Monday, July 30, 2012

Miss Me?

So vacation was awesome, except for the part where my camera died. That part blew. A lot. Especially, since we were on Lake Superior at the time, and even casual readers of this blog know that's my favorite spot in the world.

But the whole week was pretty amazing. I got up close and personal with a bat in my sister-in-law's cabin, I got to watch black bears at a sanctuary, I swam for hours in Superior, found gorgeous rocks, went on hikes back in the woods, drank wine by the campfire at Indian Lake, hung with my fam and got a ton of reading in. I can't remember the last time I read that much.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. Also, as soon as Killian can figure out how to make the videos we took of the bears go right side up, I'll post those, too.

 My guys on our hike through the woods that surround Miners Falls.

 A pretty path in the Miners Falls woods.
Miners Falls - Munising, Michigan

 Lake Superior Pictured Rocks shoreline in Munising, Michigan

 Miners Castle - Pictured Rocks shoreline
 Lake Superior - Munising, Michigan
Lake Michigan, Manistique, Michigan

 Sunset on Indian Lake - Manistique, Michigan

 A yearling black bear at Oswald's Bear Ranch, Newberry, Michigan
 Having a light lunch...
 Climbing the tree
 Thinking about bear stuffs...
 Sunset on Indian Lake, Manistique, Michigan
Lake Superior at Grand Marais, Michigan

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vacation Time! (Yes...again)

I'm sitting next to Indian Lake in Manistique - a lovely small town along the shores Lake Michigan in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and it's glorious.

The sun is glistening on the water, chipmunks are frolicking outside the cabin, birds are singing and teenagers are snoring. Well, they're snoring until I go wake them up - but what the heck, it's vacation. I'll let them sleep a little longer.

I'll be back later with pictures. I hope everyone is having an awesome week!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Farming and story ideas?

Hey Everyone!

I'm guest blogging about farming and story ideas over at Limcello's blog today. They're not as unrelated as you might think.

I'd really love it if you came by and said hi!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Conversation with the Husband

So I just got home from a couple writers' group meetings. I walked into the house and the TV was on really loud.

I thought I was going to have to yell at one of the boys, but when I walked into the living room, it was Matt watching it.

The following conversation happened.

Me: What the hell?

Matt: I know it's really loud but I'm trying to hear this movie. The music and special effects are really loud and the dialogue is really quiet.

Me: What are you watching?

Matt: (glances shiftily from side to side.)

Me: What? Am I going to judge you?

Matt: Probably.

Me: Seriously. What are you watching?

Matt: (looks sheepishly at me) Starship Troopers 3

Me: (staring dumbfoundedly for a moment) You're right. I'm judging you. I'm judging you so hard.

Matt: I know.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

One of the coolest things about the writers retreat/vacation was the some of the people we met.

One of the people, I'd already met. You remember Bill the DNR guy? The one whose life I ruined? Well, I took him out to lunch on Thursday and Jess and Mia came with. Bill also brought his Boner of the Year award for me to see, because yes, he's just that awesome. 

During Jess Jarman and my Copper Harbor tour, we saw a sign that said Grandpa's Barn. We thought it was going to be an antique shop. How delightfully wrong we were! It was a book store! A bookstore full of antique furniture and books for us to lust over. Aaaaannnnnd we met the very lovely Lesley DuTemple. She's another Michigan author, and she's an absolute doll.

Pro tip: I learned that if you make a crack about tax deductions while buying books, you'll meet awesome authors.

In addition to picking up Lesley's book, Stars in the Water, (which of course I had signed) I picked up a gorgeous art book with photographs by Steve Brimm, called Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Spirit of Place. Lesley directed us to his gallery where we went to check out his work and get my book signed. His artwork is absolutely phenomenal. Seriously, if I could crawl inside some of these pictures, I would. And bonus, he's a super nice, laid back guy.

Jess and I took the coast road back to the cabin and I'll post some of  pictures at the end of the post. But we stopped at various spots along the way back, played in the water, laughed our butts off, picked up rocks...the usual.

On the way back home Saturday, Mia Watts and I had a fab time meeting people. We passed a sign for a "Huge Book Sale" so of course, we had to stop. We met a lovely fiber artist named Jean who has an entire library set up in her barn, so of course we had to browse. She was a wonderful guide who not only shared her barn and books with us, but also gave us a tour and the history of her studio which was once the granary on the farm where she lives. The history of her home was fascinating. If it's okay with Jean, I'll share it with you all in another post.

After that stop, we went to an estate sale. While we didn't find anything there, we did enjoy looking around the lady's stained glass studio, aaaaand she kindly agreed to repair my busted stained glass faery that some evil children broke while playing ball in the house.

On the way out of Houghton, we stopped at this run-down looking building that was advertising Green Stone jewelry. Now, I've been fascinated by this building for years. I used to pass it on my way in and out of Houghton every time I went to see Matt. Which was a lot. But at that time, it was pretty much abandoned. Now it's a studio and living area for an awesome jeweler. Originally, it was meant to be a copper processing plant waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day, but the bottom fell out of the market so it was shut down before it was ever operational. After that it was converted into a dance hall. I believe he said it was called the Michigan Ballroom and was apparently the place to party in the 1920s and 30s. It's been plenty of other things over the years, but I thought that was pretty cool.

In addition to getting a fascinating history of the place, he also showed us his workspace and let us handle the stones. One of the coolest things about meeting Paul is discovering that he made one of the rings that I wear everyday. It's a daffodil ring that I bought from an etsy store located in Marquette where he sells some of his jewelry. What are the odds of that?

We pretty much stayed in the car until we hit Munising (southern shore of Lake Superior) and we stopped at this awesome little pottery studio that I've been dying to visit every time I'm in town, but it's always closed. I am SO glad it was open when we came through. It's run by a husband and wife team, and while the wife wasn't there, Thomas was. He's a potter and the most delightful hippie ever. I adore him. I bought several of his giant mugs (Killian insists that they're steins) and they're perfect for huge vats of tea. He was also kind enough to let me use the bathroom in his place since he didn't have a public restroom. He and his wife live above the shop and I swear, it was like walking into my Aunt Malita's house. Driftwood and rocks everywhere, antiques, pottery, books - cluttered but comforting. Probably one of the nicest guys I've ever met. I'll definitely be going back up there with Matt and the boys later this month. Killian wants a vat of his own.

Here are some pictures Jess and I took on our Copper Harbor adventure. Interestingly enough, all of the people we met (with the exception of Bill and possibly Paul) are all people who chose to move to the UP - none of them were born there. And most are from other states altogether. I find that incredibly interesting.

These are all shots from the western coastline of Lake Superior except for the last four which are Jacob's Falls and sunrise on Superior in front of our cabin on the last day. (Click to embiggen for a better view.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back from Vacation

I'm home from vacation, and I'll admit it. I really want to go back up north. I spent the week with Jen Armintrout, Jessica Jarman, Kris Norris, Mia Watts and our friend Emily. I won't lie and tell you it was the peace and quiet because there wasn't a lot of that going on with six of us in a cabin. There was maniacal giggling, writing, drinking wine, collecting rocks, walking along the beach, listening to the waves - it was pretty much perfection.

Of course, I missed my fam and my friends who weren't there, but I could have cheerfully stayed for another week. I know I've waxed poetic before about the insane beauty of Lake Superior, but  my God, it's amazing. The whole time we were at the cabin, I only saw two people who weren't staying with us.

As a reward for our hard work during the day, we went to Mickey's for karaoke night. I suspect it'll be a long time before they forget us. One of the highlights of the night was Kris giving me a lap dance during Mustang Sally. I'm pretty sure that's when the elderly gentleman playing pool fell in love with her. And Kris being the awesome sport she was did several two-step dances with him because she's just that fabulous.

Wednesday, we went into Houghton, where my hubby went to college and had an absolutely orgasmic lunch at the Ambassador. We all got something different and it was all fantastic. Matt and I used to eat there when we could afford to when he was in college. If anything the food was better than ever.

I'll recap the rest of the week in a day or two, but here are some of the gorgeous photos I took. I also took video of the waves on the lake because I'm going to rip the audio to cd as a relaxation aid. Because I'm clever like that.

Okay, so I'm not sure this qualifies as a gorgeous photo, but it's Angus who wouldn't get out of my damn suitcase no matter what. 

This is the fantabulous cabin we rented. I'd totally stay there again in a heartbeat. 

This is the rock Jen wouldn't let me take home because she's a fun hater. 

This is the view of the beach right in front of our cabin. The pictures don't do it justice  - you'll just have to take my word that it was breathtaking.

A nifty sedimentary rock cliff where the beach shifts into the woods.

Some of the millions of rocks on the shoreline. Of course, after our week there, there are far fewer.

A mile or so down the shore from where we were.