Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crystal Lake Campground and Big Fish

Paul didn't take the camera on the fishing trip, and he was glad because it was so rough on the lake. When they were in between waves all he could see was water. So we have no pictures of the 15 pound king salmon. We do, however, have a pic of the 15 pound king salmon fillets. Big fish sticks.

On Thursday night we ended up at the obscure Crystal Lake Campgound near Ludington. It was on Hackert Lake. The directions in the camping book were totally wrong. Took 2 phone calls to get there. It was a nice little lake, lots of permanent sites at the camp, very quiet.

Driving home on Friday, we stopped and played nine holes of golf near Evert, and then had lunch at the local Moose Club. Very good food.

Good to be home, except for unpacking and that didn't take long. Jeff kept our flowers alive while we were gone.

Beautiful weekend at the lake, 80s and dry with a nice breeze. So good to lose the humidity.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sunny skies and low humidity

We have had two perfect days here with sunny skies and low humidity. And No Bugs. Plagued with mosquitoes at home this summer, too much rain. I took a walk in the woods yesterday and picked a pint of wild raspberries and blackberries, and blue colored raspberries. Perfect for pancakes. They have primitive camp sites in the woods with big fire pits and lots of privacy. We can pick cherries too, but that requires more effort including walking up a large hill in the sun. Rex and Nellie always get a bushel of apples in the fall before they leave. This is a beautiful park, and half empty, thanks to the Michigan economy. There is a Beaver motor home get-to-gether this weekend and it will be full.

Nellie says it is always low humidity here. Since it is peninsula and there are lakes all around, it is surprising to me. Paul says that the cold lake water keeps the humidity low. It is so cool at night for sleeping, what a treat. They have found a great place to spend the summers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What You've Been Waiting For

Anyone who knows Rex and Nellie from Port Aransas would be amazed to know that not only does Nellie attend Pot Luck Dinners at the Wild Cherry Park, she organizes them. I asked if she and Rex would eat with us on Wed. and almost dropped my teeth when she told me that they can't, it was pot luck night. Knock me over with a feather. And let me tell you, the food was very, very fine. The park provided spare ribs for the meat course. Nellie made her famous sweet potato casserole and also an excellent broccoli dish. But for me nothing is better than sweet potatoes. There was a lettuce salad with strawberries and almonds that was wonderful. Will have to try to find a recipe like it.

FYI the difference between a pot luck dinner here and in Port A has something to do with cats ....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Up North

We have been semi planning a trip up north for this Tuesday, but on Monday morning it sounded like a good thing to do, right now. Started packing at 10:30 and we were on the road by 1:30 in the afternoon. We decided to go to Manistee and camp at the Little River Casino. The closer we got to the lake, the cooler it got. A good decision to leave. It is a nice campground full of old people who are very quiet. Good sleeping.
So we did a little gambling, Paul won and I lost 51 quarters in a very few minutes, without winning anything. We went over for breakfast in the morning, half price if you are card carrying gamblers, which we became very fast! Then Paul went and won some more money. Paid for gas and breakfast! Mr. Lucky.

Our plan was to play golf but it rained, so we drove up 22 through Frankfort, Glen Arbor, etc to the Wild Cherry Campground to visit with Rex and Nellie, friends we met in Texas. Rex turned 84 on July 9, Nellis is 82. They both look and act much younger. On July 11, Rex fell headfirst down a spiral stairway at a local restaurant. He is still was wearing some bandaids, he had a broken rib and a cut on his head. Nellie says that all their clothes had blood on it. He is recovered enough to go fishing at 4 am today. We went with Nellie when she picked him up at 5 pm, he was still going strong and he and his fisher friends don't even eat lunch. Maybe that is the trick! He caught several King Salmon. I have pics of him and the fish as he was cutting them up. And his friends boats.

Then we went to a little place called Happy Hour for dinner. Rex and I had amazing fresh perch, Nellie had clams and Paul had a steak sandwich. Very good food, and way out in the sticks, we will never be able to find it again.
Tomorrow I will post photos of Nellie doing something I never thought I would see, stand by for updates.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Boatin' and Fishin'

Went on a ride with the Boyles last night on the lake, Teigan went fishing. I know his name is spelled wrong. Sorry.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ghosts at Gettysburg

After mass today I asked Fr. Patrick if he ran into any ghosts on his vacation to Gettysburg. He said no, but he had an interesting experience. He stayed after closing time in an area that is know for strange occurances. Cell phones don't work, watches stop, cameras don't work. He was about 200 yards from his car, in the dark, he set his 3/4 full Gator Aid on the ground and took some pictures. When he got back to the car he noticed he forgot his drink. Using his camera as a light, he walked back for it. There was about half an inch left in the bottle, which was still capped. Pretty cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dancing Angels

Have to comment on Thursday nights "So You Think You Can Dance" results show. First, this is the last show I ever thought I would watch, and love! Cyndi hooked me on it. The talent is amazing and with TiVo I don't have to listen to the judges unless I agree with them. And generally they are positive and not insulting.

Anyway, Mia, a judge, took the week off from judging and choreographed a dance for the last five lady contestents. I didn't even recognize them because they all had very long hair with intricate braiding, unusual makeup and were in cute little costumes that had an angel look to them. Turns out, they were dancing angels. They started out sitting on the curved edge of the stage,just swaying. The music was Celine Dion singing "Ava Maria." Incredible dance. Amazing. Very powerful.

If you can watch TV on your computer, it was on Thursday night on Fox. Early on in the show, maybe 10 minutes into it. Also, way back (may have been the first competition show), perhaps the last week in June, the first couple dancing on the show was incredible. Their dance was rightly described as a scene from Tim Burton's wedding, very beautiful and unusual.

Beautiful Morn

Not a ripple on the lake this morning. Ran out at 6:30 am and took some pics. Just a little mist on the lake and soft early sun. Weather has been very hot and humid this week, finally broke last night. Good tubing weather though. Taking a short camping trip this week up near Traverse City.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Deep thoughts from 3 to 5 am

I awoke in the early am and my brain started spinning. We are going to have our bathroom redone this fall and I have been making decisions. Hard work for me. Should we leave that outside door in the room? Don't know. Probably not. Minor details. My sleep deprived brain was agonizing over more important issues, mainly where do I put all the stuff in the meantime? Which leads to weighty issues like where do I put my baskets that are stored in the room? I love my baskets, some are very nice. Maybe I could give them to a daughter, but only if they don't throw them away. And the Norman Rockwell houses are stored up there, what if they all want them? What if no one wants them? They were perfect in our 1911 house on Fancher Street, on the fireplace mantle. I wonder if Katie's new house has a fireplace? I read the Saturday Evening Post every week of my childhood with Norm's paintings on the covers. Loved them.

We have some clothes stored in the laundry room, soon to be bathroom. Where can I put them? Ah, maybe in the under bed baskets in our bedroom. Just have to move out some future gifts, and my teddy bears. What about my teddy bears? They take up two whole baskets. I could just fill up the old cradle in the living room. I don't really even want that in the living room, no place else to put it. I wish Andrea had a huge house. She would take it all. Can't put them in the basement, too damp down there. Maybe the cottage loft with all the toys. Then what is the point. Could I sell them on ebay? Lots of them were gifts, that is just cold. Besides, I really like them. sigh. Who could sleep through this? Birthday gifts for the grands??

Maybe I should get rid of my desk top computer, it takes up so much space in the office/craft/sewing room. Steph has to quit giving me yarn, or maybe I need to get organized! Yes, this is the solution. Maybe I will find the pink yarn I bought for Megan's sweater. Need to get started on that, it will be fall before you know it and she has surely outgrown the last one I knit her. It was too small from the start, I need to knit faster or she needs to grow slower.

Maybe I can sneak in a nap today, after I organize things and take a swim in the lake.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Reads

It has been a cool and rainy summer so I have been reading more than usual. I should be quilting on Charlie's cowboy quilt, and I will. On my last book right now.

Marti has been providing me with some different authors to try, we both love mysteries. The latest is J. A. Jance. I have been reading her J. P. Beaumont mysteries. They are set in Seattle area. She is a very good writer. The plots are complex and clever and difficult for me to solve. Usually I am pretty good at solving mysteries. She also has a series called the Joanna Brady mysteries that are centered in Bisbee, Arizona, and apparently have Native Americans in them. Will try one of them next. We have spent some time in southern AZ and like it a lot. We sure loved spending a few days in Tombstone. Great cowboy atmosphere.

Last fall I started reading some of the James Patterson books. Enjoyed several of the Alex Cross books, there must be 40 of them. Loved all of the Women's Murder Club books and the TV series that was exactly like the books, a rare and unexpected pleasure. I accidently bought cassettes of "Step on a Crack" and am enjoying my first audio book.

Started reading Kathy Reichs last summer, the series that the TV show Bones is based on. Interesting but gory. Dr. Brennen is very complex and foolishly brave and bad at relationships. Same goes for Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series of books. Both authors write very interesting mysteries though. They are both Forensic Anthropologists and know what they are writing about.

I am also rereading some of Lawrence Sanders McNally books. Good summer reads, clever and full of food and drink. Set in south Florida. Sanders has been dead for several years but the books don't feel dated. I am sure every library has them. Another author took over writing these "Archy" books, but they didn't seem as good to me as the originals.

Another favorite writer is Adriana Trigiani. She writes about Italian Americans. She wrote a very nice series: Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler and Milk Glass Moon. Rococco seems to be my favorite, but I am only half through Lucia, Lucia. Her books are surprising and full of wonderful details. Makes me want to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Alps in Northern Italy.

I just picked up Jan Karon's latest book at the library. She wrote 15 books about Fr. Tim and the little hill country town of Mitford. Delightful books that make you want to move to Mitford and are relaxing to read and you can fall asleep reading them and not have nightmares. She has now started a new series about all the same people. I am reading the first one, "Home to Holly Springs." Seems like more of the same. A good thing.

Brenda just brought me a bowl of hot peedogs. Which are chopped ham, bacon and onion, wrapped in bread dough and baked. So yummy. Lucky me. Just ate one with mustard on it and can't remember what else I wanted to write about. Guess it's time to quit.

Oh my, a sharp shinned hawk just grabbed a little bird off a tree and flew off with it. That quieted things down in the yard. There are two tiny finches on the ground by the feeder that haven't moved in 2 minutes. Blending in no doubt. Paul thinks it was a starling.


I was working in my flowers on Sunday and Paul came out and took some pictures, he read in my blog that Charlie wanted "More Grandma." Finally it was cool and low humidity.

On Friday I drove out to Elm Creek Nursery and bought some supplies, and plants. A neighbor has a beautiful Bee Balm, love it - very bright and cheery and big. I found them on sale, and they were two feet tall and mostly pretty straggly. There is a red one, a white one and a blue delphinium, for that red, white and blue display for July 4th. Also got two smaller ones in a bright pink. They are nice and bushy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Foodie Alert

Here it is midnight in Michigan and I am on the computer. Too full to sleep, plus there is an awful lot of loud snoring in my bedroom. We went to Buck's Run Golf Course ( for dinner with Tony and Virginia tonight. Thought we would end up at Bob's for fish and broasted chicken. And it would have been good. But Buck's Run was very, very good. The special was lobster tail and prime rib for $21. Plus a tasty salad and vegetables and potato and bread with oil. I tried the Red Current vinaigrette dressing, a little more tang than raspberry v. Can't remember the last time I ordered prime rib. It was, indeed, prime. Garlic mashed potatoes were delicious. My lobster was wearing a fresh orchid and a sprig of rosemary!
Paul had a steak salad. It was served with pita bread crusted with parm cheese. He liked it very much and also the bites of lobster, beef and veggies I slipped him. Tony and Virginia both ordered the special too. Tony and Paul enjoyed Blue Moon draft beer as well. We all had bites of the cream puff hot fudge sundae. Most delightful and a reminder of teen age shopping sprees at the Macomb Mall with a stop of Saunder's Ice Cream shop. Nothing like a stroll down memory lane ....

The photos are of the clubhouse at night and day, the course from the air and the putting course on its own little island.

We had a great table by the window overlooking the course. There was a wedding reception going on in the banquet rooms, a 50th wedding anniversary on the deck and a bachelor party at the next table. A very lively evening and a lot of fun people watching.

Marti and Woody spent Friday night at the lake, and then traveled up into Canada on Saturday for a weeks vacation. We had a nice visit with them on Friday. She is a tiny bit annoyed when my daughters and I don't write on our blogs every day. So we have to do better. But this was such a dull week, I did some gardening. Hate to write about pulling weeds.

And Charlie wants to see more Grandma pictures. What a sweetie, how could any Grandma resist that? Now I just have to remember to have Paul take some pics.

Diana's Quilt

Friday I drove to Weidman to the quilt show. This weekend was Weidman Days. Sadly, I missed the sign up for the pizza eating contest. However the quilt show was very nice. My friend of more than 30 years, Diana, had several quilts on display. This is one she made for her mother. She and her sister are traveling to Denver on the train for a visit this week.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday Dinner Party

Monday we had Father Patrick and the Boyles for dinner. Virginia made her wonderful salad, with Irish cheese on top. Paul grilled turkey tenderloins. I made Koenig potato salad with bacon in it. Steamed fresh sweet corn and wonderful ciabatta rolls to fill out the menu. Strawberry sundae's for dessert. Turned out great. I even picked flowers from my garden that matched the room. Yay for orange lilies!

Fr. Patrick has been our priest for 3 years. He gives the best homilies. Bishop Utner taught him how to compose them. (he also wrote a book about it, the title is something like "Better Preaching", quite popular with priests) . Anywho, he keeps it short and to the point and as he loves history, teaches us too. I have been trying to get him to put them on the internet, but he doesn't write anything down. And he is modest. He did say they are getting a parish website in the fall. He said he could write them out after he preached, I suggested a pod cast or just record them. They are too good to be lost. Paul and I actually remember, and can discuss them even 5 or 6 days later. Trust me, that never happened before.

Fr. Patrick loves Halloween. He decorates his house every October, it takes a month, and has it open for tours for several days around the 31st. He has a cob web machine that hooks up to an air compressor and blows them out. Also a fog machine. He is also a big fan of ghosts. Watches Ghost Hunters, etc. He is going to Gettysburg this week for a vacation and hopes to record some ghostly activity. He actually did a ceremony to rid a house of ghosts once. I didn't think ghosts were a Catholic thing, but since there is a ceremony for it .... it must be. Very, very interesting.

Birthday Bash for Paul

We didn't plan anything for Paul's 60th birthday, pretty much we are going to ignore birthdays until we are 75, then we shall see. Virginia and Tony invited us down for dinner with their family. Noel and Jessica are moving to Nashville this week, so her mom was there too. All very nice. Tony grilled pork tenderloin, most excellent and tender and tasty. A great meal. They planned a surprise of birthday cake, ice cream, pie. A wonderful carrot cake from Costco. A great surprise and very nice of them.

We had some great boat rides on their new party barge. It is a huge pontoon boat and has canvas roofs over the entire boat. So nice when the sun is hot.

Also at their cottage was Betty and George and Jack and Rosy, all the fun is running together now.

On Sunday, we grilled filet and I made salad and twice baked potatoes for dinner, and we ate alone! This was a great weekend, we would drive down to visit around in our golf cart, and neighbors were always showing up to see us too.

And best of all --- it finally got hot and we got out the tubes for some swimming. Some years we are in the lake in late April. This is the latest ever. Not a very warm summer here.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lake Parties for the 4th of July

Always party time at the lake, especially for the fourth. Brenda had a pre party Thursday night featuring her great Latvian "peedogs" (ham, bacon and onion wrapped in bread dough and baked), crab stuffed mushrooms, fruit, veggies, etc. It was a beautiful evening on the deck. On Friday it was more food, potato salad, slaw, etc, and Paul was the grill master of brats and burgers. Pete brought some hot dog cony sauce from Sparties in Lansing. Very good.

Jean hosted a party for John's 91st birthday, et al. Also very good. I posted a photo of the beautiful, exotic Maria, home from south America. Has a great job in DC at the Newsusum ?? When they interviewed Obama there, she took photos. She was very impressed.

There was fireworks over the lake for more than an hour. Not that we were awake to watch it. We had a feast a thon all day and were zonked out.

Brenda's sister got her a walker with a horn and a basket (for the beer) and a house coat to wear. A hoot. Brenda used to work at the Clare bowl-a-rama as a bartender on weekends. She has a wide variety of interesting friends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shopping with Jean and Brenda

It was a marathon of shopping, the Olympic trials, a quintillion shopping event. I drove, Jean and Brenda mearly shopped till they dropped. But they did good for their ages. And, oh no, Brenda turns 50 today. Jean is a "golden" shopper. Both Jean and Brenda are having big 4th of July parties at the lake this weekend. Jean is hosting the Villa family reunion, hubby John's birthday number 91, John Jr's 60th birthday, and grandson Tony must be 18.
Brenda is having a 3 day birthday bash. Starts Thursday with snacks and drinks on the deck. Friday is lots of food. Saturday is Karioke at the bowling alley. Her sisters are up for the fun, and son Jake and nephew Brian. Lots of pals. Lots of great food. Lots of fun. Lots of drunks. The perfect lake party.

So first we shopped at Kohl's, we wanted to be fresh for trying on clothes. Hit the jackpot. Jean got dressy jackets for $6.20. Good for all the charity events that they attend in Detroit. Brenda got shorts. I found 3 pair of shorts and a tee. All my pants are falling off my butt, had butt crack on the golf course last week. Where is the duct tape when you need it?

Then Sam's Club, and they had a nice little lunch buffet. Love the snacks, keeps the blood sugar up for more shopping! After we loaded 3 cases of water and 2 cases of beer into the van we had a low rider. Plus all the other great foods. I'm not cooking this weekend!

The we had lunch at the Traverse City Pie Company. Excellent as usual. I had half a Manitou sandwich and Tomato Basil Soup. Brenda and Jean had the chicken dumpling soup and chicken salad croissant and a Ruben. Brenda was so happy. When she shops with her sisters, they don't let her eat. We assured her that this is an integral part of the shopping experience.

Our next stop was Joann Fabric. They had new decorating fabrics, and I found the valance fabric of my dreams. It was 40% off too! Jean found a cart full of supplies too. Brenda went down to Fashion Bug and found two shirts. FYI the valances are supposed to be triangle shapped, each side a different color. Hoping to find some directions on HGTV, the inspiration.

Our next stop was Meijers for groceries. I was about done, but Brenda and I did our duty. No one will starve this weekend. One more stop at Rosebush to get ice, running into Paul and Tony, on their way home from golf. They won the scramble, most excellent.

It started to storm so we hurried home to unpack the goodies. Then I accompanied Paul and Tony to the Moose for a burger. Later that night we took Brenda to Ruckles for a birthday pizza and beer. So another day in paradise. And we didn't lose power in the storm!!

Oh my gosh, the daddy oriole is teaching 3 babies how to eat jelly off the feeder in my garden. They are so cute, downy and awkward, knocking each other off the swing. Last night he was feeding one of the babies jelly in the cherry tree. We have also noticed a gang of 4 or 5 young males flying through the yard, so they are on their second batch of babies. No wonder they are eating so much jelly.