Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring has Sprung a Leak!


It seems like I haven't written in awhile and I missed hearing from my dear blog friends.  Life was feeling so good here as my  income taxes had just been compiled and given to the accountant.  When, ten days ago, my husband and I were sitting and chatting in the evening when we received a phone call. . . one of our rental homes had a dreaded slab leak.

Sadly, here in southern California with the new home subdivisions, slab leaks are a common thing.  We had just gotten a quote the week before from the plumber to repipe the house in order to avoid damages from an unexpected leak.  Unfortunately, we were too late.  It's now been ten days and the home is gradually being put back together.  Lucky for us and the tenant, it affected only the main floor area albeit the kitchen.  And, my muscles are still recovering from pulling up the soaked wooden floor from last Sunday (the flooring people couldn't do the job on time so I ventured forth and got it done!)  It really felt good to come home after a long day working.  I haven't worked in my rentals for a few years now.

But, I'm not going to let this get me down as we are so fortunate that we can remedy the problem.  And, our property manager has helped my husband to find the right contractors.  The repipe for rental home number two starts tomorrow morning.  Hopefully, this one will be smoother sailing as we don't have any leaks to our knowledge.  The beginning is each day can still start off beautiful . . .

 I just completed knitting my Ft. Myers Shawl, aka Nurmilintu Shawl.  You can find the info here on my Ravelry page.  After blocking it, I really like the way the lace section turned out.

On my needles at the moment, is a simple bias scarf using Lang Jawoll Magic Degrade' yarn.  I like the way the yarn is self striping.  It's going to be a long, bias scarf with beaded edges (you can probably see the provisional cast on I used).  Really simple, no brainer knitting on this one . . .

Speaking of that, Lilly and I are enjoying our quiet afternoon here at the house.  I'm going to do a bit of ironing and maybe watch an old British black and white movie on You Tube.  Rest of the family decided to venture south to the casino for the afternoon/evening.  I hate losing my $30 or so on the slot machines as I always come home and think that I could have bought the most beautiful yarn instead of losing my money!


I feel myself gazing out of this cave onto the beautiful sea . . . my traveling spirit is calling to me again (the painting above was done by my daughter, Heidi).  I will keep you updated on my travel adventures via another post.

That's the end of my update as to what has been happening around here at Lilly My Cat.  I hope that each of you are doing well and enjoying the start of Spring.

With my best wishes,

Pat

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Family Weekend Getaway to Rancho Mirage

I've missed chatting with my blog friends! I hope each of you are doing well.  My family and I have just returned from a long weekend in Rancho Mirage, California (Palm Springs Area) where we celebrated my dear son-in-law's 40th birthday!

We stayed at a condo in Rancho Las Palmas which has a beautiful setting.

You may know that California has been in the midst of a terrible drought.  That was until this winter when we received lots of rain and snow.  Look at the snow on these mountain tops!  I've never seen anything like this before on my trips to Palm Springs area.

The whole family was together but of course, the two little people stole the show!  Pictured here are my little grandson Oliver and my little grand daughter Sadie.  They loved playing in the pool (Mom and Dad are not shown in the picture but no worries as they were right there, too!)

I found a little bit of time for my knitting.  The orange blossoms were in bloom and their fragrance was heavenly.

On Saturday afternoon we ventured down the road a bit to Palm Desert.  It is such a beautiful, inviting shopping area and free parking too.  (I think after you spend all your money at the fancy shops, you have no money left to pay for parking. . .haha)  I spend my money that day on a handbag.

I'm always amazed at the desert landscape.  Isn't this beautiful with all the cacti?

Here's the birthday boy on the right; my dear son-in-law along with my husband on the left.  From their smiles, you can see they were enjoying the happy hour at Tommy Bahamas.

Us girls, had a good time too.  Pictured from left are my daughter Heidi, our dear Irina and myself.

And, here's my son Andrew along with Irina.

Rancho Mirage is about 115 miles (two hours) drive from our home.  As the crow flies, it is due east from where we live.  But, the problem is there are mountains so the main highways go around those mountains.  Going there, we took the CA-91 which is a major east west highway from Los Angeles and Orange County area.  But, it is a horrendous road with tons of lanes, cars, and trucks!  It is my least favorite road of all time.  It's the main road to link you to the 15 if you want to go to Las Vegas or south to Palm Springs, you need to go on the 91 (:

So, when it was time to leave to go home, I googled some different routes and we ended up taking California State Route 74.  It was amazing to say the least.  An old, two lane road that winds up and over the mountains of the desert below.  The scenes were so lovely since the desert had a carpet of green and so many wildflowers were in bloom.

We had to turn left to continue onto State Route 371 and we just missed the turn.  It wasn't a problem since there were no cars and we turned around in front of this amazing horse ranch.  It was such a wonderful feeling to be in touch in natural nature (is there such a word as natural nature?) We stopped in Anza, CA (population of just over 3,000 people) and ate lunch at DQ (Dairy Queen).  My children have such fond memories of DQ from their childhood.  It brought back happy thoughts of long ago.

 
You're probably laughing at me but if you've read my blog these past few years,  you will recall that I'm from eastern Washington where I lived for 43 years in small towns.  Small towns in that you had to drive for 1 to 2 hours to arrive at a proper shopping venue.  And, we had nature at our doorstep.  After living in south Orange County where everything is kept in a perfect, manicured state, I long for seeing something in its natural state.  

So, we could have driven home via the CA 91 and arrived in approximately two hours but instead, we ventured over the mountain and arrived home after four hours.  And, I got to discover a part of California that is still basically untouched and yet holds such natural beauty.

It's always good to return home and Lilly was happy to see us as were our plants.  Our warm temps have started to make their return.  Yesterday on our trip home, we passed near Oceanside, CA and there was tons of fog/marine layer in the afternoon.  I love fog.  

Thank you for visiting today and feel free to leave a comment if you wish.  I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into a beautiful area of California.

With my best wishes,

Pat

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lilly, Blogland & Lent

Lilly sends you her meows and thanks you so much for the lovely comments you left wishing her a happy birthday.  At 12 years old, she doesn't seem to be slowing down at all!

I've been away from blogland and it's because I didn't know what to do.  I'll explain.  There has been so many negative things written in blogland regarding American politics.  We are very lucky that we can think, write and share our opinions openly in this country.  But, I was finding so much was mean and degrading.  These items were written by people on both sides of the political fence.  As a result of this overload (added to by watching various news channels), I felt depressed.  I started out writing comments on blogs and then I stopped; I was not going to go there.  Luckily for me, I am not on Facebook.  It's not my kind of venue.

If I chose to write something in regard to our current political situation, I could easily share some very pertinent facts that has affected my own family in regard to immigration, discrimination, etc.  But, like I said above, I'm not going to venture there. I started Lilly My Cat to be a happy place where people can visit, maybe learn something, share something or leave with a good feeling.  One of the reasons I started my blog was because I had felt ostracized, outside the circle and totally ignored by a group of people I met when I moved to California.  I was hurt; like being a student in middle school when the in group doesn't want you around.  And, I was approaching 60 years of age. This memory has now been buried and my life is great.  I have nothing to complain about!

 I've met so many wonderful friends through my blog.  I truly believe people can be friends although they may have differing opinions.  Speaking of meeting people, this week is the second week of Lent for me as a Coptic Orthodox.  My dear Eastern Orthodox friends just began Lent this past Monday.  The parish I attend does not have a permanent church to worship.  We are currently renting a Greek church where we worship on Saturday morning.  This past Saturday, the Greek congregation was using their sanctuary and we held services upstairs.  After our services, we shared coffee with the other congregants.  It was a most blessed time of meeting new people (some who are converts to the Orthodox faith like me).  But, the thing that impressed me most was when the Greek priest said he would love to have us have services together during Holy Week and that our priest would be more than welcome to serve with him.  But, he added that it would be up to the bishops.  Do you know why this is?  Because, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church (Oriental Orthodox) are not in communion with each other.   It goes back to the Council of Chalcedon (Fourth Ecumenical Council)  held  in AD 451.  The discussion centered around the Copt's understanding of the nature of Christ.  From what I read today, a lot of this schism was fueled by politics at the time and by misunderstanding.  Maybe one day our churches can unite for communion.  Yet, what a blessed feeling it was to leave church on Saturday having the blessing of this very humble, kind and caring Greek priest. 
 
 
 It been a few years since I felt I wanted to fully participate in Great Lent.  And, I was so looking forward to Lent this year.  Everything has once again fallen in place and I feel I can worship at a place where I belong.  Reading, self reflection and prayer has of course helped me.  Yet, this is not something I accomplished on my own.  I have been so inspired by Elizabeth's blog.  She is a very talented writer and I learn so much from reading her blog.  It brings back the wonderful memories I had as member of the Orthodox Church of America back in Washington.  And, for me one of the most delightful things is to prepare Lenten food.  Pictured above is a vegan shepherd's pie made with a lentil filling.



 So in a nutshell, that's what been happening around here.  Life is good and my cup is more than1/2 full.  I'm sorry if I've bored you with all my stories.  I'm in the midst of setting up another blog but it needs some of the kinks removed :)  Thank you again dear friends for visiting today.

With my best wishes,

Pat






Friday, February 17, 2017

It's My Birthday!

Hi Everyone!  It's me, Lilly, and it's my birthday today!  I am 12 years old.  I hope you enjoy these photos of me.















I'm a rescue kitty.  And it's been a glorious 10 years with my Mom and Dad. I have a wonderful life with no complaints.   If you would like to read my story, you can find it here.  

Have a great day everyone!

Meows,

Lilly

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Tea Purist . . . Maybe

Greetings friends.  I hope you are doing well this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  This morning I had a lazy start to the day until I decided to do some never ending vacuuming 😂 because I got restless sitting in my chair and watching old British mystery movies.  It was then time for a cup of tea and I decided I would share with you some of my favorite teas.

I grew up in a household where my parents and grandparents were coffee drinkers.  We had tea in the home but it usually made it's appearance when someone was ill.  Many years later, I have acquired a taste for tea; but not just any tea.  My absolute favorite is from Fortnum and Mason and it's called Fortmason.  It is black tea perfumed with orange blossom.  Above is my new can of Fortmason which I haven't yet opened.

My husband's favorite tea is Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea.  He and I both prefer loose tea vs teabags.  This tea gives a wonderful aftertaste (if that's what is called).  I originally brought this tea back from a trip to England.  Now, I order it via Amazon.    Please, do not give me Lipton teabags.  Sorry, but to me they have no taste whatsoever.  

I've always been a fan of Darjeeling tea.  Here's some from Fortnum and Mason but I'll tell you a secret. . .  My dear son was home for the holidays and drank most of this can. Although I had another can hid away, I bought some inexpensive loose Turkish tea and put it in this tea canister.  He didn't know the difference!

If you would have told me that one day I would be drinking herbal tea, I probably would have laughed as I wasn't  a fan of herbal tea.  That was until I went to Turkey and drank pure unadulterated herbal tea.  The taste was heavenly.  Now, I buy my herbal tea from the Persian markets.  Above is Teekanne brand  (which means teapot in German).  They offer a lovely variety of different herbal teas.

The box on the left has sage tea from Turkey and the one on the right is thyme tea that I bought at an international market.  Again, both of these teas are not mixed with anything else.  And, they taste lovely.  From watching the tv show, At Home With Venetia in Kyoto, I discovered making my own herbal teas from herbs in the garden.

I bought this tea chest years ago at World Market.  It comes in very  handy to hold my favorite herbal teas along with some miscellaneous teas. 

My son is a coffee drinker.  When he comes home he finds his Dad's instant coffee or drip coffee not appealing.  So, out comes his Italian coffee machine.  I have no idea how to make a cup of coffee using this machine. 

Have you ever tried the tea samples at Teavana?  It's fun to try all the different teas they offer.  During the Christmas holidays, we stepped into a Teavana shop and my husband bought this can of tea for $36.00.  And, that was the sale price; a bit ridiculous!  The family enjoyed it very much.  For me, how can you call this tea with all the ingredients they add including little bits of chocolate?  It leaves a residue on the teapot too.  But, it's delightful to drink.

Before I sign off, I had to share with you another way to drink black, loose tea.  This is very popular in Egypt and it's called shai koushari.  Basically, you take a spoon of loose tea, put it in the glass and pour over the hot water.  Let it sit a bit before adding sugar and mint if you wish.  I made this glass to drink today and since I don't like my tea strong, it's very light.  And, I don't use any sugar.  

Lipton Yellow Label Tea is a very popular tea in Egypt.  The majority of the people like to drink a very dark, strong brew.  This tea gives that kind of taste.

  The tea leaves are cut and curled into tiny beads.  Quite different than the British style tea I drink.

So tell me, do you have likes and dislikes in tea or coffee?  I have a couple of pet peeves; one is when I order tea in a restaurant and get that little stainless pot with tepid water, oh how I dislike this.  Or when I'm on an airplane and served hot tea that has been put in a coffee flask. It tastes like coffee, not tea.  

On a bright note, yesterday my husband took me to dinner (it wasn't fancy), at our favorite Persian market.  And, guess what?  They offer FREE TEA!  Yes, boiling hot water, Persian style Earl Gray tea and proper sugar cubes.  I was in heaven.

I wish you my dear readers all the best.  And, I'd love to hear from you if you wish to add to this discussion. 

With  my best wishes,

Pat

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Valentine Bear

Hello friends!  I've been wanting to share this project with you for a couple of weeks now, but I didn't dare show it until I had given these to my little grandchildren.

Presenting Mr. & Mrs. Valentine Bear...here they are enjoying the warm sun outside today in the garden.  

And, here they are warming their backs again the teapot.  Although, Mr. Valentine Bear prefers coffee!

They wanted to post as a couple for Valentine's Day and I think this photo suits them well.

My Valentine (my dear husband), gave me these lovely violets shown in the background as an early Valentine's gift.  Mr. and Mrs. Valentine Bear loved the bright colors.

Mrs. Valentine Bear has a picot edged skirt.  She preferred this design over the knit stitch pattern that kept curling up during the knitting process.

Mr. and Mrs. Valentine Bear are so soft and fuzzy since they are made out of Drops Lima which is 100% wool.  It was a joy to knit with on size 3 DPNs.

Here's all that left of the four skeins of yarn.  You can find my Ravelry notes here

I found this cute pattern and many more at Mary Jane's Tearoom.  Susan, who is the designer, was so, so kind and helpful to me while making this project.  She has some fun designs you can check out on her website.  And, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact her, as she promptly replied to my question and even sent me a free pattern.  Super nice!

I will sign off for now as my paperwork is calling to me to finish; a never ending job.  But, hopefully later tonight I will visit my knitting needles which holds a new project.

Thank you for visiting Lilly My Cat.

With my best wishes,

Pat
 PS - The colors I used reminded of a Scandinavian design.  The red is so difficult to photograph but the first photo is the truer of the color.  It was the perfect red.  

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