Wednesday, May 31, 2023

A Few Kinds of Critters!

The Memorial Day weekend and the time leading up to it brought a couple of species of critters into our lives. First, it's time for new life down at the Ditch. When I saw a marvelous photo by our neighborhood nature photographer, I knew I'd better get down there before all the babies grew up! And I wasn't disappointed!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Spring: Art, Big Birds, Little Birds, Lilacs, Art, Books and Royals

I went to a wonderful estate sale last month -- but it was also a sad one. The resident of the home was the dad of a high school friend of mine, former neighbor, church friend and friend of my parents. Although it was a different home than the ones they lived in when we were kids, my memory bank flashed back to the Christmases at their home and Lisa's wedding reception in the back yard. 

I wanted a remembrance of Rex -- something Christmas, of course. And I did get a small angel and small nutcracker (and a big elf!) What I didn't expect to find was a treasure trove of books -- the kinds of books I love to read. Biographies, history, and travel. (And I came home with a few!). But the real treasure was this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

More From Cleveland -- Art, Food and Family!

When last we left our happy travelers, we had wrapped up the Tudors at the Cleveland Art Museum. But there was much more to see and we were going to see it! So, here is some of the art that I really loved! This is an airy portrait by James Tissot.

We all know Monet painted lots of things like this...

But this one, called "The Red Kerchief," (1868-70 and an oil on fabric) rather surprised me!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Time Out with the Tudors

We recently headed to Cleveland for an extended family wedding. It was the first trip I'd taken (apart from to the kids or to the lake) since Covid and what a treat to connect once more with friends and family. Our first stop was to see friends Jane and Mike. Jane had kindly given us tickets to the Tudor exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art for the following day and we enjoyed a terrific dinner and catching up. Mike had recently returned from Ukraine where he was training doctors and civilians in emergency medicine. He had some fascinating and harrowing stories to tell.

The next morning we were off to the museum. The period of the Tudors -- Henry VII through Elizabeth I -- was a time of an arts renaissance. It was also a time of great political change -- separation from the Roman Catholic Church, wars, and more. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

April Reading

April wasn't a bad reading month for me, partly because I was laying low and also because it was so darned cold that I wasn't cleaning up the yard! I read several mysteries, a gorgeous book by colorist Kaffe Fassett, and a biography of the Gershwins that was far more than a biography. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Friends, Fun, Doctoring and Finally -- Preserved Lemons!

It has been a week of off and on bits. Last week Rick was away, cycling to Bloomington, Indiana, to watch the Little 500 cycling race. If you have seen the film "Breaking Away," then you know what this is!

 He was supposed to cycle the whole way, camping for part of it. But snow and temps in the 30s caused a change in plans, so rather than leaving on a Sunday, I drove him to the Ohio border a couple of days later.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Ditch is Waking Up

I took my first spring walk around the Ditch on April 13 and wasn't disappointed! My friend Harry the Heron is back!

But more on him later. There were loads of birds, though for whatever reason my Merlin app wasn't recording any of them. Not sure what that's about. My first sighting was a red-wing blackbird. (Merlin should have recognized him -- he was singing like crazy!)

Friday, April 14, 2023

The March Books

Given that March isn't our most beautiful month, one would think there would be more reading done! But "Eleanor," a bio of Eleanor Roosevelt was very big! But it was fascinating, although I was definitely ready to move on. So, here are three worthy mysteries and a biography to kick off the spring season.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Easter Weekend -- It was Eggcellent!

Easter 2023 is wrapped up and in the books for another year but it was such a terrific weekend, with kids, friends, eggs, good food and so much more, that I had to share a bit!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Spring Is Breaking Through!

We are on the countdown to Easter and I'm looking forward to the invasion of the Munchkins! I even added a few more Easter things to the house!

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Time to Bring Out the Bunnies!

It's hard to believe Easter is almost here and I still don't have all the bunnies in place yet! (But I'm close!) I'd better get on it because we're expecting the family for Easter dinner and an egg hunt that day so I want it to look right! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

When Life Gives You Lemons...

... Make something wonderful from them!

It's probably no secret to anyone who knows me well that for the most part I can take or leave chocolate. But I will never leave a lemon-anything untouched! So, when my friend Barb suggested a day making preserved lemons, followed by a lemon-themed lunch, how quickly do you think I answered "I'm in!"

Friday, March 24, 2023

In, Out and Round About

Spring is doing its best to enter my world. It's still colder and less sunny than I wish but the daffs have buds (please, please -- no more ice!) and on occasion, a sunny day! The gloomy ones have their charms -- they give me time to paint!

On a recent bright, blue-sky day I went to the nearby town of Owosso to see the art show my friend Kate's lino group. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Family History -- It Just Keeps Rolling Along

Family Search tells me that Abraham Lincoln is my ninth cousin, five times removed. (Of course, that depends on everyone in the food chain doing their research properly!) That's on my dad's side. On mom's, I'm a cousin to Stephen Colbert -- we share the same seventh great grandfather, I think. My former work colleague and IT guru, Kim, is also related through the "Lincoln" line on dad's side, though we're not quite sure of the specifics yet. But we're both Parmalees back then.

Great Grandmother Delia Davis, the link to Abe Lincoln

I suspect I'm probably related to a lot of you, as well!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The February Books

Between company, medical appointments, stressful moments in our city, and not feeling all that well in our winter weather, I didn't think I'd have much time to read. I was wrong.

This month's books include two recent mysteries, a British Library Crime Classic, two "real" biographies and a biographical-fiction novel. Every one was worth my time.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Off and On in My World

And so March marches on, bringing with it what I hope will be our last major snowfall of the season. This being Michigan, it could go either way.

I shouldn't complain -- and I'm not, really. We've had so little snow this year and it hasn't been impossibly cold, either.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Now We Are Six

Now We Are Six

~ A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.

 When I was two,
I was nearly new.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Somehow the Light Gets In

When I first retired, almost ten years ago, someone said "try to put something on your calendar every day, even if you decide not to do it. A lunch out, a certain task."

Wait a minute? Wasn't the point of retirement to retire? To read those books, take those walks, go shopping on a work day?

At my retirement party in 2013. (Photo: Tony Cepak)

So, while I've always tried to have something fun on the calendar, there were many empty pages. Now I look at it and wish I had a few of those empty pages back!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Cork Poppers Add Music to the Menu

At an earlier Cork Poppers group, one of our members asked Rick if he'd provide a little concert on his classical guitar sometime. So, when he decided to host a pared down version of our group music was on the menu too! (Four of our members were away for the season; two were unable to come -- one of those being the guy who had suggested the music!)

Rick had said "bring finger food and a wine that goes with an Argentinian tango or Italian sonata." We were off and running! (He did say, "Tomatoes should be sliced and on the platter, not whole and ready to be thrown." Protecting the musicians and their instruments is always a good thing!)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Friendship and a Growing Bookstack!

It's been a week. This past week, tragedy in my home town.

The week before, joyful time with friends, company, and Cork Poppers. Since I already wrote about the shooting at Michigan State University, today I look back on the happier moments of the week.

Rick and I kicked off the month with a dinner with friends. Nothing fancy -- just pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and Jan's fabulous salad. It's never the food; it's the friendship! But that salad rocks!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

It's Our Turn

It's our turn.

Thanks to those of you who checked in on email, Facebook and otherwise to see if Rick and I were OK after the tragic shooting at Michigan State University. We are. We live about two miles from campus and about two miles from where the shooter killed himself after his campus rampage. We heard (and Rick saw) police cars and helicopters. And we were up very late, trying to wrap our heads around what happened.

Photo: Mike Mihalus

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Remembering Most Obsessively

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it the hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

Joan Didion

I've been thinking a lot about the cottage lately. I tend to do that rather often when the temperatures drop into single digits and the ground turns white. In another six months I will be back up north, painting on my porch, swimming every day in the lake. For now, I look back on other times.

My mom (front left) and her sisters at the lake. c. 1929/1930.

The Didion quote touches me because it hits, so spot on, how I feel about the cottages up north -- and when I say cottages, I mean both the one I live in now and the one down the road in which my cousins live, where I grew up in my younger summers and where my mother and her sisters spent time every summer from the time they were children.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

And Now It's February

Here's something you don't often see in my world at this time of year. That's sunshine, morning sun, coming into the backyard. Never mind that it's one degree below zero. It's sun. I'll take it!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

January's Bookstack -- and a Happy Ending

I haven't exactly been turning the page this past month! But I have enjoyed several offerings, two mysteries and an autobiography of sorts (diaries, actually).


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

And January Goes On!

Lots of bits and pieces to go on, as the month of January continues. This morning I woke to our first measurable snow since Christmas. The weather folk say 3-6 inches are expected today. We'll see. This has been our weirdest winter in ages.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Year of the Rabbit

Bloggers know that many of us pick a guiding word of the year. Last year, my word of the year was "Endure." After two years of adjusting our lives for Covid, and looking forward to uncertainty, it seemed like a good one. 

It was (unfortunately) more fitting than I knew. I had loads of health and mobility issues and Rick wasn't far behind. I continue to deal with some of those still. They affect the quality of life and perhaps are the hardest to endure. But then, don't we all have to endure something?

Friday, January 20, 2023

Gogh-ing to VanGogh Land!

I went to the Land of Van Gogh. No, not that one -- not the sun-drenched spots in Provence where so much of his beautiful and most memorable works were painted. Nor to the Netherlands, place of his youth. And no, not Paris either. I went to Detroit.

Yes, Detroit, Michigan and the Detroit Institute of Arts, home of the Van Gogh in America exhibit!

Monday, January 16, 2023

Life Around Here

Gray. If you had to put our month into one color it would be gray. 

Not that we haven't had the (rarely) occasional blue sky. But mostly gray. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Books of 2022 -- The Annual Book Report

It's time for my annual accounting of books read (often devoured) in 2022.

In the past year I read 58 books, a few short of my goal of 60. But I topped my page goal of 18,000 with a grand total of 21,994 pages, meaning, I read longer books, often more complex. (Why do I do this? Curiosity, and to keep myself accountable. I won't read just to check off a book or pages; I'll give it a fair shot, but life's too short.)

All books listed here have been reviewed in previous posts and are linked.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Things I Learned this Holiday Season

There are lessons to be learned from everything. Here are some of the things I learned this holiday season!

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