August 30, 2015

  • Apocalyptic

    One of the things I love most about geocaching is when we stumble upon something cool we didn't know was there. Some of the coolest things we've found have been abandoned roads and bridges, allowed to stand and be reclaimed by nature as they are forgotten by people. There's a post-apocalyptic feel to a man-made structure that's in the process of reverting to grass and trees. It's a weird mix of sadness for what once was and hope that nature will always bounce back.

    Today we found such a place. We were looking for a cache under a bridge, but we were hot and tired, it was getting late in the day, the GPS signal was bouncing all over the place thanks to the trees, water and bridge structure, a wild turkey was guarding the area, and the instructions on the cache page were vague. All that to say, we didn't find the cache. We did, however, find the remnants of an older bridge a few yards away that was once what cars on that road crossed to get over the creek.


    All other signs of the old road are gone and vines, moss, grass and trees are slowly covering this forgotten old bridge. All in all, I'm happier finding this than if we'd found the cache.

August 29, 2015

  • Take 2

    In my last post, I showed you the painting I did on my own, with no instruction, using a photo I took eight years ago as a guide.


    For the four nights it took to paint this, Krysten was sitting across the table from me working on her own version of the same scene.


    The kid's got talent! It's fun to see how we can look at the exact same photo and see it so differently. I know part of it is because I was seeing those mountains as I remember them from my childhood - larger and with streaks of pink in them.

    The trees in our pictures are cottonwoods that grow along the Gila River in Arizona. The mountains are Sleeping Indian on the left and Steeple Rock on the right. They were visible from the yard of my grandparents' house in Duncan, Arizona. That house was destroyed when the Gila River flooded in the 70s, so this view of Steeple Rock is my visual reminder of grandma and grandpa.

    Tonight, Krysten and I will be painting a very different picture at Wine & Canvas in South Bend. Tomorrow I need to put away the art supplies and get serious about preparing for a very long road trip. We leave in one week! Yikes!

August 27, 2015

  • Art!

    Tonight I finished... or at least decided to stop... painting my first non-instructor-led painting. It's not a great work of art, but I'm not entirely displeased with it for a first effort.



    I'm sure my family members will recognize the subject, and being recognizable is a huge step forward for me! I just wish I could have captured all the layers and colors of the desert better.

    Today I also got a package in the mail -- my multi-media painting from the Wine & Art class my cousins and I went to on Washington Island! It now has a thick coating of some sort of clear resin protecting the glued on scraps of fabric and stuff that forms the foundation of the painting.



    The return address on the package was Fair Isle Books, my cousins shop on the island. As I was pulling the packing out of the box, I realized there was something else in there with the painting. My cousin sent me a book called Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I've only read a few pages and I'm already hooked.

    It's been an artsy month. My friend murisopsis and I went to Wine & Canvas last week and painted two birds on a branch. It was a much easier than usual painting that I still didn't quite get, but I'm happy with my effort.

    W&C 8.21.15

    But that's not all! Joyouswind and I will be heading back to Indiana for Wine & Canvas this weekend. We'll be painting a night scene with a castle; a much more difficult painting I suspect.

    Tonight when I got home from the pool, I set up my palette and my cup of water and my brushes to work on my painting. I decided to add one more color to my palette and reached all the way across the table for the tube of paint. I was perched on the edge of the rolling chair, which tipped forward and dumped me onto the floor. Sitting close to the wall was both a blessing and a curse; a blessing because the chair tipped at a 90 degree angle, then got jammed against the wall and didn't continue to fall over on top of me. A curse because I was stuck between the table legs and the seat of the chair with the back of the chair resting on my head and didn't have enough room to maneuver my way out of my predicament. I hollered for Krysten, but she was shut upstairs in her bedroom watching instructional videos for her online classes. Her dog Jack, however, rushed to see what had happened and was very concerned for me. He kept putting his face next to mine and looking in my eyes and putting his body right up against mine. It was sweet, but I was trying to move the table without tipping the heavy chair onto my head and he was getting in my way. I had to keep pushing him away. Boo, meanwhile, couldn't be bothered to leave his bed in the living room where he was hoarding both of the new toys I bought this week (one for each dog). I know which dog I prefer to honor on National Dog Day, and it's not my rotten little ball of fluff.


    You will be happy to know that I eventually made it up off the floor and the mishap did not knock over my cup of water or send my palette flying. I discovered that when the chair tipped forward, one of the rollers broke and that's why I couldn't get it to stop tipping. I suppose after about 30 years and multiple moves, it might be time for new kitchen chairs. I moved that particular chair over to Brett's usual spot since he's out of town. I sure hope I remember to tell him about it when he gets home.

    So, that's been my day. My legs are a bit sore tonight. I'm not sure if it's from water aerobics or falling out of my chair.

August 17, 2015

  • Stavkirke

    I promised you the next time I felt overheated and lightheaded I would tell you about the Stavkirke. I lied. The "next" time I felt that way, it was almost immediately followed by feeling too cold and I spent several hours shivering and shuddering, wearing my winter nightgown and fuzzy socks, under a pile of quilts, cuddling a heating pad. After that I got dehydrated and am just now getting back to normal hydration, but today the heat got to me again. It's not even that it's so terribly hot - only in the 80s - but the humidity is so much higher than we're used to here. And maybe I'm coming down with something that's making me more susceptible. Anyway, this is the time after the "next" time I feel overheated and lightheaded, so here's my post about the Stavkirke.

    stavkirke 1

    Stavkirke is a combination of two Scandinavian words meaning "stave" or "pole" and "church." The stavkirke on Washington Island is a replica of one in Borgund, Norway which dates back to 1150 A.D. I am going to quote from the brochure about the architecture and construction of the church. Everything in italics is from the brochure.

    Four dragons at front and rear of the church were first sketched then carved from pieces of pine. These dragon heads are from a design in a Stavkirke book. Two side walkways called ambulatories served folks who due to illness or other causes, including poverty, could not be inside with worshipers were here still ministered to. This area was also a place to leave weapons of those inside and sometimes referred to as the "armory."

    Me again... You can see the dragon heads in the picture above. The half wall that goes around the front corner is one of the ambulatories. The other is on the opposite side of the church. You can also see three crosses, one on each of the lower roof peaks. Since the church is a replica of a medieval Norwegian church, there are elements of both Christianity and paganism in the architecture.

    stavkirke 3

    There are twelve center staves, or masts, as well as heavy beamed, ship-like construction throughout the structure. Viking shipbuilding techniques characterize the all-wood construction: tongue and groove joinery; shaped masts; ship 'knees' or frames; and use of wood trunnels (dowels or 'tree nails') and heavy, wrought iron fastenings. Carvings and adornments blend both pagan and Christian symbols. Overhead, suspended from the rafters, is a model of a mackinaw schooner, a working sailing vessel popular for fishing and transporting goods across the lake in the mid-t0-late 1800s. This model was handcrafted from cedar net buoys used by a local island fisherman in the 1920s.

    Me again... There are no nails in this building. Where a nail might be needed, a carved wooden pin is used, just like the Vikings did it. The craftsmanship is astonishing. This building is still a work in progress, lovingly crafted by the congregation of the Lutheran church on whose grounds it is built. Its foremost purpose is as a place of prayer and meditation and it is open daily for that purpose. It is also a tribute to Washington Island's Scandinavian heritage.

    stavkirke 2

    Two candelabras rest to the sides of the altar. Originally, candles were all that softly lit the interior of stave churches in Norway. Light is now provided through the thirteen clear glass windows on the north and south walls near the roof. One colored window softens the morning and evening sunlight. The words HAN ER OPPSTANDEN just above the altar table mean "He is standing above us" or "He is Risen." Twelve Saint Andrew's crosses surround the nave with typical Norwegian carving on nine of them. This work is still in progress.

    Me again... I think there are actually 6 clear glass windows on each side and the colored glass window is in the back of the church. Hey, look! I got my cousins in the shot above! That's Ginny standing on the left and Debbi sitting on the right.


    Still me... After we left the building, we wandered along the Prayer Path. There is a boardwalk access to the church which we used when we went in. The Prayer Path is a lovely footpath through the woods with occasional "stations" consisting of a plaque with a Bible verse and maybe a ship's helm or some other piece of nautical equipment to go with the mostly nautical theme of the Bible verses.


    The Prayer Path is intended to be a place for reflection and prayer. It features a number of prayer stations as well as meditation benches and engraved plaques containing selected verses of scripture which will help to underscore the sacred nature of this special place.


    Me again... In some places along the path there were simple cairns built by anonymous hands as silent memorials.


    The view along the prayer path was one of continual beauty and peace.


August 10, 2015

  • International Lighthouse Day

    I'm late to the party, as usual. I was about to shut down my computer Friday night at around 12:15 AM when I noticed a friend had posted a photo of the lighthouse in Holland, Michigan for International Lighthouse Day. Here I am with photos of the lighthouses my cousin and I saw during her visit, already loaded and ready to post, and I missed International Lighthouse Day. Story of my life!

    My cousin Ginny and I, as you may recall, went to visit our cousin Debbi at Washington Island, which sits in Lake Michigan on the Wisconsin side and very near Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Ginny and I came back to The 'Duh the long way, through the U.P. and down the lake shore. Since we drove to the island by way of Chicago, we ended up driving all the way around the lake by the time we got home. Ginny is from the Yosemite region of California and the four-year-old drought has dried up all the lakes, rivers and reservoirs in her area. She was amazed by the size of our beautiful lake, and how green everything is, and how the lakeside towns look so similar to the seaside towns on the Pacific coast. When I was telling her my plan for our little road trip, she mentioned that she would like to see a lighthouse and I told her that would be no problem. You can't throw a rock around here without hitting a lighthouse! We didn't even begin to see all of the lighthouses along our route. Here's a map of Lake Michigan lighthouses I found at


    lighthouses lake michigan

    As you can see, there are quite a few lighthouses in and around the lake! In fact, there are so many, they couldn't fit them all on this map! Washington Island is in Door County, Wisconsin. Here is the map for Door County area lighthouses.


    lighthouses door county area

    We crossed the Mackinac Bridge over the Straits of Mackinac on our way home. Here is the map for lighthouses in the Straits of Mackinac area.


    lighthouses mackinac area

    If we'd tried to see every lighthouse, we'd still be out there somewhere along the lake shore. Here are the five lighthouses we saw. I had intended to stop at the Frankfort Breakwater, but time did not allow it on this trip.


    Pilot Island Lighthouse

    This lighthouse is in Door County, Wisconsin. I took this photo from the ferry with my lens zoomed all the way out. All those white specks are seagulls.


    Plum Island Rear Range Light

    Another Door County light and another shot from the ferry, although we passed much closer to Plum Island than we did to Pilot Island.


    Petoskey 1

    This small pierhead light is located in the beautiful town of Petoskey, Michigan, in the Straits of Mackinac area. If you squint, you can see it in the background. That's my cousin Ginny in the foreground. People who see us together think we're sisters.


    North Pier SJ

    This is the one (techincally, the two) in my area. The inner light is getting some much needed TLC and the North Pier is closed. I'm happy I chose to take Ginny to the South Pier for the view of the lighthouse and a ride (okay, two rides) on the Silver Beach Carousel while we were there.


    Manistique lighthouse

    I saved my favorite photo for last. To get to this lighthouse, we had to take a long stroll down a boardwalk, leave the boardwalk and hike down a dune, scramble over large cement slabs, climb up onto the pier and walk at least a quarter-mile on the pier, which makes a 90-degree turn along the way. You can't tell from the photo, but the lake was very choppy that day. The waves weren't big enough to crash over the pier, but they were crashing against the side of the pier and splashing up onto it. I deliberately chose a dry spot to take this photo, thinking the angle of the waves was such that that they weren't splashing there. I was wrong, of course; it was just windy enough to dry the puddles quickly between splashes. (In other words, I got wet!) The lighthouse looks black in this photo, but that's just the lighting - it's actually red.

    It's been a very busy time at my house; there's no telling when I'll have time to post next; I'm only posting now because I don't feel well and am resting. Next time I get overheated and feel faint, I'll tell you about the Stavkirke.

August 1, 2015

  • How I became the most popular girl in the bar

    In my last post I talked about my visit to Washington Island and the time I spent with two of my cousins. I told you about "taking the cure" at Nelsen's by slamming down a shot of bitters and earning my membership card to the Bitters Club.

    Nelsen's 2

    The bartender was duly impressed with Ginny and me. She told us, "You made that look BAD!" (meaning badass, so I didn't tell her I'd been chewing on ice from my glass of water to numb my tongue before she brought the bitters to us). This post isn't about Nelsen's or bitters, though; this post is about another bar we stopped at the day before.

    I can't remember the name of the bar... Karly's maybe? I know there's a Karly's Bar on the island, I'm just not sure that's the one we stopped at. It was what I think of as a tiki bar or a cabana bar; a small building, open on three sides, located on a lot next to the restaurant that owns it. We had just walked about a mile in the heat to find a geocache and my cousin Ginny was hot, tired and her feet were hurting. It was true of all of us, but she's the one who was vocal about it, so Debbi led us to this bar so Ginny could rest her feet and cool off with a drink before we continued on to our next activity. We perched on tall wooden stools next to the tall wooden bar and the others knew exactly what they wanted to drink. Ginny had been wanting to try the local Death's Door Vodka, so she ordered a shot of that on the rocks. Debbi loves red wine, so she ordered a glass of that. I'm not really that much of a drinker. I'm a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I rarely have more than one drink at a sitting. I like wine okay with certain meals, but I don't drink it much by itself. I looked at what they had behind the bar and what they had advertised around the bar. I don't like beer, so that was out. Then I spotted the  dry erase board with the specials listed. I pointed to the top listing, something called Lake Michigan Water, and said, "I'll take one of those."

    It took the bartender a while to mix it. There was blue curacao in it, and vodka, and a lot of other alcohol, and a little 7-Up at the end. She stuck a straw in it and put it in front of me and I took a sip. Whew! That was some strong drink! I was about to take another sip when the bartender popped a hot pink flower lei over my head and said, "You get one of these!" I smiled, my cousins laughed, and I started to take a sip when the bartender said, "No, wait! You also get a fish!" And she dropped a blue plastic fish into my glass. Well, of course hilarity ensued as I tried to get the fish to suck up enough of the drink to shoot out of its mouth when I squeezed it, but I never was successful.


    As we were sitting there cooling off in Ginny's case, trying not to be rude about the quality of the wine in Debbi's case, and enjoying a fun blue drink in my case, four men walked in. They were visitors to the island who arrived by their own boat, there for the fishing. They were loud and friendly and arguing among themselves about what to drink. I think two of them ordered rum and Coke and one ordered a beer. The fourth guy asked what we were having and the bartender answered, "Vodka, wine, and Lake Michigan Water."

    "What's Lake Michigan Water?" he asked.

    The bartender started reeling off the ingredients.

    "Is it any good?" he queried.

    I turned around with a big smile and replied, "You get a fish AND a lei!"


    And that's how I became the most popular girl in the bar.


July 29, 2015

  • Whirlwind Vacation

    Last week my cousin Ginny from northern California flew into my area. Her plane landed around 9:30 on Tuesday night and twelve hours later we were in the van and on our way to Wisconsin to visit our cousin Debbi. We didn't dawdle on the road because Debbi is a half-year resident of Washington Island and we had a ferry to catch. We pulled up to the ferry dock a half-hour before the last ferry, making it onto the third-to-last ferry of the day. I was amused by the benches on the ferry dock, warped by decades of bottoms.

    ferry bench

    Washington Island is beautiful, peaceful and mostly a dead zone for cell phone and WiFi signals. I didn't even bother to take my laptop with me. I occasionally picked up a Sprint signal on my phone, but Ginny was out of luck with her AT&T phone, except for one tiny strip of sand on the east side of Detroit Harbor.

    The first night we were there, we ate supper on Debbi's back deck overlooking the water. We talked the sun down and the moon up.

    cabbage twilight

    The mosquitoes chased us indoors, but we ventured back out later to look at the stars. It was amazing! There is very little light pollution and there were so many stars visible - not to mention the Milky Way. I haven't seen such a vivid night sky since my childhood in Colorado.

    Ginny and I enjoyed exploring the island while Debbi was working at her bookstore. We visited Schoolhouse Beach which is covered with smooth limestone rocks instead of sand.

    schoolhouse beach

    We looked at old headstones at the Washington Township Cemetery.

    WA TWP cemetery

    We admired the two Barn Quilts on the island.

    barn quilt

    And of course we did a little bit of geocaching.

    WI trespassers

    On our second day there, Debbi had set up a private wine & art class with multi-media artist Cindy Wunsch.

    Art night 2

     That's Debbi, Ginny and me with our paintings. They  still needed to have resin applied to them when we left, so they will be mailed to us. Mine is based on a view I saw when I went with Debbi on her morning walk with her dogs.

    WI Point

    Our third day on the island, Debbi took us to Nelsen's where we were inducted into the Bitters Club by downing a shot of Angostura Aromatic Bitters.

    Nelsens 1

    It tasted pretty nasty... reminded me of Vick's cough syrup from my childhood. But I downed it like a badass and earned my membership card.

    Nelsen's 2

    We did a lot more and saw a lot more, including a visit to a lavender farm.

    fragrant isle lavender farm


    I will post later about the Stavkirke and the lighthouses and a couple of cool things we saw from Debbi's deck. Right now, I need to sign off, feed Boo and get ready for water aerobics. It'll feel good to be back in the water after the many hours I've spent in the van the past week. My routine should be getting back to normal starting tomorrow... for a little while...

July 21, 2015

  • Not Much

    Life has been mostly quiet and mostly slow the past couple of weeks. I am grateful for that because I've been miserable with joint pain. It's been so hot and humid, with pop-up thunder and lightning storms; perfect weather for arthritis flare-ups. I've  been moving slowly or not at all, reading a lot of books, taking pain pills, napping, icing my knees, falling asleep with the heating pad under my back (no lectures, please -- I got one with automatic shut-off so I could fall asleep without worrying), picking raspberries and running errands when I could, making jam, writing letters, doing laundry... my usual boring life. I like having a boring life; the times life has gotten exciting has almost always involved stress, expenses, property damage and health issues.

    Today wasn't as hot or humid and it didn't rain, so I am feeling better. No pain pills were needed at all today -- not even a Tylenol! I was able to get out and run some errands without moaning and groaning every time I got in or out of the van. This is a vast improvement. Now if I could just stop clenching my teeth... I realized I'd started doing that again when my molars started hurting on one side. I'm making a conscious effort to stop, but I usually only think about it when those teeth start hurting because I'm doing it again. Sigh. It's not as annoying as the eye twitch I usually get when I'm feeling stressed, so I've got that going for me.

    Tuesday night my cousin is flying in from California. I've been trying to prepare for her visit and I mostly just need to do a little sweeping and dusting to finish up. I haven't stressed out too much about the house because on Wednesday morning my cousin and I are leaving for Washington Island, Wisconsin to visit another cousin for a few days. This will involve driving my van onto a ferry which will be a new and somewhat frightening experience for me. I want to come home the long way, across the Upper Peninsula and the Straits of Mackinac which will involve driving across the Mackinac bridge - another frightening prospect. But I'm still working on facing my fears and trying to overcome them... at least in the moment. If we make good time across the U.P., we might stay overnight in Traverse City. If the bridge completely unnerves me, we might stop in Mackinaw City. I just hope we don't poop out somewhere in the middle of the wilderness of the U.P. My knowledge of the U.P. is based solely on the movie Escanaba In Da Moonlight and the stage play Escanaba In Love both written by actor Jeff Daniels. I have a feeling the reality might be a little more normal (but I hope not too normal).

    Joyouswind has been taking two accelerated classes online this summer through Ball State University. They are the first of ten classes (I think) she needs to complete her second Master's Degree. She took the final exams last weekend and she got an A in both classes. Woohoo! Proud mama here!

    Boo has been a naughty dog twice in the past week, above and beyond his usual obnoxiousness. I tell him to go to time out and he picks up a toy and saunters into his kennel. I put a blanket over his kennel for a few minutes and he doesn't make a sound. When I pull the blanket off the kennel, he's sprawled out with his toy taking a nap. When I unlock the kennel, he shoots me a look, stretches and lays back down refusing to come out. The dog has an abundance of attitude to make up for his lack of remorse. He's also taken to going out of his way to sneeze on my feet. I suppose I shouldn't be complaining at his summer misbehavior and just be grateful the long winter is over and I don't have to shove my feet into snow boots and tramp through three feet of snow in my nightgown to fetch him from the middle of the yard at 2 AM because he refuses to come inside and go to bed. I know those nights will be back in a few months and I'm not looking forward to them.

    I got to use my field guide to mushrooms the other day. Brett found a weird looking, slimy yellow mushroom growing under the pine tree in our yard. The underside was spongy looking instead of ribbed. It was a Chicken Fat Mushroom (also known as American Slippery Jack, scientific name Suillus Americanus) which only grows under Eastern White Pine trees.

    chicken fat mushroom

    I found this photo online. The one in our yard was slimier, more yellow, and had big brown moldy looking spots on it. Very icky looking, but not as nasty as the stinkhorn mushroom I found in our yard one summer.

    So that's been my life lately. I probably won't take my laptop with me to the island since there's not much in the way of internet or cell phone coverage there. The only reason I'm even thinking about it is so I can upload photos from my camera while I'm there. I don't think it will be worth the bother.

    Be good, peeps; I'll catch up with you in a week or so.

July 7, 2015

  • Friends, Fireworks, Sunsets & Stuff

    It's a rainy morning and I had a hard time falling asleep last night, so I'm being lazy for a few minutes, sitting on the couch eating a homemade cherry poptart and poking around on Facebook and Xanga. I suppose I can catch you up on the holiday weekend, even though Bookmark61 has already posted his sunset photos and murisopsis has posted her fireworks photos. Who can ever get enough of sunsets and fireworks?

    Our party went well. We made it a geocaching event, so there were a few people there whom we didn't know. They all seemed to have a good time and several of them went off at some point and grabbed a few of the caches around the village. I had been on my feet all day and I was in a lot of pain with my feet and my back. I sneaked off when nobody was looking and went upstairs to lie down for a few minutes, then changed into long pants because the evening had cooled off quite a bit. As I was coming back downstairs, one of my knees decided it was going to suddenly join my feet and back in the pain party, so I stopped in the kitchen and took a pain pill before going back out to my guests. That's probably why I forgot about the door prizes. Oops. That's okay... the geocaching ones will be easy to use or give away and the others have been packed away with the rest of the party stuff.

    We set up our yard the same way every July 3rd. Three tables across the front of the house to hold the potluck dishes, two tables along the driveway to hold buns, condiments, plates, cups, tableware, napkins, and a five gallon cooler of ice water. A child's plastic wading pool nearby filled with cans of pop and lots of ice. A roof-sized tarp strung up at the corner of the house to keep sun, rain and ants off guests who don't like those things falling on them. Lights and decorations and lawn chairs scattered around the front yard. The side lot is for parking and volleyball. Putting up and taking down the volleyball net is a major project. The backyard is set up for croquet and there are little wooden quart-sized containers left next to the raspberry patch in case anyone wants to pick berries to take home with them. I deliberately didn't pick on Thursday or Friday so there would be plenty of berries for our guests.



    Around 10:00 PM we start handing out glow necklaces to all our guests and somewhere around 10:30 the fireworks show begins. I was using a new camera this year and had to figure out the timing for the fireworks shots. This camera is faster than my old one, so the first few shots were just to learn the timing. Here are a few of my favorite fireworks photos from this year's show:








    And then there was the finale, where the booms were so loud they pounded through my chest. I love that feeling when it's fireworks or drums. Not so much any other thing I can think of.




    There's an American flag in fireworks that ends the show every year. It's one that is not shot into the air, but along wires strung between two poles at the far end of the field. I remember standing in the street to see it one year. I haven't bothered since, but once the flag explodes into being and fades away, the show is over. There is a huge, drunken roar from the thousands of people on the field and in yards throughout the village and then the big exodus begins, moving several thousand vehicles out of a village of 800 or so residents. It takes a while, but not as long as the more popular show at Silver Beach on the 4th. You might have heard about that one this year. If not, CLICK THIS LINK to read about it.

    On Saturday, Brett and I worked to get all the party stuff taken down and put away. Well, most of the decorations. We left the tarp and the lights and decorations up for one more day, but there were plenty of things that needed to be put away. Brett worked outside all day and I worked inside, taking care of leftover food and emptying and repacking the storage boxes. We were both so exhausted we kept falling asleep every time we sat down, so it was slow going. Luckily, we still had another day to finish the work and we weren't in a big rush to get it done anyway. That evening we decided to go out and watch the sunset. Since our usual places for sunset watching (the bluff above the lake, and the piers at Silver Beach and Tiscornia Beach) would be packed with people waiting for the St. Joseph fireworks show to start, we went to a quiet little beach overlook in Stevensville called Glenlord Beach Park. The bluff has eroded there and the beach is no longer safely accessible, so they built a wooden viewing platform. We discovered that just standing at the picket fence blocking access to the steep descent to the beach gave us the best view of the sunset. There was a haze on the horizon, so the sunset was kind of a dud, but it was a mostly peaceful few moments as we watched boats headed south away from the masses of humanity...



    ... or north to watch the fireworks from the water.


    I could hear a lot of noise, muted by distance, from the direction of Silver Beach and commented that the crowds were getting rowdy in St. Joe. Little did I know! I found out the next day just how rowdy it got and I am so grateful we learned after one attempt years ago to avoid St. Joseph on the 4th of July.

    We stayed at Glenlord Beach long enough to watch the sun disappear into the haze.




    Then we went home and ate leftover hamburgers and ice cream. Sunday was spent finishing up the party cleanup. We were still exhausted, but both of us managed to stay awake most of the day. We're almost recovered now. Yesterday I returned the tables we rented and Brett hauled the party boxes down to the basement, so our 24th Annual 3rd of July Party is officially over.

    And life goes on; a little older,  a little wearier, hopefully a little wiser, and our "Avoid St. Joseph on the 4th of July" rule of thumb bolstered.

July 1, 2015

  • 100 Things That Make Me Happy

    1. A sunny day
    2. A cool breeze
    3. Hanging out with my daughter 


    4. Dogs
    5. All my nieces and nephews
    6. A field of flowers 


    7. Deciding how to spend an gift card
    8. Classic rock from the 70s
    9. Reflections in water

    #4 Peaceful

    10. Finding a real letter in my mailbox
    11. Homemade jam
    12. Lighthouses


    13. A mocha moolatte from Dairy Queen
    14. National parks
    15. A road trip with my husband


    16. The smell of Johnson’s Baby Lotion
    17. A funny movie
    18. My mother’s smile


    19. A good mystery novel
    20. Geocaching
    21. A dirty car


    22. Freshly shampooed hair
    23. French Impressionist paintings
    24. GeoWoodstock

    with The Jester and The Blooming Idiot

    25. Blues guitar
    26. A good pair of sneakers
    27. Kitschy roadside attractions

    gemini giant

    28. A good night’s sleep
    29. Air conditioning
    30. A beautiful sunset


    31. Warm chocolate chip cookies
    32. Christmas cards
    33. Gerbera daisies


    34. Hot tubs
    35. Fireflies
    36. Fruit that grows in our backyard


    37. Double canasta
    38. Spaghetti
    39. Mountains

    Sonora Pass

    40. A clear night
    41. 3-ply toilet paper
    42. Old family photos

    Oz Mount family

    43. Getting a package in the mail
    44. The African Queen
    45. Memories of Sunday drives with my dad

    Pikes Peak

    46. Dimples
    47. Lactose free milk
    48. My mom's peace rose

    6.9 peace rose

    49. Bubbles
    50. Baby giggles
    51. Covered bridges


    52. Waterproof hiking boots
    53. Hot pink toenails
    54.   Professional fireworks


    55. Books by J.R.R. Tolkien
    56. Giving gifts
    57.   Wine & Canvas

    4.11.15 W&C

    58. Stores with creaky wooden floors
    59. Taking off my bra at the end of the day
    60. Walking in woods


    61. George Clooney
    62. A full gas tank
    63. My mother’s poems

    Mom book cover

    64. A day spent with a friend
    65. James Burke
    66. Round barns


    67. Facing a fear (and surviving)
    68. Free books on Kindle
    69. Old cemeteries


    70. Unexpected adventures
    71. The Princess Bride
    72. Pathtags


    73. My husband’s compassion
    74. Boo’s excitement over a new toy
    75. Green leaves against a blue sky


    76. Things that glow in the dark
    77. Farmland
    78. My Panama Jack bicycle

    713 bike

    79. Red pears, white flesh peaches, red seedless grapes
    80. Crossing things off my to-do list
    81. Silly selfies


    82. $40 in my wallet
    83. Strawberry shortcake
    84. Autumn


    85. Garden fresh tomatoes
    86. Glow sticks
    87. Tree fungus


    88. Seeing my van at the end of a hike
    89. GPS technology
    90. Seeing my daughter shine

    Singin' In the Rain 2

    91. Escape the room games
    92. Homemade bread
    93. Route 66

    Rt 66 KS

    94. Lava lamps
    95. Vintage Mason jars
    96. That feeling when I know I just took a perfect photo

    #6 Footprints

    97. Reading my old blog posts
    98. Messiah sing-alongs

    99. Old buildings


    100. How easy it was to come up with 100 things that make me happy

    What makes you happy?