Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Year in Photos

It's pretty hard to pick one photo from each month that describes something special in the year. After all, it's been a pretty good year! But I'll give it my best shot!


January brought a trip to Dallas to celebrate Rick's mom's 80th birthday and connect with family -- and with it, the chance to meet bloggers Stacy, Jemma and Eilis (standing) and Laura and Carol (seated)!


The big event of February? The birth of our beautiful Baby Grand with his wonderful, tiny feet!


March brought Italian classical guitarist Giorgio Mirto to Michigan where he stayed with Rick for two weeks. We especially enjoyed getting a pasta-making lesson and fabulous Italian dinner by my neighbors Rosie and Frank who hailed from a different part of Italy. But at least Giorgio got to speak a little Italian during his visit!

 (We also enjoyed a wonderful trip to New England for Rick's trade show with stops in Pittsfield to spend time with his brother; Geneva, NY, where we celebrated 22 years together and Sharon Springs to see my friend Jane's fixer-upper. Someday I'll post before-and-afters (but we're still waiting for the "after"!)


Spring! That robin certainly heralded a long-awaited season. It also brought gall bladder surgery but you can't have it all good, right?


May gave us beautiful weather and long walks at the Ditch with the occasional deer sighting!


Summer! We kicked off summer with a weekend spent with friends near Lake Michigan in Ludington. The sunset on the beach was perfection, as was the company! Then time to head north to the cottage!


Lake time! I spent 55 nights at the lake between June and September (and the days, of course!).


That photo at the very top of this post, Quebec City looking over the St. Lawrence River and down into the lower town, represents one of the highlights of August.

The other was art camp at the lake -- and absolutely glorious weather!


I love September at the lake. Beautiful sunsets, a quieter space. We enjoyed several lake weekends and a visit with friends who had moved north. It was also when my lip cancer was diagnosed. I won't show pix of that!


Well, there had to be something good to come along with the radiation! For me, two big events were finding the property that my grandfather was born and grew up on in Western Michigan and the return of the Southern Exposure workshops.


Two Southern Exposure workshops, my art sale, the rainy greens workshop and wrapping up radiation topped this month! We enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends and anticipating some hall-decking!


Good news! A clean thyroid biopsy (we'll watch it), wonderful time with friends! Our Cork Poppers celebrated the holidays and I celebrated everything with anyone who wanted to celebrate something! Best of all, Christmas with the kids and this little angel. (I know I've shown this photo before but it's my very favorite!)

So kick up your heels and indulge in a sweet treat...

...or a liquid one.

Find your safe haven...

...and your happy place.

Exercise your creative streak, whatever it may be...

... go exploring!

... and visit someplace you've never been!

And don't forget to look at life through the eyes of a child. We can learn a lot from them.

Here's to a wonderful 2018. And thank you...

...for being wonderful blog friends this past year!

(Stay tuned for Reading Recap and Word of the Year!)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Christmas Fun Keeps on Coming!

The good thing about lots of Christmas celebrations is that it's loads of fun! So we let the fun continue!

"Real" Christmas Day found us saying goodbye to the kids and hello to our friends! Inside it was cozy and warm. Outside it was like this.

You could hardly see across the street and from my FB friends I noticed many didn't travel, even short distances. The frost was definitely on the window!

I couldn't get great shots but if you want to see some of the most amazing ice crystal photos, check out Tammie's blog and scroll down her posts -- one amazing photographer who has maxed out ice shots! Meanwhile -- mine pale in comparison!

We had six for dinner. As always, the Spode Christmas china that was my mom's and her crystal and silver.

I made the place cards and menu cards from some of my art. And I took my Southern Exposure visits to heart with the chair covers and little stockings for tucking the napkins!

Being surrounded by friends is indeed a wonderful feeling, especially on a day like Christmas.

Our dinner included ham, mom's scalloped potatoes and my cousin Bonnie's corn casserole. Wally had brought cheese for before to enjoy with Rick's baguettes and jalapeno/cheese bread; Kate made an amazing salad and Byron's cranberries had a terrific surprise ingredient -- maraschino cherries! Yum!

Later, our friends Richard and Elaine joined us for dessert and when everyone was gone, we tumbled into bed! Super-tired but with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads!

The next day brought more company, my friend Jerry who came from Paris. It was a short visit but filled with joy and wonderful conversation.

And really, that's what this part of Christmas is all about. Spending time with family and friends, catching up, enjoying good food and sharing wonderful fellowship.

We'll just skip the part about doing the dishes!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Joy!

Good morning, Christmas Number One! (cue the music -- the wonderful Ella!) And let me give you a head's up. Since I'm a first time gran, you're going to see a lot of little babies and family pix!

Yes, this is what it looked like. But we were all warm and toasty inside! Who wouldn't be with Lamb Chop at hand. (And yes, this is a Lamb Chop that came from a PBS meeting where I met Shari Lewis herself. Anybody under 40 probably won't understand that sentence.)

Our Christmas with the kids began on December 22 when Kevin and Molly arrived with our Baby Grand! It was an early night after dinner out but the fun began the next day with a trip to the mall.

What? Going to the mall on December 23? Yup. (Well, women and children to the mall while the guys were doing the real mission -- Home Depot!)

Greg arrived shortly after he returned and one thing became very clear. He and his little nephew are going to be very good buddies.

There was a whole lot of joy going on!

And lots of loving, too!

Our Christmas Dinner was on the 23rd in the evening, our "Christmas Eve." The mashed potatoes were a hit.

Our Christmas morning on the 24th was loads of fun. Terrific gifts all around -- and one delighted little guy who didn't really get it but was having fun!

Then our traditional egg and sausage strata breakfast. Our mimosas were made with sparking juice this year because another Baby Grand is on the way next summer! If one of us can't having champagne on Christmas morning, none of us will!

It didn't take much to keep our Baby Grand occupied and smiling. I highly recommend the jingle bell wreath -- it's practically indestructible!

It also makes an attractive Santa Lucia crown. (And I might say that necklace has had just about had the life sucked out of every piece dangling from it. Good thing I washed it before I came! In fact, I'm not sure what didn't get in this little guy's mouth, apart from choking hazards!)

All that merriment can be exhausting!

Meanwhile, Greg and I did our traditional cookie frosting.

Then, armed with cookies, he was off to his girlfriend's home for "real" Christmas Eve in the falling snow.

Kevin, Molly and our Sweet One took off the next morning for their third Christmas. Before they left we got a couple of my favorite photos...


And then the little guy was back asleep again!

By that time it was really coming down, but all arrived safely at their destination!

And the Christmas Neighbor came by, snowblowing sidewalks and driveways.

And so, to him and all we can only reiterate the words of Charles Dickens' Tiny Tim.

"God Bless us, Everyone!"

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