Saturday, December 30, 2023

My Memorable Moments of 2023

At the end of the year (or beginning of the new one) I like to take a look back at some of my favorite or most significant moments of the new year. So join me on this look back -- and a look ahead to 2024.


The month began with art -- not creating it but seeing some of the best in the world, with a visit to a magnificent Van Gogh exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Let the Merriment Continue!

Friends and family. Holiday treats. Red-nosed reindeer. For me, that's what Christmas is all about!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

December at the Ditch -- and Beyond

To be honest, this year there is little difference between December at the Ditch and November at the Ditch. Even the holiday ornaments that sprang up there a few years ago haven't yet appeared. I suspect everyone is as behind schedule as I am. 

On the 14th -- a Thursday -- we told the kids we would seen them in a "couple of weeks from tomorrow." The next day I looked at the calendar and realized we would see them only ONE WEEK from that day (the 22nd). In between that, there was insulation installation, a wedding I didn't know we were going to until a couple of days before that, cards to make, cards to send and not a speck of baking done.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Cork Poppers -- Italian Wines Rock!

Barb and Mike were our hosts for Cork Poppers this month and the wines of Italy didn't disappoint!


We started out with Barb's homemade limoncello, which Bob poured.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Saturday, December 9, 2023

More Holiday Decorating!

I think the house is about as ready as it's going to be for the holidays. Time to move on to shopping, wrapping, mailing, baking and cards! Oh my!

So, here is the rest of the living room, family room and kitchen, starting with the living room. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

One Tree at a Time

Everywhere I visit on Blogland I see people's beautiful holiday decorations and lovely trees. Meanwhile, I'm still working on it!

But I thought I'd offer a bit of a progress report! I'm getting Christmas up, one tree at a time, one Santa at a time. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

November: A Pitiful Reading Month!

 Well, for those of you who say I read a lot of books in a month -- well, that's anything but the case! In Novmber I finished one book. Lots of reasons for not reading -- and no excuses!


"This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage" by Ann Patchett

This collection of essays is by one of my favorite authors. It's not my personal favorite of her works (including her essays -- her "These Precious Days" was one of my favorite books of 2023). But there are many small gems in this one and, as many essay collections work, each one may resonate differently with each reader.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Bits of Real-Life November

When I first started writing this -- which was mid-November, right before we visited the kids -- it was  a glorious November day, one of several. The temperature hit 65, and maybe even topped it. The sun was out and there was no real wind! It couldn't have been a better (or more unusual) day for the season. When you have a day like that, you grab it. We know what is around the corner. Today there is snow -- and so cold!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Wreath!

It happens every November. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, my friend Jan and I hit the Northville Greens Market in search of the perfect wreath! (And maybe a present to two!) Then, and only then, has the official season begun.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Let the Merriment Begin!

How much fun can you cram into a long weekend? When two boys are involved -- ages 5 and 6 (although we are reminded, he's almost 7!), the answer is "a lot!"

Rick and I were kid-sitting the boys while their parents were spending time with a cousin in Indiana. We decided they shouldn't have all the fun and had quite an agenda of activities. The oldest had been asking about "doing a craft" since we last saw him, so I cam supplied with lots of crafty projects for Christmas ornaments.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Peddling My Wares!

First, a bit of housekeeping before I get into the post. If you have a Wordpress blog, I'm having a terrible time commenting on your posts. Carole, Gigi, Erin, Gretchen and many others, I've tried. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I'm logged into Wordpress, but it doesn't matter if I click the icon next to my photo or reply (or both), it won't go through. I've logged off and back in -- no matter. So, I'm still reading but if you don't see a comment from me, don't give up on me! (It's nice to know Blogger isn't the only one with periodic issues!)

This week, I'm on a post art sale high. We had a wonderful time at Mistletoe Market, seeing many friends and making new ones, too.

Monday, November 13, 2023

October Books

I don't know how I managed to get in five books in October. They include a novel I loved, a travel book I didn't like at all, and three mysteries, including a marvelous "outing" with those divinely odd detectives, Bryan and May.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

November Life -- A Concert, Antique Finds and Fun with Little Boys!

Is anyone else a little freaked out that we are well into November? Less than two months till Christmas? There was a time when I was more or less done with Christmas shopping by the first of November. This year I haven't even started. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

The September Books -- Finally

October is over, yet finally I am reviewing the September books! September brought more reading time than I'd expected and there are six books here to show for it -- four mysteries, a biography of sorts and an action novel are featured this month.


Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Still Crazy After All These Years

When you connect with friends you met when you were 18 and now you find yourselves as grandmothers, one never knows how it will go. How did we change? Did anyone go off the rails? Did the challenges of life change the exuberance we all knew when we were young? 

When my college roommate, LeAnne, texted the other four of us who had known each other since freshman year suggesting a meet-up, everyone was game and plans were made. A VRBO, dining at our old dorm, time to check out the campus, and a birthday celebration. Things fell together like clockwork. We'd be back at MSU together!

Most of us came from around Michigan -- Carol from the north, Barb and LeAnne from the west, and me from central Michigan. Terry came from Pensacola, Florida. It wasn't our first get together -- but it was the first when all five of us had been together for 50 years.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Autumn in the House

Somehow or other, October passed me by and I realized I was so blog-focused on the lake and beyond that I hadn't mentioned anything about autumn inside the house! I did cut back a bit and I was pretty late getting out any Halloween. But hey, life is for living, right? Sometimes decorating has to wait!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Back Home

Life back home goes on, whether we are here or not. But despite missing the relaxed peace of the cottage, there is always something good about being home, especially during this time of year when everything is ramping up. For me, the ramp-up was a reunion with my college roommates. And then, Halloween is just around the corner! 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

There is nothing so hard for me as buttoning up the cottage and saying goodbye until next spring. Fortunately, our last couple of days brought some sunshine and dry weather. It was a good time for that last walk or two, putting away the outdoor things and the porch. I even managed lunch on the porch once or twice (albeit dressed in layers!).

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: The Place That Owns Me

The end of season walk is quieter, more contemplative, than those during the heat of summer. In the summer, many others are encountered and conversations -- some brief, some less so -- are not uncommon. The October walk, especially on a weekday, finds that one is often alone.


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Entering the Autumn Zone

After a few days of having a fire going in the fireplace from dawn till dusk, the cottage warmed up a bit. This was a good thing as the weather continued reminding us that in some things we have no control! Even when it wasn't raining, it looked as though it might. Word on the street was that we might get our temps up to 50 during the day here in our second week and there might even be sun (well, partly cloudy) on one of those days. Talk about crossing your fingers for luck!

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: So, It Got Cold. And Wet.

Given my options (and no one has) I'd rather it be rainy in the summer, when at least it is warm and not 40 degrees. Especially with day-after-day of rain and cold. The weather gods didn't ask me. They should have. It's not the greatest time to be outside, though we've tried. But it was definitely not the day for a walk like this one.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Postcards From the Lake -- Autumn Walk

Signs of fall -- and no one can deny we aren't into fall -- are emerging and showing themselves on my lake walks. Early red leaves circle tree trunks.


Saturday, October 7, 2023

Postcards From the Lake -- Early October

Those October visits to the lake are often bittersweet, often beautiful, and on occasion, filled with surprises. I arrived in early October, Lizzie in hand (or carry box), with Rick cycling up. As I turned into our area, this was the site -- not full fall, but certainly well on the way!

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Around My World

Apart from a Cork Poppers gathering (post on that coming soon -- we tasted some great Spanish reds) life has been mostly odds and ends -- appointments, daily tasks and a few fun surprises.

At the top of the surprise list was the arrival of this wonderful quilt from Carole of From My Carolina Home. She had a sale last summer and I couldn't resist this cheerful (and beautifully made) piece -- and she thankfully held it for me till my return from the lake in September.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

A Day at the Ditch

I hope you are in the mood for big birds and creatures because we're off to an amazing day at the Ditch!

So, settle back, have a seat on the bench and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Old Friends, New Friends -- A Road Trip to Toledo

There's something about fall that calls for a road trip. And even though it wasn't what I call "full fall" (in fact, it had only just begun), our road trip to Toledo was still filled with loads of fun and yes, a little bit of color!


Friday, September 22, 2023

Something Old, Something Tasty!

Sometimes there isn't a lot of new to share, especially since I'm trying to lay a little low these days. So I figured I'd look back on the old! Old photos, that is! I thought maybe I'd find a bit of inspiration in some images from years past. And, I thought I'd throw out a recipe or two!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Time Is Flying. I'm Not.

Well, we can't say we aren't well into September, only a few days from "official" fall. Time is flying and I'm -- not!

I did get a very few fall things in the house. Here's a peek. I'll start to bring up Halloween the first week of October unless we are able to go to the lake that week, in which case I'll probably bring a few things up before I go.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Bits and Pieces from Here and There

I feel half-in, half-out these days. Home most of the time but still anticipating weekends or even a few extra days at the lake. I find it odd to be home, to be honest. When I turned on the local news, I realized how out of touch I've been for two months. Not that I've missed much, but more of a feeling like, "So, this is where I really live."

To top it off, I haven't had the energy to dig into "projects" and the fact that nothing much is getting done frustrates me. Now, whose fault is that?

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: The August Books

For weeks I thought August was a slow reading month. Too much computer time? But somehow I finished seven books and they were all good ones. In this month's reviews, series mysteries by Donna Leon, Martin Walker, Mark Pryor and Ann Cleeves; as novel by Jodi Picoult; a delightful memoir of actor Martin Short,  and a remarkable, wee book that is timely and important. (And yes, there is a drawing in this post. Read on!)

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: September Song

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to DecemberBut the days grow short when you reach SeptemberWhen the autumn weather turns the leaves to flameOne hasn't got time for the waiting game
Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious fewSeptember, NovemberAnd these few precious days I'll spend with youThese precious days I'll spend with you.
                 "September Song," Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson

September tends to be a favorite month for many reasons, but it also has its moments when I want to clutch the best days and bottle them for the days that are far from the best. Yes, "the days grow short when you reach September."

Friday, September 1, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: The Down Elevator

Recently, in the New York Times, Melissa Kirsch shared some thoughts on the end of summer saying "We're in the down elevator." She referred to how summer was "visibly diminishing with each earlier sunset." And, she spoke about how it is good to be home -- or is it? 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Road Weeds

The walks at the end of summer are a bit bittersweet in many ways. It's the same path I walk throughout the summer and it rarely seems to change. Except it is changing every day. 

In these latter days of August I notice there is greater quiet. Fewer cars are parked by their cottages during the week and even on weekends. The properties look lonely, as though they are lying in wait -- not yet locked tightly for the winter, but waiting for the next arrival. Yet, those arrivals seem fewer, further between. Yes, it feels lonelier here.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Awe and Awful (times three)

Home alone (at the lake) for a bit. It has its pluses and minuses. First thing on the plus side, I captured Lizzie unaware and so an early departure was successful. As I mentioned to some of you, I could practically hear her go "Curses! Foiled again!" The minus? The weather is awful!

As I was headed to the lake, I listened to an interesting interview on NPR's "On Point" series about awe, and how wonderful it is to incorporate into our lives. They discussed the idea of awe and how it is different for everyone. Viewers had phoned in their "awe" experiences" and it got me thinking about some of mine. In no particular order, here are a few of them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Postcards From the Lake -- and Beyond: And He's Off!

About a week ago, I dropped off Rick and his bike about an hour or so past home to give him a head start on his ride last week. It was a great day -- a perfect day for pedaling! 

I misjudged timing a bit. I forgot that I don't just let him out of the car and off he goes! He has to get the bike out of the trunk and put the pieces back together...

Then attach his paniers (saddlebags) to the back...

Saturday, August 19, 2023

A Few Days at Home: Down at the Ditch

Stepping back in time for a minute, I was home for a few days when I took Nancy back down state to head back to Colorado. Of course I had to visit the Ditch! And I wasn't disappointed.

Often, there are many walkers but on this morning it was especially quiet and peaceful.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Taking the Long Way Home

"The corn is as high as an elephant's eye

And it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky!"

     ~~~  Oscar Hammerstein Jr., "Oklahoma!"

Rick and I headed home for a few days -- a doc appointment for me, time for his cycling trip to Ottawa for him. It was a gloomy day when we left -- it's always easier to leave the lake on a cold, gloomy day!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Lazy Summer Days

Summer is moving so quickly -- too quickly for me. It seems we got a late start. Well, a funky start, at best. It got very hot too early; then very cold. And finally, it was well into June with commitments and I didn't get to the lake till July 1! Now I'm dreading the fact that soon we'll be counting down. 

But not yet!

Rick's Laundry

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Road Trip -- The Soo Locks

What do you do on a beautiful day in the north? A road trip is always a good idea! Rick and I decided to head north to Sault Saint Marie, Michigan and the site of the famous Soo Locks. Here we are, two happy travelers!

We started the morning at the Mackinaw City restaurant, Darrows, where we met up with our friends from home, blogger/writers John Schneider (Waiting for Home: The Richard Prangley Story") and Sharon Emery ("It's Hard Being You: A Primer on Being Happy Anyway"). Time with John and Sharon is always fun and it was a great way to start the day. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Postcards From The Lake: July Reading -- Not Really Beach Books!

I had hoped to have a few more (at least one more) book to share with you this month -- but then I started having fun and something had to give! So, there are five this month -- and all were well worth the time.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Welcome, Dear Friend!

Once upon a time, a family with a three year-old only child moved next door to a family of five with a two year-old daughter. The girls became fast friends and when the girls were four and five, the neighbor girl moved from Michigan to Montana. Would they ever see each other again?

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: Celebrating Rick

Rick celebrated another circle (or cycle!) around the sun this past week. I'm a firm believer in celebrating birthdays -- sometimes it takes a lot to make it through a year and that life should be celebrated!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Postcards From the Lake: A Gentle Pace and a Dinner Guest

Lake life continues to move at a slow and gentle pace. Lovely sunsets, (almost) daily walks (the rain is a factor) and sometimes even a celebration or two!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Postcards from the Lake -- Rick has Arrived. The Good Weather has Gone!

Well, here in the last postcard I was talking about our mostly lovely weather and that it was warm. Then the rain came and cooled it off. But enough is enough. We don't need a week of cooler temperatures, even when it is sunny! Last week was Gaylord's annual Alpenfest, which I confess isn't my favorite time of year up here. So I've been hanging at the lake.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Postcards from the Lake -- Getting a New Routine

I have decided that it takes a good week to begin to get a new routine going, to look at time differently than I do at home. There is no schedule -- a Zoom doc appointment was the closest I'll probably come to one. It's caused me to ponder the question of time a good deal. But that's for another day! Meanwhile, here's a look at the week!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Postcards from the Lake -- Finally!

As I begin writing this, it's my first evening at the lake. Finally. Between appointments and physical therapy, along with a couple of fun weekend things that kept me home, I hadn't been here once. It's good to be back.

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