Thursday, April 30, 2020

Surprises on the Last Day of April!

Late yesterday afternoon my hubby went out on the front porch and came back in saying, "Someone left you a package."  Inside a clear plastic bag appeared to be a box of tea-themed stationery.  Since we're on lockdown and no one is out and about much, I thought one of my neighbors must have put it in the mailbox.  

It wasn't until this morning that I gave it closer look.  When I lifted the lid I decided to open the notecard on top.

I discovered it was from my thoughtful friend, Lori, who had tucked a surprise gift underneath the notecard.  Are you ready to see the gift?   Wait for it!   Drum roll please...

A cute tea-themed face mask for when I return to work at The Whitney.  How cute is that!

Of course I had to try it on!  Nevermind my hair!  I usually get my hair colored every other month, but the last time it was done was Jan. 29th.  I had an appointment for April 3rd, but it was cancelled when the governor ordered all salons closed.  So I've got about 2" of dark roots showing. If salons are closed much longer I'll be back to my natural brunette color, with strands of gray mixed in!  ;-)

Thanks so much for the fun surprise package, Lori!  I'm hoping face masks won't be required because no matter what type or style I try, they make my glasses steam up, but I'll do whatever I have to do.

Now for surprise #2...  When I had my COVID-19 test done on Tuesday afternoon, I was given a phone number to call for my test result which was supposed to be ready in about six days. Imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mails this morning and found one from my Dr.'s office with my test result - which thankfully is negative - in just a 2-day turnaround.

I didn't have a Dr.'s prescription for the test, rather an authorized code number from my employer [The Whitney restaurant]. At no time during my phone call to get an appointment, or the day the test was administered, was I asked the name of my primary doctor.  I was, however, asked my date-of-birth and the last four digits of my Social Security number, so it appears our government keeps thorough records on us. Somehow I don't find that comforting, but it is what it is!  ;-)

I also received a phone call from my physician's assistant who was a bit perplexed when they received my test result, because they knew I hadn't called the office to report any illness. I explained the test was authorized by The Whitney in preparation for when they get the 'green light' to reopen.

She replied, "They do know, don't they, that the test will be invalid when you return to work because from the date the test was taken until the date you return to work, you could have been exposed to the virus and may [or may not] have contracted it."  Does that mean I'll have to take the test AGAIN???  I sure hope not!

On a much happier subject... I spent a good part of yesterday getting caught up on Afternoon Across America [ATAA] Facebook posts.  ATAA is a private group with 1,427 members, but they accept new member applications. It's an incredible group that shares everything relating to tea.  

I discovered Jennifer Peterson, a well-known person in the tea world [from the Pacific Northwest area], has come out with a new online publication:

To date four issues have been published. You can read it digitally for free by going to   It's very informative, so check it out.

Wishing you a Happy May.  We're one day closer to putting the Coronavirus behind us!

Be safe and stay well!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Virtual Tea Party

During this prolonged time of stay-at-home orders, it's easy to get cabin fever.  Many of the things we enjoy doing have been temporarily suspended, so I thought I'd begin this 'check-in' post by telling you about a virtual tea party I signed up for.  

I was bummed when our governor, Gretchen Whitmer, extended the stay-at-home order thru May 15th [even though I understand the need for it], because it meant not being with my children and grandchildren on Mother's Day. But on April 23rd, I received an e-mail from the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI extending an invitation to their virtual Mother's Day Tea with Mary Kuhn, their Tea Director.  

Mary's job at the Royal Park is what I do at The Whitney, with some modifications.  The virtual tea party piqued my interest, and since I can't be with family, I signed up.  The tea is from 1:00-1:30 and is free, but I had to register through Eventbrite.  A link will be sent to me on Saturday.  I'll be sure to report back to you.  If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know I've blogged about Royal Park's Afternoon Tea several times.

[Mary Kuhn]

The Whitney's Mother's Day promotion is a $100 gift card for Mom with a bonus card for a complimentary Afternoon Tea when the restaurant reopens, or a Brunch Box for Mom [delivery or pick-up] serving up to four guests and a special gift for Mom included.  

A virtual tour of the beautiful Whitney mansion was posted on their Facebook page on April 25th, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of me serving tea to my sweet friend, Lori.

I don't know when the restaurant will reopen, but I had a 3:00 o'clock appointment today for my COVID-19 test in preparation for the reopening.  The testing center was at the old Detroit State Fairgrounds.  It was very organized and efficient, and I took a few pics to share.  The first pic was just before leaving home wearing my face mask - the new normal! My girlfriend said I should have some cute tea-themed masks made when I return to work, and I might if they're a requirement. Why not combine fun with regulations?

Jerry and I go out walking for fresh air and exercise, but he's done most of the grocery shopping, so it was nice to be out and about again, even if I didn't get out of the car.  The pics below are approaching the testing area.

All the testing was done at individual tent stations inside Joe Dumars Fieldhouse.  A doctor's prescription or an authorized code number assigned to a business is necessary for a person to be tested, along with a pre-arranged appointment time.

In the photo below I was getting test instructions.  The swab was about 5 inches long, and was shown beforehand so I'd know exactly what to expect.  I'm guessing the discomfort depends on a person's tolerance and the skill of the person administering the test. I wouldn't describe it as painful, but I had a burning sensation for about an hour afterwards.  I involuntarily teared up as soon as the swab was inserted, and she said that was normal, as well as continued tearing after the swab's removal.  I'll call for the results in six days.

On April 24th I received a marketing e-mail from Darren McGrady, the Royal Chef to Queen Elizabeth, II and Princess Diana and her young sons.  He had a fabulous culinary trip to London planned for May 13-20 which has undoubtedly been rescheduled due to the Coronavirus.  His e-mail contained a great YouTube tutorial on how to make the Queen's favorite scone for teatime. You can watch it here.

The people from Devon in southwest England spread clotted cream on their scones first, then top with a dollop of jam.  But the Cornish tradition [region of Cornwall] reverse the application with jam first, topped with clotted cream.  Darren says the Queen follows the Cornish tradition of jam first.

Speaking of the Queen, she quietly celebrated her 94th Birthday on April 21st, in lockdown. Her official celebration was scheduled for June 13th, but that's been cancelled due to the pandemic.  So many plans have been cancelled due to the virus, but life moves on in spite of disappointments and change.

Happy belated birthday Your Majesty, and best wishes for continued health and happiness!

I've gone as far as I can go with my childhood/youth photo scanning until I have negatives copied at the photo lab, so now I've switched over to scanning family Christmas photos.  I think these albums will make very nice Christmas presents this year for my kids.  Below is the first album cover I designed.

Below is one of the first pictures in the album - our first-born child, Lori.  She was four months old, and added SO much joy to Christmas 1967.  My mom used to host all family gatherings in her basement [where there was more room], which is the setting for the photo below. We were home on Air Force furlough when Jerry was stationed in Altus, Oklahoma.  He was wearing cowboy boots he purchased there, in case anyone's wondering!  ;-)

You don't realize how quickly time has passed until you start looking at old pictures.  Mother Nature changes appearances through the years, but it's still a fun walk down memory lane.

We had our weekly hour-long family Zoom gathering last night, which is the next best thing to seeing everyone in person.  I'm happy to report everyone is well.

Until my next post, be safe and stay well!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Another Monday Check-in

How are all my friends in blogland?  It's been a week since I've checked-in, so this is to let you know everything continues to be well in Warren, MI.  It's a blue sky, 50 degree day - a big improvement from last week when we had snow flurries on Thursday and Friday and temps in the low 30's.  We couldn't go anywhere so the weather didn't really spoil any plans, and the snow melted quickly.

I'm still working on my photo project.  630 pictures scanned to date, and I'm finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel [for this time period anyway].  To break up the monotony, I designed one of the Shutterfly album covers. To keep the albums a manageable size there will be three - one album for K-6th grade, another for Jr. High [7-9th grades] and the third 10-12th grades.  Below is the cover for the first Shutterfly album.  It's plain and basic.

Over the weekend I sorted through a big bag of negatives and found a lot of pictures I didn't have prints for.  I wasn't sure if places still exist to make prints from negatives, but after a Google search I discovered photo labs still print from negatives, and fortunately there is a photo lab not far from my house.  I'll be paying them a visit when the lock down is lifted.

My computer gave me a scare this morning when out of nowhere the monitor screen went black.  It wasn't the cable/WiFi because the televisions were working. My hubby made sure all the cords were connected securely, and changed the batteries in the mouse and keyboard, and still nothing.  We left a message for our IT guy, when the screen finally came alive again.   Go figure!  I'm one happy gal.  I can deal with the lock down, but not without my computer!

Are you watching Julian Fellowes new Belgravia series?  I've watched it via Amazon Prime, and it's fantastic!  Amazing how one person can have that much creativity!

[Internet Photos]

There's been tea scenes in both episodes one and two.

In episode one, Anna 7th Duchess of Bedford, the lady credited with popularizing the ritual of Afternoon Tea, was portrayed.

I was blessed to visit Woburn Abbey, the home of Anna, in 2015.  I toured the Blue Drawing Room that is most closely associated with her because it's the room where she had Afternoon Tea with her friends.  You can read that blog post by clicking here.

While we're on the subject of tea, I recently saw these tea-themed leggings advertised on Facebook.  They're called Tea Lover Leggings by  Aren't they cute?  I haven't ordered a pair yet, but I'm definitely considering it.  They're on sale right now for $34.95 plus shipping.

The cedar wardrobe that my hubby transformed into a beautiful armoire was featured today for Metamorphosis Monday on the blog, Between Naps on the Porch.

Thanks Susan!  She has a beautiful blog.  Check it out.

Tonight is our family Zoom chat at 7:00 p.m.  I'm looking forward to it!

Until next time, be safe and stay well!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

He Is Risen!

 ~ Happy Easter ~

We're all spending Easter differently this year, but cloistered inside our homes with a lot more time on our hands, we have opportunity to reflect on with more appreciation than ever the significance and blessing of Easter Sunday.  

There were wonderful worship opportunities on the Internet today.  My son always says 'the church' is more than a building, and we've been learning that firsthand during this time of lock down.

One method our family has initiated to stay in touch [besides Zoom] is an ongoing group text amongst 15 of us.  Since I've been using this down time to scan old photos, I posted an Easter photo from 1999 in one of my texts.  There were only four grandchildren then [now there are eight].

Our oldest grandson, Brandon, has been delivering groceries during the Coronavirus, and unbeknownst to us, he stopped by this afternoon to take a picture on our front porch when he was delivering groceries down the street from us.  He labeled the two pictures "Then and Now".  Who could have ever imagined 21 years later the entire world would be experiencing a deadly pandemic.  In spite of it all, God is Good!

During some of their down time, our daughter-in-law, Samantha, and granddaughters, Isabella and Ellie, have been making hospital approved isolation gowns sponsored by 'Angels Wear Gowns'.  The organization provides the plastic material and a template for the gowns.  Sam said one roll makes 24 gowns.  She sent us a picture of Izzy modeling one of the gowns.

Grandson, Landon, wiped out on his bike Thursday while biking with the family on a nearby trail.  He didn't have his helmet on and scraped his face pretty bad.  I'll spare you the photos.  ;-)  He's healing, feeling better, and participated in an Easter egg hunt his parents had for him and his sisters on their property.  They live on a large lot in a wooded area with plenty of hiding places.   

Granddaughter, Tiffany, posted this cute pic of Evie and Juliette [they call her Jules] on Facebook today.

Love the family pic.

My church doesn't stress giving something up for Lent, but this year I felt impressed to deny myself of something I really enjoy. Anything would pale in comparison to Christ's sacrifice, but I really like chocolate.  Hardly a day would go by when I wouldn't have a piece - so I decided to give it up, contemplating daily what Christ did for me.  It was a new and meaningful experience.  I had my first piece of chocolate today since Ash Wednesday [February 26th], and I have to admit I've never savored a piece of chocolate like I did today!  ;-)

I receive weekly e-mails from The Cultured Cup tea shop in Farmers Branch, Texas.  Last Thursday [April 9th] their theme was Tea in Times of Crisis.  Hopefully it can be accessed from their website: They sell Mariage Freres tea, and my favorite is Marco Polo.  Whatever tea is your favorite, may it strengthen and comfort you during this present-day Coronavirus crisis.

DTE, our area energy provider, issued a weather advisory that metro Detroit will experience severe weather with strong damaging winds beginning around 10:00 a.m. tomorrow through 8:00 p.m.  A significant number of power outages may occur.  Another potential dilemma to add to the Coronavirus quarantine. ;-) Sigh... tribulation worketh patience as the Scripture says.

Be safe and stay well! 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

I hope this post finds all of you well on Good Friday 2020.  In spite of being quarantined, my hubby and I were able to take communion today from our dining room with the rest of our congregation via Zoom.  Three pages containing a total of 68 squares popped up on our computer screen and there were multiple people in many of the squares.  Our Lord will not be defied or denied by the Coronavirus or any other earthly obstacle!

Hallelujah! for Christ's sacrificial atonement for our sins.  I'm not worthy of His grace and mercy, but I sure am thankful that His plan of salvation included me!

Today is the first day in many days that I haven't scanned a single photograph.  Maybe later tonight, but it just seemed a better use of my time to read the account of Christ's crucifixion from all four of the Gospels in the Bible, and be in an attitude of prayer, reflection and gratitude.  

Yesterday my hubby and I drove to our son Steve's house to give him a photo album that was in my mom's picture tote.  We didn't go inside his house for a visit.  I sent him a phone text that we were outside and he came out and got the album.  Do you remember when the handmade cloth photo album covers were the rage?  A lady from our church made my mom the album for Steve and Sharon's wedding pictures.  It was fitting that he should have it. Both my mom and the lady who made it are in Heaven now, and this brought both of them to our remembrance this Easter.

Granddaughter Brooke is in Romeo High School's graduating class of 2020, but the Coronavirus scrapped commencement exercises and her last drama performance in Legally Blonde. Our creative daughter-in-law, Sharon, put together a PLAYBILL from her high school performances to display on their front door along with her cap and gown.  It was worth the drive to their house just to see it.  Of course I had to have a picture of it to share. The top R [in Romeo] is the academic letter she received as a member of the National Honor Society. Very proud of you, Brooke!

I'm grateful for the kind gestures of friends during this time of confinement.  Thoughtful cards have arrived in the mail.  The card below arrived in today's mail from tea friend, Teresa, in Ohio.

This handcrafted card came from tea friend and tearoom owner Nancy in Pennsylvania.  Her tearoom is closed during this Coronavirus.

A tea themed card from Frieda in Texas, with a note inside, "Warm up the teapot, I'm on the way!"  

Other cards have arrived too...

I've received several Jacquie Lawson animated e-cards also.  I love her cards and have a subscription.  Cristy, from East Lansing [the lady who does the beautiful theme teas], has sent a Jacquie e-card every day this week, and my blog friend, Frieda, in Texas has sent some too.  Thank you one and all!

I can't think of a better way to conclude this post than by sharing a picture of my great-granddaughter, Evie. It's the perfect way to illustrate how children watch us closely and imitate our actions.  I mentioned in a previous post that her daddy is a worship pastor and has been working from home a lot preparing devotions and music for their congregation via the Internet.  Yesterday while John was sitting at his keyboard with his computer and headphones on preparing music for today and Easter Sunday, Evie snuck into his room to watch him.  Then she went to her own little piano to do exactly the same as him with her play computer and headphones.  Unbeknownst to her, Tiffany took her picture and texted it to John.  It was just too precious not to share!

Be safe and stay well!  

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Six-day Check-in

This is a six-day check-in since my last post.  It's a beautiful blue sky day in southeastern Michigan with temps in the high 60's.  From my office window spring has sprung and there are no visible signs of our imposed confinement, but a flick of the television remote or computer mouse quickly reveals we are still in the thick of the Coronavirus.

I hope you enjoyed a blessed Palm Sunday as we commemorated the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week.  "Hosanna" - He is indeed our Savior!

On Monday a plastic bag of communion elements were delivered to our door by a plastic gloved volunteer from our church.  Since we can't physically take communion at our place of worship on Good Friday, we will do it collectively on our computer screens via Zoom.

I continue to occupy my time at home by scanning and editing old photos and am past the 400 count now.  I missed out on Shutterfly's special of unlimited pages and 50% off that ended yesterday, but I'm sure there'll be other specials.  I didn't want to hurry through and leave out any photos that should be included in the book.

Our son, Jeremy, coordinated another family session on Zoom last Saturday and this time there were 13 of us, including our granddaughter, Brianna, in Nashville. Our next Zoom session will be this coming Monday.  It's a very fun way to keep in touch during this time of distancing.

Our daughter-in-law, Samantha, has been keeping our three grandchildren busy by taking them hiking on remote trails near a lake not far from their house.  A great way to get exercise, fresh air, and release cabin fever energy!

[Izzy, Landon, and Ellie]

[Landon and Ellie]

[Izzy and Landon]

There was no big family birthday party for great-granddaughter Juliette's first birthday, but the four of them celebrated at home and we attended vicariously via Facebook photos.

Juliette is walking now and I love the pic below when she spotted her Daddy on the television screen.  [John is a worship pastor at a church in Lansing and has been doing daily devotions for his congregation during the Coronavirus lockdown.]

There was some outdoor time for Evie and Juliette too.

As I close this post I thought I'd amuse you with a few old Easter photos of 'moi'.  

 ~ 1952 - My brother and me ~

1954 - "Where's my slip, Mom?"

~ 1959 - My brother and me ~

1960 - My girlfriend, Elaine, [who I'm still in close contact with] and me.

1961 - Regrettably, hat and gloves [for the most part] are accessories of the past! 

1963 - First Easter with Jerry, but definitely not the last!  Do you like my 'spit-curls'?  ;-)

I saw a graphic on Facebook stating that according to medical specialists, this will be our worst week of the Coronavirus outbreak [currently 20,340 confirmed cases in MI and 960 deaths], but it was also Christ's worst week too!  During Holy Week take time to reflect on Christ's great sacrifice for us and the eternal blessing it provided.  

My hubby is eagerly waiting for me to finish this post so we can go out on our walk, so I'll sign off for now.  Be safe, stay well, and keep drinking tea!