Suttons Bay

Over the July 4th Holiday our family took a mini vacation to Suttons Bay, Michigan. It is one of the small towns along the infamous M22– a 116 mile stretch of highway along the beautiful Lake Michigan coastline in the upper lower peninsula.

Located in gorgeous Leelanau county, famous for its 27 wineries, Suttons Bay is 20 miles North of Traverse City and is a small quaint waterfront town with specialty shops, eateries and it’s own beach.

I was able to snag a cute little 2-bedroom apartment for us that allowed dogs. It was located above an art gallery right on the main street. We arrived in the early evening and after getting settled in, we explored the town, ate a delicious meal outside at the historic V.I.Grill and then capped off the night with amazing ice cream from 22 Scoops!

The next day, July 2nd, was my husband’s birthday. Lucky dog– his birthday always coincides with the national holiday and we frequently do a little get away given the extra time off of work.

For that day we decided to check out Torch Lake. If you’re not familiar, this long inland lake is known as the “Caribbean of the Midwest”. Although it is quite deep in areas, it boasts an enormous sandbar where the water is only about 3′ deep — a haven for boaters and partiers! And in these shallow areas the water sparkles under the sun, even the deeper lake is a gorgeous blue!

While the main beach/park was closed, we found a small little outlet to swim. It was extremely refreshing after the 90° heat wave we were experiencing.

Afterward, B and I toasted his birthday with margaritas and we all enjoyed a Mexican dinner in Traverse City.

The last couple of days we did a bit of local shopping, drove along M22 to explore the other waterfront towns around us, visited the Grand Traverse Bay Lighthouse, went to the local Suttons Bay beach and ended each night with a giant scoop of ice cream from 22 Scoops!

Chicago

Over the July 4th holiday my family and our close friends went to visit our other friends in Chicago. Us three ladies have been best friends forever, literally. K and I grew up together, since age 2; our families were next door neighbors. K went to MSU a year before me and roomed with B. When I got to State the following year, B and I became fast friends also. We’ve been like sisters forever and our children are all relatively the same age. As a matter of fact, we were all pregnant at the same time with our second children; they were all born within 5 weeks of each other!


KBJ — Friends Through the Years


Kiddos

Indy 500

Indy 500

In May we went to Indianapolis for the Indy 500. I was able to snag two incredible box seats for my husband and son D from Facebook Marketplace. The guy selling them was a year-round ticket holder but wasn’t going to be able to make it this year and was selling the tickets for a great price.

All my ‘boys” love really fast and really expensive cars!! My older son D is a walking encyclopedia of high-end and super cars. He has been in love with trucks, autos, semis, and construction— anything with four wheels and a motor, since he could barely stand up. So, this would be a huge treat for him. Since we only had two tickets, E and I dropped them off and went to explore The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.


Founded in 1925, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children’s museum in the world; at 481,000 square-feet, it sits on 30 acres! We explored all the wonderful exhibits, including Dinosphere: Now You’re in Their World®,  Dale Chihuly’s Fireworks of Glass, and The Power of Children: Making a Difference. I think we had more fun than B and D! After all the excitement of the day, we found a nearby brewery for burgers and beer. Another great day to remember!

2018

After my right Right Elbow replacement, I didn’t paint for for nearly two years! Partly because I got distracted with other interests and partly due to injuries — which I’ll explain in a bit.


DISTRACTIONS—

Instead of painting, I focused on another of my favorite passions: genealogy. It’s so easy for me to become obsessive when doing something I love. I find myself frequently getting lost in the weeds for hours. As my mom says, I’m “like a dog with a bone.” I always knew that I’m 100% Polish on my mother’s side but my father’s heritage has been more of a mystery. And with both of my paternal grandparents deceased, answers are hard to find. Luckily my grandma left some records and photos when she passed years ago. With these and some information from my dad, Ive been able to piece together a robust family tree.

I’ve traced several paternal generations and uncovered my relatives from multiple Southern states — some I can follow back to England and neighboring countries. I also had my DNA tested with both Ancestry and 23 & Me. As a result, I have been in contact with a few distant relatives, able to add several “cousins“ to my family tree, and most interestingly, resolve an old family mystery.


In addition to filling in my family tree, a friend introduced me to essential oils and I quickly became enamored with these plant products. I bought several books on the subject, scoured the Internet for credible and unbiased resources. I purchased several diffusers and filled our house with citrus’ for pick me ups, lavenders for calming, and Clove blends to fight off germs. Eventually, I began concocting blends for stomach/headaches and made foaming hand soap and face cleansers. My blends worked very well and smelled amazing. I wanted to understand more thoroughly how exactly these tiny, powerful essential oils worked.

Making Face Soap

Eventually, I discovered Andrea Butje’s online course at Aromahead Institute. You pay one fee and have access to hours of credible course material, online webinars, videos, and a forum to interact with all other past and present students and instructors. The best part is I can go at my own pace. Some people take a few months while others may take a couple of years. At the end I will earn a certificate that is acknowledged both nationally and internationally or I can go on to become a certified aromatherapist if I want to start a business. I’m currently about 50% done, but have taken a breather for a while. Looks like I might be on that “several year plan” 🙂


Injuries—

Over the July Fourth holiday we took a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico. On the 2nd of July (which happens to be my husband’s birthday) I had an awful fall. We were walking back from the beach, arm in arm, near the pool when my right foot caught some water and slipped out from under me. My knee buckled and I swear the tendon/ligament stretched like a rubber band. It was horrific.

I fell to the ground crying and yelling. In that moment, it was worse than pitocin-induced labor!! See the picture below? That’s my knee! I couldn’t really walk on it for a couple of days. I iced it, took my anti-inflammatories, and the following day I wallowed in misery in the pool and drowned my sorrows in way too many cocktails at the swim up bar — but that’s a tale for another day 🙂


Come Fall, I signed up to take an art class at the BBAC. Two days before the class began, I was purchasing a bike for my son. I took the bike for a quick ride to test it out. As I was getting off the bike, my foot caught on the bar and I fell hard onto the pavement. Because of my messed up joints and arthritis, I can’t put my hands out to break a fall like a normal person. My bad knee hit the ground first, then the back of my upper right shoulder and then my head hit the pavement really hard. I had a major goose egg for a long time!

Banged Up and Bruised

I didn’t know it at the time, but I actually fractured the end of my clavicle. The bump on my head took a long time to heal and as such I had a black eye and my chest/shoulder was black and blue and sore! Needless to say I couldn’t really start art class in two days. I talked to the program director and was able get a credit to use in the future.


Family—

For the month of November, my Indian family came to stay with us. We had a family wedding to attend in Florida at the end of the month and decided we would all fly down together. My son Dylan was 14 at the time, and had met his Indian grandparents and aunt only once when he was just a baby. My younger son, Ethan, age 11, hadn’t met them yet in person; only through conversations via the Internet.

(I went to India with my husband back in 2000. He is from Mumbai or Bombay. We spent about 10 days in the city. The trip was one I will never forget. I can’t honestly say that I liked it, nor can I say that I disliked it. It was such a different experience than anything I knew; every sense is bombarded, constantly — it’s overwhelming and exhausting! But I am digressing.)

Probably due to stress, my colitis was acting up again. Thank goodness for medical marijuana; for which I had recently acquired a license. It really helps with my arthritis flares, headaches, G.I. issues, and for just plain chilling out.

All in all it was a great visit. I made lots of homemade Indian food – thanks to my Insta pot it was easy and delicious! We did some fun shopping, visited family and friends, and the best part was that the boys got to meet/know their Grandma and Auntie.

Near the end of November, we all flew to Florida. My husband’s cousin was married in Boca Raton. He was also born and raised in Bombay. In fact, the two boys went to school together as children. His Bride is American, like me. They had a predominately Indian wedding; since it was his first and her second. The ceremony and reception were just beautiful and we all had great fun; especially my youngest, who was gobbled up by his new extended Indian family!

Niagara Falls

Just prior to my oral surgery, mentioned in my last post, “Catching Up“, my family went on a mini weekend vacation to Niagara Falls. Originally we were thinking of doing a big vacation to California, but because I had no idea of how the recuperation would go and my husband’s work travel schedule, we had to nix it for now. So we settled on a long weekend over the July 4th holiday to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

Continue reading “Niagara Falls”

Maude’s Garage

A couple of years ago our family went on a Michigan vacation to the West side of the state, Ludington to be exact. It’s a great little coastal town on Lake Michigan with neat little shops and restaurants and a wonderful beach. And if you take scenic route M22 up the coast you reach the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. We packed a ton into that trip and had a wonderful get away.

Maude’s Garage

One of the places that has stood out in my memory is a great store called Maude’s Garage in downtown Ludington. The store is actually in an old garage that’s been converted and inside you find hand-made fine art pieces, up-cycled and reclaimed furniture, vintage jewelry, unique and wacky gifts, etc.; just the kind of place I can get lost in for days. And you can’t miss it: just look for the old vintage red truck out front covered in antiques and flowers.

I took this photo and it has to be one of all-time favorites! I knew one day i would paint it. Well, the day (or days/ weeks/ months I should say) finally came. This has been my latest project, between everything else going on, it’s taken a while, but I finally completed it last week and couldn’t be more happy.

It certainly presented a challenge because at the time I took the photograph I wasn’t thinking about a future painting project and so some views were missing – namely the front of the truck! A couple of months ago, when I began the project, I didn’t know the name of the store. It was only today when I was doing my research for the blog write up that I stumbled upon the name and some great photos of the entire truck that I was missing. Talk about learning a lesson!

Maude’s Garage
Drawing_Graphite Pencil on Canvas Paper

Without my own photos I headed to the internet to find the missing piece of the puzzle. I researched 1930’s Ford pick-up trucks until I found one that looked exactly like Maud’s. I learned that it is a 1934 Ford Model V8 1 1/2-Ton Stake Truck. You can check out a brand new replica Stake Truck here (and it can be yours for only $93,6000!). I combined my photos along with what I found to create the initial drawing.

Maude’s Garage
Putting in Darks w Oil

The next step was to paint in the darks. Then, I layered in the intermediate colors and began detailing the truck.

I continued by adding in the light hues, the flowers, and details. I must admit I really struggled with getting the front end of the truck and tire just right and repainted it several times until I was happy. It will be perfect in our home and will always remind me of that wonderful little vacation in Ludington!

Maude’s Garage
Finished Painting