Monday, July 24, 2017


Here's my guy Milo, playing sentry.  He has been having so much fun at the lake just roaming around the property and every once in awhile, meeting a new furry friend.  The home next door is being rented to vacationers and he loves to wander over and visit.  The  problem is he usually leaves a little 'gift' and so I have to go over to clean up, introduce ourselves and apologize.  Our little Welcome Wagon.  Honestly though, we've met some very nice people.  


I went up to the lake a few days before the 4th of July and just came home this past Monday.  I think I would have stayed longer except I had a dental appointment, as well as my six month physical that I have to do for my asthma.  And of course, I get to have Miss Mad once a week when Emily works downtown.  The weather is so nice now, albeit hot and humid most of the time, but we get out for a long walk in the stroller or just some time in the backyard.  

During my days alone at the lake I try to get out every day.  I think of the movie Castaway, with Tom Hanks.  His plane crashes and he ends up on an uninhabited island for five years.  One of the most moving parts of the film is his relationship with a volley ball which has washed up on shore.  He paints a face on it and it became his friend and companion, Wilson.  So...I was alone in the cottage one day just doing my own thing, chatting with the dogs ("Don't tell me you have to go out again."  "No.  You just had a treat!").  And then it sort of hit me.  If I didn't have the dogs, I wouldn't utter a word for days on end.  And if Tom Hanks hadn't had Wilson, there would have been a good forty minutes of silence, and that wouldn't have made for a very good movie.  

I did get together with some friends one evening at my place, and now that lake people know I'm pretty much there all the time, I have friends stopping by.  It's all very slow, relaxing and peaceful.  

I've been coming across a few 'new to me' antique shops.  I went into a town one day to check out a shop I had been to years ago.  it had a new owner and was even better than before.  Everything was displayed very nicely and I lingered for a long time.  A great collection of ironstone, a lot of mismatched silver and silver-plate, interesting books and a whole section of garden paraphernalia.  I found the galvanized watering can there.  It's not a large place so the owner is particular about what she sells.  

I found these Beatrix Potter books, they are very small and have a copyright of 1946.  My heart melted when I saw them.  I have a lot of the Bunnykins china by Royal Doulton, and I can add these to the collection for the kids to fight over later.  I'm looking for the perfect brown velvet ribbon to tie these together with.  I have a vision of them looking perfect this way.


The projects never end.  We have this balcony off our bedroom but we rarely use it.  It has a view of the 'big lake', as opposed to the bay that you often see in my posts.  Do you know that the builder of our home made sure that you could see water out of every window in the house?  And it's true.  Someday I'll find a map that shows you exactly how we are situated.  

I needed something comfy-my goal was to have a place to recline, read the paper, sip coffee and enjoy the lake breeze.  I found these bamboo chairs with canvas on Hayneedle.  I believe they were in the area of $70.  A few days after they arrived (and they are top notch), I saw something very similar in a Ballard Design catalog for $180.   These are fine for me.  I love that they fold up for easy storage and that the canvas can be scrubbed, power washed...what ever you need.  In the background is a mosquito plant.  It smells somewhat like citronella and a friend of mine swears by them for deterring the varmints.  Several people asked about the pillow.  This was made by Maria Elena at Our Home Away From Home.  She has the most beautiful home in Texas and she is a sewing wizard!  I'm sure the balcony will continue to evolve...I'll keep you posted.

We had the pleasure of watching our granddog for awhile when these two (daughter Abby and Tom) attended Tom's brother's wedding.  Squall was great, he loves the water.  Thankfully, Layla is getting a bit more comfortable around him.  He's about seventy pounds to her ten.  

I had to laugh when Abby talked about Tom's speech (as Best Man) at the wedding.  He began with recounting some of the wonderful trips and vacations his brother and fiancee had gone on.  When his brother said they were going to have a 'Destination Wedding', everyone thought: warm, tropical, exotic.  "So here we are," Tom said in his address to the guests at the reception.  "Destination Wedding...Indiana!"

I also made sure I was home for my sister's 60th birthday party.  Held in the town where I grew up and no longer recognize, it was such a fun get together.  My sisters and I don't see each other enough.  It was fantastic to catch up.  I wish the pics of the family were sharable, but if you've ever tried to get six people together who are giggling, flipping their hair, joking with one another...well it's hard to find one good shot.  Just take it from me, it was a fun night. 

I did get a shot of me and my brother, John, who lives in southern Indiana.  We see each other about once a year although we need to make a point of doing it more.  You might remember his daughter's wedding down in Louisville three years ago.  He retired at sixty-five from teaching high school social studies.  It was a short retirement; he went back in the capacity of administration part time and is very happy.  Can you believe he'll be seventy in December?  It was so great seeing him as well as my sisters, nieces and nephews.  


I perused some of my appetizer recipes on Pinterest (click to get to my boards) for an article I was writing for the Indiana/Michigan newspaper.  I've been a Pinning fool lately...if only we cooked as much as we Pinned!  I'm focusing on appetizers.  Summer is such a great time for entertaining and going to parties.  And you can't go empty handed.  I had a few that did not require any cooking or reheating.  This one stood out.  A toasted baguette slathered with a ricotta cheese mixture, then topped with prosciutto and basil.  What a great way to use this creamy, subtlety flavored  cheese.  I can't wait to try it.

Heading back to the lake Wednesday where I will ensconce myself until August 12.  Remember me mentioning The Husband gave me a birthday present back in February for tickets to see Idina Menzel?  All of a sudden the date is here.  I have to book a hotel room and dinner reservations.  I want to shop til I drop!

Finally, thanks for all the good wishes on my promotion.  I am giddy with excitement and looking forward to some quiet time to start building up columns in a folder.  

Have a wonderful week and I will be back soon!

Jane x

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Hi!  Just me.   Still at the lake.  I'm just going to stop giving my location like a GPS...I've been here since the end of May but for maybe 2 weeks.  I'm loving it.  We are having rain almost all this coming week so I may get more writing and blogging going rather than wandering around outside like a weirdo.  It's just so much more quiet and secluded here than my home in the city.  It's a slow sort of life but I always keep busy or find things to do.  I have been a little reclusive, most days my only conversations are with the dogs, and even they are tired of me.  I invited some lake girlfriends over for hors d'oeuvres and cocktails tomorrow so maybe I'll take my hair out of its permanent ponytail and throw on something other than a T shirt for that.  :)

Our 4th of July was fun.  We had family and friends come up as early as the Friday before.  The lake has a fun party at the sandbar the Saturday before where you can anchor and play in the waist high water while singing and dancing along with a live band.  The fireworks show is that night and we go out on the boat to watch from the's a spectacular show in the sky and on the water.  So it was a few good long days of playing on the beach, grilling food, and eating tons of fruit, chips and dips, and taking long boat rides.  We walked the baby and dogs and stayed up late in front of the bonfire.  It was really great.  When the last of the lake warriors left on Wednesday, I had the slow but steady job of cleaning up sand everywhere in the house, even in the sheets.  Egad.  It was quiet and peaceful once again so I rolled with it.  


Madelyn really is a waterbug.  Emily bought a little baby pool that she filled up with a little of the warm lake water and that little girl could sit in it all day.  We kept it down on the beach where we spend most of our time.  The little fashionista had a different red, white and blue dress for each of the five days.  I don't think Emily ever got out of the doll dressing days.  And as far as Madelyn sitting in a pool rather than the water, we spotted a muskrat cruising by and that was it for Emily.  They are sort of nasty looking.

I share so many pics from our little cove, I'll start to post more from right on the lake.  This is a happy group:  Abby's boyfriend Tom, and nieces Grace and Tricia.  Fun in the sun!

One of the best parts of being here almost full time is getting a lot of time to fix up spaces we never have time to do on weekends, as well as shopping for new pieces to replace what I've tossed or donated.  We have a foyer and it's never seen much because we never use the front door.  So I started thinking about it and searched for a bench that would fit.  I finally found one at Pier 1.  It is actually part of a dining room table and man, I'd love to have the table, too!  Pier 1 is gaining in popularity with many of us who like Pottery Barn.  I styled it with a chicken wire basket holding birch logs (our tree came down in a bad storm, sob.).  I got the B and window from Hobby Lobby and the pillow from an Etsy shop called With Lavender and Grace.  She has a ton of really cute handmade pillow covers at great prices.  And finally, the rusty windmill and wire rack...Emily noticed a small shop that recently opened in the next town that I apparently missed when driving by.  It is so cool and I spent over an hour talking to the owner.  They paint all sorts of furniture to sell and have decor ranging from shabby to farmhouse to industrial.  Most is made by local artisans and priced really well.  There are also candles and cards and bits and bobs~~~I'm actually fearful of going back!

This looks like a picture from a website but it's just a closeup of the rack on the wall.  I wanted something with hooks but this was even better.  It was fun add a few cute things to it.

I'm also working on the balcony off our bedroom.  The wisteria still needs to be trimmed and trained up to the slatted arbor roof and I've been looking for comfy chairs that are easy to store in the winter, as well as an outdoor rug.  Another area I have neglected.  I finally found what I needed at Amazon and I'll share when it all arrives.  It's the same story with the big front porch.  I lost my furniture cushions which were stored inside when we had the flood.  I'll be darned if I can't find the right sizes for this furniture.  I'll keep looking but I'm afraid the house looks a little haunted from the front.  We had wind damage off the lake to the storm door so it's barely hanging on, and so much is overgrown.  So much to do as always around here.  

I loved this oak tree so much that we had the patio built around it.  I have about four birdhouses in it, a feeder and a hanging plant suspended off a branch (only me).  The Husband says that if I hammer one more nail in the tree I'm going to kill it.  And then I happened to come upon these solar light mason jars.  They mimic mercury glass so when they light up at night they really sparkle.  

I have really turned into a little old bird lady.  My neighbor is helping me identify them.  I have one feeder on this tree (that I'm murdering with nails), and another on the maple on the other side, which I can see from the windows in the corner of the Great room when I'm sitting having my coffee.   I also found a sweet birdbath, so it's just a feathered friend paradise here.  Cardinal, finches, wrens, tit mouses, nut hatches, woodpeckers...and even robins and orioles stop by for the birdbath.  Occasionally I get a little chipmunk but it hasn't been a nuisance.  We have been having a lot of critter sightings; two deer just ambling down the street in morning, a gofer that tunneled into my rock garden, the muskrat I mentioned, a mink, our swans that had 8 'swanlings' this spring, and some of the most gigantic turtles sunning themselves on the beach.  I mean their shells are as large as trash can lids.  Just call me Blondie Doolittle.  :)

I love this time of evening.  Sometimes I can stand on the dock,  look up and the sky looks like a carpet of stars.  

Emily did several photo shoots with Madelyn and her five dresses.  I love this one.  The Husband planted daisies here one year and they bloom just in time for July 4th celebrations and throughout the rest of the summer.  I have vases of them all over the house.  

I've had a few health issue this past stay and it limited me in doing some of the outdoor work.  Nothing major.  A head and chest cold (or maybe a revisit from that nasty virus) had me feeling terrible and then spurred on the asthma so I couldn't get around like I normally do.  I also think I got bit by something as my left ankle and foot swelled up a few days ago and really had me concerned.  The Husband came up for the weekend and I asked for some help in the garden, which had been severely neglected over the two summers we weren't here.  Well, he worked his cute little buns off weeding and edging and he even dug up all the stones that made a path, power washed them, and laid them back down.  Love him.  I went to our little nursery/market in town today and this is my load.  They really lower the prices of perennials around this time and I have a lot of spaces to fill in.  I bought a ton of lavender, honeysuckle, phlox, Coreopsis, and Artemisia.  I can't tell you how sweet my car smelled as I drove home.  And now I have work ahead of me in between the rainstorms. 

So I continue to enjoy each slow day as it flows into the next.  It's amazing how much more calm I feel when I'm not pushing myself to get this done or that finished and above all, worrying about the obligations of taking care of other people.  I wanted to pass on an Instagram feed I came across which led me to the woman's You Tube videos.  Perhaps some of you ladies down in Texas know of her, Dominique Sachse.  She is a newscaster in Houston and she puts out weekly You Tube videos ranging from careers, raising children, fashion, decor, health and make up tutorials.  I'm just really loving watching these videos on my laptop in the evening.  She has such a great 'on camera' presence, and she comes across very knowledgeable, honest and caring.  The video that recently inspired me and had me nodding my head the whole time, is titled You Deserve More,  Reset, Reclaim Your Life.  Her words truly opened my eyes to how far I've come from raising children, to feeling a little lost, and then finally identifying my dreams and goals and making them happen.  I hope you have a look at this video (and I think you'll like many others she's posted), and if you leave your thoughts in the comment section, we can go further into a conversation in my next post.

****Note:  You may not get to the video with this link but do try to 'search' You Tube by typing in her name.

Finally, very briefly, here is a little more drivel before I go:

I got a promotion at the Chicago newspaper!  Yay!  It's weekly and I will go from writing one column a month to three!  I am so, so excited.  Of course it's daunting and I have to really get disciplined but I've been changing my writing time habits.  I get on a roll writing day after day and then saving several articles to submit when needed.  Wish me luck---I'll probably always have that fear of not keeping up but at least I've lost the fear of trying.

I had to break out of the habit of sitting in the evening on my laptop night after night, but I've never really watched television here.  Years ago The Husband and I would rent a movie every so often but otherwise, no.  I've been in a routine though and sometimes I'll dwell on problems and conflicts in my life, so for a diversion I actually cozied up on the couch in the loft with a quilt and the dogs and watched mindless TV  this past Sunday night.  It was fantastic!  A huge, guiltless Real Housewives/Hallmark Movie party!

My eating habits are still a little different.  I can pat myself on the back for being able to piece together a meal or snack with whatever is on hand and I've definitely been eating healthy foods.  It's just that since I'm not obligated to make dinner as I do for The Husband and I, I can sometimes get lazy and have cheese and crackers for dinner or a can of soup for breakfast.  Anyway, in keeping the carbs down I'm still sticking with eggs, low carb toasted bread with avocado, nuts, berries and whipped cream, and a few slices of cheese for a snack.  I have also made stir fry with beef or chicken and veggies, as it's quick and you get everything on one plate.  

Having time outside with the dogs is great exercise.  I take them for walks but when the asthma kicked in last week I had to slow it down.  With Milo really becoming more deaf by the day, when he wanders off the property I have my work cut out for me hunting him down as he can't hear me call.  I have to talk to my vet for some tips.  Abby picked up these little battery operated buttons that light up.  You put them on the dog's collar and you can then see your pup in the dark.  This helps but I really don't let them out much at night unless we are just relaxing on the patio.  Too many nocturnal animals in the woods that I don't want them to tangle with.

Reading.  Still plowing through A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams.  It's hard to get into but since I loved her last novel I keep pushing on.  Also picked up a Mary Kay Andrews paperback at the drugstore which I haven't opened, as well as one by Elin Hilderbrand, The Rumor.  I thought they would be fun and keep up with the summer beach vibe.  All the stores I'm used to, including Barnes And Noble, are several towns away so I'm sort of stuck with what I have here.  I also get very distracted by the birds flitting around or a boat drifting past, and totally lose my concentration, so not much reading gets done anyway.  

I hope all of you are having a great week.  I'll be by for some visits soon!  Enjoy our mid summer madness!

Jane x