Sunday, June 30, 2019

Last Weekend of June

Our son and daughter-in-law [Jeremy and Samantha] are in New York City for four days, so we're babysitting the grands - Jerry more than me because of my schedule.  I drove to Chelsea yesterday to spend the day and night and returned this morning because I had my monthly presentation at Shore Pointe assisted living this afternoon.

~ Their house in the woods. ~

~ They stayed busy swimming... ~

L-R: Izzy, Ellie, Papa, and Landon

~ Enjoying Ice Cream... ~

~ And swinging at the park. ~

Ellie lost her second front baby tooth [with a little assistance from Papa].  The tooth fairy came during the night. ;-)

There were 14 attendees at today's presentation. 

Last month I talked about Women's Suffrage and the National Women's Party established in 1916 led by Alice Paul.  

When I was studying First Lady Betty Ford for my presentation at a different facility last week, I discovered Mrs. Ford was the first recipient of the Alice Paul Award in 1975 for her endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment.  So I began my presentation today telling them a little bit about Betty Ford.

On her last full day as First Lady, she walked over to the West Wing of the White House to say goodbye to the members of her husband's staff.  On her way back to the family quarters she passed by the empty Cabinet Room and thought, "I always wanted to dance on that Cabinet Room Table."  The table represented a male dominated stronghold where few women had sat.  When she voiced her thought to the White House photographer who was walking with her, he replied: "Well nobody's around."  That was all the encouragement she needed to climb upon the table and strike a dance pose.  And, of course, the photographer captured it on film.  

[Internet Photo]

Then she climbed back down and patted her hands together and said, "There now, that's that!"  She said it was a wonderful and whimsical ending to the magical time she spent as First Lady.

The residents asked me last month to talk about Julia Child when I returned this month, and I was amazed at the similarities between Betty Ford and Julia.
  • Both were big supporters of women's abortion rights, Planned Parenthood and women's equality.
  • Both lived in Washington, D.C. as newlyweds, with their spouses in government positions.
  • Both had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy.
  • Both had facelifts.
  • Both had roles that catapulted them into the public spotlight where they received numerous awards for their achievements.
  • Both appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.
  • Both became authors.
  • Both received the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the United States' highest civilian honor given by George H.W. Bush [Betty] and George W. Bush [Julia].
  • Both lived out their final retirement years in California.
  • Both lived into their early 90's.  
~ Julia Child sipping tea ~

[Internet Photo]

The residents loved hearing about Betty Ford and Julia Child and clapped with approval when I finished saying today was a 'double-header'.  ;-)

Before I left the assisted living facility I had to take a picture of one of the residents who reminds me so much of my mother.  They're both about the same size, with white hair styled similarly, and their taste in clothing is the same too.  My mother passed away in 2014 about six weeks short of her 93rd birthday.  Albina will be 94 on July 5th, which I would never have guessed. She has a warm, pleasant personality, is mentally sharp, and doesn't physically require a cane or walker.  She's one of my favorite residents at Shore Pointe.

So ends the month of June, and July begins tomorrow.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


My fourth-born grandchild, Brianna, is celebrating her 23rd birthday today.  Though many miles separate us - she's in Nashville, Tennessee working on her Master's Degree - she's close in heart.  Happy Birthday, Brianna!  Raising my teacup to the only one of my grandchildren who drinks tea on a regular basis.  Must have had something to do with those coordinating leopard outfits early on!  ;-)

[2 years old]

Today's a belated acknowledgement of a nationally celebrated day in England yesterday, National Cream Tea Day.  Four of my blogging friends blogged about it, but my post was already up yesterday when I discovered the notable day.

There was no time in my schedule for baking scones yesterday, but a local tearoom bakes them and distributes them to several food stores, so I purchased a bag and celebrated along with England in my own dining room.

Since I just purchased a tin of Lemon Ginger green tea, I opted to buy lemon scones to go with it.

What is a Cream Tea?  Well, it's not stirring clotted cream into your cup of tea.  It's tea taken with scones [usually two] accompanied by clotted cream and jam.  It's a lighter version of Afternoon Tea usually enjoyed earlier in the day, but it can be enjoyed anytime. They've been enjoying it in the UK since the 11th century.

Clotted Cream is thick cream made by allowing unpasteurized cow's milk to sit after heating so the cream rises to the surface and clots.  It's skimmed off and used on scones, fruits, and desserts.  It has a minimum of 55% butterfat.  It may not be great for your arteries, but it's sooo good on scones!  It originated in England's two southwest counties of Devon and Cornwall.

Does the clotted cream go on a halved scone first or does the jam?   Those from Devon spread their clotted cream on scones first followed by jam, while the the Cornish tradition is to spread the jam first followed by the cream.

The Queen, according to former Royal Chef, Darren McGrady, prefers jam first topped with clotted cream.  In reality, it all comes down to personal preference.  It's delicious either way!

Cheers to the British for their wonderful traditions!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday News

Summer has finally arrived in Michigan with temperatures in the high 80's and low 90's. When the day lilies begin to bloom it's proof summer's here.  I'm not a gardener so day lilies are a good choice for me - they're hearty and like hostas are practically impossible to kill. When I looked out my doorwall and saw a couple of them blooming I couldn't resist taking a picture.

The postman delivered two tea orders yesterday from Simpson and Vail and Harney and Sons.  

Simpson and Vail will provide my green tea for awhile - Emerald Green Earl Grey and Lemon Ginger.  I had the Lemon Ginger for breakfast this morning and it was yummy.  I'm trying to drink more green tea than black tea.

The Harney & Sons box contained Paris blend - a flavored black tea.  I'm kicking myself that I didn't order Queen Catherine while I was at it, so another order will be forthcoming.

An adorable tea-themed card also came in the mail from my sweet friend, Lori.  Isn't it fun receiving tea-themed cards?

Earlier this week a member of ATAA [Afternoon Tea Across America] Facebook group posted a picture of an adorable Shelley Cooper tea-themed piece of jewelry she received for her birthday - a tea shelf pin.  I usually try to wear tea-themed jewelry to work, and I really liked this piece.  I had to do a bit of research, but I found Shelley sells her jewelry on Etsy, and this pin is still available.  I ordered it and wanted to share it with you.  It's actually on sale right now for $33.30 [regularly $37] plus shipping.  Shelley said it's been a very popular piece.  I can hardly wait for mine to arrive.

My hubby pulled out this T-shirt today that I bought him eons ago at a tea conference.  I forgot he even had it!  He does drink tea, especially when he accompanies me to tearooms. Earl Grey black tea is his favorite, but when given a choice coffee is his preference.  It's hard mentioning that 'other' beverage on a tea blog!  ;-)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A Montage of Events

As you've noticed, I've been absent from my blog for a few days.  Life's been busy, but today's post will be a catch-up.

Yesterday I was invited to speak to a retirement community at Beaumont Commons in Dearborn, MI [27 miles from where I live, and Henry Ford's hometown and where Ford Motor Company World Headquarters is located].  The activities director picked a topic I'd presented at Shore Pointe in June of 2016 titled Here Comes the Bride - Famous Brides and Wedding Folklore.

Since I never do identical programs, I changed it to Here Comes the Bride Famous Michigan Brides and added former First Lady Betty Ford [White House years 1974-1977], and kept Eleanor Clay Ford and expanded info about Frances Dodge Johnson.  

I arrived at 2:30 to set-up for the 3:15 program which wasn't a tea.  Beaumont Commons is a beautiful facility, and it was a picture perfect, sunny day with temps in the high 80's.

When I entered the facility they had a poster advertising the event using a wedding photo of Josephine Ford [called 'Dody'] - Edsel and Eleanor's only daughter.  I mentioned Josephine's wedding briefly in the program because her January 1943 wedding reception was held at her parent's estate, and Edsel died four months later at age 49, leaving Eleanor a young widow at just 46.  She never remarried.  Her friends said Edsel was her only true love.

I made a display picture collage of each of their weddings.

My mother wasn't famous, but she was a Michigan bride in 1939 - a year after Frances Dodge was married - so I took her wedding gown and photo to display.

It was a fun program, and as always I thoroughly enjoyed my research.  I was 27 when Betty Ford became First Lady but I really didn't remember much about her except that she was very public about her breast cancer and she co-founded the Betty Ford Center for drug and alcohol addiction treatment in 1982.  She also endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment.

She hosted the obligatory teas at the White House required of all First Ladies, but only  a few tea-related photos were available online.  The photo below was at a tea she hosted for the wife of the Shah of Iran in May, 1975.  [Betty Ford on Left]

My research revealed her favorite tea was Lipton's even though her older brother tried convert her to premier blends.  I found a cute vintage Lipton's patriotic advertisement online in honor of Betty's preference.  ;-)

The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum is in Grand Rapids, MI - about a 2 1/2 hour drive from where I live, so it's on my agenda to visit this summer.

I took the photo below of some of the attendees as they arrived.  There were about 30 ladies and one brave man in attendance.  They were a very responsive group.  The lady in blue in the front row told me her daughter-in-law converted her wedding gown into a beautiful pillow.  

I was pleasantly surprised at The Whitney on Friday when a group of ladies from the church where I was secretary for many years came to tea.  This is the third group of ladies from the church [all different] who've come to tea, and it always makes my day.

On Thursday, among our guests, was a couple visiting from Cambridge, England.  I always love guests from 'across the pond' too.

A week ago today we were celebrating Father's Day.  We went out to dinner after church with two of our children [Lori and Steve and their spouses and one granddaughter], and Jerry saw our youngest son later in the day.  We enjoy these family days so much.

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you saw the group of pictures I posted honoring the four special fathers in my life.  The largest photo is my father who passed away in 2011.  He  made it easy for me to put my trust in our Heavenly Father since he was such a good earthly father.  He's passed the baton on to the three father's on the right who are still fulfilling their mission - my hubby and sons Steve and Jeremy.

And last, but certainly not least, Lori showed us the latest picture of little Juliette that my granddaughter, Tiffany, had just sent her.  She's growing and is so bright-eyed and alert.  We love her beautiful blue eyes!  She looks like her daddy.

That brings you up-to-date on everything that's been happening in my world.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Book

It's been a busy week at The Whitney.  I worked Monday thru Thursday serving Afternoon Tea to 62 guests.  I'm off today because I have a Dr. appointment, otherwise there would've been more guests added to the total.

Since I didn't have to set an alarm for early wake-up this morning, I decided to treat myself to some pleasure reading before going to sleep last night.  Preparing for my presentations means reading non-fiction biographical and historical books, which doesn't leave a lot of time for fun reading.

Last April I ordered my friend Angela McRae's new book, Emeralds and Envy, and it's been patiently waiting to be read.

I read seven chapters last night and will take it with me to my Dr.'s appointment today, which will be at least an hour's wait!  I'm anxious to resume my reading so I can finish the book this weekend.

I'm not a big jewelry person, so it was fun looking up the names of costume jewelry designers mentioned by Emma Madison, the main character in the book.  Some of my tea friends, Linda, Barb, and Louise, are big jewelry collectors and belong to a jewelry club called, "Glitterbugs", so I know they'd recognize the names Miriam Haskell, Delizza & Elster, Eisenberg Ice, and Cristobal.  The only ones I'd heard of were Coro and Trifari.  

The book is actually a murder mystery that Emma tries to solve when she happens upon the crime scene at the Silver Squirrel Antique Shop and Tina LeMann's dead body.  That's as much as I'm going to share.  You'll have to read the rest for yourself.  The book is available at Amazon.  Order your copy today.  It's a great read!

On another subject...  I was pleased to finally get my official Whitney business cards this week.  

I trained one of the male servers to take over for me on days like today when I'm off and on the weekends.  He'll be working the Daddy/Daughter tea tomorrow which will only have 15 attendees.  It's an event sponsored by Mary Jones, the tea blender for The Whitney.  She'll be serving two iced herbal teas - Strawberry/Raspberry and Peppermint.  Since I'm off today, I made a gallon of each yesterday and put them in the beverage refrigerator after they cooled down.  I researched keeping them chilled for two days and most references said iced tea will keep up to three days refrigerated if no sugar or fresh fruit has been added.  Some websites, however, said iced tea is best consumed the same day it's made.  I'm hoping these herbal teas will still be fresh tasting tomorrow at 12:30.  Otherwise they'll be scurrying around making more.

How long do you keep iced tea in your refrigerator?

One last item for those who like to keep up on my family events.  Granddaughter, Isabella, graduated from 8th grade this week.  It doesn't seem possible that she'll be going off to high school next fall.  She's beautiful inside and out.  I don't know too many 13-year-olds who text their grandparents for no other reason than to tell them they're loved.

Our son, Jeremy, was teaching in Denver, Colorado when he and Samantha were married. Izzy wasn't born there, but she was conceived there, so a couple weeks ago Jeremy took her on a Daddy/Daughter trip to Colorado where she could see first-hand where it all began - both her life and her parent's marriage.  Her middle name is Vail in honor of where it all began, hence the significant sweatshirt!  ;-)

They had a great time together, and I'm glad Jeremy and Samantha take their parenting roles seriously by being very involved in their children's lives.  These are memories Izzy will never forget.

[Bishop's Castle]

I was delighted when I got a text from Jeremy earlier today saying, "Look what I'm having."  The message was accompanied by the photo below.  He knew what would bring a smile to his mama's face!  ;-)

HappFlag Day!

[Crafty Mommy Photo]

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

53rd Wedding Anniversary

Fifty-three years ago today I married my highschool sweetheart. Three children [plus spouses], eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren later, I'm feeling blessed beyond measure! 

They say after you've been married for many years you begin to think alike.  I guess that's true because when Jerry and I opened our anniversary cards to each other this morning they were identical.  ;-)

Beautiful flowers arrived from my hubby.

Our son, Steve, called early this morning to wish us Happy Anniversary and to ask about taking us to breakfast.  I have to work today so we'll have to take a rain check, but it was a thoughtful offer.  Jerry's made dinner reservations for after I get off work - P.F. Chang's one of my favorite places!  I'll definitely be having their white tangerine tea.

We celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary in Boston and New York City.  Below is a pic of us taking Afternoon Tea at the Plaza Hotel.  Fond memories!

More later...

Well, I thought we were going to P.F. Chang's for dinner, but Jerry just said that so I wouldn't know where he really made reservations - Andiamo's.

Our knowledgeable and attentive server was Shayma.  Isn't she pretty?

Our appetizer course was marinated, char-grilled Portabella mushrooms in zip sauce.

Jerry and I each got a salad instead of soup, but I forgot to take a picture.  Next was the pasta course.

Jerry ordered Chicken Parmigiano-Reggiano for his main entree and I ordered Chicken Marsala. I'm usually a 'clean plate' gal, but I had to get a carry-out tonight.  Too much yummy food for one meal.

We did manage to save room to share a piece of Tiramisu though.

It's been a great day, and now we begin pursuing Anniversary #54.  God is good!