Onward and upward…

Enough with the negativity!  I never meant for my blog to become a political tool, or a rant fest, but occasionally I do catch myself venting about bad happenings in our society, sometimes when its not even political. But then I kick myself just to remind my brain that this isn’t what its all about.

I started this blog as a tool to practice my writing skills, and talk about positive lifestyles, favorite travel destinations, along with favorite local places, and continuing life over 50!  So…  I had a few days of negative after the Parkland Shooting, and the Benton, KY shooting.  I voiced my opinion.  I wish there was a time machine that could send someone back to change all that happened here. But that doesn’t exist yet (Elon Musk, can you do something about that, please?), so I need to reset my thinking.

I promise to do better on the next blog, not only for the readers, but for myself.  I need to lighten up life a little!  So stay tuned… Life has to get better!

When the cold weather prompts a vacation reminder!

I found this picture when I was cleaning out my files on my computer today… Definitely a keeper!  One of my favorite scenes from a vacation in the Key’s circa 2011.

14 days until my next vacation!  (Does anyone else do a countdown every time they leave town???)

Have Dog… Will Travel!

In 15 days, I’m off on a trip to Florida, with my bestie, Daisy Mae, the Hilarious Havanese!  She loves Florida, chasing lizards and lounging by the pool in the sunshine.  But in the past I’ve driven the 22 hours, just so I didn’t have to put her on a plane.

Well, these days, everyone seems to travel with their pets on airplanes, so I think I’m going to give this a try!  I bought this great travel bag (with wheels) for her to ride in.  It should fit nicely under the seat in front of me on the plane.  My next worry…  she could be a neurotic mess in that bag under the seat… so of course my Veterinarian recommended light sedation, which he advised me to test in advance.  So, two weeks ago, I picked up the goods from him, and gave her 1/4 of a pill on a Sunday afternoon while she was loafing around the house.

No effect…  She stayed pretty much how she always is.  Chasing toys, flipping her blankey’s around, and just all around, being her adorable rowdy self.  So this week, I slipped 1/2 of one of the pills into a cheese treat.  Within an hour, she was in complete loaf mode.  Whew!  I think this will work…  Now the tough part will be to hope that the flight leaves on time.  It’s a straight through flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Punta Gorda, FL on Allegient Airlines.

I think, the two of us are ready for travel!  Perhaps by the next trip, I can get her to cooperate in a service dog program, so she can be on my lap instead of under a seat…  Wish me luck!

Resolutions…

Happy New Year everyone!

So far this year I have no insights on resolutions.  Not too sure what’s up with that!  But I feel like it’s just fine.

Northern Michigan is frozen…  We have a heat wave today at 20 degrees fahrenheit!  Wintertime…  it’s here.  So, I’ve booked a plane ticket for my dog and myself to head south at the end of this month for a few days of fun and sun (and work too, of course). The big challenge will be to get my 12 lb. ball of energy, named Daisy, to be able to settle down on the plane.  18136955_10155827168812069_1224365527_n

It’s just not easy being this cute sometimes!

One thought did run through my head at midnight.  I have a pretty good life…  If you look around at midnight and think “there’s no place I’d rather be”… you know your friends are the best!

In the meantime, I’m just going to continue being me.

“Side Hustle”… I love this phrase!

This year I turned 52…  I’ve been working at my current job for almost 27 years now.  When I got my SEP statement at the beginning of the month, it dawned on me, that I might actually be able to retire someday!  But do I really want to retire?  Maybe I will just look into doing something else with a little less stress involved someday.

Then I saw the term “Side Hustle” on the internet one day… Let’s take a look at this!  A “Side Hustle” can be an extra way to make money on the side, in addition to your job.  It can be a monetized blog, a direct marketing consultantship (not sure if that’s a real word, but I’m using it anyways…), weekend bartending… even selling crafts at a craft sale.

So then my brain started ticking!  Hey… if I start a side hustle now, maybe someday it can be my main hustle?  I do love my blogging, so yes, I’m hoping that someday it will pay off with Ad clicks and views.  For now it’s only about $.25 per month… but it seems to be growing each month.  It’s worth a shot, and I love writing, so why not?  Blogging is one of my favorite side hustles, even though the payoff is minimal for now. Feel free to share my blog if you like it!

Of course there is always direct marketing.  I’ve been involved with one company for a couple of years, just for the benefit of a discount that I can share with friends.  But, their products are constantly changing, and my best sellers are now discontinued.  This month I decided to jump ship. So that’s where my Mary Kay business came in… (Yes… check it out at www.marykay.com/tpeal).

Mary Kay has been around since 1963.  The company is older than I am, and, lets face it… I love the products and the pricing doesn’t send people over the edge.  Good products sell themselves, and if people really love them, they want to use them on a regular basis.  So why not jump in?  For $99.00 I bought my starter kit with a giant bag full of goodies to share with friends.  I can choose to keep an inventory on hand, or order them as my customers need them.  Personally, I’m loving the products I’m using.  So… of course, this side hustle may actually be a good option for me!  If anyone ever wants to sign up for a Mary Kay business, I recommend it, and I can even show you how!

My third side hustle (why just have one?) came to me last winter when the snow was coming down in buckets here in Northern Michigan.  I didn’t have any desire to leave the house, but I was bored silly!  So to keep my mind off the bitter cold outside, I took an online class for my Real Estate Salespersons license.  So I’m now a licensed Realtor with my license in escrow.  I’ve always been fascinated with the real estate industry, and since my full-time job doesn’t allow me the time to practice this profession, I keep my license in escrow with a local company, and refer clients to some of the best realtors in the industry.  In return I can make a little commission off it.  It really paid off last spring when I sold my house (referring the sale to another realtor), and bought my new house.

None of these are “easy money”… they do take work… and I honestly enjoy taking time to work on them.  Someday I’m hoping to end a blog with “The Pay Off is real!”  In the meantime, why not hustle.

That’s all for my lunchtime blog for today…  back to bean counting!  Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

 

 

Today’s lunch time blog! One of my favorite local hangouts… A review of Peegeo’s in Traverse City, MI.

Thirsty Thursday… yes, it’s a weekly holiday where the ladies all meet for dinner and drinks.   This week we ended up at one of our favorites, Peegeo’s on High Lake Road in Traverse City.   I realized I have never reviewed this place before!  So here it goes.

This place holds a little piece of my heart.  The minute you walk in the door, it’s like walking into “Cheers”.  Everybody knows your name (No I don’t run a tab like George or Cliffy…).  After one visit, you are considered a local by the owners, George and Susan VanKersen.  Of course, I’ve been a local to this place since 1992.  So my opinion may be a little biased.  But I do believe its general just a fun place to go!  The bar is lined with locals telling stories and spreading cheer, no matter what time of year it is.

My menu picks:

  • Hangar Steak (George does it right!)  It melts in your mouth!
  • Mexican Chicken wings…  One of my favorites!
  • Cherry Chicken Salad… for those times I feel like a need some veggies.  But it’s soooooooo delish!
  • BBQ Ribs… Mmmmmmmmmmm…
  • Mexican Combo Plate…  So much goodness on one plate.
  • Mike’s Sicilian Pizza…  Seriously the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life!
  • The London Broil… Comfort food at its best!

Of course there’s so many options on the menu other than this.  But these are my favorites!  Did I mention the Mike’s Sicilian Pizza is the best ever???  Check out their menu at www.peegeos.com.

Cheer’s to the local’s at Peegeo’s!  Nice job!

P.S.  to my people at McGee’s in Acme, MI… you are next!  You know I love ya’ll!

Somedays all you can do is shake your head…

Everyday, lately, when I turn on the news, there’s a new case of sexual harassment arising on some supposedly upstanding celebrity/politician/executive.  What the heck is going on???

Well, as young ladies, our generation was taught to be quiet and respectful.  Don’t make waves.  Graduate from high school, get married, have babies, and enjoy life’s finer moments.  It’s a nice dream, but it’s not reality today.  I even have a recollection of my high school counselor advising me to by-pass college, because it wasn’t what girls did.  What the heck???  I’m pretty glad I didn’t listen to him, even though I was a bit directionless at that age.  Back in those days, confidence wasn’t exactly instilled in the average female student.

And what’s up with these people? (yes, that goes for both sexes…)  Did their parents not teach them respect for others?  Seriously, a joke is a joke… but there’s a fine line between a joke, and sexual harassment.  The easiest way to avoid trouble is to stay on the right side of that line.  Be clear that there is no intention of contact or intimidation, and keep your body parts to yourself.

Now can the news please report on something else for awhile?

That’s all I have to say about that…

Restaurant Review: Calypso Mediterranean Grille on the Munson Miracle Mile, Traverse City, MI

 

After passing a few favorites in search of something different, we landed at Calypso, a new Mediterranean Eatery on Munson Avenue.  Here are some of my thoughts on the place:

  1. There’s been a few restaurants located in that particular building throughout the years.  They have all been short lived, with the exception of “The Clock”.  I think Calypso could be around for awhile!  Maybe I’m just partial to Mediterranean food, but I found this place great!
  2. The pricing… well, it may be a little pricey. But the salad’s we ordered with our dinners were enormous!  Next time, we split the salad.  Dinner pick:  Green Tomatillo Chicken Alfredo.  You just can’t go wrong!  This dish is positively wonderful, comforting, and flavorful.  Overall, the price was worth it.
  3. Tempting options: Blue Cheese Crusted Delmonico Steak… This was one of the specials of the evening.  We may have to go back for this!  Oh… and pumpkin cheesecake…  I passed on dessert this time, but, next time may be a different story!
  4. The service was excellent. We had an attentive professional waiter who knew the menu like the back of his hand.
  5. Will we go back??? Oh, by all means, yes we will!  Calypso is a nice addition to the Foodie community of Traverse City.

Looking forward to my next visit to this one!

For more information on this restaurant, please visit their website at www.calypsogrilltc.com.  ENJOY!

My Latest Obsession: Ancestry.com

There are two sides to everyones family!  So, my dad’s side of the family has been well documented by my Uncle.  Who traced the family way back to pre-revolutionary times in the United States.  This side of the family pretty much traces back to Great Britain, Ireland, with a touch of Italian, French, and Scandanavian, etc….  This side of my family were explorers and founders of the State of Kentucky, migrating from North Carolina to settle in West Kentucky to farm its lush landscape.  It’s a place I’ve become familiar with because I still have family in the area.  Upon tracing the history on Ancestry, I found decorated Revolutionary military, and British Lords and Ladies, and lots of farmers.  Not just small time farmers. But 1000 acre farmers.  Pretty exciting stuff!  Meet my Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Major John Finley…

My Mom’s side I was a little familiar with, but the tree pretty much stopped as far as history goes, when my Great-Great Grandparents, Gerardus and Wilhemena (Minnie) Vernooy,  came across to Ellis Island on a boat from the Netherlands in 1900 with their children.

Curiosity set in!  So of course, I went directly to Ancestry.com to get a DNA test kit.  My overall result…  55% Western European.  This is no surprise, since the Netherlands is located in this area.  So I started tracing back this family history.

The Vernooy side was easy to trace, since there are previous Ancestry members who have posted their family trees that match mine.  Dutch!  Tulips, wooden shoes, the works!  My Great Great Grandfather made wooden shoes before he came to the USA.  His profession is listed in the census statistics on Ancestry.  Landing in Waterford, MI, and eventually Kent County, Michigan my family planted their roots.  Good choice!  Who doesn’t love the Grand Rapids area?

My maternal grandfather was a bit more difficult history to track…  I finally broke through when my DNA results came back, and I was able to find matches of distant cousins throughout the country.  I know that my Great Grandparents moved to Michigan from Indiana.  Eaton Rapids is where my Grandfather hails from.  This side of my family has a long history of Military Service, Blacksmith, and Farming.  They also pre-date the USA from pre-revolutionary times, landing in NY in the early 1600’s from Scotland, Great Britain, and yes, the Netherlands.  They migrated from Upstate NY, through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, until eventually settling in Michigan.

Death Certificates particulary catch my attention in this venture.  Causes of Death range anywhere from “Old Age”, to Heart issues, obesity, pneumonia, cancer, etc…  Says a lot about my own heath issues!  It even gives me incentive on areas that I can work on.

What surprised me most in this process is my new sense of who I am in the big picture.  I am redominantly Dutch/Irish/British, with a long family history in the United States.  But a visit to the Netherlands has gained a spot on my bucket list!

Shades of Autumn in Northwestern Lower Michigan..

The boat is put away for the season.  Summertime 2017 is in the books with great memories.  So this weekend, when Mother Nature offered up some beautiful summer-like weather, a trip to one of my favorite spots was in order.  Deadman’s Hill, overlooking the Jordan River Valley, just North of Alba, MI.  IMG_1796

When I was a kid (like 5 or 6 years old), my family would make the trip UpNorth to visit cousins.  The visits would turn out hours worth of fun and adventure throughout the beautiful Jordan River Valley, whether it was four-wheeling, snowmobiling, hunting, or canoeing the crisp clear waters of the Jordan River.  It’s one of the biggest reasons my family ended up moving North.

Deadman’s Hill was always an annual favorite autumn stop with my “Grammie” Scripter.  Color touring Northern Michigan was one of her favorite pastimes.  This place brings back so many memories for me!

Years ago, there was no fence holding people back from touring down the hill, so as energetic little kids, we all loved to hike down the log slide, and attempt to race back uphill as fast as we could.  Nowadays, the log slide is something to just enjoy overlooking with a good camera.  Oh, don’t we all wish we had that childlike energy???

One the way back from the trip, a stop in Boyne City for lunch was in order.  Café Sante was just the ticket… with views of Lake Charlevoix to love!  The food was amazing, and desert at the Alpine Chocolate House…  enough said!  #chocolatecoveredpotatochips!  It was truly a five star day!

Weekend drives in the autumn are one of my favorite things!  Now we all get to prepare for what comes next… yes, that fluffy white stuff that falls out of the sky.  For now, we’ve been blessed in Northern Michigan with an unusually long Indian Summer.

 

What’s a girl to do on a weekend in North Carolina???

Last weekend I visited North Carolina for the first time in YEARS, for my cousin’s wedding.  Of course, I have to do a quick travel blog about it!  🙂  The wedding was absolutely amazing!  One of the best I’ve been too.  Since it was my birthday weekend, a group of us travelers decided to take a quick afternoon visit to the Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, NC, before the wedding.

This place is certainly a treat!  Normally I like my wines a bit to the dry side.  Sweeter wines normally knock my teeth to the back of my head…  (that means… “dang…  just can’t do it!”)  Chardonnay is normally one of my favorites, with a nice Pinot Noir coming in second.  HOWEVER…

Duplin Winery specializes in Muscadine (Emphasis on MUSK-a-DYNE to be proper in Southern speak) Wines.  So many songs have been written about the Muscadine variety that our group just couldn’t resist the visit.

Too my great surprise, I found these wines fragrant, fruity, refreshing,  sweet, and delicious; perhaps even perfect for a hot summer day on the boat!  My favorite was the dryer (of course) award winning Magnolia label.  So I had to bring a bottle home to Michigan, along with their Habanero Pineapple Jelly for cracker dippin’.

Kudos to my new friends at Duplin Winery!  I thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

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Oh Nashville… how I love you so!

Last weekend I visited one of my favorite towns in the whole world… Nashville, TN!  I don’t know if its the music, the downtown stretch of Honky Tonk’s on Broadway Avenue, or the history behind the town.  But everything about this wonderful place keeps me coming back for more.  I’m pretty sure this weekend was about my 15th visit. This is a group of friends that joined me… I’ve known them since elementary school…  img_5812

Elements of my visit included Music, History, and Honky Tonk…  along with a little shopping thrown in for good measure.

SHOPPING SPOT!  Opry Mill’s Outlet Mall…  Yep.  It’s big, and it’s got a giant Bass Pro Shop…  along with some fantastic boot stores…  I came home with some fun additions to my wardrobe!

HONKY TONK!  Walk up the Streets of Broadway… there’s no end to the fun.  My personal favorite:  the four level Honky Tonk Central.  There’s a different band on each level… and dancing galore!  A few worthwhile stops… George Jones Country (Love that Red Chevy… and the Stilson girl’s polka on the way out the door), Margaritaville, Nudie’s Rooftop for great views, Acme Feed and Seed… the list goes on!  (How do I get this truck out of here without getting caught??? )img_5813

HISTORY!  Our group took a day to drive off the beaten path…  we toured out to Barbara Mandrel’s Fontanel Mansion, which was closed for a private event.  But we did stop to enjoy some wine and cider tasting and gift shopping.  Next time, we will call ahead to make sure the mansion is open to the public… it looks like its worth a tour!

Next we drove towards the Hermitage, General/President Andrew Jackson’s Home and now Museum.  This amazing  estate is over 1000 acres of rolling green country side.  We witnessed a reenactment of a gentlemen’s duel, and learned about the elements leading up to a duel.  Then we wandered the estate on a self guided tour, and through the beautiful mansion, and back through the slave quarters.  Yes, Andrew Jackson was a slave owner.  It was a different time in his day, and a big part of this country’s history that we cannot erase.  Overall, we learned that he was an interesting character with a wealth of friends surrounding him.  Many of his slaves continued on working for him after they were freed, including “Uncle Alfred” who served as the Hermitage Caretaker until his death in 1901.

MUSIC!  Everywhere you go in Nashville, there is music…  The town and its surrounding suburbs are loaded with untapped talent.  A visit to Nashville is never complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry.  Every time you enter, it shoots a ray of excitement through your core… like going to church on Sunday.  No matter how big or unknown the performers are, there never really is a bad show at the Opryhouse.  img_5811

Oh yes… and how could I forget the Country Music Hall of Fame!  The History of Country Music is showcased in this beautiful facility….  along with Elvis’s famous Solid Gold Cadillac, and Webb Pierce’s pimped out Bonneville…  They sure don’t make cars like that anymore!

Nashville…  you never disappoint! I’m sure I will be back!  ❤

 

This thing called Hurricane Harvey…

Our country is divided by politics…  But when disaster hits, we show our best.  We pull together to come to the aid of everyone.  Lines of traffic flow out of every state in the direction of Houston this week, hauling boats, trailers full of supplies, and helpful citizens ready to come to the aid of people left in the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

In August of 2004, Hurricane Charlie slammed into the Gulf Coast of Southwestern Florida.  Three months afterwards I went on a trip to Florida to visit my family.  The quaint town of Punta Gorda had been transformed into what looked like a war zone.  Blue tarps covered holes in roofs of homes awaiting reconstruction… 12 foot piles of scrap metal lined the streets next to what used to be a mobile home park…  homes with major damage had been spray painted with insurance company names and policy numbers for adjusters to locate.   Reconstruction literally took years.  The community banded together in the days following.  Soup kitchens popped up in the parks.  Truckloads of supplies showed up in town for distribution to families in need.  Neighbors checked on neighbors.  The town of Punta Gorda today stands as a stronger, more beautiful community.

This is going to be Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  Right now, the people in Houston, and every community in the path of Harvey, need our help so they can reconstruct their lives, homes, businesses, and communities.  Humanity is showing its best…  People are putting aside differences to help each other.  It’s a big wake-up call!

Be a part of the solution.  Contribute in any way you can.  Donate clothing, supplies, money, etc…  If everyone that can donated $10.00 to the Red Cross, or Salvation Army, just imagine the difference that can be made.

Best wishes Texas!  #standtogether #makeadifference #wevegotyourback  #i<3texas #donated Read more

This place called “Up North”…

In Michigan, we have distinct area’s that have their own character… Me, I live in the Northwestern Lower Peninsula of the Mitten.  I can point right at the spot I live on  my hand, as everyone who is from Michigan can.

When I was a kid,  we lived “downstate” in Horton, Michigan, which is just south of Jackson.   My family would load up the car on weekends and head north for “Up North”.   Everything north of Clare is what we considered “Up North” until  you hit the Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Bridge.  Then it turned into The UP, which is a whole new fantastically wonderful place that I will blog about someday.

Once we got here on the weekends it was time for fun and relaxation.  Up North is a destination where snowmobiles and boats become a major source of transportation, depending on the season.  Of course, my favorite of the seasons is summer!

When I was 5 years old my family moved “Up North” to a beautiful place called Torch Lake.  I’m pretty sure this is the place Kid Rock sings about in his “Summertime in Northern Michigan”.  I grew up “splashing through the sand bar” at the south end of the lake.  It’s hard to find amazing places like this, so when you do, you can’t help but share!

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Now that I’m an adult (OK… so I’ve been an adult for awhile now), I still get that giddy anxiety that comes with arriving at the Torch River Marine every weekend that I get a chance.  I just know that my pontoon is waiting for me to load up an head on up the water for a day of fun, friends, and relaxation.  There really is no better place to be on a super hot summer day, than anchored off with friends, hanging out on floaties all day!

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This is what keeps all of us locals here…  The water is clear, clean, and a bit cool… Salt Free, and Shark Free.  But we wouldn’t have it any other way.  When the winter’s hit, we break out our winter fun activities, and fly off to tropical locations on occasion to break up the bitter cold.  But every spring, the anticipation of going back to the lake brings happiness and hope.

This is “Up North”… and this is where I live!

 

 

The Eagle soars best with great balance…

There’s so much going on in this world!  Everyone seems to have made a label for their individual groups.  There’s ISIS, Muslims, Al Quada, the KKK, Liberal Left, Conservative Right, Moderates, White supremicists, black people, white people, people of latin origin, baptists, catholics…  etc…  the list goes on and on.

I understand it is human nature to be a little aloof with people I’m not totally familiar with.  But something dawned on me this weekend while I was deep in thought while floating around the lake on a beautiful sunny day…  The Bald Eagle, which is the majestic symbol of this great country of the USA, soars through the air with great balance.  Its direction is guided by a tip to the left, or a tip to the right.  If the Eagle tips too far one way or the other, it runs the risk of spiraling to the ground.

Do ya’ll understand what I’m saying???  Human beings are similar.   We all bleed the same color…  We direct our fate with moderate tips in either direction.  We need to follow our beliefs with humanity in mind.  Extremism in any direction, will send us spiraling to the ground.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Charlottesville.

 

Chicago… my kinda town!

18813395_10155965132027069_1377367352625071081_nIt’s been a few days since my return from the big city of Chicago.  As a small town girl, I have to say, it’s truly a place where you don’t lack for fun events to occupy your time.  Friday evening we made our way down to the Huntington Pavillion at the Museum Campus for a Jack Johnson Concert.  (Something I highly recommend… there’s nothing like a lake breeze while listening to great music!)  Jack Johnson is a down to earth performer who puts on a fantastic show!  I’d give him 5 stars.  🙂

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Saturday, of course, we trekked on down to Michigan Avenue for a little shopping and fun.  After one too many cab rides, we decided to take the carriage ride option to the Navy Pier.  The beautiful horse (I believe she is a Percheron) in the picture is “Talula”. She is a real sweety!

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The Navy Pier is one big playground for people of all ages.  We did, of course, partake of a ferris wheel ride.  The brand new ferris wheel has gondola’s that are enclosed, heated, air-conditioned, and ride like a dream!  The best views of the Chicago Skyline are here.  The Navy Pier is a MUST DO for anyone traveling to Chicago.

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Our Saturday evening ended with spectacular fireworks (which are set off every Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer months at the Navy Pier.)

The neighborhood…  Oh yes, I can’t end this post without commenting on the neighborhood of Pilsen, on the Southwest side of Chicago, where we stayed in an “elegant apartment” booked through Airbnb…  While the apartment was clean, it was not so elegant… but very functional for our trip.  Pilsen seemed to be an older neighborhood, in what seemed to be a pretty safe part of town.  We checked out Simone’s for dinner and drinks on Friday night before the concert.  It had a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, and decent bar food.  Transportation from Pilsen to downtown was convenient via Bus and Uber.

Bottom line on Chicago…  Great place for a fun long weekend with friends!  Downtown can be expensive, but totally worth every penny…  I’ve been there about 4 or 5 times now, and it’s proven to be a great time over and over again!

Ancestry Obsession… More fascinating stuff!

Yesterday, in my lunchtime boredom here in the office, I decided to take a further look into my family tree on Ancestry.  This time I worked down my maternal grandfather’s lineage.  Low and behold… 11 generations back, I learned that my 11th Great Grandfather came across on the Mayflower in 1620!  Fascinating…  my very distant relative may just include notable names like Ulysses Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and even Taylor Swift!  I’m pretty sure I may have to do more research to verify all of this information…  but it’s pretty cool to think that one of my ancestors had such a huge part in history.

According to MayflowerHistory.com Richard Warren came across on the Mayflower alone, leaving his wife and daughters behind in England.  The rest of his family came cross in 1923 on “The Anne”.  Richard Warren is one of the most common “Mayflower” passengers to be descended from, as all of his children survived into adulthood, married, and had large families.

Great stuff… Can’t wait to research more!  That’s all for today.  Guess I’m going to have to add England to my bucket list of places to visit!

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Review: Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Digital Camera

I love taking pictures…. good quality photos that document life at its best. Sometimes, that cell phone camera just isn’t good enough.

So instead of carrying my big clunky old Canon EOS DSLR around everywhere, I decided to tryout the compact version of Canon’s EOS Mirrorless Digital Camera. What a great purchase for me! It’s a lightweight, easy to use camera with changeable lenses with all the bells and whistles of my big camera. My favorite feature is the wi-fi sharing capability, that wasn’t available back when I got my original DSLR. Just take the shot, connect to WiFi, and transfer pictures back and forth to a phone, tablet, or laptop. This feature makes for convenient editing of pictures.

It’s all around just a great compact camera with the quality that Canon has delivered for years. I’d say it’s my new favorite toy! … and the picture quality, well… tell me what you think. Straight from the pint, or dish it into a bowl? Love those Saturday night decisions!

Suds and Snow 2018… Traditions continue!

Every March, Northern Michiganders see the first signs of spring. The sun comes out, snow starts melting, craft brewers set up for a party in the woods, and lots of people come out of hiding after hibernating all winter. Yes! This weekend was the Annual Suds and Snow Ultimate Party in the Woods! So we headed up the hill to Timber Ridge RV Resort and Campground on the East side of Traverse City to join in on the fun!

My great friend Joyce and I equipped ourselves for a great day!

Turns out a lot of people showed up for the great time! Craft Brewers came out from all over Michigan to serve up their best icy cold beverages… Short’s Brewery, Bell’s, Founder’s, Storm Cloud, and North Peak were just a few of the booths set up out in the woods. If you couldn’t manage to find a beer you liked, there were also Ciders and Wines as well. The event is one that my friends look forward to every year! Did I mention the bands that played throughout the day were amazing! It’s one of the ways we get through winter.

I always run into people I know! This fun lady is a friend from high school, Laurie Phillips. Always ready for a good time! She’s just one of my favorite people!

Hanging out at the Tiki on Wheels created by John and Debbie Russell from Bellaire, Michigan.

So next March, if you need a boost to get through those last weeks of winter, don’t forget to listen for the party in the woods! Suds and Snow

Timber Ridge Resort

Nice blog on Traverse City! :) Looking forward to Suds and Snow this weekend! Weekend Round Up + Winter Weekend Getaway: Traverse City, Michigan — Savannah Said It

You guys! I TOTALLY forgot to get a Weekend Round Up posted for you yesterday! So you’re getting a mini weekend round up, and a mini weekend getaway idea for you! Let’s start with our roundup! We started our weekend Friday night with Margs and Mexican food with my best friend and her boyfriend! We […]

via Weekend Round Up + Winter Weekend Getaway: Traverse City, Michigan — Savannah Said It

Small Town Saturday night fun!

This weekend, a group of us decided to venture out for a little fun in Elk Rapids, Michigan.  There’s simply nothing to dislike about this place!  So here’s a review of the two places we went!

Dinner and Cocktails:  Siren Hall

Siren Hall has a warm comfortable bar area with cozy seating (couches and coffee tables!) that friends can gather around for predinner drinks.  This makes for a great atmosphere for Happy Hour.  My drink of choice was the Orange Blossom, a refreshing sweet vodka drink that brings back memories of the ice cream truck… Yes, it tastes a lot like an Orange Sherbet Push up!  I’ll be storing that in my memory for this summer for sure.

For dinner, I had an amazing Michigan White Cheddar Salad with local apples, dried, cherries, pecans, and greens, with a wonderful balsamic vinaigrette.  Next time, I will order this for sure… and maybe add some chicken to make it a meal!  It’s a really nice size salad.

My entree…  I was in pasta mode, so I opted for the four cheese penne’ pasta.  This dish was simply delicious with its mix of Gouda, Colby, Mozzarella and Provolone Cheeses, all topped and baked to crisp with herb breadcrumbs.

Bottom line on this dish:  Perfection in comfort food!

Overall, Siren Hall was a bit pricey, but the atmosphere and the food was totally worth it!  I give it 5 stars.  The service was pretty great too.

Local Concert at the Historic Elk Rapids Town Hall:

When I think of the Elk Rapids Town Hall, I think way back to the 6th grade production of the Wizard of Oz, put on by the Class of 1983.  So walking into this beautifully restored 135 year old building did bring back some really fun memories!

The Band:  Chicago/Traverse City Based Stolen Silver.   Levi Britton, Dan Myers, and Christopher Sterr put on a fantastic show!  Their indie/folk sound seems to be influenced by the likes of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Lionel Ritchie, with a bit of Jimmy Buffet thrown in the mix.  Our group really enjoyed it.  Click on their link in this paragraph to check out their great sound!

Note to self:  Keep an eye on the event schedule for the Elk Rapids Town Hall…  They have great shows coming in the future!

That’s all for today’s lunchtime blog… Enjoy this Northern Michigan Sunshine!

My curiousity gets to me! :) Join in the debate no matter what side you are on… But please have a valid argument.

This morning, while I sat back enjoying my coffee with my winter view, I watched “Face the Nation”.  There were students from Parkland High School, who were in the school during the mass shooting, voicing their opinions about gun control. These students have something legitimate to say!  I can’t imagine being one of the students in the school during the shooting.  Now keep an open mind, no matter what side of the debate you are on, because the country is now demanding action, instead of thoughts and prayers.   (Note to self… there is already some hokey information going around on social media about how many mass shootings have happened this year so far…)

  1.  While you have a right to guns, they do have a right to live… the pursuit of happiness, so the story goes!
  2. They are not out to disarm the country, they just want tighter restrictions on assault weapons. (Can you bear hunt with an AR15???  Is it necessary???)  One of the student’s speaking has a father who is a police officer, and owns guns.  Personally, I know a lot of sport hunters, who might find hunting with an AR15 rather unsportsmanlike.  Not to mention, the next sweet little deer that tries to munch down my freshly planted garden this spring may find themselves in a frying pan next fall during hunting season, without much argument from me.
  3. Some politicians say that more gun control laws won’t help…  How do they know this if they don’t investigate the options further?  Yes, there is a black market on guns… that’s an illegal black market.  There are laws for that which need to be enforced.  Criminals will always be able to get guns…  But is that just a bad excuse to sit by and do nothing?
  4. Nikolas Cruz has been on the FBI’s radar long before the shootings.  He was even expelled from Parkland High School.  He legally purchased the AR15 with no problems.  What’s going on with that?
  5. The family Cruz lived with kept their guns and ammunition under lock and key.  He apparently was sneaky enough to keep his own key to get access to the AR15 without their family’s knowledge.  He put their lives, and their children’s lives in danger… all because they were good hearted enough to step up and help him.  His mother had passed away of pneumonia the prior year.  Where was the rest of his real family?  I feel like something was missed in his upbringing.  Sorry, but it had to be said.  Did someone fail him along the way in his childhood?
  6. If I owned an AR15 for personal protection… kept it loaded next to my bed at night, and someone broke into my house, I’d hate to think that my dog might get hit.  I think I would opt for a hand gun, or maybe even a tazer.  (I guess now you will think twice before breaking into my house while I’m asleep!)  If I did choose an AR15 or something similar, no matter if it looked like a hunting rifle or an assault rifle, I would expect to go through extensive training and background checks to obtain and use it.

Those are valid points I came up with while listening to these students.  I’m trying to keep an open mind here, and I would like to open this up for debate (with real solutions, not name calling or arguing).

Let’s try to come up with some real solutions and encourage our country to combat such tragic events.

Please feel free to join in on the comments, but have a valid argument, and don’t be a name caller.  This isn’t about “snowflakes or rednecks”… its about human lives, family values, mental health care, and access to automatic assault weapons.  No one really wants “The Terminator” to come in and open fire anywhere.

In closing… imagine if this happened in your local schools where it involved your children, and their close friends, and families.  It can happen, and it has happened.  We need to step it up and stop ignoring signs that are right there in front of us.

Thanks for keeping an open mind.

Signed,

Your favorite confused moderate conservative!

Short, sweet, and too the point. We need a solution!

#parklandstrong #bentonstrong #sandyhookstrong #paducahstrong #thelistgoeson. Stop the violence… parents be involved with your kids. Speak up to your representatives for better mental health programs. It’s not about guns, it’s about violence. Thoughts and prayers don’t seem to be helping, so we need to step it up. #ittakesavillage

Just my thoughts.  By the way, how did that guy get that gun… and how did he get in the school with it?

The Rise and Fall of the Shopping Mall?

In the late 1960’s, shopping malls popped up all around the country. I remember, because I was a kid way back then, and one of my favorite pastimes was loading up into the car with my mom, Grammy, and aunties to hit the Paka Plaza in Jackson, Michigan. It was a joy to wonder through the toy department at Sears Roebuck to pick out the favorite teddy bear. If I remember correctly, I picked a somewhat girly bear. My cousin, Erin (yes, thats you dear!) picked the cuddly brown bear with the boy clothes. She was much more of a tomboy than I was back then. (Strange how my memory works!) While my mom and my Aunt giggled about sizes marked with TT… They said it meant “teeny tiny” size!

Then we moved UpNorth.. Rapid City, Michigan… Torch Lake… Aka 3rd most beautiful lake in the world! No malls.. But we took many long drives back to Jackson to hit our favorite spots, along with many relatives and in 1972 they got a wondrous new indoor mall.. Westwood Mall… This quickly became a new favorite, with its extra expansive JC Penney, and Hudsons!

UpNorth shopping was mainly downtown. Traverse City, with its famous Milliken’s Tea Room, among quaint boutiques with unique clothing items. In 1978, the community scored big with the opening of the Cherryland Mall. The community had come of age with its flagship department store, Prange’s, along with Sears Roebuck and Kmart, not to mention Main Street Sports (Kudos to the Gallagher family!). The place was usually packed with happy shoppers, until around 1991, when the community was introduced to the Grand Traverse Mall. Oh the joy of shopping became larger!

Flash forward to today… Milliken’s is gone from downtown. Westwood Mall is still surviving. Cherryland Mall is now the Cherryland Center, struggling to fill vacant spaces. Multiple stores in the Grand Traverse Mall are slated to close, leaving it’s development company in search of new tenant’s. Who is to blame? Some say Amazon.com.

Well.. Amazon is convenient, but… in my recent travels to Raleigh, NC (Crabtree Valley Mall) and Estero, FL, (Coconut Point Mall) I was pleased to find good busy bustling malls with amazing shopping, and very few vacant spaces! My anxiety about the death of my favorite sport is eased! Now… What are these communities doing that our struggling malls can learn from?

Perhaps its quality over quantity? Maybe it’s the economy setting of the communities? What if it’s simply a matter of making time to spend a family shopping day on occasion, instead of blindly ordering something to be delivered to your door?

This is simply one of the things that randomly runs through my brain from time to time

In the meantime… Get out there and hit those local malls… Make memories! Happy shopping, all!