Sunday, January 14, 2018

YEAR IN REVIEW: PART 2


Our Bay At Dusk


I think I last left you at June.  Aren't you happy I divided this into two parts?  You can read my Part 1 Year In Review here.

*****

I love how the calm water reflects the light, and provides a mirror for the boats and docks.  It is so, so peaceful here during the week.  Weekends are pretty wild with people having company that fills the roads with parked cars, strollers being pushed, bicycles, joggers/walkers, and cute dogs on leashes.  Honestly, I appreciate all seven days of the week for what they bring.  



Niles, MI Antique Shop Find

It was so fun having the time here to myself.  I explored towns with wonderful Main Street vibes, and many antique shops.  I was so excited to score these old Beatrix Potter books.  I may have to look back at my original post--I think they are copyrighted 1949.  They look very well loved.  It's so fun to have weekdays to bum around doing things I could never do on Saturdays and Sundays.  Even when we took 2 weeks in August for a long stay, so much time was spent on tasks, and many lazy days, just not wanting to get off the boat even to have dinner out.  



Master Bedroom Balcony

For the very first time, I fixed up the balcony off our master bedroom.  It looks out over the big lake.  I found canvas sling chairs which fold up---great for storing in the winter months.   The canvas can be wiped cleaned.  I added some plants and citronella candles.  The dogs loved walking out to sun themselves every morning when I made the bed and tidied up the room.  Now its empty and carpeted in snow.



Mango Guacamole 

I came across this recipe, and it was a hit all summer long.  My grocery store in Chicago makes a mango salsa.  This is just another take with avocado.  If you want to make it ahead, reserve the pit of the avocado and squish that down in until you are ready to serve.  This keeps the avocado from turning brown.  Find the recipe here.




Tropical Luau Drink

One morning I was fiddling around in my garden when I happened to see something hanging off the driver's side mirror of my car.  It was a cute invitation in the shape of a pineapple, inviting me to a luau that weekend.  I didn't recognize the name, but I did know the street was directly across the bay.  I talked to my friend Diane, who lives three houses down, and she knew the lady a bit, and it was a party for our whole bay. 

That weekend, The Husband came up, I made a Hawaiian Salad, and off we went.  It was an absolute blast!  Good food, meeting neighbors who had been here as long as us, but just a body of water separating us.  Oh, how we laughed.  There was karaoke, a photo booth with crazy tropical props to dress up in,  a bon fire on the beach, and dancing.  This beautiful lady who held the party with the help of her sweet sisters, is just so fun.  I hope to get in touch with her this summer---I'd love her friendship.  She also lives full time in Illinois, but very far north from me.  



Papa and Madelyn

The Husband loves nothing better than to take everyone out for boat rides.  He takes his role of captain very seriously.  To think Abigail was this little when we moved here.  I like to drive the boat, too, but The Husband freaks when I bring it into our shore station.  It's a sharp right turn, as we are in the corner of the bay, and then you have to cut the engine and rely on the waves to let you drift in.  If your boat smacks against any metal parts, it ain't purdy.  Sometimes I love the freedom of the wave runners.  You just the gun the engine and cruise onto the beach.  


Our Lake at Sunset

I actually found this gorgeous photo of our lake on Facebook.  You can see how large our lake is, the largest in Southwest Michigan.  That's the island in the center--it has about a hundred homes.  A ferry takes people and cars back and forth.  These home aren't accessible in the winter by ferry, but back in the day, when the lake froze, people would get there by snowmobile.  Another activity was truck racing on the ice.  For the brave I guess.  If you can enlarge this photo you can see few specks, which are boats, in the lower right corner.  If we cruise the entire shoreline, and you must go counterclockwise, it takes over an hour.  


City House Outdoor Renovation

This huge project took at minimum 4 months to complete.  It was my baby.  We started out having a new porch and driveway done.  Then the shutters were painted, and that was a huge improvement.  Then I worked with a great lady on the landscaping.  I told her the bushes and shrubs I liked, and she chose the placement.  We also reseeded and the new grass came up thick and lush.  I have never seen this with seeding before.  We get so many compliments from our neighbors, and sometimes people taking walks pause and point to some of the bushes and flowers they like.  I am super excited about planting some flowers next summer, maybe some red geraniums. 


Fall Centerpiece

Autumn seemed to come and go in a flash.  I think it is becoming my favorite season.  Everything seems to slow down.  The crisp air and the trees changing from green to brilliant colors, really makes me happy.  But I knew my time at the lake was winding up.  By mid-October,  I had a lot of yard cleanup, and wanted to really give the city house a good cleaning after not being there so much all summer.  I could also sense the holidays approaching.  I think the last time I was here was the end of October.



Miss Madelyn

All the grandkids continued to grow at warp speed.  Emily has an Instagram account that is simply pictures of Madelyn.  It is so cool to follow as she grows and changes.  I think this is one way technology is used nicely.  I remember my father having his old leather wallet with the plastic photo inserts.  He had pictures of all of us kids, and when he was fluffing his feathers for someone, he'd pull it out, give it a shake, and then, with what seemed like magic-- the yellowed plastic would unfold with blurred pics of all seven of us.  I was always in awe of that.  It's a vivid memory I have of him, along with Old Spice aftershave, and Lucky Strike cigarettes.  Anyway--our lives can be shared much differently now in a compact and portable way.  And who knows, maybe in future our kids will be telling their kids about iPhones, Instagram, and Snapchat, and it will sound very simpleminded and outdated.    



Tom & Abigail

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Abby's longtime boyfriend, Tom, popped the question.  He had her engagement ring made from his own design, and that evening his father put together an impromptu party for their family and friends.  We knew they were going to get engaged soon---they've been together for eight years!  They are planning for a July wedding in 2019.  They are now, in fact, house hunting, and I'm so happy it is back in our neighborhood.



Christmas 2017

The rest of 2017 for me is probably somewhat fresh on your minds (ha!).  Christmas stressed me out incredibly, try as I might to cut back and streamline everything I plan and do, I'm simply too fussy.  When its over and done, and I have a family hangover, I vow to do it differently next Christmas.  But that rolls around and the festivities spark my over thinking everything again.

We had several celebrations; I hosted one two days before Christmas Day, and I never had the joy of doing this annual family Christmas party.  Even with catered food, I was spread thin and worried constantly that something wouldn't work out right.  When I have parties, I try to make it so that the work is done ahead of time and I can be part of the party.  But it never turns out that way.  Some hostesses get that down right and I envy them.  I have learned that if you are going to have over thirty people, you really have to delegate your kids or friends to help in specific ways.  And I now realize, too, that my sister in law Meg, had this particular holiday party at her house for many, many years.  I always brought a dish and offered to help in any way I could and she always said no.  But I really applaud her now...she made it look easy.  I should have been a little bit persistent when I saw her more in the kitchen than with the family.  I do however, have a fantastic family and they really enjoyed themselves at this party I had, and gave me more "thank-you's" than I deserved.  I'm rambling here, but I think this was the extra on my plate that really made everything too much.  



We had Christmas dinner at the home of Megan, her husband Declan, and their kids.  Another brother in law,  Jim, and his wife Gwen and kids, were in from Kansas City for the holiday as always, and of course we had Papa.  So it was a long dining room table filled with great food, love and laughter.  I think this was the first time I just sat and soaked up the blessings of our good family.

*****

I was pretty happy to say goodbye to 2017.  It was a good year with a lot of personal growth.  But there were many ups and downs which are only natural.  Physically I was fighting the CMV virus, dealing with more and more back problems, and trying new and more experimental treatments for my eczema.  I tried a medication just recently passed by the FDA; it involved giving myself bi-weekly injections.  The only known side effect was dry eyes and irritation.  That hit me hard, and at one point my eyes were so dry that one morning I opened them and tore the cornea of my left eye.  This promising drug, which had already relieved so many people from severe, chronic eczema, failed me and I was at square one again.  

I can say that we had a great year at the lake.  The Husband and I finished up a ton of work inside and out, and had another beach area created on the opposite side of our dock.  I'm hoping he will decide to clean up his old fishing boat and keep it on that side, he sort of lost his love of getting up at 5:00 a.m., and getting out on the lake at dawn.  I think times like those are good for the soul, just as my time here alone is.  Still, we enjoy weekends cooking on the grill, having drinks with our neighbors, having company up, or just sitting on the beach watching the waves.  

As much as we want January to start  off on a brilliant new path, sometimes you have to drag some of the old baggage with you.   Its inevitable.  Right now I'm focused on the health of my husband, and of course Milo.  He is still getting chemo, and I'm not sure how long we will continue to do this if he doesn't go into remission soon.  We have to say goodbye at some point as much as it breaks my heart, and I swing back and forth with the mind set of enjoying every second we can buy, to seeing him decline.  Sometimes I see him staring at walls or struggling to get up the steps, and I think that I really need to decide if it's the cancer or old age that's making him go downhill.  He's not in pain, so I can't see doing anything different then I am at this point.  It's simply so much weighing on my mind.   

On a good note, there is no reason to not look at 2018 as a new slate.  In fact, everyday is a new start.    Maybe we have to learn to be accepting of taking the good with the bad.  A good enough sign of wisdom and maturity as any!

*****

I am always so grateful to all of you ladies who have been with me since the start of my blog, and so many of you new friends.  I get so much joy reading your comments and popping into your blogs as much as possible.  My blogging has taken a terrible slope downward.  In 2011, I posted well over a hundred times in the space of that year.  In 2017, I was at barely forty posts.  Egad!  It's not easy to keep up when my day job is writing as well.  Sometimes I really long to hide my laptop and sit with a good book or a crossword puzzle.  I try to remember life before my Mac.  I'm forever grateful for what I have, but I have to figure out a way to make all of this run like a well oiled machine.

So...onward and upward.  Next week we can move on to adventures in the new year!

Jane x   

***A note:  I keep meaning to let all of you know that I am having problem or glitch with responding to any of your comments by email.  This has been going on for several months.  My emails sent through the address in your profiles get returned to me. It's definitely something on my end, and when I know who to ask, I will.  In the meantime, know that I'm reading your comments and appreciating all of your kinds words.  I'd much rather visit your blog than send an email, but sometimes I'd like to touch base more thoughtfully.  I'll keep working on it.  ;)

Linking up with Let's Add Sprinkles



28 comments:

CJ said...

So lovely to look back and see those summer photos and remember what your balcony etc. was like before the snow, when it was all plants and outside chairs and sunshine. Sorry you've had so many health problems over the year, I really hope things improve for you in 2018. You are doing right by dear little Milo, he is lucky to have you I think. Wishing you all the best for the New Year Jane. CJ xx

Linda said...

I’m visiting with you ‘in the middle of the night’ as I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. I’m tucked into the girl bunk in the camper at the ranch. I enjoyed my time catching up with your year end post. Wishing you more good health this year and lots of good times with friends and family! You bring a lot of joy to so many.....
Pace yourself. I, like you, continue to try to not be overwhelmed by Christmas and all the hustle and bustle. And Life in general can push us into overdrive. You have your lake house and I have my camper. It’s where we regroup and relax. Aren’t we blessed? Yes, indeed!

It's me said...

Always good to remember and looking back in life.....you have a lovely filled with love and good things life...i like your post.....cherish this day darling....and look out to tommorrow...but love All moments in life....love love love Ria ❤️❤️❤️

Karen Ann said...

Love the guac recipe!! I shall bring this to the cottage this summer season - and I am going to copy those outdoor lanterns, forgot to do that last year! Thanks for the ideas.

Always a pleasure stopping by your blog - here's to a good year for all of us ahead.

NanaDiana said...

Good to read all this and catch up with what you have been up to, Jane. You really had a busy year and got lots accomplished-including spending alone time to find yourself. I bet you can't wait to get back to the lake house.

Your little grandgirl is just beautiful!!! xo Daina

Stacey said...

Your summer pictures make me wish for warmer weather and summer food! I'll admit that we do have guacamole here year round. Thank goodness!

Loved your yearly review. You've been so busy with mostly good things. Prayers that your health improves in 2018.

Happy New Year sweet Jane.:)

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Sounds like a busy year and it also sounds like Christmas was very special. Happy New Year and on to bigger, better and happier days.

laurie said...

visiting your blog is like catching up with a close friend, you are so honest so open, you share the good and the bad, I wish you all the best for this New Year, I truly do, and good health!!

Simply LKJ said...

Love hearing what you've been up to over the summer and fall months. They did go by quickly. The lake is beautiful in the summer months. And what a sweet grand you have! Congrats to your daughter on her engagement as well.
Have a blessed week friend.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Fun seeing the recap of your year Jane. Sending best wishes for a great 2018.

Kit said...

All in all, you had a great 2017! You accomplished a lot and looks like you had some fun. Wonderful to have so many grandchildren and I will keep my fingers crossed that this Christmas you remember to pare down. You will be happy you did! Have a wonderful week! Kit

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Dear Jane,
Great post - loved reading and seeing your pictures of 2017. You really accomplished a lot in 2017. WOW those beautiful grand babies - I know you and husband are very proud.

I think that most of the regular bloggers are slowing down due to the many things they have to do each and every day. You would think with all the modern technology that things would get easier, but no.

I am ashamed to say that I haven't blogged since June, I believe. So, I must get busy and do some posts. I am having such fun with my new smart phone. Got rid f the land line. All I ever got was robo callers, now its so nice and quite.

Take care of yourself Jane and feel better.

Hugs,
Mary

Sarah said...

You had a full busy year, Jane. I'm with you on the leisure time to visit little shops and antique venues. My favorite way to spend some time. Your little ones are adorable. I think you little Beatrix Potter books will be fun to have for your grands. I found some at a shop on Cape Cod two summers ago. I only bought a few as they were priced individually. It's fun to find vintage books that speak to us.
Thanks for the review........Happy, Happy in the New Year!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

All in all I think it was a good year for you and your family with only a few set backs. I'm looking forward to what you share with us in the future. Good health to you, your family and to your sweet Milo.

podso said...

An eventful second half of the year too. I like the new front of your house so much ... and have those BP books right here in my little office--from when our boys were little. The grands love to have them read to them. I think it's partly the size of the book they are drawn to.

Deb from Frugal Little Bungalow said...

This was a fun read as I remembered a good bit of it ..especially the lake stories, and some of it was new to me. I love your long, newsy posts so I am going to save #1 for breakfast tomorrow :) I actually read half of this early in the morning then came back for the rest later on.

Kathleen George said...

I love reading your journal of your life:),True Life! Hope your husband is doing well and Milo, you know when it's time, and dang it, it's a hard decision, I know all to well, give them lots of hugs.
Summertime at the Lake House, a beautiful place to rejuvenate your soul. Of course, your Grandgirls, such little darlings:).
Take care of yourself and I hope 2018 brings you good health to all,
Kathleen in Az

Junkchiccottage said...

What a busy year you have had on so many fronts. Sorry the medication for your exema did not help. Sometimes a good medication for helping with one ailment can lead to creating other problems. Glad you have that oh so pretty lake home to re group and have some well deserved time for yourself. May the new year bring you better health, lots of happy and joy filled days. Glad to hear Milo is still hanging in there with you.
xoxo
Kris

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Another great recap! That lake house and area look heavenly. So glad that you got to meet your neighbors. Hope your health is 100% this year. Love all your pics. Have a great week.

Rita C. said...

Hi Jane. Even though your posts were fewer in 2017, I think you spend a good deal of time catching us all up, so no worries on that front. Gosh, so much content....let me first say how beautiful your grandkids are. When you relayed that story of your dad with the wallet and Old Spice it instantly transported me to the memory of my own dad....a good memory. ♥ You have accomplished so much in 2017 with both of your houses (I still am amazed at that landscaping and front of your city home!), your writing for the newspaper, and all your family commitment. I can wholly appreciate the conundrum of hosting Christmas. I do get help from a few of my family members with dishes brought in, and my oldest daughter helps immensely in the start of the cleanup, but....my husband always complains that I'm not participating enough in the gift exchange because I'm still in the kitchen. It's a struggle, but yes, the thanks from those who didn't host are genuine and that helps lift me up. I'm glad it's behind me, though. As for the health front, i'm really sorry your battle with eczema was not more positive, and that Milo is still struggling. Trust yourself...you will know when the time is here to let go.
Thanks for the recap. This was a nice way to go back over the highs and lows of the year.
Rita

Scribbler said...

I am always so fascinated when I read one of your posts about all your goings on with your large extended family. It almost seems like a TV show to me, since our life is very quiet and ordered. I am not complaining, because both of us are introverts and like spending time both together and alone and not with crowds, but it is always so fascinating to me the way a big growing family interacts. I knew a couple of large families like yours when I was growing up, and I always had the same sensation, of being on the sidelines, simply watching others' family dramas unfold like a movie because my own house was so quiet then, too.

Ongoing chronic conditions are sometimes so challenging to manage, and I certainly hope your eczema situation improves. It is very scary when we have an adverse reaction to a drug, isn't it? Or that it is not the magic bullet.

I think your writing career is wonderful! Know that you have a fan and a friend here in (cold!) Birmingham, Alabama. All the best for a healthy successful 2018!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I just finished catching up with both parts of your year end review, Jane. So many life happenings going on. It really is something to look back on a year like that and see all the events and ordinary days. I wish you and your husband good health, and pray for little Milo, too.
My husband retired last week, and this will be the year we get two houses ready for change. We will be getting our home prepared for sale, and the lakehouse ready to be our full-time residence. To new adventures ahead...

Pam - @diy Design Fanatic said...

2017 was a busy year for you. Getting your outdoor renovation done was a big accommplishment. Hope your husband can finish with chemo. Some people on chemo take a supplement called Immunokinoko. I know, it's a funny name. Look it up on Amazon and read the reviews. You can get it other places too. Here's the link http://amzn.to/2r6bUz2 It is available in 750 mg, as well. Happy New Year!

Bluebird49 said...

Hi sweetie! I can't remember all the things to comment on, but I'll bet you don't give yourself enough credit for "doing Christmas right"! I'm glad you did have a chance to sit down and enjoy Christmas dinner! ( I just love the name Declan!!)
You had a terribly busy year with redoing, and decorating! I just don't have that knack.I
I am so sorry about dear Milo, and I know you are taking great care of him. I hope The Husband is not having any serious health issues!
Sorry your eczema shots didn't work, but made you worse. Isn't that typical!
I hope 2018 is a year to remember as "take it easy year"!
Love,
Trudy

Jeanie said...

Happy New Year, and I hope it will be and that your husband and Milo will both rebound. (I'm thinking the saying goodbye was about Milo, right?)

That's quite a chunk of year with loads of good news -- babies and engagements and scoring Beatrix Potter books, which ranks high on my list of way-cool things to find! I'm going to have to google the biggest lake in SW Michigan. Now and then we get down to St. Joe where Rick's godparents are but most of our lake travels take us to up-north Michigan!

Your exterior reno was quite a job but boy, it looks just beautiful. Time and money well spent, I think!

Thanks for coming by Marmelade Gypsy. Here's to a grand new year. Now I have to look and see if I saw your other post. If I don't follow you already, I'll sign up! ~ jeanie from Marmelade Gypsy

Linda said...

Once again I am back...to try and post a comment...geesh!
i write a great comment....and then it disappears!!
That pic of Maddie in front of the tree...is...OMG....gorgeous!!!
Christmas card for sure!!
I love your honesty...I am not always so upfront...therefore...STRESS!!
I am trying to manage it better in 2018...we'll see how it goes!!
Hope your health is better...and now I am worried about your hubby...
Milo is very lucky to have you as his pal...you will make the right decision at the right time...
I envy your alone time at the Lake...I dont have that as much as before, as my boyfriend has been retired for a year now...😳
Maybe someday we can gather around the table together, and have a big long chat...
Cheers my friend...
Linda :o)

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jane. What a busy year you had. Full of such wonderful memories. Cute little grands and new engagements. Life on the lake must be the ultimate! Hope the new year is being good for you so far..Happy Tuesday..Judy

Beatrice Euphemie said...

A busy year, for sure, Jane, but filled with many wonderful memories for you and your family! I just love the photo of your sweet little grand-baby trimming the tree. Hopefully you will have more time to relax and enjoy the lake house this year, now that you have redecorated it after the flood. It turned out so beautiful, by the way, and your new re-do of the front of the city house looks so pretty, too. It's nice to look back on the year's successes and the lessons learned, as you move forward to the new year. All we can do is hold our loved ones close to our hearts and pray that life is kind to us. I hope 2018 is a very good year for you, my friend. xo Karen