talking.  We had planned to hike and explore (yes, there ARE hiking trails in DC!), but the snow and freezing cold wind changed our plans.  Sunday morning, we attended her church, and that too was a blessing.

Best House in DC

complete with guard dog

2.  Driving through residential neighborhoods and along two lane roads gives one a very different feel than the official areas.  And of course the snow added another layer of perspective.

3.  Daughter #2's moving schedule has changed a bit as she found out through 'chance meetings'* and 'chance conversations'* that the military will indeed pay for the move although her husband is a!ready retired from the Marine Corps.  I can't adequately express what a blessing this is!  AND, the movers will come in and PACK everything, too!  This has taken so much financial and physical/emotional pressure off.  *I don't believe in 'chance'--these were God orchestrated events.

4.  I love my cell phone.  The Professor is in California and I am on the east coast.  We can still talk at least twice a day.

5.  Some knitting is happening.  I finished a pair of socks for my daughter using that yarn from HER stash that I mentioned last week, and since there is plenty left over, I'm working on a matching pair for me.

Update on the home county fires:  still burning, still windy.  Please pray for Ventura County!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Already December

I'm back!  It's December!  It's Friday and that means Friday Fave Fives.

I missed blogging anything the last two weeks.  That's because I have been gone from Willow's Cottage again.  The week before Thanksgiving, I flew to the east coast to spend time with my Daughter #2 and her family.

1.   Daughter #1 came for the holiday, too.  On Friday, #optoutside day, we took the cousins for a hike.  I love sharing my love of the outdoors with my grandchildren.  I hope they are learning to love it, too.

2.  I've been using my ninja decluttering and packing skills to help Daughter #2 prepare for their upcoming move to the same area where Daughter #1 lives.  I love that she appreciates my help.  And I love that they are both excited to be living near each other.

3.  One day we took some time off and drove to Annapolis for lunch at the harbor.  I love exploring places, and I do love Annapolis!

4.  I knitted all the yarn I brought with me, so I have been raiding my daughter's stash.  I love that she loves to knit and is willing to share (less for her to move, right?).

5.  Have you been hearing and reading about the horrible fires in Southern California?  It's my county, Ventura County, that's burning.  I have been monitoring the situation as well as possible and The Professor who is home is keeping me up to date.  I hate the destruction, but it encourages me to see how we are all gathering around to help--everyone from the firefighters and first responders to neighbors and strangers.  Obviously, the fave is NOT the fires.  It's the outpouring of love and care.

A bit of mid-Atlantic, late autumn beauty to enjoy.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Week

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!  This is a national day of Giving Thanks.  I think it's better to be thankful every day.  Here are five things I'm thankful for this week and am sharing on Friday Fave Fives.

1.  My wonderful husband.  He put me on a plane to visit my daughters and he even drove me to the airport at 4:30 am.

2.  Friends who allow us to crash at their home near LAX so it's easier to catch those 7:00 am flights.  We go back many years and it's always so good to catch up with them.

3.  A safe flight; two, actually, as I had to change planes in North Carolina.

4. Hanging out with my girls.  Last year at Thanksgiving, I was in England with Daughter #1.  Those were wonderful days and wonderful memories.

my girl in Avebury

5.  Funny texts from my brother.  Don't siblings share a special bond?  I'm thankful for the relationship I have with him.

Yeah, this Fave Five is short and sweet--it is, after all, Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Time To Be Thankful

Happy Friday! (I'd be happier if I could figure out how to find my downloaded photos on my new laptop.  No pictures today unless I can find them and add them later. Update:  Yay! The Professor did his magic! I have photos!)  It has been a busy week at Willow's Cottage, but I want to stop and reflect on the blessings.  Thanks for Susanne for always faithfully organizing Friday Fave Fives.

 1.  This week, I read the following quote in, of all places, the local newspaper.

Be the reason someone else is thankful.

Excellent thought. 

2.  Knowing I have had a lot of stuff on my mind lately, World's Best Neighbor treated me to a pedicure which included a relaxing time in a heated massage chair.  It was exactly what I needed.  And I have dark red toe nails.

3.  The Professor and I stopped by an estate sale in our neighborhood.  He scored a stack of music cds.  As we were leaving, the elderly owner saw what he had purchased and said, "Yay! You have the same musical taste as my husband!  Enjoy!"  The Professor has been having fun choosing what to listen to first.  In addition, he found a cd of bagpipe music and gifted to our friend who PLAYS the bagpipes.

4.  While most of the north hemisphere is feeling the cold and rain and snow, we are enjoying mild days, usually sunny, occasionally cloudy.  The flowers are still blooming

and the monarch caterpillars are still chomping away at my milkweed bushes.

5.  One never takes light and easy traffic for granted on Southern California freeways.  We had to make an unexpected trip sixty miles each way into the South Bay of LA to deal with a medical appointment.  The traffic was much lighter than we expected and planned for, so we arrived home in record time.  Such a drive is always a fave for us.

Final thought:  Another quote and good advice for this holiday season.

(Being too*) Busy is being under Satan's yoke.
*my addition

Friday, November 10, 2017

More Hashtags

I had so much fun writing the post a few weeks ago with hashtags.  So I decided to do it again.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives for this (fortunately much cooler and pleasant) week.  #fridayfavefives  #thankssusanne

1.  An elderly friend was talking with me about aging gracefully and mentioned words of wisdom from someone else who stated that it is important to think about becoming better if you don't want to become bitter.  I like that.  #betternotbitter 

2.  The Professor and I took our bikes out for an excursion this week.  In the past year or two, a dedicated (and protected by steel rails) bike path was built along the edge of Hwy 101 on the ocean side.  We were just feet from the beach and ocean.   I think I could ride this section of the trail every day!  #bikinginventuracounty

Only metal fencing separating us from the beach on the left and Hwy 101 on the right.

Our view at lunch.  One of the Channel Islands in the distance.

3.  I dislike shopping so much that when I find a basic item like pants that fit, I buy an extra pair.  This summer I bought an inexpensive pair of black yoga pants and decided to see if I could find another.  Lucky me!  There were not, one, not two, but three, pairs in the store.  I bought them.  Now I wont't have to shop for pants for a long while.  #blackpants

4.  One afternoon we decided to hike up to the top of the hill at the end of our neighborhood.  There is an electrical company 'station' there, so the road is paved most of the way.  We spooked five deer who were grazing in the area.  (Can you see all five deer?  Evidently, brush and cactus make excellent camouflage. )  #walkingtheneighborhood

5.  I've been busy knitting hats for the local hospital's NICU.  I posted a photo on facebook and two people asked for the pattern, so they can knit, too.  #twentytinyhats


Thursday, November 02, 2017

November is Here!

Friday Fave Fives.  It's November  and the month of Thankfulness.  People focus their thoughts on being thankful here in the US during November because of Thanksgiving Day.  I think we should be thankful every day and that's why I join Friday Fave Fives each Friday.  It's a good way to PRACTICE THANKFULNESS.

1.  Here in Southern California, we love November because the weather finally cools down.  Last week the temperatures were over 100F, but this week, ah well, the weather was wonderful!  Obviously, I have to count cool and foggy mornings as an example of the blessings of this week.  I love the clouds over my mountains.

2.  Yes, autumn even comes to SoCal.  We get fall colors in small amounts.

3.  Although The Professor is retired from the university, we still occasionally attend various functions.  This week we enjoyed attending a class on world music history featuring Singer Chamber Players who played and gave short explanations of the periods and styles of music they played.  They played samples of Baroque, Classical and Romantic music (18th and 19th Century).  It was a wonderful performance!

Campus in the fall

4.  Saturday I volunteered at the handweavers and spinner guild Harvest Sale, working in the area where we sell odd bunches and bits of fiber and yarn which people donate from their stashes.  I bought one lovely green skein for myself and was able to take home several other balls of yarn which didn't sell.  The fave?  I'll have some new options to use for hats throughout the year.

5.  The Professor and I have entered that stage of life where we are needing to move our health care coverage to MediCare.  That's not the fave part.  The Fave is that The Professor has been researching and dealing with all the changes, so I don't have to.  Honestly, I don't see how people can navigate that whole system without throwing up their hands in despair and total frustration.  I'm so thankful that he has been able to work out the issues with grace (and without losing his mind!).

Bonus:  I just have to share this photo.  A cow in a fenced paddock surrounded by oak trees and bouggainvillea bushes!  It amuses me as one does not normally associate the lovely bouggainvillea with cow pastures.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Fiber Goodness This Week

What I've been knitting.  There are a couple of other projects but these are the ones I'm focusing on this week.

Finishing an afghan for my daughter-in-law

A pair of fingerless gloves.  I'm not really a fan of using black yarn and smallish needles, but this is what the owner of the gloves wants.

And finally, something for me.  A raglan top down pullover.  The yarn is really a bit darker.
Size 6 needles

And more yarn goodness was added to my stash.    On Saturday, I helped the handweavers and spinners guild at our annual Harvest Sale. I came away with a few skeins that I am already having fun choosing projects and patterns to use.

Isn't this beautiful fiber?  I'm thinking that a scarf or small shawl would look great as the yarn is sock weight and will drape beautifully.

Five balls of Knit Picks yarn in three different colors and fiber content.

And (in a fuzzy photo not quite in focus) a bumpy acrylic yarn in my favorite colors.
What should I make with it?