Sunday, October 2, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: So, What's New?

Rick and I decided to spend a relaxing week or two at the cottage. My last hurrah for the year, though he may come up again later. He handles the cold better than I! When the lake is as still as glass, pretty much all boat traffic apart from fishing boats is gone and the only sound you hear for the most part is distant road noise, it's a perfect time of year.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Romping with the Dynamic Duo

When Kevin and Molly asked if we could stay with the boys while they were at a wedding, we didn't hesitate! And it was delightful in every way!

We arrived on a gorgeous September afternoon. The weather couldn't have been nicer -- sunny, warm (but not too hot), not at all humid. We stayed home for a bit while Rick and the boys played checkers.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Cork Poppers Taste the Wines of Bordeaux

It has been many moons since I attended and posted about our wine tasting gang, the Cork Poppers. Covid put a halt to our gatherings, and even after vaccinations and lifting of restrictions, we were hesitant to gather into a potential super spreader. But after many moons, we are together again, this time to sample the wines from the Bordeaux region.

We met at the home of Roger and Meredith during a rainstorm (which put a stop to the anticipated boat ride up the Grand River!). No matter. The wine was flowing, the food terrific!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: Road Trip to Harbor Springs

While Kate and I were at Art Camp we decided (for the first time in all our art camp years!) to do a road trip. And it was a very special occasion.

We were off to the charming town of Harbor Springs, Michigan, to meet up with artist Elizabeth Pollie -- whom Kate hadn't seen since she babysat for her decades before! It was an afternoon filled with fun, laughter and a delightful visit to a charming town. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: Art Camp

My fellow Artist-in-Arms Kate and I wrapped up our annual Art Camp in mid-September, having not only have a marvelous time, but perfect weather! We also celebrated both our birthdays very belatedly and did a good deal of art! No arguing with that! We even got in a road trip!

For those who haven't followed me long, art camp is a week period time when Kate and I head to the cottage and focus on our art. But there is also time for long walks, swimming, books, Britbox and Acorn, good wine and great food. It was also the only truly relaxing time I've experienced all summer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Queen -- And Why This American Cares

Like many around the world, I am mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II -- expected, but never expected at that moment and time. And during these days leading up to her funeral and final rest, it has caused me to think about my own relationship with the Queen and the British monarchy -- how it evolved and why, in these days and times, it remains so strong.

I am neither British (save for some great grandparents and beyond) nor have I ever encountered the Queen or any of her family "in person," even from afar. Why does that relationship remain strong for me and so many, while others might like nothing better than to see the backs of the royal family and their palaces and press?

Monday, September 12, 2022

Polishing Copper with Catsup -- Does It Work?

One of the things I learned when I visited the Lavender Hill Farm -- and the thing in the post that so many readers commented on -- was that they cleaned their large lavender still with catsup.

They also mentioned using lemon and salt, which I had done, but the catsup was new to me -- and to you, too. So, I decided to try it!

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Books of August

I had too much company to get much reading done in August but the books I read were worth the time and the late nights! They include a political thriller, three mysteries (set in England, Florence and Venice), a non-fiction look at how a London writer adjusts to small town life on the coast of Denmark and a short book of poems by cats!

Friday, September 2, 2022

Summer at Home: The MSU Gardens

We came back to Lansing from the lake so I could go to some doc appointments and that Rick and Kitty could prepare to go meet the grands (and her great grands) over the weekend. But it was a lovely day and a good time to take Kitty on a walk through the beautiful gardens at Michigan State University.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: Elking

Every summer when I was a kid, on a lovely evening, my mom and dad, her two sisters and their husbands, and my three cousins would pile into the old station wagon and go "elking" in Michigan's north. This activity found the six adults on the bench seats in the front and back and the four of us kids in the rear end of the car. It was close.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: A Visit to Lavender Hill Farm

While Rick's mom was visiting, it was time for a field trip and on a beautiful August day we headed to Lavender Hill Farm, located outside Boyne City, Michigan.

We arrived at the farm and checked in at the gift shop to book our inexpensive golf cart tour. Within a few minutes, our guide, Emily (an elementary education student at Michigan State) drove up in a golf cart and off we went.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: Another Visitor!

It has been a month of house guests and the most recent has been Rick's mom, Kitty, who is visiting from Texas. She picked a good time to leave that hot state in the south for our much cooler Michigan summer.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: A Few Birds

It seems to be feast or famine for spotting birds here this summer. Most of the songbirds are high in the trees and the water birds, while my favorites to view and rarely tire of, do get redundant!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: A Birthday and a Mass Invasion!

Everything this summer has been more than a little topsy turvy with a few big monkey wrenches thrown into the mix. Would my birthday be the same? Nope! It was terrific!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: More Fun with Friends

When we last left our family and friends, Rick had set off from friends Anne and Clayton's home to attend a memorial for a cycling mentor. He would ride the fifty or so miles and after the event, return to their home for another overnight and then take off on a bike hike. I, on the other hand, would skip the memorial, enjoy time with our hosts and then head home to enjoy two days of just-me time before the next round of activity.

Oh, the things we think we are going to do.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The July Book Report

Through no specific plan, it seems as though the books of July focused on three topics: Paris, New York and England (specifically, London and Penzance). They include a guide book, three mysteries, a novel of historical fiction, a chick-lit novel and a non-fiction history of a renowned hotel. It's summer -- and the reading is fun and easy!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: Just Life!

It has been an odd summer, one where we aren't quite sure where we are going or when we are going there -- or are we just staying put for a bit? You know what this one would like!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Paris In July: Some of My Personal Faves

This is the final week for Paris In July, a month-long blog event focusing on all things Parisian hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea and Deb at Readerbuzz. This week I'm taking a trip down memory lane and featuring some of my favorite Paris photos from various journeys. 

Walking in Paris -- or any city -- is filled with surprises. Look up, down, behind you, to the left and right. Into shop windows or lesser known attractions. Inside, outside. All times of day. Some of these will mean nothing to anyone but me. But I hope some of these take you a bit off the well-beaten paths! (Although I couldn't resist my favorite Eiffel Tower photo!)

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: A Birthday, Some Art and Summer Life

Summertime and the living is easy. So they say, at any rate, but this summer seemed decidedly odd. There is a hint of instability, melancholy and uneasiness in the air, a sharp contrast to the blue skies, puffy clouds and stunning sunsets. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Summer at Home: Harry and Robbie

If I am at home, I will visit the Ditch. And if I visit the Ditch, I will probably encounter my Big Bird buddy, Harry the Heron.

He was in a particularly lovely setting in one of the most recent visits. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Paris In July: The Paris Key

If I had to sum up "The Paris Key" by Juliet Blackwell in one sentence it would be "It was a good book to read while suffering with a moderate concussion and cut up face."

The Gargoyles of Notre Dame

Which may be damning with faint praise.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: The Art So Far

A year or two ago, a blogger friend gave me several partially used and very lovely sketchbooks that had been passed on to her. There was a hitch to it -- She said, "you must use them and fill them up!"

It has taken awhile. The paper is beautiful and the artist who started them was very good and I didn't want to just doodle in them! But I've finally filled the first of them (and worked in others as well)! And I've been rather pleased to open them up and see progress and diversity within.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022

Paris In July: Adding to My Fave Guidebooks!

During 2014's Paris in July, I did a post on some of my favorite guide books and maps to Paris. Those remain some of my favorites and you can find that post HERE. (Photos in this post are mine.)

The antique market at Vanves

But what about a more recent option? I have found it in the very delightful and well organized and illustrated "Paris," a Curious Traveler Guide by Eleanor Aldridge. The back of the book blurb calls it "An Insider's Guide to Paris without Pretension." It lives up to that hype.

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Books of June

Time for the June book review -- a bit late this time! There were some good ones -- a mix of mystery, fiction, bio-fiction and history! From England, Sweden, and Paris to Berlin and Italy, pre-WWII to the present, there should be something in this list to appeal to any reader!

"The Sable Messenger" by Francis Vivian

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: Concussed!

Some days are good. Some days are not-so-good. You may have read about our fun day with the Little Guys, our own Dynamic Duo. It was fun in the sun, summer food, good times. 

Then they left and things went downhill from there.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Postcards From the Lake: What It's All About!

What could be happier than a beautiful, sunny summer day at the lake? Spending a beautiful, sunny summer day with two little boys and their mom and dad!

Our grandlittles had a grand time at the beach when they came to visit us last week. The boys hadn't been to the cottage for a couple of years -- Covid did that to our gang! So, we were thrilled when they finally arrived! The weather couldn't have been better, which made outside time absolutely perfect!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Paris In July: Marc Chagall

I recently read the book "The Bridal Chair" by Gloria Golderich, about Marc Chagall and, equally and perhaps even more so, his daughter Ida, and the role she played in saving his art and getting it out of Nazi-occupied France in World War II. 

(Most of the photos in this post, unless otherwise credited, are those I've taken at Art Institute of Chicago, Paris Opera Garnier and on the Chicago streets at Chase Tower Plaza on Dearborn Street.)

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: Settling In

Our first few days here were quite lovely -- warm temperatures (but with a breeze and little humidity so it wasn't oppressive), sunny days (for the most part), pleasant evenings and settling in. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Everything Old Is New Again

I keep the watercolors I haven't framed for sale in page protectors in some big, thick binders (along with the practice work in my sketchbooks). Every now and then I look through them, partly for a little boost to see how I've improved, and sometimes, to see how I can improve upon the original work. The ones below date back to 2016.

Sometimes it improves -- and sometimes, I'm not so sure it does. So I do it again!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Postcards from the Lake: We Have Arrived!

We have arrived! It seems as though it has taken a long time to finally make it north to the cottage. My MRSA, Rick's Covid... would we ever get to our home away from home?

Yes! When I see this sign, I know I am three miles from "home."

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

From the Paint Box

Yes, I have been painting a bit! I decided I need to finally fill my practice book, and since I had done Sketchbook Revival and then a few things during Workshop Week, I'd just keep at it. Soon I'll pull out the good paper and get back to animal portraits and other images but for now, this has been fine! 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Peonies, Poppies, Purring and Pippin

Slow, late spring days. Rosie's poppies are gone now, but they were great while they lasted!

I have a few raggy looking peonies on my bushes, but they were very nice.

Monday, June 13, 2022

The May Bookstack

I devoured a diverse group of books in May! From Julia Child and the royals to some good mysteries and an endearing novel, it was a fine book month.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Hanging Around but Not Together

We're really ready for a good bounce around here. The most recent news (which is slightly old by now) is that Rick got Covid. We don't know where as we've both been very careful. It was the nasty-cold/bug version and he felt pretty lousy but is on the mend. As for me, so far, so good. I've just dropped off things since he was sick and laying low, just in case.

Its origin is a mystery. Possibly it was at a bike ride. Possibly at the open house to view our friend Dick Hill's art. That was a masked occasion, except when we were outdoors, eating. I think that's less likely, as we were both there. The walls were filled with paintings -- it was a glorious sight.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Tea for the Queen

I so enjoyed the Queen's Jubilee events. My equally-Anglophile friend Carol has been watching too, and last week she and I had a Jubilee tea! I had ordered some Jubilee tea plates from Cath Kidston and got out the silver and some pretty table linens.

It was a bit of a pink and white theme, which worked with the plates. Easy carnations and baby's breath made for a queenly floral piece!

Monday, June 6, 2022

Globe Hopping

From my own back yard to the house down the street, the cottage up north and England, here are a few things on my mind of late!

The bird watching continues! And still -- no baby cheeps coming. Maybe they're quiet -- I don't think they have fledged, but who knows?

Thursday, June 2, 2022

God Save Her

This is the week of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, commemorating 70 years on the the throne, Britain's longest reigning monarch and one of the longest in history of any country. 


I'm an  unapologetic fan of the Queen. She has done a job she was never supposed to have to do, having fallen into the role of heir apparent when her father became king following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, to marry Wallis Simpson. 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Backyard Birdwatching

I've been doing a bit of backyard (and front yard!) bird watching these days and thought you might like an update! The big news is that Wrennie the wren, whom you may have met before here, has returned! Like the chickadees, the wrens work in concert with one another -- and that concert also includes beautiful trills. Here is one of the two wrens, atop the pole.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Why Wait?

Every day, someone makes a difference in someone else's life. We may know a person for ages as a friend or even an acquaintance, like them, appreciate their talent, and maybe even say "Good job!" or "I liked that!" But then something happens -- to them or to us -- that changes the picture to something more revealing, more profound. Maybe we are able to tell them how they have affected our perspectives or how we value their contributions to our lives. Or, maybe we think there will be time to say so later. Sometimes there is and sometimes, regrettably, there isn't.

Catfish by Dick Hill

And that's why I need to tell you now about Dick Hill. Because I want him to know how I feel -- and I want you to know about him. You need to know about him. We all do. He may not have a lot of time left to hear these words, so it's important to do it now. And while he's here on this earth, he still has a lot to say. It's funny, witty and very wise and I need to share some of that with you..

Monday, May 23, 2022

My Buddy Harry the Heron (And Bunny 17)

I couldn't resist sharing a few photos from my most recent Ditch walk. I couldn't have been more lucky.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Toying with Normal When You're Not

"I hug myself till my arms turn blue, then I close my eyes and cry and cry till the tears come down and I can taste them. I love to taste my tears. I am special. I am special! Please god, please, don't let me be normal!" -- "The Fantasticks"

I always thought that was the best line -- and it so fit me. Now I just want normal again. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

I Just Keep Painting....

Sketchbook Revival has really pushed me to try new techniques and practice drawing and sketching as well as painting. So here we have the good, the bad and the ugly!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Catching Up and Recipes for You!

I remember when I was working and how hectic spring used to be. I sometimes wonder how I managed to have much of a life while I still had a job. Oh wait, maybe I didn't manage all that well! 

It seems as though my calendar has been more or less empty for so many months, I don't know what to do when something fills it up. I took a quick glance at an upcoming week. The doc. The dentist. Going with Rick to a retirement planning seminar. A birthday gathering for a dear friend turning 70.

 It almost feels normal.

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