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.


The big event of February was celebrating Carson's sixth birthday. It seemed like yesterday that we got the call -- close to midnight -- that Molly was in labor and we hurried down to Livonia to be present when this little guy popped  out. He's been a treasure ever since!


On a far more sobering note, On February 13, a shooter came into Michigan State University's classrooms and student union and killed three students and seriously injured five others. The entire community was rattled by this -- and the idea that something so tragic would hit so close to home. The U closed for several days and security ramped up, but a tension remains.



March was a month for celebrating friendships. High school friend Suzanne came from Canada for a few days to do belated Christmas.

And later that month, friends Kate, Barb and I got together at Barb's house to make preserved lemons. What a grand time we had! (And the lemons were good, too!)



Rick is involved with a bicycle hosting organization called Warm Showers, where he offers a bed, dinner and a shower to road cyclists on long tours. Several years ago we met Jacob Cohen, whose musical interests (as well as cycling) gelled well with Rick's and he has since become a friend. Jacob is the Head of UK Development at the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and has been studying law at University of Michigan. He came for dinner and, being a pretty amazing musician himself, joined Rick for a delightful evening of conversation and music!


Later that month, we were dining out with blogger Mae of Mae's Food. Mae lives in Ann Arbor and Rick and I met up with Mae and her husband Len in the cute little town of Chelsea, Michigan for lunch and a great catch-up! (No photos, but in May I also met up with blogger Anno in Chelsea for another great lunch!)

 Then there was Easter and these two goofs had quite the haul of colorful eggs in our hunt!



May was a busy month for us. We enjoyed another visit from the kids and spent a beautiful spring day at the park (and the fire station!)

We also headed down to Cleveland where my extended family lives, this time for a wedding. While we were there were able to meet our newest family member, Aiden, the son of my cousin Jeff and his wife Lauren. Aiden and Lauren had a tough time making an entry into the world only two months before, so it was especially wonderful to see them so well and happy.

We also spent a delightful evening with my friend Jane and her partner Mike, who had recently returned from medical duty in Ukraine. Jane had given us tickets to the Tudor exhibit at the Cleveland Art Institute so the following day we immersed ourselves in the lives and art of this remarkable royal family.

And of course we posed for a selfie!


Rick not only studies and practices his classical guitar with great diligence but also supports other artists and introduces them to new audiences. In June we hosted a house concert at his home for guitarist Onur Alakavuklar. About 35 people crammed into his living room for a delightful evening of music, followed by a reception on the patio. All were charmed!

Then it was time to see the Camster graduate from pre-school. We loved their presentation and being with this little charmer and his parents!

I also enjoyed another cooking day with Barb and Kate, this time making pretzels. The pretzels were terrific. The camaraderie even more fun!

I finally was able to join in with the en plein air painters as we took our art outside and painted at the Ditch. This group paints weekly in the summer but since I'm at the lake most of the time, I can rarely participate. So this was a treat!

Finally, Wrennie, my little house wren from years past, returned and again set up her nest in the Bird House B&B. I adored the sweet trills she and her mate made as they settled, and while I never saw the fledglings, she was busy in there for a very long time!


And finally, a sad event -- the death of my dear friend, Larry Stone. Larry and his wife, Lin -- a former high school teacher -- have been the best of friends ever since that time and he was one of the finest men I've ever known. We drove to Columbus for the funeral and Rick rode his bike home -- his second long ride of the season. (The first was to Bloomington, Indiana, in April for the Little 500 bicycle race.


July was a month of celebration, starting out with started out with the Camster's fifth birthday. With his big smiles and bigger hugs, he is definitely a charmer!

Later in the month, Rick took another trip around the sun. Greg was able to join us for that, (He designed the jersey that Rick is wearing!)

We also had a visitor from far away -- my friend Nancy from Colorado. Nancy and I met when I was three, she was two. When she was four, her family moved from next door to Montana. You'd think we would have lost touch, but our mothers kept us connected and to this day we talk regularly. Our time together at the lake was especially fun and proof that distance doesn't have to end friendships, but perhaps make them even richer.

We were distressed to learn, upon arriving at the lake, that neighbor Jim (best neighbor in the world) had his place two doors down up for sale.

Meanwhile, I was enjoying my walks up north -- a required part of my physical therapy and truly, the best part!


Life at the lake continued in August and with it, a reunion of two of my cousins. David, Jack and I were born in the same year and it was fun to connect!

On a lovely August day right before my birthday, Rick and I enjoyed a visit to Michigan's Soo Locks in the upper peninsula. It was a glorious day and a perfect one to take the locks tour.

 A few days later, he took off for a lengthy bike ride into Canada, going to Ottawa, into Quebec, and down to Massachusetts before coming home a bit after Labor Day. I drove him as far as Lapeer, Michigan, to help him get around a particularly gnarly traffic area. 

Then I continued on to meet my friend Suzanne in Port Huron for a belated birthday celebration!

It was back to the lake for me. In a bit of sad irony, I became friends with Neighbor Jim's wife Kathy (who didn't come to the lake as often as he did) just as they were preparing to move. Because the house had sold and they had to pack up, she spent more time there and we were able to enjoy several lunches and many good conversations together.. She passed on this lovely wicker porch furniture to us, which was so kind and generous.

Lizzie loved it too!

They will be so missed this year.
Finally, at the end of the month, a devastating tornado ripped through mid-Michigan, damaging (and indeed, wiping out) homes not at all far from my own. The aftermath of that tornado is still visible as one drives on the highway, with the tops of trees and foliage ripped off, many trees down.


In September I got the first of two fall MRSA infections. But later in the month I could enjoy a Cork Poppers gathering, even if I couldn't enjoy the wine!

Neighbor Rosie and I share an August birthday and we were finally able to celebrate together!

My best grad school pal, Tom, came to Lansing with his wonderful wife Mindy for Michigan State's homecoming. We enjoyed great conversation and a tasty breakfast with them.

Then it was off to Toledo for Rick's 50th high school reunion. 

While we were there we stayed with his aunt Carol. I wish she lived closer -- she's such a terrific person and I love spending time with her! We took a "tour" of Toledo, passing by old family homes and stopped at the Boy Scout camp where Rick had spent some time as a kid.



We closed the cottage for the season in October. It's always a bittersweet time. But one moment was particularly sweet. The elusive bald eagle, so difficult to catch in flight, took his time beachcombing. Afraid to spook him, we photographed him from inside, hence the not-so-great photos. But he was magnificent. And enormous!


Then a last "date" at my favorite up-north restaurant before taking off the next day. We'll be back in the spring.


November combined family, friends and fun. Kevin and Molly came down and while Kevin did a major repair on my family room ceiling, Molly and I took the kids out for a day of fun at MSU's children's garden, the playground, the state capitol, and then for ice cream. And yes, a good time was had by all!

Rick and I joined our friend Mark and his cousin for an evening in Ann Arbor, attending the "Randy Rainbow for President" performance at the Michigan Theatre. It was a wonderful evening, filled with many laughs!

November was also the month of my annual Mistletoe Market art sale. It was a good event and after I continued to fulfill some orders from my online Gypsy Caravan.

The highlight of the month, though, was the reunion with my four college roommates. We'd known each other since freshman year in the dorm and stuck together during our college careers. I don't ever remember laughing so much as we did, as we toured old haunts and stayed up far too late!

We spent the days leading up to Thanksgiving with the kids in Livonia. We enjoyed an unseasonably warm day out visiting Belle Isle, an island on the St. Clair river between Michigan and Canada, along with crafting with the kids.

Rick's mom joined us for 10 days in November, first in Livonia and then coming to Lansing. We finally got a full-family portrait!


We wrapped up the month with a Cork Poppers tasting of the wines of Italy. And yes, there was another MRSA/psuedomonas infection, more antibiotics. It will never end, so suck it up, Buttercup.


It was another month where friendship (and holiday celebrations) reigned supreme! It started with a visit from Suzanne for early Christmas. While she was here, we met up with another high school friend, Julie, in Mt. Pleasant for a long, delightful lunch!

Then (after a massive basement reorganization to accommodate workers) I had the house insulated and duct work done. I will be putting the basement back together until May, I'm sure!

 We finally got Rick's house decorated for Christmas. He'd been up to his ears renovating the duplex he rents, along with regular work. So, it was fun to have an evening of light, holiday music and memories as we recalled the stories behind many of his decorations.

My college friend Jerry, who now lives in Paris, came for his annual visit. We ate, shopped but mostly caught up.

Then it was time to head to Livonia for Christmas -- and back home on Christmas day. Exhausted and happy.

Now it is time to embark on a new year. To be honest, I'm very worried about the new year -- the world situation is grim, with the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East. Our political situation here at home is just equally tenuous with our precious democratic form of government being challenged by an extreme right wing. Anti-semitism, racism, gun violence and international isolation are all on the rise and our planet is being destroyed moment by moment with climate change. We seem to have forgotten the hard lessons of history -- a history so recent as World War II and one as old as time. I worry about those little boys I love so much and the world they will live in. They practice for school shootings and the internet can become a very dangerous place for youth. What will their life be like?

But there is only so much I can do personally. I can vote. I can have a voice. But I can't force people to listen. So, I will live next year day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Looking toward the future, remembering the lessons of the past. I plan to visit the UK this spring, spend time at the lake, walk, paint, create, share joy, celebrate friendships. 

I thank you for your time spent here in 2023. After 16 years of blogging (the first Marmelade Gypsy post  was December 20, 2007!), I have learned much from you all and enjoyed visiting your posts. If you have commented, extra thanks! If you have just dropped in, know that you, too are appreciated. I can't wait to see what you have in store for 2024.

Happy New Year from Rick and me. May it be a good one for all of you.


eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
You made so many happy memories in 2023, beautiful photos of you, your family and all the friends. Happy Blog Anniversary! A wonderful look back at your past year. I wish you and yours all the best in 2024, a happy and healthy New Year! Have a safe and happy weekend.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Great year in review, Jeanie. Good to see Rick putting the “chamber” back into chamber music. Just think back - during the main COVID outbreak none of that would have been possible. All the best to you and Rick for 2024.

My name is Erika. said...

What a great 2023 you had Jeanie. Family, friends, fun, doing what you love, that is the best part of life. I know what you mean about 2024, and people extremism being scary. Too scary. But I am trying not to dwell on that now. Instead, it is time to look back and recount all the smiles. And I'm excited you have a spring trip planned too. I think you've been waiting for that. I have a spring trip planned too. Not spilling any beans yet though. Smile. Have a wonderful new year and start to 2024. Let's hope the world becomes a better place too. hugs-Erika

Tom said...

...would fabulous 2023 you had. When in Toledo did you stop for lunch at Tony Packo's? Happy 2024.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Jeanie, Happy (almost here) New Year πŸΎπŸŽ‰ to you both and hope it is another wonderful one of family, friends and special times together. I read and enjoyed the look back at your 2023 and it was certainly full of many joys and some sorrows as well. It is always unfortunate to lose dear friends, as the same has happened to me as well this past year. We mourn their passing, but remember the joys of friendship.

THANKS for being a great blog friend in 2023 and see you in 2024. Also, thanks for your reading reviews, which are always enjoyed and have given me leads on to read books!

Anonymous said...

This is Lisa! Happy New Year to you and Rick! You packed a lot of fun and excitement into 2023! I am excited to read that you will visit the UK in the spring!! Hooray! But I share your sentiment about the direction our world is going in… I can’t think about it too much or I will get so down. So I try to do what I can and hope and pray the state of the world improves.

Mary Rose's said...

Jeanie, your blog is a treasure for us all - good words, beautiful pictures, grat stories. Thank YOU for continuing to post the Marmelade Gypsy, and every good wish for 2024!

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

You and Rick have such a rich and busy social life. I love how you never let any grass grow under your feet. Happy New Year!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

Loved this post!! Such a great idea!! Happy New Year!

DUTA said...

I like the apron with the lemons; it's a great, funny idea!
I take it rather badly when a good neighbor moves. At a certain age, many familiar faces disappear from sight: some die, some move to another town or to a community village.
Thanks for the 2023 review. May you have a blessed 2024 New Year!

kathyinozarks said...

Good morning-I usually take a look back too with a recap of blog posts for the year-I enjoyed yours
Happy New Year hugs Kathy

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Congratulations on your many years of blogging. May this year bring you health and happiness.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Lovely memories of your year and friends.
Happy New Year to you and happy blogging in 2024 too

Anvilcloud said...

I think this is a good and worthwhile thing that you do. I have never done this before but do have something like it ready to roll soon. said...

Happy New Year Jeanie! Looking back is always fun, and you had a great year filled with family, friends and special outings~ yes, our world seems to be turning upside down, but one can always hope 2024 will bring peace.

Valerie-Jael said...

Treasure all of your beautiful photos and happy memories, you have lovely family and wonderful friends. Hugs, Valerie

Rita said...

Wow! What a year! I loved that you did this! Talk about taking a lot of time to put together. It was wonderful. Thanks for sharing your year like this. I'm so glad to have gotten to know you...well, some about you, at least--lol! I also hope 2024 is a better and healthier year and also worry about the world my grandsons will be living in. We can only vote and be grateful for all the little things that make life worth living...with joy. *love and hugs*

Leslie Anne Tarabella said...

What a memorable year! Cheers to a new year full of new adventures!

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Congratulation on 16 years of blogging! I hope you enjoy your trip here in the spring.

All the best for 2024!

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

It was quite a year for you, all in all...The highlight of our year of course was the birth of our twin grand daughters...It is hard to believe it is real!!!Thanks so much for visiting during the year as often as you did and for all your kind and encouraging words!! I have truly appreciated it!! Wishing you, Rick and your families a Very Happy and Healthy New Year!!!!

roentare said...

What a great post to look back in the past year!

The Happy Whisk said...

The lemon matching aprons are a hoot!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Happy New Year Jeanie, Rick, Family & Friends!

Debra@CommonGround said...

I always enjoy your posts, Jeanie. You live such a full and happy life. Blessings to you and your family for a wonderful New Year.

gigi-hawaii said...

So, you are an August baby? Maria's birthday is Aug. 2. A Leo, for sure. I like your wicker furniture at the lake. Very nice of your neighbors to give them to you. Have a Happy Healthier New Year, Jeanie. Take care and God bless.

Anonymous said...

Delightful post! I remember these posts…always so full of information, great photos, people and happiness ! Love to see your adventures and family…love, love the last photo of you and Rick, you are very blessed indeed. I’m sending you best wishes for another happy year with all your daring family and friends….Happy New Year. You are so adorable. xo, V.

Kinga K. said...

Great time, I love Van Gogh!

acorn hollow said...

You have such a full and lovely life. You have many things to be thankful for at the end of this year.
The very happiest New Year

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Great memories of a year gone by, Jeanie. All the very best for the next one. David

La Table De Nana said...

Happy New Year..such a great way to keep journals these blogs of ours..Take care and all the best!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Jeanie, you've had a fabulously full life in 2023! Making up time for all that was lost during 2020, and then some! I love that selfie of your & Rick in Cleveland. Here's to a happy, healthy and more harmonious new year. xo

Marge said...

Your blog is a gift to your readers. Thank you for all of the enjoyment that you give to me through it. Happy New Year!

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Jeanie, 2023 has been a fun filled year. Visiting with longtime friends, Rick’s bicycling events and music, plus so much more. It is always fun to look back and treasure those moments. May 2024 be a wonderful year with good health and fun adventures. Cheers!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Happy New Year to you and Rick, Jeanie! I loved reviewing your wonderful year, especially seeing all the loving connections you made with friends -- old and new -- and family every month of the year! May it be more of the same in the coming year!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie: You have really had a full year. I, too, am afraid for this new year to come. I hope and pray that our children have a good future waiting for them. It is almost impossible to see what is happening and to believe it may be a possibility. Here's hoping that you and Rick have a healthy and happy new year..Thank you for your friendship and your fun sharing times. xxoJudy

Barb said...

A wonderful recap of 2023 Jeannie. I love all the happy photos of family and friends. I wish you a happy and healthy 2024.

This N That said...

I was going to do 2023 in review but after reviewing it , I didn't think think it blog worthy..You had a very full year and that's a good thing...I enjoyed your review and wish you and Rick the best in 2024..

Joyful said...

I enjoyed touring through your year Jeanie. My! You certainly did a lot and had a mostly wonderful year despite the ill health. I pray a good year in 2024 despite the chaos and troubles all around. In fact, I pray that some of those issues will end and we can hopefully breathe a bit. Blessings to you and Rick and all the family.

roughterrain crane said...

I hope you have a blessed wonderful 2024.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Jeanie, it's lovely seeing your memories of 2023! It's good to look back at all the wonderful times, isn't it? Have a wonderful New Year as we look forward to the future and all it brings!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You had a music-filled, friend-filled, happiness-filled year! What a delight it must have been to experience and what a delight for us to read about!

Happy New Year!

Joanne said...

Happy new year! I love reading these wrap up posts and hearing about the hopes for the future that everyone shares this time of year. I hope 2024 treats you and your family very well.

Pam said...

Not sure I can break my life down into, maybe I can since I was so yucky feeling the better part of the year. Nice, I like how you broke it all down.

Lisbeth said...

So many nice, and varied, memories from last year. One remembers them more vividly when finding the photos.

Marilyn Miller said...

Happy New Year to you and Rick!
What a great year review. I am reminded that I rarely get into pictures when I see your pictures with friends and family. So very special!!!!

anno said...

What a great year! And I'm so glad that I got to play a small part in it... Happy New Year, Jeanie! Looking forward to sharing your grand adventures in 2024!

Veronica Lee said...

Your blog has been a treasure trove of beautiful photos and joyous moments, Jeanie. Congratulations on 16 years of sharing your wonderful journey.
So glad that we crossed paths and connected!

Wishing you a fantastic New Year filled with joy, laughter, and even more unforgettable moments to capture and share! Cheers to an amazing year ahead!

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, what a fabulous year you enjoyed. So many wonderful photos and posts that you shared with us last year. Wishing you a healthy and happy 2024!

handmade by amalia said...

Such happy photos! Wishing you and yours all the best for this new year, dear Jeanie, hope it's a good one!

CrystalChick said...

Hi, Jeanie! I haven't been posting or reading much lately, but do enjoy trying to get caught up now and then. So a post of memorable moments sure helps me! haha
Some sad times, for sure, but many of the other ones were very delightful to see and hear about. You look happy in all your photos!! I'm glad you enjoyed such interesting and fun times during the year. Sweet connections!
I do understand your worries about the new year. I feel them, too. (hug)
We can still vote, and hold hope, and continue to live our best lives.
All the best, Mary

Danielle L Zecher said...

I love your year in review, and I'm glad it looks like there were more good things than bad things. I still can't believe how big the boys are! I remember when you were writing about getting ready to become a grandmother.

I'm also nervous about what 2024 will hold. It seems like the only thing we can say for sure about the election is that it will be ugly and tense. NC is a swing state, and we also have our election for governor, lt. governor, and attorney general this year, so there will be a lot of political strife here. I'm trying to remain hopeful, though. I love what Mr. Rogers said about his mother telling him to look for the helpers. In spite of everything going on in the world, there are still helpers.

Lowcarb team member said...

A wonderful post full of beautiful photographs and happy memories.
I wish you and Rick a very Happy New Year, and send lots of good wishes.

All the best Jan

Sami said...

Wonderful Year in review with lots of family time and get-togethers with friends.

Carola Bartz said...

I'm trying to catch up, Jeanie, and it might take some time. I like this year in review, and I remembered a lot of it through your posts. I hope you can travel to the UK this spring and that it will be a lovely trip - I know how much you like that country (and so do I). I'm also very concerned and worry what this year will bring in regards to US and world politics - it's difficult to stay optimistic. I tend to look at the bright side of things (and there are a lot of good things happening, too), but sometimes it is hard to see them and some simply don't have a bright side. Your blog and your friendship definitely is one of the bright sides!

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