Friday, August 10, 2018


 It's a picture perfect day today and while sitting on the back patio reading I noticed the  light on this little zinnia in a pot at my feet. 
While I was snapping a few shots, look who flew right into the shot!

It really is very distracting to sit out back and try to read.  There's so much going on we usually just sit quietly and let it all happen around us.  The bird feeder is not three feet away and as long as we don't get too loud or move too fast they come right up to us.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Prisoner in the Castle

The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

     If you wanted to hide someone you can’t do better than an abandoned castle on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.  This is where the British Intelligence hides their own spies to “cool off,” the ones who know too much.  The seclusion is real with no information coming in or going out and only a family of caretakers with secrets of their own to cook and tend the contained.
     One day during dinner one of the prisoners mysteriously dies right in front of them. The next day, two more, and the next day two more.  One by one, in this secluded place cut off from everything and everyone, people are dying.  The murderer, and it is determined they are being poisoned, can only be among them. 
     Things turn hysterical.  Everyone is suspicious of each other.  Accusations are made.  Nerves are raw, fear is palpable. And still, people are dying. 
     Meanwhile, in London, it is discovered that signals are being sent from the island to German U-boats off the coast.  One of their own is a spy, a turncoat.
     Maggie, who refused to divulge her secret reason for being on the island when the others did, slowly works to find the spy and murderer among themselves. Is this person both? Are there two? And who can she trust?

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beach week

Are you tired of looking at that ol' peach pie?  So am I but it sure tasted good.  We've  been gone for a week so there wasn't any posting going on. 
Very good friends of ours give us the use of their house in our old neighborhood at the lake.  It's a little like a homecoming as we try to pack all the good things about the lake into one week. We spend time together and time alone so we cover lots of ground.  Our beaches along the western coast of Michigan are beautiful soft sandy beaches.  Just ask Australia Jenny.  When I took her to see Lake Michigan she kept saying, "It's just like the beach!!"  It IS our beach, you can't see across Lake Michigan, all of the Great Lakes are fresh water, a living thing, a force to be respected and there are no sharks.
 The girls transformed into mermaids.  They spent the entire day everyday at the beach.  Some days the water was calm and sometimes the waves were active but they didn't care. I just noticed Elizabeth has her glasses on.  She didn't do that when she got serious about being in the water.
  Adelaide made a wigwam
 Elizabeth read her books
 We all hunted for crinoids.  Elizabeth has an eye for them.  For her, it's like they're painted red. She just sees them.
 Even Lily loved her freedom to run and chase butterflies.

 In South Haven it's a nightly ritual to go to Sherman's for ice cream. Everyone goes. The serving size at Sherman's defies description.  A single cone is TRULY a pint of ice cream.  A double scoop is equivalent to a full quart.  No exaggeration.  So, when the suggestion was put out one evening that we should get the Pig's Dinner and split it, we all thought it would be fun.  There was serious discussion about flavors before we got there because this place is jammed every night and once your number is called there is no time to dilly dally.
We chose peppermint patty, mint chip,amaretto cherry and salted caramel. We asked for the toppings on the side:  a double helping of hot fudge, hot caramel and marshmallow.  Chopped nuts.  We allowed the whipped cream on the ice cream. It makes for a fun attention getting walk through the place to the tables but you know what?  It wasn't as much ice cream as if we'd all gotten our own servings.  Not that we were being greedy or anything (!)

 We spent a lot of time reading - I took some hand work but the project never came out of the car. I read all week. We all did.
 On the way home this morning I stopped to pick 7.7 pounds of blueberries. It's peak blueberry season right now and we've used the last container from the freezer so I spent a quiet, solitary hour this morning refueling.

 And if that's not all, our Ceci had a birthday! 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Peach time

 The very first peaches of the season and this is how they get treated?  You bet.  But cutting into it will have to wait till tomorrow's dinner company.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Keeping up

Busy weeks of summer entertaining and partying!  What can be bad about that?
Do you remember the strawberry pie I make in June - after waiting a whole year for?  Well, strawberry season is over and we are on to blueberries.  This is the same basic idea.  Fresh berries, a set gel and good eats. Peaches are next. 

 We shared with Friends Aina and Terry. After a dinner of paella and wine and salad and wine we dove into that pie.
 Daughter had a birthday which we celebrated with a small chocolate cake (is there any other kind?) on her day but because Elizabeth was away at camp we saved the dinner party for when she was home.
OK, sometimes I take pictures of food.  Pies and cookies and baked things predominate but during our daughter's birthday dinner SIL ordered roasted bones for the marrow.  This was a menu item and we had a good laugh over it because while PH and I babysat our grand-dog this week I found the only way she would chew on the bones I bought her was if I baked them.  SIL said that's going a bit far for the dog considering that marrow bones are a menu item in some restaurants.  When we were out, well, there they were.  AND  I ate some AND they were very good!  We have a photo of them because, like roasted brussels sprouts, I never, ever thought I'd say I ate this. Or that I'd say it was good!
 After dinner we celebrated with ice cream and macarons.
 When it was time to turn off the lights and head to bed, our grand-dog decided to get comfortable. And yes, everything was washed today.  If she wasn't so cute....
 Quilt projects include sandwiching and pinning this and tucking it away for future mojo
and working on quilting this.  It was hot enough to have the air conditioning on so I could sit under a quilt and work, and now, it's cooled down enough to sit under a quilt and work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Saving Beck

Saving Beck by Courtney Cole

   The things we fear the most are things we don’t even see and then it’s too late. Sometimes those things slide in under the door and other times they ring the doorbell.  But it doesn’t matter, the outcome is usually the same.
   Beck  and his dad took a tip to visit a college that Beck wanted to go to and though he was a little bit of an inexperienced driver, coming home late at night, dad offers to let Beck drive, to get a little experience at night on the highway.  There is an accident and his father doesn’t survive.
    This sends Beck and Natalie, Beck’s mother,  into a downward spiral.  Natalie spends her time in bed, rolled up in the covers and not taking care of her younger children.  Beck assumes this role, he knows the kids need someone to care about them.  All the while he is fighting his own demons about the accident and the consequence.
   The relief for Beck comes in the form of hard drugs. With drugs he can forget the pain and that’s all he really wants to do, forget it.  As Beck sinks lower and lower into his drug induced state his hold on reality is absolutely gone. Natalie rises from her depression,  never giving  up on him and one night Beck hits bottom.
     I’m not going to tell you how this one ends because not all endings are predictable.  There are plenty of people who were once someone’s child, who spend their lives forgetting, and there are plenty of parents who live with the pain of their child’s decision.  The big question the author asks in this fictionalized true story is this.  What wouldn’t you do to save your child’s life?