Dogs on Vacation

Although our dogs come up north to our cottage with us all the time, they usually have to stay at home with a dog-sitter when we go on vacations to other places.  It was a Grand Adventure, then, for all of us, when we brought the dogs along to Beaver Island for our vacation.


Beaver Island is completely dog-friendly - beginning with the island ferry, where the dogs got their own tickets!


Both dogs did just great on the 2-hour ferry ride out to the island (which is in the middle of northern Lake Michigan).  They were well-behaved and pretty relaxed.  (It was tougher on our way home because the water was really rough that day, and they were somewhat uncomfortable about that.  But still good dogs!)


On the island, we stayed in a cottage right on the lakeshore for the week.  It was pretty much dog-heaven -- with the water and the woods and the turkeys and the snakes.  So very much to check out!


One day, the lake was super calm -- barely even a ripple on the surface.  A perfect day for swimming!  


We had hoped for a dog-swimming-day and planned accordingly, packing water toys -- including one of Jenny's favorite blue floatation cushions.  The dogs LOVED swimming in the "big lake!"

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The shoreline of the island is mostly rocky, so it's challenging to "walk the beach" -- but there are a few bays with sandy beaches.  They are very dog-friendly (unlike most of the Lake Michigan beaches nearer to home, where dogs are not allowed - even on leash) and the dogs were welcome.  We were able to let them off-leash where they could walk along with us, free to explore and roam a little.

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They LOVED it!


And we did our part to keep the beaches walk-able for everyone. . . 


It truly was a Grand Adventure for all of us -- J-pups included.

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And, as an update, Jenny is feeling much better.  (She got into the trash at our cabin on the last night of our vacation. . . )  We're still waiting for her to pass whatever "interesting thing" she ate -- but she's eating again, and acting like her usual cantankerous self!

Vacation (Home Again)

We had a wonderful vacation.
(And now we're back home.)


So relaxing.
(And then we came home to a full schedule of appointments and events and meetings.)

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We did a good job of unplugging.
(But now we're making up for it -- catching up on paperwork and email.)


We had no distractions.
(But now we're dealing with our sick, garbage-eating dog.*)


We just listened to the waves and enjoyed the ever-changing shore.
(Now I'm coming to grips with the weeds-gone-wild after 11 days away.)


We sat around and just kicked back every day.  And ate ice cream.  Lots of ice cream.
(And now we're hitting the gym.)

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We're back home.  And happy to be here.
(But missing the relaxed pace.)


(And the beach. . . )


* Jenny eats ANYTHING.  And she ate . . . "something-interesting-but-not-identifiable" while we were on vacation (according to the x-rays the vet took on Tuesday) . . . which will now work it's way through her digestive tract.  (Lucky.Us.)  




Up North and Beyond

Yesterday, Tom and the dogs and I headed up north to our cottage for a few days.


We're enjoying time on the lake . . . watching the baby loon learn to dive, marveling at the grace of herons, endlessly throwing toys for the dogs to retrieve in the water, trying out my new stand-up paddle board.  It's quiet and comfortable and remote.

Although . . . 

Turns out not all that remote, really.  After all, we have (spotty) cellular service up north at the cottage.  And (slow-ish) wifi.  We can stream Netflix.  And that keeps us connected with the world at large.

Next week, though?  We're headed beyond Up North . . . to WAY Up North.*

On Sunday, we leave for Beaver Island (the northernmost island in Lake Michigan).  We've rented a cottage right on the lake for a week, which will be incredibly beautiful and so cool and sure-to-be-relaxing.  

But . . . now we're talking Remote.  Because there is no cellular service.  No wifi.  No television at all.  Just a landline for emergencies.

And I can't wait!
(Although I'm sure I'll have some Google-withdrawal.)

Enjoy next week -- and we'll catch up when I return.


* And, of course, it's all a matter of perspective.  Because there's the whole of Michigan's Upper Peninsula even farther Up North!

For the Record

We love to play games.



That's not altogether true.  

So let's clarify that statement just a bit.

I love to play games because they are fun and a nice way to connect with family and friends.  You know . . .  in the spirit of togetherness and warm feelings and group hugs.

Tom loves to play games because they are fun and he loves strategy and honing All of The Skills.  You know . . . WIN and show dominance on the world stage at all costs and WIN.

As you can probably tell, we are not compatible when it comes to games.  Because I don't want to think that hard (because fun) and he is relentless (because fun).  He wins All The Games.  Which means . . . I lose All The Games.  (And my "good sportsmanship" can only go so far.)  (I whine.)  (And sometimes . . . I even quit.)

Until Corn Hole.


I tend to beat Tom when we play Corn Hole.  (I have good aim.)  


It doesn't happen very often . . . that I am better at a game (any game) than Tom.  So I want to go on record with this one:


I kicked his ASS yesterday!

(But my dominance will be short lived.  He'll practice.  He'll figure out how to knock me off the board.  He'll work strategy into even Corn Hole.  He'll beat me All the Time.)  

(So let me revel in yesterday's crushing victory.)  

(Oh, yeah, baby!)

Looking for America

Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together
I've got some real estate here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes
And Mrs. Wagner's pies
And walked off to look for America.
                            --- Simon and Garfunkel


(And because you're already humming it, here's the link so you can sing the whole dang thing.)

Today - and every day - let's keep looking for America.

OUR America.

(Which is already pretty great.)  
(Just sayin.)

Happy 4th of July!

Right Now - June 2017

Oh, June.  You've really lived up to expectations.


There have been trips up north, bike rides, ice cream, a successful Solstice party, gardening, and mini-celebrations along the way.  And, from the looks of it, there are more good summer-y things yet to come.

Here's what's happening . . . Right Now.

Watching:  Well.  Let's just say nothing on the screen.  I don't watch much television anyway, but during the summer I hardly ever turn it on.  Oh.  Except Grantchester; I am keeping up with that one.  (Because James Norton.  Who can resist?)  Mostly, right now, I'm watching things grow in my garden -- blooms, weeds, nuisance plants from my neighbors' gardens, that kind of thing.

Stitching:  Well.  Not much on that front either.  As I explained in Wednesday's post, I have cast on for the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl.  And that's pretty much where I am still.  By the time I sit down at the end of the day, I don't have the energy or attention span to manage even a simple lace pattern.  I'm going to be way behind with this year's mystery knit.  (And I'm fine with that.)  I'm thinking about starting something more . . . basic . . . to knit in the evening when I can't focus on lace, but do want to knit.  (Stay tuned.)


Reading:  I AM reading.  As you can see, my Summer Bingo reading is kind of all over the place.  I'm not seeing any BINGOs coming up soon, but eventually I'll get one.  Right now, I'm listening to Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (I'm not sure which square it will fit into quite yet, but I'm sure it will fit in somewhere. . . ), and I'm reading The Gifts of Imperfection, an older one from BrenĂ© Brown (which will fit nicely into the "backlist" square).  (As I earn BINGOs, I'll tell which books I read to fit in each square.)

Humming:  This one.  I went to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert last Sunday, and I've been singing this one ever since!   (Can't stop, addicted to the shindig . . . )  Tom had to miss the concert because of a scheduling error (his, not mine).  Don't feel too badly for him, though.  Because he was in Key West catching this . . . 


That's a trophy permit.  (He was thrilled.)


Gardening:  I'm really enjoying my time in the garden this year -- and I am spending a LOT of time out there.  I have . . . well, kind of overdone . . .my garden; I think I've reached my limit.  My dream was always to completely ring the perimeter of our fenced-in, L-shaped back yard with garden beds.  And I have achieved this feat (I'll blog about it sometime later this summer).  But.  It's an awfully lot of garden to keep up with, y'know?  So it's a constant game of whack-a-mole.  Some parts look great, while others need a bit more attention.  I am accepting that this is a constant, flowing Truth.  I do have fun puttering around out there, and now that bulk of the work has been done for the season, I can spend a bit more time just enjoying things from time to time (if I can keep myself from popping up to weed something or trim back something else).


Playing:  I finally caved and bought an Apple Watch last week.  I was hoping it would help me track my workouts -- including my swim workouts.  And it does.  Kind of.  I mean, it's waterproof and all -- and it does seem to accurately track my swimming.  But it does not track kick-sets at all (that's kicking without any arm movement; kind of a staple of swim workouts) . . . which is unfortunate.  (Especially because it doesn't allow for manual adjustments either.)  So.  It's cool.  And I like it.  And it does track most stuff.  Just not all the stuff.  

Dreading:  Neighborhood fireworks.  When I was younger, I used to love the Fourth of July.  And I really do like watching fireworks.  But . . . the joy has gone out of it for me now that fireworks have become legal in Michigan -- even in residential neighborhoods.  Oh, yikes.  It's misery!  And especially for the dogs.  We wrap JoJo in her ThunderShirt and administer the "relaxing drugs" from the vet . . . but we still have to hunker down in our basement "bunker" for several nights.  (It's even worse up north at our cottage.)  So.  I'm dreading the next few nights -- and eager for that part of the weekend to be over.


Looking Forward:  We've got a nice vacation coming up in July -- a week on Beaver Island up in the middle of the northern part of Lake Michigan.  It probably won't be terribly warm -- but it's going to be gorgeous and relaxing and fun.  The dogs are looking forward to it, too -- because they get to come with us for this trip!  (Keep your fingers crossed that JoJo - of the carsickness - can manage the ferry ride.) 

That's what's happening in my corner of the world right now.  How about YOU? 





The Little Things

It's a beautiful day here.  Rainy earlier; sunny now.  Not too hot.  And my schedule cleared up rather unexpectedly.  Sounds like a perfect day to mess around outside, non?

I often share what's blooming in my garden.  For a change, I decided to share a few of my favorite things that never bloom in my garden!  Little things.  Things that you might miss when you're busy looking at blooms.

Things like . . . Namaste Frog.


This little guy has been sitting near the waterfall in my pond for many years.  (So many years . . . that Brian, who still lived at home then, gave him his name.)  He's a little worse for the wear now (the frog, not Brian), because one year he spent the winter at the bottom of the pond -- having fallen in during the shut-down phase and not discovered again until the following spring.  Still, he just sits . . . a bit faded but very chill . . . and a great reminder for me to live in the moment out in the garden.

This year I added a little Fishing Frog.


I especially love how there is a silhouette of a "real" fish there on the sign.  Because Fishing Frog?  He may be whimsical and totally animated, but he's going for the Real Deal.

I tuck lots of little birds here and there in my garden.


There are plenty of actual, singing birds in my garden, sure.  But I like having a little bit of bird-whimsy around, too.


I stick some things in my garden just because they make me smile.


I love picking out the "hair" for this planter every year.

And I love the stone chimney on my little house.  (I keep this one near the edge of the patio, right near the house, where it is less likely to get wet in a rainstorm.)


And then, there's always THIS "little" thing in my garden.  She never blooms -- but always makes me smile!


Enjoy your day -- and take time to find the little things that bring you joy.


Slowing Down and Catching Up

My unraveling tale this week comes not from yarn and needles . . . but from pure stupidity.

My own.

Too lazy to change my shoes (and - truth be told - not wanting to put on socks), I decided to walk the dogs yesterday in my trusty Keen sandals.  Now this style of sandal has gotten me through many a long walk (and walking vacations) in the past.  But yesterday?  Not so much.  

I could feel the blister forming on the ball of my foot just at the 1-mile turnaround-point of our walk.  By the time I got back home, it was a doozy.

Talk about unraveled!  (And I get really cranky about injuries that prevent me from moving freely.)


Well, perhaps I'll have more time to just sit for a couple of days while it heals.  Because I've just started this summer's Through the Loops Mystery Shawl, and I have some catching up to do.


There are so many ways to . . . unravel.  Y'know?


Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled Wednesday.  Head on over to find out what else is unraveling!


Plain Vanilla

For a couple of years now, I have wanted to make an Alabama Chanin dress.  Because what hooked me on Alabama Chanin in the first place . . . many years ago . . . was a dress.

Seriously.  That first Alabama Chanin dress was kind of life-changing for me.  I'd never seen anything like it!  It was hand-stitched and stenciled and had some beads.  Threads were knotted on the outside!  It was artsy and craftsy -- but altogether wearable.

I was smitten.

So, after tackling a couple of smaller Alabama Chanin projects (a shawl, a simple t-shirt, a more complicated wrap skirt), I decided I was ready to try a dress.

Pattern and fabric in hand, all that was left . . . was deciding what to do with it.  (Because SO MANY options with Alabama Chanin.  The sky is the limit.)

Single layer or double?

For months, I just mulled over options.  Constantly.  I would decide to do things one way . . . and the next day, decide something different.  I read.  I browsed.  I drew.  I bought a stencil.  And an assortment of beads.  I Pinterested the HECK out of it.  I made myself crazy.


In the end.

I went with Plain. Vanilla.


That's the Alabama Chanin Factory Dress in one layer.  Totally hand stitched.  No embellishment whatsoever.


I love it!  It fits well.  It's super comfortable and easy to wear.

I'm already mulling over my options for another one.


The options are head-spinning!