Thursday, July 29, 2010

International Spectacular

Last weekend, we went to the International Day in Columbia (about a 4 minute drive).
We were a little disappointed after reading about their International Fest in April (which looked amazing!) , but the entertainment was fun and the lemonade was the best I'd had in my life. 
There were Middle Eastern belly dancers...

Scottish folk dancers...

and African folk singers...

Sad we didn't  stay, the city gave everyone a gourmet cupcake from DC cupcakes to celebrate their birthday.  We are excited to be in an area  that has a new festival every week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


As I get older, I realize that I'm developing the same cultural pride I grew up with. Suddenly, the stenciled door and windowboxes sound like something I absolutely must have!   

Never was I ashamed to be a Swede, but now I am becoming more and more proud of it.

Perhaps my garage door will don a flag a la My Big Fat Greek Wedding? 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home... so far.

One week into the move, it feels great that we are almost done making the house a home! 

Looking at the front room from the middle room (the parlor?  the pass-through room?  the china room?  deciding on a name for the space-- Ideas??)

Looking into the bedroom

Looking into the guest room

A basic Bathroom

The Kitchen

So, that's it for now-- 5 quick views of our new home. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Family

We know that family is integral in our eternal progression and happiness (or sometimes frustrations...)

There's the family we're given and blessed with...
sister, dad, me-- 3 amigos!

My mom and my step-dad (Daddy Gary) are 2 of my best friends and we're all close. I have no digital photos of them to share.

...The family we choose...
Soul-Sister, Erin, and I with our new look.

Kindred spirits, Terrell and Kyle

... And the family we choose to create...
my soul one.

I'd like to have them all in the forevers. Yes, that sounds like a plan.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Howard House

So, of course we're not done "moving in", yet.  We still need a few things and other things will gradually start to fill in spaces, I'm sure.  But, I decided to share  a few of my favorite things about our new home.

Original hardwoods; they're really old, a bit beat up, used, and I'm in love.

The living room fireplace; its shabby and chic and I adore it.

The bedroom fireplace; its a fireplace-- in the bedroom!

The large (LARGE), deep windows; I'm sure my energy bill won't love them as much as we do;)

The kitchen; I know its not as great as many people's kitchen, but I have a full size fridge and oven, finally!!  I don't have to cut my pizza in 1/2 before I bake it!!! (It's the little things).
I live here.  There's music in the streets, fantastic places to eat, and history beneath my feet.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Take Me Down To Ellicott City...

For want of a change of scenery, we've moved East. (Sad to leave our best friends behind, but happy to have a new adventure and place for them to visit-- HINT HINT--.) We are now proudly living in the historic district of Ellicott City, Maryland.  We've found a flat (actually, our dear friends found us the place) in a remarkable building (their building; they live upstairs), dating back to the late 1840's. 

We're the 3rd set of Windows from the Top. 

Looking Down Mainstreet.

A view out my neighbors' window.

The Patascpo River; a view from the East part of Main Street

The sign that you're home: "Ellicott City, est. 1772."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Forcibly Simple

Even though I'm in hate with the packing up and moving process, perhaps a move every 3-5 years should be mandated.  When we moved three years ago, we were surprised and disgusted by how much stuff had accumulated in our tiny apartment.  We resolved to live more simply and to simplify our lives all over. 

Maybe the only real way for us to live more simply is when we are semi-forced into that lifestyle by a move. 

That resolve to live more simply stuck... for a few months.  Three years later, I am totally amazed by how many useless things we have.  So, a new resolution is made, to live more simply in our new home.  I'm sure this resolution will last... for a few months. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

If You're Heading Up to the North Country

So, let's face it, unless you've lived in Michigan's Upper Penninsula (or know someone who has), you probably are unaware of some of the more delicious spots to hit when you're in the Great North Country. 

Eastern UP
1. Chances are you've never been acquainted with the West Pier in SSM.  It is by far the best hamburger, sub, Milkshake, experience... ever!  An old (I think mom was 5-ish when they opened) drive in, the West Pier is a little box of a restaurant.  For decades, its opening has been the sure sign that spring has sprung.  Although the view of the actual pier is now totally obstructed with monstrous apartment complex, the proximity to the bridge (its right under it), and river make this place a hot spot.  If you get the burger, make sure you ask for a sandwich cup and extra napkins. 

Further down Portage is another old drive-in: Clyde's.  Truthfully, nowadays, the view is way better there, but the best food is still found at our number one spot for EUP fun!
2.  Also in Sault Ste. Marie, the Antler's Bar and Restaurant has been bringing in guests for years.  A few weeks ago, though, I stopped in for dinner with the family, and, although its much more tourist friendly now, the food is about the same as its always been.  Its not quite as tacky and ridiculous as it used to be, but its still pretty intense. Good food, fun adventure.

3. Finally, you should go to Studebaker's if you're in the Soo.  Go for breakfast and leave delighted.  Lunch and dinner are okay, but breakfast is tops.

Middle UP
1. Making the executive decision to include Marquette and Escanaba as Middle UP and not Western puts The Panini Grill on 3rd Street in the top list.  Sure, its just a Panini, but its delicious and delightful!  Get a smoothie while you're there.
2.  For something a little different, the Sweet Water Cafe, also on 3rd in Marquette, offers up healthy and unique.  My favorite is the seaweed salad with a peach fuzzy.

3. Wrapping up our Mid-UP treat houses is Drifter's in Escanaba.  Great for any meal and always fresh!!

Western UP
1. Fishtales in Marenisco is a delight for any tastebuds.  Service has always been top-notch for me, too.

2. Big Mama's Grill in Water's Meet, I've been told, is the place to go  if you're in her neck of the woods.  I've not personally been to this one, so I have no pictures to share.

3. Finally, in Ontonagon, head over to Syl's Cafe for some fresh and delicious grub.  Really if you're in Ontonagon, anyway, you have no other restaurant choice.  Give it a shot!  It might surprise you how good it is.

While you're appreciating the great outdoors, enjoy one of these yummy stops!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yi Peng in Mt. P

"Yi Peng" is held on a full moon of the 2nd month of the Lanna calendar. A multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai or khom loy) are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky. Releasing the lanterns symbolizes releasing worldly desires and stressors. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom.

We decided to practice this last night with colorful lanterns of our own.
Fill the lanten with air by swinging it around.

With a partner (or two or three), light the fuel patch in below the lantern.

Watch as your lit fuel patch falls helplessly to the ground. (FAIL!)

try to light the cardboard underneath in an attempt to redeem your efforts.

If it works, hold the lantern as it heats up.

SUCCESS!! Release and enjoy.