Saturday, October 22, 2022

Good and Ordinary

Into each life some rain must fall, they say.  And rain it did.  I talked Jack into a very spontaneous trip when we found out that we had a couple of days with no scheduled tasks.  I thought we should go to an area in Michigan that we've never visited before.  He opted for Ludington, where we've gone a lot.  I thought we should try a new hotel or B&B, he lobbied for the old Stearns Hotel, a partly refurbished 1920's hotel in Ludington.  I didn't feel strongly enough to push my own uncharted and therefore uncertain ideas, so Ludington it was.  During breaks in the rain, the 2-hour drive there was beautiful.  The trees seem to be at their peak of color, and there were areas where both sides of the road were lined with red and orange as far as the eye could see.  There was so much rain that we thought for sure we would be eventually rewarded with a rainbow, but no such luck.  When we reached lake Michigan, the wind was so strong that it was nearly impossible to get out of the car.  Actually, after seeing that it was nearly impossible for Jack to get out of the car, I didn't even try.  In the end, both of us stayed under cover to take a few photos before moving a block or so farther from the water and from the worst of the wind.

I thought we could try a couple of new-to-us adventures while we were there, but all the things on my list were closed; either closed (as of the day before!) for the season, or closed on the two weekdays we were there.  So we had our usual breakfasts at our usual places, and dinners at places we had been before, and it was all just fine.  On the way home, we stopped at the same quilt store where we always stop, and that was fine, too.  

The one fly in the ointment happened when we stopped at a little hole in the wall shop where a local man, Walter, smokes local fish.   We have stopped there before and there is always a story, because Walter is something of a character. The shop was closed but we phoned and Walter came right over.   Jack was delighted when Walter said he had whitefish on hand and he bought out the whole bunch of it, 6 boxes in all.  Walter babbled on about the different laws in Michigan and Texas, and complained that Texas gives 30 more days before they consider the fish 'expired,' and that makes no sense to him.  I didn't hear it all because I stayed in the car with my  heated seat; I am not a fish person so I felt no obligation to sympathize.  We bought the fish on October 17, and Jack intended to give a box of it to each of our kids, and keep one for himself.  When we got home, we discovered that the "expiration" date stamped on the boxes was October 13, and Jack realized that Walter was really saying that this fish was not lawful in Michigan, but would be just fine if he were in Texas.   So now my freezer if full of food I will not eat.  Jack is eating (and so far enjoying) the fish, but I am not letting him give it to anyone else unless they insist (as one of Jack's sons already has).  I suspect Michigan might have some reasons for its food safety laws, and I have no way to confirm (or care) how Texas handles things.  Walter was one of our favorite Michigan 'gems', and I was disappointed to find him so tarnished.  

We arrived back home in time for a last-minute opportunity to watch George, whose day care was unexpectedly closed because the provider's child was ill.  George also had a runny nose and was a bit under the weather, but we had about as much fun as could be had anyway.  He is more and more Grandpa's boy, and Grandpa is loving it.

It was not a bad thing to have a change of scenery, but it was good to get home.  I got to see my granddaughter, one of my rays of sunshine, and do a few errands.  Back by my fireplace, with a pot of chili on the stove.  It doesn't get much better.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

October's Mid Point

It is truly and fully autumn here now.
  The trees are beautiful.  We had about a week of deer visitors, coming more than once a day right into our yard, before bow hunting season began and they disappeared again into the woods.   We didn’t think we would see them again for another month or so, but a doe and 3 fawns stopped by yesterday.  The doe was anxious and tried to keep out of sight, but the fawns were right up in the yard and not at all concerned about baby George pounding on the window.  We enjoy watching them so much.  It surprised me to learn that people can apply for permits to hunt them with bow and arrow even here within the city limits.  I am not opposed to hunting in theory, but I am feeling very protective of “our” deer!

It has been cold and damp this week and I am piling on the clothes.  Already we can see that our heat bill will be significantly higher than last year — and it isn’t even cold yet! —  so my stack of quilts and fleece is welcome.  I know I would stay warmer if I were more active so that can be one of my goals going forward into the really cold weather that is still ahead of us.  

After months of procrastination, I spent a couple of hours (literally a COUPLE of hours) in my sewing room this week and finished off two quilt tops that had been pushed off to the side.  It is shameful how much energy I put into avoiding work that is so quickly and easily done.  Chauffeuring and other duties took most of the week, which I do not mind a bit, but I hope that I will get my going going again in the next few days.  I keep planning projects, no matter how few I do, and they are stacking up.  I am close to the tipping point so it’s definitely time to get some projects finished and off the list!

I am still feeling a bit sleep deprived.  My daughter has had some extra struggles lately, with her own health issues and her partner in the hospital for cancer treatment; we are trying to figure out what we can do to help, and I am waking up nightly with questions and ideas.  The long distance between us complicates things, of course.  I am reminding myself that this, like all times, will pass, but so far that hasn’t helped me sleep through the night.

My older grands both had homecoming games and dances this month, and it is such a joy for me to see how they have grown up when I can get them to send me photos (which, so far, only one of them has done)!  They seem to be taking advantage of all the fun things their schools have to offer, and I enjoy it all vicariously.  I never went to any of my “special” school events, and watching them feels a little like a second chance, so I guess they are my Fountain of Youth!   But truly, never in my life did I look so elegant and grown up as they do.  I hope they are all as confident and comfortable with themselves as they appear, I can think of no better gift as they go forward.