Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to Cali

Yes, we are home, back in California, warm weather, dry air, more brown than green foliage on the sides of the roads, and a big beautiful ocean close by. No more mosquito's, firefly's or humid, hot rainy days. No more delightful family and friend visits, minimal laundry to tend , or dinners out. It's back to my daily Mom routine of well, I could go down the list of chores...but most of you know what I mean. We really had a great time, and I had a very comforting feeling of home while I was there. Maybe because it was a 3 week stay, but mainly it was the people, my parents, brothers and close friends calling me daily to make plans. While we were taking off in the plane to come home, as the plane started to lift of the ground, I felt a huge pain in my heart, for that feeling of home that I was leaving. Tears flowed, and I realized that is was not just sadness I was feeling, but an overwhelming sense of gratitude & happiness, knowing that I was able to spend such quality time with everyone I love, and that Chloe and Blake are forging a close bond with our extended family in Michigan. When our plane was landing in Los Angeles, the tears came again, this time I think it was tears of joy to be coming back to my home, my husband and friends. Since I have been home, I have been doing quite a bit of nesting. Cleaning out drawers of old clothes, wiping out cupboards, tending to my garden & trying to get back on California time. I think the nesting has allowed me mental time to digest my experience in a place that used to be my home. For all you Michigan folks reading this post... Don't forget to plan your next trip to San Diego....because I miss you all already !!

I still have lots of images....

My Dad, with Chloe & Blake....this tree is in my parents backyard, I spent quite a bit of time playing under it as a little how that tree has grown !

My Mother's rock garden...

My Mom, love the look on everyone's faces...this was after a satisfying pizza dinner at Buddies

Adam & Estelle, with Chloe & Blake....a great bunch of good friends !

All the girlie cousins, all just a few years apart, Luca, Chloe, Payton & Kara

Rosie, the nicest Great Dane we have ever met !

My Cousin Cindy, playing her piano for Chloe....we want one of those !

Fresh carrots from the ground of my friend Gina's vegetable garden.

Dress up with Estelle and Grace

Chloe receiving $7 from Grandpa Guntist for her upcoming 7th Birthday.

Collecting seeds from Grandma Elva's Garden.

One of my all time favorite perennials, growing everywhere in Michigan, Echinacea.

By the way, during our last week of our trip in Michigan, I was unable to plug into the Internet and post, so I added a few new travel posts in the last few days, so scroll down after this to see what's lurking below.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grandma's House

We spent the last week of our trip traveling 3 hours to Niles, Michigan. Its a small town on the west side of the state, very close to South Bend Indiana. We visited Grandma Elva, & Grampa Myles, (Alan's side of the family). They live in a lovely house on the St Joseph River. Its really like a vacation staying there. I spent lots of time swinging on the wooden swing overlooking the river and listening to the birds sing. Quite relaxing. I also started reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert ( yes, it took me a long time to get to that book). My good friend Leslie passed it on to me, and it was a perfect time to read it.

Chloe spent her mornings walking with Grandma, in her garden, while Blake and I slept in. Each day there was a new Day Lily that greeted them with amazing colors and shapes, among many other beautiful flowers. We also took a few pontoon rides down the river into town. Grandpa let the kids each take turns steering the boat. Chloe & Blake did some fishing off the dock, and Chloe caught her very first fish ever ! A small mouth bass. After taking pictures, she threw it back in the river. This was a very exciting moment, because Chloe was determined to catch something, so she sat for a long time just waiting for that first bite !

Chloe learned one of her very first card games, "war". There was much time spent on the back porch with Grandma playing it. Blake even got in on it! We found out it could be an endless game. Perfect for a lazy afternoon on the river !

I think the highlight of our trip to Grandma's house for the kids, was a ride on Grandpa's Harley. Look at how shiny that bike is ! Its very well taken care of by Grandpa Myles, he even built it its very own room in the garage.

We also ate alot of Michigan Sweet Corn...bought on the way to Niles. We took a driving route that took us through quite a few small towns, and in between their were farms. Pretty much all they were growing was corn & soy beans. Oh, and we ate lots of fresh peaches and blueberries to....I even made a cobbler...mmmm, All in all, we had a nice relaxing time. It was really the first time we had more than a few days to visit Niles, very enjoyable !! We recently heard from Grandma, and she informed us that it was pretty quiet around the house since we left. I know there will be more happy visits in the future !

Making Something out of Nothing

One of the places I had to make sure I visited while in the D, was The Heidelberg Project . I believe this is a very important exhibit of what one person can create in the midst of nothing. I wanted to make sure Chloe and Blake saw this, and the neighborhoods surrounding it. I think they are pretty young to get the whole concept, but at least they were exposed. It won't be the first time they visit this place ! When I was living in Michigan, I made sure to take anyone who visited from another city down to Heidelberg street to see what was happening. It has definitely evolved since I was there last. Good things have been happening. So what am I talking about ?? Well, take a look at all the images and then click on the link above and watch the video to learn more....

I know, tons of pictures....I couldn't help myself !

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eastern Market

One of the places we visited was Eastern Market in Downtown Detroit. I am very fond of this place, because it was the first Farmers Market I experienced as a young adult. I spent many Saturdays throughout the years here, cold wintery one's, rainy, and sunny ones. I used to spend maybe $20 at the most, and come home with a slew of fresh veggies and fruit, and bouquets of flowers to decorate my house with. You can find just about everything there, surrounding the outdoor market are various specialty shops in old buildings, where you can get bulk goods, meats, wine, and even vintage treasures. It makes for a leisurely afternoon, with lots of authentic people watching. By the way, it was a warm and humid day, no sunshine, just misty rain here and there...felt good.

I was with my good friend Elizabeth, and her daughter Estelle, which Chloe and Blake just love. The girls were sporting there bonnets, which brought quite a few strange looks our way. We visited The Pottery Guy, stopped to listen to the people at Bert's, a little jazz cafe, they were having an outside karaoke party. Then we went to The Rocky Peanut company, which is a bulk goods type of place, they have a huge selection of candy, and on the way out, one of the employees gave the kids candy cigarettes, which where made of gum with a wrapper around it. This was a hit, especially when we walked back into the market to find blueberries and peaches. We were heckled by folks, and at the same time I was totally disgusted due to my gum phobia.

Lots of images to share from the day....

The kids smoking their fags outside the "Mr Softy" Ice cream truck. This guy was so funny. He painted all the images in his truck himself, and when I got to chatting with him, he told me the whole business was for sale, $25,000.My friend Elizabeth buying some zuchinni

I just loved the grown in Detroit sign, notice the carrot, in place of an i.

Great buildings, great shopping and eating inside.

The kids loved touching this big blue ball while visiting "The Pottery Guy"

The Avalon Bakery, on 2nd and Willis, we ended the day here, with coffee and yummy cookies, and a loaf of bread, there speciality !

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Greenfield Village

We had a beautiful day visiting Greenfield Village yesterday. It has been one of my favorite places to visit in Dearborn,Michigan for a long time now. It is part of what they call The Henry Ford, which has a museum and the outdoor village. The Village is a step back in time, where there are historical homes, (the actual ones), a working farm, a real steam engine train, model T cars to ride in, and more. The people who work at the Village are dressed in attire that people wore in the late 1800's, they speak to you about the history of the time. It is really fascinating, and it is a great way for children to learn about history. As a little girl I took lots of field trips in school to both The Village and The Museum. When I was an adult I had an annual pass that brought me to the Village with friends many times. Its one of the places that makes me feel at home when I am visiting these days.

I realized as we were enjoying our day, that all the times I had spent at the Village before I never photographed it, now that I am constantly trying to document what I am doing for the blog, I discovered how much time and even energy it takes away from the experience to be pulling out my camera to shoot. I thought for a moment how nice it was to just take things in and not be distracted, so I held back a bit on the photo's, and took a few video's instead.

Here is some of what I did capture.....

These pictures below are of The Cotswold Cottage, built in the Early 1600's in Chedworth, Gloucestershire, England. The Gardens were beautiful!

This picture below is the Garden out behind the Dagget Farmhouse, which was built in 1754 in Andover, Connecticut. I loved how they made a bean tee pee out of tree branches.

This picture is of the field of corn and tobacco, that was grown on the Susquehanna Plantation, you can see the house in the backround, it was built around 1835 in St. Mary's County, Maryland.

These ladies were walking down main street chanting about their right to vote.

I love this picture. Chloe and her friend Estelle wanted us to buy these bonnets for them. They spent about 15 minutes looking for the same one's in the same size. Chloe has been wearing her's ever since. I need to complete the rest of the costume for her when we get home.

When I figure out how to get Blogger to let me download the video I took, I will add it to this post. In the meantime, click on the Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford link above to learn more.