Friday, August 18, 2017

Santa Fe!

I hadn't planned on posting Fave Fives this week because we are visiting our son.  But I decided that I would quickly pop in and post---

Five things I love about Santa Fe, New Mexico

1.  It's where my son lives now.  Closer to us than where he has been for the past two years.

2.  He has a steady income and a rewarding position for the next three years at the Santa Fe Institute.  I have his permission to post this photo of the plaque on his office door.

3.  Santa Fe is an incredibly beautiful spot on earth.  Arid high desert but with pine trees.  High desert here means over 7,000 feet elevation.

4.  Santa Fe has the most interesting architecture.  All Southwest.

5.  Santa Fe boasts many trails and hiking areas.  Each day we've been here we have chosen a place to hike and explore.  We spent about two hours wandering around the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve and could have walked all day and never run out of trails because it connects to the Audubon Society's trail system.

I love exploring new places!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?

This is how you get to Santa Fe.  Leave early so you can miss most of the horrendous Los Angeles daily commute traffic.  Once you pass the LA County line, it's usually smooth sailing.

Your views as you drive EAST are of Southern California high desert.  It's very dry.  But the rock formations from volcanoes and other land masses make for majestic views.

When you pass the Colorado River,

and enter Arizona,

the terrain changes.  You climb in altitude to several thousand feet elevation.

This is basin and range country.  And it's GREEN!

I love the large views of Northern Arizona.  And I love that it's on the way to Santa Fe!

Friday, August 11, 2017

August Take Two

Late to the Party... but better late than not at all, right?  Here are Friday's Fave Fives from Willow's Week.

1.  The Professor had a root canal this week.  All went well.  The best part of this fave?  It wasn't me!

2.  That skein of grey yarn I swapped a tomato for last week?  It now looks like this:

A gift for my nephew's new son.

3.  One evening this week, The Professor was busy with church business.  So I texted my neighbor/friend and we walked.  I treasure this friend and her wisdom and her willingness to pop out most any time for a walk around the neighborhood.

4.  Once a month we  join a local group for a potluck which is focused on a whole food/plant based menu.  I love spending this evening with other people like me who have committed to choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle.  And this week, the dish we took (Indonesian peanut sauce and vegetables) was a huge hit--no leftovers at all.

5.  One reason I am late with posting my Fave Fives is that we spent the day at the fair--this time we just listened to the music acts.  One in particular was a fave.  Brady Goss.  He can sing and play both the guitar and piano in several crossover genre.  Amazing performer!

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

August Days

Is it really August already?  And has it been a full week since I wrote a blog post?  I guess it has been a busy week.

Here are a few highlights, my Friday Fave Fives, from this week.

1.  It has been hot here, at least hot for us in coastal California.  I realize we missed the really steaming days in the Pacific Northwest and Inland Empire of Southern California this week.  However, it has been hot enough.  And the fave here is I'm thankful for air conditioning.

2.  World's Best Neighbors and I did a win-win swap.  I took a large ripe tomato from our garden up to them and in the process of conversation, I commented that I liked the grey yarn that was sitting on the desk.  The result was I now have that grey yarn on my needles and am working on a sweater for a new great nephew.  They got garden yumminess and I got fiber yumminess.

3.  Spinning at the fair.  Every year, our handweavers and spinners guild has a booth at the county fair.  And every year, I volunteer some time to sit in the exhibit and demonstrate spinning.  It's a fun time for me--being teacher, showing how all fibers are created, demonstrating how a modern spinning wheel works. The Professor enjoys it, too.  He carries my equipment (which is no small feat) and gets a day to wander around and check out the musical acts.  Then we choose a day to return and actually enjoy the fair together.

4.  We have been in the middle of celebration time in our family.  Beginning with The Professor's birthday in June (which was also my mother's birthday) and adding my brother's birthday and then our wedding anniversary, you would think we have celebrated enough.  But, no.  We are continuing with more birthdays!  Daughter #2 had a birthday at the beginning of this week.  I posted this photo on facebook--probably my favorite from when she was a toddler/preschooler.

Carrying her doll Indonesian style

This is more recent

5.  And one more birthday!  Son #1, Chaplain Dan, my first born.  Last year on Mother's Day.  I love that I was able to talk with both of them of their birthdays.

That wraps up Willow's Week.  How about you?  What blessings have you noticed in your daily routines this week?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Road Trip!

Friday Fave Fives for a catch up of Willow's Wanderings.

We were road tripping for two weeks, so I didn't add any posts here at Willow's Cottage.  Now it's time to catch up!  We did so much!  Celebrating with my brother and sister-in-law.  We share our wedding anniversary, so if we are together on that day, we celebrate!  We hiked.  We reconnected with other family and friends.

1.  Yes, we were in Portland, Oregon, my hometown.

The Willamette River flows through all of my memories.  Crossing the river every day to attend high school.  Riding over the new bridge in my brother's black convertible with the top down when I was sixteen.  This time, we walked the new walking bridge, Tilikum Crossing, over the Willamette and then crossed again on one of the other bridges.  Downtown Portland is ideally designed with walking paths on both sides of the river and the bridges connecting east and west sides.

2.  We also hiked in Forest Park, the eight square mile park in the Tualatin Mountains west of downtown.  I love hiking among the fir trees of my childhood.

3.  On our way back home, we drove through coastal southern Oregon which is where my father was born and lived his childhood.  I still have family there and we enjoyed a short visit with a cousin.  The drive along the Umpqua River and the Pacific Ocean brought back so many memories.

4.  The Professor and I both have roots in Northern Coastal California.  He attended high school in Humboldt County, so of course we stopped there overnight.  And of course we had to hike around the Redwoods Park in Arcata.

5.  On our trip we visited three national parks.  I mentioned Mt. Lassen earlier, but we added Redwood National Park/Forest and Pinnacles National Park to our list of 'parks visited'.  We drove up a narrow windy road to one of the Pacific Ocean view points in the Redwood National Forest thinking we would have a stunning view.  Although it was not what we expected, it was still spectacular.  White cloud bank covering the entire ocean and sweeping up to the tops of the coastal cliffs.

Pinnacles:  very hot and dry in the summer!

But there's no place like home!  A familiar view of the Pacific Ocean along Highway 101 in our county.

Friday, July 21, 2017


I've been largely completely absent from the blog this week.  Still traveling.

Where is Willow?

Here's a hint.  

As Pooh would say, "Bak son."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

California, Here We Are

This post is going to be heavy on the pictures. 
 You've been warned.
It's time for Friday Fave Fives.  This week my faves are going to be a little bit different.

The Professor and I have been traveling this week.  We are wending our way north to Oregon on his first post retirement trip.  Every time we have driven north from Southern California, we have had the goal of getting from one place to the next as quickly as possible.  This time, we chose to take the time to turn off Interstate 5 and explore all those places we didn't feel we had time to visit before.  Here are five of our favorite spots which we visited, and we aren't even out of California yet.

1.  Instead of blasting up the freeway through the Central Valley in blistering 100+ degree heat, we drove up Highway 101.  Its other name is El Camino Real.  The 101 goes past our home (about a mile away) as it moves north along the California coast.  So we left our house, turned north on 101 and just drove.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first day (until we reached the San Francisco Bay area.  Traffic. Yuck.).

Santa Barbara Coastal Mountains with fog hovering above the crest line

You know you're on the El Camino Real when you pass these bells

Many people don't think of California as being rural, but much of the state is.

Our lunch view.  Pismo Beach.

2.  The Professor had never been to Lassen National Park, so it was on our bucket list for this trip. Mt. Lassen is a volcanic mountain in the Cascades Range.  It last erupted in 1915.

You can see the basalt from previous eruptions littered all over the countryside.

Parts of the national park were still closed because of the heavy snowfall we experienced last winter.  So we drove out the southern entrance, around, and back in the northern entrance so we could visit the museum.

Streams!  There were streams filled with WATER!

3.  Then we included Burney Falls (state park) on our itinerary.  I had never heard of Burney Falls, but now that I know, I would recommend it to any and everyone.  There is a 1.5 mile trail on either side of the creek flowing from the falls which also includes crossing above the falls on a bridge.

Water! More water in Burney Creek!

4.  Returning to Interstate 5, we passed Mt. Shasta, approaching from the east for the first time.  I probably have taken at least fifty photos of Mt. Shasta but always from the west.  So this time the view was different and if possible even more stunning.

5.  And since we had time, once we reached Mt. Shasta City, we decided to back track a bit and visit Castle Crags State Park.  Again, we have passed this place so. many. times. and never stopped.  So we drove up to the vista point parking lot and hiked up to the viewing area with our lunch in tow.

The road to the vista point is a very windy one lane road.  In face, trailers aren't allowed.  We met a few cars and had to navigate VERY carefully at the edge of the pavement.  Not for the faint of heart.  But still worth it.

California is a beautiful place and there is so much to see!  I'm thankful for the time and opportunity to see more of this state where I live.