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Our Date Night in Ann Arbor

My husband and I of almost thirty-seven years enjoy being together and making each other laugh as often as possible.

We have always felt date nights are important, but haven’t always make them a priority. Just to do something out of the ordinary makes me giddy. Each morning upon rising, the thought of something special to look forward to makes my day a bit brighter. It keeps our relationship fresh and makes life exciting. We’ve also enjoyed plenty of spontaneous dates, but my favorite ones are planned ahead and I’m given the gift of anticipation.

Our October Date Night (We plan one a month)

This month’s date began by stopping at one of our favorite shops in Ann Arbor, Mi. called “Four Directions.” They have a ton of jewelry which I adore, and my husband likes their displays of stones, fossils, and other unique items.  My jewelry collection grew a tad, with a jasper bracelet, a selenite heart, and also a semi-precious stone chakra bracelet. Their reasonable prices make it difficult to leave the store without a purchase. That is not a complaint.

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Next we headed to the Red Hawk for a dinner we knew we’d enjoy. We’ve never been disappointed in their menu or service. There, we had a sip of wine (well maybe a few sips) served with fish tacos for my husband and a salmon pita for me. Cooked to perfection and completely satisfying. Deliciousness!

Next, we walked over to The Ark a few blocks away to listen to a wonderfully, talented, moving singer-songwriter, Jillette ( pronounced like the razor) Johnson who also plays keyboards. Her soulful voice brought me to tears during a few songs. A skilled cello player accompanied her on stage. We later purchased her most recent CD which she autographed and shared bits of her inspiration with us. So the date memory continues!

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What do you like to do on your special date nights with a loved one?

Date night suggestions to try: Each person place a creative going-out idea of things they would like to do on popsicle sticks. Have a separate holder for ideas to stay-in or things that are free when money is tight. Then commit to a weekly or monthly date and really make it happen!

Love, Light, and Peace to you always.

In gratitude,

Mel

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The Turtle & Plan B

If it’s not the bees, or crazy cardinals, or whacko fishing stories, it’s those darn turtles. I truly love and learn something from all my visitors, critters or otherwise.

I’m not sure who scared who the most, although I fared a bit better. I jumped back and watched as the poor turtle panicked and flung herself off my dock. I couldn’t help but laugh when her plans didn’t work out so well. My thought was, I can so relate. But like most ladies, turtles or humans, we always have a plan B.

The Spiny Soft-shelled Turtle had climbed the hill about six feet from the water. She was sunning herself or maybe scoping for a place to lay eggs. She was crouched even with the ground close to the steps and I didn’t see her.

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The turtle was near the round stone near the post on the left. (Not in photo)

When I approached, she, not so gracefully zipped down two steps and flung herself right into the lake, or so she thought. At one point she looked like a flying turtle.

After being airborne, she landed in my paddle boat. Thankfully, it was almost overflowing with rainwater after the last few days of storms. She struggled to get out, but her nails slid on the plastic. She would dip under when she saw me watching, but I was able to get this picture.

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Next project, bail paddle boat! Hoping there are no more surprises.

As I went for my evening walk I tried to figure out a way for her to escape without anymore stress for either of us. My best plan was to lay a piece of wood across the boat for something (not plastic) for her to grab onto and climb out.

Forty five minutes later when I returned from my walk, the turtle was gone. We had both obviously had a plan B.

Here’s a DNR link if interested in knowing more about the popular Spiny Softshell Turtle.

Has any crazy creature incidences happened to you? I would love to read about your adventures in the comments.

Thanks as always for reading and sharing my blogs. I’m so grateful.

 

 

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Shipshewana Silliness

My July 4th began in the car, listening to a half of a very good book while I drove to Shipshewana, Indiana for our annual ladies retreat with some family and friends.

I thought it was crazy that I bought cinnamon bread in Indiana and when I sliced it, it was shaped like Michigan.Lotta love in that loaf.

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The flea market celebrated the holiday opening on Monday, along with their usual Tuesday and Wednesday. Who doesn’t love an extra day to shop?

Besides the famous flea market with bargains beyond ones imagination, there are many store-front shops that line the main street and side streets.

We stayed at the Farmstead Inn, ate fresh locally farmed Amish food, found wonderful bargains every day, had our very own auction one night, (everyone contributes a donation or more) and played card B I N G O the next. The auction purchases and bingo prizes were fun, some practical, others, well, maybe not so much.

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The musical, The Home Game, playing at the Blue Gate Theater and Restaurant,  was raved about by those who attended.

But as always – –  the very best part for me was all the laughter, and just being together with family and friends and I can’t forget my mother’s wonderful silly sisters.

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At one point I truly thought someone in the hotel may complain. We all laughed so loud and hard, it hurt. Truly the best kind of pain! That’s me below with the happy tears at the bottom right.

Jersey Cookie Girl

Our Shipshee Faces! Photo- Jersey Cookie Girl

Here are some of our best finds this trip!

If you love – better than Grandma’s comfort food, shopping, and great flea market bargains, you will adore Shipshewana. I highly recommend a visit.

Until next time, wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Love Mel

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Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Not only is Grand Rapids the second largest city in Michigan, but it has numerous extraordinary entertaining things to do, and amazing places to visit. My husband and I found two of them last Monday.

A peek at our day trip to Meijer Gardens.

It was the perfect weather, overcast and not to crowded. There were fields of wild flowers, woodlands and wetlands along with perfectly manicured grounds through our entire journey on the walking paths. We spent about four hours and I wished we had at least that many more. It was so tranquil to take in the kaleidoscope of color, shapes, scents and spectacular sculpture exhibits by some extremely impressive artists.

We didn’t make it to the children’s gardens. Although we saw a few children in swim suits and joyous sounds emanating from the area as we passed by.

There was some amazing music that could be heard throughout the grounds from a band that was rehearsing for a later concert at the amphitheater.

The pillars, flowers, and vines were breathtaking.

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The Japanese Gardens  opened in 2015. As we enjoyed the journey through the curved paths, it felt as though you were being bathed in a blanket of calm. There were several waterfalls ranging from a trickle to a cascading rush. The blossoms blew their fragrance as if sending gentle kisses through the air. I never wanted to leave, but they closed at five.

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In one of the indoor exhibits I recognized a saguaro cactus, but this one was under fifty years old…no arms yet. Earlier blog post about these unique cacti.

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Sculptures

The sculpture gardens are filled with unique and famous pieces by many artists.

I enjoyed this equine masterpiece that measures 288 x 91 x 339 inches. The American Horse, was created by Nina Akamu in 1999.

He’s Majestic… I’m about 5 1/2 feet tall and to him I must feel like a horse fly on his front leg.

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The Long Island Buddha-made from steel and copper by artist Zhang Huan.

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I bet you can guess why I could hardly take my eyes from this stainless steel and stone sculpture. I, you, she or he . . .by Jaume Plensa, known for using ideas about language and communication in his sculptures.  It was so wonderful to walk among these figures and imagine their silent conversations. I have no doubt their conversation included the words, “This artist is brilliant!”

Here’s the link for Frederik Meijer Gardens. We would highly recommend this park be on everyone’s itinerary when visiting the area.

Afterwards to end our adventure, we discovered a well-known brewery in Grand Rapids. Founders Brewing. 

Just a small appetizer. (enough to feed four, I think) Absolutely the most umami (my new favorite word) hummus and olive tapenade spread I’ve had anywhere. The beer wasn’t bad either. (tee-hee) Five star brewery for sure.

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If you’ve been on any day trips that were fun, please share in comment section!

As always, thanks for reading and sharing my blog.

Enjoy your summer.

Mel

 

 

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Our Dundee Date

We decided to go for a ride this afternoon and ended up in Dundee to buy some candles. The Swan Creek Company outlet store is located four blocks from Cabala’s. We passed the Beef Jerky Outlet Store too, but it appeared closed.

We sniffed the aromatic scents one by one as we cruised through three different areas in the the store. We smelled fruity, spiced, sweet, floral, outdoors, herbs, coffee, even a leather one, until our noses had had enough. We then headed into their basement to check out the many resale treasures and antique booths. They also have an upstairs, which we didn’t get to today.

After all that sniffing, we finally decided on the Black Spiced Rum candle along with an Orange Blossom & Vanilla one, they were on the BOGO rack. We also picked up a lovely bird candle, touched with the fragrance of Petals of Paradise, to lift the spirits of someone special who is feeling sad due to a death in the family.

All this shopping had worked up an appetite and we headed next door to a small pub called, “River’s Edge. Pizza, Pub & Grille” I can’t say all their food is good, (because every time I’ve been, I order the same thing) but, I can testify to the fabulousness (yes I’m allowed to make up words on my blog) of their Chicago style pizza, filled with green pepper, onion, black olives and pepperoni. It is truly the best I’ve had, and that includes the pizza’s I’ve eaten while in Chicago. The sauce is spicy and sweet and is to die for. River’s Edge is also known for their pulled pork, baby back ribs, and brisket. Next time, I swear I’m going to starve myself for a week and sample them all.

After our filling meal, we decided to walk a bit before heading back home. Directly behind the River’s Edge and Swan Creek is the River Raisin Dam, which includes a lovely path.

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They built a wonderful gazebo in front of the water and placed a picnic table beneath. One might assume they did this so people could take a rest from their day and enjoy the beauty of the River Raisin, right? But then they ruined it by hanging up this sign- NO Loitering.

My husband and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the contradiction of the sign.

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The path led us to the Old Mill Museum which is the white building you see in the photo above. Unfortunately, they were about to close as we approached. Maybe next time.

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Ahhh, I can stand here without fear. It’s so refreshing. No loitering sign anywhere in this area by the Old Mill, the crisp clear beauty and sounds of the water are so dam amazing. Ah! (pun intended)

We’ll be back Dundee, Michigan. Love these day trip dates.

Think Spring!

 

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What’s Next? Letting Readers Know!

H Everyone!

For those of you who have asked about my latest book . . . YES,  it came in, finally! Publishing with Balboa Press has taught me so much, and everyday there is yet something else to learn.

Now that the book is written and published, I’m learning how to let people know it’s available.

This Sign Was Mine

This Sign Was Mine

First Event

First Event HS craft show.

 

 

No one told me you have to bring your own table to a craft show. Now I know.

 

 

 

I was waiting for the website for Patti Rae Fletcher to launch before I announced the book here, so we would have somewhere to go and just talk about the experiences in the book and around the book and any bizarre coincidences that may have happened to you. I can’t wait to hear your amazing stories on the book website.

I wanted to share with you first, my treasured friends and family who have followed me here for the past couple of years, I truly do appreciate the time you take to read my words and comment. (and those who just scroll through the pictures too) If you have followed my posts for any length of time, you already have had a tiny sneak peek into slight pieces of what’s in the book.

“This Sign Was Mine, Message Received!” by Patti Rae Fletcher, is my short memoir about several crazy coincidences, déjà vu moments, those strange instances that give you the goosebumps, or the tingles that race on your spine, or that have you shaking your head and asking yourself, “Did that just happen?” Those moments when things become crystal clear or totally change the whole way you previously thought about a situation.

I feel these sorts of experiences happen to everyone, but we are so busy, sometimes, we brush off the signs that the Universe is trying to give us, or think it’s nonsense. I’ve done exactly that until recently when I sat down and tried to figure out my life, my purpose and why I’m here and why things happen(ed) the way they do or did. These signs that were gifted to me brought with them messages that I was meant to receive at the precise perfect moment.

Writing is and has always  been therapeutic for my heart, mind and soul. I’ve kept diaries and journals most of my life, but this came out of me like a freight train and brought such clarity to the many difficult questions that I’d struggled with for the past few years, especially those since my parents left their physical bodies.

The book is available through me, and will be at the library system soon.

Hard cover, (28.95) soft cover,(8.99) and e-books (3.99) are also available through;

Balboa Press

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

My hope is, you will follow the Patti Rae Blog to find out where the author and book signing events will be held. They will be listed soon.

Have a wonderful week everyone and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And The Walls Came Tumbling Down!

With a little help from my husband. Well, maybe a lot!

Our home was built in the 50’s and has good bones. That became apparent once the room was stripped down to the brick and studs.

My blessings are abundant, but this month having a second bathroom in the basement ranks high on my grateful list. I think my neighbors are thankful too!

Demo Day(s)

Old Bathroom

Old Bathroom

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It’s a Process

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above sink

Above sink

Demo Day

Demo Day

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s what it looks like behind the walls . . .

Rubble

Rubble

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tub and floor are next to go.

The remodel is about to begin! I’m so excited!

It has been a ton of decisions, mostly fun, although I admit, I’ve been overwhelmed at times. It’s hard to believe there are so many varied styles of everything. Then there’s the sticker shock! Holey Moley! Not to mention the dust. I’m not complaining though, I’m thrilled after all these years to have such … what I know will turn out to be a gorgeous updated bathroom.

With a job this extensive, even when it is the smallest room in the house, next to a closet, you might ask , where do I begin? We finally agreed to decide on a vanity first, then decided on the three T’s.

Tub, Tile, and Toilet. Then the next decisions were the mirror, light, sink, faucets, shower head, and the smaller things like the towel bars, light switches, toilet paper holder, shower curtain, and now of course none of my towels will match the room. I hope there’s a good sale soon.



A Bit Of Bathroom Humor!

Someone always has it worse!

Someone always has it worse!

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Be Continued!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Will Not Complain About The Weather

Note To Myself

Remember those people who work outside their entire shift, everyday, in all the elements and don’t complain about the weather.

Things I Used To Take For Granted 

As I sit here in my toasty warm office, the wind rattles the window, the snow swirls outside, I think about my sons. They have both worked outside in the railroad yard for several years. I wonder often if they made it to work safely on the snow-covered slick roads. I hope they’re dressed warm enough to be out in this mess for their ten-hour shift?

I shiver when I think about how many times the icy rain has found its way to the collar of my coat and run down my neck, or when I shovel the snow and it is so deep it creeps over the top of my boots. I feel like I’ll never be warm again. Brrr! I wonder how my son’s can stand working outside, but neither of them ever complain and both seem to enjoy their jobs.

Because of my sons working in the elements, I’ve become more aware of my complaints. I try to think of all the people who work outdoors, not only my sons, and I know most are never told to stay home because of any seasonal weather conditions.

Railroad Yard

Railroad Yard

 

 

 

 

 

Being Grateful

I’m especially appreciative for the late start to our snowfall this winter season. My husband broke his foot while jogging in September.

This experience has taught us great empathy, respect, and admiration for all those who have to use crutches, or are in wheel chairs, using walkers or canes and/or with any kind of physical disability. It takes courage, strength, great effort, and care to get in and out of a vehicle, and going up and down steps is downright scary on normal day, but then add snow and ice.  Whew, it’s treacherous!

Let’s Talk About Heat

I try to remember in those sweltering dog days of summer all those who work at a steel mill around furnaces which are thousands of degrees. I can’t imagine doing this type of work either, but am grateful for those who do and all those who have in the past. Where would our world be without steel?

Our buildings and homes are held together with steel beams, our automobiles, and machines of all sorts, weapons for our military, internal parts of many things, cans, aluminum foil, tools, etc . . . are all made from steel. These jobs aren’t always pleasant, but make such a difference in our world.

Now that's HOT!

Now that’s HOT!

 

 

 

 

 

Besides being thankful to my immediate family for the jobs that they do and the services and products they provide, they’re many other jobs where employees have to bear the elements of the weather year around.

In Appreciation To

Our military service men and women that work and sometimes sleep outdoors in all conditions,

Firemen and women,

Emergency vehicles,

Our wonderful postal workers,

The snow removal teams,

The road repair crews,

Electricians, Plumbers, and Furnace repairmen that are called to do jobs outside or with no heat inside,

Telephone and Cable repair personal that keep us connected, no matter what,

Mason’s and Welders can be called anytime and go anywhere to do their jobs,

Our dedicated farmers,

Ski instructors, lift operators, mechanical team and grounds keepers,

Skating rink attendants and maintenance,

Storm Chasers/Scientist,

Now That's Scary

Now That’s Scary

 

 

 

 

 

Could you fix that cable?

Could you fix that cable?

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You!

And these people and the dedicated jobs they do everyday are the reasons why,

I will not complain about the weather.

 

P.S. My apologies to any of those who work outdoors that I may have missed. Let me know and I’ll add your position to the list.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stocking

The Stocking.

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The Stocking

No Name Stocking

No Name Stocking 😦

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST WINTER PROJECT

The first of my two winter projects was on a timeline to be done before Christmas.

Here is my granddaughter’s last years stocking, no name, no shiny sequins. Her sad little face didn’t understand. She asked why?

In my previous blog Winter Projects, I explained to her, I didn’t know if they even made the kits for those stockings anymore. Both my son’s stockings were stitched over twenty-six years ago. (When my eyes and patience were much better.)

UGH! Could I do it, even with the cheaters and the lighted magnifying glass?

There were hundreds of minuscule beads that had to fit over the itty bitty holes in the centers all those sequins. I swear to you the extra thin needle had no flippin’ eye. The embroidery floss was thinner than I remembered – for sure. And then they want you to separate the already thin six strands down to one for attaching the sequins. REALLY!

I poked, tweaked, licked the thread a million times and even with the lighted magnifying glass it would not go through the supposed hole. After about ten minutes of heavy sighing, groans, and growls,  by some miracle the thread found its way.

I enjoyed all the stitching, stuffing and appliqueing. It was the stupid needle, thread, and trying to pick-up and find the hole in the bead that about drove me crazy.  My record for sewing/attaching  sequins and beads was twenty-two in forty-five minutes.

Once I put my mind to something, it gets done, but it usually it don’t take me a year and a half to complete.

Twelve days before Christmas Eve, DONE . . . Whew! Happy Dance!

Well, when it comes to the best granddaughter in the world, how could there have ever been a doubt? Now hopefully Grace will remember our conversation and she will be excited too!

 

With Time to Spare!

With Time to Spare!

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SECOND PROJECT

After the holiday season I can think about the second exploit on my winter to-do list. I want to create a unique collage of about fifty old black and white photographs of my ancestors, on both Mom and Dad’s sides. The photo’s are mostly mystery people to me, but are fabulous in appearance and date back into the twenties.

If you have done something or have seen someone else’s idea for old pictures, please share in an email or the comment section.

This photograph below was in the box of family pictures in my parent’s basement along with many more that fascinate me. I can’t let them stay in that dark box to be ruined or tossed away someday. Thus my inspiration for the next project. Even if I don’t know who they are, I think it will be fun to speculate and comment on the styles of the times. But deep down I know if these people were never born, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m filled with love and gratitude every time I go through these treasures.

Until 2015…I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a fun, safe, New Year’s Eve.

Anyone recognize this person?

She's Lovely

Isn’t She Lovely

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