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September 2012

August 2012

Right Now . . . August

Here's what's going on in my life  . . . RIGHT NOW.


Watching . . . some weird berries that have appeared on a tree hanging over my pond (never had berries on this tree before, so I'm confused AND annoyed); these berries are falling into my pond, turning the water purple, and smelling like fermented YUCK; not a pretty show.

Reading . . . 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  Surprisingly delicious. . . a little like eating potato chips, you know?  Although it's awfully long, at nearly 1,000 pages.  Ready to plow on through . . . because there are So Many other books I want to read. . .

Knitting . . . I have three projects that are in need of fiddly-finishing.  Like. . . really fiddly.  (More in a post next week.)  I have a lace scarf on the needles (gorgeous; 8 repeats in so far; not gonna be able to memorize this one!).  I need to cast on for something new, and I'm in the mood for a sweater!  Thinking . . . this, this, or this.

Humming . . . "F**kin' Perfect" by Pink.

Thinking about . . . Where did the summer go?  How can tomorrow be September?  Already!


Listening to . . . I seem to be gravitating to Pearl Jam at the moment . . . with a little Motion City Soundtrack . . . and Shawn Colvin thrown in for balance!

Dreading . . . Less daylight.

Planning . . . I am in full-blown Planning Mode at the moment.  I am planning EVERYthing.

Excited about . . . September!  I always think of September as the REAL "beginning of the year" . . . so I'm excited about a fresh start . . . and beginning again . . . and NEW crayons!

Drinking . . . Our favorite wine shop just had a big wine sale.  Tom stocked up on some really fine pinots . . . and I am enjoying!


Itching to . . . Paint!  (Still.  I know this was where I was last month.  Some things are slow.)

Needing to . . . Finalize the details. . . Yarn Sale coming!

Organizing . . . EVERYthing!  Like I mentioned above. . . full blown Planning Mode.

Inspired by . . . Light!

Delighted by. . . The absolutely delightful weather right now!  Sunshine.  Warm (but not hot).  A little rain now and then.  Not humid.  Ahhhhh.  Summer at its best.


How about you?  What's happening for YOU . . . Right Now?

Perfecting the Art of the S'more

When it heads toward evening up at our cottage, we gather around the fire pit. . .


to rehash the day. . . and welcome the night.  Usually with a beverage. . .


Tom loves to put together a good fire!  It's so peaceful to watch the flames as the sky darkens, and night falls, and the flames die back . . .


and the embers start to dance!

That's when it's time . . .

to get out the marshmallows and the Hershey bars and the graham crackers.


Yes.  It's time for S'mores!


Over the years, we've made hundreds and hundreds of S'mores around our fire pit*.  Rarely do we have a trip Up North that doesn't involve that winning combination of toasted marshmallow - chocolate - and graham crackers.  Fun to make.  Tasty.  The perfect Social Snack!

Tom is a MASTER when it comes to S'mores!


He has a knack for finding just the right coals. 
He loads only one marshmallow on his toasting fork.
He is very patient about slowly turning the marshmallow so all sides toast evenly.
He waits.  And he waits.  And he waits.

Until that one, little, ordinary marshmallow puffs up with golden deliciousness!


Mmmmmm.  Mmmmmm.




* Tom even introduced a group of his Indian colleagues to the S'more when they were visiting the United States last year.  They were a bit bewildered by the experience, but were very good sports about trying this American camp fire tradition!

Wouldn't It Be Nice?



Some music to set the mood. . .


I think my favorite vacations involve a trip to the beach.  From the humble beach at my little lakefront cottage . . . to the gorgeous beaches of Maui . . . I just love spending time at the water's edge.  It's calm, and peaceful, and restorative.


And, lucky for me, I live in Michigan. . . where we have beautiful beaches all around us!


Sand.  Surf.  Sunshine.


Beautiful views.  Perfect sunsets.  But no salt water!


When my niece was visiting earlier in August, Brian and I took her to South Haven for an afternoon on the shores of Lake Michigan (where all of these photos where taken).  We had a fabulous time.

This week, Carole has us thinking about Ten Things To Do At The Beach.  Here's what I like to do. . .

  1. Just kick back and relax.
  2. Listen to the sounds of the water and the seagulls.
  3. Walk the beach in the surf.
  4. Play in the water and the waves.
  5. Work on my tan.
  6. Read a little.
  7. Maybe take a nap.
  8. Engage in some serious people-watching.
  9. Find inspiration with my camera.
  10. But, mostly, just a whole lot of . . . nothing!


Wouldn't it be nice?  Oh, yeah!

How about YOU?  What do you like to do at the beach?


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Kickin' Back. . .

What a perfect vacation. . .


Kickin' back with a cup of coffee on the back deck every morning.


Kickin' back in the sunshine every day down on the dock.


Kickin' back in the pontoon, scouting out the perfect spot to catch the wily bass (who, sadly, remained wily).


Kickin' back with a book (or three or four!).


Kickin' back with my knitting.


Kickin' back in the kayak.


Kickin' back around the fire pit.

Yep.  A perfect week all around!  And now, ready to hit the ground running. . . but still in my flip-flops.



31 years ago today . . .

August 22, 1981

31 years . . . covers a lot of territory!

Camping in Colorado, 1983
The King and Queen of Everything celebrate leaving Texas! (1986)
Settling in Michigan, 1987
Parenthood, the Early Years (1992)
Luau -  VIPs Waiting for the Show 2
Parenthood, the Teen Years (2006)
Celebrating our 25th in Napa (2006)
The Good Times Keep Rolling, August 22, 2012

Yep.  That's 31-derful years!!!

(And now, we're off.  Heading Up North.  See you next week!)

Out, Damned Spot! . . . or. . . The Trouble with Red

I've been doing some redecorating up at our cottage this summer.

When we first built the cottage (back in 1996-1997), we painted all the rooms the same color:  Navajo White.  It was just easier that way.  But I've always intended to re-paint . . . in living color.

I started with the hallway.

Then, last month, I moved on to our bedroom.  I wanted to give it some "cottage charm" -- a little bit rustic, comfortable-looking, yet sort of . . . woodsy.  I chose paint colors from the Martha Stewart collection (one wall in "Barn,"  and three walls in "Monk's Cloth" ), had them mixed at Home Depot, and hauled it all up north to paint.

Before. . .


During. . .


After. . .



The  "Monk's Cloth" (an olivey-taupey color) was a dream to work with!  It covered beautifully in one coat -- with a second touch-up coat.  The "Barn" was another story altogether.  One wall . . . four coats*:

  1. First coat -- murder scene. . .
  2. Second coat -- bordello boudoir. . .
  3. Third coat -- started to look like maybe I hadn't made a huge mistake after all . . .
  4. Fourth coat -- would do Martha proud!

I'm really excited to go up next week with new curtains (I have yet to make. . .) and lamps.  I love the way it's turning out.


For several days, though, I had to deal with this. . .


Out, damned spot!


*  I'm rather lucky that Tom is color blind and couldn't really "see" what I was doing with the walls.

At the Bench

I haven't shared much about my garden this year.

It's been a tough year to be a gardener here in Michigan.  First, summer hit in March for a few weeks.  Then, it didn't rain for several months this summer.  And the temperatures were stifling for weeks on end.  The weather conditions were simply not conducive to planting or transplanting.  It was all I could do to just maintain the garden with minimal damage to my plants.

Things are looking a bit better now.  (This bed was a wasteland of curled brown leaves just a month ago.)


But it's taking me a while to catch up with the weeds!  (Which, of course, are having a hey-day in these weather conditions.)

This was also my year to do some major bed-renovation in the garden -- some serious moving around and re-doing.  So much of my garden looks like this. . .


In progress.  But really messy to look at!

So, this year, I turned to my garden bench for inspiration!


When I couldn't hit the nurseries for new plants, or dig in the garden, or transplant perennials, I could have fun with small-scale gardening!


For me, this year in the garden has been all about succulents!


In containers. . .




In hanging baskets. . .


And in my wreath. . .


Gardening with succulents has pulled me through an otherwise lackluster gardening season!


I'm grateful for my time. . .


at the bench!

Always With Me

Soundtrack time . . . hit it, Elton!


I'm a dancer. 

And . . . I've always loved this song. 

And . .  I've always been a sucker for dance-wear. 

When I saw this pattern in the latest issue of knit.wear magazine, I had to have it!


Fun and quick to knit, I'll actually wear this little tank top . . . with my black suit!


Just don't try to turn a pirouette. . .


in garden mulch!  Because . . .


it just won't work!

(Ravelry details here.)

In Living Color

I grew up in that Golden Age of television . . . back when there were only 3 channels, and programming ended at midnight (with the Star Spangled Banner).  I watched the original showings of Gilligan's Island and The Addams Family and Beverly Hillbillies.  I remember when we were one of the first families on the block to get a color TV . . . and I remember that not all programs were IN color, even when we had a color TV!


I eagerly awaited my favorite television programs each week!  My favorites, as a child, included:

1.  The Brady Bunch -- Marcia was my role model; I wanted to BE Marcia!

2.  Here Come the Brides -- Bobby Sherman was my first crush!

3.  The Partridge Family -- . . . and David Cassidy was my second crush!

4.  Family Affair -- Uncle Bill was just so exotic to me . . . such a swinger!

5.  Dark Shadows -- My friends and I used to race home to watch this one after school each day; my poor sister was scared to death!

6.  Hawaii Five-O -- My whole family gathered to watch this show each week; we all loved it!  Book 'm, Dan-O!

7.  Marcus Welby, MD -- I thought young James Brolin was awfully adorable, yet really dumb a lot of the times.

8.  All in the Family -- This show was so controversial when I was a kid -- but it certainly got me thinking about social issues of the day and probably helped me form more ideas about how-things-ought-be than anything else I was exposed to at the time.

9.  The Carol Burnett Show -- I always loved the funny skits on this show!

10. The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- I wanted a cool apartment just like Mary's when I grew up!

What were YOUR favorite tv shows when you were a child?


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