Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Wedding, Houses, and Knitting of Course!

Hello my dear friends and new readers.  I hope you have had a good week.  I thought I would share a snapshot of what's been happening in my world.

My husband and I attended a wedding on Saturday.  It was a lovely celebration with the reception  held at a hotel on the beach.  We decided to take Uber to the wedding since finding parking in a beach town on the weekends is very difficult.  We've taken Uber before overseas but never in our own neighborhood.  It was really quite pleasant and luckily, my son-in-law showed me how to use the app.  Our driver was a retired management executive who decided to drive for Uber to make a little extra money now that he has lots of time on his hands.  In fact, he now trains new Uber drivers.  The cost was approximately $34; it was higher since it was during a peak time.  Our good friends insisted to take us home after the reception which was very kind of them. (I'm having them over for dinner next week to thank them for their generousity).   In the meantime, our daughter was texting us wanting to know if we arrived safely, etc.  She even texted me to see if our friends would be safe driving us home! I think the parental roles are being reserved now in our later years. . .

Yesterday my daughter called me rather in a panic since she heard a home was on fire in her street.  It turned out to be a home a couple of streets down from her street but still it was a scary situation.  A man had barricaded himself in this home and  had set the home on fire.  In fact, she couldn't get home since the SWAT team had set up a mobile station right in the middle of her street.  After a couple of hours the man surrendered.   From what we know, it looks like it was a domestic violence case that set up this scenario.  I feel bad for all the people involved.  The neighborhood has started  a fund to assist the woman and her two small children who have been displaced.  I'm glad that the fire didn't cause harm to the family or more damage to the surrounding area.

Speaking of homes, last week I told you I would have some news to share with you. We found a new home, agreed on the purchase price and signed the real estate purchase contract.  But, after sharing the news with our children, they had some concerns that apparently we had overlooked.  Long story short, we were able to cancel the purchase agreement.   The home had lots of great perks like a wonderful ocean view, totally renovated with a kitchen to die for, brick wall, and reclaimed barn wood flooring to name a few.  I could just see my gold Egyptian furniture and crystal chandelier against the ultra modern design.  But, it lacked a couple of vital things  that ended up being too critical to ignore.  Again, roll reversal happening with our children.  We initially thought that if we didn't like it, we could rent it out and return to our home which we had planned to keep and rent out.  But, luckily our children were watching over us.  Right now, we have decided that we will stay where we are and even though my husband absolutely hates taking care of the pool, we are happy to stay in our home. 

Above is a little house that is picture perfect in every day.  When my daughter and I went to our Mother's Day tea, we visited a fun garden store.  She saw some of these little fairy gardens and decided she would make one herself.  Since she collects wine crates, she had the perfect beginning to create this mystical garden.  She has a whole collection of these little cottages that she has collected since her youth.  I love the little itty bitty mushrooms.  My little grandson helped her and it was a fun project for the both of them.

I'll leave with you this saying that my daughter found for me.  I think it sums up my life perfectly :)  Lately, my knitting has been giving my anxiety (in a fun way, of course), and hopefully I'll soon share with you my Wild Poppies Shawl.  It seems as though I'm in a shawl knitting mode right now.  I recently joined  The Shawl Society #1 on Ravelry.  It looks like a fun adventure!  I still haven't found the perfect shawl for myself but maybe I soon will.  In the meantime, I will knit these shawls and do my own shawl ministry for those in need. 

It's a holiday weekend coming up, so have a wonderful, safe holiday and I look forward to chatting with you again soon.  We plan on staying close to home although we are invited to a bar-b-que to kick off the summer season!  Thank you again dear friends for visiting my blog.  You are my true friends!

With my best wishes,

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 For the photos, I wish to thank my daughter, Heidi of  Illuminated Luna 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tea and Politics

Do you like the title of this post?  Don't worry as I'm not intending to ruffle your feathers going into politics or religion or other taboo subjects.  But, I thought you might enjoy a bit of something different than my current knitting project (which by the way, is going well).

My dear daughter Heidi took me to tea recently in honor of Mother's Day.  We had a fabulous time at a little tea house near our homes.  Here's Heidi above trying on a lovely hat.  She's going to a wedding next summer in England and wants to wear a hat!  We had a wonderful afternoon of Mother/Daughter bonding.

The tea itself was delightful.  I chose the Queen Catherine blend of tea by Harney and Sons.  It was loose tea, my favorite vs teabags. And, the little tea sandwiches were amazing.  After our tea, we had a nice time perusing the surrounding shops and garden shops.  It was a most fun afternoon.

There's lots of beautiful jackaranda trees in the area where I live.  I read somewhere that the falling of these beautiful flowers is called purple snow.  My ballot for the California primary arrived in the mail this past week.  I thoroughly enjoyed filling it out and putting it in the mail.  I don't vote along a particular party line.  Is it just me, or did you feel that both Cruz and Rubio missed a vital chance to embrace the Hispanic vote?  Aren't they both fluent in Spanish?  I enjoyed the snippets Rubio shared of his Grandfather's life in Cuba.  It's too late now for both of them but their campaign strategies still puzzle me a bit.

Speaking of Spanish speaking, here's the article I read this morning.  Have you ever heard of anything so crazy; English only policy?  My family and I travel alot overseas and unfortunately, I only speak English.  I'm always amazed at the superb customer service I receive when someone speaks to me in English or offers me an English menu vs the regular menu.  What is wrong with people today?  To me this is just being polite to your fellow man.  When I go to Turkey they don't tell me to speak only Turkish!  America needs to wake up a little bit.  

And, the above can bring up the illegal immigrants etal problems.  I lived for 22 years in an agricultural community.  The irreplaceable Mexican migrant workers were a VITAL part of the community.  Without them, we wouldn't have all the produce/fruit on our tables.*  Fast forward to southern California....I live in south Orange county which does not have agriculture but we have vast areas of manicured landscaping, building industry and other businesses.  Most of these businesses are owned/managed by Mexican immigrants. And, they do a fabulous job.  Many of them have taught themselves English and have risen through the ranks to own their own businesses.  And, I am suppose to tell them to speak English only?  No way...  Which brings up another item; homeless camps.  Being from the Seattle area, Seattle has a huge homeless population.  Do you think these people in the homeless camps are Hispanic, Spanish speaking?  NO; they speak and look like me.  I really feel it's wrong when we attack a community of people different from us.  And by the way, in my own family are two naturalized US citizens whose primary language was not English. 

I guess to sum up my feeling, I don't like it when we judge or profile people who we may perceive are different from us.  It's happened to me in Egypt and here at church and it's not a good feeling.  Sorry for the rant on my part but sometimes I think I watch or read too much news :)

Have a wonderful weekend.  I'll be busy working on the lace border of my knitted shawl and I'll also hopefully have some exciting news to share with you soon....suspense; haha 

My best to you,


*It warms my heart when I read about Hispanic immigrant families who have attained their dreams here in America.  It warms my heart when I read about them graduating and attaining their goals here in their adopted country.  Because of their families sacrifice to move to a new country, their children are now doctors, lawyers, engineers, and scientists to name a few.  To me, that's what America is all about.   

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sadie's Knitted Dress With Pattern Link

Today my post is back to my normal mode of craftiness; that is if I do have a "normal mode" haha.  I have so enjoyed taking part in the Little Woollie Yarny Love Club. This past month I received in my yarn box five skeins of a lovely 100% organic cotton yarn.  I wanted to use the majority of the yarn in one project so I came up with the idea of making my little granddaughter a dress.

Here's Sadie's Swan Valley Dress made from 3 skeins of the cotton yarn.  The pattern and my project notes can be found here on my Ravelry page.  The pattern is written to knit flat from the hem up; knitting the front and then knitting the back and seaming the sides together.  I'm not fond of this idea so I knit the front bodice, followed by the left back and right back bodice.  I seamed these pieces together at the underarm and shoulder.

  Then I picked up stitches all around the waist and did a ribbed waistband, knitting in the round. I increased the stitches and continued to knit the skirt. I did a row of single crochet on the inside of the waistband so that the waist would keep it shape.  I did 5 single crochets for every 6 knitted stitches.

I added a little bit of embellishment for the neckline.

The original pattern called for a unique cast on starting from the hem up.  From the picture on Ravelry, it appears to curl up.  Since I didn't start from the hem up, I was able to do this picot hem edge which adds an extra bit of design to the dress.

Besides the wonderful yarn that was in my yarn club box, I also received some beautiful glass beads.  I incorporated these beads in the dress design by using them as buttons.

It was an enjoyable little project to knit and I enjoyed the details and design as I went along.  I'm not sure how the cotton yarn will stand up so I think it should be hand washed.  As for the Yarny Love Club, the Winter/Summer sign up is currently taking place.  Julie is the one who has Little Woollie and she is in Australia.  I loved being part of this yarn club and although I'm not signing up for the next segment, I do hope to participate again in the fall.  It has been delightful to see what goodies I receive each month.

If you have time, I'd love to hear about what you are currently working on.  Feel free to share a link in your comment.  I'm excited for the weekend as our very good friends are going to be in town for their son's graduation from UCLA law school.   I've known this couple for almost 41 years and my husband's connections goes back  to when he taught the gentleman at Cairo University in Egypt!  It was through this couple's family here in America where I met my husband.  It will be a fun time to reminisce and also celebrate this joyous occasion for their son's achievement.
 With my best wishes,

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Friends, Houses, and Mother's Day Tea

Hello my friends.  Can you believe that it's already May; time goes by so fast!  I had a great week here at Lilly my Cat.  I thought I'd share what has been going on...

We had some lovely new friends drop by this last weekend.  Actually, they have rented our new rental property and they were delightful to visit with.  They are a young couple with two perfectly behaved children.  It was nice that they wanted to sit and chat with us older people.  We hope to have them over this summer for a bar-b-que.  Question; are you like me and get nervous inviting children to your home and you don't know how the children will behave?  I remember years ago when I invited some guests over for a spaghetti dinner.  The three year old had that spaghetti all over the chair, table and everywhere else!  It was not pleasant. Since that time, I am a bit hesitant needless to say. . .

We just finished up with our real estate agent selling and purchasing our replacement rental properties.  And, now my husband wants to find a new home for us!  He wants an ocean view.  We've found a property that matches his wants but it's in need of a lot of repairs.  Right now we're not sure we want to go down this route.  It will depend on whether the seller accepts our offer.  Although the kitchen is dated, it has the original Thermodor oven and microwave and it looks brand new - from 1979!  But, it not the outdated items that are making us hesitant - it things like the roof, water damage, old windows and lots of other things.  We will wait and see what happens . . .

Sunday will be Mother's Day and my dear daughter is taking me to tea.  She loves to treat me to this special time together.  This year we are going to a new tea house that we haven't been to before.  My daughter spent two years living in England and loves all things British.  Above is the special breakfast she made for her family last weekend.  The mug on the right is the new Emma Bridgewater mug that I gave her commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday.

This past Sunday was Orthodox Pascha (Easter) and I didn't attend church services.  I did prepare a nice dinner on Sunday and my family came over to enjoy it.  The previous Sunday was Palm Sunday.  My husband and I attended services at the Coptic Church.  In fact, it was a four hour service and we left before it was over!  I have enjoyed going to the regular Sunday liturgy as it is in English/Arabic/Coptic.  But on Palm Sunday, the only thing in English was the sermon and one gospel reading.  Don't get me wrong, I am so happy that the congregants can gather together and worship.  But in the real context, the church is not the place for a non-Arabic speaker.  I couldn't understand a thing.  In theory, it works for me by reading, studying, and understanding the faith.  But in reality when I go to the church, it doesn't work.  But, after these past couple of years of struggling with my faith, I feel OK.  Things will be fine and I'm not going to spend more time thinking about what I should do.  Right now, I'm not going to do anything and see what happens. 

I love to be content like Lilly.  Contentment is a virtue.  If you read my blog, you know I don't like change.  Maybe I'm old fashioned but I don't need to have things reinvented all the time.  In 40+ years of marriage I've lived in four homes.  And, I could have lived in each of them forever.  But, now I've realized (through the wisdom of you  my dear readers), that life does change regardless and I need to go with the flow.  I love my life and I'm not going to complain or waste good time thinking of what was and instead focus on what I have and be happy each day.

Thank you again for your kind comments and for taking the time to visit Lilly My Cat.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

With my best wishes,

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Remembering Life in a Small Town

Thank you dear readers for all your kind comments you left me from my last  blog post.  It does feel good to have the ability to write something down and then get feedback so that I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

I wanted to share some pics from my flower garden but I thought it would be boring; I needed to spice it up a bit.  It got me thinking of living in a large city environment and how different that is from living in a small town...

My little grandchildren were born here in south Orange County and are growing up here.  The schools are excellent here and there's so much for them to do with the beach at their backdoor, but it's much different from how I and their dear Mother grew up.  I was raised in Ellensburg, WA, a college/farming town in central Washington.  The population from the 2010 census showed 18,174 inhabitants but it was smaller during the 60's and 70's.  It was an old town with some wonderful old, historical buildings along with a proper main street.  The college campus was and is a beautiful campus with a mix of old and new buildings. (Oops, it's actually a "university" but in my mind it will always be a college)...Have you ever watched "It's a Wonderful Life" at Christmas time?  Ellensburg is very much like the town of Bedford Falls projected in that film. 

There was a good chance that you knew your neighbors and they knew you.  My Grandfather could walk into the bank and he was greeted.  My grandparents had immigrated to America in the early teens of the 20th century.  Coming from Denmark, they found lots of Danish immigrants in the Kittitas Valley as it was rich in farm land.  My grandfather ended up owning three farms; one for himself, one for my father and one for my uncle.

Reading a blog this week, the writer mentioned "going into town".  This was a common saying as the farms were located out on the old Vantage Highway and it was a couple of miles into town (compared to California driving, it would be a breeze).  Later when I was in high school, we moved to the other side of the valley to Thorp, WA.  It was about 8 miles "into town". There were a total of 12 students in my graduating class!

But, during the winter months, those few miles could be treacherous with ice, snow and blowing winds.  Ellensburg is known for being windy as it sits in a valley surrounded by mountains.  And, you don't have to go far to see the beautiful fields of corn, timothy hay (which they are known for), and other crops.  It's also a big area for dairy farms.  Seeing cows, horses and other livestock was a common sight.  My little grandson has to go to the "petting zoo" to see such things.

As for shopping and other facilities, we had all the necessary stores that were needed. There was a hospital, too.  But, other than JC Penneys (which later closed), there was a high end dress store and one other department store.  It was common to order from the Sears catalog and pick up your order at the Sears catalog store.  This practice continued into the 1980's.  Or, if we had the time, my dear Mom and I would drive over the hill to Yakima where there were proper shopping centers.  I have great memories of these trips with my Mom.

When I got married in 1975, I moved to Moses Lake WA which is 70 east of my hometown.  But, my oh my, those 70 miles made a huge difference.  Moses Lake was not an "old town" by any means.  It was incorporated in the late 1940's and didn't have anything of an historical nature.  But, as far the the workings of a town, it was the same as Ellensburg.  Today it has a population of over 20,000; it's grown immensely from the 22 years that I lived there.  My children were born and raised in Moses Lake until we moved in 1997 to the west side of the state near a "big city". 

My children tell me they are happy that they were able to experience life in a small town with a slower pace.  Although now, they do like the big city and all that it has to offer.  As I've gotten a bit older (notice I said "a bit older" haha), I appreciate the medical services that are just around the corner if I or my husband need them.  These specialized medical services are not available in a small town.  You have to travel to the bigger city and sometimes that can be quite agonizing (especially in the winter months).

I'm so grateful for all that life has given me.  And, I love being here in California next to my family.  At the same time, it's nice to reflect back on childhood memories and remember where I came from.  I always tell my children to never forgot who they are and where they came from.  It's never pleasant to meet someone who has become successful but forgotten their roots.  I'll always be a small town girl and proud of it, too!

Oh, I almost forgot, the photos from my flower garden as shown above are (1) delphinium, which I found on clearance for $3.00, (2)  foxglove, which I also found on clearance for $3.00, (3) digiplexis, which is a hybrid; a cross between  foxglove and isoplexis, (4) purple aeonium arboreum and, (5) a sweet purple violet.  My soil is so poor but at least they are growing.

Thanks for visiting and I'd leave to hear from you if you have the time.

Wish my best wishes,

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Waves of Life

Hello friends.  It was a glorious day today so we (my husband and I), headed off to have lunch at the beach.  It got me to thinking about life and what I call the waves of life.
I have a wonderful family and life.  I know I'm blessed but sometimes I see those turbulent waves pop up now and then.   It seems what sets me off these days is that many people (not my family) have forgotten what it means to be caring or nice.  It brings to mind the saying: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It doesn't cost money or take much to be polite and caring.

  I don't like change; if something works why change it.  It will almost be six years since I moved to California.  Sometimes I think if I was younger and had children then the move would have been easier.  I've struggled to find a church and I'm almost to the point of becoming indifferent.  But, on the bright side, I'm here next to my grandchildren; I see them numerous times each week and it's beyond joy to see them growing up.  This is what makes life special. 

I've always enjoyed meeting and visiting with older people.  You can learn so much from them.  But it seems like today's society only wants what is new and modern; friends included.  I may be 62 and look 62 but in my mind (yes, my mind), I don't feel a certain age.  But people can judge by looking. Two friendships that I cherished most were knowing two elderly friends; my dear friend Zaizaf and dear Mrs. G.  Both of these women were immigrants to this country and they were filled with knowledge.  They are gone now but I feel blessed to have known them.   It's like looking at a cover of a book.  It may not look "new" but oh, what a wonderful story is waiting for you. 

Not everyone can project laughter, joy, spontaneous behavior but although they may seem quiet, they can be filled with so much joy and giving to share with others.  My son who was home for an extended visit left yesterday to return to his work in Europe.  I woke up this morning and my goodness the house was so empty.  My husband agreed with me.  It's still sometimes difficult to be an empty nester.

I love my life to be calm and quiet.  Today my best friend for over 40 years called me.  She has been dealing with some health issues in her family and I felt so bad I wasn't there to be with her.  But, during our phone call today she brought joy to my heart.  You know why?  Because she too had been experiencing some of the same things as me and we understood each other's feelings.  Her son had been home visiting with her and left this week.  She felt sad.   We spoke about how it's always hard to see them leave but of course they will return.  Then we spoke about church.  She has been going to her church for over 40 years.  And now, just like me, she's struggling because of the changes that have occurred at her place of worship.  I know this story well.

It may seem like I'm rambling on but accepting change is not an easy thing for me to do.  On the other hand, I have no right or reason to complain.  Life has been good to me and is good to me.  My husband is always here to listen to me and my dear daughter does a wonderful job to keep both my husband and I entertained.  So, I will carry on and continue to enjoy each and every day and all that life has in store for me.  And maybe, gradually, I will be able to accept change more easily.

When I started this blog a few years ago, I never realized what joy and happiness it would bring to me.  I learn so much for you my dear readers.  And, if you really think about it, I shouldn't say I'm an empty nester because my husband and I do have Lilly, my big, Maine Coon kitty that keeps us company :)

I hope to return next week with maybe a knitting project.  There's a couple of WIPs on my needles and so far, it's coming along splendidly.  Until then...

My best wishes to you,

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Five Shawls for Five on Friday

Greetings my friends.  It's been a quiet week here at Lilly My Cat.  I was so looking forward to rain this past week but nothing appeared.  Obviously, the weather person had the forecast incorrect for my area.  I love rain and I miss it so much.  Clouds are my friends as I try to keep out of the sun...

I had mentioned that I would try and share with you some crafty news this week.  I just finished another shawl so here goes...

This is the Cicely shawl that was featured in Taproot magazine.  It's knitted out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.  I enjoyed knitting this pattern although the yarn is not my favorite.  I knitted the lace border first and then picked up stitches for the body of the shawl.

I finished this shawl awhile ago.  I love this yarn - Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  It's super soft and a joy to knit.  I'm sending this shawl off to my dear friend as a "prayer shawl".  I've never done that before and found a lovely prayer shawl poem to send with it.

Next up is the Wild Poppies Shawl.  I didn't want to step on anyone's toes with using their photo so here's the link to the shawl pattern.  I've ordered some glorious gradient yarn from Austria to make this pattern.  And, of course I'm going to add some beads for embellishment!  I'm so looking forward to starting this project.

Here's the shawl I just finished this week.  It's really not my type of style as it is asymetrical and colored blocked.  It's knitted from organic 100 cotton yarn.  It was the yarn I received from the Little Woollie Yarn Club.  Wow, this yarn was made in South Africa, was sent to Australia and traveled back to me in California!

Last is a shawl/scarf that I just started knitting (I was bored and didn't want to start on a long project).  The pattern is an update from an old Weldon's Needlwork pattern.  It is featured in the March/April 2016 issue of Piecework.  I'm using the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I used in the Cicely shawl above.

Oops, this is not a "Shawl" but it's a beautiful photo I captured this week from the balcony of my home.  We've had some amazing clouds but as mentioned above,  no rain :(

Thank you everyone for visiting Lilly My Cat.  Information for all of the above shawls can be found on my Ravelry page.

If you have the time, I'd love to hear what you have been up to lately.  I will try and visit everyone's blog, too!

Wishing you the best,