Clever Planet

The clever chef at Small Batch in Harbor Springs dropped tiny Peruvian peppers onto my flash fried kale and made it look like Christmas.  Delicious.


A considerate shop owner in Boyne City placed pillows on a sofa of straw.  Rest for the weary.


A creative bookseller in Traverse City provides water and age-appropriate reading material for the four-legged passersby. Delightful.

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Creative planet.




























Food, Michigan


The hub, my shingles and I went up north for a long weekend.

Yep, shingles.

The doc said it isn’t contagious. I could, however, give chicken pox to anyone who hasn’t had them, but only if they come in direct contact with the rash.

So I packed the antiviral he prescribed, some Benadryl – in case it got itchy – and Motrin in case it started to hurt. Doc said he’d give me Norco if it gets real bad.

Norco if it gets real bad?

God, I hope not.

I’ve heard stories, I’ve seen fear-mongering commercials.

We headed north Thursday morning as scheduled. First stop: Harbor Springs.

We walked the pier at twilight. Felt like a date.

Next morning we snubbed the hotel’s complimentary breakfast and went into town in search of something good. No offense to the lovely, hospitable hotel.


High atop a hill sat Small Batch at the Cupola, with its welcoming porch.


Oh. Linen tablecloths. This is going to be expensive.


But the little cow creamer was cute.



Flash-fried spinach is my new favorite thing.

The hub ordered a Hansel and Gretel Waffle – gingerbread waffle topped with a maple and peach syrup and a cinnamon cream. He gave me a bite. Oh. My.


I had to snag this photo from their Facebook page to show you because his didn’t last long enough…

After breakfast we headed to Mackinac Island, taking the long, coast-hugging way so we could see the property on which my sister’s retirement dream house will soon be built; the final resting place for her ashes.


Men arrived and began clearing trees.



Arriving at the Island never loses its thrill.


You (meaning me) can’t visit Mackinac Island without saying “hi” to John.


John is the extraordinary father of my delightful niece, Mary.


He’s also the Senior Vice President of the Grand Hotel. If you don’t know the Grand, click here. It’s quite special. If you’ve been reading my blog from the start you’ve been there before.

One of these days I’m going to interview John and tell you all about him. In the meantime, this is his bike.


It’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Many who visit Mackinac Island never venture beyond the town, except to rent bikes and ride around the entire perimeter of the island.

I prefer the interior.


I like to hike to Arch Rock.


And check out the view.



If you know anything about Mackinac Island, you know there are NO motorized vehicles (except an ambulance).



It’s all horses, feet and bikes.

After lunch we strolled along the boardwalk, strolled past John’s house.


Browsed some shops. Bought some fudge.


And caught the 5:30 ferry back to the mainland. That’s the Mighty Mac in the distance.

The hub wanted to show me something so we took another short detour on the way back to Harbor Springs.


In a beautiful park-like setting behind a Catholic church in the middle of nowhere waits a magnificent bronze sculpture.



It weighs 7 tons and is 28 feet tall from head to toe.


Truly a site to behold. Love the glow of the late-day sun on the tip of the cross.

Back in Harbor Springs we prowled the streets looking for somewhere not-fancy for dinner.


There was a bar on the corner, down by the water, with a note taped to its door: “Friday Fish Fry $10.99.”

As we stood inside waiting to be seated, the hostess asked if we were there for the fish.  The hub nodded. “I’ll save you one,” she said, “there are only 3 left.”

In the morning I took my complimentary envelope of oatmeal to go as we checked out of the hotel and went forth.


Early morning coffee in Charlevoix.


Lunch in Leland.



I make friends with beagles wherever I go.


This is Bella. And her mom.


You (meaning me) can’t be on the Leelanau Peninsula without stopping at Karl’s aka Brisling Pottery.

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Who am I to disobey?






Treasures in tow, we headed to the hub’s favorite Leelanau wineries.

I lost a round of miniature golf. Only because I’m sick.

And then over to the Mission Peninsula to check into our B & B.

Dinner was pizza at a picnic table at the old State Hospital grounds.




Those are pickled pears julienned on that pizza. A little tangy and very tasty.


Yes, we did go back for breakfast the next day. I mean, look at that stuff.



Rain Man.

The final day of our get-away began with fruit, yogurt, peach and lavender jam on english muffins, pleasant conversation and a goodbye to our B & B hosts.

It was another weather-blessed day so why not head to the tip of the peninsula, to the lighthouse and climb to the top?


On no-more-than-four-inch steps.

While I climbed and took photos, the hub struck up an over-the-fence conversation with a stranger. It was all about fishing Lake Charlevoix.


Hey, why not stop at a couple more wineries on the way back down the peninsula?


The vines were pregnant, ready to deliver.


Harvest is this week.


With the warm weather we’ve had, Chateau Chantal says 2016 is going to be a very good year. Keep that in mind when you buy Michigan wine.


I can’t have any because I seem to have developed an allergy to sulfites.

But you go ahead. I’m going back to the Pleasanton Bakery. Yes, I did already have breakfast. So what?


Pleasanton Bakery chocolate almond croissant + Higher Grounds brew of the day = good.

Some coffee shops charge $5 for a cafe miel and I pay it. But at Higher Grounds I buy a $2.75 cup of their daily brew and add the honey, cinnamon and cream myself. And it’s really good.



As you know from a recent post, I love it when old things are re-purposed. That’s why I love the old State Hospital. The old asylum.


I wonder what this building will be.


The hub isn’t going to read this post. He’s going to think it’s way too long. But he wanted to show me one more thing as we headed home.


He ignored the “Private Property, No Tresspassing” signs like he owned the place and drove me through the woods and onto the grounds of the Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club. He’s been there fly fishing a couple of times with my brother-in-law, Mike. He’s going back again in a couple of weeks. He wanted to show me and that’s okay. I like show and tell.

Stopping for lunch in Clare on the way home is kind of a tradition. A tradition we haven’t kept in several years. Lunch at Bob’s Broasted Chicken in the Saturday Evening Post Bar.

Back when the rooster was white, you could feed a family of four for $20.

Now that he has a new paint job, it’s $14 for 2.


This photo-bombing patron ought to be in church.

I don’t know if it was the broasted chicken or all the ground we covered, but the rest of the ride home was kinda’ rough.

Might have been a little too much fun for an old gray mare with shingles.

Rainy day today.






Jesus, Light, Michigan

It’s All in Your Perspective

Final conversation from True Detective, which I’ve never seen, season 1 finale. Thanks to Brad Jersak:

Marty: “Didn’t you tell me one time, dinner once, maybe, about how you used to … you used to make up stories about the stars?”
Rust: “Yeah, that was in Alaska, under the night skies.”
Marty: “Yeah, you used to lay there and look up, at the stars?”
Rust: “Yeah, I think you remember how I never watched the TV until I was 17, so there wasn’t much to do up there but walk around, explore, and…”
Marty: “And look up at the stars and make up stories. Like what?”
Rust: “I tell you Marty I been up in that room looking out those windows every night here just thinking, it’s just one story. The oldest.”
Marty: “What’s that?”
Rust: “Light versus dark.”
Marty: “Well, I know we ain’t in Alaska, but it appears to me that the dark has a lot more territory.”
Rust: “Yeah, you’re right about that.”
Rust insists that Marty help him leave the hospital, Marty agrees. As they head to the car, Rust makes one final point to his former partner.
Rust: “You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing.”
Marty: “How’s that?”
Rust: “Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”

Amen, the Light’s winning. Glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on.

I came upon the same sentiment on a stroll through Traverse City.


Darkness isn’t everything.


Speaking of perspective, you should read this: Love Wins When We Let God Be God, if you haven’t already.  It’s pretty brill.


Double Dang It

I am writing this on the sofa, with my laptop atop my lap and my right foot wrapped in ice and elevated upon two large pillows.

As I was walking across the grass to my Aunt Stella’s burial plot this morning, I hit a soft spot  – a deep indentation – and down I went.  I had to take a minute before I could get up.  Partly because of the pain and partly because of the nausea. Thought I was going to hurl right there on someone’s grave.

It was the nausea that had me concerned because when I broke the same foot a few years – in a zillion places – I felt nauseated that time too, vomited actually.  But this time the pain was not as great as it was then so fingers crossed.

I got up and hobbled the rest of the way.  And as I stood there listening to my cousin say a few words about his mom, I felt woozy, thought I might pass out.  So I sat on the grass and leaned on a soldier’s headstone.  It was a military cemetery – beautiful.  Looks like Arlington.

As I got back in my car I thought it might just be a sprain.  It didn’t hurt much at all on the hour long drive home.  But I couldn’t put any weight on it at all when I tried to get out of my car.  Had to crawl into the house, down the hardwood hallway, across the ceramic tiled kitchen floor and then scoot down the basement stairs on my rear to get the boot I wore last time.

Even with the boot I can’t put any weight on it.  So I crawled back up the stairs, across the hard kitchen floor, back down the hard hallway into the carpeted (thank God) family room, where I intend to stay parked on the sofa ’til the hub gets home.  Unless the dogs need to go out.  And I need to refreeze my ice pack.  Dang it.

Last time the breaks didn’t show up on the x-ray – there was too much swelling.  The orthopedic specialist kept saying, “It’s presenting like a break but no break is showing on the x-ray.”  So he treated it like a sprain.  And sent me to physical therapy when it didn’t heal the way he expected it to.  For over a  month I was doing PT exercises on a foot broken in several places.  It took over a year to heal.  After an MRI and a few different specialists, I decided to treat it like a break.  I stayed completely off it for 6 weeks and it finally healed.  A bone scan, finally performed at the end of those six weeks, revealed multiple fractures.

The only help I accepted last time was a ride to Bible study once a week since I couldn’t drive with the boot on.  I cooked, took care of the friends, schlepped my broken foot all over town.  The hub got off scot free.

Why did I do everything myself?  Because, growing up in a family of seven children, I’ve been doing everything for myself since I was in the second grade.

But not this time.  I already called the hub and said not this time.  If it’s broken, he’s gonna’ have to wait on me hand and broken foot.

If it presents as broken but the x-ray says it’s not, he’s gonna’ have to wait on me hand and possibly broken foot until the swelling goes down and I can get another x-ray.  Not going through another year of that h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

And now I better get on the phone and cancel our hotel reservations.  Because there is no way we are going to be able to bebop around Traverse City this weekend.  Double dang it.

In response to The Daily Post’s very timely writing prompt: “I Am a Rock.”

Food, Michigan

Away From The Fray

Our annual mother/daughter quest for fabulous food and beautiful beaches took us to Traverse City, Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.

First stop: The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, chock full of gorgeous vistas:



At one “get out and look around” point, we came across a couple enjoying a peaceful afternoon, perched in lawn chairs high above the fray. That’s the life.


Traverse City sits at the base of the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bay with Mission Peninsula dividing them. We had a lovely view with dinner at The Mission Table, located half way up the 18 mile peninsula:


Traverse City bustles in the summer, but just outside of town, nestled among trees on a peaceful 63 acre campus, is The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.  The Village is a renovation of dozens of historic buildings that were once the Traverse City State Hospital, previously known as the Northern Michigan Asylum.



Dr. Munson, the first director of the hospital, was a firm believer in “beauty as therapy”.  The hospital had its own greenhouses which provided flowers year ‘round and patients were encouraged to walk in the beauty of their surroundings.  Everyone was treated with kindness and dignity.  There were no straight jackets or drugs.  My daughter noted that the place did not feel at all creepy.  Perhaps due to the kind vibe.

Dr. Munson also believed in “work as therapy” and thus  the hospital had its own farm.  Patients were given meaningful work and a sense of purpose through farming, canning and furniture making – all of which kept the hospital self-sufficient.

The hospital opened in 1885 and closed in 1989.  It was designated a historical site in 1985 and renovation into shops, restaurants and housing began in 2000.

This little village, nestled near and away from the bustling Traverse City fray was the find of our trip. We took coffee and refuge from a thunderstorm at Higher Grounds.





We dodged raindrops as we ran next door for a breakfast burrito.



And then grabbed cheesecake for later.


Trying to get what looked like amazing pizza was a roller coaster of emotions.  We came across a flier that said the bakery did pizza Wednesday through Sunday.  “Great,” we said on Sunday morning, “we’ll do pizza tonight!”  But a peek at the website Sunday afternoon threatened our only opportunity.  “The bakery closes at 6?  How can they do pizza if they close at 6?”  We were truly bummed.  As we walked downtown a bit later, my brilliant daughter suggested we check the flier posted at the downtown Pleasanton Cafe.  “Yay!  Pizza until 9 pm! At the hospital grounds.” The flier said so.  With mouths watering and hearts hopeful, we drove to the hospital grounds in anticipation of a great culinary find. Alas, the locked doors and abandoned parking lot at 8 pm revealed that they lie.  We hated them.


But being forgiving sorts, we returned Tuesday morning for breakfast treats before heading out of town.



Forgiveness tastes really good.