Monday, July 31, 2023

End of July

This month has really flown by. In fact, the whole year seems to be flying by. Can't say I got as much done around the house as I wanted to. I did get a lot of books sorted out. We went on two camping weekends. It's been a month of ups and downs. 

So, what's the plan for August? I'll only be here for a couple of weeks. I am leaving on the 18th to go spend three weeks with my sister. I'm not going to plan on any big projects. I do have some things packed up that need to leave the house for the charity shop and I want them gone before I leave. The library bookshop (where I'd like the books to go) now has open donation days on Saturday mornings, so I'm going to see if I can nip down there and drop some off. Before Covid, you could always just drop off the donations, but since covid they now had 'by appointment only' and when I checked the website, they have opened up the drop off Saturday donations. The last time I tried to ring for a donation time nobody rang me back! I am sort out a few to take to an old work friend. While we were talking today, she sounded as though she'd appreciate a few. Once she's done with them, they would get passed to another old work friend and she would share with neighbours. They would be well read!

We did go out yesterday. Not far, but a little walk. Everywhere was so busy. Honestly, I can't wait until places calm down a bit. My son says the same thing. He lives in a beach town and it's really busy in the summer with long waits everywhere and people who don't always think of others too much. I know holiday makers contribute to the local economy, but it's still nice when it's quieter!

A few phone photos from yesterday

I found a spot where I could take a photo with no people, but there are lots, just down to the left of the photo lol

Some beautiful clouds yesterday

This is supposed to be the accessible ramp to the beach, but I would not want to go down it in a wheelchair. It is really quite steep! Not sure who designed it. 

Some cloud reflections in a puddle on a pier. We got here quite early and though there were people out I managed to snap a few photos without people lol. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

A Week of Ups and Downs

Thanks for all the comments yesterday regarding our good news. 

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions this last couple of weeks. Glad to find out what the baby will be and that everything is going well. It was the anniversary of Mum's death last weekend and the lead-up to that brought all kinds of thoughts and emotions to the surface. Those last few months and days replaying over and over in my head, especially when I closed my eyes. Of course, wondering if there was anything different I could have done, wishing things could have been different. I am coming to learn that feeling guilt - whatever the circumstances of a loved one's death - is normal. I still come back to just hoping that Mum knew how much I loved her and how hard I tried to be with her. I know that all the times we talked and Skyped, especially in those Covid months (before she caught it) she knew how much I wished I could be there, how tempted I was to just fly there and spend the pandemic with her. 

Deep Breath. 

Good things. I remember when daughter was little my Mum got her this mint green TY bunny. She loved that thing. She would sleep with it all the time. I still have it, it was in daughter's room until she left for university and didn't want to take it with her, though it's a little battered. I was looking to buy a new one for the baby, but they sadly no longer sell it. I might try to clean daughter's up, but in the meantime, I found a lovely (albeit little expensive) mint green Jellycat Bunny that I'm having sent to daughter. 

I can't say that I've got a lot done around the house this week. I have got the basics and normal cleaning done which is good. Thank goodness for routines! 

The days just seem to have flown by. It's been rather hot and humid and I'm blaming that (among other things) for my lack of getting things done this week. I have been writing lists, though I haven't been getting everything done. 

Do you find the hot weather causes you to have less energy? 

A photo of something that made me smile this weekend.

A Red-Winged Blackbird Fledgling. The face only a parent could love lol. Its parents were close by not happy when anything came near. 

Hopefully back tomorrow!

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Some Good News to Share

 I'm going to be a Nana!

I can officially announce it now as Daughter and SIL have announced it to everyone. Husband and I have known for a while, and we're both really excited. 

The Six - 2 parents (hearts), 3 dogs (pawprints) and 1 baby (feet). Lol. 

It's sad that SIL's Dad won't get to see the baby, but he did know about it and although at the time they didn't know what the baby was, they told him the name they had picked out for a girl. 

It's a bit of good news for all. 

Back tomorrow (hopefully!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Plodding Onward - Lotus Flowers

 I feel as though I didn't get a lot done today, but I didn't seem to have a lot of free time! I did the food shop, something I hate doing. It was quite expensive. I did pick up a couple of extra items that weren't on my list (I actually did write one!). It was because they were on sale, and I will incorporate them into next week's menu. I've been doing really well keeping the refrigerator freezer clear and free. I've been doing well with keeping the fridge sorted too. 

I did write a list for me to do tomorrow. Seems silly sometimes writing it all down, but I have a memory like a sieve, and I easily get distracted. Having things written down, however little they are, seems to keep me on track. 

It's supposed to be quite hot and humid tomorrow. I shall do a quick walk (the bonus of not walking with someone is that I can get out early and back quickly!) and then come home and do The List. 

A little bit more from our weekend away - 

While we were walking the trail a lady stopped to talk to us and tell us about the Lotus Flowers that Monroe, Michigan is known for. We hadn't heard this! She let us know where to find them on the trail. The video and photos don't do the flowers justice. They were beautiful. Both husband and I were just amazed how lovely it was. 

A few of my camera photos. 

Hopefully back tomorrow

Monday, July 24, 2023

We're Back!

We ended up postponing the camping trip until Friday morning. There were storms and heavy rains going through that area and we really didn't fancy putting up a tent in the rain! I called the campground and let them know that we would be late and asked whether that would mean we'd forfeit the other days. The lady said no. We could arrive anytime on Friday (instead of waiting until after 3pm) and just set up then. We were glad we did that. Husband was more rested, not rushed to get everything together after work. 

We set off about 9am on Friday. The campground was a couple of hours away from us, over on the eastern side of Michigan, nearer to Detroit. It was on Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes I haven't been to before. 

It's really quite a nice park. It was quite big. I think the campground is a newer one as it was set up for caravans/RVs that sort of thing. There was plenty of room to put up our tent and the spaces were quite big. The only problem was that it was very open, no trees which meant no shade. It was quite hot and a bit uncomfortable. We did have a canopy thingy but it was still hot. The nights and mornings were okay. It was just when that sun was beating down on us!

We were well away from other people! It was a good thing as the campground was full and there were over 200 spots! 

It was nice being right by Lake Erie. I got up in the mornings and watched the sunrise. It was so very peaceful. I watched a couple of Ospreys and Eagles fly over the lake trying to fish. I managed to catch a picture of one of the Ospreys catching one. 

There were some nice trails at the park. We managed to walk one, all the way around the lake. It was quite hot though! We're thinking of coming back for a day trip when the weather cools down and walking it again. The trail was around one lake, but there were smaller waterways on the sides as you walked along. Lots of Egrets, Herons, an Eagles nest and other birds. Really lovely. 

I'll share more tomorrow. Got a few more phone photos and a couple of videos. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023


It wasn't a bad day today. I had texted SIL last night to let him know that I'd be thinking of him today. All went well at the funeral. His Mum received her flowers and he sent took a photo and thanked me. SIL didn't get any extra time off work. He only managed to spend so much time with Dad and his Mum last week as he had the week off for holiday as he and daughter were supposed to be going away. His work gave no time off for bereavement or even for the funeral! He had to take a holiday day AND provide them with an order of service, so they knew he was actually going to a funeral! Not a great place to work. Unfortunately, it seems to be the norm over here. 

Enough moaning.

My walking friend is off on holiday for a couple of weeks, starting tomorrow so I will have a bit of a break and be able to just wander and hopefully get some things done around the house! 

Husband and I are off camping tomorrow afternoon for the weekend. It is his 60th on Friday and the anniversary of Mum's passing on Saturday so we are off out of town. We will be tent camping. Unfortunately, it is forecast to rain tomorrow - only tomorrow around the time we will be putting up the tent (of course) - hopefully the weather people will be wrong. The rest of the weekend looks to be good. 

While I was out walking today I came across this painted stone. It seemed quite appropriate for today. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Plodding Along

I haven't got as much accomplished so far this week as I had wished to. I've been plodding along. Not sure if I'm coming down with something, but I've been feeling a bit achy. I have been keeping up with the basics, so I suppose that's good. I have been walking. I've walked both days with my walking friend this week. I shall walk with her tomorrow too. She's off on holiday on Thursday. It will be good to have a break and just wander along as I like to do and, if I am feeling a bit off, I don't have to walk far!

We decided not to go to the funeral tomorrow. It is just too far away and husband's time off work is limited. He doesn't have a lot of days left. He turns 60 on Friday and has taken the day off and we are going camping for the weekend. If the funeral had been on Friday we could have cancelled the trip and gone to the funeral and came back on Sunday. We have talked with Daughter and Son-in-Law and they understand. Daughter says that SIL has lots of support from his brothers and friends.

I have been keeping up with lists. Not everything is being accomplished BUT I see the things written down and they are slowly being chipped away at. 

Photo today - something that made me smile. 

A Milkweed Beetle. I like the way it is peeking over the top of the leaf. Made me smile! I really miss taking the 'Things That Make Me Smile' photos. I think I will start it again next year!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Sunday - a Little Birdwatching

Not much got done around the house today. Husband and I went out for a bit of a walk, though not for long. The afternoon was spent relaxing, reading, watching some Midsomer Murder repeats and messing around on the computer. 

Although it's been humid, it's been a little cooler the last couple of days so I've been sitting out for a little while on the back porch and watching the birds. We are having a lot of visitors to the garden, mostly parents with their fledglings. My favourites have to be the Blue Jays. They are just so funny. They have this tufty bit (I'm sure there is a proper name, but it doesn't come to mind!) on top of their heads and the babies don't seem to know what to do with it. They are also very loud. 

And they flap around a lot!

Even with the bird seed around they seem to know that bugs can be really tasty too!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Book Decluttering

Not a post about my day, but about the book decluttering. Again. I have too many books. I know that I do. I am beginning to feel a little hemmed in by them. I must say, at this point they are on bookshelves, in cupboards, drawers - you get the picture - what I'm really saying is they aren't cluttering the floor or tables, but I want to free up some storage for other things. That means getting rid of some books. I just find it tough. A lot of them are like old friends, or some friends I'd like to get to know one day. Reading is a solace. I don't remember a time when I didn't read a lot. It's a love I got from Mum as she really enjoyed reading too. It was something we always talked about in our weekly Skype sessions. We'd show one another the books we were reading. I'd bring some to her when I visited, and she saved some for me to read when I went to see her. 

Reading is just something I love to do. I do have a Kindle and I have books on there, but reading from that just isn't the same as holding a book. Books are also my go-to thing to shop for when I'm feeling down. I have been doing a lot better at not buying a bunch of new books (well, new-to-me as most I purchase used). So now it's a matter of getting rid of some of the ones I have. 

This week I have managed a grand total of (insert drum roll here) ....35!

They include books I have on Kindle (groan), books I've read and I can let go of, books I haven't read and don't seem to interest me and duplicates (yes I have those too!). 

I hope to keep going sorting through them this one before letting go of some of the ones that mean more!

Here's the pics 

Now I need to box them up before I change my mind!!

Friday, July 14, 2023

The Week - ugh

It's been a bit of a week. Daughter rang on Monday and said that they had been told to go up to the hospital for son-in-law's dad. He wasn't doing well, and they were calling people to the hospital. He's only fifty-five but has been having issues for about nine months now. He's been in and out of the hospital with infections and fluid on his lungs and such. Son-in-law (S for ease) had gone up to the hospital on Sunday. It's about two and a half hours drive from any family member (the only hospital that could take him!) so visits aren't as often as they would be if it was local. S said that his dad was actually awake and alert and joking. Monday, not so good. 

Sadly, on Tuesday morning he passed away. He was a nice man. We'd met a few times, mainly at Christmas get-togethers and a couple of meals we went out for with them. 

The funeral will be next Wednesday. Not sure if we will be going or not. We'd like to support S but it's such a long way for us. We also have a mini-camping trip planned for next weekend (Thursday night through Sunday) as it will be husband's 60th on Friday and the anniversary of Mum's passing on Saturday. I just didn't want to be home. I'd rather be on the beach, thinking of her and some of the holidays we shared. I can't be there in England this year at this time. Sister will be going to Mum's bench and taking some flowers for me. I'm travelling over there next month and will be there for what would have been Mum's birthday. 

So, as for the funeral. Not sure. It's a ten-hour drive. We would have to go Tuesday, drive back Thursday and then go straight to campground. Not sure if husband would be able to get time off work. Poor S doesn't get any bereavement leave. He was actually off this week on holiday as daughter and he were supposed to go away. He will have to take a holiday day on his dad's funeral and then present his work with an order of service from the funeral home to prove that's where he was!

Feeling a bit down with the 'anniversary' coming up. Can't believe it's been almost two years. 

I've been getting through the days, but not getting as much done as I have wanted to. I did at least reach my book decluttering goal the other day. I wanted to sort ten books, I managed thirteen. Not a whole lot, but better than none!

Photo for today - Clouds. Just because. It's a phone photo. I really think I need to do Phone Photos Things That Make Me Smile again next year. I'm missing it. It's always good, even on bad days, to look for something that makes you smile. 

Hopefully tomorrow I'll post a photo of the books leaving the house. I forgot to take a photo and it's too dark while I'm writing this!

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Camping Weekend

We had a nice weekend away. The cabin was...well, it wasn't as nice as the last one! It was a bit primitive. Comfortable but certainly needs some upgrading. The door was like a garden shed door complete with a padlock! Usually there is a keypad that has a code so it's easy for all occupants to use. This one, well, with only one key it wasn't the greatest. 

That being said, the campground was nice. It was near a lake (not one of the Great Lakes) but pretty. The campground had a shop. There were a few trails. Admittedly, we didn't spend a lot of time at the campground. We were mainly there in the evenings. It was quite busy with children, but it did quieten down at night and there wasn't a lot of noise. 

The weather actually stayed good. It was forecast to rain all day Saturday. We had one shower when we were out just as we were finishing up our walk and one in the evening. We'd already lit the campfire. We ducked inside the cabin to wait it out and the fire stayed lit through the rain. So after the showers we went back out and sat and enjoyed the rest of the night. 

On Saturday we went to check out Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. 

It is Michigan's Oldest Lighthouse, the second oldest on the Great Lakes. Here's a little blurb of history

Fort Gratiot was built in 1814 during the War of 1812 to guard the juncture of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron. Named after the engineer who supervised construction, Charles Gratiot, Fort Gratiot would be occupied on and off  by the United States Army until 1879.  With a surge of vessel traffic on Lake Huron in the early 1800s, the need for a Light Station to guide vessels through the water way became very important. In 1823 Congress approved the funds to build the first lighthouse in Michigan and the second oldest on the Great Lakes.

A view from the beach (below)

Mostly stoney beach. 

Lots of boats in the water - and Canada just across Lake Huron (a phone photo)

On our way back we stopped at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. It's basically a huge area of wild land. There is a drive through some of the waterways.  We saw lots including this Eagle.

Now to get moving on house things!

Friday, July 7, 2023


I can't believe another week has gone by. The days seem to be flying by! 

I've been enjoying my new routine. I feel like it's really working for me. I am feeling as though I'm getting something accomplished. Hopefully that will continue. 

Today I'm getting ready to go camping for the weekend. We're just off tonight (leaving after husband gets home from work) and staying tomorrow night too. Not sure the weather is going to cooperate, but we're in a mini cabin. I am taking some reads with me and my camera, of course. It's a State Park that we haven't been to before so we'll see how we like it. It isn't near any Great Lake (though it is near an inland lake). I thought we'd try something different. We won't know if we like a park if we don't visit! 

It's just going to be a (hopefully) relaxing weekend. I'm hoping, if nothing else, I'll be able to get some wildflower photos. I would like to make myself a little book so I can know what different plants are. I shall put them into Google Lens or some other app to identify them.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Some lovely clouds from yesterday

Wednesday, July 5, 2023


This week is a funny old week. Husband and son both had yesterday off. I got a few things done on my list but left the housework until today. It's better to do things while they are out of the house. I did pretty good on my list today. I'm feeling optimistic. 

It's been really hot and muggy the last couple of days. Today while I was out walking, I was hot and sticky and really quite miserable by the time I was done. I stayed inside the rest of the day, which did make it easier to check things off my list. I did things in spurts and sat in front of the fan between things. I made sure to drink plenty too as otherwise I tend to get cramps. I suppose it's due to dehydration. 

I am also continuing on with the (really slow) delcuttering. Today I have got rid of a random bag (that I got free with something), a cross stitch pattern and 10 more books! 

Scenery from this morning walk

Monday, July 3, 2023

Back to Monday

It's going to be a strange week this week. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a holiday here in the US. My son had today off, but husband went to work. They both have tomorrow off and then back to work Wednesday. I'm sure I won't know what day it is! 

Yesterday it rained. A lot. We do need it, but on a Sunday? Ugh. It's usually our adventure day. We managed to get out for a drive and a really quick walk along the beach before the rain came...and came...and came. We headed home and I spent the rest of the day doing a little sorting and some stitching. 

Today I went for a walk with my friend. As we were leaving, she said, see you tomorrow. I reminded her that I wasn't going to be there on Tuesday or Thursday (not to mention, it's a holiday too and I don't usually walk with her on holidays as husband and I might want to do something). She didn't look too pleased, but I'm sticking to my guns. 

I have decided to leave husband to his own devices and let him relax for the day tomorrow. We are going camping for a couple of nights next weekend, so I'll keep him busy then - ha ha. I am going to go watch the beavers, do a quick walk by myself and then come home. I've got some things I want to get done. 

As it was so wet yesterday everywhere was soaked on my walk. The path to the beavers' lodge was waterlogged and I had to find a new way round. The beavers were out and about this morning so that was nice. 

I hope it dries up soon.

Before I got down to the lodge, I walked partially through the field (it too was very wet). There was fog over the field though and it was really beautiful.

While out walking I came across this lovely decorated stone. Just in time for the holiday!

Saturday, July 1, 2023

First Saturday in July

Husband had a few garden things to do first thing this morning (before it got too hot and sticky) so I left him home and just went for a quick walk. As it is the first Saturday of the month I wanted to participate in A Year with my Camera's #1day12pics. I usually pick a theme. I took my macro lens with me and decided to set my theme as 'It's the Little Things'. I didn't last long. It was rather sticky out first thing - over 90% humidity. Ugh. 

When I got home, I actually picked up my stitching. I stuck on some Midsomer Murders (I watched them all but I like them!) and did some stitching. 

It's been a good day.

We were thinking of going out tomorrow (all three of us) but it's supposed to rain so no go. Husband and I will probably take a short drive in the rain - ha ha. 

Here's a collage of my 12 photos I decided to use today

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!