Monday, May 27, 2013


Saturday my Patient Husband and daughter and son and their families hosted a retirement party for me.  I have three work days left and then life will be very different!  And yes, indeed, I am excited! 
We had about 50 people here to wish me well, show me what retirement smiles look like and eat good food.  It was a wonderful day and I thanked them so very much.

That's my son on the end in the yellow shirt and daughter-in-law on the end in black and a friend is holding his Michael.  My mom is on the other end in black, my aunt at the end of the table in white, my cousin in the middle in orange, my brother reaching for his wine in orange, my sister-in-law next to him.
Friend Marge (giver of antique quilts) on the right, Friend Sue in the middle and me.  We have been together since 5th grade.  I'm afraid to count the years!  Is that shirt teal or aqua? 

This is what the end of the day felt like.  Adelaide fell asleep chewing.
But we started the day with smiles!   That cockeyed grin is Adelaide's new look!
Sunday morning Grandpa and I took the four to the beach.  Soon as we got to the bottom of the steps the shoes came off and they took off in four different directions.  I love that about our secluded beach.  They go off exploring and we let them. It's good to be alone, exploring, without a grownup around telling you what to touch and not to touch. Elizabeth is very big into not allowing grownups to interfere. They come home with treasures of stones, driftwood, "chalk rocks" and anything else they can carry.
What's that term about herding cats?  It was a bit like that to get them all to come together for a pic.  Grandma is always asking them to sit still for "just one minute, PLEASE!" so I can get a pic.  It isn't always easy!
 King of the mountain and so far, at least til Michael grows up a little, king of the crew.  
 His thing at the beach is skipping stones into the lake.  My son taught him how a couple of years ago and it's what he does...over and over...counting the skips.  He got up to four this day and was pretty proud till Grandpa tried and got six!  Pretty good form for a seven year old.
Elizabeth is our little nature girl. 
Adelaide is our billy goat.  She'll climb a flat wall if she could.  She was heading for scrambling up the cliff again and I had to use my stern voice to get her down.  The poison ivy is starting to leaf and she's extremely sensitive to it.  Spoiler alert, mommy.

Ceci is learning, and learning fast.  She is a Botticelli beauty.

 I love this.  I absolutely love that we had this couple of hours with them on the beach alone, watching them congeal as a team of cousins, loving the time together and becoming friends. This picture makes my heart swell.

Michael didn't spend his whole time sleeping, but I can never resist pictures of sleeping babies.  Those cheeks are special kissers. (Those are pacifier lines on his cheeks!!)

We ALSO added Grandpa's birthday to the weekend mix!   If you count the candles, they are a representative number.  But I'm not sayin'......   Look at that teamwork!

We had the bestest weekend we could have asked for.  Family, friends, grandkids all over the place, all together having a great time.  How much better can it get!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Big Adventure

Patient Husband and I just returned from a big adventure!!  It was too short lived but gave us so much to look forward to another time.   We had two days of work/fun across Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  His work group was taking the trip as a Public Relations jaunt to bring attention to West Michigan as a vacation destination.  I tagged along because this it been a dream of mine since I was a child to cross the lake.

    Lake Michigan has always been a big part of my life.  Every summertime Sunday while we were growing up was spent with our cousins and parents at the beach. We took our kids to the lake for evening swims and pizza on the beach when they were little.  Now we have the luck to be living here.  But one thing I've never done was go across the lake.  

 See that dotted line?  That's connecting Muskegon, our launch site to Milwaukee, our destination.

 Lake Michigan is not a lake you can see across.  You need a boat.  A big one.  And we we took this one.  It's a ferry called Lake Express and it gets us across the lake in about 2.5 hours.  Amazing! 
 You can take your car, motorcycle or bicycle or have the option of renting a car when you get to Milwaukee.
 Monday was a very windy day.  Very windy. Very.  Storms were predicted the whole week before and we were sure the trip would be cancelled.  But  we had blue skies and sunshine ( but very windy!)
 My cousin told me to be sure to stand outside on deck as we left the channel and when the boat sped up as it sped into the lake.
 Almost there!
 Now there is nothing between us and Milwaukee but water!!

On the boat we talked to a man who lived in Milwaukee and asked him what we should see if we've never been there.  He suggested the Public Market, which coincidentally was across the street from the restaurant where we all met for lunch.  This man said on his return trips he is in big trouble with his wife if she doesn't bring home a Brookie.   A brookie is a brownie around a cookie.  Well. Twist MY arm!!  We bought two.

 One of our stops was to connect with a brewery and Lakeshore Brewery was recommended by this man, also.  Patient Husband and I had to put the brew to a taste test.  I don't drink beer so asked for root beer.  They had the most amazing thing I've ever had.  It was called Golden Maple root beer and it was a golden yellow color.  They use maple sugar to make it.  I wasn't too sure about all this strangeness so the helpful young man behind the counter gave me a taste.  Well, I didn't look back!

 We were early meeting the group for supper so took a short walk at the recommendation of the waitress in our meeting place.  We found, just one block from the restaurant, this signpost.  We chose Old World 3rd St. Area because we were just killing about 30 minutes time.

  We turned a corner and were in Man Heaven.  Patient Husband was beside himself over this street.
One beer hall/ brat restaurant after another after another.  We returned here for a small taste after our dinner.  This HB Munchen Old German Beer Hall was the destination.  PH has some of their steins from Germany and they are among his prized possessions.  Imagine finding this place!   They have a great deal for lunch.  Buy the drink and the food is free!!

 Next morning after breakfast we walked back to Man Heaven street and went to the Wisconsin Cheese store. 
 And walked the river front.

When we got back to the launch for the boat home, we realized we needed to put more gas in the rental car before returning it.  We turned down a couple of streets and found the charming neighborhood called BayView.  It's a darling working class neighborhood that's bustling with quaint places,  neat homes, sweet gardens and people walking.  Isn't that the gauge of a nice neighborhood?  People out walking?  It is for me.  It was so sweet I asked PH to just drive around for awhile.  It looked like my grandma's neighborhood before it went to seed.
    We found this Italian grocery store.   Now,  I could wander through ethnic grocery stores for hours. Food is my thing.  Take one look at me and you'd know that.  I love the first sniff as I walk in the door,  looking at the exotic ( to me) ingredients, and I never get past the bakery counter. 
 I brought three of these home and they're in the freezer, waiting for the day I need a special treat.

And, of course, the cookies.  I bought two.  They are also in the freezer, along with the brookies.  Someday I'm going to need a cookie hug and there will be a little bit of Milwaukee waiting for me.

We had lots of fun discovering a new place, remembering the places we will come back to someday, realizing how easy it all is to take the Lake Express across and all too soon, it was
time go say goodbye and head for Michigan.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

 Yesterday we travelled to the other end of the state to watch one of Charlie's soccer games.
 Our son broke his foot about a month ago so he hasn't been able to do much in the yard  getting ready for spring - much less hobbling around a soccer field. He's been in a cast and using crutches. He's now in a boot and using a cart.  After the game we spent the afternoon spring readying the for flowers and planting flowers, putting away winter toys and getting the summer ones out, fertilizing.

 "When I smile everybody says I'm as cute as a button.  What's a button ?"
 Our Ceci has a smile that's bigger than her face.
And Charlie is growing way, way too fast.

It was so good to see everyone and have a long day of playing with the kids. The perfect Mother's Day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Crazy lady!

Our assistant secretary (I don't think they're called that anymore, but anyway....) is nuts.  This woman never fails to think of things that will make the staff at school laugh.  This is "teacher appreciation" week. And she went to work...

This morning, after an hour ride in the car plus a 15 minute traffic jam, I needed the restroom.

This is the sign on the door that greeted me.
 And when I walked in I screamed!  This is NOT our bathroom!   Notice the  tropical island decor, the lighting for ambiance...
 The basket with magazines next to the johnnie for the men of our staff....
 The table and chair, table filled with lotions, colognes, mouthwash and deodorants...
 close the door and we are met by Mr. Hunk....
 Music playing a most soothing variety
 lights, color, everywhere...
And don't forget the chocolate!

After I had my tour I ran down the hall to get my friend and brought her in.  Well, at the same time there was a meeting in the principal's office of the superintendent,  comptroller, special ed administrator,  maintenance administrator, and principal from another building.  As they left we urged them to go inside and see what WE enjoy at OUR building.  There were at one time 6 men in the room all marvelling....
    Thank you Sheryl for making our day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013



OK, people.  Have you read this yet?  I dare you to look up once you start.