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 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!


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!

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

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!

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.


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

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!

Just being me… and being good with it!

There’s something I’ve been struggling with most of my life, that I’ve had the hardest time with.  It’s hard to even come up with words to describe it.  So here’s my best shot…

“I’m fat”…  Those words are stuck in my head.  They were there when I weighed 110 lbs., and there still there to this day.  But now I look back at pictures and think… well maybe I wasn’t so fat after all back then?  I think I actually looked pretty good now that I see it in hindsight.

Where did this obsession with my weight come from?  I was actually a pretty scrawny kid with thick glasses and a big smile.  My mom went on every diet there was “back in her day”… (yes that’s her favorite phrase!)  I even did the diet thing when I was about 21 at “The Diet Center’, with amazing results.  The focus was always on weight… and of course health, no matter if it was Weight Watchers, or Nutrisystem, or whatever diet was the latest thing.

Of course, back then, I was painfully shy.  So whenever someone showed an interest in me, I would shy away so maybe no one would notice that I was maybe just a bit chubby.  I let that rule my life, and break down my confidence.  Then I met my husband (now ex-husband)…  Nice enough guy, but very obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t supposed to weigh what he weighed.  Well… he was all of 5’8” with a metabolism of an 8 year old with ADHD.  So I did my best to make sure to get in shape, just for him!  What the heck???  Yes, I said it.  I was so unconfident, I thought I had to control my weight for someone other than myself.

About a month before the wedding, we were out in the woods wandering around, searching for morel mushrooms.  It’s a great spring time tradition in Northern Michigan.  He was having a quietly crabby day.  So I kept my head down, in search of the elusive fungi.  He finally looked at me and said, completely out of the blue, “you know you are getting to be over my weight limit”.  CRUSHED!  I spent the next four weeks on a crash diet, with long walks every night, just to make sure he wouldn’t leave me at the Alter.  What a big dummy I was!  My size 10 wedding dress fit perfectly the day of my wedding.  At the time, it seemed like a victory for me.

So for the next 13 years (with the exception of the year I spend in Chemotherapy and radiation for Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2000) I spent my life obsessing over being good enough for him…  Having a good enough job…  dodging his tremendous mood swings where he would hate on whomever pissed him off at the moment…  dealing with his “Rich people are worthless” attitude, which got him let go from several jobs, and giving children the evil eye if they slightly misbehaved in public, all the while expecting me to stand by his side and agree with his every word.  Dinner out with friends usually ended with “Tracey doesn’t need desert”.

One day my attitude on the whole subject changed when I came home from work, and he had been day drinking with the neighbor down the street.  The neighbor complimented the wax job on my car.  He piped right up to point out the flaws and wax crumbs…  I simply rolled my eyes and walked into the house.

He followed me yelling “I should just leave you”…  At that moment I realized he was very drunk.  So I ignored him.  He left the house continuing down the neighborhood on his quest for beer drinking buddies.  I sat stunned for an hour in my living room, fighting tears back.  I felt like I had failed. When he returned to the house, I looked him square in the face and said “Leave!”  Wow…  the little mouse finally spoke up!  He cried, saying he didn’t remember saying what he said.  So I softened… we went through some counseling which he completely ignored, until I decided to walk into the court house and file for divorce, about 9 months later.

I haven’t looked back since then!  Sometimes to get past those words in your head, you have to let go of toxic people.  My focus these days is on being healthy, and enjoying life.  That’s a #1 priority.  No more living life someone else’s way.  It’s been 10 years since that divorce, and I’m in a good place in my life.  I’m not a size 10 anymore…  but hey…  “I may be chubby, but I’m still cute!”  My truest friends and family don’t seem to mind at all.  Although I may offend an occasional toxic person from time to time.  Sorry, not sorry!

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???)