Sunday, October 4, 2015

Homecoming Austin Style - 2015

New shirt and bow tie - picked out by Mr. Flood's lovely sister.

 My handsome son with a smile that goes for miles.  This kid has the best heart and soul...

Getting Austin to "pose" had us all laughing so hard I had to cross my legs!

Taking a seat was easier.

Then we went back to cheezy grins before he hit the door because he was 1 minute late!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Almost Done with the Painting Project

Some home renovation projects just seem to take forever and this has been one of them.  We've been working on getting the house painted for a month now and we're into the final stretch.  I spent much of last Saturday painting the spindles of this deck railing.  Getting down and up in-between those boards was a b*itch!  I guess that's why we didn't re-paint them the last time we painted the house 15 years ago.  And sitting cross legged on that black roof-deck for 6 hours wasn't much fun either.

I did have lots of company.  These little dragon flies seem to really love sunning themselves on the railing.  Every time I stood up there were at least 6-10 of them up there.

And when I got done, I plopped a chair on the little deck in the backyard and had myself a cold beer.  Ahhhhhh, relaxation!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Detroit Sunrise - September 2015

I find my zen many mornings at work by just standing near the window to enjoy the sun rising over the Detroit River.....

Monday, September 28, 2015

The New Barn

We have boarded at quite a few different barns over the years and all are pretty different from each other in a variety of ways.  This barn has about 20 stalls - 10 on each side - with a row of 4 grooming stations down the middle.  That's Mata Hari in the first one.  You can just see the entrance to the indoor arena at the far right the picture. Technically it's a separate building but has been connected to the barn with a "breezeway".  

This is Mata Hari's stall.  I'm glad she has a window and so does she - when she's inside in the evenings she likes to stand looking out.

Madison kept talking about this giant beehive on the trail that she's been taking Mata Hari on around the property. When I went out walking with her last time, we came on it again.  It's super low to the ground on this tiny bush which is kind of unusual but it's a "dead" hive.  No bees around it at all.

A bit dark, but my girls enjoying their trek through the trails.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mata Hari

Our little black horse was injured last spring. It was a suspensory injury in her front right leg which basically means, very long, slow recovery.  We spent months hand walking her with small increments of time increases, and then riding at a walk with the same slow build up.  Eventually we added some trot work and finally, 2 weeks ago, we started to add cantering.

We also moved barns 9/1/15 because our beloved owners of Foxcroft had decided they were going to sell their farm next spring.  The timing worked out - Mata Hari was able to get turned out in a small pasture and didn't need to be confined to her tiny paddock any longer.

Madison has been taking advantage of the grass trails that wind around the property at this new barn and taking Mata Hari out there for her cool downs.  She is becoming quite the good trail horse which should prove helpful when they start doing cross country.

The morning of these pictures was drizzling rain but I am excited to see how that background changes as we move into fall.  There could be some good photo opportunities back there!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Crystal Mountain

I have several new clients through work that meet in places all over the state (and sometimes other states) which means I'm doing a little more traveling than I used to do.  Last week I had a quick overnight at Crystal Mountain and was pretty surprised to find that I didn't have just a hotel room but a whole CONDO to myself!  A bit of an overkill for the 10 hours I was actually IN the room but...

It was on the golf course - 18th hole.  You can sort of see it outside the window.  The decor was very woodsy but nicely done.  It was apparent that the whole condo had been recently updated.

We had the exact same table and chairs set in our cottage!  The big chair was comfy - I didn't sit on the coach.  It looked slippery.

The weird lighting did a number on the kitchen in this picture but the cupboards were an odd choice for a remodel.  I was mildly disappointed that they didn't have a decent coffee maker in such a nice place.  The bathroom and bedroom were off to the right with several closets lining this hallway as well.  There was also a door that opened to the condo next door like they have in connecting hotel rooms so I guess if you have friends next door you don't have to go outside to get to their place.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

47 Years

Not too many people can say they have been friends for 47 years...especially when you are only 52 years old.  Anne Marie and I met in kindergarten and have been friends ever since, in spite of going to different elementary schools.  During those years, we only saw each other in the summers at the local community swimming pool but it was enough to keep our friendship alive until we reunited in junior high.

As our lives moved on and changed, we remained friends and often made plans for trips that didn't always happen as careers and families took over.  But this year, 2 years late for our 50th birthdays, we did it!  It was almost last minute but worked out perfectly for the week following Labor Day.  I needed to go to Bay Harbor in Petosky for a short meeting and they had a great room rate.  Anne Marie, wanna go and make it a mini vacation?

We had a fabulous suite/condo comfortably decorated.

Full kitchen.  And that's a murphy bed on the left in what looks like a big cabinet.

Pretty bedroom with a semi-enclosed balcony.

Our first full day we drove to Charlevoix and did a whole lot of window shopping (this was after a very brisk walk around Bay Harbor of a few miles).  By 2:30 (according to the clock!), we were getting thirsty so we grabbed some drinks and headed to sit along the water at the docks here.

It was a pretty magnificent view of huge boats and beautiful homes. The weather was beyond perfect - 72 and sunny.

We strolled along the river that leads out to Lake Michigan and were in time to see the draw bridge open to let in some sail boats to the harbor.

This is looking north along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  I love Michigan.

The lighthouse at the end of the walkway.

I still have to get some of the pictures that Anne Marie took of the resort itself (Madison and I stayed here a few years ago) but on this same evening, we poured a couple glasses of a good wine and went out to find a spot along the water to watch the sun set.  We saw some adirondack chairs by a bonfire pit and headed that way mentioning how cool it would be if someone would light the fire.  And VOILA!  It was already lit and burning when we got to it!

Seriously relaxing occurred as we warmed out toes by the fire, watching the waves lap in and the sun setting.  Just after the sun went down, a hotel guy showed up with a big basket of S'mores supplies!  Life is good at Bay Harbor!

Thursday morning the weather wasn't so picture perfect but we still started our day with a brisk walk around Bay Harbor and ventured out onto the docks in their marina, also loaded with fancy boats that cost more than our houses!  And then we spotted this nice little cottage.  Oh yes, I like this one!

Anne Marie had to spend part of this day on her own while I put in a few hours for the job that I was here to do.

After I wrapped up work, the sky started clearing and we headed into the town of Petosky for some shopping and dinner at a restaurant that had been recommended to us by some locals we met by the fire the night before.  I'm glad we took their recommendation...the food was fabulous and the view was stunning. But then, I can't say there are any views in this area that aren't awesome!

After dinner we stopped in the bar for glasses of wine and then back out to the bonfire for S'mores for dessert!  We engaged in some lively conversation with others that were there and wrapped up our evening tired and ready to head home in the morning.