Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Toast To The Season!

As you all know, Halloween is the official start to the holidays... even though the merchants like to jump straight to the big finish by displaying their Christmas goods mid-October. Why not just keep it out all year long? Are there really people out there who aren't aware of Christmas' coming without this visual reminder? I love Christmas. It's my favorite. Against the strong protest of my husband, I listen to Christmas music all year long. Not non-stop, mind you. But when one pops up on my iPod shuffle mode, I sing along with gusto. It makes me happy and wistful.

Carols aside... I also happen to love Halloween and Thanksgiving. Halloween gets it's due attention because kids love dressing up and getting the candy handout. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, tends to get the shun. Is it because children don't often dream of potatos and yams? Or, giant turkeys wearing pilgrim attire? Have we failed in our parental duties by not teaching them how important it is to be thankful? Maybe. I'm sure they see Thanksgiving as a day they have to get gussied up and spend the day with extended family they don't often see. All the while trying to live up to their parent's expectations of being polite and proper. No one wants to go sit in the car during dinner. And what child really wouldn't prefer a piece of chocolate cake vs. pumkin pie?

Thanksgiving is obviously something you just can't appreciate until you're an adult. All my family is in Utah so having the big family feast is not going to happen. I will, gratefully, have my youngest here and he's a big eater. I'm looking forward to that. But, as we sit down to gorge ourselves to the point of popping, we'll certainly feel the absence of the rest of the family. Our thoughts will be with them right up until the nap sets in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pink Dragons, Shipwrecks and Freebie!

We've had a crisis in the family this week. Ashley, the Mother of my 4 year old granddaughter, Payton, called in a panic. She said there had been a sad mishap while driving on the freeway. The car window was down and Payton, who was in the back in her carseat, was playing with her pink dragon, Lonnie, when it suddenly dawned on her that Lonnie might want to be set free. Lonnie is one of those mystical dragons with the tiny, little wings on her back. Makes sense, I suppose, that if those giant bumblebees can carry the load, a mystical, pink dragon could as well? Payton gives Lonnie a good hoist. Out the window she goes with Payton squealing, "Fly free Lonnie!" It didn't take her more than two seconds to realize the consequence of that move and that's when the world fell apart. She was inconsolable. "Lonnie is my best friend." "I miss Lonnie." "I want Lonnie back."

Payton is by no means a spoiled, temperamental child. She's really very sweet and loving. A little bossy now and then but she's a good soul so we all try to accommodate her. Unfortunately, Lonnie is a 2008 Webkinz release meaning you won't find a replacement in the stores. Grandma to the rescue! I found one on Amazon and had it shipped pronto. To soothe the broken heart in the meantime, we told Payton that Lonnie had flown to my house all the way to Michigan and she was very tired. She would come home after a few days rest. All is well. For now anyway.

Moving on... The Captain and I took a little day trip earlier this week to the upper peninsula. We went to the Tahquemenon Falls and Whitefish Point. It wasn't raining when we left but as soon as we arrived at the T. Falls parking lot, the skies opened up and really let us have it. Don't you just love those little glove-box sized umbrellas? We were prepared with one a piece so our day was not to be spoiled by wet, sticky clothes.

After the Falls and a little lunch, we headed to the Point. This area has the sad misfortune of having the most shipwrecks of any other point. It's said to be haunted. We concluded our tour in the boathouse where a gentleman from the Arther M. Anderson was answering questions. The A.M.A. was 7 miles behind the Edmund Fitzgerald when it went down in the '60s. He said the waves were 30' high. We're talking Lake Superior here folks, not the ocean. Imagine! Anyway, the boats were in radio contact with each other because the E. Fitzgerald had reported some problems and they were taking on water. The last transmission from the E. Fitzgerald was the Captain saying, "We're holding our own." Two minutes later, it dropped off the A.M.A.s radar. Ten minutes later the storm broke and the waves settled. The A.M.A. never saw any signs of the E. Fitzgerald.

Just as the gentleman was wrapping up his story, the fog horn started to blow. I thought this must be for affect but the fog had actually rolled in and you could no longer see the water. Have you ever heard a fog horn in real life? It's a sad, eerie sound. If anything could pull ghosts from the water, that sound could for sure. It was an interesting day.

Now on to lighter fare... I have a wordart freebie for you (as seen in the photo)! Click on the title of this post to go to my 4shared account to download. Photo was taken at the Tahquemenon Falls Park when the rain had slowed down a bit. Enjoy!

Happy Sails!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Las Vegas, Raspberries and a Bittersweet Farewell

Friends & Mateys!
I have so much to tell you. Grab a drink and a little snack because we have some serious catchin' up to do. The rain finally quit and that's when the real fun began. Here's a summary...

First of all, I noticed a fantastic deal on the internet for The Bellagio in Las Vegas. $90.00 a night. If you're at all familiar with this 5 star luxury hotel/casino, then you know this deal is phenomenal. Too good to pass up. So me and my friend, Jenifer, promptly booked a two night stay. (Going with a friend, of course, means half price, right?! Woot!)

We flew out of Salt Lake City on the 28th of June. When we arrived at The Bellagio, the check-in lines seemed to be a bit long. So we decided to check our bags with the bellhop and run around for a bit and do some gambling. Six hours later we finally drag ourselves back to the registration desk. Well, this turned out to be a very good move because they had apparently filled all the rooms they had blocked for the $90 rate. Can you say "Free Upgrade"? We got a $500/night suite with a foyer, living room, 3 baths, 4 large flat screen TV's. It even had a doorbell and buttons on the wall to open/close the curtains. Fun! And you don't just get the typical soap/shampoos/conditioners. They also give you hairspray, bath gel, toothbrushes, razors, loofahs, slippers, box of chocolates, etc. It was "suite" indeed! I slept like a queen- the beds were "mmmm mm". Next day we had spa appointments. An hour massage and then four hours spent lounging in the saunas and pools. Fruits and drinks complimentary. It was delightful. So relaxing. We didn't win much as far as the gambling goes but felt we hit the jackpot regardless. Had such a great time.

I spent the entire month of July boating, swimming and golfing with family and friends. I had my granddaughter two different times for 5 days each (sans her parents). She was such a joy- kept the Captain pretty busy! He's her "favorite Grandpa" but he reminds me he works very hard to earn that title. LOL! They're so cute together.

I did a lot of baking too. Our neighbors knocked on our door as they were leaving town and told us to help ourselves to their raspberry bushes. They wouldn't be back for two weeks and the birds and deer would just eat them. We went over for five straight days and loaded up. These were gorgeous, large berries! I baked 3 raspberry coffee cakes and 2 pies. I also made raspberry vinegar, syrup and pancakes; sent a few quarts home with family; and had enough leftover to freeze about 3 quarts. I hope they invite us over again next year! :) Or did we make pigs of ourselves?

End of July and it was time to pack up and head for Michigan. Always bittersweet. We hate to leave our family and friends. Very hard to do. But, at the same time, our little MI cabin in the woods is in such a beautiful location. The hubs has been spending his summers here since he was 14 so it's a very sentimental spot to him. This is where we really unwind and relax. It's much cooler here though. The end of summer will come more quickly for sure. We've done a few fun things so far but I'll post those adventures in my next blog. I don't want to overwhelm you. ;)

Happy Sails!

(P.S. I tried to add more pictures but it's a very slow connection day. I'll make up for it next time.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friends, Runaways, and Retail Therapy

I had a little run-away last week. One of my best girlfriends, Cathy, invited me down to enjoy a few days with her and her four year old, Will. Her hubby was out of town on business and since I'd been sitting inside watching it rain for so long, I decided Why Not! I love it here in our cabin at Bear Lake but, I tell ya, the walls had started closing in. So heading off to the big city sounded like just the prescription I needed.

I left early Weds. morning, buckled behind the wheel of our big red truck, and set out on my nearly two hour drive. This is exciting for me in itself because since my hubby retired, I don't get to drive all that often. We always go everywhere together and he, being the man, just usually drives. Needless to say, cruising the curvey canyon and hitting the freeway at 80 mph all by my lonesome makes me feel sixteen again! The trip was off to a great start.

By the time I arrived, Cathy had gotten Will off to daycare and we had the world by the tail. Oh what to do?! The choices were endless. After a bit of breakfast, we decided to hit the matinee- since it's raining at her house too. We hit the fancy new theatre in downtown Ogden and saw The Hangover. Hilarious! And Bradley Cooper is pretty dang easy on the eyes. :) After the movie, we hit The Grist Mill for a slice of fresh High Five bread. We didn't need any lunch after the huge bucket of popcorn we consumed at the show.

Then it was time to hit the shopping mall. It's what girl's do. The day was turning out to be pretty fantastic. The sun had even decided to shine. Cathy took me in to one of her favorite stores and proceeded to take on the roll of fashion coordinator. She's throwing jeans at me left and right, along with funky tops to be layered (she has a great sense of style) and then, sitting patiently in a chair as I stroll out to model, she gives me her semi-professional advice. I haven't had that kind of attention since my Mom took me back-to-school shopping for 8th grade. I loved it! I found some jeans that I thought looked pretty good (Cath agreed) plus a few other things and $200+ later we left the store. Um, I don't usually plunk down that kind of scratch. Well, not since I retired anyway. But I was feeling all right about it. Empowered in a way! Yea, after twenty days of sitting in the rain, I deserved it. I owed it to myself! Am I right, ladies?! Woohoooo.

Well, to make a long story short and sum up the first day, we picked Will up from daycare, took a nice long stroll around the neighborhood, reunited a lost dog with it's owner, and had a lovely dinner at a new italian restaurant. It was a great day.

The next morning included coffee on the back patio overlooking Cathy's "Better Homes & Gardens" yard (yes, she even has a creek that runs through it) and homemade pumpkin chocolate chip cookies baked especially for me. I felt loved. The rain hit again about noon and we ended up bailing out her basement window wells. It was quite a storm.

I headed out of town about 2:00 pm feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. It was as if I had spent a fortune at a day spa- but they don't send you home with cookies! Bonus! Thank you, Cathy! And thank you, Will, for sharing your Mom with me. And to all of you out there, make time for your friends. You just don't know how much they might be needing to hear from you.

Happy Sails!