Throw Back Tuesday – The Island Without Jill 4/25/17

Personal Note:  I’m posting this as my “throw back” today because I know Jill will be returning to the island in the next week or so, and Mackinac just wouldn’t be Mackinac without Jill being there.  I’ve loved her since our very first summer on Mackinac, and I count her as among my very best friends.  She is everything I wrote in this blog back in 2009 – and much, much more.  Her heart is huge, her spirit is sweet, and her friendship is forever.  Love you, Jillski, and don’t fuss at me about posting this!______________________________________________________________________

FIRST PUBLISHED 10/29/09

I keep telling myself that one day this week I will sit down to write the “final post” for the season.  I’m not ready to do that yet, even though today was the closest I’ve come to saying, “Ok – I’m ready to go.”  And that is because today my good friend Jill left the island. 

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JIB in The Island Bookstore.

As I have said before, Jill is the communicator for Mackinac Island.  If Jill doesn’t know about something that’s going on, then it must not be going on.   She always seems to be everywhere at once, and when we were first getting to know each other, I gave her the nickname JIB (for Jill in the Box) – because she just popped up everywhere.  At first I thought she knew everything because she worked at the The Island Bookstore.  I figured there must be some secret information system that fed every little tidbit of news from every corner of the island into that tiny little store inside the Lilac Tree Hotel mall.  But then I realized, no – it’s just that Jill knows everyone on Mackinac, and everyone knows her. 

How in the world I would have ever kept this blog going without her constant stream of places to go and people to meet is beyond me.  It probably would have been dead in the water by June.  Jill was a Godsend. 

But the best part of meeting Jill was not how much she knew.  The best part was becoming her friend.  Being Jill’s friend is like taking little rays of sunshine and spreading them across your day – regardless of the weather, regardless of your mood, regardless of how you feel – Jill’s voice and her smiling face can lift you right up.  Her spirit is sweet and generous and kind, and she shares herself with everyone. 
This summer I have seen her come to the aid of an endless number of people in countless ways – housesitter, meeting someone at the ferry, seeing someone off at the ferry, helping people unpack – then helping them pack, dogsitter, delivering messages, delivering packages, catsitter, buying groceries for others, and picking up mail for a friend.  And she is usually taking care of all that before she goes to a a full-time job at the bookstore.  She does it all, and she never complains.  She never says she’s too busy or too tired to help someone, even though I know that sometimes she is both. 

On her breaks from the bookstore, she will walk down the sidewalk and have 20 people speak to her by name before she hits the first corner.  She is hailed from the street, from taxis, from bikes, and from stores.  She has this amazing ability to make you feel special.  That’s what she did for me, and that’s what she does for everyone lucky enough to know her. 

Jill left today on the 12:30 ferry.  Her plan is to spend a few months with her family in downstate Michigan, then spend some time with friends in Arizona, before returning to the island in the spring. Ted and I were there at the dock to see her off.  She wrote me a lovely note and gave it to me as she was boarding, making me promise not to open it until she was well out of sight.  I kept my promise. 

Watching the ferry pull away, I thought, “Now there is only one more important goodbye I have to say before we leave – and that will be to the island itself.”  

Then it will be time to go home.

Have a great winter, JIB!  Love you, my friend.

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Throw Back Thursday – Maddie’s Musings 4/20/17

Personal Note:  Maddie’s very first blog!  First published June 23, 2009 – our first year as island summer residents.  ____________________________________________________________________

Hello – Maddie here.

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My favorite place – my Dad’s lap.

I hope all of you folks out there who read Mom’s blog are happy to hear from me – finally.  I think Mom told you that I had been working on this thing for some time (in between everything else I have to do around here to keep the premises safe).  Somebody has to make sure we aren’t going to be attacked by squirrels or chipmunks or snakes – and it sure isn’t going to be that big furball I am forced to share Mom and Dad with.  All he’s good for is to prance around and look good.  You should see him right now – lying at Mom’s feet with every long, golden hair in place.  Well, let me tell you something – he stinks!  I can’t wait till Mom takes him off island on Thursday for another bath and to get groomed.  I know he told you about that bath he had down at the horse shower.  Mom’s good at a lot of things, but bathing 90 lbs. of dog in a shower built for a Clydesdale in front of an audience is not one of them.  He smelled a little better (at least our company didn’t gag when he came around), but he needs to go to a PROFESSIONAL.

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This is me and my all-time favorite toy. Why is it my favorite? Because I cannot destroy it! Of all the toys I have had in my five years of life, this is the only one that has survived. I keep trying though – I will NOT give up!

OK – back to me.  Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat.  I am a dachshund.  I know that is hard to spell – even Mom has to look it up in that big book of words every time she uses it in this blog.  I am NOT a weinie dog, a weiner dog, a hotdog, or a doxie.  Do you think puffball would like to be called a GOLDIE?  He is a golden retriever.  I am a dachshund.  I have papers to prove it – maybe not as many papers as goofy, but papers nonetheless.

I have two houses to take care of – one in Georgia and one up here where it’s still freezing even in June – ok it’s not freezing, but I do not have 17 tons of hair like the monster does – I have very short, shiny brown hair that nobody has to professionally take care of – I am a very low maintenance dog.  A couple of baths a year (in the bathtub at home, not at a fancy, spancy salon) is all it takes to keep me looking good.

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Me in my cold weather sweater and faux fur cover-up. I JUST put these away this week.

In Georgia, we live on a lake, and the yard is fenced in, front & back.  Therefore, when the door opens, I am free to run around outside to my heart’s content.  I can chase squirrels and ducks and birds (wish I could fly!) and dig up moles and catch mice (Mom says I must be half-cat), and hunt for snakes.  I know Mom told you about me going after that copperhead in the yard in Georgia.  I had it handled, but Dad says he saved my life.  I still say I had it handled. 

Then there was that time when I was tracking that big black snake that lived in the bushes outside our front door (in Georgia).  I was barking like crazy (something I am not allowed to do up here because of the neighbors).  Mom came out and was trying to get me away from the bush (she doesn’t much like snakes), and that snake dropped right on her foot.  You should have heard her scream!  I jumped right in there and grabbed that snake (Mom said it was at least three times longer than me), and whipped it around my head like a lasso.  Then I threw it down as hard as I could (you are thinking I am making this up, but you can ask Mom).  We all thought it was dead, but it was only dazed.  It crawled off, and our good neighbor at the lake (who doesn’t care if I bark) came over and took care of him with this big stick that goes BOOM (Dad was not at home at the time).

Ok – enough about the lake.  Mom told me to write what I like about living on Mackinac Island.  So, here’s my list:  1) There are no poisonous snakes on this island.  So, when I spot a snake and go after it, Mom and Dad don’t worry so much.  2) There are chipmunks!  They look like little squirrels with shorter tails.  3)  There is a chipmunk AND a snake that live under the boardwalk at the condo, and I love to hunt for them – I have even named them.  The chipmunk’s name is appetizer, and the snake’s name is entree.  4)  There are the biggest squirrels I have ever seen here.  The one who lives in the tree outside our living room window is black – our squirrels in Georgia are gray.  The squirrel’s name is dessert.  5)  We have more “quality” time with Mom and Dad here because we go on walks.  In Georgia, they just open the door and let us out.  Here, because we don’t have a fenced in yard, we have to be walked so Mom and Dad have to go with us.

Here's me "running free".

Here’s me “running free”.

Now, here’s my list of things I don’t like about the island:  1)  I have to wear a straitjacket.  You see, when I walk on a leash, I like to pull because there are always things to check out.  With just a collar, I ’bout choke myself to death.  So Mom ordered this harness-thing that puts the pressure on my chest instead of my neck.  Looks like a straitjacket to me, but now at least I don’t turn blue on walks.  2)  I can’t run free (see above).  There are leash laws here, but I have a flash for you.  They let dufus walk around without his leash.  We live near the woods, and once they have us on a wooded path, they let him go.  Now they say they can’t do that with me because I would run away chasing everything that moves.  And I won’t come back when I’m called, like that crazy dog does.  I mean, look at what my options would be – chasing a rabbit vs back into the straitjacket.  What would you do?   The only time I am semi-free is when we go to Turtle Park.  It is this huge, open area, and they will let go of the leash handle and let me run around.  They think that leash and handle will slow me down enough that they could catch me if they had to – pleezzee!  I LET them catch me just to keep them from freaking out.   4) Walking downtown with Mr. Personality and Mom and Dad.  We can’t get three inches without being stopped by a crowd of folks saying, “Ohhhh, what a beautiful golden retriever!  Isn’t he gorgeous?  Isn’t he so well-trained?  Isn’t he just like ours at home?  Isn’t he just like the one we had when we were growing up?  Come on, big boy, give us a kiss!”  You know what I want to say?  “Yeah, go ahead and get those kisses all over your face, and then I will tell you what he just picked up off the street and munched on.”

Actually, I think the island is pretty neat.  I love going in the woods, even on a leash because there is so much to explore and so many new smells to check out – other dogs, horses (who last year I thought were big dogs until I challenged one and got to see close up the biggest paws I have ever seen – and their paws have iron shoes on them), all kinds of wild animals, different plants, different trees – everything is so exciting (even in my straitjacket).  I also love the ferries and the buggies.  When we are going off island, I get to sit in Mom or Dad’s lap so I can see everything (and don’t get in people’s way).  How cool is riding in a buggy behind a team of horses and pretending that I’m the driver!! 

Me and Mom on the ferry. This was one of those cold days when Cathie and Charlie were here.

Me and Mom on the ferry.

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Me and Dad on the taxi. I’m telling the driver which way to turn.

And, I have to admit it, sometimes downtown, stinky breath gets ignored and people lean all the way down and say to me, “Aren’t you the sweetest thing!  Dachshunds are my favorite dogs.  We have two back home, and we miss them so much!  You are so cute!  You are such a happy girl!”  So I give them kisses – and stick my tongue out at the big blonde dog.

Ok – I guess that’s about all I have to say today.  If you like my first blog, be sure and tell Mom, and she will let me know.  I have lots more I could tell you!   I hope I get more fan mail than bushy tail.  That would make me VERY happy!

P.S.  I forgot to tell you that Dad calls Bozo his “big-headed boy”.  He calls me his “precious, sweet little baby”.  What does that tell you, Goldie?

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Throw Back Tuesday – The October Season 4/18/17

Personal Note:  This 2013 blog made me smile because October is one of my favorite months on Mackinac, and the fall of 2013 was one of the most beautiful I remember.  We feel so blessedto be able to continue returning to Mackinac for three months, and one of those months is part of October.  When I see all the photos of Bear and Maddie playing in the leaves, I smile in anticipation of this fall when Bodie will get to have that same experience!___________________________________________________________________

First Published 10/20/13

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

Me too, L.M.  Me too!

When I was young and thought my days stretched before me for decades and decades, I seldom equated Nature’s seasons with the seasons of my own life.  As I’ve grown older though, I find myself doing just that, and doing it quite often.  My spring and summer seasons have passed – childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, becoming a mother, and raising children until they are out on their own – all of that is behind me now.  The Fall of my life – my October season – is upon me, and living out my Octobers on Mackinac Island these last few years is proving to be one of the most beautiful times of my life.

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On Mackinac Island, October is truly so magnificently beautiful it defies description.  Even with the chores of moving and packing up, Ted and I are finding time almost every day to get out and walk in the woods.  To not take these moments to inhale the crisp clean air and walk through these ageless forests would almost be sacrilege.

Gone two weeks ago were the days of finding a rust-colored leaf here and a gold leaf there. Now they are all so brightly hued

The days of finding a rust-colored leaf here and a gold leaf there were gone two weeks ago. Now they are all so brightly hued it’s as though bits of sunlight have become gold coins that cling to every tree limb and twig. And then – at the perfect moment – they fall to carpet our path.

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Billions of those bits of sunlight – far above us – await a breeze strong enough to send them gently floating to the ground . . .

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. . . where the sun is absorbed from the leaves into the earth – to prepare it for next spring’s awakening.

The pavilion at Turtle Park will soon stand

The pavilion at Turtle Park stands lonely now, but during the winter island residents will gather here for Winter Festival, and children will use the hills to compete on their sleds.

Bear and Maddie love October too, but for them it's all about the smells! Gone are the light aromas of sunshine - replaced by the rich, loamy smell of dying leaves and damp ground.

Bear and Maddie love Fall too, but for them it’s all about the smells! Gone are the light aromas of sunshine – replaced by the rich, loamy smell of dying leaves and damp ground.

We came out on the other side of Turtle Park at the cemeteries, where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

We came out on the other side of Turtle Park at the cemeteries . . .

where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

. . . where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

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Sometime I wish I knew every name of every soldier and civilian who rests here in the Post Cemetery.

Sometime I wish I knew every name of every soldier and civilian who rests here in the Post Cemetery . . .

If I did, it would bring me such joy to write each family and enclose a photograph of the beautiful place where their ancestor rests.

. . . so I could do the research and send each family a photograph of the beautiful resting place of their ancestor.

October is Bear's favorite season too . . .

Bear loves that the weather is cool,  the leaves are fun to roll in, and there’s always some edible morsel to be sniffed out.  Much more fun than just finding it on the ground out in the open!

And for Miss Maddie - as always - it's all about the hunt!

And for Miss Maddie – as always – it’s all about the hunt!

An old hose reel sits among the trees.

An old hose reel – nestled between two trees.

This totem pole sits on one side of the Spirit Garden burial mound . . .

This totem pole sits on one side of the Spirit Garden burial mound in St. Anne;s cemetery . . .

. . . and on the other side is a

. . . and on the other side is a wooden carved turtle.  The totem pole was donated by the Indian Drum tobacco shop and has been lovingly refurbished over the summer by Donald “Duck” Andress.  He removed rotted wood and repainted sections of the pole depicting animals like a woodpecker, beaver and bald eagle.  The wooden turtle monument was created by Cecil Pavlat and carved by Chief Duck.  The Spirit Garden burial mound includes the remains of Native peoples from both Mackinac Island and Bois Blanc Island.  The remains from Mackinac Island were unearthed during an excavation on Main Street in 2011.

Like I said - October is Bear's favorite month to be in the woods.

Like I said – October is Bear’s favorite month to be in the woods.

Through a gate at St. Anne's Cemetery.

Through a gate at St. Anne’s Cemetery.

A carpet of crunchy leaves led us back to Turtle Park . . . .

A carpet of crunchy leaves led us back to Turtle Park . . . .

. . . which is surrounded by trees brushed by every October color on God's palette.

. . . which is surrounded by trees brushed by every October color on God’s palette.

The park turned into a playground when we ran into Annie and Diesel and their owners.

The park turned into a playground when we ran into Annie and Diesel and their owners.

We finally called a halt to the playtime and walked home, leaving behind another October memory from Mackinac.

We finally called a halt to the playtime and went our separate ways –  leaving behind another October memory from Mackinac.

The summer clothes have been shipped home, and Ted and I don’t go out these days without our layers.  We have snow in the forecast Tuesday-Friday of this week, but it seems like we heard that quite a few times last year before we actually awoke to a snow-covered Mackinac . . .on the day we left for Georgia.

We're prepared though. Let it snow!

We’re prepared though. Let it snow!

God bless.

Throw Back Thursday – Bear Comes Clean 4/13/17

Personal Note:  The post below is from early summer, 2009.  The new Grand Hotel and Carriage Tour Stable and Carriage Museum wasn’t even on the drawing board, and the Grand horses were housed in an incredibly old barn behind the hotel.  What it lacked in beauty though, it made up for in character and history! 

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FIRST PUBLISHED 6/11/09

Hi!  It’s me – Bear.   I just HAD to tell you what happened to me today.  The embarrassment, the humiliation, the degradation is almost more than I can talk about – but maybe it will help me heal to get it all out there and off my chest.

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LOOK AT ME!  Am I not the most handsome, bodacious, championship-blooded golden retriever you have ever seen?  You think it’s easy to be this good-looking?  My mom makes me appointments once a month when we are in Georgia with Miss Kathy, who understands what it takes to keep me looking like this.  She has a very nice salon with a big porcelain bathtub that two people very gently lift me into.  Then they bathe me with this great smelling kiwi shampoo, followed by a berry conditioner.  I am then carefully “blown out” and groomed with scissors.  I have a pedicure on all four feet.  It is delightful in the extreme!

When we came to Mackinac Island last summer, mom got on the phone trying to find a groomer on the island.  There wasn’t one, which is really a shame because there sure are a lot of man’s best friends here.  She finally found a groomer all the way over in Cheboygan.  It’s called Bark, Bath and Beyond (cute, huh?).  The lady there did a really nice job with me last summer, but because it takes 30 minutes to drive there (that’s after the ferry ride), and mom has to wait around for 3 or 4 hours while I get pampered, she only takes me every six weeks.  Well, let me tell you – a dog like me can get seriously dirty here on this island in six weeks.

Which brings me to the point of this story.  We have company coming this weekend. It’s two more weeks before I’m supposed to get groomed, and mom has been fussing for days about how dirty and smelly I am (I personally have smelled myself, and I don’t get the problem).  Unfortunately, on things like hygiene, mom has her own ideas.

So all of a sudden mom is gathering up the shampoo and conditioner she has brought with her, and dad is getting some towels, and they put the leashes on Maddie and I, and we start down the hill.  Now I am a smart dog, and I know if I was going to the groomer, we would have left really early this morning.  So I am a little confused and a little concerned, because it is now 3:30 in the afternoon. 

We come to The Grand Hotel stable and GO INSIDE!  There are these huge, great looking horses in really big kennels and all these fancy carriage thingys.  There are some really neat displays of some strange looking collars and a suit inside a glass cage.

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This man who mom and dad call Ben comes out and tells my mom she can bring me on over.  Over where, dude?  I don’t do carriages.

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Oh my GOSH!!!  Mom is going to wash me in a HORSE SHOWER!!  Talk about mortified!  She hooks me up to this really long leash thing and starts wetting me down.  Now the only good thing about this so far is that the water is WARM.  Nothing is too good for those fancy Grand horses!  But where’s the tub?  At this point, I would have even settled for a plastic bucket!

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So there I stood, soaking wet, getting lathered up with my kiwi shampoo and what happens?  A CROWD gathers!  There are tourists going through the stables looking at the horses and the carriages and stuff, and then they see me getting a bath.  Guess who becomes the star attraction.  They took pictures and everything!  It was horrible.  What made it even worse was that MADDIE was there watching too – and I could see that sly little grin on her face even though mom was running water all in my eyes (something Miss Kathy NEVER does).  I wasn’t even sorry to see that mom was getting almost as wet as me.

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Well, it was finally over.  I had a good shake and mom led me over in a corner to dry me off with those towels dad had brought.  The crowd went back to looking at the horses like they were supposed to be doing (if I had known I was going to serve as entertainment, I would have insisted on a cover charge). 

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We got home and mom took me to the third floor to use the blow dryer on me.  She brought along a real dog hair dryer from home because a people hair dryer is much too hot for my delicate skin.  It sounds like a jet engine when it’s running, so she wanted to get as far away from the neighbors as she could. 

When it was all over, I have to admit I looked pretty good – not as good as when Miss Kathy works on me – but ok.  Mom said I certainly smelled a lot better – well, yeah if you like kiwi perfume over dirty dog smell.  You know which one I prefer!  I decided I would sulk for a while.  I figured if I did it long enough, I might get something to cheer me up.

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Do I know my mom or what?

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Throw Back Tuesday – Back Track and Forward March 4/11/17

Personal Note:  Loved reposting this blog today because of the many Mackinac friends – and blog readers – who happen to be in it!  Also, it was written at the end of the Lilac Festival that year and involves a parade!  Sweet memories.

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FIRST PUBLISHED JUNE, 18,2013

You will not BELIEVE all the photographs I have backlogged over the last few days!  I’ve been focusing mainly on Lilacs for a good two weeks now, and the Lilacs are still going strong, even though their “festival” ended yesterday. Tonight I want to catch up on a few other topics, throw in a few more flowers, and highlight some of the parade from yesterday. So, here we go . . .

THE PEOPLE WE MEET!

New lady on the corner! Walk down Main Street as far as Shepler's Ferry, look directly across the street on the corner of Main and Astor, and you will more than likely see - during daylight hours anyway - the brilliant smile of Mert. As the Corner Concierge, Mert helps visitors with all things "Mackinac" and does it so easily and with such friendliness that you just want to stay and chat a while longer. She'd love for you to stop by - to ask questions, to talk about Mackinac, or just to say hi! Oh, and tell her "Bree" sent you!

New lady on the corner! Walk down Main Street as far as Shepler’s Ferry, look directly across the street to the corner of Main and Astor, and you will more than likely see – during daylight hours anyway – the brilliant smile of Mert. As the Corner Concierge, Mert helps visitors with all things “Mackinac” and does it so easily and with such friendliness you just want to stay and chat a while longer! She’d love for you to stop by – to ask questions, to talk about the Island, or just to say hi!  You will love her!

This beautiful family, Theresa, Allen, Amelia and Michael - from Tecumseh MI, met me last week at Sadie's for ice cream. Theresa is a frequent commenter on Bree's Blog and follows us in Georgia during the winter also.

This beautiful family – Allen, Theresa, Amelia and Michael – from Tecumseh MI, met me last week at Sadie’s for ice cream.  While we were there, Amelia chose my 4th flavor to try – Caramel Turtle Cheesecake!  A T-E-N!

Loved hanging out with this great family, and while we were in Sadie's Amelia chose my 4th flavor to try - Caramel Turtle Cheesecake! A T-E-N!

Theresa is a frequent commenter on Bree’s Blog and follows the Lake Blackshear Blog in Georgia during the winter also.  Loved hanging out with this great family!

A couple of days later, I turned the corner down French Lane and spotted Theresa and Allen trying to find all the hidden treasurers in Jeff's garden. They didn't know I was anywhere around until after I snapped this. They left the island the day of the Lilac Parade and watched it on Theresa's iPad in the car going home. LOVE IT!

A couple of days later, I turned the corner down French Lane and spotted Theresa and Allen trying to find all the hidden treasurers in Jeff’s garden. They didn’t know I was anywhere around until after I snapped this. They left the island the day of the Lilac Parade and watched it on Theresa’s iPad in the car going home. LOVE IT!

Richard! This sweet gentleman used to live all summer on the Island, and Ted and I first met him several years ago. Now he returns for a few days here and there, and I happened to spot him downtown this week, resting on a bench in the sun. Always good to see Richard!

Richard! This sweet gentleman used to live all summer on the Island, and Ted and I first met him several years ago. Now he returns for a few days here and there, and I happened to spot him downtown this week, resting on a bench in the sun. Always good to see Richard, and he always asks about Bear and Ted . . . in that order.

On the way home a couple of days ago, right by the big barns on Cadotte, someone called "Bree?" I turned and met Ted (I'll remember that name for sure) and his wife Rebecca. They were married on Mackinac just last year and were up for a visit. This sweet couple is from Aurora, Ohio, and their love of the island was so evident, they reminded me of ME!

On the way home a couple of days ago, right by the big barns on Cadotte, someone called “Bree?” I turned and met Ted (I’ll remember that name for sure) and his wife Rebecca. They were married on Mackinac just last year, found Bree’s Blog when they returned home from their honeymoon, and were up for a visit. This sweet couple is from Aurora, Ohio, and their love of the island was so evident.  They reminded me of ME!

Evi is a blog fan from New Jersey, and we met up - finally, after several attempts - at the Island Bookstore one evening last week! Hope to see you again soon, Evi!

Evi is a blog fan from New Jersey, and we met up – finally, after several attempts – at the Island Bookstore one evening last week! Hope to see you again soon, Evi!

Tommy and Gerald - our two teenage young men who stayed with us Saturday night. They are part of an A Cappela Choir from Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI. We had a fun time with Tommy and Gerald, who challenged us to a game of Monopoly (who knew teenagers still played Monopoly). Three hours later, Ted was bankrupt, I was on the verge of bankruptcy, and Tommy was Donald Trump Jr.

Tommy and Gerald – our two teenage young men who stayed with us Saturday night. They are part of an a cappella choir from Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI. We had a fun time with Tommy and Gerald, who challenged us to a game of Monopoly (who knew teenagers still played Monopoly) after returning from singing for their supper at the Seabiscuit restaurant. Three hours later, Ted was bankrupt, I was on the verge of bankruptcy, and Tommy was Donald Trump Jr.  During that Monopoly game, they also put away two large bottles of juice, a huge bowl of popcorn, a whole bag of tortillas, a jar or salsa and a jar of cheese dip – with a little fudge as dessert .  LOL – they SO reminded me of Jason and Blake at that age!  We enjoyed having Tommy and Gerald with us – they were smart, well-mannered, and fun – a tribute to their families.

The choir group after church on Sunday.

The choir group after church on Sunday.

Blog readers Traci and Bill stopped by the Stuart House this morning while Mike Forrester was visiting, so Mike became our photographer. Traci and Bill are from Pulaski, Tennessee, and it was so nice to hear a Southern accent! It was a spur-of-the-moment visit for them (the best kind). They drove 13 hours to get here and plan just to relax and "do Mackinac" with no real set agenda (the best way). Have fun, you two!

Blog readers Traci and Bill stopped by the Stuart House this morning while Mike Forrester was visiting, so Mike became our photographer. Traci and Bill are from Pulaski, Tennessee, and it was so nice to hear a Southern accent! It was a spur-of-the-moment visit for them (the best kind). They drove 13 hours to get here and plan just to relax and “do Mackinac” with no real set agenda (the best way). Have fun, you two!

FOUR-LEGGED CRITTERS

Out snapping Lilac photos the other day near The Gate House, I ran across this sweet puppy, obviously tied out while mom and dad lunched on the patio just a few feet away. The Gate House provides water dishes for pets! A cutie-pie!

Out snapping Lilac photos the other day near the Gate House, I ran across this sweet puppy, tied out while mom and dad lunched on the patio just a few feet away. The Gate House provides water dishes for pets! A cutie-pie!

This precious baby was enjoying the shade at Park Place Suites, which is pet-friendly!

This precious pooch was enjoying the shade at Park Place Suites, which is pet-friendly!

Back to front Grand Hotel omnibuses, the first driven by Shelby and the second by new driver Caleb (I hope, I hope I'm right on that name).

Back to front Grand Hotel omnibuses, the first driven by Shelby and the second by new driver Caleb (I hope, I hope I’m right on that name).

New neighborhood pooch, Charlie!

New neighborhood puppy, Charlie . . .

. . . and our condo neighbor, Judy, is back for the summer with her sweet Buddy.

. . . and our condo neighbor, Judy, is back for the summer with her sweet Buddy.

It's not often you can wake up with two Budweiser Clydesdale in your front yard, but it happened this week! These two, Duke and Jack, were here with four of their team-mates for the Lilac Parade! That's Kyle on Duke's back.

It’s not often you can wake up with two Budweiser Clydesdales in your front yard, but it happened this weekend! These two, Duke and Jack, were here with four of their team-mates for the Lilac Parade! That’s Kyle on Duke’s back.

A FEW MORE FLOWERS

Only had to walk down Cadotte to find this big clump of Lady Slippers - near where the old Grand stable once stood.

I only had to walk down Cadotte to find this big clump of Lady Slippers – near where the old Grand stable once stood.

Lilacs!

Dark Lilacs . . .

. . . and light Lilacs!

. . . and light Lilacs!

A friendly group of Pansies . . .

A friendly group of Pansies . . .

, , , and one loner.

. . . and one loner.

A very, very small section of Jeff's garden on French Lane.

A very, very small section of Jeff’s garden on French Lane.

The always-charming Cloghaun B & B, with its luscious gardens in full bloom.

The always-charming Cloghaun B & B – surrounded by Lilacs.

A curve on Cadotte . . .

A curve on Cadotte . . .

. . . . and Mahoney Avenue.

. . . . and Mahoney Street.

THE PARADE!  THE PARADE!

The mighty Clydesdales!

The mighty Clydesdales!

FFFF

Do not try this at home – at least not if you are MY age!

This couple had a choice spot to watch the parade - right in the shade - and sweet smell - of beautiful Lilacs!

This couple had a choice spot to watch the parade – right in the shade – and sweet smell – of beautiful Lilacs!

We had serious bands . . .

We had serious bands . . .

. . . and not so serious bands.

. . . and not so serious bands.

We had beautiful performing horses . . .

We had beautiful performing horses . . .

. . . and

. . . horses performing beautifully . . .

. . . and a couple of silly horses!

. . . and a couple of silly horses!

vvvv

We had musical marching groups . . .

. . . and patriotic marching groups.

. . . and patriotic marching groups.

We had clowns in groups . . .

We had clowns who came in groups . . .

. . . and some alone.

. . . and some who came alone.

We had celebrity local dogs, like Chloe and Bella, who represented Wheels of Mackinac . . .

We had celebrity local dogs, like Chloe and Bella, who represented Wheels of Mackinac . . .

. . . and dogs whose names we'll never know - but who will grow up to be service dogs all over the country.

. . . and dogs whose names we’ll never know – who will grow up to be service dogs all over the country.

We had beauty queens who rode in carriages . . .

We had small beauty queens, teenage beauty queens .  .

. . . and some who walked.

. . . and grown-up beauty queens.

And we had bicycles in all sizes and shapes.

And we had bicycles in all sizes and shapes.

Grand Marshall of the parade was our neighbor Donald "Duck" Andress. Duck rode in a carriage this year instead of on horseback, but his son

Grand Marshall of the parade was our neighbor Donald “Duck” Andress. Duck rode in a carriage this year, but his son Jamie – seen behind him in the white headdress – continues the tradition of their family by riding on horseback.

Are you asleep yet?

I think that catches us up to today in photos.  As you can see, it’s been a busy time on the Island, and today the Island was taking a great big breath and relaxing after a tremendously successful Lilac Festival.

God bless.

Bring Your Own Sunshine! 4/9/17

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.  Anthony J. D’Angelo.

After complaining about how hot it already was in Florida last week, I shall now eat those words and say we’re in the middle of what the weather folks are predicting will be a good week-and-a-half of glorious spring-like days!  Just when I thought the 90’s had arrived to stay, it stormed for two days and then the wind blew like crazy for two more days.  On the other side of that . . . out popped SPRING.  For the next week we are looking at highs in the 70’s and lows at night in the 60’s . . . . PERFECT!

We’ve had a pretty busy week here . . .

Ted left Sunday morning for Augusta GA and the Masters.

Jason was already there . . .

. . . and he spent Monday morning (before the bad weather moved in) showing Ted and a great group of friends from Mackinac some of the sights.  The Masters practice rounds were cancelled for parts of Tuesday and Wednesday due to weather.

This was Jason’s 20th Masters. He attends each year to host clients.

Ted was going to stay for the Monday and Tuesday practice rounds, but decided to come home Tuesday morning to avoid driving in the anticipated horrible weather in north GA on Wednesday. The bad weather started for us here in Florida on Tuesday, but he didn’t hit it until the last hour of his trip home.

We accumulated over five inches of rain that day . . .

. . . . and this pic Ted took a few days later of one of the retention ponds in Sunset Inlet shows how much water accumulated.

The big retention pond at the front of our neighborhood was so full the dogs could have gone swimming in it.  You can see the “mud marks” around the sides.

We went to Java Joint Wednesday morning for breakfast and met this gentlemen as he was about to leave. We had noticed his bike outside and remarked about all the gear it held. Didn’t get his name, but he told us he had flown with his bike into Savannah from his home in Maine. He was biking from Savannah to Key West – said he was tired of winter and thought the bike ride would be a good way to get a start on summer.

Off he goes.  It seemed like quite the adventure to me!

In keeping with the great weather, Julie and her family went deep sea fishing today and just sent us these two pics. Here she’s just caught a good-sized amberjack . . .

. . . and Matt hooked this 8-foot shark!  He reeled him in twice, but he was fighting so hard Matt ended up cutting the line.  Julie said he was one mad shark!  She also said it was a beautiful porpoise day.  They had about 30 trolling along with the boat, jumping and swimming in their wake.  They went about 50 miles offshore.

Bodie and I chose a calmer way to spend this gorgeous Sunday afternoon  We went over to the St. Joe Walkway and strolled along the Intracoastal for a couple of miles.

It was shady most of the way, and I have to tell you that Bodie and I are most definitely on the same wavelength as far as our love for cool weather. He RACES past every sunny spot to get to the shady ones!

THE WEEK ON MACKINAC

April is a transition month on Mackinac.  The snowmobiles are being put in storage, and everyone is getting ready to begin another season.  Shop owners who don’t live on the island year-round will begin arriving to stock inventory and get ready to open for business.  Construction projects are winding down.  I can’t wait to see what this new season will bring!

On Friday Clark Bloswick snapped this photo of the beautiful blue waters of Lake Huron. The ice all seems to have melted, and it’s great to see the Straits ready for another season of visitors to Mackinac.

Love this pic from Max Jones of horses waiting on the ferry.

And speaking of horses arriving . . . . the annual parade back to the island has begun!  Thanks to Kaitlynn Bazinau for sharing this video!

One more video – NOT for the faint of heart!  Ed Gough’s visit to the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week to come and a joyful Easter Sunday on the 16th.  God bless.

 

 

 

It’s Spring (so why does it feel like summer)? 4/2/17

Hi Friends!

The first day of Spring was March 20, but it might as well have been the first day of Summer here in Florida!  The temps are already hovering close to the 90’s by early afternoon, and the only saving grace (for me, the hot weather dis-liker) is that the mornings and evenings are still relatively cool – and the sea breezes are heavenly.  Nevertheless, by the time we return from Alaska at the end of May, I know I’ll be ready to pack for Mackinac as soon as I’ve run a few loads of laundry!

SPEAKING OF MACKINAC . . .

Josh Carley reports that visitors are already arriving. According to Josh, “It seems as though the season starts earlier and earlier and ends later and later each year”. 

Something else to note in the photo above . . . the beloved tree at the corner of Marquette Park is still standing and hopefully will remain so a long time into the future.  The State Park is in charge of the tree because it stands on State Park property, and they will strive to keep it healthy as long as possible.  Yeah!!

These next four photos are from Steve Fridley and will probably be the last ones showing snow on the island this winter. Steve was there about three weeks ago when there was still ice in the Straits.

I love this perspective of the ferry plowing through ice on Lake Huron.

Sugar Loaf, with a dusting of snow at the base and ice showing along the shoreline.

The village of Mackinac Island, framed by the trees at the top of Fort Hill.

Early morning on the ferry docks. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

This aerial photo by Bryce Tracy shows minimal snow and the beginnings of an island turning green.  Great photo of the Grand and a few West Bluff cottages.  In the foreground on the right is the island school and in the upper left part of the photo is the beginning of “the Village”. I can see our former condo at Surrey Ridge and also the condo where we’ll be staying this summer near the horse barns.

Here’s some great island news! My sweet friend Nicole Doud is opening her third shop on Main Street in May!

The new shop is located on the site of the former Leather Corral, which is being totally renovated. Nicole says, “Canvas & Paddle will be a slow-paced shopping experience bringing back memories of life at ‘the cabin’ – a place where you can make new Up North memories.”  I can’t wait to see this new addition to Main Street . . . and start shopping. Congratulations, Nicole!

Early morning colors highlight Round Island Lighthouse on Saturday morning. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

 

And the colors at sunrise this morning from Arch Rock are subdued, but no less stunning. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A beautiful photo by Kate Koster of horses awaiting a ferry.

OTHER NEWS

On March 29 my beautiful, boisterous, and bodacious Bodie turned ONE!  I don’t know if my late 60’s was when I needed to add a huge dose of ZANINESS to my life, but suffice it to say it has been added in big capital letters spelled BODIE!  He keeps me moving, keeps me trying to think one step ahead of him, and has added a whole other level of patience to my life.  In other words, I love him. 

I loved this look. It’s like, “You gave me a pink pig for my birthday, mom? Pink?  Really?”  I explained to him it was a special pig.  Indestructible.  Triple stitched.  Made to withstand the bite of a pit bull on steroids.  And it only came in pink.  He had it unstuffed in under five minutes.

“It’s so tiring proving dog toy manufacturers wrong.”

Little Maddie – approaching 13, a little greyer, a little deaf, and still ruling the Horton house.  She is the QUEEN!

We love when we have friends visit from Mackinac. Last night Mr. B (Benser) and Tommy Marx (he took this pic) stayed with us on their way to the Masters (they both winter in south Florida). Those two and Ted left this morning heading for Augusta where they were meeting up with another group of Mackinac men. I’m thinking they will have a LARGE time!

 

Sneaking up on some shore birds sunning on the dock posts out on the Intracoastal.

PRAYER REQUEST

Please keep Lowell Greene and his wife Faye in your prayers.  Lowell had a really scary few days this week.  He collapsed at home and was rushed by ambulance to the small hospital in their town where he was diagnosed with dehydration.  He was given 3 liters of fluids and sent home.  Thirty minutes later he went into congestive heart failure and was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Lansing.  It took from Tuesday to Friday to remove all the fluid from his lungs and around his heart.  He is at home now and feeling better, but he still needs our prayers for no more “repeats” of this frightening event.

Lowell and Faye last summer on Mackinac. We were on the way to the Grand shade garden and stopped to rest at the corner of Market St. and Cadotte.

Love you, Lowell!

God bless.