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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ester to the Rescue

Today was all about the almost final approach (tomorrow is the final approach) to the Writers' Rendezvous on Saturday. It was a little bit nuts, and Ester upheld her reputation of coming to the rescue.

First, let me point out that we took time to go get some yummy deli items and eat them at the beach for dinner.


I spent most of the day making cookies. All the rest of the minutes were spent answering emails and putting out fires in relation to the Rendezvous.

Here's the biggest snafu, rescued by Ester (who is coming to help with my book table on Saturday).

So... if one needs office supplies here, one is up a creek. A few years ago, Staples came in and built a small store. This put the local office supply place out of business. Then Staples left. Sigh. I have a business account with Staples on line so I can get free overnight shipping with a minimum order. No problem. Needed colored paper, name tag holders and a couple odd things.

Ordered them Tuesday. They didn't come Wednesday. Tracking said they were delivered to the wrong address. Try again today.

They didn't come today either. Tracking sent me a text that they had just been delivered. Not. This was at 4:00 in the afternoon. I immediately got on a chat with Reynaldo at customer service (I prefer that because they have to type in English no matter how they pronounce the words). He confirmed it was delivered to the wrong address AGAIN. I said "I NEED MY STUFF!"

Meanwhile, I realized that Ester was on her way here and was nearing Muskegon... last chance for an office supply store. Reynaldo said his computer system was acting up and he couldn't figure out where my order had gone, they would re-send tomorrow. I said "NO!!!!!"

Meanwhile, I'm texting Ester furiously to Stop... wherever she was. I caught her just at the Muskegon turn! Reynaldo asked me what I wanted to do. I said, "Issue me a refund." So he did.

I gave the order number to Ester and she got the stuff in Muskegon. She said they were falling all over themselves trying to be accommodating about the order. They only had more expensive name tag holders, but they gave them to me at the same price. Meanwhile, I got an email from Staples that my refund came through, and if the items ever showed up at my house, I could just keep them too.

They'll probably keep my business, since it's the only place I can get overnight delivery on my toner cartridges, but it was good that they tried hard to make it right. Shhh, don't tell them I'm stuck with them anyway.

So once again, Ester saves the day!

We spent the evening putting together info packets for the authors.

See Saved by the Clouds and Ester
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mason County Garden Tour 2018- Hosta and...

Most of the gardens on the 2018 Mason County Garden Tour made good use of hosta. They are great in shade and fill in the space fast. Tons of sizes and color variations. (And they make a nice salad bar for the deer some years.)

This was a large area near that red barn. Part sun, part shade. Most hosta will tolerate that as well as deep shade. Here we have hosta and hosta. Blue-greens, yellow-greens, edged leaves.

Mason County Garden Tour hosta

At the next stop, a tree had been ringed with a smaller striped hosta and lots of varieties of coleus.

Mason County Garden Tour hosta

I liked this one because it has large hosta and small hosta. I'm not sure how well this will work in the long run because the small varieties may get hidden. But they are quite tolerant of being dug up and moved, so for right now this is fine.

Mason County Garden Tour hosta

There are WAY too many cultivated varieties of hosta for me to start guessing names without tags, but I like how wide the white stripe on the edges of this one is (and it might be 'Patriot.') It sure makes a nice edging.

Mason County Garden Tour hosta

This garden has the same idea I do- hosta and heuchera. But I would like to contrast them. Here they are a tonal match. Either way, they both do well in shade.

Mason County Garden Tour hosta

Finally, this is just a really nice display of hosta and hosta. I think I'm counting eight different varieties in this bed. Nicely planted to complement each other and show off the colors.

Mason County Garden Tour hosta

In other news: I got to do a really fun thing today, but pictures were not allowed. I'll tell you about it one of these days. Other than that, I worked on the Writers' Rendezvous all day.

See Garden Tour- Planters
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mason County Garden Tour 2018- Planters

More from the Mason County Garden Tour on Sunday.

Planters are always interesting things. They are sort of like flower arranging with live plants because you want the form of the whole thing to be interesting, in addition to the plant material. Here's a variety.

Of course, you don't have to go buy something expensive. Got an old wheelbarrow? Lots of room for mounds of color. I think the plants are Voodoo Star Verbena, a New Guinea impatiens with variegated leaves, African Daisy, and Ipomea (Sweet Potato vine).

Mason County Garden Tour wheelbarrow planter

Here's a good old fashioned window box, but on a barn, so impressive size was important so they wouldn't look tiny. There were two of these.

I think the plants are a black Ipomea, white geranium, New Guinea impatiens, bacopa, and maybe a super petunia.

Mason County Garden Tour window planter

This one may be my favorite, just because it's sort of outrageously different. It's a spider plant and a fleece flower, but I love how they work together and create an almost electric mix.

Mason County Garden Tour spidery planter

Sometimes you don't need a ton of plant material. This one fiery begonia is a perfect contrast to the cool blue planter. And the leaf shapes are almost mirrored.

Mason County Garden Tour begonia in planter

This one is pretty traditional, but I love the way the color grades from the geranium through the green coleus with a little black, to the dark coleus with a little green, to the black Ipomea.

Mason County Garden Tour coleus planter

This one went for all hot colors. Hot planter, hot New Guinea impatiens, hot Gerbara daisy, hot decoration.

Mason County Garden Tour planter in reds and orange

More to come tomorrow.

In other news: I worked all day on the Writers' Rendezvous. It was cooler and that made me really happy!

See Garden Tour Overview
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Mason County Garden Tour 2018 Overview

Yesterday, I drove around to the six locations on this year's Mason County Garden Tour. Each summer there are several local gardens showcased. the ticket money goes to the Garden Club's scholarship fund, so it's all for a good cause.

Today, I'll do overview pics of the six places, but they aren't really very good pictures because all the gardens were too big to get into one frame, and also because I wasn't really thinking about trying to get long shots of each garden. But this way I can tell you about the sites, and then go on with details of plants other days.

My first stop (you can do them in any order) was out in the country. This is a actually a commercial day lily farm, so they had tons to see and I should have gone there last so I could have spent more time. I didn't know how long to allow per site. There were also a number of beds of mixed flowers and beautiful planters.

Mason County Garden Tour

My next stop was also in the country. This garden was more reasonably residential sized with a pathway and a little bridge and this water feature. This picture doesn't show hardly any of the nice plants. Just poor picture planning on my part.

Mason County Garden Tour

The next three were all in town. At this one, I tried to take an overview, but mostly managed to get lawn and not so much of the flowers. They had a nice mix of plants with some big succulents and other things that have to be taken inside every winter.

Mason County Garden Tour

The most unique one on this year's tour (I have done this in the past but not for a few years) was a huge landscaped area in a woodland. Almost all of the space was in shade and it was filled with pathways, little nooks with seating or hammocks, a stream and pond, and a few annuals for color. Lots of use of textures and foliage because of all the shade.

Mason County Garden Tour

I stayed longest at the next one because it was created by a friend of mine, but I didn't get a good overview picture at all, and I could have because it was mostly around two sides of a city lot. What I did get a picture of is the spiral garden with a birdbath at the center. I liked this one a lot, not only because it's my friend's, but she also likes using plants with colorful foliage and lots of textural variety.

Mason County Garden Tour

My last stop was again in the country on the way back to my house. This is a large back yard garden with lots of planters and ornamentation and lots of color. However, my best overview shot shows the very nice hosta bed... because you know I like hostas.

Mason County Garden Tour

I'll start showing you pretty plants tomorrow.

What did I do today? Not much. The heat really gets to me.

See La Vie en Rose
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Breakfast and Dinner

Breakfast for the woodchuck. S/he was actually pretty cute, pulling stems in to nibble them.


Breakfast for me. Bran muffins.

bran muffins

Dinner for the deer. Something in those weeds (that need mowing). But she had a nice dinner on Tuesday. Ate the buds off ALL my day lilies. Not a quality part of that day.


Dinner for me. Bran muffins. (I had some help - I didn't eat that many all alone, although I probably could have.)

bran muffins

In other news: I went on the Mason County Garden Tour this afternoon and have a ton of pictures. I'll start showing you those tomorrow. We have some very nice gardens here for a mostly rural area.

See Chuck Dives for Cover
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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Primary Patterns

Bright colors, intriguing shapes. All high on my list. Can you figure this one out?

squares at angles

Back to Dow Gardens- those red railings were purposefully designed to have interesting lines to carry the eye.

red railing

One of these days, I'm going to manage to get a really good picture like this. Meanwhile, this one isn't too shabby.

patterns in water

I thought I was going to have some good pictures of my hawk for you, but not a single one is in focus.

In other news: I worked at Shagway all afternoon, and did some things for Writers' Rendezvous.

See Dow Gardens Paterns
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Time to Read - Author Friends

Although everything for the past week has been good, all the people-heavy activities caught up with me. I holed up and didn't do anything (including blog) yesterday. Today, I spent almost all my time on continuing preparations for the Writers' Rendezvous which is a week from Saturday.

Other than that, I've been reading. Here are the books I've read in the past month. All are by authors I now know, either in real life or on line. It feels good to spend so much time in books. I used to disappear into stacks of them for days at a time. People (and sometimes even I) thought it was pretty much a way of wasting time. I've now decided it was training for becoming an author.

mystery books

Reading has become half research/ half pleasure, now that I'm an author. Sometimes I'm not happy about the constant sense of evaluating a book that I can't seem to escape now. But all of these books are good. Only one is not a Michigan author (Big Lake Fugitive). All are mysteries except Tuebor which is a memoir by a Michigan State Trooper.

Authors are Aaron Stander, Peter Marabell, Don Levin, Nick Russell, and Bob Muladore.

I'm awaiting final approval for the proof of The Bigg Boss, but it's doubtful I'll have the books by the 21st, when I wanted them. It's partly the fault of Createspace, because the approval process is taking much longer than it should. But it's partly my fault too. I didn't check the pdf the first time, and the file didn't convert properly, and 2/3 of it was missing. The second time, I forgot to embed the fonts, and there were changes I decided I couldn't live with. I'll probably take orders on the 21st and do free shipping for those that pay me on that day. Nevertheless, it's disappointing.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

La Vie en Rose

The original song was written in 1945, and has been an international hit by various artists off and on ever since. It's a love song... of a woman who finally finds love in the arms of a man. But it has sort of become a symbolic song of finding happiness after difficult times because of its release just following WWII.

peachy rose

This rose was blooming outside Rick and Ellen's house where we had our reunion. This rose changes from pink to peachy to gold tones as it opens.

peachy rose

It seems like a good symbol of the time the Impossibles had together. Not a one of the team members has had the life we all imagined as young people. There have been difficult bumps along the way for each one. Life changes in hue and color, but ever unfolds, and becomes a thing of beauty.

peachy rose

As we shared and prayed and hugged... wondering of course, if we would all be there for a 60th or even 55th reunion, we can all say, despite the bumps and bruises, that life is a thing of happy hues where love is found, la vie en rose.

Home safely... tomorrow I have to get busy again.

See Impossibles 2
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Impossibles 2

The second day of our reunion was equally as good as the first. Ron's wife Shirley had to head out early, but we got everyone else and spouses in the picture.

group reunion

We decided to try an activity that was just plain fun-- Duckpin Bowling.

duckpin bowling

This was supposedly invented in the East in the early 1900s, but I'd never heard of it. The pins are short and are set up by strings or wires fastened to the top.

duckpin bowling

The ball is about the size of an oversize softball and is made of wood (no holes). You get three rolls instead of two as in regular bowling.

duckpin bowling

Sometimes you do really well.

duckpin bowling

Sometimes, not so much.

Had to do more singing.

group singing

And there had to be a picture with just the team and the coach.

group photo at reunion

Special day. Lots more sharing and prayers.

See 50 Years of Impossibilities
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