Throw Back Tuesday – Have You Ever Had One of Those Days? 1/31/17

Personal Note:  For today’s Throw back Tuesday post, a goodie from May of 2009.  It was my first summer of blogging, and we were a few days from leaving for the island.  We were still in the process of decorating our condo, so we had much more stuff to carry than we could pack in the truck.

I love going back and reading these posts.  This one puts me right back at home in south Georgia, where we still have dear, dear friends we don’t get to see nearly enough.  Marianne and Cecil Lashley and Sally and Ed Feagin, this one is for y’all!

Header:  Kem and Ed Green, friends and blog readers from Iowa, are enjoying their first winter stay on the island this week.  They arrived on Sunday (no ferry on Sundays), so they flew over from St. Ignace.  Kem is sending lots of photos from their trip, and I’ll be sharing those in next Sunday’s blog.  And there will be a Throw Back Thursday blog on Feb. 2!

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First published May 14, 2009:  Yesterday we took all our boxes to the UPS store in Americus to ship.  We had five boxes, one rubber-banded together set of 7 golf clubs, and 4 pictures we had framed for the condo. We were going to have UPS package the golf clubs and pictures because we had cut a 50% off UPS packaging coupon out of the Sunday paper magazine section.

IMG_0074The young man who worked in the UPS store put one of the boxes on the scales and told us the box would be on the island on Friday,  and shipping would be $38.23.  I said, “We really don’t want it to be there Friday – we won’t be there by then.  We’d like it to get there Tuesday of next week.”  “Oh,” said young UPS man,  “then you can send it ‘guaranteed’, and that same box will cost $78.42.”  To which I replied sweetly, “Young UPS man, please explain how it can be twice as much to ship this box to arrive 4 days later?”  Bradley (I had looked at his name tag by then) said, “It’s because it’s GUARANTEED to be there on Tuesday.”  I said (still sweetly), “We don’t care if it is guaranteed, we just want it to not get there before we do.”  Bradley said, “Ma’am (it always ticks me off when a cute young man calls me ma’am), that’s the only other way it can go.  Either it costs $38.23 and gets there Friday, or it’s $78.42 and guaranteed to get there the following Tuesday.”

At this point my husband Ted, having lived with me for 20 years and recognizing the warning signs, stepped in.  Now Ted is the most tactful person who ever lived.  I mean if he were President, there would be peace throughout the world.  He says, “Bradley, why don’t you just package the golf clubs and the pictures for us, and we will take all of it to the post office to mail.”  Bradley said, “Sir that is an EXCELLENT way to ensure you won’t get them for at least two weeks.”  I said, “Which is exactly what we want, Bradley.”

We load all EIGHT boxes back into the truck (packaging had only cost $33.22 with the coupon), run by a hardware store and get a couple of house keys made, go to Wal-Mart, and head back to the lake, planning to stop at the post office close to home and mail the boxes.  We are about 2/3 of the way home when I notice the truck is slowing down.  I say, “Honey, why are we stopping?”  Ted says, “I have no idea, I’m not touching the brakes.”  We coast down a hill with no power and pull off on the side of the road.  Ted tries to crank the truck – nothing.  Ted looks under the hood – nothing out of the ordinary.  Ted calls AAA and is told it will be 45 minutes before the tow truck gets there to take us BACK to Americus to the dealership.

IMG_0086Here’s what happened over the next 3 hours:  We called Sally to come pick ME up to go get my car from the house so I could go get Ted in Americus if they had to keep the truck.  Sally, following Ted’s directions I might add, couldn’t find us.  When she didn’t show up, we called Cecil who passed Sally going in the other direction.  I called Sally, who told me she had been looking for us for an hour.  I told her never to listen to directions from Ted again.  The tow truck arrived, we unloaded our boxes into Cecil’s truck (who had no trouble finding us going by MY directions), and Ted and tow man started back to Americus with the truck.  Cecil said, ” Since the boxes are in the back, why don’t we stop at the post office and get them mailed?”  Wonderful!

The Cobb post office is a wonderful facility.  The building is a modular home sitting practically on top of a railroad track and is a total of maybe 200 square feet.  Inside is the nicest postmistress in the world.  Cecil and I walk in with 8 boxes.  She puts the first box on the scale and says,  “This box can be on the island on Friday for $13.26.”  Can you see where this is going?  I say, “Don’t want it there Friday, want it there Tuesday of next week.”  Nice postmistress says, “Well, for $11.46, it will be there in 10 days to 2 weeks.”  I grin really big and say, “That’s perfect.”  While the boxes are being labeled, Ted calls and says, “The truck will have to stay overnight, you need to come get me.”  I say, “I’m in the process of paying the $125.78 it costs to get eight boxes to the island in two weeks, and I still haven’t gone home to pick up my car.”  Ted doesn’t laugh.  Cecil volunteers to take me back to Americus to pick up Ted instead of taking me home to my car.  I say, “OK, but can we stop by that Mexican restaurant on the way into Americus and get a couple of shots of tequila?”  I’m just KIDDING!!!!!!  We pick up Ted, Cecil takes us home, and our one hour trip to ship boxes is finally over 5 hours later.

springatlakeThe redeeming part of this story is the truck did not wait to break down on Saturday when we were in Kentucky or Tennessee or Ohio on Interstate 75, with two dogs on board and no friends anywhere within 700 miles.  God is so good.

Alexa . . . . .

Ted and I got “Alexa” for Christmas.  Alexa is the name of the lady hidden inside the Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker you control with your voice.  Frankly, I had never heard of Alexa – or the Echo – until our son Jason put one at the top of his Christmas list. In fact it was the only thing on his Christmas list.  I ordered it from Amazon, and that was that.  Until Christmas morning, when Alexa turned up as Jason’s gift to us also!

We are having a lot of fun with Alexa, except for one thing.  In order to “wake up” Alexa, you have to call her name first, then give a command.  The problem is . . . . . we can’t remember her name.  And I have to say Ted is worse than I am – a lot worse!

“Baby,” he yells from the family room, “what’s the name of this thing – I want to get a football score.” 

“Alexa!” I yell back.

“Yeah!  Alexa!  What’s the score of the Falcons game?”  Please know this is just an example.  If the Falcons were actually playing, he would be watching them on TV. 

Alexa says, “The Falcons are beating Washington 23 to 17, with 9 seconds left to play.”

Ted says, “Thank you, Alexa.” (seriously, he does this)

Silence from Alexa.

Me: “Ted, you have to say her name before she will answer.”

Ted: “What’s her name again?”

Me: “Alexa.”

Ted: “Alexa, thank you!”

Alexa: “That’s what I’m here for.”

I mainly use Alexa to play music.  “Alexa, play the Beach Boys.”  Alexa: “I’m shuffling Beach Boys songs now.”  And there follows an afternoon of surfing songs.  I also ask her to time things I’m cooking (yes, I have timers on the oven and microwave, but it’s more fun to say, “Alexa, set the timer for 45 minutes!”).  Alexa also gives me the weather when I ask – for anywhere in the world.  “Alexa, is it going to rain today?”  “Alexa, what’s the temp in Atlanta right now?”  She will also give me the most recent headline news, movie and book reviews, etc.

Readers, if you share your home with Alexa also, I’d love to hear what you most like her to do.  I don’t want “our” Alexa to be unfulfilled and think she’s living with a couple of complete duds!

MACKINAC ISLAND

Islanders are praying for snow!  They got a light dusting yesterday, but there’s barely enough to keep the snowmobiles running on some parts of the island, and the reality of an ice bridge this year is getting dimmer and dimmer.

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Even the wonderful Meals on Snowmobiles program had to switch to REAL wheels this week because of lack of snow.  This program delivers hot  meals to shut-ins from the second Tuesday in January to the second Thursday in March.  (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

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Discarded Christmas trees at British Landing await the formation of the Ice Bridge (they’re used to mark the route from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace when the ice is thick enough to cross by snowmobile).  (Photo: Pam Day)

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Fog has been a visitor to the island this week, and street lights stayed on several extra morning hours.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

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Shoreline today – some unusual shore art!  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

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Further into the interior the snow is holding on a little longer.  Pam Day rode up to the airport for this shot of the runway.

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Even though the island isn’t heavily covered with snow right now, it’s still a beautiful spot.  Life goes on regardless as a horse-drawn dray heads downtown past Trinity Church.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)

I was SO excited with the response to the “Throw Back Thursday” idea that I’ve decided to add a “Throw Back Tuesday” also.  That way there will be blogs three times a week until we return to Mackinac in July! 

That’s all I have today.  Oh, besides telling everyone how you might use Alexa, would anyone who’s read a really good book lately please share the title and author!  I am desperately seeking something to read!

Love y’all, have a good week . . . . and God bless.

Throw Back Thursdays 1/25/17

In the last few weeks quite a few emails and comments have arrived from folks who have just discovered Bree’s Blog.  Several have written really sweet notes and talked about their love for Mackinac Island and how excited they are to find the blog and read what it’s like to live there in the summer months.  Most are going back and reading seven years worth of blogs – now THAT will keep you busy for the rest of the winter, for sure!

Anyway, it got me thinking about all the blogs I’ve posted over the last seven years.  The one you’re reading now is number 851!

And THAT got me going back myself and reading some of the “old stuff”, which turned into a trip down memory lane – complete with groans at some of the things I’ve said over the years, tears over sad events, and peals of laughter at some of the predicaments I’ve gotten myself into.  And then, of course, there were those Bear and Maddie blogs!

An idea formed.  Facebook has Throw Back Thursday – why can’t Bree’s Blog?  So, from now until we return to Mackinac in July there’ll be a post here from the past on Thursday. Going back and picking out what will hopefully be some of the “good stuff” I’ve written over the years will be fun for me, and I hope entertaining for you.  I’ll still be around on Sundays too for new updates from the island, Florida, and wherever else we may find ourselves.

Let’s start with one called “The Inn is Open” – way back in April, 2009.  This is even back before I figured out to caption each photo!

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Ted and I are so excited.  We have put out an open invitation to friends and family to come up and visit this summer, and the “Horton Hilton” is filling up fast.

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July is pretty much filled up with immediate family – some coming earlier, some later, some in the middle – but hopefully they will ALL be there together for a few days.  That’s the plan anyway.  Children are so hard to pin down on dates and times – I know our parents felt the same way with us.  With their busy work and social schedules, it is just about impossible to plan ahead.  But, bless ‘um, they try hard to make BeBe and G-Daddy happy by showing up in Michigan as a “clan”.  They love the fact they can truly relax (well, except for those iphones and blackberries they have glued to their ears all of the time) on the island.

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I swear this year all electronic devices are going to mysteriously disappear five minutes after they arrive and miraculously be found five minutes before they leave.  BeBe has a plan on that.

We have family coming in from New Orleans the first week in June, and yesterday we found out that a couple of friends will be arriving mid-June and another couple the first week in August.  What fun it will be to share our island with people who have never been there.  I was trying to explain the feeling the island gives me to someone the other day.  I had talked about it with another island resident last summer and about how I couldn’t wait to have folks up this summer so they could experience it.  She said, “Well, some people will ‘get it’ and some won’t have a clue.”  I think it has to do with being able to let go of all you have known – the speed in which we live our lives, the constant hassle of getting here and going there, the noise – you have to be able to let go of all that and just immerse yourself in the island.  The first morning I woke up at the Chippewa Hotel (where we stayed for 8 summers before buying) and the first sound I heard was the clip-clop of horses hooves coming down Main Street, I thought “this is what relaxation is all about – this is what we have forgotten can exist, this is what we long for in the deep, deep corners of our heart – peace, nature at its purest, a step back in time to a more restful way of living.”  And maybe, like the island resident said, it’s not for everyone – but it sure is for Ted and I.img_clipclop

Personal Note:  Header – A snow owl on the ice.  Photographed by Clark Bloswick earlier this week.

Crossing Paths and Small World Magic 1/22/17

Hi Friends!

Don’t you just love when a story that began days or weeks or even years in the past reappears – and turns into an even better story?

Here’s what I mean:

In 2013 one of my readers, Lori Kittinger – who lives with her family in Michigan – contacted me about helping out with her daughter’s (Brittany) Senior pictures.  She had the photographer all lined up, but Brittany had dreamed of the pictures being taken on Mackinac Island.  My assignment was to scout out locations and maybe use a few “connections” to go beyond the normal touristy places.  I immediately signed up, thinking what a fun way to spend a day . . . and it was perfect!

We covered that island like the dew that day. I don't even want to think about how many times we climbed "the hill". But photos like this one on Grand Hotel's porch . . .

We covered that island like the dew that day. I don’t even want to think about how many times we climbed “the hill”, but photos like this one of beautiful Brittany on Grand Hotel’s porch . . .

. . . . and this one on Maryanka Alexander's gorgeous Friesian Regina

. . . . and this one on Maryanke Alexander’s gorgeous Friesian Regina made all the effort worthwhile.

Brittany’s Godmother, Lisa, a professional photographer, got beautiful images of Brittany at Anne’s Tablet, at the Somewhere in Time gazebo, at the Grand Stable (where we just happened to catch Ben leaving with a vintage buggy – one wish we thought we’d miss), and at Grand Hotel.  It was a wonderful day!

Lori, Brittany and I have remained Facebook friends ever since, and that’s how I knew Brittany, who is now a Junior in Education at Spring Arbor University in Arbor MI, was arriving in St. Augustine with a group of fellow students for a month of diversity training, visiting elementary and middle schools across this section of Florida.

I immediately contacted Lori and asked her to give Brittany my cell number in case she needed something a “mom” would normally handle.  I was only 30 minutes from where they’d be in St. Augustine, and Lori was almost 1300 miles away.  I could get to her at lot faster!

That was almost a month ago.

Brittany and I texted several times over her first weeks in Florida (it was also her very first time visiting the Sunshine State, and she loves it).  And we finally worked out a time we could meet for a short visit.

Last Thursday these six students (Brittany is on the top row, far left) and two others not picgtured arrived at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center to meet Ted (as a former educator, he became part of their diversity training) and me.

Last Thursday these six students (Brittany is on the top row, far left) and two others not pictured arrived at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center to meet Ted (as a former educator, he became part of their diversity training) and me.

While two of the group took off at a very fast pace to fulfill the requirements of becoming Master Junior Rangers, the rest of the group and me saw the fort (from a distance - still no ferry) and hiked the nature trail.

While two of the group took off at a very fast pace to fulfill the requirements of becoming Master Junior Rangers, the rest of the group saw the fort (from a distance – still no ferry) and hiked the nature trail.

Swearing in of Master Junior Rangers!

Swearing in of Master Junior Rangers!

Now here’s where it gets downright crazy!

This amazing group of young women (and one man) are standing in the Visitors Center talking to Ted and me, and Ted notices that one girl (Melanie) is wearing a Coopersville Athletic Department t-shirt.  He says, “I just recently discovered my birth mother’s family, and some of my cousins live in Coopersville.”

“What are their names?” she asked.

“Bennink,” says Ted.

“No way!  I live next door to Steve Bennink!”

Who just happens to be one of Ted’s newly-found cousins!

It turned out that Melanie's grandmother was Dave Bennink's(another cousin) 4th grade teacher!

It turned out that Melanie’s grandmother was Dave Bennink’s (another cousin) 4th grade teacher!

Can you believe it!?

The entire group left yesterday for the trip back to college, and Florida is a little less sunny today since they took back all their smiles. 

I just love young people!!

A FEW MACKINAC PHOTOS

The U.S. Coastguard heavy ice breaker Mackinaw sails through the fog one morning last week. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The U.S. Coastguard heavy ice breaker Mackinaw sails through the fog one morning last week. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A lone coyote comes off the west end ice. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A lone coyote comes off the west end ice. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A pretty pic of Pam Day's new snowmobile parked near British Landing.

A pretty pic of Pam Day’s new snowmobile parked near British Landing.

A perfect "pre" sunrise photo. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A perfect “pre” sunrise photo. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

MISCELLANEOUS

—A magical image of our neighborhood with the moon reflected in both the ocean and our inlet. (Photo: Neighbor Bob Hewit - from his drone)

—A magical image of our neighborhood, with the moon reflected in both the ocean and our inlet. (Photo: Neighbor Bob Hewit – from his drone)

Same drone - taken from the A1A side of the neighborhood.

Same drone – taken from the A1A side of the neighborhood.  You can even see the intracoastal back there in this one.

Mr. Bodie - looking pleased as punch with himself.

Mr. Bodie – looking pleased as punch with himself.

Everyone have a great week!  Love and hugs, and God bless.

Winter Mackinac Magic and Bodie’s First Writing Attempt 1/15/17

Hi All!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  We had a couple of REALLY COLD days and nights – it even got into the thirties a time or two.  But, not to worry.  We’re now in the 70’s again, and I have to say it’s pretty darn perfect weather right now!

It was even nice enough to some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently - Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can't beat getting to eat and shop in the same place! Yummy!

It was even nice enough for some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently – Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can’t beat getting to eat and shop in the same place!

On Mackinac it’s 29 today, and for the next two weeks it looks as though 35 or 36 may be the high temp.  All the photos below are compliments of Clark Bloswick except for two.

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn't stop these hard and hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn’t stop these hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

On Saturday morning the Mighty Huron was cutting through swome surface ice as it arrived early in the morning.

The Mighty Huron plowed through some surface ice as it arrived early one morning this week.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

A sunset earlier in the week - perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

A sunset earlier in the week – perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

Sunday morning serenity.

Sunday morning serenity.

Those hard working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after loading at the ferry dock.

Hard-working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after it was loaded at the ferry dock.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up pretty well.  (Photo: The Island House)

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!  (Photo: Craig Harris)

BODIE’S FIRST WRITING ASSIGNMENT

Hey!  It’s me – Bodie.  Mom said I could try and write a very short blog today.

I only have two questions. What's a blog, and what's writing?

I only have two questions. What’s a blog, and what’s writing?

So.  Mom tried to explain it to me.  She said a blog is where you tell someone out in space about something that is interesting to you or about something you like doing.

I got this.  I like food – dog food (dry and canned), people food (when I can steal it), trash can food (dry and wet), street food (little pieces of paper, bugs, smashed water bottles, lizards (after Maddie kills them), rocks, twigs, dried up chewing gum, bird seed.  You get the picture.  Oh, and poop – but Mom says I don’t like it as much as Bear did – not yet anyway.  I’ll have to work on that.

What else do I like?

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My crate!  I sleep in here at night, but I also grab naps here when Mom’s working or watching tv in this room.  I also stay in here when Mom and Dad leave the house.  I think that’s because they are worried I’d un-stuff the couch if they left me free.  And I can’t say that I wouldn’t.

What else.  I LOVE dryer sheets!  I stand in front of the dryer when Mom gets the clothes out, and we have a race to see who can spot the dryer sheet first.  Mom usually wins because she can see INSIDE the dryer.  I have to wait and see if mom doesn’t spot it.  In that case it just falls out of the dryer on the floor, and I’m on it like a wolf.  I’ve only managed to swallow two so far – because Mom is pretty good at prying my jaws apart.  She was worried after I swallowed the first one, but something called “Google” told her they weren’t very dangerous if they’d already been through the dryer.  And – like most things I swallow – it all came out ok in the end.

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their little 8-mon-old granddaughter out on their third floor deck. She was trying to talk to me so hard! I loved watching her!

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their 8-month-old granddaughter out on their third floor balcony, and she was talking to me through the rails.  I don’t know why the grown-ups couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I understood her perfectly!

Mom is saying “that’s enough for the first time, Bodie”, so I will end for now.  Mom just read what I wrote and said it looked like I was going to do pretty good as a blog writer – especially for a kid!  I didn’t know she was serious though until she hugged me and said I was a good boy.  I really, really, really like when she calls me “a good boy” – because that is usually followed by a treat, which is the BEST kind of dog food EVER!

Did I mention I like food?

Ok, ok, Mom.  I’m stopping now!

Mom also says I’m a little too chatty at times.

Who, me?

Who, me?

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Personal Note:  I received the following notification from Feedspot Blog last week:

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I hope some of you out there will know more about this than I do!  When I opened the link, I learned that Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog was listed as the 14th most popular ISLAND blog among the thousands of island blogs Feedspot holds in their index.  The rankings change by the week and are based on Google reputation and Google search ranking, influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

As I said, I don’t really know what any of that means, but I say a very big “Thank You” for the designation!  And a huge thank you to all my readers who encourage me daily to keep writing!

Love you all, and God bless.

Write a Good One 1/8/17

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book.  Write a good one.  Brad Paisley – on New Year’s Eve.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, my sweet and dear friends!  Good gosh – it’s been two months since we’ve gotten together here on Bree’s Blog – longer than I’ve ever stopped writing since beginning this journey in April of 2009!

Ok – let’s go ahead and get this out of the way.  Yes, I’ve done my annual soul searching

After a two-month vacation from the blogosphere, I’ve discovered that, although I can live without self-imposed deadlines, hunts for photographs, and times when my fingers stay poised way too long over the keyboard waiting for my brain to come up with something to write, I’m not ready to live without my connection to all of you!

So – Bree’s Blog will roll on for at least one more year.  There’s so much I want to share with you in 2017:  our trip to Alaska in May, Bodie’s zany antics and Maddie’s sweet senior years, and – most important to all of you – three months of Mackinac in the summer.  I’ll try to post a little more often than last year in the time between now and leaving for Mackinac – maybe like the “postcards” I did from the island last year.  Then when we hit the island, I’ll post even more.

I’m excited about 2017!  Let’s write that 365-page book together . . . . starting now!

THE HOLIDAYS

Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s Eve are a big blur.  We had family come, family go, family come back and leave again.  Throughout those happy days we enjoyed more food than should be legal, made some great memories, and got to share a seven-year-old’s Santa Claus!

I know it's hard for our northern friends to imagine Christmas catalog shopping in shorts out on the deck, but that's what you get in Florida!

I know it’s hard for our northern friends to imagine Christmas catalog shopping in shorts out on the deck, but that’s what you have to get used to in Florida!

Our little neighborhood was very festive this year . . .

Our little neighborhood was very festive this year!

. . . and everyone was very much in the Christmas spirit.

We all had great fun decorating palm trees . . .

. . . and pretending snow was falling.

. . . and pretending snow was falling.

Blake was home for a few days . . .

Blake was home for a few days . . .

. . . followed by Jason, Jen, and Alex . . .

. . . followed by Jason, Jen, and Alex . . .

. . . followed by Julie, Matt, Jordan, Matthew - and Blake again!

. . . followed by Julie, Matt, Jordan, Matthew – and Blake again!

It's been many, many years since we had a little boy in the house at Christmas! We made cookies for Santa . . .

It’s been many, many years since we had a little boy in the house at Christmas! We made cookies for Santa . . .

. . . opened gifts from Santa and family on Christmas Day . . .

. . . and opened gifts from Santa and family on Christmas Day.

I loved this gift from Jen and Alex. An artist friend of hers created a pop art canvas from photographs of Maddie and Bodie!

I loved this gift from Jen and Alex. An artist friend of Jen’s created a pop art canvas from photographs of Maddie and Bodie!

And Ted gave me this wonderful way to park my car correctly in the garage. Some ladies get diamonds for Christmas, but I got a ball on a rope!

And Ted gave me this wonderful way to park my car correctly in the garage. You see, he got a new weight machine from Santa, and if I don’t park my car perfectly it interferes with his range of motion.  Hmmmm . . . some wives get diamonds for Christmas.  I get a ball on a rope!

 

Jason and Jen wishing everyone Merry Christmas from the beach on Facebook . . .

Jason and Jen wishing everyone Merry Christmas from the beach on Facebook . . .

. . . followed instantly by a wipe-out!

. . . followed instantly by a wipe-out!

Seriously, we had a wonderful Christmas, and the best part was seeing all the kids and grandkids.  Speaking of which – they all went together and gave Ted and I a monetary gift for our Alaska trip – what a surprise!  Anyone out there who has been on an Alaska land/cruise trip, please weigh in on which excursions we need to book!

I definitely didn’t start the New Year off right though.  I had a physical therapy appointment the day before New Year’s Eve.  My therapist decided to try something new – working on my back instead of my neck.  I knew I was in trouble when I walked out that day, and by the next morning I was in so much pain I finally just had a good, old-fashioned melt-down.  I cried for two hours, took a hot bath, put on my pj’s and was in bed by 10 that night.  I DID feel much better the next day, but I think physical therapy has about done as much as it can do for this old neck of mine.  I have an appointment on Friday with my neurologist to talk about injections.  Stay tuned for the next chapter of this adventure!

MACKINAC ISLAND

The island is a winter wonderland, and they had a beautiful white Christmas!  Lake Huron has steamed once, and the temps are good and cold.  An ice bridge just may be in the cards for this winter.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the photographs below are from Clark Bloswick.

The 20 orso horses that remain on Mackinac for the winter get plenty of exercise. These two beauties were hauling constructions supplies from the ferry at British Landing.

The 20 or so horses that remain on Mackinac for the winter get plenty of exercise. These two beauties were hauling construction supplies from the ferry at British Landing.

The West Bluff - dressed in her winter whites.

The West Bluff – dressed in her winter whites.

Currier & Ives could not have done it better! Perfect Mackinac Island winter scene.

Currier & Ives could not have done it better! Perfect Mackinac Island winter scene.

Beautiful Trinity Church on Fort Hill.

Beautiful Trinity Church on Fort Hill.

Snow "mushrooms" along the coast.

Snow “mushrooms” along the shore.

A snow-covered cedar hedge in the Annex frames a snow covered cottage.

A snow-covered cedar hedge in the Annex frames a snow-covered cottage.

Sunlight spreads over homes as the sun rises a week before Christmas.

Sunlight spreads over homes early one morning the week before Christmas.

Horses brought to the island to handle the extra holiday business are led down Market Street toward the ferry docks. They will return to their winter home in Pickford.

Horses brought to the island to handle the extra holiday business are led down Market Street toward the ferry docks. They will return to their winter home in Pickford. (Photo:  Tom Chambers)

The view from a Cedar Hill Condo deck - looking across the Grand Hotel golf course. (Photo: Pam Day)

The view from a Cedar Hill Condo deck – looking across the Grand Hotel golf course. (Photo: Pam Day)

A beautifully decorated Chambers Corner! (Photo: Pam Day)

A beautifully decorated Chambers Corner! (Photo: Pam Day)

Main Street on New Year's Eve. (Photo: Jake Hudson)

Main Street on New Year’s Eve. (Photo: Jake Hudson)

A lone snowmobile makes the run up Cadotte on a wintry night. (Photo: Pam Day)

A lone snowmobile makes the run up Cadotte on a wintry night. (Photo: Pam Day)

Friend Eugenia Murray's 16-year-old Beagle, Titus, on his first snow walk (he normally spends his winters in Florida).

Friend Eugenia Murray’s 16-year-old Beagle, Titus, on his first snow walk (he normally spends his winters in Florida).

BODIE

You see those two matching throw pillows on the bed behind my Bodie-boy?

You see those two matching throw pillows on the bed behind my Bodie-boy?

There's only one now.

There’s only one now.

Bodie, bless his heart, is a work-in-progress.  He can be – on alternate days, hours, minutes (even seconds) – either the most aggravating or the sweetest four-legged creature ever.  Our first two-and-a-half months together have been challenging to say the least, and I won’t deny having thought – more than once – “Dear Gussie, what have I done?”

But . . . . when he flops down next to me in the dog bed (it would easily hold me and a small horse) and puts his big, beautiful head across my legs, cutting his eyes up to look at me and seeming to say, “Mom, I know I ate all the paper towels out of the trash can in the kitchen, and chewed up the case for your glasses, and unrolled one of the new rolls of toilet paper you keep in the basket next to that big white funny-shaped water dish I drink out of, but it was just all innocent fun.  You forgive me right?” – my answer is an unequivocal yes.

Bodie loves Ted, but he has most definitely bonded with me.  In the evening, when I retire to the bedroom tv to watch a movie, Bodie is at my feet the entire evening.

Except when he's watching himself!

Except when he’s watching himself (he seems to prefer action-adventures with lots of explosions).

When I leave the house for whatever reason, he waits patiently for me at the door to the garage – even if it’s on the days when I work for four hours.  His temperament, activity level, and demeanor are totally different from Bear’s (and some of that is definitely affected by his age), but even so he is filling my heart with all the good things that owning a wonderful dog brings.  It makes me a little ashamed that my mantra was “I want another golden just like Bear”.  I did not need another Bear.

And he deserves nothing less.

I needed a Bodie.

It’s sooooo good to be back writing!  See you back here soon!

God bless.