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Friday, July 31, 2009

Traverse City Film Festival

The TCFF is going on this week in Traverse City from Jul 28 thru Sunday August 2 --the largest film festival in the midwest. Over a period of 6 days there are 6 different venues where 40 movies are being played. Perhaps 2009 will break last year's attendance of 80,000. All the quaint shops have gotten into the theme this week with window displays incorporating some kind of movie decor. Michael Moore is the organizer and deserves big kudos.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lady Bug

Lady bug, lady bug, fly away .... do you remember the rest of this childhood poem? This photo was taken in one of Michigan's Lower Peninsula Church Gardens: St. Stanislaus in Bay City. Because Lady Bugs are perhaps the most celebrated of insects in the United States, one may not know how to handle the sudden boom in the local Lady Bug population Michigan has been experiencing. The good news is the insects are harmless to humans and beneficial to some types of agriculture, the bad news is that they eat some fruit crops, and are a nuisance when they start entering our homes. Also, if provoked, they can emit a stinky yellow substance which has been know to stain some surfaces. The brand of Lady Beetle entering our homes is relatively new to the mid-west. If you'd like to read more about it check out this site Michigan State University .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rainbow on Lake St Clair

The weather on Lake St. Clair changed from cool to warm to rainy to sunny to windy to ... every couple of minutes, then a beautiful rainbow appeared. Author Donald Ahrens in his text Meteorology Today describes a rainbow as "one of the most spectacular light shows observed on earth". Indeed the traditional rainbow is sunlight spread out into its spectrum of colors and diverted to the eye of the observer by water droplets. The "bow" part of the word describes the fact that the rainbow is a group of nearly circular arcs of color all having a common center. To sum it all up a rainbow is awesome eye candy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pinconning cheese

Most of the time, we tool around Michigan in Suzie's Smart car. This mouse looks more like a rat. It is located outside one of the premier cheese shops in Pinconning, Wilson's, where we always stop to buy pinconning cheese and the obligatory loaf of bread. Pinconning is the cheese capitol of Michigan and although the colby-like cheese used to be made here, it is now made in the UP and elsewhere. But, it all started here back in 1915. We buy the 12 year old aged super sharp. Go for the gusto :D :D

Monday, July 27, 2009

Totem Village in St Ignace

At Totem Village in St. Ignace there is a small chapel among the exhibits that was established by Chief White Wolf also known as Ralph McCarry. When the Chief originally set up the museum and village he included artifacts from Native Americans throughout the United States in the hope of building pride. The Chief has since passed and the proprietor of the last 40 years, Nancy, has worked to maintain the spirit and wishes of Chief White Wolf. The carved quote says, "There is only one True God, Creator of all men. Therefore be not puffed up but kneel and pray with your brother."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Port Huron to Mackinac Race

Saturday the 85th sailing of the Pure Michigan Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac race bagan with boats getting ready and lining up on the Black River in Port Huron. This race is supposed to be one of the most challenging freshwater races in the world. The long course is 298 statute miles that crosses over into Canadian waters before reaching Mackinac Island. You can track the boats for location updates at

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guardian Building Downtown Detroit

This gorgeous building was built in the 1920's in the awesome art deco style. The skyscraper has a national historic marker designation. Anybody can go inside. This is taken from the lobby and there is the Rowland Café just up these stairs that reeks ambience.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mackinac Bridge

Even on a hazy, gray, misty day the Mackinac Bridge looks spetacular. The bridge opened to the traffic shortly before Doreen's first birthday. 41 years later (1998) the bridge celebrated its 100 millionth crossing from one peninsula to the other. This amazing bridge is over 5 miles long and used 42 miles of wire in the main cables. Over 70,000 people walk the span of this bridge on Labor Day each year. Suzie did it in '92 with her four children when they were between the ages of 5 and 9.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Pasty

Before leaving the Upper Peninsula, we had to stop for a PASTY lunch. Pasties are a part of Suzie's UP Finnish heritage and my father-in-law's UP Irish background. It's a kind of beef pie with potatoes, rutabagas, onions and carrots, surrounded by a pastry dough. It is baked to a golden brown, then smothered with gravy or ketchup, or just eaten plain. Pasties were popular in the mines because the miners could reheat them on a shovel and they could be eaten without utentsils and the juices would remain inside. Luckily the White Tail Restaurant and Resort in Brevort used an oven and we ate with forks.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Castle Rock in St. Ignace

Suzie and I spent the day in St. Ignace and one of our adventures was climbing 200 feet above sea level to the top of Castle Rock. The natural limestone structure allowed us to have the same lookout as the ancient Ojibway Indians seeing the forests in one direction and the waters of the Mackinac region in the other. Suzie had an epiphany, "St. Ignace is the French spelling of St. Ignatius of Loyola."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Sage Library of Bay City

Can this really be a library? The Sage Library is Michigan's oldest library still in use. It was dedicated in 1884. The fountain of "Leda and the Swan" is an original feature of the library. The statue on the front of the building is the "Lady of Learning". She lost her arm from children swinging on it. When you visit check out the fireplace tiles on the second floor.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Charity Island

Doreen and I had the supreme pleasure yesterday of cruising to Charity Island in the middle of Saginaw Bay on one of those idyllic Michigan summer days. We were fed royally at the base of a lighthouse built in 1857! Karen and Bob Wiltse host these tours on the weekends. It was well worth it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stained Glass

You would think this beautiful stained glass window was taken at a church, but far from it. It shows De La Salle, the Frenchman who explored the Great Lakes in the 1600's. This beauty is part of the Dossins Great Lake Museum on Belle Isle. It originally was part of the SS Detroit III, a sidewheel steamer which cruised the Great Lakes beginning in 1911. When it was scrapped, someone had the foresight to save this piece. It used to be in the Gothic Room of the ship, which was the Smoking Lounge.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Point of Origin

Everything in Michigan is measured from this Point of Origin in Detroit which is nestled into the pavement at Campus Martius downtown. It's dated 1806 --after the fire that destroyed everything in our city. People walk over this emblem all the time, not even realizing what it represents.

Friday, July 17, 2009

South Haven Sunset

Spectacular sunsets in the Lake Michigan community of South Haven along with lots of vacation home rentals, beautiful beaches, and cozy little shops and restaurants make it an ideal community for family R&R. Shall we stroll out on the pier to the lighthouse?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Detroit's Dequindre Cut Greenway

How exciting to have a beautiful new converted rail trail leading from the Riverfront in Detroit all the way to Eastern Market and with plans to extend it all the way to Pontiac. Part of it is landscaped and part is left natural....and then there is much urban graffiti to contemplate.