Visiting Mackinac in the Winter 2/5/17

You all know how I love visiting Mackinac during the winter.  I’ve gotten that opportunity three times, and if there was a way I could go every year, I’d be there in an instant.  With our Alaska trip in May already on the books (and the penny-saving in full swing), I knew a trip this winter was out of the question.  But I’ve just visited vicariously through Kem and Ed Green, and now you can do the same through their photos. 

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Kem and Ed are friends we met through Bree’s Blog. They’re from Iowa, and of all my readers, they would rank right up there in the top five as “almost” loving the island as much as we do. Kem has wanted to spend a few days on the island during the winter for several years now, and this week her dream came true.  They arrived on Sunday, and since the winter ferry takes that day off, they also got to fly over to the island for the first time.  They loved all seven minutes of the flight!

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When I got their visit details, I immediately texted friends Eugenia Murray and Pam Day, who are on the island during the winter.  I sent them a photo of Kem and Ed and asked them to be on the lookout to say hello.  Kem was in Doud’s on Monday and she said, “There was this woman who kept looking at her cellphone and then looking at me, looking at her cellphone and looking at me. She finally came over, showed me a photo of Ed and I and said, ‘Is this you?’ It was Pam Day!”  They just missed meeting Eugenia the night before in Cawthorne’s Village Inn. I had to confess to having them stalked.  Hmmm – maybe next time I should mention it to the “stalkees”!

Bless Kem’s heart, she came down with a bad cold the second day she was there and didn’t get in nearly as much hiking as Ed did.  But Kem’s dream of just nestling in, reading while watching the snow fall, and soaking up the quiet and calm of a Mackinac winter was thoroughly satisfied.  Ed took most of the pics that follow, as he roamed around the island for the next several days.

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The weekly street hockey game.  The Mackinac Wings won against St. Ignace 7-1!

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As usual, there is a lot of construction going on during the winter.  With very little snow and temps staying in the teens and 20’s, everything is moving along at a rapid pace.  Next summer Martha’s Sweet Shop will be replaced by a market and deli owned by Andrew Doud.

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And the Leather Corral will be a new shop – owner to be announced soon.

The Greens also report the Chippewa has new floors and a new bar, and Twist N Sprouts is relocating. 

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Ed got this great shot after snow arrived the night before.  The Scout Barracks building is on the left, and that’s the back of Fort Macknac in the center, with Lake Huron beyond.

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Love that Ed trekked up Cadotte to get this photo of our old condos. And yes, the one we owned is now on the market.

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Ice on the West shore.

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Cupola suites are being added on the east side this winter at Grand Hotel.

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The beautiful Bay View Inn in the snow.

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The highway on the east side of the island.

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One item of Kem’s wishlist for their winter visit was to go to the island library and read in front of the fireplace.   When she arrived she walked to the back of the library to see a very different view from when she’d been there this past summer. 

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She was delighted to find a huge jigsaw puzzle set up in front of the window, waiting for anyone who wanted to while away an afternoon.

But . . . . what she didn’t find was a fire in the fireplace.  Kem and Anne St. Onge, the librarian, were the only ones in the library that day.  She and Anne struck up a conversation, and Kem mentioned she was so looking forward to curling up with her book in front of the fire, but she understood why there  wouldn’t be one with so few people there.  And then one of those things happened that makes Mackinac so magical.

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Anne opened the grate, and built a fire.  And Kem’s wish came true. 

Thanks so much, Kem and Ed, for sharing your winter adventure with all of us!

MORE MACKINAC NEWS

This was Winter Festival Weekend, so the island was buzzing with visitors.  Among many other activities, folks got to participate in the opening of the Mackinac Ice Rink near the corner of Arch Rock Road and Huron Road. 

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Nora Bailey tries out the ice rink.

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The Bailey family (Mary, Jeri-Lynn and Nora – Brian was the photographer) also took part in the second Twilight Turtle Trek of the winter season.  Islanders and visitors were able to ski and snow-shoe for two hours along almost two miles of groomed, track set trails, lit by lanterns.  The final Twilight Turtle Trek will be March 4.

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Mary Bailey playing some Snow-Golf during Winter Festival

A FEW MORE FROM THE ISLAND

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Beautiful St. Anne’s Church on Friday.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)

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A Clark Bloswick sunrise (did you spot the bunny)?

BODIE NEWS

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Bodie turned 10 months old this week and added counter-surfing to his repertoire of tricks.  I turned my back to grab a drink from the frig, and he helped himself to the pimento-and-cheese sandwich I’d just made.  Oh, the mischief in those eyes!

AND FROM FLORIDA . . . .

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Visitors Dale and Jean, Spring Lake MI neighbors of newly-found cousins Dave and Diane Bennink, dropped by the Visitor’s Center at Fort Matanzas to meet Ted.  They were in St. Augustine for a few days of vacation in a warmer climate.

Speaking of newly-found family, Ted is flying to Albuquerque NM on Tuesday to spend a few days with his birth mother’s brother, his Uncle Ken.  Uncle Ken is 94 years old, and he and Ted have spent many, many hours on the phone since Ted discovered his birth mother’s family.  They can’t wait to meet in person and share stories, and I can’t wait to hear them when Ted returns on Friday. 

Have a great week!

God bless.

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?

______________________________________________________________________

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.

 

 

Happy 4th of July! 7/3/16

Hi Everyone!

Here in Beverly Beach we’ve been enjoying a week of hot days, afternoon thunderstorms (normal summer weather in Florida) . . . .

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn't they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O'Connor)

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn’t they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O’Connor)

On Mackinac Island, this Sunday afternoon before the 4th was busy with visitors by the thousands. . . .

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines -

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines – Shepler, Star, or Arnold!  This photo from Tom Chambers shows some of the action today as ferries came to the island and departed to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond, were on Mackinac a few days recently and shared the next photos.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond were on Mackinac for a few days recently and shared this and the next four photos.

Beautiful clouds over Fort Holmes.

Wispy cloud strands over Fort Holmes.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff. Thanks, Karen and Raymond, for sharing your memories!

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now - when the woods are a blanket of yellow. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now – when Mother Nature rolls out her yellow carpet.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.  I don’t even want to imagine how early this was in the morning for him to have found the streets empty!

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac and Father Marquette – with floodlights.

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A path usually  teeming with visitors waiting to board carriage rides.  Thank you, Josh, for these three photos showing “life after everything closes” on Mackinac.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning - as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We've known Alyssa for years and years.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning – as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We’ve known Alyssa for years and years.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

A gorgeous sunset from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

A gorgeous sunrise from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.  Looks like a painting doesn’t it?

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. The brightly colored kayaks just pop against that water!

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. Love the brightly colored kayaks against that water!

We’re counting down the days until we head to Mackinac (10-11 more days, depending on when we leave).  I’m going to take a little break from the computer until just before we head north, so I’ll be back around July 12 or 13 (after our bags are packed, but before we hit the road).  Lots to do between now and then as we’ll be preparing the house to leave it during hurricane season – more on that later. I can’t wait until we’re on the island, and I’m sharing personal photographs and stories with all of you during our three-month stay.

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

God bless.

Photo Day! 6/26/16

This has been one of those slow news weeks.  I do have one little story to tell, and then the rest of tonight’s post will be a “Photos and Captions.”  I’ve got some great pics to share from both the beach AND our favorite Michigan island!

THE SEA TURTLE PATROL

Ted and I went down to the beach around 7:30 one morning and happened to arrive in time to watch the Sea Turtle Patrol in action!

This volunteers hit the beach early each morning of turtle season to look for tracks and new nests.

These volunteers hit the beach early each morning of turtle season (May-October) – at first to look for tracks and new nests, and then later on to check that nests haven’t been disturbed or to see if turtles have hatched.

We were very lucky that morning, because we spotted the new nest at almost the same time they did?

We were very lucky that morning, because we spotted the new nest at almost the same time they did!

I took this after they had staked out the nest. You can see the tracks of the "mama turtle" (obviously a very BIG mama turtle) leading up the the

I took this AFTER the volunteers had staked out the nest. You can see the flipper tracks of the “mama turtle” (obviously a very BIG mama turtle) leading up the mound of dirt where she covered her 80-120 eggs.  The sign on the nest gives the nest number and states the date it was found.  The eggs will hatch in approximately 60 days, and on day 45 the volunteers will place a red flag on the right rear stake and begin to check the nest on a daily basis.  Lights on the beach (even flashlights)are restricted during turtle season as they may confuse turtles coming to the beach to mate or lay eggs.  Lights also could confuse young hatchlings on their dangerous trip across the beach to the ocean.  So far we have about 20 sea turtle nests along the one-mile stretch that is Beverly Beach.

BEVERLY BEACH PHOTOS

Arriving on the beach after sunrise.

Arriving on the beach just after sunrise.  On this day the wind was churning the waves up pretty good.

An amazing shelf cloud forming over the beach early this morning. (Photo: Neighbor Kevin Freedman)

An amazing shelf cloud forming over the beach early this morning. (Photo: Neighbor Kevin Freedman)

That same cloud coming from the beach over our house in Sunset Inlet. As ominous as it looks, it blew right over us, and we didn't get a drop of rain. (Photo: Neighbor Lisa Mordecai)

That same cloud coming from the beach over our house (2-story on the left) in Sunset Inlet. As ominous as it looked, it blew right over us, and we didn’t get a drop of rain. (Photo: Neighbor David Mordecai)

MACKINAC ISLAND PHOTOS

KathyJo Strukel, who won the Mackinac Island coloring book, is making good progress on the first page!

KathyJo Strukel (Oldsmar FL), who won the Mackinac Island coloring book, is making good progress on the page she chose to tackle first!  She’s using colored pencils.  Good job, Kathy!

The Lilac Festival Parade! A great pic from Clark Bloswick of the Seabiscuit Café float, part of the crowd, and Fort Mackinac in the background.

The Lilac Festival Parade! A great pic from Clark Bloswick of the Seabiscuit Café float, part of the crowd, Marquette Park, and Fort Mackinac in the background.

A simply stunning photo by Steven Kopacki of Artistic Mackinadc Gallery and Studio of the strawberry moon rising

A simply stunning photo by Steven Kopacki, Artistic Mackinac Gallery and Studio, of the “Strawberry Moon” rising over the Straits of Mackinac.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Can’t wait to get back on the island and check out what Steven has new in his studio!

Blog reader Jan Weir and her husband Don (Harbor Springs MI and Indianapolis IN) visited the island for several days a week or so ago. This photo and the next six are from Jan.

Blog reader Jan Weir and her husband Don (Harbor Springs MI and Indianapolis IN) visited the island for several days a week or so ago. This photo and the next five are from Jan.

Lilacs blooming along the boardwalk

Lilacs blooming along the boardwalk bordering Lake Huron.  What a wonderful (and romantic) spot to settle in for a chat.

The hanging baskets are up, and from now until Fall they will grow and grow and grow. When they are taken down, their leaves and flowers will be almost touching the sidewalk. Oh - the former Weber's Florist is now

The hanging baskets are up, and from now until Fall they will grow and grow and grow. When they’re taken down, their leaves and flowers will be almost touching the sidewalk. Oh – the former Weber’s Florist is now Vintage Glam, a new salon offering hair care, nail care, and makeup services.  They specialize in wedding parties!

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast - always an oasis of gorgeous flowers, and breathtaking landscapting - not to mention an awesome place to spend a few nights! Friend Aretha Jansen is the Cloghaun's new Manager this year, taking over from the wonderful Marti Gmazel Carey who retired at the end of last season.

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast – always an oasis of gorgeous flowers and breathtaking landscaping – not to mention an awesome place to spend a few nights! Friend Aneta Jansen is the Cloghaun’s new Manager this year, filling the shoes of the awesome Marti Gmazel Carey, who retired at the end of last season.

Silver Birches! The renovation of the wonderful lodge is on schedule! Looking forward to riding out there and checking it all out!

Silver Birches! Renovation of the wonderful lodge is on schedule! Looking forward to riding out there soon and checking it all out!

Pontiac Trail, along the West Bluff.

Pontiac Trail – along the West Bluff.

A dreamy shot from one of our favorite taxi drivers - Jim Gillespie. He had stopped to rest his horses a moment at Mission Point and took this great photo.

A dreamy shot from one of our favorite taxi drivers – Jim Gillespie. Jim had stopped to rest his horses a moment at Mission Point and took this great photo, looking across the resort’s expansive yard.  Someone asked Jim recently if working on the island – after 30 seasons driving taxi – ever gets old.  His answer was a resounding “NO”!

A great catch of interesting clouds over Grand Hotel. (Photo: Max Jones)

A great catch of interesting clouds over Grand Hotel. (Photo: Max Jones)

A view of the Pink Pony patio and part of downtown from an interesting perspective. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A view of the Pink Pony patio and part of downtown from an interesting perspective. (Photo: Tom Chambers)  Hmmmm . . . . . where were you, Tom?

The Round Island Lighthouse is rarely illuminated. But one night recently, it was. And Clark Bloswick was around to catch the moment.

The Round Island Lighthouse is rarely illuminated. But one night recently, it was. And Clark Bloswick was around to catch the moment.

Friend Steve Fridley and his family love Mackinac almost as much as I do. When they're on the island, Steve has a way of being at the right place at the right time. Like last week - when this rainbow appeared to arch across the sky.

Friend Steve Fridley and his family love visiting Mackinac and do so often. When they’re on the island, Steve has a way of being at the right place at the right time. Like last week – when this rainbow appeared and seemed to arch across the Straits from Mackinac to Bois Blanc.

I. Love. This. Photo! Mary Bailey, the beautiful teenage daughter of friends Jeri-Lynn and Brian Bailey, snapped this shot one recent afternoon. In the way of all teenagers, Mary and her friends were looking for something to do and decided to haul their hammocks all the way up to Anne's Tablet and hang them among the trees. What a way to spend a fun - and leisurely - afternoon on Mackinac!

I. Love. This. Photo! Mary Bailey, the beautiful teenage daughter of friends Jeri-Lynn and Brian Bailey, snapped this shot one recent afternoon. In the way of all teenagers, Mary and her friends were looking for something to do and decided to haul their hammocks all the way up to Anne’s Tablet and hang them among the trees. What a way to spend a fun – and leisurely – afternoon on Mackinac!

With heat indexes in the triple digits here in Beverly Beach, I am counting down the days before we leave for Mackinac.  Right now the plan is to arrive on the island on Monday, July 18, so we’ll be leaving a few days before that.  It will be so strange to pack the car without all of Bear’s paraphernalia (he had his own suitcase), and then there was also the 30-lb bag of dogfood.  Maddie only eats 2/3 of a cup a day, so a 5-lb. bag lasts her a very long time.  I was so hoping we’d have a new furbaby to take with us, but it just hasn’t worked out . . . haven’t found the one who speaks to my heart yet.  So we wait.

Hoping you all are doing well and wishing you a great week ahead!

God bless.

Memorial Day Weekend 5/29/16

Hi everyone!

Just a short note tonight to wish everyone a very Happy Memorial Day on Monday, May 30.

Here in Sunset Inlet we had a wonderful party today that brought our entire neighborhood together for food and fellowship.

Here in Sunset Inlet we had a wonderful party today at Ernie and Jennifer’s that brought our entire neighborhood together for food and fellowship.

Adding to our fun this weekend is a visit from our Lake Blackshear friends, Dawn and Stevie. They arrived Friday evening and will be here until Wednesday! So, so good to reconnect with these two sweet friends.

Adding to our fun this weekend is a visit from our Lake Blackshear friends, Dawn and Stevie. They arrived Friday evening and will be here until Wednesday! So, so good to reconnect with these two sweet friends.

As the sun began to slip toward the horizon, we all walked down to our dock on the Intracoastal . . .

As the sun began to slip toward the horizon, we all walked down to our dock on the Intracoastal . . .

As the sun was beginning to slip toward the horizon we all walked out to the Intracoastal dock and had a brief ceremony honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

and held a brief ceremony honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

We had just enough time to get back to the house, climb up to the top deck and watch the sun reflecting off the dark clouds coming in from the southwest.

Then we had just enough time to get back to the house, climb up to the top deck and watch the sun reflecting off the dark clouds coming in from the southwest.

Our neighbor, Kevin Freedman, captured the sunset tonight beautifully.

Our neighbor, Kevin Freedman, captured the sunset tonight beautifully.

One final note:  Lowell Greene came through his surgery beautifully and is back at home with a new pacemaker functioning perfectly in his heart.  He has strict orders that he is to stay out of his garden for two months.  Faye, I’m so glad it’s you who has to enforce that rule, and we’re all wishing you “good luck” getting him to follow those instructions!

Many, many thanks for all the prayers lifted this week for Lowell and his family.

God bless.