Thursday, August 16, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: Home Alone

I saw Rick off for home on Sunday, taking him halfway so the bike ride home wouldn't have to involve an overnight. As we said goodbye, I was reminded again of how lovely our weekend was.

I told you about our day in Traverse, but my "real" birthday was good too. I attended quite a lovely art fair and even got a good handle on Christmas shopping. Perfect peaches from the farmer's market. All good!

Now I'm "home alone." Nice, actually. Today I saw my neighbor with the big blue thing who made our beach so lovely working on his own. I don't think he was weeding -- just moving sand around. Jim loves his toys -- whether it's the mower or blower or tractor or power washer, he's always busy.

This is a good thing. His area is spotless and beautiful. But I'd feel guilty! His wife, Cathy, often stays in Detroit-area. Cathy's idea of fun at the lake is a really good book. I quite agree. Jim moves sand! (They are wonderfully compatible, not unlike Rick and me, I might add!)

I fear Rick's next visit. He started scraping paint off the shutters last weekend and realized the windows needed reglazing and all painted. No book next time I'm here with him! We'll be working dogs!

It's a warm day -- in the mid-80s -- but the breeze is strong so it feels quite comfortable. I haven't been able to walk, which is a little frustrating. About a week ago my foot went into super-pain. I thought it was plantar fascitis and it may be but the woman who makes my orthotics, aka The Foot Goddess, thinks it has to do with a bone related to my flat feet. This is what happens when you forsake your orthotics for bare feet and regular sandals in the summer. Either way, searing pain on the foot and up the achilles. I see the doc next week.

She adjusted my orthotics, told me to more or less stay off it (which I did not do on asylum day and I paid the price), ice it and do several foot exercises. Which I am, faithfully.

I can swim, though, and swim I do. Today I did the equivalent of 35 pool lengths. One length short of a quarter mile. The water is warmish but still cool enough to feel good on the feet and back (out of whack because of walking funny).

Painting? Yes indeed!

Sweet Jemma (did you see her on "Making It?" I was so proud of her!) sent me a couple of her projects to capture in paint. Here's one of them. It's a bird feeder made from a cup and saucer on a grapevine heart.

And here's another.

This one will be going to someone I know and love, thanking him for his wonderful birthday celebrations.

Of course I'm reading, too. I finsihed the wonderful and deeply thought-provoking "Annie's Ghost,"

Then I started (and can't put down) "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." How did I not know about this book? It ticks all my boxes. England. Writing. World War II. Wonderful characters. Books. Now I want to see the movie!

And writing in my bullet journal. I haven't journaled in a long while. This tiny book is the perfect size to start again!

Tomorrow will be housecleaning day -- I've been lax. Whistle while you work.

And soon home for a few days. Appointments and Cork Poppers. We'll feature Michigan wines from the Grand Traverse area where we went for my birthday. Needless to say I found one. I won't say it's good. Most Michigan reds leave much to be desired. But it's unique!

Soon Sweet Lizzie will get her act together and realize it's time for dinner. Serious cat nagging expected. She's good company. As for me, I am so overloaded, eating all the wonderful fruit of the season that it is probably a good thing that I am home alone.

One can only eat so many cherries without side effects.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: Roadtrip to the Asylum and More

When talking with Rick about birthday celebrations, I said, "There's one way I'd really like to spend my birthday." And he said, "You want to go to the asylum?"

The man knows me well.

Background first. My great grandfather, Henry, was -- I learned, in my genealogy studies -- the secret my grandfather never shared. He was an inmate at the Northern Michigan Asylum in Traverse City, Michigan, from 1900 until he died in 1913, only a few days after my aunt, Iris -- the oldest of her sisters -- was born. In a long (and ongoing) journey through records, I was able to land my hands on his commitment papers. (Three months later and they would have been sealed.)

I've wanted to visit this place ever since I learned about Henry. And I was so grateful I could share that experience with Rick.

I'll post more about the site itself separately. But I can say that if I had to have a relative in an asylum in the early 1900s, I'm glad he was here. In fact, it could have been a very happy place to spend one's last years. It was that innovative for the time.

But our day wasn't just the asylum!

We enjoyed champagne and dinner at the Apache Trout Grill in Traverse City and it was delicious.

Our table had a view of the bay and it was a perfect blue-sky day.

Then we drove out onto the Mission Peninsula. Many of the vineyards from the Grand Traverse region are located here. (Don't bet the farm on the reds.)

But it is gorgeous territory. I'd never been out on the peninsula before so it was a wonderful experience.

Great old buildings as well as the water views and the hilly vineyards.

At the tip is a lighthouse. Well, you know I'm a sucker for lighthouses!

There's also a restored log cabin, similar to the kind the early settlers would have had. It wasn't open but we got a good peek at early life through the windows.

There were loads of people there, especially considering that we were approaching dusk. Lots of families were enjoying the water.

And of course, there was lovely woodland.

This is what 67 looks like.

Very, very happy.

A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: More from Art Camp

We went to art camp to be productive and productive we were.

Kate's annual bird calendar got a big boost with several "nearly finished" pieces in watercolor along with block printing. She also tried some new techniques. (Here she's painting blue gouache over orange for a textured effect. Scary but the finished product looks terrific!)

I finished seven watercolors and completed some bookmarks started long ago. (Bookmarks still need ribbons and maybe corner rounding.)

But there was time for fun. We went into Gaylord to the kitchen store.

Inside, a fabric artist's studio where the cute pillows they sell are made.

More wonderful dinners, including Susan's corn salad. (I also add dill to her recipe and while it's good day one, day two is even better!)

And we celebrated my upcoming (or maybe by now, past!) birthday twice!

But back to the art. Here are a few of my art camp things. My massage therapist's dog!

The sailboat vendor in the Tuileries.

Wine bottles from a Paris shop.

Montmartre. From this...

To this...

I had trouble with this tulip.

But it's looking OK. Not the best but a good learning experience.

A favorite cardinal.

An epic fail. Let's just call this one a "primitive."

Always a bit of a mess.

But at the end of the day...

No complaints!

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Postcards from the Lake: Art Camp Begins!

Perhaps we shouldn't call it art camp. There are only two of us -- my friend, Kate, and me. There wouldn't be room for more. And it's not at a camp, it's at my cottage. But art -- yes, loads of art. And walking, swimming, reading, eating, talking... all that. And more art.

We took off on a Saturday morning and eleven days later rolled into home, just in time to vote in the primary. In between, non-stop art and fun.

Our venue, the cottage, offered a ringside seat to perfect sunsets. The water was warm enough for a good swim. And the weather divine.

Time for super photo-ops!

Well, most of the time it was divine! One big storm added to the sound effects and gloom, but then we take to the books! (This was taken from the porch and with the zoom so funky screen action going on here!

After, big puddles. And mosquitoes on our walks!

Our friend, Gretchen, who lives in nearby Mancelona, came over one day for lunch and chat.

There were a few homely activities to tend to -- a tree was uprooted and needed to be removed. The tree-guy's truck "ate it" in a heartbeat. Hard to believe this tall tree could be fed into this reasonably small truck!

And when my neighbor saw me working on getting weeds out of the beach, he offered some assistance. Big assistance!

Look, mom! No weeds!

We had some wonderful dinners, overloading on salads made with greens and produce from the farmer's market and loads of fruit, especially the beloved black cherries!

And a little wine, of course!

And if we were ever lacking on conversation (and we weren't) Lizzie was happy to chip in.

There were walks. Kate is hard core! I didn't go her miles but I gave it my best shot.

And we saw plenty of nature (to come) but this "sneak preview" of fall was a little disconcerting.

But mostly, it was all about the art. Kate was hard at work for her 2019 Calendar (it has an October printing date. Yikes!)

For me, finishing old projects.

Starting new ones.

And loads more to come!

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