Thursday, June 20, 2024

Early Summer Fun

It has been a full, fun couple of weeks, by and large. We are on the threshold of summer (although our weather is so erratic it is sometimes hard to tell!). But that hasn't stopped some walks, theatre, basement work, painting and more. 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Cork Poppers Taste Whites and Rose

After too long a break, our Cork Poppers wine tasting group gathered for yet another sampling of wines. Those of you who have followed our tastings for a long while may recall that most in our group are fans of red. But Cheryl and Meredith (to a lesser extent), are all for the whites! So when Cheryl and Dick hosted, it came as no surprise that our theme was "White and Rose." And even for us red fans, it was a surprisingly tasty tasting!

As you might guess by now (if you've not followed us forever), our Corkies are just real-life people who like wine. Some know a little more than others technically but the main thing is we enjoy trying new things and more or less getting away from the shelf at the grocery store and most of the "name brand" wines and seeing what an array of wines are available at different price points. (And yes, we also have enjoyed wines you get at the grocery store that are available pretty much anywhere.) We don't take ourselves too seriously but we always depart having had a lot of fun and usually adding another potential wine or two to our personal favorites list.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Writing Your Memoir or Family Story

After spending years working on my family history and pulling together a rather hefty book on the subject (it weighs in at two pounds and 309 pages!), I thought I'd share a few things I discovered along the way that, should you decide to engage in such a project, might make your journey a little easier.

An inch thick, two pounds, many years of research and 309 pages!

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Ducks, Birds and a Recalcitrant Cat

Early summer. You can't beat it -- temps are warming but not hot, sometimes with a breeze. Here in Michigan where we often have cloudy days, the sky has been blue and the days bright. (OK, a little rain, but that's good for the yard!) 

I've been doing a little painting, a little reading, a little walking. Cataract surgery kept me from lifting or bending for a week so I'm looking forward to actually bending over and deadheading my geraniums!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

The May Book Report

I'd hoped to get in another book this month but I'll happily settle for six diverse ones. On the list, a best selling book looking back at the history of '60s presidents Kennedy and Johnson, a Hallmark-ish type of novel, a White House mystery written by a president's son, a thriller, a fascinating behind-the-scenes diary of the designer of the musical "My Fair Lady," and a funny little cat book. Definitely diverse!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wrapping Up May

Just a quick one today. We had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, it was the first eat-outside-day of the season. 


Rick fired up the grill with a pork tenderloin. It was perfect!

Friday, May 24, 2024

Painting, Planning, Walking and Rick Returns

We have a busy few weeks coming up -- it's Memorial weekend and my friend Suzanne is coming by; an upcoming Cork Poppers in another week or two and kid-sitting for a few days in mid-June. This will be a pretty laid-back weekend, planting flowers at the cemetery, picking up the house for company and just hanging out. So I'm grabbing all the peace and beauty I can get these days! 

Rick got back from the lake this week and I have to say it was good to see him! We made progress planning our England trip and just catching up. He says all is well at the cottage and I'm looking forward to getting to the lake next month.

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Quiet Week with Flowers, Birds and Paint!

It has been a quiet week here. Rick is up north opening the cottage and he's had a great week for it. I've been weeding the so-called garden and being admonished by my physical therapist for doing so! It's not looking good (gardening is SO not my thing!) but I'm hoping to have a small strawberry crop (enough for cereal, not shortcake) -- if the birds don't get it first!

Thursday, May 16, 2024

A Fruitless Search and The Goslings Swim!

I'll start with a pretty photo! One of my favorite blooms, the allium is short lived but so fabulous while it lasts! 

Rick and I joined the many others in the world trying to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights last week. I had visions of taking marvelously splashy photos of pinks, purples and greens in the dark night sky. I would do watercolors of them all. Ah, the stuff dreams are made of. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Mother Goose has Hatched -- And Other News

Here's some fun news for Mother's Day! Spring has kicked in "for real" these days. On Friday, I got a double whammy of it when I first visited the nursery center and later saw a "nursery" of a different kind -- that of our friend Mother Goose!

And guess what! There aren't four babies. And, as some of you thought, there aren't five.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Springtime at the Ditch

Every time I visit the Ditch, the trees are greener and more filled out and there are more lily pads on the water. A few of the flowering trees remain, but not, I think, much longer.

Mother Goose is still sitting and still being carefully guarded.

Friday, May 3, 2024

April's Books

Cataract surgery slowed down my reading time in April (and it will continue this month, too). But All the books I read were well worth reading! As usual, most were mysteries but the gem was a non-fiction work.


Monday, April 29, 2024

A Colorful World and Other Happenings

It has been a quiet week here at the homestead, with Rick on his bike hike. And sometimes, that quiet is good! I've enjoyed some walks and seeing how lovely it is now that spring seems to be setting in for real.


 There's a lot of pink in those trees but the green is coming in quickly.

The house is full of flowers, some from the garden. . . 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Catar-action and It's Triplets!

Well, cataract surgery, part one, took place this week. My friend Kate took me to the surgery and  friend Jan to the follow-up appointment after. (Rick is on a bike hike from Nashville to Tupelo, MS, on the Natchez Trace with his friend, Nino.) 

I went in my email to sort through comments on the last post (the Tornado post) and somehow I deleted all of them. Note to self. Do not go NEAR the delete button when the eye that can read a computer screen is covered by a patch. I'm sorry, gang. If you asked a significant question, ask again and otherwise, thank you so much for commenting and sharing your memories on that post.

Before the surgery, our weather took a turn for the really-terrific so I headed back to the Ditch. I was surprised and delighted to see the return of Ellie the Egret.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Best Tornado Hunker Down Time Ever!

No one has fun during a tornado warning. And around here, we take them pretty seriously, as last summer's tornado in our area proved both deadly and destructive. This is what the last one did. 


So when we heard the siren, Rick and I gathered up Lizzie (who really did NOT want to go to the basement) and headed downstairs. It looked like it might be close to an hour before it was over. We were taking no chances.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Movie Worth Your Time -- Stream It This Week Only

Last week, Rick and I had the privilege of attending a wonderful new documentary film at its local premiere. You won't see it in a movie theatre (at least not for awhile) or on TV or YouTube. It's making the film festival circuit right now. But if you have the chance to watch it (and you can -- read on), it will touch your heart. (Streaming and camp links at the end of this post.)

"Camp RicStar" is about a music camp for those of all ages with special needs. The camp, which is in June (and filling up fast for 2024), is open to those with any type of disability and of any age. Scholarships are available for those with financial need.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Harry's Back and the Geese are Nesting

There has been a lot of gloomy weather here and truth be told, my walking legs haven't been up to par of late. But on a rare sunny day I knew I had to check out the Ditch and see what was happening. The first thing that hit me were the wispy splashes of green that screamed "Yes, spring really IS coming!"

That was followed by a burst of white blossoms. Not all the trees are in flower but this one was leading the pack.

The geese were out in full force and no matter where one looks, it is likely you'll see a nest or a goose or maybe both.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Eclipse and More!

Like many of you, Rick and I enjoyed this year's eclipse. It may not be a once in a lifetime event for many of you but for me it probably is, so we maxed it out!

We left in the morning to drive two hours to Toledo where Rick's Aunt Carol lives. Totality was supposed to be 99 percent there, better than Lansing.

Friday, April 5, 2024

The Books of March

Reading was my escape in the weather-weird, basement-boggling month of March. Somehow I managed to pull off seven books. Most were mysteries, and one, Rachel Maddow's astonishing "Prequel," was as frightening as a thriller and all too real. 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Marching Into April (Finally!)

I can't say I'm sorry to flip my calendar to April. In "The Waste Land," T.S. Eliot wrote that  April is the cruelest month. But March -- at least this March -- has definitely been the weirdest.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

An Odd Easter This Year!

This coming weekend is  Easter -- March 31. I'm not a fan of early Easter. I wish they'd just pick one date in mid-to-late April and stick with it! But, I don't set the calendar so you go with what you've got.

I have a lot of Easter memories -- some good, some less so. This year will be a little different because the grands are in Florida for the holiday so no annual egg hunt. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Art Is Medicine

"Art is a medicine that I must take and, my goodness, I feel better, lighter, alive, energised and I've started humming again!"  -- Lucia Leyfield, Wild Ink

I subscribe to an art newsletter from the delightful Lucia Leyfield, who offers online classes and work-alongs. In a recent issue she posted the quote above and boy, did that resonate. 

From my art journal, a good 10 or more  years ago.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

March Is Flying By -- The Bunnies Have Arrived!

It completely freaks me out that Easter is almost here! Two dear friends birthdays passed me by and I realized that today is officially spring, at long last! I sort of feel like I've been living under a rock!

It has been a good -- if busy -- month. Work on the basement persists, the next proof of my book has come and been returned with corrections and we had a great weekend with the grands. All good. The cataract surgery is back on the schedule and physical therapy proceeds well. I had a lovely belated birthday lunch out with my friend Kate on one of the nicest of days. There are even a few bunnies around the house!

Friday, March 15, 2024

A Few Critters -- Living and Otherwise!

This seems to be the year for home reno in our world. You've heard about my basement, but Rick has also been hard at work -- first, on his rental duplex and now on one of his bathrooms. Kevin came to help him tear things apart and since Molly and the Camster had another engagement, I said I'd have a Carson day! It would include a play, some dinosaurs and more than a few fish!

Monday, March 11, 2024

Everything Mold Is New Again

The mold remediators have come and gone -- and it was quite an ordeal. They sealed off the basement with a huge hose going through the family room and out the window, tackling one half at a time. It took the whole day (and I'm amazed it was so fast.) When done, the basement looked like a different place. They not only did the mold work but they also took off all the cobwebs that had grown in place. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

Another Year, Another Birthday -- He's Growing Up

Life moves on, one day, one pile at a time. Every now and then you need a diversion and a good smile!

Our oldest grand turned seven at the beginning of the month so we headed to their house for his birthday. When we arrived there was a big bus in front of the house -- and not a kid to be seen! They had all stepped inside the bus for a video experience!

Monday, March 4, 2024

The February Books

February is a short month. But that's no excuse for a low-reading month. So, I come before you with no excuses -- and only two books completed (though well onto the way of March's first book!).

Friday, March 1, 2024

A Cozy Concert and Commenting Comments!

I will say the past couple of months have been stressful but I also felt a bit more was accomplished! There has been some fun, too -- so we'll start there. But first, my winter bunny!

Rick hosted a house concert featuring his guitar teacher, Brad DeRoche. Somehow we packed about 50 people into his living room for a cozy afternoon of wonderful music. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Perfect Pesto

I'm always torn between basil and thyme being my favorite herbs. Quite some time ago, I posted that I made the "best pesto" (and easiest, too). Several of you asked for the recipe and my friend, Anne, gracefully allowed me to share it! Finally!

Why do I like this recipe above all others? Basically, it's easy! I use a blender, not a food processor, so in other recipes, where you add the oil at the end, in this one you do it first and it gives enough liquid to move the basil and not clog the machine. And it's so good! I'll put a few recipe ideas below.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Life In February

Lovely life goes on here and February has included a visit from a good friend, Cork Poppers (which I hosted), and more! Valentine week started on Monday with a surprise delivery of flowers from a dear friend. They're so cheery and I loved them!

Rick made a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. This is the first year I haven't written a poetry book for him about our past year. January just got out of control and I feel kind of sad about it, though I may pony up later in the year. But I did paint a valentine! So that helped assuage my conscience a wee bit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Cork Poppers Celebrate Wines We Love for Valentine's Day (or any day!)

Our February Cork Poppers gathered at my house (crammed in between Christmas trees and decor because the basement is awaiting its mold removal!). Since it was only a few days before Valentine's Day I decided the theme should be "Wines We Love" and every couple was to bring a particular wine or a type of wine (Pinot Grigio, Malbec, etc.) that they loved. Or from a place they loved. Shouldn't be hard (and it wasn't)!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Finding Bits of Happy

Not long ago, that furry, red, Muppet favorite, Elmo, asked on X (Twitter) "How are you doing?" And boy, did people tell him! The consensus? The people weren't doing all that well with stress related from everything to illness to job issues, family problems to the nitpicky problems that occur in day to day life. 

It's probably good I didn't see that tweet because I would have added my two cents, too! We've been having a bit of a rough time of it here this winter. On one hand, I have been dealing with some health issues along with computer challenges and the mold problem. Rick, meanwhile, has been dealing with some challenging things related to the transition of his business. And Lizzie is having a few issues too. We've all been struggling and, fortunately, have each other for support. 

But we're not the only ones. I've noticed a number of bloggers are going through challenging times with either illness or the illness of family members. Another blogger has been trying to get action from an insurance company after a fire. Still more have work issues or family issues. Lots of us are stressed politically. We all have something sometime. 

As I've often said before, we all get a turn, and this is ours. Maybe yours, too.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

The Books of January

There is nothing better for a reader than to start off a new year with three very good books! And I am happy to say that I've enjoyed every minute of my reading experiences this month! Let's take a look at two solid mysteries and one monster-sized biography that was outstanding. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Sights and Moments We Will Never Forget

One evening last month, Rick and I glanced at my computer showing a slide show of "My Pictures" as a screen saver. This one came up and we both agreed -- that first walk on our first trip to Myrtle Beach was one we would never forget.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Life in the Deep Freeze (and Beyond)

Last week we had dinner at the home of friends. It was so frigid outside that when we arrived and entered, greeted by hugs, an inviting fire in the fireplace, and a glass of wine it was like going to heaven. When we left five and a half hours later, we realized it was after eleven. I had no idea. The conversation, the laughter, the warmth, made me forget the chill outside. That's what friendship can do for people. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Books of 2023 -- The Annual Book Report

I always enjoy pulling together this annual reading summary --  what hit the mark, what missed, any new discoveries.

This year I read 55 books with a total of 17,785 pages. Not my best, not my worst. And for the most part, they were worth the time. And really, that's the most important part!

Books with links click back to my reviews earlier this year. 

Here is my Top Twelve (in no particular order)

Friday, January 19, 2024

Making Pretzels with Barb and Kate

(I meant to post this last spring when we did this and I'm not sure what happened! So... step into my friend Barb's kitchen for a fun day of pretzel making -- and a link to the recipe!) 

I'm so glad my friend Barb loves to teach us new things! When she asked if we wanted to learn to make soft pretzels, do you think I hesitated for a second? Of course not! 

So, it was off to her home, where the first thing we saw entering was this!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

It's a Little Brisk Out There...

Here in Michigan we have coasted along the early winter weeks wondering where winter was. (I, for one, wasn't complaining.) True, the skies were gray, there was plenty of drizzle, and it wasn't great weather for something like a picnic, but the temps were adequate (high for the month) and I didn't mind not having to battle snow or ice if headed out.

Then we got our share of the deep freeze.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Cork Poppers Sample the Wines of Spain

I haven't had a Cork Poppers post in months so I had been looking forward to our September gathering for weeks. Yes, September. Life happened but now I'm happy to update you with our autumn Corkie escapade!

When Kate chose "wines of Spain" as our theme, I was excited -- I love Spanish wine and plans for a potluck menu of Spanish-related foods and cheeses sounded delicious. 

Then I got on meds where I couldn't have red wine, cheese, sausage (like chorizo) or all the other good stuff! But I could still have loads of fun!

Sunday, January 7, 2024

A Few December Books

After last month's embarrassing solo entry, I was happy to finish off three books. All these are mysteries and all are worth your time.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Checking My 2023 Blog Stats (And Thoughts on Blogging)

This year I did something I rarely do -- check to see what my most viewed posts of the year were. Several of my favorite bloggers have taken this look back and I enjoy it, because I sometimes find ones I've missed! I know those who have advertising on their blogs do this more often than I -- and it makes sense. During my years of working in marketing and promotion, I learned that if you want to attract the dollars you have to appeal to the public taste. More eyeballs, more revenue potential.

photo of mural taken several years ago at ArtPrize, Grand Rapids. Artist unknown

I don't advertise on The Marmelade Gypsy. Blogging offers me an online journaling platform and the gift of making friendships from around the world. Since Blogger is a free platform, I don't need to worry about paying for it.

  But it IS curious to know what people do like, what was the most interesting to them. So, here -- with links back in case you are new -- are those with the most views in 2023.

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