Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Favorite Michigan Memories

About this time of year I seem to notice several articles, advertisements, and flyers asking for people to send in some of their memorable vacation photos or favorite Michigan spots. I think this is when companies must start thinking about planning the photos for their next year's business calendars. I've seen inquiries posted for banks, area chambers of commerce, tourism companies, etc. I don't know that I have any to send in, but it did get me thinking about what some of MY favorite photos would be. I found a few of mine and some that my children took.

Let's start with the baby bunny in my own backyard. He seems to like the shade of the tall grass (as well as sitting under my black-eyed susans). As long as he's happy, right?

My son took this photo of Miner's Castle while in Michigan's Upper Peninsula attending a friend's wedding.

A beautiful shot of a lighthouse off the shore of Mackinaw Island.

Bike riding around Mackinaw Island, my daughter snapped a photo of Picture Rock. We did hike up to the top, but decided the view was better from the bottom!

We moved on the next day to downtown Petoskey, MI. So peaceful!!!

This friendly guy was just keeping himself cool on a hot afternoon at the Polar Bear exhibit at the Detroit Zoo. I think he had the right idea!

What are some of the favorite places you've been? Even if they weren't in Michigan I'd love to hear about them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sometimes It's The Little Things That Make You Smile

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong? Not even necessarily wrong, but the kind of day where for every item you crossed off your 'To Do' list, you seemed to add two more? Usually they call that a 'Monday'. But sometimes a 'Monday' can seem like it repeats itself in the same week. Just this afternoon a co-worker was filling out their time sheet and said 'Is today Monday?'. I couldn't help but smile and say 'Sorry, but it's already Wednesday'. We both chuckled over that one.

For me, this week has been pretty good. Busy as usual, but I think that's the only routine I know. Sometimes I have a difficult time shutting my brain off at night to go to sleep and this has definately been one of those weeks. But I noticed something over the past couple of days. Nothing really startling, but something I apparently needed reminding of ... that sometimes it's the little things that can make you smile. In the midst of life's craziness I had a couple of those little moments.

Earlier this week, my husband and I had our weekly date night while our daughter was at the high school having a marching band sectional (don't get all excited ... it was our $5.00 pizza night at Little Caesars, although they do have the best crust in town.) The thing that made me smile was when we got out of the car there were a few puddles in the parking lot from an earlier afternoon rain shower. Apparently there was narrow drain pipe that ran underneath the sidewalk (probably from the gutters). Water was trickling out of the pipe into the puddle. My husband said 'Look at that.' There was a big frog sitting in the opening of the pipe playing peak-a-boo with us. It was pretty comical and definately made me smile. When we came out afterwards he was still there.

The 2nd thing that made me smile happened just last night. It's been in the mid 90s here all week. My neighbor was just heading out to take his dog, Ruby, for a walk. To appreciate this you have to know Ruby. She is a 2 1/2 year old yellow lab and truly a wonderful dog. She has this thing she does when she's on her leash in her front yard (she sits under a tree and watches 'life' go by ... whether it's a car, a walker, or a kid on a bike). She likes plastic water bottles and even better if they still have water in them. I generally refill my water bottle several times throughout the day, so when I get home from work and she's sitting in her usual spot I usually bring her my bottle, of course I always make a point to add some water to it just before I head home. She gets so excited. I toss her the bottle and she catches it then heads over to lay down under her tree. She then proceeds with her little routine. She traps the bottle under paws, chews on it a bit and very orderly removes the cap, followed by the plastic ring, followed by the paper label. Then she barks at it, tosses it in the air, barks at it again, then spills the water out, then finally chews the bottle apart until there is nothing left. She's never swallowed the plastic pieces and she's never choked. She is REALLY ocd about her routine. But the other night she was getting ready to go for her walk when my daughter rushed out of the house and said 'Ruby ... I got something for you!'. Before I could explain that Ruby was about to go for a walk, my daughter had already completed the official 'toss of the bottle'. Ruby caught it, but was completely thrown off by the fact that she was in my driveway - not her front yard. Her owner still wanted to take her for the walk, so Ruby carried the full bottle of water in her mouth all the way down the street and all the way back. When she returned home to her own front yard, she looked at me, barked as if to announce herself and then did her entire water bottle routine. This one definately made me smile and definately made my night!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Someone really did read my blog!!

The most awesome thing happened to me last week. I discovered that someone really read my blog! I have to admit I felt a bit of a rush. I know that I write for myself and the pure enjoyment of it, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's nice to hear sometimes that someone else is reading it too.

A couple of blog entries ago I wrote about entering contests and asked people to share what the coolest thing was that they had ever won. My brother then emailed me to tell me that a couple of years ago he had won Super Bowl tickets when the Indianapolis Colts were playing. My son also emailed me to ask that 'if' I should win Cedar Point tickets could he drive in to town to join us. So I soon discovered that just because people didn't post their comments on the blog didn't mean that they weren't reading it. I guess they're just more comfortable sharing their comments with me directly. And that's o.k. (although I'm sure other readers might have enjoyed reading what they had to say).

If you didn't read that particular entry feel free to scroll back and check it out. I'd still like to hear about any crazy (or not so crazy) things that you've won in the past. Ok, back to the awesome thing that happened. Someone I know contacted me last Friday and offered me tickets to the local Josh Groban concert the next night ... they said 'I read somewhere that you were a HUGE Josh Groban fan'. OMG!! Not only did someone READ my blog, but I wrote something that apparently was memorable! How cool is that? And by the way ... the concert was AMAZING!!!

So THANK YOU for the tickets (you know who you are)! You totally made my weekend.

On a side note, I added an email sign up box on the right side of the blog. Feel free to enter your email address. You'll receive my blog entrys automatically that way. I know I have a couple of blogs that I follow and way too often I forget about checking in on them because I get busy with other things.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Join Me On A Stroll Through The Garden

Last summer I was busy training for a 3 day 60-mile breast cancer walk. Walking was pretty much all I did for 6 months when I wasn't working, eating or sleeping. This year I'm taking some time for myself. Of course I'm still working and eating and sleeping, but this summer I've been taking time to work in my flower gardens. After last year, they were screaming at me for some attention (figuratively speaking). That being said I thought I'd invite you along for a stroll through my garden. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What's the strangest thing you've ever won?

I've been on a kick lately of entering contests? I've kind of given up on winning the lotto ... haven't had much luck with that one. I guess the real question should be 'Do you feel lucky?' You'll always meet someone who says 'I never win anything' and yet someone else seems to have been blessed with 'lucky gene' because they seem to always be winning something. My husband had an uncle once who won tickets to the Super Bowl. Seriously ... who wins tickets to the Super Bowl? I can't remember the whole story, but I seem to remember it had to do with a nationwide contest through Coca Cola or Frito Lay or some big company. His odds of winning must have been astronomical to say the least.

Whenever I enter a contest I first look at what my odds of winning are. Is it a local contest or a nationwide contest? Through a newspaper or a radio station? It can make a huge difference in whether or not I even have a fighting chance.

Probably one of the first things I ever won (and maybe the strangest) was a hot pink stuffed rabbit for my son. He was probably 4 or 5 years old at the time. We went to a local drug store just before Easter one year. They had a basket next to the cashier with a little stuffed rabbit. The sign said to fill out an entry form and win the rabbit for Easter. My son thought it was cute, so I thought 'What the heck, I'll give it a try.' The store called me a few days later to tell me I'd won and could I stop by the store to pick it up. So we made a quick trip to the store. We told the cashier we'd gotten a call about winning the stuffed animal. She was all smiles then and said she'd get the manager. He proceeded to congratulate us and asked if we needed any help getting it to the car. I told him it was no big deal that I could handle it. He said 'Are you sure?' and then brought me this 4 foot tall hot pink fuzzy rabbit with ears that flopped all the way down its sides almost to his big feet. I think the awestruck look on my face said it all. Apparently it wasn't the 'little' rabbit I'd seen, but this HUGE rabbit that was bigger than my son. Dan loved it and couldn't wait to show it to his dad that night. All I could think was 'Exactly WHAT am I going to do with this big rabbit after Easter?' It sat it the corner of his room for at least a year or two. Then one year when I was working at a private country club the manager was planning decorations for a big Easter brunch they were going to have. Long story short ... my 8 year old entrepreneurial son sold the rabbit to the manager for $50! Now that was a strange outcome (and an awfully good investment on my time).

I've won concert tickets through local radio stations, one time I even became the grand prize winner which included a limo for the night, dinner before the concert, and a private meet & greet (with photos) with the singers. Not too shabby. A few years ago I read a small blurb in the local newspaper about a congresswoman in my area who was giving away a $100 gas card each week to help stimulate the local economy and give people in her area a break. All I had to do was send her an email. I did and two weeks later she called me and told me I'd won. It was great timing. I was taking my daughter up north that summer for a girls' week with my sister and niece. She had a condo for a week. So I drove. It worked out good for everyone.

Last summer I won 4 Ceder Point tickets through a radio station so my husband & I took our daughter and her friend, then the same week I won 2 tickets to a Tiger's baseball game. I couldn't use the baseball tickets so I gave them to someone else to use.

Sometimes it's not so much about what I could win, but more about the fun of it. I always try to share the wealth, so to speak. So what am I entering this summer? I entered a newspaper contest over the weekend to win 6 Ceder Point tickets. My daughter already has it planned who she's going to invite. Guess she's feeling lucky. Personally I'm holding out for the Josh Grobin concert tickets in a few weeks. That's one meet & greet I wouldn't mind. :)

What's the strangest thing you've ever won? I'd love to hear the story.