Sunday, January 13, 2019

Trying to Catch Up with my Blog

Hello my dear readers.  I'm sorry it's been so long since I have written anything on this blog of mine.  Time gets away too fast sometimes!

I returned home from Turkey before Thanksgiving.  It was so much fun getting to explore more of the vast city of Istanbul.

Of course, I took my knitting with me.  I finally completed this shawl, just before Christmas.  It took me over 3 months so I felt a bit lonesome when I had finished it :)

My watercolors made their appearance for a short time to complete a Christmas card for my dear friend in Scotland.

Lilly is alive and well.  She will be 14 years young next month.  I can't believe where the years have gone.

All the family was here for the Christmas holidays and it was a joyous time.  We had some healthy food too like the hummus pictured above that I made.  Super easy recipe.

I took the Christmas trees down the day after Christmas but it took me a couple of days to complete my cleaning.  I felt good after the house was put back in order.

We've had some lovely weather and I loved seeing the sunset the other night.

A couple of days ago, we went to the beach with our friends and I called it the calm before the storm as we are expecting a week of rain!  Yes, I'm excited as I love rain and we need it, too.

This is me trying to do a selfie!  Oops, not so good but I wanted to show you the beautiful hand knitted shawl/scarf my dear friend Christine knitted for me.  It's a most cherished gift.

That about does it for the update on what's been happening around here.  I will have the pleasure to babysit my little granddaughter this week so I'm looking forward to that.  And, there's a new knitting project on my knitting needles that I will share later.

Oh, almost forget - I joined Instagram.  I'm not on Facebook or Twitter or anything else but I did join Instagram.  My son told my daughter that "Mom has fallen through the rabbit hole".  It's fun.  I love it!  And, I've found many of my blog friends over there, too.

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start.  Lilly sends me best wishes to each of you as do I.
Until next time,


Saturday, November 24, 2018

My Home Away from Home in Istanbul

Hello dear friends.  It's been awhile since I wrote so I thought I'd give up an update of what's been happening.  I was in Turkey for a month and returned back home a little over a week ago.

A few years ago, two different acquaintances told my  husband and me about this beautiful country of Turkey.  At that time, we thought there not a chance we would ever go there.  Fast forward a few years and it's our favorite place to be!  I think the reason why we love it is because it's a huge country, with a modern society and yet retains the charms of it's past.

(Turkish lunch of pide and borek along with tea = $3.25 for two)
We purchased a new high rise apartment on the Asian side of Istanbul in an area called Maltepe.  We had viewed this development over four years ago when they were building it.  Do you recall when the Turkish Lira crashed back in August?  It was bad for Turkey for good for investors.  Hence, the new place.

That's our place in the middle of the photo in the high rise with the pillars. Those who regularly follow my blog, know that my husband is a Copt.  For many years when the children were growing up we'd go to Egypt for vacations.  It was fun back then but everything changed with the revolution back in 2011.  Our last visit there was in 2010 and the city had become so overcrowded that it was almost impossible to get around.  And, it was a chore to get anything accomplished.  

Fast forward to 2014 when we discovered Turkey.  First of all, geographically, it's a huge country.  President Erdogan has continued the modernization of this country by building on it's infrastructure.  There are major highways, tunnels, public transportation and other amenities to name a few.  For example, while Greece is the neighboring EU country, Turkey is far more developed. And, the people are welcoming and never stare at you if you're a foreigner. (believe me, this is something that irritates me to no end)

Along with all the modernization, there still is the old ways like the weekly public markets.  I loved going to the market each week and finding amazing foods at a fraction of the prices we pay here.  And, best of all, there were no tourists.

Turkish are very accomplished builders.  We bought this place after only seeing it one time.  A fast decision but one that turned out OK.  Above is the kitchen. Since this photo was taken we have added a large island cabinet to the side of the cooktop area.

My son and his fiance' decorated the interior.  They had custom made furniture made for very little money.

Since this photo was taken, an area rug has been added.  Sorry for the poor photos but the first week we were there, we had overcast weather.

The unit is roomy with an upstairs that has three bedrooms and two more baths.

My husband loves to sit in the wingback chair and watch the sea in front of him.

There's still some work to be done but it should be enjoyable in the summertime to sit outside on the deck.

Those are the Prince's islands you are seeing in the distance.  My husband and I love to travel but we're now at a stage in life where we want conveniences.  At the same time, I want to stay in a country where I can feel I can blend in and be part of the culture.  Turkey is a place where I can accomplish that.  Yes, the language is a bit of a barrier. But, when Ataturk took over, he changed the Turkish alphabet into Latin letters.  It's very easy to pick up words that you can actually read vs it being in Osmanli alphabet.  A new metro/subway was built in 2012 and it's just a few minutes walk down the street from where we are.  It's easy to get around in this huge city.  And, Turkish love using their credit cards and debit cards.  Also, items are priced with bar codes just like here.  You can see why I love shopping there as it's so easy.  I hate being in a place where you get ripped off because you're not one of the locals.

There was plenty of time for my knitting too, when I wasn't busy helping with the home. I don't mean for this post to be political in any way.  But, Turkey is a very organized country that has embraced the modern world and yet retains the charms of the Ottoman Empire.  I love organization and I don't do well with chaos.  Something must be going OK with Turkey as the people have disposable income. I've never seen so many restaurants/tea shops as in Istanbul.  As for the language, they are willing to have patience with you. I felt bad on my part that I only know a few Turkish words.  My plan is to attend language school next time I go there.  For an American who is used to big spaces, big cars, all kinds of consumer goods, Turkey has all of these things.  And, best of all, Turkish produces most of it's consumer goods themselves.  Excellent quality and beautiful designs.  And, the people are polite and welcoming.

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse of my Turkish life. Wishing you all the best,

PS - My children say I have gone down the rabbit hole as I signed up for Instagram!  You can find me there if you wish.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Eating Turkey

Hello.  I've been gone from blogland for awhile as I've been busy eating my way through Turkey - the country!  Not everyone loves to read about travels but everyone needs to eat so I thought it might be fun to see some foodie photos...

We discovered Cafer Erol by accident as we wanted to drink some tea.  It's a three floor tea/coffee/pastry shop with lots of eye candy to enjoy.  We sat upstairs on the second floor and it was atmosphere heavenly.  I actually enjoyed it more than when I had tea at Laduree in Paris.

I loved seeing these huge chocolate bouquets and I don't even eat chocolate.  Wouldn't it be fun to give one of these as a gift?

Being Danish, I'm a big fan of marzipan.  I've never seen such a display of fruits and vegetables made from almond paste such as this.  They also had plain almond paste you could buy for baking purposes.

With it being autumn, seeing these red candied apples brought back memories of my childhood.  Cafer Erol  began business back in 1807 and is still going today.

We are finding our way around our new neighborhood and had to check out the weekly farmer's market down the street.  They offered a wonderful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables along with other vendors.

There are a group of nine islands named the Princes' Islands, easily seen from Istanbul.  Four of the islands are open to the public and can be reached via ferry.  One day we took the ferry across and discovered a delightful place.

We ventured to the largest of the islands, Buyukada.  The seafront promenade is lovely and I loved seeing this Ottoman style pomegranate stand.

Almost all of the restaurants served fresh fish but we decided upon kofte' as we had eaten fresh fish the night before.  The islands are located  in the Sea of Marmara.

I don't recall that I've ever been to such a quintessential place as Buyukada.  The streets behind the seafront wind around with tree lined streets and quaint Ottoman style homes.  

If you are a regular reader of Lilly My Cat you know that our family has a home on the southern coast of Turkey.  My son and husband decided that they love the cosmopolitan feel of Istanbul; hence our home in Istanbul on the Asian side of the city.  You can see the Princes' Islands from the balcony of our home.  Sorry for the dark photos but it was overcast.

Lots of people ask me why Turkey?  There's lot of reasons but for me and my family, it's a place where you can still experience the history and feel of times past and yet be in the modern world.  Yes, there are Starbucks in this huge city but for me I love the little tea and coffee shops.  The modern ones are beautiful inside and the older ones are timeless.  Istanbul is an amazing city where the people take care of their city.  And, they are very courteous to visitors.  

I hope you have enjoyed this small taste of Turkey.  To complete the meal, I'll leave you with a cup of traditional Turkish coffee.

Until next time,


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Banking Tales

The grandchildren are here for a few days while the parents are away on a business trip to NYC.  So,  it's a fun but busy weekend.  My husband had cleaned out his "change" drawer and I thought it was a great idea to have my little grandson count the change, write down the amounts and then we'd go to the bank to have it exchanged for bills.  Then, he and his little sister could go and buy a small toy with the money.  It was meant to be a math lesson.

(this is not the coin; this is from an old coin bank I have)

We left home in time to get to the bank before it closed.  My husband has had his account at this bank for over 48 years.  And, I worked for this same bank for over 25 years.  Now, with online banking, and banking apps for my smart phone, I rarely go into the branch.

It was surprising when we walked into the branch yesterday; they had partitioned off a wall and it was half as big as it once was.  There were NO other customers in the branch.  We went to the teller/cashier to ask about having the coins exchanged into bills.  She told me, "I can take the coin, send it to the coin counting department and then credit your checking account".  I replied in a shocked way that "you've got to be kidding me"!  Here's what we had:  $2.50 in dimes, .44 in pennies, .95 in nickels and $2.25 in quarters.

Now, I remember all my years of working at the bank all too well.  We didn't accept huge bags of coin without being rolled.  Yesterday, I had a very little amount.  The teller could have easily counted this out, and given my grandson the bills.  What happened to the custom of teaching your children to save money?  In the old days, the children would come in with their savings passbooks and deposit their coins into their accounts.  Times have certainly changed.  I was so, so upset.  We walked across the parking lot to the drug store where the children picked out two small toys and the extremely helpful cashier readily took my grandson's coins.

Banking has certainly changed now days.  My husband and I actually bank with two banks and we have never paid any fees all these years.  The banks have become so greedy and I feel for their customers.  Back in the old days when I started, the banking hours were between 10:00 AM and 3:00PM.  The cancelled checks used to be returned to the branch each day, where they were daily filed in each customer's file and at the end of the month, the checks were mailed out with the statements.  Long gone are those days, as these days you don't receive your checks and you're lucky if you even receive a paper bank statement!

There was drama back in those days too.  I worked for the same large branch that I went into yesterday but it was in a small, Eastern Washington agricultural town.  The people made their living by farming thousands of acres of land.  It was a regular Mom and Pop/ Leave it to Beaver kind of lifestyle.  The branch manager had always been a man back in those years.  It changed one year when a woman became the branch manager.  It wasn't that she was a woman.  I'm not prejudice.  It was because she was a woman who was totally out of her zone.  She came to our little town and had no desire whatsoever to understand our lifestyle.  She was there only to "climb higher" on her corporate ladder.  I'll never forget one day she called a staff meeting, and basically threw candy at us down the table like throwing bones to a dog!  I was appalled.  Back in those days, I was too shy to ever say anything.

But, not too long afterwards, things changed.  You see, the branch I worked at was actually two separate entities; the operations side of the branch and the commercial lending side of the branch.  I worked for the commercial lending side and my daugher, who was in high school at this time, worked part time for the operations side.  This new super woman manger, who was a very cold hearted person to say the least, one day called me into her office and told me that the commercial banking side was closing and that I couldn't work there as long as my daughter was working there.  I lost my cool and told her exactly what I thought.  Including her throwing the candy at us like we were a dog!

Over 25 years of working and having a great work record/ethic, she wanted to get rid of me.  We had a union so to speak and I immediately contacted them.  You see, my family and I were planning to move in a few months to the west side of the state, where we had purchased a new home.  I was going to transfer to the branch over there.  It all turned out OK in the long run, but I had no respect whatsoever for that manager.  I don't know what happened to her and I really don't care.  I do not like cold hearted people.  And, now days, I will not waste my time with them.  I remember my fellow employees at the bank telling me, "Wow, Pat, we overheard what you told her and we didn't realize you'd speak up.  Good for you!"

It turned out fine and it wasn't the first time I had a glitch.  Years earlier, I was expecting my son and working full time in the lending department.  I had been very ill with the flu and missed a few days of work.  The manager (old guy)  for the lending department said something to me to the likes of maybe quitting work.  Of course I said no, as I was insured through my work.  After my son was born, I became a part time employee.  A new person took my place who was of the same faith as the manager.  He (the manager) bent over backwards to accommodate her when she had a problem with her knee and came to work in a wheelchair.  He never told her to quit her job!  Funny thing is, this old manager guy, who didn't do his job as he should, later got demoted/fired.

I did work for a wonderful vice president of commercial lending for a couple of years, who was a very smart and accomplished woman.  She didn't have to fake her way up the corporate ladder as she was not only smart but did her job extremely well.  She came into the branch to fix all the bad loans that the old guy manager had ignored all those years.  And, she did a great job.  I loved working for her and she knew her stuff so to speak.

When I arrived at new branch where I was transferred, some more interesting things happened.  The manager was a woman, again.  She told us we could not wear pants to work.  If this would have happened today, I would have complained.  Back then, I kept my cool.  Funny thing is, she was married to a "guy" who had been in prison.  Their marriage fell apart, he killed her dog (they didn't have children), burned down their home and he went back to prison!  Talk about drama. . . we had a guard at the branch (without any firearm) to protect us during this time.  What a joke now that I think bout it all these years later.  She went on to break up a marriage and start a relationship with another banker.

After yesterday's episode, I have no use for banks.  Although I'm a preferred customer or whatever you want to call it, it comes down to the operations side of the bank only wants to sell you something.  You can't even go into the branch today without an appointment!  There's another woman branch manager down the road who is a ruthless person. She runs her branch like a prison guard watching over his/her prisoners!  What a shame that this is what has happened to an industry that used to have loyal employees because the bank was loyal to them.  Things have certainly changed.

I think I have to accept change more readily now days.  But, it hard to accept change when the old ways used to work so well.  Life is good so I have no reason to complain :)

That's about all I have to share today.  It's warm here in SoCal. We've had a couple of warm nights which is unusual for us.  How I long for cool weather.   Until next time,

With my best wishes to you,


Friday, September 14, 2018

There's a Worm in my Blog

 It started last night when I had just sat down to read a bit before retiring for the night. I found I had a message on my Ravelry page asking about a pattern. The pattern link I had previously shared was no longer available. So, here I was late at night goggling to find where I could find the pattern and update my Ravelry page. 

I found the link but in the meantime, I found that someone had taken my photo, and pattern info and posted it on their website!  Without giving any credit to me! Was I upset? Yes! Not long ago, I read on one of the blogs I follow, that someone had actually taken the authors complete post and put it on their website.  This kind of behavior is beyond rude!
What is wrong with people today?  I'm not a fan of Pinterest, but at least if my photos show up on that site, so does my blog address to give me credit for the info.

above is the screen from the website
As you can see above, this photo belongs to me as it's the dress that I knitted.  This woman has thousands of patterns on her website and yet says ". . . work of many talented people. . .who have donated them to share. . ."  She has a very lame disclaimer on her website.  I did not donate this to her site!  She stole this info from my blog and gave me no credit whatsoever!  She trolls the internet daily I'm sure to post these patterns, asks for a donation to cancer research, yet, she has monetized her blog with tons of advertising!  She's a scammer if you ask me!  And, to top if off, she has over 1,500 followers.  Beware people that you are following a very fraudulent website!

I think I've had my head under water for too long.  I can't believe what people can do for their own satisfaction.  I love to find ideas online and if I find them on someone else's blog and share it on my blog, I always leave a link to the original author. It makes me so, so happy to share links to other wonderful blogs that I discover.  I would never ever take credit for someone else's work or photos, or whatever.

I think I've calmed down a bit now since I went outside and worked in my garden.  My thoughts and prayers are with those along the Carolina coast dealing with this horrific hurricane.  Enjoy your Friday and your weekend too, everyone! Until next time. . .

With my best wishes,


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Reflections and Knitting!

Hi everyone.  September is here and it seems like the summer months are a distant memory.  I like to keep up on current events but lately the news has been so very depressing.  Sometimes it boggles my mind what I read in the headlines such as boycotting In-N-Out Burger, or the ridiculous law that the Egyptian parliament wants to pass on making it illegal to name your newborn baby a western name!  I've never heard of such madness before.  It was somber yet refreshing this morning to watch Senator McCain's funeral where everyone came together for the good of mankind.  So, to relax what little mind I have left, I indulge in my crafts. . .

My husbands two brothers and their families from the east coast joined us for a week here in sunny California.  We had a wonderful time together and ended our visit at the Montage Resort on the Pacific Ocean where we enjoyed coffee on the terrace.

I finished knitting my astrantia socks which will be given to my daughter.  You can find all the specifics here on my Ravelry page if you wish.  

I had a good laugh about these socks after my son sent me the above message.  Yes, the yarn cost $26.00 but what can I say?  If you're a crafter, you buy what you like. . .
I am so very excited about my current knitting project.  If you recall, a couple of years ago I went to a knitting retreat in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  I received this huge cone of natural, undyed silk thread.  Originally, I had started another pattern but it just wasn't to my liking.  I found this new pattern and I'm in love with working on this.

It's my first time really knitting from charts and I was hesitant.  But, luckily, the charts are well written with easy stitch icons to memorize.  I do have proper stitch markers but they would be placed at the yarn overs which make the yarn overs not tight enough. Hence, my homemade yarn markers work great.  It's been fun seeing the pattern take shape, especially the edging on this particular pattern.

I've also have my crochet hook handy to do a quick crochet project now and then.  I bought this particular variegated thread in Turkey.  I found this pattern on Becki's website; she shares some beautiful things she creates.

I hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend.  I'm off to my backyard where I'll be sitting by the pool with my knitting needles in hand.  Until next time . . .

With my best wishes to each of you,


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Lazy, Hot Days of Summer

Hello dear readers. Is it hot and dry where you are?  Right now it's 100 degrees outside in the shade.  Hence, I'm inside writing to you!

It's lovely to eat outside in the evenings but the last couple of nights,it's still been in the 90's.  Which, for us here on the west coast, is very unusual.  When the sun sets, the temps drop but not this week.  The photo above is from my daughter; she hosted a dinner party last week with an Italian menu.

The news around here is wild fires.  Unfortunately, one ignited yesterday afternoon in our area.  You can see the smoke above taken from our back yard.  It started in the early afternoon with about 50 to 75 acres. . .

When we retired last night, the fire had scorched 4,000 acres and was still burning.  The was the scene last night from our back yard.  It was scary to say the least.  I called the Sheriff's dept. to ask about procedures for evacuation.  Luckily, we weren't in danger but we slept very lightly last night.  The fire is still burning this afternoon in some very deep, hilly terrain.  The drought conditions from past years has made the perfect storm for a wild fire.

It's enjoyable if I can make it outside early enough to enjoy the setting before the heat sets in.  Otherwise, we find ourselves stuck in the house for the afternoon, away from the blazing sun and cooled with the A/C.  I long for the days when I can turn off the A/C!

I finished the first project from my Craftpod box.  For someone like me, who doesn't know how to embroidery (luckily, I have a huge book showing all the embroidery stitches), I was pleased to make this little needle case.  I turned the raw edges inside as I'm not fond of the raw, fray edges of fabric.  I think it's from those years in junior high when my mother was teaching me to sew.  She was a perfectionist in her sewing and I thank her for that now :)

Yesterday I had an appointment with my dermatologist.  I went thinking it was nothing unusual but I'm so happy that I made the appointment.  Turns out that my normal skin tag that is normally frozen, had to be biopsied.  Although I've not received the results yet, I'm not worried but I do want to share with you that if something seems not right with you  in regard to your health, please seek medical attention.   You never know what could be happening.

Thank you for your kind comments.  It warms my heart (maybe I should say "cools") to hear from you.

Until next time,