Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Days

"Let the radiance of Summer, it's colors and warmth bring you joy." 
Alexandra Stoddard

  The weather is volatile, changing in minutes from sunny to stormy.  A storm followed us home from Wisconsin.  When a dark sky threatened, we headed home.  First there were some raindrops but we were traveling faster than the storm.  By the time we were home for a while, the skies opened up. We've had heavy rain, inches at a time for several days.
The poor folks along rivers and streams in the communities just north of us are dealing with terrible flooding.  What is an inconvenience for us, is life altering for hundreds of families that are struggling to save their homes from the flood waters. 
  Hoping for some dry days ahead.

 Here at home things were very quiet as my sweet husband traveled for work.  I use my angst for good not evil by rearranging furniture and cleaning.
 Moving chairs and sofas is therapeutic for me.
Changing things with the seasons, finding things as I go.
I found this sign under the sofa.  I haven't used it since Jon and Charlotte's wedding almost a year ago now.  I'll see how long it takes for my hubby to notice.  Our Anniversary is next Monday, 41 years!
We have been so fortunate to have so many happy years together. We started off as crazy kids, we were married when he was just 20 and I was 21!  We raised our three wonderful kids, saw them grow into the best people we know.  We have had the joy of seeing them pair up, marry (with one to go next year) and then the birth of our babygrand. The happiest of times.  We've been through hard times too.  I almost lost my dearest in a car accident 23 years ago.  He came to our new home for the first time in an ambulance, resting in a hospital bed in our living room for months as he healed.  It made our bond stronger.  I thought I loved him before this happened, but was mistaken.  All the trials and tribulations that life brings has made us stronger, and happier and more in love.  We promised through sickness and health, good times and bad, and even at our young age, we really meant it. We will continue to enjoy all the joys and trials of growing older together, and have more fun and laughs than appropriate for people our age;-) 
Happy Anniversary my Love! 

Our Love is an Endless Season

Thank you for stopping by and for your friendship.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, July 17, 2017

Camp Grandma and Rainy Day Fun

 When Mom and Dad go out of town, it's time for Camp Grandma and Grandpa to open for the summer.  First Stop, Lake Michigan.
 The perfect time, sunset.  The Lake is so high, most of the beach is underwater,  but it doesn't matter to our girl who loves the waves, the sand and the sun.
  I wonder how many times I've taken this same photo of sunset at the beach.  I'll never get enough.
 Our girl is tremendously romantic and has great imagination.  She has a vocabulary of someone much older.  Penny told me she saw a YouTube video of a "grown woman" who had a American Girl doll and all the accessories.  Then she looked at me and asked, quite seriously,  "Coincidence?"  Well it's all I could do to keep from doubling over with laughter.  She heard that phrase somewhere and though she'd throw it in for emphasis.  Oh that girl!

 So many families...and the Moon rose while the Sun set.
 Pure joy at the beach.  We even caught part of a concert where our girl danced up a storm.
Day one was the best weather day.
Penny the photographer gave me a prop to pose with.
 The rest of the days were cloudy, rainy and even monsoon days.  The skies opened and it didn't stop raining. There is flooding everywhere in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  Some people lost their homes, many with several feet of water in their basements. The rain came off the roof in a waterfall.  Penny and I were home alone, Grandpa at a meeting.  I was scared, but knew as Grandma I should be brave. We did crafts and watched movies.  I prepared Penny for the chance that we might lose our power.  She was fine with that, "we can light some candles and read a book."  We were fortunate.  The power stayed on and the sump pump kept up with the rain.
Here is my flower picture, note the flower petal butterflies.
 By the end of the week we were able to get back out to the garden.  We picked flowers to make flower pictures, something I saw an artist do on a PBS show.
Penny added this sweet drawing of us on her flower picture. 

Even the left overs were gorgeous.
We played cards, pretended, crafted.  Penny cleaned her room, made pillow forts, watched PBS and caught up on all her favorites, like Daniel Tiger.  We snuggled at night, read stories.  Grandpa even brought back a blast from the past, a character he made up for stories when our kids were small, Zeke the Armadillo.  Penny loved it.  When Penny is here our home buzzes.  She always has a Great Idea! Though we are pooped by the end of the day, seeing that sweet face before we close are eyes is the best.   She really is magic and love and fun. Especially love.

When it was time to take Penny home we had a 5 hour round trip. (usually one hour one way)  Roads were closed due to the flooding, all open roads were backed up for miles.  Penny was a trooper with the stop and go traffic, but just a half block before home she was sick. (Taking after her grandma, I still get carsick in stop and go traffic.)  We were so sad to have her go home and still miss her like crazy cakes.  We look forward to at least one more Camp Grandma before school starts.  KINDERGARTEN! Where has the time gone?

 Some scenes for the garden...Dad's old minnow bucket filled with Zinnias...
 Delicate pink but sturdy coneflowers.

 A few thrifted things for our girl.  The unicorn is from the Land of Nod, still with the tag.  Grandpa found the Barbie movie.
 This brass candle holder with a 5 cent candle.  That's my beautiful Mom in the photo.
 This is a card I purchased in the UP, later to find out that Amanda's Aunt Mary took the photo.  Hollyhocks!
 These are some gifts from my sweet daughter Kristen from a cool shop in NY.  Funny she bought me licorice.  In the UP there is a large Finnish community and licorice is a big thing.  I purposely didn't buy any when I was there.  It is my Kryptonite...  I like it better than chocolate or any other candy.
 Oh, I almost forgot...our cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen.  Penny wasn't here to pick the first ones, but there are plenty more to come.

We had a great relaxing weekend, a little driving, a little thrifting and a great concert in neighboring Long Grove.  The artist, fiddler April Verch put on a great show.  She fiddles and step dances, playing bluegrass, regional Canadian and American old timey tunes.  We enjoyed the music very much on a perfect summer evening, cool breezes and kinetic sculptures spinning...  and free to boot!  We purchased one of her Cd's and one from another artist that accompanied her.  I'll try my step dancing while cleaning the house. ;-)

 These sculptures are amazing.
Speaking of amazing...
He is.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Thursday, July 6, 2017

4th of July Holiday in the UP

Big Flag, popular in all states we visited.
 We headed up, way up,  to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to meet Amanda's family and see the town, check things out for the wedding next year.  We met at the campground, ground zero for all things 4th of July.  Amanda told us that this holiday is bigger than Christmas for her family.  Everyone gathers to celebrate.  I was happy to meet Lynett and several of her sisters.  I met Grandma named Sue, sweet children and even a happy baby named Quentin.  Add a couple of friendly dogs, many friends and you have a UP Fourth.
 We played a game where all the prizes are wrapped in plastic wrap into a great big only have till the next person rolls doubles to unwrap and keep your prizes.  Here my dearest fights to find the end of the wrap.  Sometimes it's in a long piece, sometimes short.
 It was a fun introduction to the family.
 Here's Lynett, Amanda's Mom, taking her turn.
 The campground is pretty, with Lake Linden just across the way.
 On this peninsula, you are never far from water.
 With bridges to cross, it reminded me a little of Brooklyn.
 This is the town of Houghton.  Little restaurants, sweet shops.
 Surprisingly busy.
 Even a theater.
 We met Mike and Amanda at one of her favorite spots, The Jam Pot Bakery.  It's run by Monks from the Society of St. John who live and work in this beautiful place up the peninsula.
 The bluest sky I've seen since I visited Colorado as a youth.
 Love these guys!
 I always want to fluff his beard.
 It was a tiny place chock full of wonderful  organic jellies and baked goods. You wait in line till someone comes out, it's that small.
 The Holy Transfiguration Skete in Eagle Harbor.
 They couldn't have picked a more beautiful or tranquil spot to start a monastery.
 All on the banks of Lake Superior

 I didn't go inside, since there was a dress code and I wasn't sure if capri pants were ok.
 The building is beautiful and the surrounding gardens and land magical.

 We followed a path to a beach.  Boy, we are getting old. The way down was treacherous for two old folks with a bad hip and wonky knees.  With the kids help we made it down and stepped on our first ever rock covered beach.  Amanda found several rocks for me, that turned into many rocks.
 My son, my son.
 The rock seekers.
 I would have liked to walk the beach but it was just too difficult to walk on.
(I'm trying to keep a NO FALLS policy this summer, unlike last year when I had a dramatic fall and messed myself up but good!)
 It was so beautiful, the Lake tranquil with just a hint of a breeze.
 I am fond of driftwood, but this was just too big for our car.
 My hubby was willing to try and almost hurt himself trying.
We stopped a little further down the road and found a sand beach.
We spent some time getting some sun while the kids walked to where a band was playing, and for a cool drink.  

 My bowl of treasures. The jelly made by Monks. (We already opened lemon marmalade, Wow, it is delicious.)
 Amanda says there is copper in that rock.
What a great souvenir of a happy visit.
We watched the fireworks at Lake Linden.  Being so far north, it doesn't get dark until after 10:00.
I told Penny it was because we were closer to Santa.  The fireworks started well after 11.  It was a tremendous show that we enjoyed in spite of the cold.  It was 55 degrees!  After waiting in line to get out of the campground and the ride back to our hotel it was really late when we hit the hay.

We enjoyed the long ride up, but not knowing what to expect, and not realizing that Wisconsin is a very big state, (We haven't ventured too much past Green Bay) it seems much longer than the way home.  We missed the parade in town on the 4th, we just couldn't keep up with the kids.  We, well just my driver slept in, but when he got up we both wanted home.  Three trips in  three weeks. About 2100 miles!   I was so glad that we did.  My dearest slept most of yesterday and had a meeting at 7:00am today.  We need a vacation from our vacations. 

Today I got up and started a project I promised for our service projects.  One hundred stamped bags for the mental heath center we help support.  They are stamped with permanent ink and have to dry. Next, watering the garden, it's a hot day here.
So happy to be home, there's no place like it, for comfort, for happiness and love.
Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness always.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny