What I Love

One of my best friends shared this post on Facebook the other day along with a list of things she loves.
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It stuck with me all through the weekend, so I’m clearing my head here. I’m not sure it makes me interesting, but it’s far more fun to focus on what I love rather than on things I hate.

I love:
family visits and continuing traditions, laughing until I cry, reading by a fire or out in the sunshine, season changes, a fresh blanket of snow, the first blossoms in spring, petrichor, the smell of a John Deere tractor, playing on or in the water, staying up late watching movies, kettle corn, afternoon naps, morning dog walks, the beauty in the details, falling asleep to a soft rain, sleeping with the windows open, the crunch of fallen leaves and thick snow, Torch Lake, Lake Michigan, the golden hour, spontaneous road trips, sunsets, sun warmed tomatoes fresh off the plant, snuggling with my husband and our little fuzzies, classic rock songs around a campfire, twinkling stars, frogs and crickets on a quiet night, hiking, jogging, kayaking, baking, singing loudly, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, making photos…

What do you love?

Family time, hiking, mushroom hunting traditions… (too bad the only photo I took of both my parents they aren’t in focus :-/ )

Beauty in the details, petrichor, photos

Kayaking, connecting with friends

Sunsets, Torch Lake

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

I’ve been pretty slack about participating in the Daily Post’s weekly photo challenges, but this week, their theme was family. I don’t think any family is perfect. Mine has its issues, but one thing we excel at is loving each other. And in that way, we are perfect. I count my blessings each time we visit, and cry a little each time we leave. But I figure it’s best this way; I might cry more if I lived nearer, and for less endearing reasons 😉

So here’s a peek at my family. I took the camera to Ohio at Christmas, but indoor lighting and chaotic family time don’t lend themselves to terrific photos. Certainly not everyone is pictured, but I didn’t leave anyone out intentionally! (Because, seriously, that would be cutting out a lot of people who I love!)

You’ve all met Tony, my husband of 13+ years. We’ve got at least one more year; I’d hate to end things on unlucky 13 😉 You’ve seen photos of him, but he doesn’t love when I take snap his picture. Thus…his hands, playing his new cello. It’s a rented cello, and he’s dedicating a year to learn it. I’m impressed and inspired. I can’t even play the cowbell.

Our kids. Sebastian and Dominique, 13+ years. They’re brother and sister from a litter of Bengal cats we got when we first moved to Miami. And Petey, alternately warming his face and buns by the fire.

Some of the rest. Parents and extra parents, brother, sister, niece and nephews. At this point, we’ve got quite a collection of nieces and nephews, but that whole lighting thing…

Instead of telling you about each of the photos, I’ll just share a few things I captured that make me so glad I cart the camera around even when it seems bulky and unnecessary.

  • Addi and Zy opened their presents next to one another on the couch. You can see from her sweatshirt that she’s a Belieber, and that sweet little thing kept telling Zy how much he looked like Justin Bieber. Which is a dubious claim at best, but he is rocking a Bieber-esque haircut, and he was a good sport about it.
  • Not finding anything in the stores this year that we even remotely liked, we made our own Christmas cards for our parents. Used some of my favorite seasonal photos and wrote a personal, if not poetic, note. Caught Tony’s parents reading our card. Phil grinned, and Shari, aka Blondie, cried. A good cry, which makes me happy 🙂
  • Longtime readers will know that I’m a bit morel-hunting-happy. I inherited that squarely from my parents. This year my mom tracked down my dad’s cousin who hand-carves walking sticks with intricate morels at the top. She surprised him with it, at which point he said, “Jerry used to make these.” To which my mom replied, “Jerry made this one.” I can’t get over their faces and the depth of love they share. I cry every time I see this set, which makes me happy 🙂
  • Here’s to my imperfect, perfect family. May we all be so blessed, even if fleetingly or in memories.

    Petey the Pink-Faced Pup

    Long-time readers will know that Heather (me) and Tony (husband) have two 13-year old Bengal cats. These cats have lived with us since before they were fully weaned; we bottle-fed them the first week or so we had them. And they have traveled with us from Miami, FL, to Lexington, KY, on to Ellijay, GA, and now to Rapid City, MI. They have been our babies. They are our babies. We’ve kind of always wanted a dog (we’ve been called puppy-crazy), but didn’t want to ruin the relationship we had with our Bengals.

    But, as we both work from home, these two have become increasingly dependent upon us, and increasingly agitated any time either of us leaves the couch. And if you read this blog at all, you know we leave the couch often. In short, they’ve been ruining the relationship for us. It seems harsh, but it’s the truth. Basically, if there wasn’t a cat perched on each of us, one or more of them was howling loudly and inconsolably. And so we decided that getting a dog might actually be a good thing; it would shake things up at the very least.

    Yesterday morning we left home in good spirits, ready to meet some dogs. Based on photos and descriptions online, we had an animal shelter and a foster organization on the agenda. Our only requirements were that the dog be young, medium-sized, and have good energy. We weren’t in any kind of hurry, and didn’t think we’d be coming home with anything but discussion topics.

    Meet Petey:
    First night home
    He’s a pit-mix who wiggled his way into our laps and then hearts. He was happy to see us, but not overly excited. And after the shelter worker dragged him (he decidedly planted his feet in avoidance) into the cat room, he calmly looked around and decided he’d rather hang with us than even consider sniffing the cats.

    At home, he settled right into his new bed, and is happy with his chew toys. He’s kind of glued to our sides, but he doesn’t beg for our food. He likes walks, and does pretty well on a leash. He’s not great at fetch, but he does like to chew a stick. He still doesn’t really care about the cats, and I’m happy to report, that as of tonight, our cats are learning not to care about him, too. I think a peaceful coexistence isn’t too far off.

    3, 2, 1…And you’re back in the room

    Anyone else watch Little Britain? It comes and goes on Netflix. One of the regular characters is a hack hypnotist who brings his victims (of frivolous trickery that favors his laziness) back to consciousness with the phrase in my title.

    That’s kind of how I feel. I’ve been away, but I’m back in the room. And I have lots of stuff to share, not least of which are the photos of lovely blond chicks in this blog 😉 I guess I feel like as long as I point out all the pictures, you’ll see that we’ve been busy and understand why I’ve been away without even a Wordless Wednesday.

    A large percentage of Tony’s female family members joined us Up North last weekend. His mom (Shari/Blondie), grandma (Mamaw), aunt (Jerri), cousin (Tyler), and niece (Alayna) all rode in one vehicle for the eight ten hour journey, and still managed to arrive in merry (delirious?) spirits. We stayed up way too late chatting and laughing before we got on to the business of enjoying Michigan’s playground the next day.

    The sun didn’t burn us with her intense rays, but she did at least visit, which made our trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes pleasant. Alayna delighted in nature’s enormous sandbox and the rest of us oooohed and aaahed at the always impressive views.


    Sleeping Bear Dunes panorama

    We blinked, and the clock ticked over from afternoon to sunset. We spent the remainder of the light hours playing on a nearly deserted beach in Traverse City, trying to keep warm. Not to worry, we were warm enough for ice cream 😉

    We rounded out the evening with a fire (in the fireplace we had installed in May) and then started out Sunday with more activity. Ty and I went for a run, and everyone else did what everyone else does when I’m not there to see or hear it. Which I assume is to make the same noises a tree does when it falls in the woods when I’m not around to hear it.

    Despite having been up with everyone since about 8am, time speedily slipped by, and it was after 2pm by the time we finished “brunch” in Elk Rapids. Half the group played on the beach while Tony and I took the other half out kayaking. Then they switched. And then it was dinner time (Tony and I grilled from-scratch pizzas)…followed by ice cream, and later, another fire.

    Packing up on Monday morning was a slow affair, as we weren’t in a rush to hurry everyone back home. Five blondes is a lot for one home to sustain, but with all that giggling, we managed 😉 How lucky are we to have this bunch for family?

    All photos can be embiggened by clicking 🙂

    Travelers and Tribulations

    “If you don’t like the weather…just wait a few minutes.” Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, was referring to New England, but he just as easily been discussing May in Michigan. In the same week we’ve had hot days with sunburned skin along with freezing rain and snow. This past week we had several splendiferous days of 60-70, light breezes, and clear skies. This weekend we broiled under 80-degree skies, and then shivered in cold rain. Yesterday morning I woke to a pall of fog. More rain flooded soaked grounds today, but then blew away on afternoon breezes leaving a threat of frost in its wake. Continue reading