Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day after Christmas Drive

Pat and I went up to Boyne Falls to buy one last Christmas Gift - so we decided to go over to Mackinaw City for Lunch. On our way we stopped at several Goodwill and Thrift stores - only one dish found - I thought there would be lots more. I keep forgetting how expensive the west side of the State is - I don't spend that much money on my plates. At one store I saw a plate that I have two of here at home - the plate was $15 - so when someone buys my plate with a knife for 2/$15 they are REALLY getting a deal!

We stopped at the Keyhole Bar and Grill in Mackinaw City - as you know from previous posts one of our favorite stops. We had a great perch dinner and headed home. Both on the way to Boyne Falls and back home to Saginaw there were some snow showers that looked as if it might get bad but we really lucked out because the storms were all around us.

I called my brother, Larry in Arizona to see how he is doing and he sounded good. We both said we have to start exercising - I told him if I have to go into rehab after the knee surgery then he should start his hiking again. He said he'd think about it!

So - on to our last day of Christmas vacation. It has been a wonderful week.

Christmas with Pat's Family

We had a really nice Christmas with Pat's family on Christmas Day. It was amazing how many people fit in our duplex. We missed Bernie and Bonnie from Colorado and David and Paula from Lansing - Paula is recuperating from a short hospital stay and we are all glad she is feeling better. Cathy and Martin came from Lansing, Dan and Augie and Matt came from Almont, Mary and Ben from Ann Arbor stayed overnight at Grandma and Grandpa's and brought them over from Midland. Marge from next door stopped over to talk art with Pat's Dad. Joanna and Robin and Sheala and Robbie stopped by for a bit before they went to Robin's Mom's house for Christmas. Jesse and Caroline and all of their troop didn't come over because Christmas is Jesse's birthday and his wish for that day - to stay in his pajama's all day long - I heard he did and he had a wonderful celebration.

Then we all waited for Kellan and Jason to get here from Toronto. She almost didn't make it because she couldn't find her passport. Thankfully at the last minute she remembered it was in a book! They ran back into their home pulling books off the shelves and they found it. It was so good to see them and get hugs from everyone.

It was a delightful evening.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas to all from the Clifford house!

We had such a nice Christmas celebration on Monday - we went to the Family Fun Arcade at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. My sister, Kathy and most of her family were there - Bryant was missing because he had to work. My brother and his wife, Jim and Cindy came with Michael and my cousin Mary Lynn. Then all of our clan was there. The kids had a blast playing in the arcade and the rest of us talked for hours. We really enjoyed it. It was good to be all together for a few hours. We missed Jane and Chris and Larry.

Pat and I went over to St. Peter and Paul's and helped decorate on Tuesday. We had a very nice time and everything looked so festive.

Today is baking day. I'll be in the kitchen for a few hours. But worth all the work I am sure. Best wishes for a very merry Christmas this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I am so excited about my cousin, Mary Lynn Andrews, having her Chihuly inspired quilt exhibit. We went to Phoenix with my family and had a field trip to the botanical gardens where there was a Chihuly exhibit. It was so fabulous that Mary Lynn decided to put together a quilt exhibit inspired by Chihuly Glass in the Botanical Gardens.

We have two chances to see this exhibit - listed above - I'll be going to both of course - how exciting!

Done for the Season

Whew - the last craft show was yesterday - and thank you so much for everyone purchasing for Sheala's fundraiser. Joanna and Sheala were so thankful for this boost to her Medical Leadership Forum in Boston this summer.

Thanks to everyone for such a fabulous year - We will be buying for next summer - beginning in June!

See you all next year at the craft shows.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last Bazaar for the Year!

Sheala has been invited to attend a National Youth Leadership Forum this summer. It is for students wanting to become doctors. We are so excited for her to be able to attend this program. In order to go she needs to raise the funds for the trip. She will be at Horizon Conference Center this Saturday, December 12th, selling my hostess sets. All proceeds will go towards her trip.

Take a look at Sheala's Fantastic Opportunity

Grandy Update

Wow - I did fantastic at Grandy Farm - thanks to all of my friends that came out to see the beautiful old homestead. Deb did such a fantastic job of making everything sparkle. What a wonderful weekend. Hope to be back again next year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Grandy's Today

I'll be at Grandy Farm today from 9-5 - I stopped out there Friday night and everything SPARKLES - it really got me in the Christmas Spirit which I thought might not happen at all this year! But it did! Thank you Deb.

And as my sister Jane says they say in OK sometimes - Hope All You All stop to see me today!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grandy Farm This Weekend

Can't wait for next weekend - I'll be working on Sunday - but the open house is all weekend long - make sure you take a drive over to see the 127 year old farm house and all the delightful gifts available for your Christmas gift list!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What a lazy day!

I took a lesson from my sister, Jane! She said she was going to spend the whole day of Thanksgiving doing nothing - well - that's what I did today! Pat went to Almont to do some work at his brother's house and here it is 6:48 and I'm still in my pj's!

I watched "Return to Me" "Say yes to the dress" (I know trashy - but fun) "Dinner Impossible" and a very short amount of "Criminal Minds" (which I never watch because it is toooo creepy and here I was watching it by myself - I turned the dog gone thing off.)

I got caught up entering all my receipts for dishes and knives, etc. into my spreadsheet. Played a few computer games. And just vegged out for most of the day. Now I'm waiting for Pat to return and go out to eat with him. I sure did miss him today.

I've been thinking of the Stelter family all day - it sounds as if Maureen will have a good recovery after her surgery - much love to all of them - and a big thanks to Jennifer for keeping us all informed on her facebook.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yeah - last day of work for the week!

Well – with the possibility of getting into one more show next weekend, I’ll be back in high speed wrapping mode this weekend. I’ve ordered 200 more knives and this afternoon I’m going to Jo-Ann Fabric – my absolutely favorite store. They have Merry Moolah today so I’m going to buy, buy, buy lots of beads! I want gold and red and green and crystal and more gold…….

Then – I’m staying away from Black Friday – I’ll leave Joanna, my daughter, to the sales. She took a coupon class and the woman is possessed. She saves more than she spends, often getting products for free. I save all my coupons for her and she loves putting them in order and figuring out how she can save money.

Caroline sent me pictures of her grandchildren – Ava after she climbed into the dog cage with their new dog Chachi and Javier holding the dog on the couch. They are adorable pictures. Ava has tried since she started moving around to go after their first dog, Baby, but every time she got close Baby would get up and move to the other side of the house. Chachi lets her get close and she loves it!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Even though I have been selling Christmas plates and knives since June I just cannot get into the Christmas holiday spirit especially before Thanksgiving – I hate that the radio stations have switched to Christmas music – I hate that the Christmas ads have been in the paper for weeks – I hate that I have to think about Christmas at all right now!

If I wasn’t trying to sell Christmas myself this would be okay – but when I am pushing people for seven months to buy Christmas plates I really should be more open to the blending of the season all year round – but I’m not – I hate it, too! I really don’t think that I am turning into a Grinch – just someone who wants every season to be special. So how do I justify selling these hostess gifts all year? I don’t – I just drive myself crazy – and many of my friends will tell you it is a very short drive!

I do remember one September when our daughters were little that I had every Christmas gift purchased and wrapped. My friend, Kay and I had gone to some fabulous garage sales and sidewalk sales and yup – it was a very frugal Christmas, too. It never happened again but it was an amazing holiday season not thinking about Christmas gifts at all that year during the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A full day of sleep!

Wow - yesterday must have been a catch up day for me! After waking up at my usual 1:00 am middle of the night can't sleep wake up - I watched a bit of TV - read a bit and then Pat got up and we had coffee. We both fell back asleep. We got up and drove to Flushing to meet a new acquaintance that had called to say she had some Christmas dishes for me - so we went to the craft show she was selling at and got the dishes - how nice of her to think of me after a brief conversation at the Clarkston show!

Well anyway - I slept all the way to Flushing. Then we went to a few thrift shops and I slept all the way home. We got home and Pat said he really wanted to go back out driving - so we did and guess what? I slept most of the afternoon away in the car.

The we came home and he wanted to take a nap - so - yup you are right - I fell asleep again. Then we went to a wake to be with a friend whose girlfriend died last week and sat and talked with friends for a few hours. We then stopped at Pompeii for dinner to see Caroline and Jesse (who waited on us with love and cooked us great perch!) Then home to where else? Bed. I didn't think I would make it all night but here it is 4:45 and I just awakened!!!!

I must have needed the whole day because I feel wonderful!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

YEAH! Another Show Added for Sheala!

We are so happy that we got into the Horizon Center Keepsake Show on December 12th. Sheala is going to be selling the dishes and knives to raise money for a special trip this summer. She will be going to Boston for two weeks to attend a conference for students who want to be doctors. So she is going to use this opportunity to raise the money to pay for the trip.

So - on December 12th - at the Horizon Conference Center in Saginaw - all proceeds go to Sheala! YEAH!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Holidays Begin

I love November - it starts the season of holidays at work. First there is Veteran's Day - then Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving - then my birthday - then Christmas Eve and Christmas - then New Years day then Martin Luther King Jr. Day - I love days off so these next few months are my favorite at work!

Next weekend is the show at Mt. Pleasant High School - I am really looking forward to it because it is the opening season of deer hunting that weekend so I would imagine LOTS of women will be shopping for Christmas with their friends. And I do have to say - groups of women at my booth usually means they talk each other into buying something! Yahoo!

I'm seeing good friends from high school this weekend. Jo - who we named our first child after (with the promise if she ever won the lottery she would share it with my first born!) And my lockermate - we shared a locker for 12 years because our names alphabetically were together - good thing we loved each other! So I am looking forward to a fun time together. I am sure I'll blog about it later.

The weather is supposed to be fantastic today - a beautiful Michigan fall day - if I am to believe the weather people - which I only do when it fits my needs!

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Years

So I was looking back on the blog and realized that I have been writing in it for two years - it seems like yesterday! So - since I only have two years left at work maybe it will go as quickly!!!!!

Trick or Treat

Well we stayed home to hand out candy - all 10 pieces! Whew - Adams Blvd we are not. But there was one little cutie about 6 years old that came to the door and sang the old dittie "Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, Give me somethin good to eat!" When Pat stopped laughing he gave him a candy bar and the little goblin said "Thank you have a nice Halloween!"

One young lady came to the door all dressed up with her Dad waiting at the end of the sidewalk. She looked to be about 12 and I thought how wonderful to still go trick or treating with her Dad and having a good time, too.

Anyway - I missed having lots of kids at the door.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thank You Elise

My cousin, Elise, sent me a package of dishes and knives she had found on her antique store jaunts - they are beautiful. It was like Christmas opening the box yesterday and finding the treasures within. Thank you, thank you, thank you - what fun.

My living room and kitchen are destroyed - dishes, knives dropped beads, plastic bins to hold them - I am determined to have the bins filled and in the basement tonight with priced hostess sets ready to go to the next sale in two weeks.

I can't wait to see all the little ghosts and goblins tomorrow night - we have more kids in the neighborhood this year so I think it will be fun. It is supposed to rain and be windy today but maybe a little better for trick or treating tomorrow.

Then on Sunday we are going to Olympia and Vince's for dinner - yum - yum - Olympia is by far the very best cook around - we love to stand around the kitchen - eating snacks watching her cook (we do help out a bit too) She is a master at cooking and keeping us entertained until we sit down to a scrumptious meal. Good friends - good food - an all around good night - we are looking forward to it.

I've been helping my friend with a winkflash book - that has been fun - now it is all ready to go and I am just waiting for a sale to order them - that was fun helping her get it all in order.

Pat's birthday was yesterday so we went out to the Junction and had a drink after he went to choir practice - they had a great band there and we really enjoyed the music.

That's all for now - gotta go have coffee before I go to work - ME

Monday, October 26, 2009

Traverse City Jaunt

Our friends let us stay at their up north home in Bellaire for the weekend - it was so beautiful up there - it rained Friday and Saturday but Sunday was sunny and warm. The trees were golden with rain-soaked trunks and so the rain was even a welcome addition. There was a huge rainbow over the Mission Peninsula on Saturday in the late afternoon - it was raining and sunny in sections.

We went to eight shops - and bought some beautiful dishes. At one we found old white china plates made in Japan with a half inch golden rim - they are going to sell out this season I am sure. I wrapped beads all weekend so I just have to put the sets together and I'll be set for Mt. Pleasant.

We were going to stay one more night but decided we've played hooky from work too much lately - so we are going back to work today - yuck.

I've been working on Pat's cousins pictures and thankfully, Pat helped me yesterday and we got the last of them scanned. So I am going to start to put them together on Winkflash or Snapfish - haven't decided which one yet. So I better go do that now!

Monday, October 19, 2009


We did so well in Clarkston - I'm almost out of knives - but this morning I have been surfing and I FOUND KNIVES!!! YEAH - we can continue. We had a really nice time and met some really great crafters. Pat likes watching the people and I love selling to them! YEAH!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting Ready for Clarkston

We've been busy getting ready to sell at Clarkston High School this weekend. I think we will do well there - the wrapped beads with dishes are very unique and very affordable - so I'm thinking this might be an all time high for sales!

I found some really cute Christmas dishes - and Joanna found me some snowflake dishes so I'm set for this show.

Wish me good luck!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Very Sad News

Leo Lynch died this weekend. I have such great memories of him all through my life. My favorite? Riding on his shoulders when I was in first grade. He was a young associate pastor and very active with the students at St. Mary Cathedral. We loved him as much as we loved our teacher, Sr. Yvonne. He came to our classroom a lot of times and he made us laugh.

In later years, after he had married Judy, they sat many times behind us at Liturgy - his voice reminded me of my Dad's and I loved hearing him sing. My Mom asked if he could sing Ave Maria at her funeral and he did - it was beautiful and exactly what she wanted - it meant so much to all of us.

Leo and Judy were mentors to our daughter Joanna and her then fiance Robin. Joanna and Robin had just graduated from high school and Robin was ready to leave for the Army - I felt that Judy and Leo wrapped them in love and wisdom to begin their marriage.

Many times when we saw Leo and Judy over the years we had our trips to Ireland as a common experience for us to talk about - I so enjoyed those discussions. Just two weeks ago we saw them at the Frankenmuth craft show - I am so glad we got to talk for a little bit.

Much love to Judy and their children - Leo will be missed by many.

Great Sales

I had my best sales every at the Ryder Center - I didn't even have time to write a blog that I was there yesterday. Pat and I went all over the great State of Michigan looking for dishes. I wrapped until I couldn't wrap anymore and next weekend I have a two-day show in Clarkston and I have to buy and wrap all this week. It was so nice to see many friends and repeat customers! Thank you for making Saturday such a great day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Those Dog Gone Tigers

I was so looking forward to watching the Tigers in the World Series this year. Goodness they are unpredictable. I still love them - but I'm disappointed.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Up in the UP

Pat and I are on a road trip - we try to get to Manistique once a year - usually for Pat's birthday month. So here we are sitting having coffee and waffles at the Peninsula Inn at 6:24 am.

We started out by leaving early from work and getting to the Keyhole Bar in Mackinaw City to watch the Tigers on Thursday. They had the chance of winning the division title but - they didn't do it. We thought the colors may have started but the trees have hardly turned at all.

So then we went to St. Ignace to spend the night. We stayed at a very nice hotel - the Days Inn. We had a huge room which had a balcony looking over Lake Huron. We went to the Casino and Pat made enough that we walked out with $15 extra dollars (which means he had to win a lot more because I lost my $20!) Thank goodness we had traveled over the bridge and stayed in St. Ignace because the wind was really blowing - there were people there that had to go over the bridge that morning and the staff person was telling them they would probably have to have an escort to go over the bridge! YIKES!

So then we drove to Escanaba to go to a couple thrift shops and then back to Manistique. I feel bad that it is raining so much because we can't go to Palms Brook State Park to ride on the raft - we love doing that. We did go to Ted's last night for dinner - my friend, Diane, at work heard we go there every time we come to Manistique and she laughed and told us it was her uncle that owned it. We saw him last night and I told him we were her friends and he said to say hi to her. The dinner was great - Pat said his Canadian Walleye was the best fish he ever had and my Campfire Trout was delicious. We kept trying to outdo our adjectives about the dinner saying we each had the best meal! Really - we always look forward to going there and it ALWAYS exceeds our anticipation of what it will be.

So - today we are going home - the wind has died down so it won't be so bad going over the bridge. We have had a very nice time. Maybe we will have to come back up in a few weeks to see some color.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Pat's cousin and his wife are coming over for dinner tonight and we are going to work on a photo album in Winkflash or Snapfish - of course Winkflash has a sale that ends today - ggggrrrr - she has tons of pictures that we are going to put in order tonight so I can scan them in and then the next time we get together she can work on the different pages in the book - It is fun when the book arrives to see the finished product.

I've made several books and have learned if it is not a professional picture - you might not be happy with the full page pictures - they tend to get a little blurry. But it is fun to give the books as gifts.

I haven't even thought about what I'm cooking for dinner - YIKES - I better get down to the freezer and takes something out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christmas Plates

Pat and I went to Mt. Pleasant yesterday - we found some really cute plates. Snowmen, Strawberries and Holly. Then when we got home Joanna had left us some plates and a cup that she found for us. I was very worried about finding Christmas plates - I sold so many last weekend that I didn't have a good selection left for Midland Antique Show this weekend and Ryder Center in October - we are going to Ann Arbor one day to look some more - then we'll have enough I am sure.

Selling My Wares

What a fun weekend – Pat and I were at the Frankenmuth Keepsake Craft Show selling my hostess sets. We met so many great people. We were setup next to three women selling beautifully hand woven blankets using a technique called Swedish Weaving. I kept telling them they needed to double their prices because I think they get about a penny an hour for their work. They were working on blankets during the show and after they start a blanket they don’t even have to look at the pattern – it was amazing! They were all friends from high school days – two from Flushing and one from Oscoda. They kept us laughing all weekend.

I sold so many hostess sets – it was the best show I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to go sell at more shows. It is most fun when someone keeps going around the tables and can’t decide which set to buy – then I know they like all the work and it just makes me smile. It was very funny – I didn’t sell any in the very early morning and very few in the late afternoon – but from Noon until 3 pm they sold like hotcakes.
Next weekend – the last Midland Antique Festival for the year, I hope the weather is just the same – sunny and warm with a slight breeze. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Frankenmuth - Last Day Today - Don't Miss IT!

This is a great show - so much to do - so much to see - it has been a lot of fun - stop by today - the last day of the show!

Lots of affordable dishes with wrapped beads ($10 for a set or 2 for $15) beautiful serving pieces - lots of fun in the park on Main Street in Frankenmuth - If you are a lurker - come to the show and introduce yourself - I love to hear that people read this blog!HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Keepsake Show
Zehnder Park, Main Street,
Frankenmuth, Michigan
<-----Click on Green for Mapquest

Friday, September 18, 2009 - Noon to 7 pm
Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday, September 20, 2009 - 11 am to 5 pm

Favorite Weekend of the Year

We had a really nice time at the Huron House - I posted the history of our going there last year so if you link to that one by clicking on the green "Huron House" for the basics and that post will be right below this one!

This year we just relaxed a lot. Our drive up was fun - we stopped at the casino in Standish and we walked out with $75 more dollars than when we walked in! That usually doesn't happen!

The next morning we started with coffee on the deck watching the sunrise and then fabulous breakfasts - this year some kind of yummy egg custardy mixture with a vanilla sauce on it with fresh fruit, juice one day and the next a croissant with fruit and juice.

As you probably know we love to drive around - this year we drove to Alpena to a deli we like and got lobster salad, great sandwhiches and a bottle of wine - then back to eat lunch on our private deck. That took a couple of hours of driving. We love Lake Huron - there are so many beautiful views when driving up to Alpena.

Then on Sunday we came home. This year our friend that Pat has been helping fix up a house suprised us and paid for one of our nights - such a nice gift and so appreciated!

Back to work today - goodness - the weekend went so fast!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Confession is good for the soul?

OK - ELISE - remember when we used to celebrate Mass with squished up wonder bread? How about listening to this confession? Came home from work - saw the Hershey bar that has been sitting in that cupboard for weeks and weeks - thought about you and the Hershey bars with Peanut Butter slathered all over them and BAM - slathered that PB and ate the whole thing!!!!! What memories of Owosso - thought about all the fun we had when we visited you and you visited Saginaw - some things in life never get any better than the memories. - mmmmm.....goood......

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I love long weekends!

We had a nice long weekend with Memorial Day. We had dinner with friends, did some cooking and freezing of food, went antiquing a bit - just had fun all weekend long. When Paula and I were at the last Midland Antique Festival one of the regular vendors did not come to sell. I stopped to see her today and she told me she had been sick and couldn't come. She has a nice little shop in Vassar and I bought some olive forks from her.

We should have cleaned - but - thank goodness I took my sister's blog advice and didn't give a rat's patoot about the house and we just enjoyed ourselves. As usual - I don't want to go back to work - but I will. Now that Pat is working at the same building I am I love to hear the lawn mower - cause I know it's him! It makes me smile during the day.

We've got some major shows coming up in the next few weeks so I have been trying to get ready for those too. Well - It's after 10:30 pm and I can't sleep - so I better go read and try to go to sleep.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Let’s see – what do I like most about work? MMMMmmm….. Excel and COGNOS – I love working in both those software programs. If it is mathematical – you can do it in excel. Many times those same formulas work in COGNOS and if they do not – you can save the COGNOS file into an Excel file – HEAVEN – for a spreadsheet geek.

When I first started working with a computer in 1984 when I bought an apple computer from my brother, Larry, I couldn’t believe how this person who switched to “new math” in 5th grade so lost out on learning so many basic concepts could now do sums and percentages and decimal points to her heart’s content with ease. I loved Quickfile and started doing budget work and financial statements and actually enjoyed doing them.

Then when I started working at the city in 1986 my mentor, Jan, taught me Lotus 123 the precursor to excel. Now I began working on complex spreadsheets that required lots of thought and preparation (like projecting how many people would have to go to the proposed water park in order to come out even – which by the way we never could have possibly had that many people come to the now defunct water park – so it was doomed from the start!)

Then when I went to the Civic Center I worked with a Lotus 123 whiz of an accountant, Sudah – when she left to move to California I had to use her spreadsheets. That is when I learned how to write macros. It was amazing. I relied heavily on the controller, Dave, to help me understand the budget work that I had to prepare for the Board of Directors. The City has always been a place to learn on the job – you can do as much or as little as you want depending on the job you have – I have always been busy at work because I offer to help others with their work when I get caught up with my work. I have learned many things this way and the day goes by much faster if you actually work!

When I came to work at the Police Department we then got Excel – I started doing overtime reports and budget work but it was easier. I love “if” statements – they make me smile. Now with Office 2007 writing macros is a breeze. And I know I’ve stated before that the Internet is the best thing that ever happened to someone writing spreadsheets. Just typing in what you want to do in a search engine will bring you lots of ideas on how to do what you need to do. Conditional formatting is fun and interesting in a spreadsheet. I love using conditional formatting in almost every spreadsheet I write.

I’ve decided not to write anymore spreadsheets in COGNOS for anyone that has a COGNOS license on their computer at work. I’ll help them write it – working one on one with them while they write the filters and insert calculations – but doing the report for them is no help to them at all. When I finally get to retire in 2012 – they will have to know how to write a COGNOS report without any help so I figure they should be able to do that when I leave by starting to help them to learn now.
This is what I will miss most when I retire – the chance to figure out the puzzle part of a spreadsheet – working to make the spreadsheet concise and easy to use.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chihuly, Again

Click here to go to the picture of Chihuly in the Desert and the quilt Mary Andrews made from that picture

Yesterday morning was a "TARGET SATURDAY" which meant free admission to the Flint Institute of Arts exhibit of Chihuly Seaforms. What a bonus - we chose this Saturday because my friends and family could join us to see the exhibit. It was so beautiful. The bowls within bowls within more bowls that were reflected in the shiny black tables were breathtaking.

I wanted to take pictures but the FIA does not allow pictures of the exhibit. I even thought about trying to take pictures anyway - but I just couldn't do it. So I have none to show here. However, I asked one of the workers, Susan, why they did this because I really need to get pictures of the exhibit so my cousin can make her interpretation of the work into quilted hangings for her Chihuly inspired exibit. It really helps Mary Lynn to see the piece from every angle to get the depth and color and shadows right. I explained to Susan that I had requested permission but had not heard back - she was nice enough to go on this blog to see one of Mary Lynn's Chihuly quilts and to forward my request (click the green link above to go to that picture). She said I should hear the beginning of this week. I can just picture the beautiful long table of yellow seaforms translated into a quilt.

Kennedy Funeral

I was gone yesterday so I taped the funeral of Senator Kennedy - it was a great tribute. No matter what your politics - to see his children give such testimony to his love and devotion as a father was so moving. The President's eulogy was so good that I wanted to post it:

Mrs. Kennedy, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the U.S. Senate — a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred himself.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, "The Grand Fromage," or "The Big Cheese." I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, a friend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child, who bore the brunt of his brothers' teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn't know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, "It'll be the same in Washington."

This spirit of resilience and good humor would see Ted Kennedy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.

It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Teddy to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.

But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us, "Individual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in — and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves." Indeed, Ted was the "Happy Warrior" that the poet William Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:

As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.

Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others — the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed — the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children's health care, the Family and Medical Leave Act — all have a running thread. Ted Kennedy's life's work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.

We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers' rights or civil rights. And yet, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did. While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that is not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him. He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect — a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.

And that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause — not through dealmaking and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humor. There was the time he courted Orrin Hatch's support for the Children's Health Insurance Program by having his chief of staff serenade the senator with a song Orrin had written himself; the time he delivered shamrock cookies on a china plate to sweeten up a crusty Republican colleague; and the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas committee chairman on an immigration bill. Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manila envelope, and showed only the chairman that it was filled with the Texan's favorite cigars. When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the chairman. When they weren't, he would pull it back. Before long, the deal was done.

It was only a few years ago, on St. Patrick's Day, when Teddy buttonholed me on the floor of the Senate for my support on a certain piece of legislation that was coming up for vote. I gave him my pledge, but expressed my skepticism that it would pass. But when the roll call was over, the bill garnered the votes it needed, and then some. I looked at Teddy with astonishment and asked how he had pulled it off. He just patted me on the back, and said "Luck of the Irish!"

Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy's legislative success, and he knew that. A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time. Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, "What did Webster do?"

But though it is Ted Kennedy's historic body of achievements we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. It was the friend and colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, "I'm sorry for your loss," or "I hope you feel better," or "What can I do to help?" It was the boss who was so adored by his staff that over five hundred spanning five decades showed up for his 75th birthday party. It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. senator would take the time to think about someone like them. I have one of those paintings in my private study — a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office the first week he arrived in Washington; by the way, that's my second favorite gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog Bo. And it seems like everyone has one of those stories — the ones that often start with "You wouldn't believe who called me today."

Ted Kennedy was the father who looked after not only his own three children, but John's and Bobby's as well. He took them camping and taught them to sail. He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him. Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, "On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to be spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love."

Not only did the Kennedy family make it because of Ted's love — he made it because of theirs; and especially because of the love and the life he found in Vicki. After so much loss and so much sorrow, it could not have been easy for Ted Kennedy to risk his heart again. That he did is a testament to how deeply he loved this remarkable woman from Louisiana. And she didn't just love him back. As Ted would often acknowledge, Vicki saved him. She gave him strength and purpose; joy and friendship; and stood by him always, especially in those last, hardest days.

We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God's plan for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings.

This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy. He once said of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, and I imagine he would say the same about himself. The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy — not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country he loved.

In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack. But he didn't stop there. He kept calling and checking up on them. He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counseling. He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along. To one widow, he wrote the following:

"As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved one would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us."

We carry on.

Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image — the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled; smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for what storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon. May God Bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.

Say Thank You

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The e's have it

That would be: Eagles, Egrets and Equestrians – in the heart of the City. Pat and I love to go to Wickes Park on the banks of the Saginaw River in the early evening hours. On a recent quiet Monday night there were three eagles sitting atop electrical towers, elegant white egrets and a couple of friends, in their cowboy hats, out riding their horses. It is such a treat to see this in the cool of the evening.

There are huge beautiful old willow trees, tall pines and oaks, lots of green grass and such a quiet and peacefulness in the park. Many people shy away from this park, however, we enjoy seeing the families fishing, people jogging, boaters boating and many people driving through the park. Maybe the wildlife comes there because there are not a lot of people – so go ahead and stay away – we love the peace and quiet and abundance of nature.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great Weekend

We had such a fun weekend. On Friday Pat and I went to Harrisville to camp. On Saturday Jesse, Caroline, Javier, Ava and the dog came to camp for one night. Jesse wasn't too sure about wanting to camp for his first time but I think he had a great time.

Javier was so excited - he loved the three room tent - jumping in, running out, laughing and giggling. Ava loved being outside. But - she doesn't like to touch the grass with her feet so we put a blanket down so she could walk around the picnic table and to each of our chairs. She had a blast.

There was a stream running behind our campsite - it took Javier a little bit of time to get the courage up to get down to the stream but once he did he was so proud.

Even though the weather wasn't real warm we had a fabulous time. I even made a Power Ranger pancake for Javier for breakfast. (Of course you had to really use your imagination to see that Power Ranger!)

Then we trouped back to Midland for Pat's family reunion - that was fun too - everyone looks forward to the ball playing. You just get several pitches and see if you can hit the ball. Here is a great picture of Papa, Grandpa and Javier hitting the ball.

And then finally on Monday night we went to the Loons game. Jesse got the tickets and we love sitting on the lawn. Javier and Grandpa both had on their matching shorts and their Ordonez 30 jerseys.

I bet Javier was wondering what he would get to do today! So much to do in so little time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Get Posting

OK – OK – you little lurker, Peggy. Here is an update for today.
We had such a nice day on Saturday. We went to Ann Arbor for the afternoon. We went shopping at all my favorite spots –

The Scrapbox

The Reuse Center

PTO Thrift Shop

Salvation Army.

Then we decided to splurge and stopped at Paesano’s for lunch.

(As we were actually on our way to the Tiger’s game we knew we would spend about the same amount of money at the stadium for hot dogs!) Pat had salmon wrapped in prosciutto and cheese with green beans on the side and a salad. I had a cup of bean and chorizo soup – yummo – and - “The sandwich the chef has for lunch” which was chicken and caramelized onions with a chipolte marmalade. On the side was a delicious medley of carrots, celery, peas, artichokes and I think just a little mint. Everything tasted delicious.

Then off to the Tiger’s game. It was so much fun – they won 10-3. We had great seats in 137 row 15 – I was close enough to Brandon Inge to have him hear me yell at him. (Only good things of course) It was terribly hot but thankfully the game was at 7:00 pm and the sun went below the stadium. They scored at least one run in every inning except the 2nd. The people behind us were a hoot. A whole family was celebrating someone’s birthday. The youngest son asked his mother if she wanted something to drink and when his mom said that no, she didn’t need anything the older brothers started harassing her to go ahead and get something because the youngest brother always forgets his wallet and his older brothers have to buy for him at the bars and it would be a nice change to see him actually spend money on something.

We took Caroline and Jesse out for dinner for Caroline’s birthday meal on Monday. Jesse was telling stories and he had us laughing so hard I was coughing and almost choking. We had a really good time with them. They are even thinking of coming up for one night when we are camping in Harrisville (Jesse doesn’t really think that camping is a vacation – he’d rather go to Holiday Inn I think.)

Joanna and Robin and the kids went for a trip to Florida to visit Joanna’s best friend and her family. I’m thinking they should be home today – I did call her once to ask if they were getting any of the residual bad weather from the hurricanes but she said that it was beautiful weather and that it wasn’t even too hot. Robin must have given her a rolled eye look or something because she told me he thought it was way too hot. I told her to tell him I love him very much because that means he will keep all of them in Michigan for several years to come.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia

This was a great movie. Click here to see a Julie and Julia Trailer. I don't know if it is because Pat and I used to watch her on Friday nights when we lived on Ashman in Midland and we both love Julia Child - or if it really a great movie. Meryl Streep was fabulous. The critics said they didn't like the two husbands in the movie - both of us liked them a lot. The movie was over 2 hours long and I wished it would go on. When Julia meets her sister at the train - priceless. We went right after church this morning - only about 6 other couples were in the theater so we practically had it to ourselves.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Happy birthday, sweetie. Just a few thoughts about when you were born.

I so couldn't wait to be your Mother! I loved playing with babies my whole life - everytime we went anywhere I would hold any baby available. The whole time I was pregnant I just wanted it to be over so I could hold you. I was so happy the day you came home with us - I used to sit all day long playing with you and then quick around 4:00 I would be like a whirlwind trying to get the house in order and dinner on so it would look like I had done something around the house besides playing Eensy Weensy Spider with you!

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Joanna Balana Roseanna Danna

Rainy Weekend

Well - Pat is working on our friend's home again today. He hasn't had as much time to work on it as he wanted because we keep doing stuff that interfere (like going to another Tiger game on Thursday!) So he felt he better get something done there today. I picked up my friend, Robyn, and we went to some estate sales this morning. One was supposed to have Waterford but they must have sold it on the first day. But I bought a few dishes and we had a great time.

It is pouring rain out - I know we need rain for gardens and such but can't it rain on a Monday?

I've been swamped at work. I probably shouldn't have taken Thursday off for the Tiger's game but we bought the tickets months ago and I'm glad we went. It was a great game - Aliva played his first major league game and it was fun being there to see him hit a double.

We went to friends for dinner last evening - we had a nice time visiting with them - we don't see each other enough. And the food was great - we sat on the deck enjoying the birds and flowers and lightening bugs.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aunts and Uncles

Well - my friend at work just lost her uncle. She has been watching over him since her aunt died and was watching over both of them before that. It reminds me of when Mary Lynn and I were taking care of Dorothy and Bernice. So I thought in tribute to all our aunts and uncles who we have loved and cared for I would write about my aunts Dorothy and Bernice.

Even though it was a very long time and it was a very difficult time we were the ones filled with blessings when we cared for the two aunts. My cousin, Mary Lynn took care of the bills and the caregivers (thank God - because she had to fire one of them - I told her I got the calls at 2 am to go to the hospital and she just had to be the one to fire the one we didn't want!)

When I would get a call at 2 am from the hospital because Aunt Bernice was being very difficult I would laugh at the nurse that was calling and tell her I would come right away but I may not be much help! And sure enough I would make the matter worse. My aunt used to hallucinate sometimes from her drugs and I also think because her electrolytes were so off - this time she was seeing her beloved dead sisters, my Mom and my Aunt Dorothy at the end of the hall - pointing at her and laughing. I bent down to look at her and lovingly told her they would not do that, they both loved her, well she was not happy with me telling her she wasn't seeing something and she kicked me out of the room. I apologized to the nurse, told her to give her a sleeping pill and went home. The next morning when I went in she was nice as pie.

All through our lives, our two aunts always were there for us. They lived with and cared for our Grandma Brandi all through her life. We would visit every holiday - and Aunt Dorothy would take our pictures - When Aunt Dorothy died every family had a picture of every single year.

When my Mom was sick, my aunts who lived across the hall from her, stopped in every day to see if everything was okay. When I was all consumed with the care of my Mom, they thought about me. It was very touching and much needed to a weary soul.

After my Mom died and before they both needed my care, I went over to their house once a week for tea. They would ask about my job, my family, and they truly cared about my life. They would tell such delicious stories of world travel and being in charge of an office and all about living through difficult times and wars where their brothers were fighting - they loved that I was a secretary and would want to hear about all the new technology in the office. It was such a blessing to have those two aunts in our family.

Now - not to leave out my uncles - they also lived across and down the hall from my Mom - I loved seeing them too. They both had families of their own. I would love to have them stop by to see me and to catch me up on their families. Uncle Lawrence was always reserved and sweet and such a snazzy dresser. Every pleat was ironed on his pants and he loved to help Aunt Dorothy with hems on dresses and pants (his father was a tailor and Uncle Lawrence took such pride in his clothes). Uncle Jerry reminded me of my Dad and I loved having him tell me about my cousins. He was always going on a walk or stopping by on his way out. One time we were having a luncheon over at the aunties before anyone got sick and they all told wonderful stories. I remember Uncle Lawrence saying, "Really, I don't remember that!" to many of the stories and Uncle Jerry laughing so hard he was shaking at some of the stories. It was an afternoon I would treasure.

I love being an aunt. I always say it is my favorite job. As a mother and grandmother - you still have to do some discipline - but as an aunt - well - all you do is LOVE them - we have great nieces and nephews on both sides of our family and we feel so blessed to be part of their lives. One of the reasons I love blogging is that many of them have blogs and we stay close to their lives by reading their blogs. Wherever they are in the world, we get a chance to hear what they are doing and be a part of it. The ones that have married have married wonderful spouses and we gained more nieces and nephews through those marriages - It's fun.

So, here's to you, my aunts and uncles, much love and good thoughts sent on their way to Heaven to all of you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I love this

My friend Greg sent this to me - his Mom sent it to him. This was a show in 1957 - I was six years old - It is TIMELESS!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away?

I gotta say - the deluge of rain yesterday in Midland was unbelievable - I have never seen so much rain in such a short time. I had to keep pushing on the canvas of my awning over my dishes so it wouldn't burst! I was sopping wet - head to foot.

However - if this sounds like a bad thing it wasn't. I had two women stuck under my cover with me - they just kept buying! Then right after the rain I looked like a drowned rat and I think this one family felt sorry for me because they just kept buying, too. I would wrap something and the daughter would ask if she could exchange it for something else - then her father would buy it for her and then she would exchange that again. In the meantime her mother kept buying gifts for Christmas. It was the most fun. I like it when someone loves each piece they find more than the one they thought they wanted to purchase.

I do hope for sunshine today - big crowds - and that Paula does great today. She actually is having a table 50% off - and her antiques are so great - so if you are in the area come on over to the fairgrounds in Midland today and say hi and buy, buy buy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Selling Weekend

The Antique Festival in Midland is this weekend - read all the info:

A Reason to CELEBRATE!

Sheala got her Stage One License - she completed the classes and the driving time - we are so proud of her. They all came over for ribs and beans for dinner last night to celebrate! I can't wait until I can have her come pick me up to go for a ride. One of her rides in the classes took her over THE NASTY ZILWAUKEE BRIDGE during a terrific rain storm - she couldn't see at all. You know from a previous post that I would have been screaming!!!!

Good Job Sheala

Another Tiger Game

Thank goodness we went to the game they won! Jesse and Caroline called to ask if we wanted to go with them - you don't have to ask us twice!

Jesse was SSSSSSOOOOO happy that Magglio hit a GRAND SLAM! It was hot in the sun so we kept moving all around to stay in the shade - except for Jesse - he needed to sit right at the end of the row in case he could catch a ball!

We had a great time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Car Show

We went to the car show with my brother Jim this afternoon. We had a great time. Beautiful old cars - lots of them - we reminisced about different cars in our lives. Jim sold his corvette and I think he was in the mood to buy one today - but nothing really jumped out at us.

The car show was on Hamilton Street - ten of the pubs and restaurants in the area had a "grilling war" - we bought a ticket for $10 and then at each of the restaurants we could get a small serving of BBQ food. We ate at 5 of the restaurants - but were too full to eat at the rest. So when we were leaving I gave our three tickets to a family walking in with three kids. Hope they enjoyed it as much as we did!

It was good to see so many people enjoying themselves in the sunshine - we saw lots of people we knew - we had a great time. Then we came home and Pat and I watched Mission Impossible III and Bourne Incident - I liked MI but I read through most of the BI.

I just finished Maeve Binchy's book "Scarlet Feather" - I really liked it.

Visit with Friends

Pat and I drove up to Ossineke to visit Kay and Jerry while they were camping on Saturday. We had a nice time visiting with them. The weather was fabulous - we drove through some rain storms on the way there but the campground was sunny, windy and warm.

I made some rolls before we left and took Italian sausages and green and red peppers and onions to make lunch. While I was waiting for the dough to rise we went to an estate sale that we had checked out on Friday afternoon and I knew there were a few things I wanted half off on Saturday. The two dish sets I bought were cut glass - really beautiful plates. Then we went home, baked the rolls, and took off for the State Forest Campground.

When we got there we had a very nice afternoon - I cooked - we all ate - and then we sat by the campfire to talk. It was good to catch up on our families.

Goodbye to Friends

Our friends, Mike and Kathy, have moved to California - we went out to dinner with their family on Friday night to say goodbye. I remember when I was in grade school and Kathy's family lived across the street from us on Hoyt Street. The family went to California for six months I think - every single day I looked for them when I came home from school. One day - I was so happy to see their car back in their driveway. It was good to have them home.

Kathy and Mike went to California to care for her sister while she was recuperating from surgery - they were there for a few months and decided they wanted to move there - they came home, sold their house in 2 weeks and moved Saturday! Wow! It all happened so fast.

We haven't seen them too much these past couple of years - certainly not as much as when we moved back to Saginaw when Mike talked me into applying for a job with the City. He was sure that I could walk right in and do a good job - his confidence in me was WAY more confidence than I had about it - I never would have dreamed of applying for that job without his encouragement and support.

I hope their journey is a good one - perhaps they will come back to visit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I ended up coming home feeling sick to my stomach today - considering I have only left work 3 times in 20+ years you know it was a doozy. I came home took a nap - Pat came home and said I needed a Great Lake - so off to Pier 23 for dinner after a long ride to Tawas,lunch on the deck overlooking Lake Huron and then back home. I'm feeling better - I'll go back to work tomorrow and life will go on. What in the world would I do without Patrick - I never want to find out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Expecting Adam

I read Expecting Adam by Martha Beck this weekend. It was a very good book. Every once in awhile I would stop and have to read a passage to Pat. I would like to read another one to follow up on this true story.

When I did a search to get a picture for this blog I found out she is a columnist for the Oprah magazine and that she does have a couple other books. It was fun to go through her scrapbook pictures of Adam and his sisters.

Camping with Patrick

We had a great time in Atlanta (Michigan) camping at Clear Lake State Park. We went on lots of drives looking for elk (they were hiding this trip). But we saw deer and turkeys and lots of beautiful flowers. We stopped at Bear Den Lake - but no Loons were there - we had to go to Seney Wildlife Refuge to see the one above. I cooked on the fire for most of the trip - we had great breakfasts but we have learned to have Pat cook the eggs inside the trailer while I cook everything else outside. The best thing I did to prepare for the trip was make rolls - we used them for toast in the morning and for the buns to our Italian sausages with peppers and onions.

Then on Saturday we took a day trip from there to Grand Marais to see Mr. Lepeak. That was a nice trip. We first stopped in Seney to drive through the trails - we saw loons and swans.

After sitting for an hour in the backyard with the sun, the wind, and feeling as if we were in heaven, we went to church with Mr. Lepeak. That was fun - as only Grand Marais church can be - then we went back to the house for a pizza and the best raspberry wine anywhere - mmmmmm. Then back to Atlanta - we got back just as it turned dark around 10 pm and we camped one more night and then home.

We took Pat's parents out for dinner to celebrate his Mom's birthday - we had a nice visit with them. And now - back to work in a couple of hours.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th Picnic

We all met at the Tridge in Midland for a nice afternoon at the park. We had Brats and Salads and Brownies and fruit - everyone bringing something to make it special. Danielle and Tim joined us with their little sweetie and Robbie and Sheala came with their parents. Ava and Javier came with Mom and Melissa even brought a friend with his son to join in the fun. Caroline and Jesse rounded out the day.

Pat and I decided not to go to Ojibway Island for the fireworks - we went to the outside patio at the Junction - we were home in 5 minutes flat. That was a good thing. We saw George and Stella - the Sheltraw women - and we had a nice time. However, I missed seeing the fireworks on the ground and off the bridge.

We had a great day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Nice Long Weekend

I love a holiday - but of course - this one is one of the best! My sister, Jane, has the 4th of July birthday and she always thought that everyone in the City celebrated her birthday with her (and of course now that she is older and wiser she thinks the whole damn country celebrates her birthday!)

When we were little we used to have her birthday celebration and someone would follow my Dad down to Hoyt Park to find a good parking place for our car. Then we would either get a ride from a relative to the park or I even remember walking one year. To sit on the gentle slope of the park on a blanket having the fireworks burst just above our heads was such a treat. I still remember hearing the rat-a-tat-tat of the fireworks with my heart beating along in the same rhythm. I still love that feeling.


We're having a picnic in the afternoon - can't wait to see everyone. I'll write about that later.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

River Roar

We went to the Bay City River Roar on Sunday - we stopped at the Dockside in Bay City just in time to see the very last race. It was really fun. We sat on the steps of the dock and watched the fastest boats I have ever seen.

The day was absolutely beautiful - very windy, lots of sunshine, tons of people, loud motors, spraying water, and very very very fast boats. I think we will try to make it for more than one race next year!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Fun

Last night we went to the parish picnic - it was very nice. I'm looking forward to the Liturgy tomorrow in the tent at church - they do the whole weekend with Golf and a Euchre tournament. We even went over to help on Thursday to prepare for the Friday evening dinner - we wrapped potatoes for baking. It was nice to be asked to help. When we decided to leave later on after the dinner(the music was very loud) we went to Jim and Jan's to sit on their deck in the quiet of the evening. It was a nice ending to a good day.

Early this morning we found a 70's Dick Cavett show on TMC that had him interviewing Alfred Hitchcock - it was great. We laughed through the whole hour. Then I watched Suspicion - there was a whole day of Hitchcock movies but we were too busy to watch them all - I told Pat we should start renting them and try to watch every one.

Today, Pat went over to help Jim put his air conditioner in and Jan and and I went to estate sales. I found a beautiful pair of tea light candle holders and decided to wrap those up for the the wedding gift we were giving that afternoon. I hate to just give a check and this made the gift special. I am sure I have purchased this same pair for $40 each for a previous wedding gift and I got them for $5.00. What fun. I found several dishes - then Pat and I went back to one that was 1/2 off after 2:00 and I bought quite a few more Christmas dishes. Jan - I looked for the red and blue striped bowl - but it was gone.

Then we went to the wedding picnic. They had one of those destination weddings and not many people could attend - so they had a picnic today in Clio - the yard was fabulous. Enough room for everyone to park, a double huge tent, badminton net, horseshoes, swings, and lots of room leftover. They had Famous Daves cater - so mmm...mmm... ribs. We got to talk to friends we haven't seen in a long while - so we caught up on what our families are doing.

We do live a good life - we enjoy so much time spent with friends. Then Pat and I went for a ride and then came home to watch the Tigers - turned that off and went to bed! But I couldn't sleep - hence the blog.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Great Weekend

We started out with a fabulous evening at Lori and Tim's. They hosted a party while the Greek Festival was going on in Saginaw. They live close to the festival and it was a really nice evening at their home. Most people started out at the festival to eat the yummy Greek food and then stopped over for good company and drinks at the house. While we were there we found out that Lori and Tim bought a home in the Cathedral District and Lori is in the midst of bringing it back to life. So....

On Saturday we stopped by - it is a home from my old neighborhood - just around the block from our Jefferson home on Millard. It used to have a doctor's office in one section of the home - and I even remember a sign back in the 60's that said "Laboratory" that used to hang on the porch. They have already made a dent in the trash that was left inside the home - it really will take years to be done. Pat is so happy to be able to help Lori with the plumbing. With so many of the walls opened up he will have an easier time putting in the pipes. While he was talking plumbing, I walked over to the Jefferson home - well - it's a mess. And Steve - the guy who is helping Lori get the house done said the roof is going and within a year if it isn't fixed the plaster in the home will rot. That is really sad. The backyard is full of weeds. The Lepeak (Leiberman) home is looking better. Flowers planted all around, cute wicker chairs in the backyard. Mrs. Odor's home looks very nice. The houses on Owen need lots of work and then back to Lori's home.

Then we decided to take flowers to our friend Barb - she just had surgery a few weeks ago and we just wanted to say hi and let her know we are thinking of her. We stopped at one place to buy flowers and I couldn't see inside the case because of moisture - the person working there said, it was too bad we couldn't see but that was how it was and she walked away! What is it with my florist problems in life? Then we stopped at Petal Pusher and bought the cutest little bucket filled with daisies. So then on to Tawas for a short visit - thankfully - Barb looks great and well onto her recovery.

We stopped at the St. Vincent de Paul, the Treasure Barn, and then on to Oscoda Flea Market - only found a few things. But it was a fun drive.

Today we will have some of Pat's family over for a cookout for Father's Day - how lucky we are to have such great fathers in this family.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My friend, Fran, sent these links - click on the year to hear songs from that year - it's fun.

Plant a Tree in Michigan!

From Michigan DNR.... and my friend, Amy

Odwalla is re-running its successful Plant a Tree promotion for 2009, and has DOUBLED the funding they will put towards the trees from $50,000 in 2008 to $100,000 in 2009. Only 11 State Park systems will be eligible for the funding, based on the states that participate in the Park Visitor Welcome Kit program.

How it works:
Each time someone goes to and chooses Michigan, $1 will be added to our state's tree fund. Each computer will only be allowed to participate once. The program will remain open until all funds are used, or until Dec. 31, 2009. The state with the most clicks gets the most dollars! To see how you are doing, click on the Number of Trees Planted tab.

Please go on line and click for Michigan State Park Trees. Feel free to pass this info on to your friends and family and ask them to click too! It only takes a moment. One state park that participated last year received over $20,000. Let's start clicking to replace ash trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer. Virginia is only about 200 ahead of Michigan - GO NOW!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Waiting for Pat

Pat, his brother David, Robin and Robbie went on a man weekend. They camped in the Pigeon River Forest. They are coming home this afternoon - and I really missed having Pat around with me over the weekend. I am sure they had fun - Robbie was really looking forward to camping right on the river so he could fish from sunup to sundown.

So after reading, going to estate sales, going to Birch Run and Clio Goodwills - out to dinner with Sheala and Joanna - Church this morning - where I agreed to be on the Environment Committee! Then out to breakfast with Bill and Amy - I'm really looking forward to seeing my honey!


OK - you are lucky to be reading this message - I very easily could have died yesterday. Joanna and Sheala MADE me drive on the Zilwaukee Bridge in Saginaw and I was almost on it when I realized where I was going (you have to know I usually never know where I am at when I am driving - thank goodness for the Garmin!) I have had a one woman protest about going over it at all - one time I went over it when someone else was driving - but I HATE it.

When it was built I think someone was on drugs because the whole thing had a droop in it. So the whole way over the bridge yesterday I was screaming, "AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!" Sheala, in her second week of drivers training, kept saying when she could drive she would be a better driver going over the bridge. Both Sheala and her mother couldn't stop laughing. It was a trip to say the least.

Anyway we had fun. We stopped at a book sale - buy one get one and they were only .50 or 1.00. It was a church book sale so there were lots of Christian books there - I found the first of the "Left Behind" series and Pat's cousins love the series so I thought I would buy the first one - I read 100 pages last night and I really like it - They had 5 or 6 of the other books in the series but I thought I would read the first one and decide - now I think even if I see number 10 again I won't buy it until I find number 2 and read that one - I like it when I have something specific to look for at garage sales!

Then we went to Goodwill and the books were .39 so Joanna and Sheala found lots to buy there. I got some cute dishes - and a new Calaphon griddle for $6 - so all in all - it was a good buy day.

And we DIDN'T drive back over the stupid bridge to come home.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Excel Fun

My brother, Larry, sent me a great site link for excel shortcuts - I LOVE EXCEL - I am at my happiest at work when I am working on new spreadsheets. My favorite spot where 99.9% of the time when I have needed a formula to do something in excel I have found an answer there that I could tweek to make work on my spreadsheet. It is an amazing help and has a great search capability.

Excel Help

Here is the shortcut that my brother sent - it has some fun mouse shortcuts that I was happy to see - I can't wait to start using them.

Excel Shortcuts

If you have a favorite formula or excel shortcut that you use all the time leave a comment.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Next Weekend

I'm going to spend all next weekend working on crafting! I haven't done anything for so long other than my beads - and I have lots of those done for the next show in July - so - I'm going to indulge!

I have tons of wallpaper books, lots of picture books I bought at the library sale for $5 a bag - oops - all my scrapbooking supplies are at Carolina Moons - I'm stopping there today so I'll pick those up.

Things I have thinking about:

Notecards - cute homemade little cards to have on hand when I want to write something quick to someone special.

I haven't made an altered book in a long time - maybe I'll work on one of those.

Collage of pictues for the wall (I know everyone that knows me will say "What Empty Wall does she have?"

I can't wait to start on a project!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tigers Game

Well - we went to another Tiger's Game on Thursday. We got to watch Willis lose it in the 3rd inning with all those walks - Leyland getting kicked out after yelling at the umps over walks and strikes - Cabrera limp home after pulling something in his leg - what a game! We had fun though. Even though the temperature was only 67 it felt like 95. We both used sunscreen but we still burned a bit. Tigers need to start HITTING more! We are still in first place by a teensy bit - GO TIGERS!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Computer Problems

I hate computers - no I actually love using them when they work - but oooooohhhhh I'm tired of mine acting so slow. But I don't even have time to take it somewhere - I've been messing with it at 4:00 in the morning but that hasn't helped. And to top it off Charter has been having problems the last couple of days too.

Anyway - that's why I haven't updated. The Antique Festival was fun with Paula and Dave and Pat. However we had some problems with wind. I lost some dishes, my canopy bent and tried to blow us away. Thank goodness the son of the person in charge came by and helped us stake the canopy back down.

So - I sold enough to pay expenses and I am sure I will return. The next one is in July. The new spot right across from Merchant Building 25 was great.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Antique Festival is Today and Tomorrow

I helped Paula unwrap all her treasures - WOW - she has some great ones. Her glassware is beautiful. I can't wait until I setup. I am waiting until 7 am - then I'll set my dishes and serving pieces up. We are at 850B - right across from one of the Merchant Buildings. Hope to see you at the Midland Antique Festival today or tomorrow.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My New Hero!

A mayor with NO DEBT - 11 consecutive terms of office - and - I would love to work for her! My friend Kevin sent this to me awhile ago - it is a bit long - but she is great.

Camping Trip with Friends

Even though the weather was mostly gray and cloudy with lots of rain we still had a good time camping with our friends. We all agreed that Hannah gets the "MOST IMPROVED DOG AWARD!" Last year she jumped up on all of us because she was so excited and every chance she got she tried to dig her way to China - this year - calm and nice to have around.

We saw some beautiful wild flowers, an eagle sitting above the nest, read a lot, sat by the campfire to stay warm (sometimes it worked, sometimes we just got smoked) ate some great food and even went to a few thrift shops.

My knee bothered me the whole time - but - even a bad weather day up north with a bad knee is better than most other days at home!

Now we are getting ready for the Antique Show. Pat is going to help David and Paula load all the antiques and I'm packing up dishes and spoons and knives to take to the show tomorrow morning - hope to see many of you their this weekend.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fan of the Game

You won't believe this - we sure didn't. Jesse, Caroline, Pat and I went to a Tiger game last night - this is the first Saturday that Jesse and Caroline had off in AGES together. So they bought the tickets and we bought the dinner and gas. They spent more than I thought they should so we ended up with okay seats in section 139 row 34 in the outfield. About five minutes after the National Anthem a young woman from the Tigers came up and asked us if we wanted to be the Fans of the Game and move to a different location! We said YES! So we had to wait a few minutes until they got everything set - They had Paws sit in our new seats and we had to kick him out of it while on the BIG screen! Our new seats were behind home plate in section 126 row 24. They were FABULOUS. We had so much fun. Even though they lost 4-3 - it was a great game and then we stayed for the fireworks - Oh my goodness - the fireworks were great, too. What a nice night to remember.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Favorite

Our friends children are graduating - triplets - so I've been trying to figure out how to make each card special. I found the greatest fun spot - it is called Wordle. You type in lots of words and it will create a fun random listing of the words. You can keep looking at different ways it will print. A few tips - words don't stay together so I typed some of them with no spaces. If you type in one word three times it makes that word bigger - so each of the cards features their name. I also saved what I typed so I could go back and just paste the information back in and change the name that I wanted to be larger than the others. Then I saved it as a picture and put it on the front of the cards.

Click here to go to Wordle

Friday, May 22, 2009

Team Hole in the Wall

2nd Update - Bernie is closer to making his goal - YEAH!

UPDATE - thank you Jane for sponsoring Pat's brother, Bernie. You made me feel like this blog can make a difference!

Pat's brother, Bernie, will be running in the Boston Marathon this month. He has chosen Paul Newman's children's camp as his charity to collect donations. His goal is to send one child to camp - $3,000. He is almost there - if anyone would like to help him send a child to the camp you can donate (or just learn more) by clicking on the link and following these directions:
Click on Be a Sponsor button on the left
Select the Boston Marathon
Search for Clifford
Fill in Information
Click Here to Donate

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dreaming of Grand Marais

One day I was talking to an acquaintance about going camping; she was leaving for a camping trip that weekend and insisted she was going to the best spot in the world. I didn’t even ask where she was going because I knew it couldn’t be as wonderful as our favorite spot for camping, a little piece of heaven. We argued back and forth over which spot was better, little did we know that we were talking about the same part of heaven, Grand Marais, Michigan.

I have been going there with my best friend’s family, the Lepeaks, since I was in grade school. We spent the best vacations in Grand Marais. When Mr. Lepeak retired he built a home and they moved there. It is always a place of rest and relaxation, long walks, wild huckleberry picking, sharing news and renewing friendships. Swimming in THE Great Lake, Superior of course, where we would brave the cold at least once every trip no matter what the temperature.

When I was young and foolish it also meant running down Devil’s Slide, where lumberjacks used to slide logs into the lake. It would take five minutes to run down and a tortuous half hour climbing back up. I realized I had reached maturity the first time I refused to go down.

One of my favorite pictures on my living room wall is one where I am walking with my friend, Janet, at East Shore. We have our heads down, looking for agates, while the sunset transforms the sky into lines of hot pink and tangerine ahead of us.

One summer we decided to meet in Grand Marais with a few very good friends from high school. We brought our husbands and our children and they all fell in love with the lighthouse, the waterfalls, devil’s slide, fireworks, campfires and Mrs. Lepeak’s steaming huckleberry pie. Our children became friends with our friend’s children and our families bonded forever.

Mr. Lepeak put up a wire and a pulley where the kids could sail through the air between the trees. There were races pushing peanuts with their noses and Mrs. Lepeak would tell scary stories to the kids by the campfire. When we returned to our trailers in the campground no one wanted to go to sleep because monsters were everywhere!

Our children are grown now, some have gone off to college, some have graduated, and some have started families of their own. But when they see one of their friends from that camping trip the years slip away and you can see their friendship is as solid as if it were just yesterday when they were riding their bikes through the campground.

We really have been blessed with good friends. They taught us the importance of enjoying God’s gift of nature to us. They taught us to slow down and enjoy life and that everything else stops when the sun sets over the lake. There really is nothing better than a trip to Grand Marais to help you reset your priorities. I decided a long time ago that heaven really is where a day in Grand Marais lasts forever.