Spontaneous Routine

The normal Bree’s Blog routine has been off-kilter for a couple of weeks – but never for a better reason than spending time with kids and grandkids.  “Routine” sounds so dull anyway, doesn’t it?  And even though I think of the regularly scheduled Bree’s Blogs as “the routine”, they’ve also filled with what I hope is our impulsive, spontaneous and unpremeditated lives on this beautiful rock.

Thanks again for enjoying the family along with me, and on the sweet comments about our beautiful daughter, bonus son, and grandchildren (yes, Matt and Matthew – you were both called “beautiful”).

I’ve said it a million times, but there is nothing like looking at the Island through the eyes of children to give you those “wake up and appreciate this blessing you’ve been given” chill bumps.  Our Jordan planned her wedding (at Stonecliffe) and accepted an invitation to hostess at the Harbor View Restaurant at the Chippewa Hotel (when she’s old enough).  Matthew changed his idea for “best place to work for the summer” so often I stopped trying to keep up (drive a taxi, work for Shepler’s, work at the Magic Shop, make fudge, bus tables at the Pink Pony, etc. etc.).  Speaking of fudge, they both practically OD’d on that particular treat after G-Daddy told them to, “Go to each fudge shop and ask for a sample – which is an ounce.  By the end of the day (there are 16 fudge shops), you’ll have a pound of fudge.”  They had a ball doing that until they began to forget which shops they’d already been in and store employees started to look at them a little curiously :).

Matthew’s favorite Island store was the Magic Shop and, having his own earned money in his pocket, he visited every day and came home with a new “trick” for BeBe and G-Daddy.  His best one was leaving a “shocker pen” in the basket on top of the kitchen counter.  We had a condo association meeting here on the last Saturday of their visit, and the Hewitts left for a couple of hours to bike and explore.  When I told Matthew how I grabbed his pen out of the basket to take some notes during the meeting, “clicked” it open, and jumped a foot off the floor, he was VERY proud of how that worked out.

And, oh my goodness, I’m talking about grandchildren again!

Heat Wave

I always feel so bad when I occasionally talk about the heat up here because I know it is NOTHING compared to what the rest of the country is enduring.  Our highs last week (until the break arrived on Saturday) were in the 80’s.  That’s ridiculous to even mention when the rest of the country was grappling with 3-digit temps.  BUT,  most anywhere else, when the temps reach the low 80’s, the old AC unit is turned on.  Most Island hotels, inns, and B&B’s are air conditioned, as are the restaurants and many shops.  On the other hand, most residences are not.  We rely heavily on fans, fans, and more fans.  As soon as the sun went down, so did the heat, and nights remained lovely and cool.  But, oh!  A few hours of AC in the condo in the middle hours of those days sure would have been nice!

As always, the Island’s concern for the horses in every weather condition always makes me proud of their care.  At the Carriage Museum next door, where horses pulling carriages full of people arrive every 10 minutes or so, the heat became a critical concern on Wednesday.  Our Island vet, Doc Al, arrived on the scene that afternoon and ordered each pair of horses to be “watered down” after each trip up the hill.  As passengers unloaded, the horses were hosed off and given extra mounts of water.  Doc Al explained, “When horses sweat they give off lots of salt.  In the heat, the salt collects on their coat, soon covering it and not allowing them to sweat anymore.  The solution is to hose off the salt as often as possible, which also cools them down and allows the normal sweating process.”

On one particularly warm day, the number of passengers allowed was limited to less than the “full load”, and huge portable AC units have been ordered so standing horses will get some cool air at stopping spots along their route.

The 4th of July

With family gone, Ted and I decided to have a very calm 4th of July, although we did make it downtown at noon to get a great table on the covered patio at the Iroquois Hotel’s Carriage House Restaurant.  From there we could watch the stone skipping contest and the kids race up the greased poles to grab $20 bills from the top.  For us, the highlight of that tradition is the Mackinac Puff!

Three little puff pastries, split in half and filled with ice cream, then drizzled with fudge sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

After lunch, I went to say hi to friend Ann, who is now in her new shop, Ella & Ivy, every day.  She’s retired from her job in Florida and has moved up to Michigan to spend her summers and live her dream of owning a shop on the Island.

Jill, Mary Jane (both from Island Bookstore) and I happened to end up in the shop at the same time on the 4th. Did you notice Jill and I have on matching “flag” shirts – LOL! Oh, you see that dachshund pic just over my shoulder? I’m saving up to buy that. You can’t see it in this photo, but the “shadow” dachshund has his mouth curled back into a ferocious snarl. It’s entitled “The Dog Within”, and it is SO Maddie!

The adorable “Ella” of Ella and Ivy”.

We normally go to Fort Mackinac for the huge dinner-on-the-grounds provided by the Grand Hotel, but this year we got in the kitchen on July 3rd to mix up potato salad so it would be cold for the next day.  Ted baked a ham, and I cooked some black-eyed peas (garnished with some chopped spring onions), and we ate at our little kitchen bar.  We even watched the fireworks from our balcony at the condo.

Spectacular fireworks off a barge moored just off the shore below the Grand Hotel. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

Mystery Ship

This sea-foam green freighter created quite a stir on the Island a week or so ago. No one had ever seen a freighter in the Straits exactly this color. I posted this pic on Facebook and quickly was told by Robert McGreevy and Jane Winston that it was the Marietzje Deborah, flying the Netherlands flag. Sure was a pretty sight!

The Way It’s Done On Mackinac

Hardly anything in working order or in even “fair” condition is ever thrown away on Mackinac. There’s always someone looking for exactly that piece of furniture or appliance or accessory you no longer need. When neighbor Judy decided to upgrade her refrigerator, Ted and Buz placed her old one out by the road with a “Free – Works Great!” sign. After a few hours, a couple of young men walked by and spotted it. They returned an hour later with a hand truck, loaded it on, and off they went down the hill!  I love how that works!

Random Photos

Sunrise on what turned out to be our warmest day.  (Photo:  Robert McGreevy)

Dairy products are very important parts of your daily diet – especially when it’s warm, and the dairy products are frozen and come in dozens of delectable flavors!  My favorite – chocolate peanut butter fudge!

Two blog fans, J.P. and Liz, stopped by to say hello while I was working at the Stuart House last week! These ladies LOVE the Island and want to live here one day. Hmmmm . . . seems to be a lot of that going around lately!

Maddie’s new favorite place to sleep – under my feet while I’m working on this blog. She doesn’t even mind if I rest my bare feet on her tummy.

Approaching storm on Thursday evening. (Photo: Chippewa Hotel)

Foxglove is blooming in the Mackinac woods.

That about covers the “other” news happening around the Island while the family was here.  Come on back Wednesday as we once again post photos from blog readers and check out a new Mystery Spot.  And, Bob Rode – winner of the last Mystery Spot – I have not forgotten you – your prize will be in the mail this week, and that’s a promise!

Oh – if you haven’t already checked it out – Bear has a new post on The Dog-Eared Page about Chilidawg, a very famous K9 Working Dog he met.  Read it here:  http://mackinacislanddogearedpage.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/when-is-a-chilidawg-not-just-a-chilidawg/


Personal Prayer Requests

1)  Those of you who have been reading this blog since its inception know that each summer Cathie (Ted’s cousin/sister) and her husband Charlie always visit us from New Orleans for 10 days in early June.  This year, just a week before they were to leave for Michigan, a routine physical exam revealed a spot on Charlie’s lung, which was diagnosed as malignant, with lymph node involvement.  Charlie had surgery this past Monday, and part of one lung was removed, as well as the entire tumor.  He is home now and awaiting the protocol he will follow in the months ahead, which will probably include radiation and chemotherapy.  Charlie faces an especially tough struggle because he is already dealing with a diminished lung capacity and a permanent tracheotomy, the aftermath of a rare virus he contracted several years ago.  His spirits are good, and although they’ve decided a trip to Mackinac won’t happen this summer, one of Charlie’s major motivational forces will be an Island visit in 2013.  Please keep Charlie and Cathie in your prayers over the next months as he goes through his treatments and gets well.  We love you Cathie and “Frog”!

2)  Dawn and Stevie Lashley and Marianne and Cecil Lashley are our very, very good friends at our home in Georgia.  On Saturday, Marianne and Cecil’s son, Jeff (Stevie’s brother & Dawn’s brother-in-law) suffered a massive heart attack and did not survive.  Jeff was only 46.  Please keep this family in your prayers as they deal with this devastating event in their lives.  It’s times like this when being far away from home is very hard.  I spoke with Marianne this afternoon, and I just wanted to reach through space and hug her close.  It’s hard not to be there when friends are hurting.


28 thoughts on “Spontaneous Routine

  1. I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of that very young man and Charlie’s diagnosis. I’ll be praying for you all.

    The pics look great. I’m glad you had sooo much fun w/the family 🙂

    I’m happy to say that downstate the temps were tolerable today! aahhhhhh what a relief!

  2. I always enjoy and look forward to your blogs. The pictures of the grandchildren having “Mackinac Island FUN” were great. What wonderful memories you Ted are making for them!!!!!!

  3. My prayers and thoughts are also with Cathie and Charlie and with the Lashley family. How very sad to lose someone that young.
    Get well Charlie, the island is waiting for you!

  4. My prayers and thoughts go out to Cathie and Charlie and the Lashely family. I feel for the Lashely family especially since my oldest son died at 34. Parents should have to bury their children. Get well Charlie, new adventures await you on the island.

  5. Hi Brenda, I haven’t been on for a while but I just have to say I just love reading your blog. I miss visiting the island this year. We were coming back from a St. Ignace book signing and as I was driving over the bridge, that gorgeous green freighter from the Netherlands, floated beneath us and I never got a picture of it. Thank you for the nice words on face book. So sorry to hear about Jeff. He was so young to go so soon. I sure hope Charlie will be feeling better soon, that lung stuff is nothing to mess with.

  6. Hello,
    I haven’t commented in a while, but still read the blog faithfully! We met last year at The Stuart House while you were working. We just spent last week on the island and savored every moment. The heat, even in the 80s, somehow feels like triple digits on the island…I don’t know what it is…but we enjoyed every moment we were there just liberally applying sunscreen, wearing hats, and eating lots of ice cream! 🙂 Thank-you for posting that photo of the foxglove. I took several photos of them and didn’t know what they were called! Now I know! 🙂 Even though we were there a full week, I am always sad to leave and look forward to my next visit. Until then, I’m thankful to read about life there from your point of view…so thank-you for keeping us in the loop! My prayers for your friends and family. Hugs from Zeeland, MI.

  7. Thank you so much for letting us share your family visits and your Fourth of July. I will absolutely pray for Charlie, Jeff and their entire famililes.

  8. Of course, sorry to hear about your friends. But glad to hear about the special care given the horses in hot weather. Since you are one who shares my concern about animal welfare, I wanted to call your attention to a wonderful book I just reviewed about grassfed beef. It’s my latest post, and I hope you’ll check it out. I’m also giving away a copy!

  9. Yes, it has been incredibly hot down here in the Detroit area. Friday saw a high of 102, so yesterday being 82 felt like it was fall weather almost, the change was drastic. My grandparents, aunt, uncle, and two cousins have been up there since Friday. My cousin celebrated her birthday two days ago and they ordered a cake from Martha’s. I’m sure it was fantastic!

    That seafoam freighter is interesting, but it doesn’t have the attractive lines that our old fashioned good old lakes freighters do.

    Chocolate peanut butter fudge is my mom’s favorite flavor too!

    Best wishes to Charlie and Jeff’s family. Keeping them in my thoughts.

  10. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff’s family and Charlie. What devastating news for their families. I love Hilde’s “the island is waiting for you” for Charlie – what better incentive to get well and heal quickly!

  11. Love your blog, Brenda, although I haven’t posted in a while. We have had extreme heat here in NE Ohio. It was near 100 on Fri & Sat. My poor dogs wouldn’t even go outside to go the bathroom – had to push their butt out there. We will be visiting the island in 1 month and absolutely cannot wait. My kids and wife are more excited that I am.

    I will keep your friends in my prayers. It definitely hits close to home as I will turn 46 next month (we will be on the island for my bday).

    PS: I asked you a while back if Anne’s Cottage is pink again. It definitely appears to be on the webcam.

    • Sorry, Dave, I never answered that question, did I? I wouldn’t exactly call it pink, but it’s definitely a pastel color in the pink family. I have to admit I liked it better the other color.

      • That was the first thing I noticed when we came up in May…the change in color of Anne Cottage. I really liked the other color better too. I just thought it looked more classic. 🙂

  12. Sorry to hear about Charlie & Jeff. May God be with their family & friends.

    I love the picture of the traveling refrigerator! I love the ingenuity that people on the island display. It is great to see the attention that the horses on the island receive during the heat wave.

    Tell “BookStore Jill” hi from Yvonne from Iowa! She is a real gem!

  13. Thank you for all your prayers and concerns. Losing your son so early is such a tragedy and the Lashleys have my prayers for peace and solace. I hope their community has rallied around them as they have around Charlie and me.

  14. So sorry to hear about Jeff. That is way too young. Sometimes my personal health issues pale in comparison to others. Sounds like your visit with Julie and the kids was great. I’m already getting better due to the prayers of your blog people and the and the Little Stone Church people. Tell that island to watch out cause I’m coming soon. And I”m going to pig out on delicious desserts. Say to Ted and the dogs.

    • Froggggggggggg!!!!!! So glad to see you on-line! Didn’t get to talk to you myself yesterday, but Ted said you sounded good. Prayers coming your way from EVERYWHERE!! Love and hugs to you and Cathie, and we’ll make sure you get at least one decadent dessert a day when you get here!

  15. Prayers are sent for your friends. I hope they will all heal. Thank you for the awesome blog and how you bring the Island alive to us! You have a very talented gift for pictures and words Bree. I will be looking for you on the Island when I am there for a week in August!

  16. Your pictures were breathtaking as usual but my heart did a little fllutter when I saw the picture of Ella. She looks just like my precious 4 legged baby maltese, Tessa. Speaking of Tessa, I still want to try Delta Therapy (if I can just fugure out how to control her barking!). Anyway, today was the first day I served as volunteer Chaplain at Phoebe Hospital. After witnessing the babies in NICU and praying for two patients who were not expected to make it through the day I was questioning whether I was cut out for the position. But then I looked up and four beautiful Delta dogs were walking toward me! Two laid their heads on my lap! It was as if they knew I needed a lift and believe me they did lift me up. So I just want to thank all Delta dogs, including Bear, for comforting the hospital workers as well as the patients!

  17. Bree’s prayer requests have a regular spot in my daily prayer practices, so continued prayers will go out from here. The SUNRISE photo is spectacular, and enjoyed all the island scenes and “grands” news.

  18. Very emotional right now. Prayers to all. Prayers for all the animals knowing when we are hurting so much. Frog, keep positive. That is the best way to heal. Just keep thinking of your next island trip. My hubby just got thru bone marrow transplant after having cancer twice in 4 years. He stayed very positive and is now back working full time and he is 71 1/2 years! You can do it! We are all praying for you.

    Wonderful that the vet is keeping his eye on the horses. God bless him. I did not know about the salt building up on horses like that. Stands to reason tho when one thinks about it. Cooling down a tad in Ann Arbor, guess the heat will be coming back next week.

    IT was nice that you could spend so much time with family.

  19. Prayers to both families. So devastating.

    On a lighter note…loved the storm photo! Spent today catching up on your last 3 posts as I was off for a few days over the 4th….loved all the family pictures and updates. Looks like everyone had a great time!

  20. Bree,
    Ha ha, keep it and I can pick it up in person 7/27-7/30! Love the storm picture, the same types of clouds passed over us, they looked pretty ominous! I will keep your friends in my prayers as well.

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