Saturday, July 29, 2006

little sable point lighthouse

yesterday the kids, my parents, and i all ventured to the little sable (short a pronunciation) point lighthouse which is, for the first time in many years, open to the public. it's at silver lake, near the great sand dunes and fabulous tourist trappings.

there was actually a bit of a line to climb to the top, but we waited our turn. looking up at the tower was vertigo-inspiring as the clouds were passing quickly behind it, creating the illusion that it was the lighthouse moving, not the sky! we gained entry and climbed all 130 (i think) winding iron grate steps to the top, with grains of sand sifting through the upper steps and into our hair. occasionally was a landing with a window, where groups of climbers could safely pass eachother.

towards the top, there were two hatches to climb through but we really had to watch so we wouldn't bump our heads. finally, after all those steps, we emerged into the hazy, breezy day.

along the shore were people enjoying the sand and the waves and the gorgeous day that was coming. the view was so calming, i could have stayed up there all day! along the metal railing were signs stating how far it was to various places... milwaukee, muskegon, ludington, sheboygan. the kids thought they were pretty special to have been so brave to climb so high and look so far out! h said it was "almost like being in an airplane."

upon the descent, the kids played on the rocks below, careful not to dash their brains out with a fall. if we would have told them they HAD to play on those rocks for an hour, they would have moaned and groaned. but, as it was, they had a great time, and luckily, no one got hurt!

only nine days left of our time in michigan, where we were expecting a cooler summer than that of north carolina, but surprise! it's almost as hot here. at least there aren't any ticks.

we'll see what other adventures await us in the next few days! right now we're waiting for my big brother and his family to arrive for days of cousin-ly fun for the kids. even jane will have another puppy pal to dog around with!

Friday, July 28, 2006

rock concert

we were treated to a rare special performance by the reclusive brother and sister duo "h & s" (perhaps inspired by their blog id's) the other day. a lovely time of year for an outdoor concert on the driveway. handcrafted instruments are what make this musical act so unique and sought after. also the brother, h, is commonly known to wear only underwear to his performances-- no pants-- making him a truly eclectic artist.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

roly poly fish heads

i've unintentionally turned into a michigan food blogger these last two posts, and i haven't even waxed philosophical on the finer points of donut holes yet! don't worry, friends, you'll see THAT post before the summer is out.

one of the places i can't wait to visit up here is bortell's fish market. it's hidden on the lake road south of ludington, just around the curves north of bass lake. they have a lovely array of fresh, pickled, and smoked fish for purchase, but the best part is that they'll lightly batter the fish right there, and fry it up for you to eat on the way home or at picnic tables under shady trees. the fish experience i look forward to is the fried smelt-- on the photo of fresh fish they are on the far right. essentially, they are little fish with their heads cut off, but otherwise intact. fried up, they taste like fishy french fries-- fins, tails and all. i love the little fellers!

the next thing i get is a nice container of pickled herring in wine sauce. this takes a couple of days to nibble through this as it is soooo rich. i bought a bit of smoked whitefish, and although this is not my thing, my kids love it.

i'll squeeze in at least one more trip before heading home, a memory to last a year.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

sweet michigan black cherries

one of the many delicacies i look forward to ALL YEAR LONG is a big bowl of sweet cherries. there is nothing like a fresh crop in at the farm markets-- big, round, with a crunch as you bite into them, yet juicy and dizzyingly sweet on the inside.

we now have a handy-dandy cherry pitter, but i prefer to chew the meat off the pit, and engage in the very mature behavior of pit spitting. curl the tongue, take a deep breath (minding not to inhale the pit) and let 'er fly. great for contests. fun to last the whole summer, or at least until cherry season is over. since the big storm, the season isn't looking long this year. oh well, i've had my fill until next year.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

saturday miscellany

random photos from our summer adventures...

jane the happy beach dog... awaiting a flying tennis ball.s the asparagus

h and jane assisting in the storm cleanup effort.

s and her impromptu tea party.

h is king of the hill. or the alligator.

red-marker-faced s eating her corn on the cob.

Friday, July 21, 2006

tag! i'm meme-d!

thank you, susan, for the tag. here goes...

Five Things in My Freezer (i'm not at home, so i'll guess)
1. tyson's popcorn chicken bites--h's favorite
2. eggo nutrigrain waffles-- kids' favorite
3. mom's homemade raspberry freezer jam
4. a goodly supply of lean cuisine frozen meals
5. hash browns

i'll add a funny anecdote here about the time my mom kept a dead bird in her freezer until she could correctly identify it!

Five Things in My Closets (i'll use my master closet)
1. five bags of old stuff needing to get to the thrift shop
2. several cookbooks
3. boxes of stationery
4. a small black dresser
5. a stack of unsewed fabric

Five Things in My Car (we're travelling so it's stuffed)
1. uneaten bits of dog food
2. darth vader video game
3. peanut m & m's
4. 5 dvd's
5. a box with toothpicks, straws, salt and motrin

Five Things in My Purse
1. beloved ipod
2. camera
3. coupon for old navy
4. gum-- 'extra' bubble gum flavor
5. packet of ketchup

Five People to Be Tagged Next (if you see this and choose to do it... those with no blogs are free to post in the comment section)
1. mr. l
2. sruthi!
3. beth
4. kate
5. mom or dad

Thursday, July 20, 2006

a hard rain's gonna fall

i've been trying unsuccessfully to post about the storm that hit us on what... monday?... for so long now that all the poetic words have left me, and you'll have to read the bare-bones account of the experience. plus, the entire northeast got hit by a similar storm and they got all the press. oceana county, michigan does NOT make for interesting news.

kate and i were hanging at the beach with the kiddies, enjoying a beautiful and sunny beach day when the sky rumbled. "was that thunder?" we asked eachother then shrugged it off. it happened again, but the sky was not darkening quickly so we stayed down. a few minutes later, my dad marched all the way down to tell us that a "big red blob" was moving across the lake towards us. no, not a sci-fi monster from the fifties... a big red blob to an amateur meteorologist like my dad means a STORM. so we weren't imagining the thunder after all! as we trudged up the steps, the first drops started to fall, and the wind began to whip kate's hair. my hair is simply to short to whip into anything.
we watched as the storm leaned the trees and plastered the windows of the a-frame with leaves. the winds (according to dad's handy-dandy electronic weather station) reached hurricane force. oblivious to the havoc that was being wreaked, we stood by and watched the storm through the windows as the power flickered and then went off. too late i wished i had heeded my mom's advice to put my van in the garage!

as quickly as it came, the storm was gone, and we giggled as we got out flashlights and candles. the power popped back on, proving the effort temorarily redundant. then the phone began to ring. downed power lines next door had sparked a fire... did we have any extinguishers? the neighbors on the OTHER side had three trees down on their roof... wow! had we escaped unscathed?
well, mostly, but not entirely. luckily, the one HUGE branch that fell dropped directly BEHIND my folks' minivan. whew! the cleanup effort began as power crews decided it would be best to shut off our power due to the live downed wire next door. bummer. 30 hours with no power!
baby brother got to work on the downed limbs so he could escape, and the fire department came to survey the damage to the smoldering brush next door. no power was not a problem... after all... we could bathe in the lake!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

vacation-- day 2

see "vacation day 1," but add my gram (age 96 and still kicking), my baby brother (age 23 and still my baby brother), his girlfriend kate (shout out to my homegirl) and a 5-day-late (better late than never) birthday cake.

no photo editing software around these parts, so the photo has my boy on the left and my kate on the right.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

vacation, day 1

the morning was too early for me yesterday, so many things were lost in a semi-fog. like the camera. later in the day i snapped a few shots, but i promise to be better today and actually shoot photos at the beach.

jane found precious, my folks' cat, at about 6:30 am. growling, howling and barking ensued, now they are both terrified of eachother which is not a bad way to spend 3 weeks. it was a bit early for yours truly, but mom and i made the best of it by taking jane for a long beach walk.

the kids hit the beach IMMEDIATELY upon waking, and we spent until noon playing in the calm waves on the warm but overcast morning. it was a good time for me to catch up on that endless pile of books i've been meaning to read... hopefully the pile will have decreased by the time i get back home!

jane is in dog heaven. i think yesterday must have been the best day she's had in her entire year of life. she ran, walked, rolled, swam, chased and played. she loves the water, and the dog next door-- a year-old golden named duke.

happily, i napped in the afternoon, and the kids played indoor games until we were all ready to hit the beach yet again. all that stair climbing makes for powerful glutes, i'll tell ya! gets the blood pumping. h prefers another form of exercise at the cottage... the treadmill. do you believe it? all this nature and he can't wait to go in the basement and run a few miles on the treadmill. i've thought of getting one at home for his use, but no sooner would i purchase one (and find a darn place to put it) then he would think it a chore to run on it.

altogether a successful first day of vacation. however, this internet connection is s-s-s-s-s-o-o-o-o-o-o s-s-s-l-l-l-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w i think i may as well tap a morse code telegram. hellomelissa in michigan stop. having fun with kids stop. wish you were here stop.

Friday, July 14, 2006

sand therapy

well, the question is: what will rehabilitate 2 children, one dog and a frazzled mom after 15 hours in the car in only one day? keep in mind that the trip spanned 5 states: north carolina, virginia, west virginia ohio, and michigan. keep in mind that said dog is just one year old and is a working dog. keep in mind the children are 7 and 5. what is your answer?

why, SAND THERAPY of course! it's the new cure-all. never heard of it? i'm not surprised. just keep reading for an amazing example.

take the two children, mom and dog, dip them in the water of lake michigan at 10 pm after the long trip. roll them liberally in squeaky sugar sand until well coated. allow to dry, until mixture resembles crumb cake topping. rinse again with lake water, leaving a few unwashed spots. get into jammies and hop in bed, rolling all night in the leftover grit.

voila! long car trip forgotten, and a great nights' sleep for all.

try it, it works wonders!

Monday, July 10, 2006

they say it's your birthday!

it's my birthday.

i'm three decades plus three years old today.

i want to thank my friends and family for making me feel truly loved on this day. i'm counting my blessings.


Friday, July 07, 2006


last weekend (i know, i know, i'm a little behind. but i don't HAVE a little behind. but i digress.) t and his blvd pals went to the comic book convention in charlotte. i guess i've never posted about a comic convention, since i never got around to posting about the comics expo in bristol in may. anyways, the kids and i decided to make the short trip to charlotte and join them.

i'm not a big fan of conventions, mostly because i'm not a big fan of comic books. also, i'm averse to crowds and the angling, pushing, and finagling they require. somewhere in the back of my head, i'm always thinking "run to the exit! run to the exit!," but i try to hold it together for the sake of the children.
when we got there on saturday after a quick 2 hour drive, we went straight to discovery place, a wonderful interactive kids museum with an imax theater. we wandered about, trying the exhibits. h's favorite was riding a bike that created the energy to "float" a ball in a tube. s's favorite was the giant walk-through model of a heart. neither had ever seen an imax film, so they were a bit disoriented when "deep sea"-- a film about reefs narrated by johnny depp (sigh) and kate winslet-- started. "it feels like we're MOVING!" said h as he stared at the floor in an attempt to ground himself. soon, they relaxed and enjoyed the show.

that evening we wandered back to the hotel, the country kids enjoying the city streets, and decided to take a swim in the hotel pool that evening. unfortunately, the hotel pool was an actual ymca, and to swim it cost $12 PER PERSON! sorry, but i'm too cheap for that. we rented video games for the unseemly rate of $7/ hour instead, with the promise of a pool trip RIGHT when we got home.

the next day we breakfasted with the guys before the con opened, then wandered the hall, discovering all the wonders of unopened vintage toys and backissue comics. s's favorite purchase is the white stuffed cat shown in the photo, and h's was a cool darth vader. we got to go behind the booth where the artisits hang out, and the kids were impressed at feeling famous by association. it's an odd profession to actually have FANS, and the kids hadn't really realized that dad was famous in a certain realm.

after that, we headed home to the july 4th celebrations. jane was mightily happy to see us!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

happy 4th

happy 4th of july to all american readers! here are some shots from the neighborhood party we attended last night. lots of crazy kids running around reminded me of being a kid... getting to stay up late watching the show! the photo below is a complete mistake, and is better bigger, but if you look carefully you'll see h's face under the red bolt of light. crazy!
we have another reason to celebrate today! it's our baby dog's first birthday! we're having doggy cake, and doggy party hats, and doggy treats, and doggy games, and doggy... ummm... not really. that was a joke. but in all honesty, i could not have imagined that we would love, enjoy, and cherish a dog as much as we do her. it's been an almost year of real joy to have her in our family. so happy birthday to jane, the independence dog. we love you!