Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Three Hour Tour, A Three Hour Tour

I've been on the road a lot this summer, and one visit took me to Milwaukee, a lovely city I'd never really discovered before.

I was going for a meeting. To fly -- $750. To take the boat -- $167. And so I embarked on a "three hour tour." ("A three hour tour.")

If you are singing "Gilligan's Island" as an accompaniment to these words, you'll wonder if "the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed."

The boat wasn't that tiny, the weather not so rough. In fact, both days were lovely (and among the hottest of the summer, which made the deck with its mighty breezes mighty fine.)

The ferry, I discovered, is a fine way to travel -- a lovely deck if you want to look about and catch the breezes, a fine large cabin with big, cushy seats and a fairly decent -- if overpriced -- kitchen.

Being rather fond of lighthouses, I got to see a few of them.

I was also fond of the kayakers who gave us a wave and frolic as we left Muskegon.

And some of the wonderful boats we saw along the way.

Milwaukee is lovely and I wanted to share a few places I was fortunate enough to visit.

Our meeting group had an evening at the aquarium.

Loved the jelly fish.

There were lots of interesting features here -- a periscope, fish you could pet. I wish those photos turned out!

We also got to tour the Denis Sullivan, a teaching ship.

Our guide, a young teacher, had lively tattoos, a good way with the explanations and was indeed, an asset.

Kerry Lee and I had the opportunity to have dinner at a tapas restaurant called La Merenda.

I loved the bathroom -- especially that Paris map on the wall.

Then she took me to the Alterra coffee company (Milwaukee's home brew and Rick says it is mighty tasty!) where her daughter worked and where I got great stuff for Rick's birthday.

Home again aboard the "S.S. Minnow." And a good time was had by all!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Few More Cards to Share

You might think I go to the lake and just laze about all day. A farm market here, read a book on the beach there.

You might be right. (Recognize that background you shared on your blog long ago, Joanne?)

You might think I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, looking for the next great recipe. And you wouldn't be wrong there, either.

You might think I'm out partying. Too true.

But there's a tad more. I've been trying hard to build some card inventory. Here are a few of the recent ones.

It disappoints me greatly that more people don't send cards these days! I love working with this size and format.

Sometimes people just need a little lift -- a card to cheer them when they're sad.

I've been thinking that I should up the price a tad and include the postal stamp, so people can just write the note and address it.

What say you?

I'm listening!

(A Note: I haven't been a terrific visitor and even worse commenter the past couple of weeks. There are some good reasons -- travel and stress to name two. I miss you and I so appreciate it when you still visit and leave me a comment. I promise -- I'll be back as soon as I can.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Antiquing in Northern Michigan

It was another of a string of days where the air is so clean, the sun so bright, the sky so blue, the temperature perfect. As I went into town to do my marketing, I saw signs for a Barn Sale and thought, "Why not? I'm on vacation!"

Driving several miles out of town I came upon this barn -- it is one I discovered a few years ago with my cousins on a gloomy August day. I hadn't been my best that day, but on this July morning I was on the top of the world! I was convinced I would find something perfect in one of the four open barns.

I should have known better.

The barns are owned by the same family that owns a sort-of antique shop in Gaylord. I call it "sort of" because old things, antiques and collectibles are crammed into a tiny space with things imported from Mexico and other artifacts that aren't all that old at all. Doesn't mean they aren't cute, but I hate it when things aren't so up front as to say what's what or bargain appropriately. And, it's the kind of store when things are so tight that one could never go there in winter -- the added bulk of a winter coat would make just sidling through the aisle almost impossible.

Thing is, the barns were as stuffed as the store. I knew this from before. But I am an optimist! Besides, they had a store cat! That's always charming!

The first barn was filled with packaging, dishes, bottles, bits and pieces -- the kinds of things you might expect. Badly displayed, but there you have it.

The others were filled with tin yard art.

Now, I like this tin yard art -- one piece at a time.

There is something fun and whimsical about charming flamingoes...

...or colorful birdhouses.

But, you have NO idea how I had to crop these photos simply to find a focal point.

Everything was so crammed (and unmarked, with no one close at hand to ask) that I felt overwhelmed. And not in a good way.

I don't have room for a dress form, but they had a bunch. Couldn't get back to them, but they had them. They had LOTS of them!

I'm always impressed when I visit blogs of those who go to lots of sales or have their own booths and at how artful and inviting they seem. (It's totally possible my blog buddies are good croppers, too!). Nonetheless, I always want to crawl into those photos and shop. Here there were a very few spots like that.

Mostly, I was just glad to get outside.

It's not out of the realm of possibility that I might someday bring one of these colorful tin pieces home from their shop (that's where the rest of them were!). But I think I will give the barn a pass.

Life is too short for frustrating shopping.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tour de France Junkie

My name is Jeanie. I am a Tour de France addict.

While my own personal bike racer is wild to "compete in his mind" (he'd probably deny that, but really, what biker wouldn't?), I am content to watch my favorite riders take on mountains or pedal at amazing speeds to win a sprint.

I'm an Andy Schleck fan. I think he was robbed last year. But Caudel Evans is another favorite. Bike life. I marvel at the crashes this year...

The speed at which the bikes are repaired and back on the road.

I love the crowds, and watch eagerly to find places I know when they are touring through Paris or Normandy. And I long to visit all the other places the riders experience at such quick speeds, enjoying each shop, street or cafe at a more leisurely pace.

I am aghast at how these riders slog up the hills -- no, mountains -- at speeds I couldn't do no matter how hard I tried.

And then when they descend, what a feeling of exhilaration and freedom. I can feel it just watching -- and that's just fine with me!

Meanwhile, from 8-11 p.m. each night, you'll find me being a Tour groupie, enjoying the commentary of Bob Roll, Phil Leggett and Paul Sherwin. Routing for my favorites. Feeling bad for those who have crashed out.

And I'll be enjoying most of those nights with my favorite Faux-Tour rider! He'll explain things, I'll learn and we'll thoroughly enjoy!

If you are interested in the real Tour de France, visit HERE and if you want to visit the Paris in July postings, you can find a list on the right column of Thyme for Tea or Bookbath.

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