Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanks, thanks, and more thanks

Very fortunately we were able to spend Thanksgiving weekend at the cottage. The weather made it only a little challenging, but challenging weather brings great beauty to the west side of Michigan. Our kids and their guests arrived safely and we did our Thanksgiving on Friday, our traditional risotto plus a pared down offering of sides (so we, and by "we" I mean mainly Jim, wouldn't be cooking all day), plus pumpkin pie.

For me it's a bittersweet weekend because I know that come Sunday when we drive away the place gets winterized and there's no going there for several months. It's necessity. It still stinks. I get cagey and start thinking about it in January. But I vowed to not let my impending sadness color the weekend. Plus, I had a lot of shooting to do.

Friday the wind was calm and a light snow fell all morning and into the afternoon.

Saturday, some blue colored the sky and the sun showed up a few times; the wind wasn't too wild and the snow just started to melt. I visited my favorite lighthouse and ogled some boats on their perches in the marina in town.

By Sunday, the snow was nearly gone and the temps were rising, so I went out to do a little exploring just as the fog lifted.

I didn't want to miss going to the dunes and I secretly hoped we might catch a glimpse of the snowy owl that watched us from several spots as we hiked this weekend last year, but no such luck. Still, the Silver Lake sand dunes are just gorgeous. I like them best like this, with no foot or recreational vehicle traffic. I am starting to realize just how much I love big, vast areas of nature where no one is around for miles and miles.

Anyway, we toasted and celebrated and I didn't get mushy in front of my kids. But, I'm oh so very thankful this year.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Catching up, and what's next

Well, it's true, I've neglected this blog in favor of my photo project, which has been an interesting and enlightening run. I've learned a lot about photography, what I like and don't like to shoot, how I like to go about the shoot and the processing, and that I get itchy and disappointed when I don't have something amazing to shoot (and let's face it, that can't happen every day). I still have a lot to learn, of course, but this journey is the best I've been on in a while.

So that project ends at the end of the year, and since I've stuck to that and neglected this, maybe a better idea is to merge the two. I could commit to a blog post a day. This way, when I don't feel like I have a thing to say, I can post a photo. When I don't have time to shoot, I'll have to think of something to say. And some days I might have lots to say or lots of photos to post. And if I've got nothing to say and nothing to shoot... I don't know, a haiku? Short video? Bad drawing? I'll have to sort that one out. But stay tuned if you're so inclined.

I'll admit, part of my neglecting this blog is that I don't have much to say that feels important enough to write about. Not that nothing going on in my life is important--not at all. My kids are doing some pretty awesome things, but those stories are their stories, not mine. I've been fortunate in that the people I'm lucky enough to have in my life are well and healthy. So, okay, I could mention that our roof sprung a leak in the spring and our basement flooded in the summer. And that my youngest moved to a city apartment and started college, sending me into a weird funk for a couple of weeks (totally over it, but it's still weird that both my kids are gone). But those are completely normal, everyday life things. I had a terrific summer; I'm still trying to get to every new restaurant in Detroit (there are so many! and really fantastic ones!); I caught up with some old friends in Chicago for a very whirlwind weekend this fall; I re-did my office, which has made me infinitely happy; I've seen quite a bit of my dad and also got to see my brother in person recently; I still don't feel comfortable dancing (but wish that I did).

Last I wrote here it was high summer. I had a good stretch at the cottage in early summer, but then had to vacate for renters again, so I missed some of the best of the summer. I was back on and off in August, but again rented a few weekends in September so I wasn't there as much as I wanted to be, and a few October weekends had to suffice. And now, well, it's just about Thanksgiving and the house will be closed up soon and I'll start obsessing about when I can be there again. That's just the normal order of things.

So I've just been living. And I don't mean to sound apathetic--I'm really not. I'm happier than I've been in a long time. Maybe I'm afraid of advertising that, like saying it louder than a whisper or something will make it all go away. So, let's keep it under our hats and all.

But here's what I've been doing this fall.

The eagle that hangs out on our beach, Labor Day weekend
Labor Day sunset over Lake Michigan
Sunset over Detroit from Belle Isle in September
Late September, camp boathouse on Stony Lake
Edison's Lab in Greenfield Village, early October
Firestone Farm pig, Greenfield Village, early October
Unloved home in Boyne, October
Country road exploring with my friend Jane, October
Abandoned silos in the sun, October
Late fall, the little lake behind the cottage
Farmland near the cottage, late fall
Art Institute, Chicago, early November
Tourist stuff, downtown Chicago, early November
More exploring with Jane, mid-November

And there you have it, my fall in a nutshell.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hi, summer (or, high summer)

How does time sneak away from me like this? Too easily, apparently.

Tell me you're just like me--you can't keep up. You have trouble remembering the last time you sat and read a book in the sun. Did you pay that bill? You haven't even started on all the projects you intended to get done this summer. Please, please, we're so alike, right?

I don't know how normal people do it, but I'm still trying to figure it out. Busy, busy, too busy. Let's all take a breather.

So I spent just shy of four weeks at the cottage and went back to suburbia in mid-late July. Then a quick overnight back at the cottage, and now a little more time here before I have to leave my beloved cottage again for a few weeks.

Thus far this summer I've worried while my youngest and some of his buddies drove to Yellowstone (he made it safely back). Now the oldest has an opportunity to also see Yellowstone and she leaves upcoming week's end, so I'll have that to worry about as well. Of course I'm thrilled for them both and even a bit jealous--but they are at those ages where you have to do these things, explore and travel. And I'm settling in to my new job. So, yeah, that's where summer has gone.

But, it's high summer now and the best things about that are:
  • Sweltering, oozing heat
  • Peaches
  • Queen Anne's Lace, absolutely everywhere
  • Bees (not the stinging part)
  • An excuse for wearing very little
  • Sweat (what??? It's good to sweat)
  • Overflowing farmers markets
  • Sun tea
There's lots more, of course. But I'm sitting on a deck under a market umbrella; music drifts out from the house; a jet ski hums; I hear laughter and conversation from next door; only the gentlest breeze makes the heat not too much to bear. For the first time in a while, I've no desire to do anything more than this, just what I'm doing. It's enough.

This is just a little of what I've seen and experienced thus far this summer. Still lots left to see and do.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy one year, cedar suite entries!

Oh, cedar suite entries, how I've neglected you! In May, you celebrated your one year anniversary and I missed the opportunity to write about it.

When I started this blog in May 2013, I wanted to try to post at least three times per month. And now I've gone and only posted once in April, and not even once in May. "Tsk, tsk, for shame," as my mother would say (she'd say it slowly, in a low voice, and she'd add a stink eye so you'd know you were really in for it).

I can only offer up these (fairly valid) excuses. My youngest is in the last bits of high school and making plans for moving onto a college campus. That business takes thought and planning, plus all the "stuff" that happens end-of-year for high school seniors. I know I'm no mother of the year, but I like to be around for as much of that as I can.

Maybe bigger is that I started a new job at the beginning of May, and not to put a glowing, golden-rosy hue on it but it really is the job of my dreams. The company is growing, values the input of its people, and is run by smart, talented people. I work closely with a great guy--a former co-worker with whom I already had an unmatched working relationship. Yep, almost a month after my start date I'm still pinching myself. It's that terrific.

Beyond all that goodness, because of the rough winter and too many things going on, we didn't get to open our beloved Cedar Suite until mid-May. The first visit of the season there felt like, as usual, a homecoming.

Of course, because of that other project I've tasked myself with and that I'm really sticking to, I'm out every day at whatever time I can squeeze in with my camera. So while I'm forgetting sometimes to document with words, I'm documenting with images. It's something. I'll take it.

So here are some photos from Cedar Suite just last weekend, and happy birthday to this blog!

First beach walk, my daughter's feet on blackened sand

The dune grasses, starting to green up

Not happy about posing, as usual

From the deck

Neighbor's cool driftwood, my selective-focus lens

Selective-focus sunset

Coloring session, my daughter and the neighbor

My kids

My dancing daughter

My two, plus one

Sunset kendama session

Faffing in the meadow

The "Keep Out!" house still stands! Barely.

Dog footprints

Because I'm never sick of sunset shots