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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

What Would Wally Do?

My friend Wally died last week. You've seen his work -- the beautiful images of Paris that hang above my mantel are by Wally. And my personal collection holds many favorites from this well-loved and respected photographer who focused on European images.


And, as you might expect, it takes a chunk out of a person to know there will be no more lunches, photo shoots, good talks about photography or travel with someone you just plain like and have known for a very long time. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Mother Goose

The goslings have arrived and the nests all appear empty at the Ditch. Mother Goose is tending her babies!

And, it should be noted, the Father Goose is right at hand, ready to spit or advance on anyone that might be a threat!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The April Book Bunch

Let's just say that after a March with a lot of reading, April was a let down! I guess all that reading time in March was disrupted in April by a lot of painting, which was probably a better thing overall!

That said, it was a mostly-mystery month, with one book on home decor. I'm about halfway through a remarkable (and very long) biography on Julia Child -- but you'll have to wait for the May report for that one.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Mural Monday: Old Town (and a tune from Rick!)

A couple of weeks ago, Rick and his musical partner Josh were playing an open mic night in Lansing's Old Town. I wanted to see them perform but after five minutes in an overcrowded room with bad ventilation and practically no one but me in a mask I said, "I'll walk around a bit and try to come back when you think you might be playing" (about an hour later). (You can here it too, at the bottom of this post!)

So, I took a stroll around Old Town, one of my favorite shopping areas. Unfortunately, everything was closed except for one (very lovely) gallery -- the excellent "Absolute Gallery."

Saturday, April 30, 2022

My New Neighbor!

I have the most charming new neighbor! 

 I don't know if the Chickadee family have had their babies yet, but there certainly is a lot of action going on at Chez Chick these days.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Waking Up at the Ditch

The Ditch is still pretty much a symphony of muted colors and fairly quiet. I think most of the ducks have gone down-under, tending their nests; the new growth of grasses is yet to be visible and the trees still bare.

But there is definitely some life going on! And more than a little bit of beauty!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Waking Up: At Home and Beyond

Before I start this post, does anyone else who follows blogs with bloglovin' find that their site has been down for about a week? If I don't visit you, it's because even though I get their notifications, when I click on any link to visit you, it says their server is busy. Same when I visit the url for the site so I can't even complain! Just asking -- wondering if it is overall or just me!

Last week my friend Jan and I went to our favorite market to pick up Easter food. Their "fresh" selection beats any local grocery. On the way past the bird seed, garden implements and seeds, we glanced outside and saw some color in the greenhouse. And so we ventured forth, curious to see some color in what has been a very gray spring.

And we were blown away!

Monday, April 18, 2022

More from the Art Workshops!

Sketchbook Revival continues till April 30 but so far I've filled a lot of pages on my book! I shared the cats and landscape with you HERE. These are a few other pieces.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Early Easter

This weekend, many who celebrate Easter will do so on April 17. (Orthodox Easter is April 24.) We celebrated on Palm Sunday with our kidlets. And it was so much fun! 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Birds, A Blog Book and a Book Signing

Spring is trying to break through here in mid-Michigan, although the weather is doing its best to provide the obligatory April showers. It brings out the critters, this happy cardinal...

Thursday, April 7, 2022

More Bunnies

With only two weeks until Easter, it was time to bring on the rest of the bunnies! It may be frigid outdoors here in Michigan -- or not, we're on the seesaw season of Sprinter, no matter what the calendar says! But inside it's pretty cozy!

Monday, April 4, 2022

Marching Through Books: Real People

What draws you to a certain book at a certain time? Maybe it is your favorite genre, a new entry by a beloved author or events swirling around you. This month's books weren't picked because they were about "real people," but that's how it ended up. Our March offerings take us from Amsterdam to Paris, Michigan to Japan, and to the war rooms and stages of England.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Time to Paint!

Rick diligently practices his classical guitar every day. And guess what? He gets better and better. In the summer, I paint every day. And guess what? I get better and better too.

Then I put everything away for months at a time and when I go to start again, I realize how far I've fallen. So when the Sketchbook Revival free workshops began, I decided to jumpstart my creativity!

Friday, March 25, 2022

Welcome, Spring!

Now, this is the way to spend the first day of spring!

We hadn't yet celebrated the Big Guy's birthday -- he turned five in February. So, on this glorious first day of spring, we headed to Livonia with presents and cupcakes and settled in for a day of fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Middlemarch - Morning Reflectons

The sun was so bright, the weather forecast so positive, that I couldn't resist stepping out the front door early in the morning to smell an early bit of spring. The daffodil shoots are tall enough now that I can see them from the kitchen window, bravely peeking from the dirt and the mulch, hoping it is safe enough to continue to shoot taller, without the possible enemies of snow, ice or squirrels to deter their growth.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Early Spring at Home

Since it's almost spring (and friends tell me it already is meteorological spring -- I wish they'd tell that to the weather here -- we bounce from high to low) I figured it was time to spring up the house.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Early March at the Ditch

In an earlier post I mentioned a lovely, early March walk to the Ditch. It was 60 degrees, sunny and perfect. The water still looked pretty cold. There's still a lot of ice, but it's breaking up and the weather was certainly helping. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Two Years Later

Shortly after what I view as world lockdown began, March 11, 2020 (the date would no doubt vary from place to place and person to person), I began what I called "The Covid Journal." Thinking, like so many, that this change in our lifestyles would be short-lived, I chose a rather small journal I had bought two years before at Sennelier in Paris. I would record thoughts from this time in words and watercolor. It would all end neatly, when Covid and masks were a thing of the past. Not necessarily a happy ending, but an ending.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Books of February

February was a wonderful month to curl up with a book and I curled up with a few good ones! The seven books I read took me from the France of Julia Child and M.F.K. Fisher to the village of Three Pines in Quebec; from the Illinois midwest to the cathedral town of Lafferton in the UK; the from wealthy homes of Paris to the farmland of Norfolk, and from war-torn London to England's Kent counry side. February's reads were well worth the time.

"Provence, 1970" by Luke Barr

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Pretending It's Spring

Rick just left after watching the finale of "Derek" (Netflix) and part of "The Darkest Hour" (a timely film to see during these challenging times). Freshly fallen snow was on the ground as he started home. It's March.

Calendar art by Kate McNenly

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunflowers for Ukraine

Did you know the national flower of Ukraine is the sunflower?

I didn't. Until today.

I looked at my Facebook feed and it was becoming flooded with glorious images of sunflower.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

And This Is How Our Days Go

The good thing about February is that we see signs that winter won't be forever here in Michigan. Yes, we will still get snow -- maybe even a lot of it. But then you have melting days where the temps are warmer and the snow begins to reveal the grass beneath. And, as we celebrated Christmas late, we did Valentine's Day late, too -- so only about a month till "official" spring. Time flies!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Revisiting Travel Photos: Japan

More from the digital photo file vault! This revisiting photo files has been a walk down memory lane for me. Today I'm delighted to share some photos from our February 1998 trip to Japan.

"Peace" - Created with thousands of paper cranes in Hiroshima

Friday, February 18, 2022

Winter Life

By the time we get to the middle of February, winter gets old. Pretty, but old.

Calendar by Kate McNenly

I've been enjoying my newest neighborhood critter, Bunny FooFoo. Well, probably he won't stay Bunny FooFoo for long -- he seems far too masculine for that! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Christmas In February

We came bearing gifts and received as well. We played with little boys and savored fabulous meals. We were with our tribe and it was wonderful.

Christmas didn't play out for us in December. Between our isolating and Covid hitting the kids' house (thank you, day care!), we were behind the game. So, we reverted to something my cousins and I actually did back in the day when families were either too large or not well enough to travel far at the holidays: Christmas in February.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

All Kinds of Valentines

Hearts. Chocolate. Love notes and pretty cards. Valentine's day is one holiday that can be divinely fun or deeply depressing. Or, a day everyone, it seems, but you, seem to be celebrating.

This is a story of friendship. Back in the 1980s, there was a group of seven of us in various stages of life disrepair. Broken relationships or no relationships, unfulfilling jobs, losses. We seven were good friends -- three women, four men --  about half of whom worked together, the other half made up of people who had volunteered for our television station's fundraising events. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

So, We Got a Little Snow

We've been gliding through winter here in Michigan pretty easily, with very little snow and cold but not excruciating temperatures. 

That was then. This is now. 


Sunday, February 6, 2022

A Little Love in the House

I'm not quite sure how we got to February. I'm not complaining -- but the year seems to be flying by! It was time to deck the halls for Valentine's Day.

I don't do a lot for Valentine's Day. It seems to pop up so fast and then boom! It's gone. But it is a time where we celebrate love, so I thought I'd better bring a little love into the home, starting with the front door!

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