Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Another Goodbye

 

 

 

 

It seems to be a parade of goodbyes lately and it hasn't been easy at all. My neighborhood Bunco group met on Friday and since it was my last time, they were so thoughtful and sweet to commemorate the occasion with cake and a lovely gift.

I have been in this group for 21 years. That is a lot of rolls of those dice. Members have come and gone over the years and I still haven't wrapped my mind around the fact that now I am the one that is leaving. I had to drive there, rather than walk down the street. And, I had to pass by my old house which is also strange.

The memories come fast when I am with these women. There are memories of playgroups, carpools and many days outside chatting while our children played in each other's driveways. Memories of birthday parties, backyard barbecues and 4th of July Fireworks in the street. And, memories of a group of neighbors that were always there for each other. Goodbye Glengrove Drive - I'll miss you.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Born To Run Book Club

 

 

 

 

 

This was a book club all about Bruce and it was such a fun night. One of our members is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and she really wanted us to read his autobiography, Born To Run. And, she went all out on bringing the rock and roll atmosphere to us, with all the Bruce Springsteen memorabilia she has collected over the years. She showed us her favorite album covers, concert t shirts and precious photos of concert memories. She really is the cutest when she talks about her love for Bruce. We discussed the book with a concert playing in the background and we all agreed it was an interesting and well written story and we enjoyed learning about his life.

I must mention our wonderful dinner, pre book discussion. Our hostess served lemon chicken, a salad with kale, cabbage and cranberries, fresh asparagus and a wild rice dish with brussel sprouts, sliced almonds and Gouda cheese that was absolutely delicious.

And, to top off the evening, there was a surprise for me. I will be going to one more book club, but my wonderful friends surprised me with a going away gift and my favorite dessert. While enjoying strawberry topped cheesecake, I opened their lovely gift that I will always treasure. They gave me a Pandora bracelet with a state of Michigan charm, as well as an additional book charm to symbolize our years together at book club. A few tears were shed and lovely words were shared about how they will miss me. I really hate goodbyes, but we all agreed that a yearly book club get together in Florida is going to happen.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Good Friday Tradition

 

 

 

 

 

It's going on ten years now that we have celebrated Good Friday together as a group and it is a day I look forward to all year. We mix together faith and fun as only Catholics can do and we come away stronger with a true sense of community.

At the Polish Yacht Club in Detroit, we sit at the same long table every year, surrounded by others who have the same tradition. We partake in the worst Bloody Mary's imaginable, trying to improve them with a lot of salt and pepper, but laughing at how bad they are is also a tradition. There are platters of perch, potato pancakes and pierogis, as well as a basket of Easter colored Jell-O shots passed around for dessert.

Over the years we have gone to other churches for the last hour of the Good Friday vigil, but the last few years we have gravitated to the beautiful Gesu, right in the heart of the vibrant University of Detroit - Mercy neighborhood. The service is moving and the music is wonderful and you leave with a sense of peace.

This year after church, we headed to the historic Dakota Inn for German beer and snacks. A few of us even stopped at another bar on the way back home to the suburbs, meeting one of our friends who was unable to miss work that day. The sun was shining, a beautiful Easter weekend beckoned and we were with good friends - why not extend the day?

Of the many things I will miss when we move, this lovely day of faith, friendship and tradition will be high on the list.

Happy Tuesday.

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Finally Moving Day

 

 

 

I suppose I should be sad and it definitely is bittersweet, but mostly I am relieved that this part of the process is over. We have been working towards this for at least a year and I've had more than enough time to mentally prepare myself. Though I loved my house, like any 20 plus year old home, it had its quirks, as well as a list of things that needed updating. I feel happy to be out from under that and starting fresh with everything brand new.

My daughters were sad, but they also had a long time to process things and I think we are all looking forward to making new memories in Florida. We have almost two months, before we leave Michigan and I plan to fit it many favorite things. Melissa is planning to visit us in Florida about a month after we move in and that will help make the goodbyes a little easier. And, we have a wedding to plan here in Michigan and I plan on being a part of that as much as possible. I won't be missing that wedding dress shopping day!

 

 

 

 

As I sat in my back yard for the last time today, on a beautiful spring day, I couldn't help but think that as hard as it was to think of what I would be leaving, I am going to something even better. The three pictures above are things that make me most excited; the view from the living room and lanai, the pool surrounded by palm trees and sunsets at the beach. It will be a lovely life indeed.

 

Happy Wednesday!

 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Moving On

 

 

The last box will be packed this morning, as I empty the last cabinet in my master bath. I am trying to process how I feel about leaving my house of 22 years and while I should be sad and nostalgic, I'm not yet feeling any of those emotions. It really has been a year long process for us and I think I have already mentally moved on. We have been diligently downsizing; selling, donating and throwing things out and generally making all kinds of hard decisions over the past few months and I am ready for it all to be over. My Florida house and lifestyle beckon and that pull is stronger than any attachment I have to a house.

I have been pinning on a board called "All Things Florida" just to get a feeling for what I want my Florida house to look like. I plan on taking things slow with decorating and finding just the right touches for every room. I'm looking for a coastal style without being too tropical or beachy, except possibly in the guest room. We will be buying quite a bit of new furniture and will be looking for neutrals and adding color with accessories. Below are some of the pins that caught my eye.

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Still Celebrating

 

 

 

 

 

We spent another weekend celebrating my daughter's engagement and it was loads of fun. We also enjoyed having everyone in the house for a final time, despite the fact that a lot of the furniture was gone and we basically had 2 beds and 1 couch for 5 people. We spent a lot of time around the kitchen table and it was fine.

Saturday was the Green and White spring football game at MSU and we met Megan's fiance's family there. It was really great to see them again, because the last time we saw them was at The University of Michigan on college graduation day. It is a wonderful thing when two families come together to celebrate their children's happiness and we happily toasted the well loved couple several times. The wedding and all the events leading up to it will be much anticipated and everyone all seems on the same page with the type of wedding we will be planning.

The next thing to do is pick the venue within the next couple of months and come up with a date. I keep telling Megan if she makes a list and checks off one thing at a time, it will all get done, without a lot of stress. There are a million and one details, but we will make each and every one add up to the perfect wedding that reflects exactly who they are.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Life Lately

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the sale our house has officially closed, I can update you on what is happening with our move. We have about 10 days until the movers arrive. They will finish up the packing ( all the breakables) and move everything out and put it in storage. Then, it's off to a temporary condo here in Michigan for a couple of months until our new house is ready. It has been a whirlwind of activity with a lot of packing, organizing, donating and selling furniture. The house sold in 3 days, thank goodness, because being out of the house for house showings (with a dog in tow) is not fun.

We are in constant contact with our builder in Florida and he sends us photo of the progress, along with our real estate agent. The photos I am showing you are a few weeks old, so there has been even more progress since they were taken. We just heard that the tile in the master bath shower is in and I can't wait to see that. We picked everything out so long ago, it's hard to remember what it is supposed to look like, but I am looking forward to seeing it all come together.

Once we are out of our house here and basically living out of a suitcase, I will be so ready to finally be home again. We are having incredibly dreary weather here too and I am longing for sun and warmth. Thankfully it won't be long until those sunshiny Florida days will be the norm. I can't wait to take you along.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Bronte Sisters

 

 

Masterpiece Theatre and period dramas based on English literature have a special place in my heart. Downton Abbey, Poldark and Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy) are all wonderful examples of the beauty of quality television with acting, writing, costumes and locations that transport us to a different time.

I was excited to see that here in the United States, PBS was finally going to air the television movie about the lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. It got very good reviews on its showing in England last year and it is sometimes hard to wait for these highly anticipated shows to make it here to us.

It was very much worth the wait and I was enthralled with the sisters portrayal, as well as the story of how their literary masterpieces came about. My book club read Jane Eyre last year, so it was fresh on my mind and it was fascinating to see Charlotte Bronte writing those beautiful words by candlelight with only pen, ink and very small sheets of paper.

 

 

The main story of this movie explained the background of the sisters decision to use a male pseudonym when writing their novels. It is hard now to understand how such a thing was necessary in order for a woman to be published, but this movie made the point very well. It also delved into their relationship with their troubled brother Branwell and how their decision to keep their writing secret, also protected his fragile ego.

They were portrayed as smart, talented and strong women whose novels are still considered some of the greatest of all time.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, March 24, 2017

March Book Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another month, another lovely book club. Our hostess recently downsized and moved to a beautiful lake house and this was my first time seeing her new home. Everything about it was stunning, but the sunset view over the water, post dinner, was something I could definately envy.

The meal she served had ties to the book we read which is always a fun touch. The main character in the book (The Rosie Project) has Asperger's Syndrome and one of his coping mechanisms is a weekly meal plan with an entree for every night, exactly the same each week. We had leek and potato soup and a lobster and shrimp salad as a homage to the book's Tuesday night menu. Served with two types of crusty bread, it was beyond delicious. Later, during our book discussion, we enjoyed the perfect light dessert; peach and mango ice cream, topped with Creme de Cassis.

 

 

More on our book: The Rosie Project is a quick, but touching and funny read about Don, a high functioning college professor with autism and what happens when a women called Rosie shakes up his well ordered life. Our discussion touched on many subjects, but one of the most hilarious was about the bad dates we have experienced. There are many hilarious ones in the book, but some of our memories were quite funny too. We are always learning new things about each other through our book discussions and that is what makes our book club so fun.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Reading List

 

 

It's finally the first day of spring and I am really happy about that. We are in the final stretch of preparing for the movers to come, but I'm still finding time to read. That will never change, no matter how busy I am. My reading list is fairly full at the moment and many of my favorite authors will have new books coming out in either the spring or summer. The future looks bright with nice weather, as well as good books ahead.

First, some thrillers with twists ( a la Gone Girl ) that come highly recommended. I read the previous book by Claire MacIntosh, I Let You Go, and really liked it, so I'm looking forward to this one too.

 

 

 

 

This next group are by well loved authors of series that have some of my favorite female characters. I am happy to welcome back Kate Shugak, China Bayles, Ruth Galloway and V.I. Warshawski and see what they are up to in 2017. All these are interesting female characters that will take you from Alaska to Texas, and from England to Chicago and solve a few crimes along the way.

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Celebrations

 

 

 

 

 

We had quite the weekend filled with celebrations and something we didn't expect; four days without power. Last Wednesday, a terrible windstorm with near hurricane force winds blew through the Detroit area (and the rest of the state) and left close to a million homes without power. So many trees and power lines were down, it took quite a while for the power to be restored and there are many still without power as of today. Unfortunately we are in the middle of a serious cold spell, so temperatures in the teens result in some awfully cold houses when there is no heat. Many people have generators, but those who did not needed to make alternate plans and hotels quickly filled. Luckily, we were able to stay in a condo we have rented while our house in Florida is being built - and it had heat and power!

Megan and Adam (her new fiancé) were coming in town for her birthday and we had planned a fun last weekend together at our house. But, we made the best of things and ended up having a really nice weekend. We had a delicious dinner at a new restaurant we have discovered that serves a variety of smoked meat and fresh sides, served family style. Before dinner, Megan opened birthday presents, there was an engagement present to open and a champagne toast to the happy couple. We also started to talk about wedding plans and agreed that the goal is to keep things fun. After dinner, we had a combination birthday/engagement cake to keep the celebration going.

The next morning we took bagels, coffee and mimosas to Melissa's apartment and relaxed and enjoyed a quiet Sunday morning before Megan and Adam headed back to Pittsburgh. Often in life, plans don't always work out like you imagine, but can end up being even better.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Engaged!

 

 

 

Now that family and friends have been told the good news, it is time to share with my blog friends. My daughter Megan and her long time college (University of Michigan) boyfriend got engaged on Saturday and we are beyond happy and excited for them. They live in Pittsburgh and he surprised her with the proposal and a ring during one of their favorite downtown walks in a pretty riverfront park. She is over the moon with happiness right now.

They will be coming home this weekend for her birthday and we will sneak a liitle engagement celebration into the festivities. We definitely will be popping a few bottles of champagne. We all have so much to talk about and plans to discuss. The move to Florida which has occupied our time so much lately, will be put on the back burner for the weekend and we will enjoy some family time and the last weekend all together at our house. But, it won't be sad, because there is so much to look forward to in the months ahead.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Baked Oatmeal with Canned Peaches {Recipe Redo}

 

 

 

I think it is well documented on this blog that I love to bake something yummy for breakfast. Especially on a cold morning. There is just something so comforting about pottering about in the kitchen with the lights on, chasing away the dark as you wait for the sun to rise. Also is there anything better than the scents of coffee brewing and something sweet and cinnamon flavored baking in the oven. I am not a morning person, but find myself up early if I know I can take things at a slow pace and start my morning in the kitchen.

This recipe is especially perfect for the winter, when the best and most flavorful fruit is out of season. I'm not one for canned fruit, but an exception can be made with this recipe, because when you bake this the sweetness of the canned peaches adds something special. The only change I made to this recipe redo has nothing to do with the flavor, but I thought it would look pretty to place a few peach slices whole on the top, rather than chop them all.

I just love this recipe and am glad I rediscovered it from deep in my archives. Things are quite hectic here with the move looming and the biggest news is that I'm becoming well versed in how to use Craig's list to sell unwanted furniture. So, a quiet start to the day is exactly what I needed.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

Skip To My Lou

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Some Pretty Dresses

 

 

I did manage to see two of the Oscar nominated movies this year, so that was a win for me. I loved both LaLa Land and Hidden Figures, so any of their wins made the show a little more interesting this year. It seems that I really must see Moonlight. Jimmy Kimmel was pretty good, despite bringing too much political commentary into the night, but that was expected. He did move the show along and brought some humor ( loved the candy dropping from the ceiling) into the terribly boring middle section, during all the technical awards. Of course it is the end and the last few awards that everyone stays awake for and what an ending it was. I actually said out loud, "What is happening?" You can't help but feel bad for all concerned; the LaLa cast who had the Oscars in their hands, the Moonlight cast who were rushed through the awkwardness and the presenters who made the mistake.

But, beyond those moments, there were a lot of pretty dresses and some wins for some ladies who have not had a great award season when it comes to fashion. Nicole Kidman looked beautiful and that has not been the case lately. To me she finally went with pretty, rather than trying too hard to be fashionable. Here are some of my favorite looks, including hair and makeup. My favorite of the night - Kirsten Dunst. I have never seen her look so glamorous.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday!

 

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