Monday, February 29, 2016

Snacking with the Queen

Queen Elizabeth of England celebrates two birthdays every year.  She was actually born on April 21st, but her official birthday is a Saturday in June. She had her Jubilee year celebration in 2012 - one that marked her 60th anniversary on the throne of America's closest ally.

This year, 2016, however, marks another exciting milestone for England - the Queen's 90th birthday.  Yup, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, Queen of England, turns NINETY this year.  She doesn't seem to be slowing down much, either.  She's an amazing woman.

The royal household is celebrating this extraordinary milestone birthday with all kinds of special events, including a pageant celebrating her life, an official birthday parade, and other activities, including releasing an official commemorative china tea set decorated with cornflowers and forget-me-nots - a hand-made, gold-plated, china set, I might add.  

The china is a bit pricey, so, I got my "Special Edition" Shortbread from Walker's on-line instead. It came in a beautiful (and reusable!) commemorative Queen Elizabeth tin:

I think I can appreciate American independence and still have a keen admiration for Queen Elizabeth.  She has been a dutiful, gracious, and intelligent monarch.  Then, again, maybe it's because my mother would have turned 90 last fall and I can relate to this woman who came from the same generation.

I kinda like my new tin.

The little Union Jack biscuits were quite tasty too.

Long Live the Queen!  (Because the cookies won't last at my house, that's for sure!)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A New Table

When one moves to new digs, particularly new digs with different dimensions from the old one,
interesting things ensue.

I had become increasingly aware that my 40 year-old Norwegian teakwood coffee table was just way too big for my new living room, so I finally broke down and ordered a new one.

It arrived in a square-ish, flat box.

Surveying the contents of the box
I was grateful to have friends come help me put it together.  Not only could I not lift the box, I would never have been able to put the thing together by myself!

My good friends Mary Beth and Dan came to the rescue.

Mary Beth and Dan survey the pieces
It really is a beautiful table, with solid wood and a glass top.  It took about an hour and a half to get it together, however!

As a work in progress
 I told Mary Beth, "Just watch.  The cat will appropriate the shelf."
Going over the instructions one last time
Sure enough!  Although he was a little frightened of the new thing at first, Jack quickly realized this morning that the shelf was just the right size for him!

A cat under glass
Being in our new home has been an adventure for my little boy.

Hi, Mom!
It's been an adventure for me, too.

Hope your day is filled with good friends and a few adventures... and maybe a curious cat!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Meet Parker

Parker, a sweet little Miss
Jack has a new half-sister!  Look who came to live with Jack's brothers, Piper and Leo.  This sweet little girl is part Tabby and part Tortie cat.  Does that make her a Tartie?  I don't think so, but she's rather pert, pugnacious and extremely cute and funny!

Parker was rescued by our intrepid cat-loving friends in North Hills.  Yes, these are the same friends who rescued my Jack and his sweet family.

Our little Miss lost no time exploring her new digs.  She knew no fear in climbing to the top of the cat trees.  She thought it was great fun and only froze when her new human daddy caught her in the act.

Oh, oh!  Busted!  Parker knows no fear
So far the boys have been pretty nice to their new sibling.  They have played with her and been tolerant of her antics for the most part.  But, just like typical big brothers, occasionally get into a squabble.  It's inevitable.

Parker takes it all in stride.  She likes her new digs.  She especially likes to chill watching TV. American Idol is a favorite.

Watching American Idol
She also likes the Beach Boys, romantic tuna dinners and moonlight walks on the beach.  She's a California girl, after all!

Just kidding.

Have a terrific week!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ren Faire Arizona Style

My dear friend Dianna and her cousin at the Faire
The Arizona Renaissance Faire takes place in Apache Junction, Arizona every year on Saturdays and Sundays throughout February and March.

For more information, see

The Apache Junction venue is great because they have real facilities for their various venues, be it shoppes where artisans are selling their wares, restaurants for feasting, or entertainments.  It's a whole historical village ready to explore.

Morris Dancers at the Faire
I have to personally attest to Faire food being a terrific feast for the body, and if you've never seen an actual joust, now's the time!  Honestly, there's something about men on horseback trying to kill each other that's a lot of fun to watch.  Trust me.

Jousting in action!
I made my pilgrimage to Arizona not that long ago.  It was a funne tyme.

One of the unique features of this faire is a show called, "The Ancient Art of Falconry".  A variety of birds-of-prey show off their unique skills in this bird show without parallel.  Falconry was once the sport of kings. When you see this show, you will understand why. Some of these birds are endangered.  Believe me, they are magnificent.  This is a show not to be missed.

The Falconer showing his art
Also fun are the Ghazaal Beledi dancers.  They are an award-winning belly dancing troupe based in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona who specialize in Middle Eastern Belly dance and East Indian dances.

Ghazaal Beledi World Music & Dance troupe
These are only some of the countless pleasures of the Ren Faire. This is a great time to visit Arizona.  It will be sunny and pleasantly hot.  (Arizona only has three seasons, actually:  Hot, Hotter and Hell.)  So, right now is a good time to visit.

Dianna and her faire-going cousins
The Arizona Faire is currently in its 28th season - time dost fly, doth it not?  Don't miss it this year!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love In the Air

Nils and Rachel
Have you missed me?  I know, I know, I've taken a small hiatus, but I'm back now, here to wish you a very Happy Valentines' Day!

The big news around here is the recent engagement of my dear nephew Nils to a very lovely young lady named Rachel.  This was not unexpected, and all of us - the whole kit 'n caboodle of our family and friends - couldn't be happier.

Oquirrh Lake
This (above) is perhaps not the most idyllic place for an engagement setting, especially in the dead of winter, but Nils and Rachel had their first date on Oquirrh Lake.  They went kayaking there during the summer.  So, it is a place that has special meaning for them.

Recently, they visited Oquirrh Lake again, and took a romantic evening walk around its frozen confines.  To Rachel's surprise, Nils suddenly dropped to one knee.

Yeah, you know the drill.  (Insert romantic string music here, and some of these red things...)

Rachel said, "Yes!"

A small token of his LOVE
Rachel is now sporting a small token of Nils' love and commitment on her third finger, left hand. Okay, not so small.  That rock is gigantic.  Way to go, Nils!

I'm so happy for them.  They make a great couple.  Not only that, but Rachel fits in so well with our family.  She's a beautiful and intelligent addition to our clan.

That's the happiest, most welcome news I've had in a long time, so I had to share with all of you.

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day-President's Day Holiday weekend.