Monday, September 17, 2018

As Summer Ends

 Kris and Doug bought us tickets to see the great Michael Nesmith of Monkee fame at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  The Old town School is in the old Hild Library.  A library that my dearest visited occasionally during his school years. The man's s genius but has never been a bookworm.;-)
 The library has been turned into a great venue for music.
 This Works Progress Administration mural graced the library. The W.P.A. was created to provide economic relief to citizens of the U.S. suffering through the Great Depression.  Is was great to see this work of art preserved in it's new venue.
 Mike Nesmith, or Papa Nez as he is affectionately called did not disappoint.  Just ten weeks from quadruple bypass surgery, his voice was strong and clear and his good humor was shared by the entire crowd.
 He sang with the First National Band consisting of some great artists including two of his sons.
The only Monkee song he sang, was one he wrote for the band, Papa Gene's Blues, from the first Monkee album.  I got emotional when everyone sang along.  I was eleven years old when the Monkees first came on TV.  I was a crazy fan, my room covered in posters and pictures from magazines like Tiger Beat and 16 magazine.  I was a member of an exclusive Monkee club. (Four girls in grade school who sang Monkee songs after lunch behind the church.) I was Micky Dolenz, but grew to appreciate Mike and his music the most as I grew older. 

I made a pillow for Mike featuring this photo he posted on his Facebook page. Mike and his Mom back in Texas when he was young.
Then, when we changed cars I forgot it in our car.  I will mail it to him, a token of appreciation for over 50 years of great music and fun.

Who's that handsome guy taking in some Sunday sunshine?
 Wow, if Buscia (my grandma) could see my coleus.  I always thought it was a house plant because Buscia always had a least a couple of pots growing in her window.
 The squirrels have played in the fairy garden. 
 The angel vine is lush and beautiful.
"Sunshine on my shoulders, makes me happy.  Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry."
-John Denver
 Some pots are happier in late summer.

 Some, like marigolds wait to put on their best show on in the cool of Autumn.
Still have to harvest my herbs.
The boys giving their Dad a lift.

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, September 10, 2018

Beauty Unadorned.

 I love the changing of the seasons, and I enjoy the beauty that comes in Autumn.

 One of our favorite places to visit in each season is our local garden center Hawthorn Gardens, just down the road in Hawthorn Woods.  
 Interesting collection of vintage tools.

 They always have the coolest urns and pots.

 You can't beat a beautiful water feature for tranquility in the garden.

 Ornamental kale, looks so lush even after a frost. (Which is weeks away.)

 These are so unique.  They are metal and so colorful.

 Used in a beautiful pot of zinnias.
 None of my zinnias were orange, but I have a large pot of marigolds, the french kind.  They really pop and give a show as the temps cool.

 Love the silvery color.

 We celebrated Grandparents day grandparenting. We were able to visit with the cousins before they returned to St. Louis after the wedding festivities. A fun evening of quiet time, just hanging out. Penny stayed over and we headed to the Garden early since she had a busy schedule later in the afternoon at home.  I was ready to have to fish her out of the drink.  It's not very deep, but oh so tempting to our little explorer.

 Penny loved the lily pads and the many different colors and types of pads and flowers.

 These were huge.

 We visited the greenhouses, where there is always something new in bloom. 

 Interesting shapes and colors.

 Unusual shapes and forms.

 Every flower beautiful.

 Our girl got a kick out of seeing the bananas growing.  I believe the last time we were here the plants were in bloom.  Fun Fact: Did you know that bananas don't grow on trees?  No woody parts to this bush.  

 Pretty caladium.

 Caught running in the pavilion.  A perfect place for a party.

 Outside of the English Walled Garden.  Different each time we visit.

 She seems determined to stop Grandma's heart.  I suggested the upper ledge, but no, as close to the water as possible.

We took the tram ride for the first time together.

 Perfect weather.  A cool breeze and sunny skies.

 Seeing all the garden from the comfort of the tram was a very cool thing for our girl.

Learning the history of the garden from the driver.  The trees, the oldest and the tallest.
How it all began back in the 1960's.  It was important for our girl to learn some of the history of one of our favorite places.  We want to instill in Penny a love of nature and a appreciation 
of the magic of the seasons.  
"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her."
William Wordsworth

 How fast she is growing . Penny told me she's a city girl who loves nature.

 She was surprised when I told her I lived in the city for 40 years.

 I could come here every week and see something new.

I believe our girl feels the same.

Back to the real world.  Work for my dearest, decorating and finishing up some 
service projects for me.
Starting to clean up the garden a little, and looking ahead to the holiday season, it's just 52 days till Halloween, 74 days till Thanksgiving...  Just saying.

Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Thursday, September 6, 2018

In a little town called Hubell...

 Our baby boy Mike married his sweetheart Amanda, on September 1st.
 I will say, that in spite of all this, a destination wedding, on a budget, 400 miles away, it all worked.
WE DID IT, and it was wonderful!
We got to Houghton, Michigan on Thursday.  All the kids were traveling.  Some by plane, most by car.  Mike and Amanda had been up north for a couple of days. and that night we watched our granddaughter Penny.  SIL Elizabeth, brother Greg, their daughter Tracy and her three wonderful girls and Penny spent a while in the pool. They had so much fun. Penny slept with us as the ladies went to the bachelorette party.  The guys went to a local bar.  We slept that night, but not much.  

Friday, we decorated the Hubell Fire Hall where the wedding and reception took place.  The set up  took hours.  Betty and I, with the help of one of Amanda’s Aunts, the lovely Dawn,  transformed that fire hall. It looked so pretty.  When we were done, we left to buy cupcakes and had a late lunch before the rehearsal dinner. The Rock House was right next door to our hotel.  They took care of everything except for a few decorations I brought and the cake. It is a family restaurant with skee ball and other games.  That was a lot of fun and a big hit with the kids.  Father of the Groom handed out cards to all the guests to play the games, while the food kept coming and coming. (Appetizers, salad and pizza) We had at least 40 to 50 people, hard to count, they were all over the place.  Mike and Amanda have the best friends and Amanda’s family are very sweet. Made for a very good time. We were relieved after the dinner and headed to bed so we'd be ready for Mike and Amanda's big day.

They tried to sell me Green Bay Packers cupcakes!  As if...

These two were cool and calm.

Just a note,
Having all my kids close, like in the next room for Jon and Charlotte and an adjoining room for Kris and Doug and Penny was fun. Betty, Greg, Tracy and the girls were just across the hall. So was nephew Greg and his sweetheart. (Alert: Greg caught the garter!) Mike and Amanda were having pedicures etc...but always calling and of course at the dinner and Mike dressed in our room on the wedding day.  

The theme was Love You to the Moon and Back.

 Paper lanterns, sparking stars and mirrored balls and Amanda's Grandma provided the golden bells.
Elizabeth found the large moon on Facebook.  It took two trips up north to get the huge display up there.
We had a runner to the arbor, and Elizabeth made the arrangements on each side.  The arbor was draped in sheer curtains and tulle with white wisteria.  My photos don't do it justice. 

We had a professional photographer.  It will be weeks till we see those pics.  I was not taking many photos as I was running;-)

The wedding day was hot and humid.  Poor guys were dying in suits.  There was an amazing young lady Emi, the wedding coordinator, that was in charge, and she got everything in order.  Before we knew it, the wedding began.  I was crying ugly by the time we walked up the aisle.  Not looking forward to seeing that picture.  Everything fell into place and it was so beautiful. Mike was crying as Amanda came up the aisle.  She was so lovely.  Amanda carried a bouquet I made for her.  It contained lily of the valley, ranunculus, yellow roses and paper leaves.  In her hair she wore the same flowers I made as a half crown.  She wore her beautiful hair half up.  She had her hair and makeup done professionally and she looked amazing.  Mike looked so handsome, I can still see his baby face under his generous beard.  He has the most beautiful eyes, but I digress. Another of Amanda’s Aunts, Betsy,  was the officiant.  Betsy was all choked up and asked for a moment to compose herself.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall. Mike and Amanda's vows were sweet and the music they selected were some of my favorites, just a coincidence but wonderful.
The ceremony was immediately followed by Mike and Amanda's first dance.They danced to a song called The Book of Love, by Peter Gabriel.  They danced up and down the aisle, and it was magic.
The evening moved along quickly. Next, the Mother and Son dance was so special. Mike picked the song for us and I cried and laughed while he cried and laughed.  When we weren't crying and laughing he sang the words to me. We always sang in the car together when we were on our way to school or work. It was the sweetest moment. Where did the time go, my wonderful baby boy.
My Heart...

Jon our son was the best man and gave a short and heart felt speech.  Our sons are brothers and friends, something that is so important to my husband and me. They love each other, and they love their  beautiful sister too.  It was so sweet to see the hugs and tears they shared.  Made Dad and I very proud and happy.

All the kids danced every song, be it the Chicken Dance or some new Shark song. Our Penny was so happy to dance the chicken dance, she’s been practicing since she was old enough to stand. All of my great-nieces were with us, two of my brothers, two SIL’s, nieces and nephews. Elizabeth helped so very much and was there to support me just like she always is.  

Elizabeth and her wonderful son Greg. We missed you Jim!
Our Penny is on the far left.

All the tearing down started as the happy Bride and Groom left to a sparkler goodbye.  We drove a very scary and foggy road back to the hotel, relieved and exhausted. 

For all that could have gone wrong, nothing did.  It was a homespun, homemade wedding, and it was the best time.  Mike and Amanda are amazing together.  My prayer is that they keep that happiness and love for each other always. 

My dearest, the dearest  sweetest most generous man made the dreams of our son Mike and his Bride Amanda’s dream of a Upper Peninsula wedding come true.   It was sweet and magical for our whole family, shared with Amanda’s sweet family who welcomed us with open arms, and made us feel at home.  

I am grateful to all my family that traveled so far at at great expense to share our joy.  Greg and Elizabeth and family were in as soon as the wedding was announced.  My brother Larry and SIL Lynette traveled and so did their amazing girls Gina and Amy with their guys.  It meant so much to us to have you all with us.
We hope to visit Houghton again when we have time to explore.  It is a beautiful place, Lake Superior is amazing and the drive is worth the views.  Now we have family up north, and an beautiful addition to our family here in Chicagoland..  

Life is Good, and We are Grateful.

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day
Love, Penny