Friday, April 30, 2010

"Don's Birthday....."

Last Sunday, we celebrated Don's birthday. Yes, he is only 1 year younger than me, although looks much younger. It must have been all my years of hard living/drinking that has made me look so much older, eh? ;)

All of his presents were of the liquid persuasion. This Glenmorangie Astar Scotch is one he has not had, but I am confident he will like it.

The closest I was able to get from my barely awake boy in the way of a smile.

His bottle of Pierre Ferrand Cognac, which he has had before and enjoys.

And something new......called "Old Sugar Factory", which is distilled here in Madison. I thought we should try it since it distilled locally. Turns out, it is very nice.

Here I am finishing the icing on his cake.......

Drizzling homemade chocolate sauce on top (his Mom used to do that......the tradition continues).

We celebrated later that day out on the deck where we were joined by Rob.

As you can see, my boy is awake and smiling now. :) He also shared his Old Sugar Factory and everyone there agreed it was very good, too.

Don's birthday cake was served with homemade ice cream. The ice cream was delicious, too!

Anna and Henry also joined us for cake and ice cream.

As did Papa Michael.......

Andy stopped over quickly a bit later when he got home from working late, but the camera wasn't in use then. Don and I had a very nice day, culminating in the gathering of friends on the deck. Happy Birthday Pato, with wishes for many, many more!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"April's Crank In........."

Last Saturday was the local monthly gathering of "crankers" at the Hawthorne Branch Library on East Washington.

Here Barbara is helping Chet, who, along with his wife Judy, drove down from the Green Bay area for the crank in. He'd just received his NZAK last week and had a few questions about using it (remember my mentioning the big learning curve?).

Chet's wife Judy, who is a hand knitter.

Renice, setting up her machine after a long hiatus. She has been in Florida for a number of months.

Joan concentrating on her knitting........

And another new "cranker", Cindy, from Illinois.

The day was a nice time as usual and I look forward to next months crank in, May 22....same place (Hawthorne Branch Library/East Washington, Madison), same time (9 AM-4 PM).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"A Beautiful Day for a Bike Ride........"

This post really shows how far I am from being current with my blog. This 1st photo is of opening day (April 17th) of the downtown Farmers Market on the Square. The day was a particularly beautiful one for the opening and for our bike ride, with Don taking several photos along the way, documenting our ride.

This group of drummers drew quite a crowd. I asked Don take a movie of them, too, which is located on the bottom of todays blog entry.

This group of kids were having a great time dancing to the beat of the drums.

Next stop was downtown, where there was a music performance on every corner along State Street as a fund raiser for the Literacy Network. The fund raiser was called "Busking for Books".

Continuing along our "usual" downtown route, we crossed Union Terrace. The wind was fairly high that day and Lake Mendota was pretty rough as you can see here in its crashing onto the Terrace lakefront.

We also stopped at the Allen Centennial Gardens where Don took numerous photos. The bulb displays was fantastic! With the days bright sun, the colors were vibrant.......unfortunately the camera can not do justice to the actual brilliance (my opinion only).

This bed of Peony Tulips, and its twin on the other side of the driveway, made quite the statement of lush beauty. Don doesn't get to be in too many photos unless he hands me the camera, which as you can see, he did that day. ;)

A nice display of planters waiting for this seasons arrangement. They made a nice addition to the garden display this way, too.

The brilliant yellow tulips......

When we arrived home after vacation, we found this little guy back by the chicken coop, thanks to Lonny and Charlie. He has made a nice addition to our backyard.

Farmers Market Drummers......

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Season's First Big Happy Hour......"

Don and I decided we needed new deck furniture this season. The old green chairs had seen much better days and the folding chairs needed to be replaced, too. We found these to be comfortable, plus they gave us a "new look". ;) We have 6 of the basic formed chairs, these 2 mesh seats, which I like the best as they are a bit wider than the other 2 mesh seats we bought, plus 2 side tables.

Our other 2 mesh seats. As you can see from this photo, Don and I kept "our" green chairs. Both are our favorites and we find them extremely comfortable. Mine is a rocker, which I, of course, need with so many babies in the neighborhood. How else would they be able to be rocked to sleep on my lap? Priorities, my friends, priorities....

The more intimate grouping.....

Becca with me......

Andy and Rob looking on as Angela keeps Benjamin from trying to select more toasted bread for his plate of the bruschetta appetizer.

Rob chatting with Theron and Javon, with Michael and Henry coming up the deck steps behind them.

Anna bringing Henry over to see me while Becca sleeps in my lap (see what I mean about needing my rocker?).

Barb and Geoff checking on Becca, too.

Neighbors Tracie and Bridget also making an appearance.

Robin, with sons Simon and Oliver, stopped by as well. Copper is the boys main attraction when this photo was taken.

From left to right, neighbors Kim and Brian, Todd, his sons Simon and Oliver, Robin, and Copper.

Last but not least, are Jillian, with Mom Charlie and Papa Lonnie (enjoying his FAVORITE food.....CAKE! Anytime, any place). :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Various Subjects and Photos......"

Don has been loaned an iPad from work so that he can become familiar with how they work, etc. so that his department can support them. Notice the little Hispanic boy on the screen? shows my "supposed" American Indian blood (I want to get a DNA test to verify or disprove that part of family history)

I began some vegetable seeds in the Aero Garden Starter Tray this year. I had it last year, but with having both knees replaced, with the last one being done in early April, I didn't get to use it.

Not having large outside areas to fill with vegetables, I only started 6 pods of each type: Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Zucchini, and for fun, peas (to see how well the tray worked and get almost instant sprouting). The plants did well and many are transplanted into larger pots and now reside in the greenhouse where they continue to gain size. I'll have to make sure I take some photos of what I have out in the greenhouse, too.

Last week our neighbors on the other side of the bike path had their annual "burn". Don went to check it out again this year and took a few photos. Even though they always get a permit from the city to burn, it seems someone calls the fire department to report them, so this year they made sure the permit was very visible. :)

This is Rob, who organizes the burn. He also comes door to door prior to the burn, making neighbors aware on both sides of the bike path about when it is to take place.

A few more photos of the burn.......

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Headed Home......"

On our last day in Traverse City, we took one last stroll through the Mercato. Don is standing in what used to be an art gallery the first time we set foot in Grand Traverse Commons. It had been at the end of Phase 1, in the garden level. My how things have changed! :)

On our drive home, we stopped to visit (and for Don to meet), my Dad's sister, my Aunt Dorothea. She will turn 97 this July. She still is able to live on her own, drives, and continues doing all the various activities she wants.

I had seen her a few weeks prior to our visit and asked her to get out the family photo album for when we stopped, which is what I am looking at in this photo. There were many photos that I had never seen, including some with me in them! She had me take some of the ones I didn't have, especially those of my dad when he was a young child. Thankfully, she had written on the backs of the photos, telling who, what ages, etc., so I have a couple of Dad as a 2 and 3 year old, with my aunts and uncles not much older (Dad was the "baby"). :)

Back at home it seemed like we'd never been away. Reality comes back with a rush......I guess that isn't so bad though......not when one is retired. ;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Don's Walk Continued......"

Another extremely long post, but I didn't want to stretch it out further.

Don continued his walk around the grounds and these photos are basically from behind Grand Traverse Commons, with the exception of a few near the end.

Not having gone on the walk with Don, but having driven around with him prior to his walk, I have seen these buildings and places, but from a car window, and can only show you photos without any real knowledge of what is going on......just "speculate". Please bare with me.........

Some of the areas look really "urban" and desolate, but in reality, there is a lot of work going on. Many of the buildings you are about to see have positive futures, but have to wait their turn for renovation.

A once beautiful building sitting and looks rather ominous, doesn't it? Can't you imagine it in a thunder/lightening scene in a horror movie with flashes of lightening in the dark of a storm and wind blowing? Of course, there would be music to set the mood, too. ;)

Where are the movie location scouts when you need them?

This tree is on the unpaved road which meanders around to the rear of Building 50. You'll understand why Don took its photo as you scroll down to the following photo. ;)

Who would have guessed, eh?

I haven't mentioned this before and now seems a good time, but when this health facility started, it was basically self sustaining. It had barns of various livestock, a dairy, fields for grain, and gardens for produce. And as you can see by this grave stone, a record breaking dairy cow. A life of 16 years.......I just read that most dairy cows these days (that are on "factory farms") live perhaps 3-4 years before they are culled, while those who live on smaller farms and are allowed grass pastures for the majority of their feed, live up to 20 years. I guess the folks here knew what they were doing, eh?

Evidently there are some primitive nature lovers in the area, too. :)

The old cistern for the facility.

A popular "art" spot, eh?

These stairs are part of the many trails which are throughout the property.......

A view from the wooded area towards Building 50 (red roofed spires in the background).

Although not an attractive area now, you can see where shades of paint colors are being tested for future work.

Some other buildings on the property in the following photos......

The plans for this renovation are set, although things have slowed down considerably due to the economy.

The specific plan for this building. In Building 50, there is a condo, which I believe is for sale, that was designed to show what the suites would look like in the Inn. Of course, it is beautiful. :)

This is situated at the beginning of the drive into the Commons......

As is this on the opposite corner.

What began as a cloudy, cold, and dreary looking day, ended up bright and sunny (although, it stayed pretty cool). We went out to dinner at Scott's Harbor Grill, situated on West Grand Traverse Bay, slightly north of the downtown area. Behind me is Traverse City........

In the last photo, the flash did something to the colors, so I added this to show you the true colors of the day......