July was the quintessential summer. A road trip to upstate New York for a couple weeks by the lake. I always take my best photos on vacation. My mind is (almost) quiet, relaxed and open.
1) I just paid $8 a month so you, my beloved readers, can experience my blog without advertising photos of weird foot diseases, strange devices and grapes? (some of the ads I just saw when I opened by blog in a reader view, something I never do). I am sorry for years of this torment you’ve had to endure.
2) For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, here’s what went down exactly one day after I posted about deer flies. Copied and pasted for your enjoyment.
UPDATE if you’ve read the June List: irony struck this morning on my kayak adventure. Due to a freaking deer fly, I lost, then found my super expensive sunglasses (aka swatted my head, causing sunglasses to fly off behind me, circled back and miraculously saw them in some reeds), only to LOSE THEM AGAIN as they slipped off the end of my oar.
I then jumped in to retrieve them (shallow water 3’), only to lose both my flip flops (forgot I was wearing them) in the muddy ground. Found right flip flop, lost left one, couldn’t find sunglasses the second time. Dragged kayak and myself to shore to get back in. Deer fly still bit me in the end. Nature: 1, Me: 0
3) We met our baby cousin, Harrison. Named after my grandfather. Well, if you’ve been following the blog, not actually my real grandfather, but the man who carried my last name and married my grandmother.
4) And caught up with our twin cousins, who are cute and busy and curious and everything one-year-olds should be.
5) One afternoon we drove 45 minutes to Old Forge, probably the most touristy town within a one-hour radius of my Dad’s place. Nestled in the Adirondacks (my Dad’s place is at the very edge), the Enchanted Forest Water Safari is half water-park, half fairy tale amusement park. My sister and I went a few times as kids and in my mind it was a magical place, exactly what the name Enchanted Forest promises.
However, some of the displays were not as I remember. I mean what in the world? Why this didn’t scare the living daylights out of me when I was little, I cannot tell you.
6) We also went to the Lewis County Fair, which WAS everything I remembered it to be. From the animal barns with blue ribbons pinned to their stalls and taffy stand and colorful rides.
It was fun to watch farmers prepping their animals before a show. I hadn’t realized that horses get sprayed with insecticide to keep flies off of them or that cows got shaved, making them look so smooth and clean.
7) I finished three books while on vacation. One was “Truly, Madly, Guilty” by Liane Moriarty who wrote the popular “Big Little Lies” which is now a series on HBO. I love that her books are both perfect beach reads but also have enough depth to be compelling in a literary way. They definitely make you think about relationships, about situations, about happenstance.
8) Another book I read was “Magpie Murders” which is sort of a modern take on the Agatha Christie murder mystery. It was fun and suspenseful and very British.
9) My husband and I finally used our gift card to Marrow (an anniversary gift from my MIL – thank you!) in Detroit’s West Village. We went with another couple and all agreed that the chef’s tasting menu sounded delicious, so we did that. It came with many dishes to taste, all of which had interesting elements like tobiko sprinkled on pot stickers and flower petals on their signature dish. All yummy.
10) At the end of the month, a friend of mine invited me to her high-school friend’s wedding, as her husband couldn’t make it at the last minute. It was held at the 45 North Winery (the 45-th parallel runs through the vineyards) on the Leelanau Penninsula. The couple was delightful and the wedding, beautiful. I don’t know the story of the horse.
My friend and I stayed at her mom’s house in Traverse City and on the way home, we stopped at a farm stand, where she bought cherries, which we snacked on during the ride home.
11) I’ve been working a lot this summer, so I haven’t cooked much. I did make a quiche with Michigan-grown summer squash, which I got from the Trader Joe’s local produce section. I didn’t edit the pic, so it looks somewhat unappetizing. But there you go.
12) I often….apologize, for lack of a better word, for my kids being cautious and timid. They aren’t confident swimmers, they’ll only go on the “safe” carnival rides, they’re scared of the dark. I’m not sure why I feel the need to apologize for this trait. Maybe because I was also that way growing up, I still am. It was hard and painful and I hated being that kid.
I think it’s also because I want them to be strong, to be go-getters and risk takers everything “girl power”-ish. Last week I was thinking of how to caption this photo to post in Instagram. And as I was sitting there, I realized, when they finally DO do something….ride a bike without training wheels, let go of the edge of the pool, make eye contact and speak clearly to an adult…they’ve overcome so much to do a thing that other kids do naturally.
And so this captured moment, it’s her contemplating a really hard thing. Trying to convince herself that she can do this thing. It’s her overcoming an obstacle on her own. It’s her being so very, very unapologetically brave.
Happy August, everyone!