Saturday, October 28, 2017

Florida jaunt

We just returned from four days in Florida where we were visiting PH's brother and SIL Joyce at their condo.  Our first day was cloudy and rainy but
 after that we had gorgeous blue skies everyday with temperatures to match.

Every morning we walked the beach and PH and I discovered it's great exercise for our calves and hips.  Ouch.
Aren't they beautiful?  This is what we were walking on if we didn't stick to the water line! I couldn't stand it.  I started picking them up and putting them in PH's pockets.
 He helped a little until he said, "No more! My pants are going to fall off!"
 So, I balanced a couple of big ones on my head so I could take some pictures.  After that we brought bags along.

 Every afternoon the boys took to the pools
while Joyce and I found nice shady spots to read the afternoon away. What could be better?

 Evenings we found interesting seafood restaurants.  This one was on the canal where the cruise boats leave so we got there in time to watch.  This is the Disney cruise ship leaving on Friday night.
 Truly, this is how close they come to the restaurants.  That's the back of PH's head.
 On the way home we saw peacocks and peahens sauntering down the streets.  The busy streets.  Like they were sparrows or something.  "Oh," Joyce said, "they're all over the place."  Well, really.
 How many times have you seen peacocks coming up to you begging for bits?  This one was in a parking lot of a store.  His hen was walking down the street.  It was the craziest thing I've ever seen.

And coming home today, this is what greeted us as we came off the highway!  It was a huge rainbow that disappeared very quickly.  By the time PH stopped the car so I could run out with my camera, the second half disappeared.  This was a very bright full rainbow, stretching from end to end.  If you look closely to the right you can just see it was a double rainbow welcoming us home!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday afternoon

Friday afternoon.  I just found out I've lost 40 pounds, it's 75 degrees out, the trees are stupendously beautiful, I found some interesting cookbooks at the library, one more for review, a really, really good novel I'm almost finished reading and one by my favorite actor so I settle on the porch with a bowl full of apple slices and put my feet up. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

So Much Fun

 We  had  so  much  fun last night!
 Charlie's birthday is the day after Halloween so the two celebrations usually go hand in hand.  Last night we traveled to celebrate early and attend an event at Greenfield Village in Detroit.  Our daughter-in-law called and told us she had tickets for all of us to come and experience this amazing Halloween event together.
 Dressed and ready to go!
 You'll have to excuse the quality of the pictures as we were dealing with excitement and darkness. This was our map of the village.
 Adelaide, Ceci and my daughter were studying the path.  The map is actually a nice memento but not necessary because the path through the village was marked with hundreds HUNDREDS of lit jack-o-lanterns.  As it got dark it was wonderful.
 Some excitement needs to be contained!  And yes, it was a drizzly evening that turned at times to light rain.  I brought along rain ponchos from the dollar store and we used most of them off and on.
 The evening was themed Wizard of Oz so at certain stations there were characters in costume - amazing costumes and make-up - with Did You Know sign facts.  At this we were told (if you didn't read the book) that in the movie Dorothy's shoes were ruby red but in the story they were silver. 
 The costumes were stupendous!
 There was a broom big enough for everyone!  Read the story Room on the Broom by Donaldson if you want a fun story for your littles.
 There were performances and storytelling here and there and this one had Mike completely captivated.  He wore a pirate costume and we were standing right in front and these four performers played right to our little 4 year old believer.  We stayed and stayed and stayed.  Mike refused to leave.
 Yes, he did get out of the wagon occasionally and when he did the other ten of us kept an eye out for him.  He was exactly the right age to believe everything that was happening. The station where the story of the Headless Horseman - Ichobod Crane was told was particularly spooky, it came complete with two horse riders in a very-close-to-the-audience cornfield (yes, one was headless.)  That one had Mike looking for Daddy to hold him.
Pumpkins absolutely everywhere and this was when I stopped trying to take pictures.  It was raining. There was too much excitement and distraction to fiddle with camera settings.  At this spot there was also a huge tree FILLED with lit pumpkins in the way high up branches.  It was stupendous. We were trying to figure out how to do that at home but none of us has a ladder tall enough. 

At the end as we were saying our goodbyes GIL ( Grandma-in-law) was saying that by the next morning all of this would be cleaned up and gone.  No sign of this event to be seen by morning.  Then, in two weeks it starts all over again for Halloween weekend.  Amazing!

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, child and outdoor

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Retreat

This past week/weekend we ten gathered again for our retreat.  This was our ninth October at this Inn and for some of us, almost our 16th year together for an October weekend.  There isn't much  structure to this weekend, even though we added a day so we'd be together for almost 5 days, we just gather to reconnect, stitch and enjoy the ambiance and care from our innkeepers. 
They give us luxury rooms, sumptuous meals, and 130 acres to wander if we need to stretch and enjoy a walk. 

 Our work room in full swing.  I'm the only one who doesn't bring a sewing machine so my regular seat is in the far left corner of this picture, situated between two windows.  It's just about the only place I can be for the light I need.
 Thankfully, the weather cooperated for happy hour on the porch.  We solve the problems of the world out here. A glass or two of wine makes experts of any of us!
 This is Marcia, one of the three owners.  She isn't the chef but the chef put her on grilling duty for our Saturday night supper of grilled chicken
 Usually someone volunteers to teach a project.  We don't have a defined instructor come in and work with us, instead, it's one of us raising our hands and saying we will show how to do something.  This time, Barb offered to demonstrate these little pouch bags.
 Joyce holds her first attempt but ended up making maybe 5 or 6 of them?  She makes things during this weekend to sell at her church craft sale and she added these little bags to her donation.
 Otherwise, we work on our own projects, talk, eat, sleep and stitch and some of us take a walk or two.  This year, because we added a day and discovered a quilt store very nearby we had an outing one day.
 Show and tell is Saturday night and this year there was a lot to show.  I'll showcase some  but not all.

 Each year after dinner on Saturday night we play a couple of games of LCR (Left, Center, Right) and for one of the games we use themed fat quarters as currency.  Someone wins 30 fat quarters and they are charged with bringing something the next year that they made from their new stash.  Last fall Joyce won the batiks and they couldn't have gone to a better person.  Joyce is the only one of us who lives in batik world. Some of us use them but not exclusively like Joyce does.  She brought the tuffet she made
 and this wall hanging.  She got good mileage out of that new stash!

Everyday after lunch I took a solitary walk through the woods in the back.  This is a view of the "complex" from one of the walks.  It wasn't until Saturday night that I was told there are bear living in the woods.  I took a different path everytime I went and there was one time I definitely thought I could be in the company of some critters.  I never saw a bear or a cougar or even a racoon, but I was far enough back to have not been surprised.  I did ask the innkeepers on Saturday night if seeing something was a possibility.  "Oh, yes," Pat said, "their neighbor recently was treed by a bear back in there."  Well. Ok!

For me, the retreat is 50/50 being with my quilting friends and just being at this Inn.  It has now become so familiar and the innkeepers so welcoming and generous every year it feels like coming home. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Rules of Magic

Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

     If you haven’t read Alice Hoffman’s best  known book Practical Magic, then don’t do it now. Read Rules of Magic first.  It’s a prequel and after reading them back to back it’s one big great, wonderful story. Such a fun time spent reading! 
     In Rules of Magic Susanna Owens has taken her three children, Franny, Jet and Vincent, to live in New York where she hopes they can live a normal life and not be blamed for every darned thing that goes wrong in the small Massachusetts town the family came from, like everyone in her family has since the 1600’s.   But normal isn’t normal if you can’t wear red shoes or own a cat or light a candle or  walk in the moonlight or deny the ‘gifts’ you inherently have or, heaven forbid, you fall in love.  For them all, the hard part is the falling in love part.  There is a family curse that is all too real for these three who just want a normal life.  
     Franny and Jet are the elderly aunts whose names aren’t even mentioned in Practical Magic until the very end.  In Rules of Magic , a prequel, we get to watch them grow up and into themselves, and what a treat! Franny, Jet and Vincent try, but they have been so protected and forbidden from places it’s getting harder and harder to deny the gifts that they just can’t explain.  Franny can call birds to her bidding.  Jet can see things and Vincent is the one of the three who believes they have special magical talents. Vincent’s fate proves the word devotion, it’s surprising and integral to the story’s future.
     We have a great view of the lives of three people who are determined to be true to themselves no matter how hard it is, and believe me, it is. If upon finishing Rules of Magic you immediately pick up Practical Magic you will have one very rich and transforming reading experience.  I can only hope you don’t deny it to yourself.