Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

A few more postcards for you to enjoy!

I expect that I'm not the first to wish you a Happy New Year,

But I do hope your New Year's wishes come true.

My wish for you is that your resolutions, should you make them, are more or less upheld!

That you enjoy the company of good friends, family and those you love.

That you make the time to do the things you love, whether they are creative, athletic, take you deep into the world of books or filled with the love of home.

That each day you find a little bit of laughter, a little bit of joy -- even on the worst of days.

And that there is always hope in your heart.

I look forward to discovering new things with you during 2017. Stories, book and film reviews, artistic ideas, inspiration for cooking and decorating and most of all, friendship.

Happy New Year! (And please download for your own use!)

Friday, December 30, 2016

On Goals

For more than 30 years I worked in a deadline-driven business. The publication I edited had a schedule. Advertising campaigns had due dates. Projects began and ended -- on a timetable. I like deadlines. They make me get things done -- when I would really rather be doing something else.

So, last year, to keep this happy retired self on track, I set some goals (not resolutions)  for the year. And then I promptly forgot what they were until I went to check up on them! (That's when you get the deer-in-the-headlights look!)

What I discovered is that if you make reasonable goals that fit with your life, maybe you don't have to pull an all-nighter to make them! (Well, I may have to do that with one -- but read on!)

I wanted to meet three bloggers in person this year -- and I failed on that one. I met one, a terrific one (Mae) and we met up twice! And I met a number of people who I had no idea read my blog but came up to me and said "I read the Marmelade Gypsy all the time!" One person even came to my art sale. So, that was a more-or-less fail, but still very, very good.

I would take three art classes. I had no idea what I would take, because they hadn't been offered but I ended up enjoying a colored pencil class and two watercolor classes. I went from this... this.

And they were great motivators to focus on painting in the summer.

I would visit a foreign country. OK, I knew right away that was a no-brainer because my friend Suzanne lives in Ontario, right across the river, about three hours away. But I did visit several times and more to the point, during one of those visits really explored new territory. So, definitely not a fail!

I would write more, procrastinate less. And I've done that -- not only on blog but with some contract work writing direct mail solicitation pieces. social media for two organizations and especially with the essays for "Modern Creative Life." I was so excited when Becca and Deb decided to include two of those in the first "Modern Creative Life" anthology (Amazon.com -- it's free on Kindle!)

I would continue purging the basement. And I'm doing that. Not that most could tell, but the Goodwill boxes are going out the door this week! I also passed some of the Christmas things I have to others, happy to see them in someone else's home or on someone else's tree.

I would complete a big home maintenance project here or at the cottage and that I did, getting the foundation fixed up north. We went from tear-up to time to paint!


We do have to do a little more painting on the new part, and need to get a step, but the real work is done. And I took care of some badly needed tree trimming down at home.

I would dig into family history. Talk about falling down the rabbit hole! I've found out some amazing things I never knew, started a family history blog and newsletter to share with other family members and am hoping to coordinate both the family info and historical research into a narrative. That'll take some time, but it's part of the 2017 goals to get a good start.

Finally, the all-nighter -- read 60 books. As I write this a few days before it posts, I am on 59. I might be up till midnight to finish a 60th but I'm committed to try. (And it's a real page-turner called "I Let You Go" so I just might make it!)  Unless life gets in the way!

The Lake Bookshelf -- kids books, mysteries, Ethan Frome. Diverse!
Not bad! A pat on the back for me!

New goals for 2017? I'm sure there will be some. And I'd better start thinking about it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Few Faves from 2016

Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover did a one-photo-a-month recap of the year and I love the idea! January started out with a bloggie meet up in Ann Arbor with Mae of Mae Food

A baking class at Zingermann's in Ann Arbor gave me plenty of great tips (and three wonderful cakes!)

In March, Rick and I celebrated 20 years at Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY, where we also saw my good friend Cathy.

April brought the first visit of the season to Southern Exposure, my favorite creative spot!

In May, my friend Barb and I hosted our second Make-and-Take-Tea with these colorful scarves as the project.

June brought us trips to Myrtle Beach, where I reconnected with my PBS pal Maryanne and then to Banner Elk, NC for time with Rick's dad and step mom.

July was Rick's family reunion at Minisa, the cottage on Torch Lake that was enjoying its last summer. Good to be with family, even if the moment was a bit bittersweet.

August brought me a birthday and Medicare! It also brought art camp and my favorite piece from the week friend Kate and I spent painting.

In September Rick did a London Ontario-to-Vermont bike trip and I picked him up in Canada where we went looking for my dead Canadian ancestors.

One of the highlights of October was going to the Detroit Symphony with Kevin and Molly -- who, we learned a couple months before, are expecting what will be our first grandlittle!

In November I enjoyed my third art class of the year -- this time we made Christmas cards!

And December, Christmas. Christmas twice and with people I love.

Onward to 2017 and the wonderful experiences that await!

Monday, December 26, 2016

And Then We Look Back

I can think back and recall a few hard Christmasses  -- the ones after mom, and then later, dad, died. The year Greg was in the hospital and our whole city was in the midst of a power failure after an ice storm. But most are wonderful -- and this one, in particular, felt particularly lovely.So much so, that I don't want to see it end. And so we remember.

I remember the first Christmas I had with Rick and there were few ornaments on the tree. It became my mission to make that tree tell his story and now you will find things that represent our travels, the kids and their activities growing up, hobbies and family. On Christmas Eve (also the first night of Hanukkah), we ate on the china I gave him -- because you must have Christmas dishes!

Rich made wonderful latkes for dinner.

Then it was off to church for the Christmas Eve service, followed by a dessert reception and looking at lights. Then home, a quiet evening of Christmas, watching a cooking holiday special where they butchered a hog. (Really -- it was called "A Chef's Life" and it was kind of fascinating but a little weird.)

Christmas morning. Presents first. For Rick, books and coffee, a new red sweater and bike reconditioning.

For me, new trees for the cottage to cover the future monstrosity next door, a video set (Midsummer Murders), socks, a heart charm for my Pandora bracelet.

Home to make dinner --Julia's Boeuf Bourguingon, Rick's bread (made fresh that morning), Kate's salad.

And then we welcomed our guests, friends Kate and Mike, Oldest Kid Greg with Kim.Yes, photos.

The same, only different.

Yes, Christmas crackers.

Yes, everyone must wear the crown!

After dinner, we are joined by the other members of Rick's classical music trio. Byron and Josh add joy to our festivities as the three of them play holiday music and another of their pieces.

We are joined by others for dessert...

...and the music continues.

So, too, does the conversation. Artists and musicians,

Old friends and new.

And it all seems so Hallmark movie, it kind of surprises me. Do things ever goes this well in real life? Is there ever so little stress on dinner?

Yes, they do go this well in real life. And the did. And it was very happy.

This post is being shared with Share Your Cup and Sweet and Simple Fridays link parties. (And thanks to Jody for including my "Visions of Sugarplums" in her Sweet and Simple Friday features this week!)

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