Friday, May 26, 2017

Post Trip Musings

Trying to get back in the swing of home life after a trip takes a day or so.  When my hubby collected the mail from our neighbor it included the Lucy teapot I purchased from E-bay.  It wasn't my first choice, but I didn't want to pay $61.50 for the one I liked best which would only be used as a presentation prop.  The one I got for $40 will work just fine.

In reading Lucy's autobiography I discovered she didn't like tea.  Early in her career [before Desi] she had a romance with a British actor named Ralph Forbes.  When he proposed, she declined saying she couldn't picture herself in a British atmosphere since she wasn't the "crooked-finger-and-teacup type."  Your loss, Lucy!  ;-)  Tea could have calmed her frazzled nerves during her tumultuous marriage to Desi.

The closest Desi came to tea was when his septet played at the Sunday afternoon tea dances at the Roney Plaza in Miami Beach.  

Tea/coffee cups were only props.  Desi and Lucy personally okayed everything that went into the Ricardos' apartment on the I Love Lucy television show, including the Franciscan Ivy dinnerware pictured above.  When Googling I Love Lucy teacups, only the Franciscan Ivy tea/coffee cups come up for $39.99.  Mugs, however, are plentiful. 

The Lucy and Desi DVD that I ordered arrived in the mail after our return home.  It's 3 1/2 hours to watch, so I haven't sat down to it yet.  Desi and Lucy's daughter, Lucie, directed and produced the documentary about her parents.

On this Memorial weekend when we honor those who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces, it's fitting to note that Desi was drafted in the U.S. Army in February 1943.  He wanted to go overseas, but when he broke his kneecap during basic training his role was reduced to entertaining the men at army camps and hospitals. Although Desi was disappointed, keeping the morale of military personnel high was a noble endeavor.  Lucy said the day Desi became an American citizen was the proudest day in his life.  Having lived under a dictatorship in Cuba, he appreciated democracy.

In my reading I was reminded about a fact from Lucy's childhood that I had forgotten - when Lucy was three years old her parents moved from Montana to Wyandotte, Michigan [the city where I grew up] where her father was a telephone line crew foreman.  Her father got influenza and died at the age of 28, so she and her pregnant mother moved to Jamestown, New York to live with Lucy's maternal grandparents, after living just under a year in Wyandotte.

Lucy was a natural strawberry blonde, not a redhead, although she had the fiery temper often associated with redheads - I think that's called stereotyping, isn't it?

In addition to closing this post with wishes for a great Memorial Weekend, I thought I'd share a picture of a cake I made on Memorial Day in 2014.  Three years ago - wow!

Raising my teacup in tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives in the armed forces to preserve the freedoms I enjoy today.   God bless and protect the United States Military!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mackinac Island Day #2

Our day began with breakfast in the main dining room.  Breakfast at The Grand is as good as dinner.  You can order off the menu or go to their fabulous buffet, or both.  I opted to order the Spinach/Tomato/Wild Mushroom Omelette with Fingerling Potatoes from the menu, and the Granola Yogurt Parfait.  And, of course, tea [which happened to be Lipton].  

I was hoping for another seat by the window, but no such luck this time.  I didn't ask though, so it's not a complaint. The server placed the crisp, white linen napkin in our lap at breakfast and dinner.

After breakfast we decided to brave the "liquid sunshine" [as my hubby called it], and walk down to the shops on Market Street and Main Street. Northern Michigan is 2-3 weeks behind downstate weather wise. Our daffodils and tulips are mostly gone, but they're in full bloom on the island.  

I didn't recall seeing the turtle sculpture [totem pole ?] before, but I'm sure it was there. It's amazing what you notice when the streets are empty.

Our lilacs are in full bloom, but they're only beginning to bud on the island.  I was hoping to see some, but it was too early.  The 69th Lilac Festival is June 9-18, which will be perfect timing. I took a couple of pictures of the blossomless lilac bushes, which are so large they're like trees.

Because it was cold and rainy we were practically the only ones on the streets.  The only people on bicycles were island employees.  The sun did manage to pop out later in the afternoon, but we were already back in our hotel room when it appeared.

We went in the Lilacs & Lace gift shop on Market Street.  It's where I purchased a black teacup last fall.  For the most part, black teacups are the only ones I'm currently collecting, and they had another beautiful black and gold teacup that Jerry got for me.

~ It's a Crown Staffordshire. ~

Normally the Main Street sidewalks are bustling with tourists, and the streets are filled with bicyclists and carriages, but not last Monday. Only one lone bicycle in front of the restaurant.

I photographed the Sanders store since it's a Michigan based business, and I didn't remember it being there before [although I'm sure it was].  When the island is in full-swing with tourists it's hard to tell what stores are on Main Street.

We walked down to Murdick's Fudge, one of several fudge shops on Main Street, but Murdick's is the original fudge shop.  I found their history very interesting.  In 1887, father and son sail makers, Henry and Jerome [called Rome] Murdick, were commissioned to create canvas awnings for the new Grand Hotel on the island.  With them came Mrs. Murdick [Sara], and her exquisite confectionery skills and recipes.  Mackinac Island's first candy shop opened in 1887 as Murdick's Candy Kitchen.  Rome used his mother's recipe to make fudge, and his renowned marble table gave the fudge a unique texture and also provided a "stage" on which to show visitors how fudge is made.  The business took a brief hiatus during World War I when sugar was rationed, but by 1920 they were back and they even survived the Great Depression in 1929, when all the other fudge shops closed down. The family business has transitioned a couple of times, but Sara's recipe and technique is still used.  Today, they have a Murdick's Fudge shop at Martha's Vineyard too.

They offer 23 flavors, and I purchased a slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge [Jerry's favorite], a slice of Butter Pecan, and a slice of German Chocolate for the combo price of $19.95.  I'm eating the German Chocolate as I type.  It's SO good!  I should point out that the whole time I was on the island I gave up all thoughts of dieting, and now that I'm home I can't let the fudge go to waste! ;-)

After our shopping excursion, we walked back to the hotel and arrived a bit waterlogged. A warm shower felt wonderful! Had this been my first trip on the island I'd have been bummed, but since this was my 8th visit, I'd already biked the island, taken a carriage ride of it, and seen all the other attractions, so I didn't mind spending a leisure afternoon at the hotel.  I took along my two Lucille Ball books, and between travel and time spent at the hotel I was able to finish one and get into the other. 

It's rare to get a photo of the parlor/lobby when there's no one milling around.  Marriage Conference attendees were all in a conference room.  Later in the afternoon the lobby was bustling with Afternoon Tea guests, which I opted to pass on this visit.  Amongst all the tea drinkers Jerry despicably ordered a cup of coffee!  ;-)  

A view of the main dining room at the other end of the parlor.

At 6:00 p.m. we returned to the parlor to have our photo taken by a hotel photographer, and then go to dinner.  Am I shrinking as I get older?  I didn't think there was that much gap between my height and Jerry's!  He made this his Facebook profile picture, but cropped my legs -  the variations in my black hose made my legs look bruised! ;-)

Dinner was scrumptious [as usual]!  I chose Lemon Herb Poached Shrimp Cocktail as my appetizer.

My soup of choice was Asparagus Soup.  It was so good I was hoping I could find a Grand recipe for it online when I got home, but to no avail. A letter to the chef might be forthcoming. Jerry ordered chilled Strawberry-Watermelon Soup and he said his was tasty too.  A complimentary book, Live Healthy, Live Grand, was in our room, and it contained the recipe for the strawberry-watermelon soup which I will definitely try when I get some Midori [melon liquor]. The recipe only calls for 1/3 cup so it won't be enough to make us tipsy! ;-)

The mixed greens salad is the same one we were served last fall.  I love how the greens are in the shape of a bouquet held together with a cucumber slice.

For my main entree I chose Wild Mushroom Raviolis with Fava Beans and Tarragon Ricotta. It's the first time I've ever seen stripped ravioli, but it was delicious.  Jerry ordered baked Atlantic Salmon.  The man at the table next to us raved about his BBQ rubbed Rack of Lamb, that I almost regretted not ordering it instead.

As good as The Grand's signature Pecan Ice Cream Ball with Fudge Sauce is, I wanted to try something different and went with Tiramisu.  I wasn't disappointed.

After dinner we walked down to the lower level where I spotted a vintage theater advertisement for one of Shirley Temple's movies.  

Then it was back up to our hotel room for the evening.  We awoke early Tuesday morning so we could have our luggage outside our door at 8:00 a.m. so it would be waiting for us when we got to Shepler's dock on the mainland.

We had one final breakfast to enjoy in The Grand's main dining room.  I decided to go to the buffet rather than order from the menu.  This fortified me for the return trip home.

It was still misty and overcast when we boarded the 10:00 a.m. Wyandot ferry for our trip back to the mainland.  The 83-foot ferry was built in 1979 and can accommodate 265 passengers.  It was named after a vessel that sailed the Straits area in the late 17th century. Fortunately Lake Huron was much calmer returning to Mackinaw City than it was when we went to the island, so the ride was smooth, but there weren't any daring souls who rode top deck. 

It was a wonderful three day getaway and we arrived back home safe and sound around 3:30 in the afternoon.  I hope you enjoyed traveling along with us vicariously.

*  *  *

As an add-on to this post I have to share a picture of great-granddaughter Evie that Tiffany just posted on Facebook around 4:45 p.m.  They are leaving the hospital for home.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Evelyn Rose is Here!

I'm interrupting my Mackinac Island posts to announce that great-granddaughter, Evelyn Rose [who will be called Evie] arrived while we were on Mackinac Island.  Her arrival was May 23, at 12:59 a.m. 

I awoke to the wonderful news yesterday morning, but didn't want to post it on my blog until Tiffany and John officially announced her arrival to everyone.  Below are the pictures our daughter sent us on her i-phone right after Evie's birth.  She weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. and is 19 inches long.

It was a long day for Tiffany.   She went to the hospital around 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 22nd and gave birth to Evie about 15 hours later.  Evie is healthy and beautiful, and mommy and daddy are happy and proud of their new daughter and blessing from God.

Our daughter, Lori, is now a Nana, and I'm a great-Nana!  She was with Tiffany and John during Evie's birth. 

Somehow it seems like it was only a couple of years ago when Tiffany was born.

 I can hardly wait to meet the new little bundle of joy in person!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  I love the saying, "Babies are God's way of saying the world should go on."  And for me, a new little great-granddarling to enjoy tea parties with!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mackinac Island Getaway

My hubby and I left home Sunday morning around 9:00 a.m. bound for Mackinac Island in northern, MI.  Our wedding anniversary isn't until June 11th, but we decided to take advantage of a pre-season special.   In the photo below Jerry was at the sales window purchasing our Shepler's ferry tickets.

It was overcast, windy, with temperatures only in the mid 40's.  Many people were wearing their winter coats.   Lake Huron waters were very choppy.

Entrance to Shepler's Ferry Dock [from the inside].  Our luggage was piled onto carts waiting to be put on the ferry.

While Jerry was parking our car, I purchased a Chai Tea Latte to keep warm.  

~ We waited in line for the 2:00 p.m. departure on Miss Margy ~

By the time everyone got on, the lower deck was filled to capacity.  Nobody wanted to ride top deck. It was the choppiest ferry ride I've ever experienced - almost like an amusement park ride.

Jerry and I opted to walk up to the Grand Hotel, rather than taking the carriage ride.  On the hilly incline near the hotel were thousands of beautiful daffodils.  

If you look closely in the photo below you can see Jerry waving at me in the long line of hotel guests waiting to check-in at The Grand. The Marriage Conference, Celebrate Your Marriage, was being held at The Grand while we were there, but we were not a part of it.

As you can see by the large clock on the wall at the check-in desk, it was 3:35 p.m. when we checked in and got our key for room #251.

On the lower level near the hotel gift shop were two Shinola bikes that I couldn't resist taking a picture of.  The upscale/luxury bikes are hand-assembled in Detroit.  Some models sell for as much as $20,000.  I hadn't even heard of Shinola bikes and watches until I went on a tour of Detroit earlier this spring.

~ Our lovely room had two double beds. ~

Dinner wasn't until 6:30, so we had plenty of time to go to our room to unpack and get cleaned up. The photo below looks down the long center isle of the dining room, and beautifully set tables.

I was glad we were seated next to a window for a bit more privacy.

~ Our appetizer was Dungeness Crab and Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail ~

~ Lobster Bisque ~

We enjoyed live music while we dined.

~ Tossed Tomato Caprese Salad ~

The main entree I selected was Prime Rib of Angus Beef with Mashed Potatoes [hiding under the beef] and Asparagus.   It was delicious!

I rarely drink tea after late afternoon, but I had a cup of Earl Grey with my dinner.

It was too chilly to sit on The Grand's famous porch, but from our seats in the dining room we could look out onto the porch.  I took a photo of a gigantic chess set. 

My choice for dessert was their signature Pecan Ball with Fudge Sauce.  I discovered when listening to a 60-minute documentary Inside the Grand Hotel, that the pecan ball actually originated on the menu of the L.S. Ayres Tearoom in Indianapolis, Indiana where it was copied for The Grand dining room menu in 1947.  

What a delightful evening.  I could get used to that kind of living real easy!  ;-)

When we got back to our room the draperies had been drawn, and the beds turned down, with a piece of chocolate placed on our pillows.

Monday would be another day on the island.   I snuggled down under the covers to watch Call the Midwife and Dark Angel on PBS before drifting off to sleep.

P.S.  You may recall the posts I wrote about Mackinac Island and The Grand Hotel in September 2016 during the Michigan Tea Tour.  The island is always magical and a fun place to visit again and again.