Entries to Win Afghan

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ludington Medal of Honor Recipients


Ludington, Michigan, Medal of Honor mural

Ludington is trying to become known as a city of murals. So, I thought I'd share another one of the many that appear around town. This one celebrates the Medal of Honor recipients who called Ludington home.

On the left is Sgt. Charles H. DuPuy, U.S. Army, 1st Michigan Sharpshooters, Civil War.

On the right is William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, Hospital Corpsman Third Class, Korean War.

Sadly, I can't tell you anything more about them. I should pay more attention to local interest things, but in this case, I have to confess that I haven't.

See South James Street for another mural

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lizard Tail


lizard tail

Here's another leftover fall botanical treat. These are the leaves of a plant called lizard tail, Saururus cernuus. See how the leaves grow in a zig-zag up the stem? It likes to grow in really wet places. In fact, where I took this picture is often completely under water. If you want to know where, go to Four Dogs and a Friend. It's right behind the second yellow lab. (different season!)

lizard tail

It was late to show you the white spikes of flowers, but here is one of the seed spikes that is left.

See Trail Work Day
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Nativity Scene Goes Up


Christmas Nativity Scene

One of the perks of being an only child was that I never had to share a lot of experiences. Every year, on Thanksgiving, it was traditional that I would set up the Nativity Scene. And somehow, it also got to be a tradition that I would never do it the same way twice.

I tried to keep that up as an adult, but haven't always managed to pull it off. However, this year, I was feeling a little creative. The result is shown above. I'm going to lower the angels just a little so they are tied into the scene better. Link at the bottom if you want to see how I made it.

Christmas Nativity Scene

Here is last year's. As you can see, it went very natural looking. Let me tell you about the figurines. They are very special to me. All but the dog and sheep (which were purchased when I was a child), come from my mother's childhood. They were dimestore pieces back then (she was born in 1909). They are plaster, and some are in very bad condition. It's hard to get the animals to stand on their own. But I've never seen any others like them.

Christmas Nativity Scene

Sometimes I was feeling modern, as I was this year. One year, I was feeling socially responsible. This was in 1977, and I made a collage backdrop of Jesus' face surrounded by pictures of really bad things that happen to people. The verse is John 1:5 "And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not."

Christmas Nativity Scene

Here's another really traditional one, from 1979, where I made a paper mache cave to hold the pieces. The stable was quite possibly a cave, so this may be the most realistic one I've done.

Just a sampler. I don't think I have pictures of all of them, and we don't have any from my childhood. How are you displaying yours, if you celebrate the Christian tradition?

See Make a String-Craft Backdrop for a Holiday Display

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm the Mountain Girl for You

Remember those pics from a couple of days ago... skiing in the grass, and biking in the cold? Remember I promised to 'fess up?

OK, this is so.o.o.o.o bizarre you may not believe it, but here we go. The Canyons Resort in Utah is offering $40,000 to some person to come stay there, try out a bunch of things, and blog about it for four months. Part of the application was a 2-minute video that answered the question "How Do I Mountain?" They defined the verb "to mountain" as to find physical and emotional satisfaction in the out-of-doors. It also had to show why we are qualified to share those experiences with the world.

So, if you want to see two minutes of an ego extravaganza, push the play button! The finalists haven't been announced yet. I would be beyond astounded to be selected for this, but it's something I just had to try for.

I'm going to be out of town for the next few days, working for a friend. I'm trying to get some posts set up to publish automatically, because I'll have limited access to the internet, at best.

So, don't forget to enter the contest, and I'll see you "in person" if possible... otherwise, scheduled posts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

And a Wonderful Meal it Was!


Thanksgiving meal

It was just the two of us here yesterday, so there were two big goals: to have a festive meal, and to also keep it healthy. Three years ago, Om had a heart attack. I'm not sure I've mentioned that before. He's completely healthy now, and still keeps very careful track of what he eats. If we had eaten out, he would have needed to eat small portions of everything, and then eat really uninteresting things for several days to average out the effects of the extra fat and salt.

But, if I cook, then we can enjoy good things, fixed in a healthy way.

Thanksgiving meal

The menu was: Cornish Game Hens, Apricot-Rice Stuffing, Holiday Jello, Butternut Squash, Asparagus, and Apple-Cranberry Pie.
Thanksgiving meal

If you want to see more about how I fixed it, and nutritional values, go to A Heart Healthy Holiday Feast for Two

It was perfect for the two of us, and we had leftovers today. There's more pie left for a couple of days yet, too! Hope you had a wonderful feast of your own!

See A Quiet Thanksgiving 2009

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Contest Day - Win an Ad for a Month

Here we go with another game that's a combination of blog love, and creative writing. Entries are due by 11:59 pm, November 30, EST. Email to jhy@t-one.net

There are three parts to this game.
1. Get the "key" - it was given in an earlier post. If you didn't get it, or don't know where to look, enter the word "key" in the upper left corner search box, and hunt for it. But if you got it earlier, this step is already done.

2. Get the words. Here's how. Using the key, figure out a series of numbers based on the alphabet order of the letters in the key word. For example, if the key were "DOG," the numbers are 4, 15, 7 (D is the 4th letter of the alphabet, etc). Then visit the following blog entries. (They were selected from entries in last month's top commenters' blogs, and last month's contest winner.) Count words from the beginning of the entry till you get to the number from the key. For example. If the key is DOG, and the first entry were this post, then you need word #4. That would be "with." Now, here's a clue. None of the actual words are pronouns, conjunctions, etc. They are all words with substance.

3. Write a story using all of the words. Any topic, any meaning of the words, any length. You must have found the correct words to win. The stories will be judged by some impartial "panel" of people that I can snag on December 1.

Here are the blog posts to use. They are in the correct order to match the key.
Falling Behind by Ann
White Mushrooms by Nature Center Magazine
Graveyard Picnic by Ivy
Lonely Nights by Carmen
Earth Hour by rainfield
Dennis's Diary of Destruction by Dennis the Vizsla Dog

Remember, email your entry to jhy@t-one.net by 11:59 pm, November 30, EST. HAVE FUN!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

South James Street

South James Street, Ludington

These pictures are from last week, but today wasn't a picture day. I did computer work all morning, and drove to Grand Rapids this afternoon to pick up my repaired printer. All good things, but I don't think you'll find a picture of my printer box too exciting!

So, this is a good day to share an observation I made last Thursday. South James Street, in Ludington, was the original "downtown," when transportation focused on the harbor of Pere Marquette Lake. But, as transportation shifted to roads, the downtown moved north to Ludington Ave. And, as often happens, the older section became run down and ratty looking. But, I haven't really looked at it for quite a while.

I was pleasantly surprised to take a look from a side street, and discover that this block has been repaired and repainted. It looks great! Here's a closeup.

South James Street, Ludington

And, on the side street, another of the murals that Ludington is becoming noted for. This one celebrates Pere Marquette. He may have died at Ludington. There are about five places that claim to be his death site, but we have a memorial and a lot of local lore.

Jacques Marquette Mural, Ludington

Here's a closeup of one section.

Jacques Marquette Mural, Ludington

I'm actually going to cook tomorrow, so... prepare for food.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Carbs and Capers


Technically, the carbs were Sunday, but that was Blog Jog day, and they were overlooked. Since Om has to watch what he eats, and I have to keep fighting the weight issue when I'm not hiking, we don't do this very often. But, Sunday was a chilly, rainy, November day. As a child, the first fall day that really felt nasty was always pancake day. So, I made a batch. We like them thin. I put cranberries in them. Om likes his with warm store-bought syrup. I had dandelion syrup on mine.

We stood in the kitchen and ate them as they came off the griddle. That's not very "romantic," but it's wonderful to have really hot pancakes!

skiing down grassy slope

Now for the capers. Oh, you thought I meant the kind you can eat? You should know by now that I'll try to get a twist in the title! The capers are the kind you "cut," as in fooling around. There IS a reason I was doing this, as part of a video application for a job. I don't think I have a chance in the world of getting it, but I'd regret not even trying for a long time. That's all I'll say right now.

So, Om helped me make two little videos. The temperature was about 30 degrees, so that's good for the skiing, but we're a little short on snow yet. Yes, this is a joke. Don't worry if you are confused.

skiing down grassy slope

But, with a good camera angle it sure looks like I'm flying down that grassy slope.

biking down grassy slope

The next caper looks much more suitable for the day. However, please recall my report on the temperature. I was FREEZING! Om said he was too, but I didn't feel very sorry for him- he had on long pants, coat, gloves, hat.

OK... you should go cut some capers of your own now.

biking down grassy slope

See Dandelion Syrup and a Great Surprise

Monday, November 22, 2010



gray trees, gray sky

Well, the day was gray, so I decided to run with it. My big plans to dry clothes outside one last time this fall were foiled by the incorrect weather forecast. It was warm, but instead of a low chance of scattered showers it rained most of the day. The joke was on me... around 11 am the sun came out and I hung out the clothes. At 3 pm, you should have seen me dash to bring them in! (They are now hung on my winter rack.)

gray lichen

Gray bark and gray lichen, but the field looking surprisingly bright in the background.

reindeer moss

The next surprise is how white the reindeer moss (really a lichen) looks when the pictures are compared. I always think of it as gray.


And, one little friend who didn't want to hold still. Rainfield wasn't here to talk to him for me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blog Jog - Here it Is!

It's Blog Jog Day! Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to explore the eclectic offerings of this blog, then jog on over to Marilyn's Musings. If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to Blog Jog Day. If the chain is broken you can pick it up again, too.

While you are here, you might just jot down the word "SQUASH." It's the key you will need for the monthly contest, which begins in just a few days. It's always some silly, hopefully fun, game. The winner gets a 125x125 banner here, for a month, FREE.

I'm also providing anyone who wants to use it a coupon for 20% off my eBook, "Get Off the Couch with Joan." This means that the cost, until Dec 21, is only $2.39. This is a collection of essays about some of my final hikes to complete the North Country Trail, with lots of pictures. You DO NOT need a special reader for this. It's available in many formats, including pdf, txt (pictures don't come through though), and for reading in a browser, as well as formats for some electronic readers. If you are interested, pop over to my Smashwords page, and use coupon code UL52L. Thanks!

I hope you'll come back and play!

If you are a brand new visitor, and want to know what My Quality Day is all about you can read the raison d'etre at What is My Quality Day?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Having Artsy Fun

I thought I was going to share a very surprising little weedy flower with you today. Who can believe that something could still be blooming after many freezing nights, and last week's snow? But there were some little Herb Robert flowers blooming among the pines.

herb robert

But the camera decided that I had intended to focus on... who knows what, and the pictures aren't worth looking at, really.

So, I decided to waste some time an play with the picture. And the truth is that the flower isn't even the most interesting thing in the picture... the leaves are. You can click this one to make it larger if you want.

autumn surprise art print

Don't forget to come back for Blog Jog tomorrow (post will show just after midnight), and pick up your clue for the November contest.

See Color and Money
See Just Wow in Blue and White

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Quiet Place

I had to go back to Ludington today. There was a little unfinished business from yesterday, and there were two more part-time jobs to apply for, where I had to appear in person. That makes 13 positions I've applied for. Not so much as a nibble yet. This blog is supposed to focus on the positive, but I am just setting the stage. Not only is the whole job search process discouraging, but the day was cold, windy, and dark.

At the beach, where I met someone, the wind was blowing the sand horizontally. I opened my car door just long enough to have a conversation about where we should go instead, and I instantly had sand in my eyes, teeth, etc. Not nice. It never rained, but it was like twilight when Maggie and I went for a walk at 4 pm.

So when we reached the stream in the cemetery ravine, my first thought was simply about how dark it was in the valley.

dark stream valley

But then I suddenly realized that it was quiet. The wind was not howling in my ears. The temperature was warmer. As dismal as it had seemed a moment ago, I knew that this was the special treat for today.

riffled stream surface

So, I began looking for some treasures for me, and to share with you. In a narrow spot, the surface was riffled, perpetually soft and unfocused.

golden stream

When I faced the other direction, more light could enter the lens, and this is the way things looked, just a few feet farther downstream.

floating leaf

Always a tiny boat or two, on their ways to worlds unknown. While I was experiencing the quiet, a song from one of my favorite albums came to mind. I don't have it in digital format, so I haven't heard it for a long time. I'll be sharing it on Sunday at Off the Sanctuary Wall.

See Remember the Creek?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Beautiful Beach


Ludington Lighthouse

I had to go to Ludington today... Almost every time I go downtown I "drive through the beach," which means taking the one-way road through Stearns Park. There was a cold, cold wind. The snow fence was installed for the winter several weeks ago.

front end loader moving sand

Oh, you thought all that beautiful beach was natural? Well, it is, but it takes a lot of work to keep it near the water.

pile of sand

The sand keeps trying to leave with every little (or big) breeze.
Herring Gull
Are you talkin' to me?

See Ludington Beach in January
See Two Lighthouses and a Trail

Cemetery Says...

I'm flat-out stealing an idea from Ivy, over at Spinning Lovely Days. In a post called Epitaphs, she showed some interesting sentiments from gravestones. I liked her idea, so here, half a world away, I went hunting. Here's a traditional one.

tombstone sentiments

I think I knew this already, but modern (say 20th century) American tombstones usually aren't very personalized. But here's another that's no surprise.

tombstone sentiments

Then we always find the sad ones. Lots of those. I'd actually thought of showing you some of the babies' graves before. I may do that yet. You have to wonder at the stories...

tombstone sentiments

Since I was actively looking for interesting inscriptions today, I found two that I'd never seen before. I had to enhance this photo so that you might be able to read it, but it's still difficult. It says, "Friendship is a Sheltering Tree." I like that!

tombstone sentiments

And here's another, in an interesting font: "Hope's Eternal Day is Born."

tombstone sentiments

But I saved this one for last. I walk right by it almost every day, and chuckle almost every time. I have NO idea what it's all about. Some of the families in this graveyard are familiar to me, even some of the individuals, but I know nothing about this one. But his choice of epitaph certainly guarantees that he'll be remembered by those who see his stone. I've asked him why, but somehow couldn't hear the answer.

tombstone sentiments

See Color in My Kingdom for an autumn view of the cemetery
See It's the Details for decorations on headstones