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.

 

 

 

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The Island, the Beach, and a Touch of Alaska 3/12/17

Hi Friends!

Most of this afternoon has been spent on-line, working out details for our May trip to Alaska.  I had no idea there’d be so many decisions to make!  Most of the hard ones involve choosing from dozens and dozens of excursions that can be added to an already packed schedule.  Do we want to visit a sled dog camp?  Do we want to actually ride aboard a sled pulled by sled dogs?  Do we want to take a small boat out from one of our ports of call to see whales and other marine life?  Do we want to hop a small plane for a bird’s eye view of wildlife and glaciers – or a helicopter that will actually land ON the glacier, where we can get out and walk around!  Of course if we’d won a recent lottery, all this would be so much easier to figure out.  But – no lottery money arriving here, so we’re trying to work out what’s going to fit into our budget.  More to come in the weeks ahead on that!

Hmmmm . . . wonder if that ice in the water will be melted by May?

Sticking with that “cold-weather” theme, Mackinac Island had their fair share of winter weather this week.

Friend Sue Conlon and husband Terry had to cross the Mackinac Bridge this weekend, and conditions were rough! That sign says, “High Winds, Escort in Progress”.  That means someone did not think they could cross without assistance, so a Bridge Authority person drove their car across for them.  I think I read the bridge was closed for a short time that day because of the high winds, but I could be mistaken on that.

A snowy scene from the island last week, just proving that work continues there, regardless of the weather. (Photo: Josh Carley)

A panoramic view across the icy Straits of Mackinac.  (Photo: Greg Main)

The Mighty Huron had a tough time plowing through the ice in the Straits on Saturday, but she made it.   (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A beautiful shot of the full moon from beneath The Mustang Lounge sign. (Photo: Josh Carley)

Probably the biggest news from Mackinac last week was the mysterious disappearance of the wildly popular Mackinac Island News & Views Facebook page.  Clicking on the site brought a puzzling message saying simply, “This site has been archived.”  The site is the “go-to” place for information on the island, and the beautiful photographs placed there on a daily basis keep Mackinac fans entertained year-round.  There were hundreds of comments and pleadings for the return of the site.  Then, just as mysteriously as it disappeared, it opened again for business this weekend.  All 23,000 of its fans – including this one – rejoiced and celebrated!

Wanted to share a couple of stories tonight that are both really interesting and very informative reads!

This first one covers last week’s visit to Grand Hotel by hotel President Dan Musser III and several full-time employees, “2017 Winter Visit to Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island:  http://www.grandhotel.com/2017-winter-visit-grand-hotel-mackinac-island/

This second story was featured on-line at MyNorth and will make you want to book a stay at Grand Hotel just to eat there!  It’s titled “Dinner at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island: 130 Years of Caviar and Aristocracy”.  Click here: http://mynorth.com/2017/03/dinner-at-the-grand-hotel-on-mackinac-island/

FLORIDA NEWS

Ted and I will be dropping off Maddie and Bodie at Lily’s (our wonderful petsitter) and traveling to Kissimmee FL on Monday to meet for lunch one of Ted’s by-birth aunts and her husband (Aunt Marsha and Uncle Dan), along with Lindie, Mike, Kel and Gwen (we met all four of these cousins on Mackinac this summer, and Kel and Gwen were just here a couple of weeks ago).  So glad several of these new relatives like to come to Florida for the winter!  Aunt Marsha is Ted’s birth mother’s youngest sister.  Pictures to come next Sunday!

Bodie joined me Friday night on the deck to wait for the sunset.

It didn’t disappoint!

It’s still amazing that we get to enjoy views like this on an almost daily basis. We’ve learned that a scattering of clouds always produces the best shows!

It was a great night!

See you back here on Tuesday with a “throw-back”!

God bless.

 

News from North to South 3/5/17

Hi Friends!

The big news from Mackinac is one of my favorite four-letter words . . . . . . SNOW!

Over 8″ of the white stuff fell this week, and residents are happily off their bikes again and zipping everywhere on their snowmobiles!

This awesome photo from Mel Bunk (taken from St. Ignace shows a snow squall sitting directly over Mackinac Island.

This awesome photo from Mel Bunk (taken from St. Ignace) shows a snow squall sitting directly over Mackinac Island.


Anything sitting for any length of time was soon wearing a thick layer of snow - like these snowmobiles parked along Main Street. (Photo: Doud's Market)

Anything that sat stationary for any length of time was soon wearing a thick layer of snow – like these snowmobiles parked along Main Street. (Photo: Doud’s Market)


Eugenia Murray was downtown duringall that snow and took this beautiful photo of Market Street as the snow fell.

Eugenia Murray was downtown and took this beautiful photo of Market Street as the snow fell.


When Patrick Conlon left work at Grand Hotel, he headed up into the island interior to capture this great shot . . .

When Patrick Conlon left work at Grand Hotel, he headed up into the island interior to capture this great shot . . .


.. . . and Stefanie Congdon shot this one as she was leaving Stonecliffe.

.. . . and Stefanie Congdon shot this one as she was leaving Stonecliffe.


Hmmmm - sweet 9-year-old Kaylee (Tracy and Gabe;s daughter) sold 39 8 cases (that's 464 boxes) of Girl Scout cookies this year. Thank goodness the snow fell, and they can deliver all these by snowmobile!

Sweet 9-year-old Kaylee (Tracy and Gabe’s daughter) sold 38

cases (that’s 464 boxes) of Girl Scout cookies this year. Thank goodness the snow fell, and they can deliver all these by snowmobile!
A rare capture. A sun pillar

A rare capture by Robert McGreevy during sunrise on March 4 – a sun pillar.  Amazing!

So glad the islanders got a big snowfall, even if it did come late in the winter months.  I don’t think there’s any way now there’s enough time for an ice bridge to form, so this will mark the first time in I don’t know how many years the island has had ferry service the entire winter.  I may be wrong on that, but it seems as though last year there were maybe two weeks when the ferry couldn’t get through.  Someone let me know if I got that wrong.

Here’s a date to put on your calendar as you’re thinking about future trips to Mackinac – the 2017 Lilac Festival is June 9-18,and here’s a link that will give you all the details: https://www.mackinacisland.org/mackinac-island-lilac-festival/

One last Mackinac note: Many of you have written me about what’s happening on the Mackinac Island News and Views Facebook page.  If you go there, you will see a notice that the page has been archived.  I haven’t been able to find out what’s going on, but I just can’t imagine the page will no longer be maintained.  It’s a fountain of information about what goes on day to day on the island (not to mention the incredibly beautiful photographs that are posted), and there are literally thousands of followers who LOVE that page – including yours truly.  Hope it’s back up soon!

FROM SUNSET INLET

We were so excited Kel (one of Ted's newly-found cousins) and his wife Gwen stopped overnight with us last week. They were headed down to Cocoa Beach from Michigan for two weeks of Florida fun! We first met them when we spent a day showing them around Mackinac last summer. Hoping to see them on the island again this summer!

We were so excited Kel (one of Ted’s newly-found cousins) and his wife Gwen stopped overnight with us last week. They were headed down to Cocoa Beach from Michigan for two weeks of Florida fun. We first met them when we spent a day showing them around Mackinac last summer. Hoping to see them on the island again this summer!


Our view of the sun setting from the top deck was pretty impressive that evening!

Our view of the sun setting from the top deck was pretty impressive that evening!


Thought this was a cute pic of the three of us - four if you count the turtle!

Thought this was a cute pic of the three of us – four if you count the turtle!

That’s it for now.  See you on Tuesday with a “throwback”!

God bless.

 

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.