Summer is here… and Torch Lake is back in full swing!

Yes…  It’s memorial weekend.  The weather is amazing here in Northern Michigan, at last!  The boats, yes…  the boats are ready to be in the water zipping around the lake and loafing on the sand bar at the south end.  It’s good to be a Michigander this weekend, especially if you own a boat!

7583841840_img_0308The water is a bit cold, but it sure doesn’t stop anyone from dipping their toes in to see if they can handle the ice cream headache that may result!  (Sparty on friends, Sparty on!)


I personally just love days like these!  The water is so clear and clean… and did I mention COLD????  The air temperature was a solid 85 degrees. They tell me the water is 60 degrees, but my feet completely disagree!  Still… This place is the best place to be.


A cruise up the river was a nice break from the crowd.  Happily, this natural piece of artwork on Torch River has survived yet another winter!  It’s a favorite of mine.


Swanny even tried to pay us a visit to see if we had extra crackers on board.  Sorry buddy, no crackers for you!


Days like today, it gets so hot cruising the river, you just have to stop off for a dip before you head on under the bridge.

… and we get an additional day of this!

Happy Memorial Weekend to all…  Take time to remember all the veterans who gave their lives so that we can enjoy weekends like this.


BBQ Ribs… I forgot how much I love them!

It’s been a few years since I’ve had a propane grill…  so BBQ isn’t always a staple around my house.  So this weekend, I broke out the ol’ charcoal grill with some applewood smoke charcoal and did up some delicious fall off the bone ribs.  So good, simple, and absolutely delicious!  So… here’s my not-so-secret recipe!

1 rack of ribs (Pork or beef… depending on your personal preference)

1 12 oz. can of beer

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Alden Mill House Chef’s Pork & Poultry Seasoning (

Sweet Baby Ray’s Vidalia BBQ Sauce (or whatever your favorite sauce may be!)

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.

In a 9×12 baking pan pour in the can of beer.

Prepare ribs by rubbing them with olive oil, and Pork and Poultry seasoning.  Then add them to the baking pan.

Bake covered for 2 1/2 hours.

Next, prep the charcoal on your favorite grill.  Get it good and hot!  🙂

Once you take the ribs out of the oven, transfer them over to the charcoal grill, and baste with BBQ sauce.  Let them grill for about 5 minutes on each side to maximize the flavor.  (Baste the ribs on both sides, of course…)

The ribs will be falling of the bone…  Serve them with your favorite summer picnic sides, like broccoli Salad and potato salad!  They will disappear fast once they hit the table, so if you intend to take a picture be quick about it!  (Yep… I didn’t catch a picture of the goodness on the table this time!)

ENJOY!  Happy BBQ season!

Retirement… thoughts that enter your mind in your 50’s.

Yes, we all know we think about it.  What do we need to retire someday?  Well… financial advisers tell us we need to have $1,000,000.00 in the bank to support ourselves through our retirement years.  Seriously???  This just isn’t going to happen here in the real world.  I’m no financial adviser, but I’m just a person who hopes to be able to take it easy someday…  So here are just a few thoughts I have on making it happen for myself someday!

SIMPLIFY!  Right now, I live in a 4 bedroom 2 bath home on a little less than one acre. With any luck, I will have enough equity in this home when I retire (lets just say in 15 years for all intensive purposes), that I can sell it, and buy a house outright with cash.  Let’s imagine a home equity as it stands today is right around $110,000.00 (which doesn’t buy much… but it will get you a roof over your head…)  So in 15 years, imagine the equity that will build towards a mortgage free home.  So, when you ask yourself, “should I include the equity of my home in my total net worth?”, my personal opinion is YES!  Not having a house payment in retirement years will be a big plus.  Just don’t forget that there will always be taxes and insurance, along with possible HOA (Home Owners Association) fees to pay!img_6067

LIVE IN A WALKABLE COMMUNITY!  Right now I have a car payment… I’ve had one all of my adult years, with the exception of the 1975 Ford Granada I bought for $1,000.00 when I was 20 years old.  Having a reliable newer vehicle is a must for me at this time in my life when I drive 15 miles to work each way.  Gas prices, auto insurance, and car payments really add up.  Luckily, my job affords me the be able to pay for this.  I have never really lived in a walkable community, but the whole idea sounds fantastic to me in my later years!  Of course, I will always have a car, but at some point, I hope that I don’t need a 4 wheel drive, snow busting SUV.  The older I get, the better it sounds to be able to live close to a community where I could walk or bike or (yes…) GOLF CART to places I need to go.  It’s a quiet dream I have to be “That lady” with the basket on her bicycle riding down the road to collect sea shells on the seashore.  Those “Over 55” Active Community’s don’t seem so bad after all!5-5 Lady alone in Heraklion

HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS…  Wow… these go up every year, along with health care costs.  This is huge when making the decision of what age to retire at.  At 62, Medicare isn’t at option.  So working full time may just be the best decision.  Eligibility for Medicare begins at age 65. Just don’t forget about supplemental insurance for major health care costs if something catastrophic hits, like cancer, heart disease, among a million other conditions that may create a medical financial disaster if you aren’t properly insured.

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SOCIAL SECURITY… Right now, it does still exist.  We’ve all been contributing to this fund every day of our working lives.  Our parents are drawing on what they’ve contributed in their retirement.  So what we do today is cross our fingers, and hope that it still exists to supplement our retirement savings in the future.  Right now at age 62 we can collect Social Security at a lower rate.  Full retirement actually is set at age 67.  Can we exist on Social Security alone in retirement?  Do you enjoy poverty?  The answer to both questions is a big NO! Unless you really do enjoy poverty…   So…

photo of vintage stationery
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

RETIREMENT SAVINGS!  Yes, it’s soooooooo very important; SEP, 401K, IRA, Roth IRA, etc…  the list goes on and on.  Make a point to put away as much as you can each paycheck!  Each person is different.  So I don’t feel like it’s a good thing to define exactly what a person should have in the bank at the time of retirement.  But, it’s so very important to have that financial adviser who can help you set up just the right plan. Be upfront and forthright with the lifestyle you wish to live after you retire.

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KEEP WORKING…  If you don’t like slowing down, by all means, keep working!  No one says you have to stop, especially if you really love what you do.  If you retire, and decide you can’t stand it, you can always go back and find a new job (even if its just a part time gig!)

So that’s all I have for today’s blog!  Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas as well.

Happy Spring!

Yes… a new favorite in Waverly, NY. Tomasso’s at Chemung Golf Course!

I love finding out of the way places to eat that have all the elements of a good down home eatery! Tomasso’s Restaurant gets my vote for pick of the week, while I’m remotely working from New York’s Southern Tier Region.

What I ate… Bruschetta Chicken Alfredo. The pasta was perfect… the sauce was delightful, mingled with a nice olive oil and balsamic bruschetta layered over the top.

My verdict on this dish… it was a party in my mouth! So I broke the low carb rules, but how could anyone not love this dish. I hear the Marsala is every bit as wonderful. Worth every bite… but no room for dessert.

The view… the drive along the Bluffed banks of the Chemung River offered breathtaking views on the way out to the restaurant. Then sun started going down during dinner, creating an amazing silhouette of the lush golf course. I seriously wish I had my camera with me! Next visit.. I won’t forget that camera.

So… Tomasso’s Restaurant and it’s Italian American menu may just be a great option for our company Christmas party this year!

Check it out at!


Another Small Town Saturday Night… Bellaire, MI Short’s Brewing Company’s 14th Anni Party!

Oh boy!  Northern Michigan is all about everything craft beer these days, and a big part of the reason why, is a Northern Michigan guy from Bellaire, Michigan, named Joe Short.  14 years ago, he took his favorite hobby and turned it into a business that he’s kept his passion for through out the years.  Yesterday, the town of Bellaire shut down the streets and turned into a festival of all things Short’s for it’s 14th Anni party.  People lined up from all parts of the state to get into the big party!

7518834608_img_0240Performances by several bands from throughout Michigan happened here on this day.  In this picture, Braxton Hicks (aka…  Joe Short and Seth Bernard) and the Contractions performed their comical musical genius from the top of a  semi trailer downtown Bellaire.

7518834608_img_0260The Detroit Marching band showcased it’s Louisana style jazz, wowing the crowd!  I’m a new big fan!  These guys really rocked it!  The evening ended with Michigan’s own “Steppin’ in it” on the main stage.


My new favorite beer of the day (and of the summer for sure!) is Short’s Soft Parade Shandy; A lemonade infused fruit based beer.  7518834608_img_0247

Even though it was a brisk, sunny, 40 degree day, everyone kept warm until the sun went down!

Cheer to Short’s Brewing Company…  Happy 14th. Anniversary, and wishing you many more!

It’s Trout Friday in Northern Michigan!

It’s something that happens the last weekend in April every year… like clockwork!  Yes, folks… the first festival of the season UpNorth is officially underway.  The 82nd National Trout Festival in Kalkaska, MI, happens all weekend!

Trout Friday is somewhat like homecoming… Oh heck, that’s exactly what it is!  Any establishment that you may frequent this evening may be filled with Native Kalkaskian’s having a great time.

The places to be seen:

  1.  The KalHo Lounge…  Kalkaska’s original, longest standing establishment for cocktails, great pizza, and beer bucket specials!
  2. Trout Town Tavern and Eatery…  This place makes my hungry just thinking about it!  My favorite is the UpNorth Salad, but they have some wonderful barbeque dishes that will make your tummy very happy!
  3. The UpNorth Grill… aka, the Fireball Lounge, aka Whitetails…  This is where happy hour starts.  Go early so you can find a spot at the bar!  The place will be packed.
  4. The carnival… who can resist the rides, and the carnival food?  I hear there’s a pizza truck that is totally OFF THE HOOK…  And did I mention the Gibby’s Fries trailer is onsite?  Now that has “Northern Michigan Tradition” all over it!
  5. The big parade on Saturday!  They actually close down US-131 for the big parade.  It’s a great way to celebrate Trout season, and the beginning of Spring!
  6. The trout pond…  Make your way down to the trout pond and see how big of a fish you can catch…  It’s what its all about!

Don’t be afraid of this great little Northern Michigan town!  It’s not as bad as the news makes it sound.  There are some fun people to meet around this town that I work in!

… and while I won’t make it to Trout Friday festivities this year… I guarantee, from past experiences, its a gooooood time!

Meanwhile, I will be off to another favorite little town tomorrow, Bellaire, MI, for Short’s Brewing Company’s 14th Anniversary party…  Stay tuned for pictures and story’s, because there’s another great place to be!

This is what happens when the snow melts, and we can make it out of our houses!


My first drone adventure…

Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten…  if you think you are interested in operating a drone, buy a $30.00 one first!

My original intent was to share beautiful drone footage out and around Northern Michigan.  So I followed the advice I got from my real estate continuing education, and got a $30.00 drone (A Syma X5C) with a little camera on it, just to practice with.  It’s light and pretty much indestructible.  BUT…  then you turn it on, and put that baby into motion, and wizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…  away it goes!  Quickly, I got it under control, and practice turns and forward backward motions…  Then the wind picked up, and carried it into… THE REALLY DEEP SNOW!   Crash!   I look down at my feet, and decided to go retrieve it, as fast as my flip flops could carry me.   Crunch crunch crunch… all the way to the little toy and back…  I suffered a bit of an ice cream headache by the time I got back to dry land!

Try #2…  This time I fired it up just a little more slowly, thinking I had better control of it.  The higher it went, the faster it zipped around, until ZINGGGGGGGGG….  It crashed into my roof…  at which point I pulled my ladder out of the garage and retrieved it off the roof.   Pretty nice view from up there!

At that point, I decided to wait a day, let the poor thing rest, and try again tomorrow.

So I got home from work last night, did a few chores around the house… and then decided to go back out and give it another whirl.

It was going pretty well, and I was getting more confidence in controlling the little quad copter, so I decided to go a bit higher.  Yes, the wind caught it once again, and wizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. away it went, so I tried to circle it back towards me, and CRASH…  right into a group of trees!  So I crunched my way back through the knee deep snow to see where it landed.

It didn’t land on the ground!  I looked up at this tall pine, as I hit the control switch… wizzzzz…. there it was, stuck way up high in the branches.  Wizzzzzz wizzzz whizzz…..  It wasn’t moving an inch!  So I tried the ol’ shake the tree trick, with no luck.

So my poor little $30.00 drone spent the night (and probably the rest of its life) about 30 foot up in a tree.  Glad I didn’t buy a $500.00 drone right out of the gate!

Next purchase… a chain saw!  (Just kidding!)


Out of Blog Practice! Time to Review another favorite.. McGee’s 72 in Acme, MI

Most Friday’s I don’t feel like cooking… so what’s a girl to do, but cruise on down M-72 to her favorite Friday night happy hour spot.  Namely, McGee’s 72 in Acme, MI!

What’s so great about this place?

  1.  The bartenders…  once they see you, they do remember what your favorite is…  even after just one visit!  Oh, and did I tell you about the “sister bartenders” Hannah and Rebecca?  Pure jolly happy entertainment… always guaranteed to make you laugh.  Make sure you ask them about “Pancakes”.  🙂  Yes, ladies, tonight I will be having my favorite cocktail, Tito’s, Soda, with an Orange Slice, TALL…  🙂  Usually, they are mixing my drink as I walk in the door.  img_6368
  2. The steakburgers are THE BEST!  When you want one, you want one! What’s this blue cheese crusted option???   Medium Rare, please!  Oh… and add those great duck fried truffle fries to cure my carb craving!
  3. Location…  They are located right next to the Grand Traverse Resort.  Dinner on the patio means a great view of one beautiful Jack Nicklaus course!  … and of course, a few novice golfers searching the ponds for that ball that took a wrong turn.
  4. The Chef’s…  These guys come up with some amazing dishes, especially for Sunday Brunches.  It’s a great place to take the family for a wonderful afternoon gathering.  Try a steak (blue cheese crusted of course), or Pulled Pork BBQ/Mac N Cheese combo!
  5. The Locals… sit on the bar side, instead of getting a table for a true local feel of the area.  It’s a favorite local hangout, especially if there’s a good game on!  Large screen TV’s are located throughout “Matty’s Place” so you can get the best view of your favorite team.  So whether you are “Go Green, Go White”, or “Maize and Blue”, chances are, your fellow sports fans are right there with you.  Get to know the locals for lifelong friendships.

Want to check out more about this place?  Check them out at

… or just get in your car and  check them out in person!

Happy Friday… I think Spring is finally here to stay!

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!