Monday, January 19, 2015

Summer 2014

I never posted my summer vacation photos, and when better to do it than the middle of January?  Six months ago it was warm, and six months from now it will be warm again.  (Although this current winter so far has been much milder than last year's, so I am careful not to complain.)

Our tradition of spending time in Sleeping Bear Dunes every summer was altered in the summer of 2014. In late June, my husband's relatives came to Michigan from all across the country for a family reunion, and we, as hosts, decided to have everyone meet in Traverse City.  We only spent one day at the Dunes with our children; the rest of our Up North time was spent in Traverse City and the Old Mission Peninsula visiting with assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins.

We spent one day driving around vineyards and visiting wineries.  The adults enjoyed this more than the children.  I'm not a wine drinker, but I was looking forward to the opportunity to ask the vintners (or sommeliers; whatever those winery bartenders are called!) for samples of wine for the person who doesn't like wine.  Alas, the wineries were so crowded and loud that it wasn't the right situation for me to be needy, so I sat in the corner with my kids and wished we were on a tea and chocolate tasting tour instead. 

In August, both of my children spent a week at music camp, and my husband and I took the opportunity to go to the Dunes by ourselves. It was wonderful and horrible at the same time.  No children!  How nice!  No children!  We miss them!  

We hiked a trail we had never hiked before and saw the lake from a new vantage point.

There was a supermoon while we there.

One night we drove to Leland for dinner and then found the beach to watch the sunset.  Finding the beach in Leland was trickier than we expected!  The marina is easy, but the beach required finding a narrow footpath in a neighborhood and walking through waist-high dune grass.

As always, I took way too many sunset photos, but sunset on the beach is my most favorite thing in the world.  I love the colors and the angle of light and the shadows.

We hope to return for a regular family vacation with all four of us this coming summer.  It will be our last trip together before our son moves off to college.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thanksgiving weekend

We drove to New Jersey for Thanksgiving to visit my sister-in-law and meet our new 4-month old niece.  This fall has been very hectic and over scheduled, so my little family of four really appreciated the time together.  We stopped in Pittsburgh on the way.  My son has been accepted at Pitt for fall 2015, and we wanted to take another peek at campus and the city:

I had been there once before, in the summer of 1997, and was surprised then by how pretty a city it is. It looked even lovelier with fresh snow coating everything.  I think my son would be happy living there, but he is still considering all his options.

Then on to New Jersey! My sister-in-law lives in Jersey City, right across the river from Manhattan.  We spent two days being crazy busy tourists.

from top of the Rockefeller Center

from top of the Rockefeller Center

from top of the Rockefeller Center

Empire State Building from top of the Rockefeller Center

new World Trade Center

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

Washington Square Park

Ellis Island

Registry Room at Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty as seen from Ellis Island

The 9/11 Memorial is in the footprint of the towers.  I spent a lot of time fighting tears while we were in that part of the city.  I don't personally know anyone who died in the attacks, but the world changed that day, and all the imagery from that day replayed vividly in my mind. The memorial is in the footprint of the towers.  The motion of the water, rushing down into the pool and then down again to a seemingly bottomless pit was gorgeous and also disturbing.  Down, down, down, everything down.  I felt overwhelmed.

We also visited Ellis Island.  My grandmother came through there in 1913, and even though she was only 4 years old, she remembered her arrival and talked about it from time to time. I wanted to be there to see it for myself.  Some of the displays corroborated with her stories, which fascinated me and made me feel close to her.

If you visit Ellis Island, you are also required to visit Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is.  Our ferry tickets gave us access to the pedestal, which would get us up to her feet, but the lines were so long that we didn't bother.  We did ask about tickets to the crown, and those you need to reserve 2 months in advance!

I also insisted on visiting Purl Soho.  What kind of crafty blogger would I be if I didn't stop in? I bought two skeins of yarn in colors that reminded me of a New York City winter afternoon, and I will make myself something cozy to commemorate my trip there.

 All photos except the last 3 were taken by my husband with our little point-and-shoot.  I opted not to bring my DSLR on this trip because I knew the days would be long and on foot, and I didn't want to carry it around. I knew I'd be sad not to have it, and yes, indeed, my fingers itched to have it so many times!!  I thought I'd be okay with just the camera on my phone, but it's been taking rubbish photos lately (painfully obvious on the two I took inside Purl Soho).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Summer Splendor in October

Here is my most recent cross stitch finish.  The pattern is Summer Splendor by Little House Needleworks.  I love this one so much, with the hearts and the strawberries, the tree and the flowers, the Ohio Star quilt motif, and of course, the ABC XYZ.  I can't wait to get it framed.  I know exactly where I am going to hang it.

I've been obsessed lately with little works of art--paintings or samplers that are about 5 inches square or less, especially when they are found in unexpected places.  This piece finished at about 5x7, so it's a bit bigger than my ideal, but I can work with it.

Things have been weird lately.  I am such a follower of traditions and routines, but I haven't been following mine lately.  It's partly the ages of my kids--we've been heavy into high school sports with my daughter and college applications with my son, so it's all new territory--but it's also partly the changes in life that aging brings.  We're also having some work done on our house, including a bathroom redo, so there are constantly people in my house, and it makes it hard for me to do my thing.

I have such a backlog of cross stitch and knitting projects!  What else is new, right? I'm thinking ahead to Christmas, although now that it's the end of October, it's not really thinking ahead so much as get on it already!  My sister wants one of those subversive cross stitch samplers, you know, the ones with foul language framed in a delicate floral border? (Don't click that link if foul language offends you. Please.  I'm begging you.)  I've got one in mind for her, but I'll admit, it's going to feel weird to cross stitch it, and I'm honestly worried about taking it in for framing.  Eeek.

I haven't been very active here or over on Flickr. Flickr, how I miss the old you.  I added the Flickr app to my phone but deleted it right away when I realized that every. single. picture I took was uploaded to Flickr--privately, but still, NO WAY.

I am very active on Instagram, though!  It's so easy to use that it's made me lazy for everything else. The people I follow on Instagram seem to want to show life's little pleasures, and I come away from it feeling happy and inspired (unlike most other social media, which has the tendency to make me feel irritated or unhappy.  I'm looking at you, Facebook.).

I'm not linking my IG to my blog, but if you are on IG and want to follow me, leave me a comment or email me with your user name and I'll be happy to find you!