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