Monday, November 19, 2018

From Girl to Woman

Kayla at 22 is a busy wife, student and journalist---don't know too much about the first two, but she's a fine journalist, determined and assertive,with deadlines galore and actually decent pay. In an era when journalism is on a down-turn, she's really making it work. Here she is, 5 years ago and today.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Jerry Rigging vs. Gerrymandering

Percy Stellrecht, my father, was a true champion of jerry rigging. I thought of him today as I jerry rigged a hollow metal post (that had broken at a joint) with a piece of rebar that I pushed down both ends. I topped it with the 14 inch double spinner that was on the post before it broke; it's once again displayed near the road at our shop. Here is a picture of a chair Percy jerry rigged when I was a kid---the top portion of one chair, the bottom of another, some scraps of wood and wire and you got a perfectly usable piece of furniture. Sister Kathy had come into possession of it years ago and later passed it on to me. Husband John built a shed at our shop (one of more than a dozen outbuildings) with lumber from the barn where I milked cows as a kid. The sign appropriately reads: "Percy's Shed" and that's where we display the chair. Now to gerrymandering. Every day at the shop I pass out flyers: Vote for Prop 2. We're trying to end gerrymandering in Michigan---the definition of which is: manipulating the boundaries of an electoral map so as to favor one party. Both parties are guilty of doing this when they are in control; this would give the task of designating sane boundaries to a bipartisan/independent commission.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Saul Lake Bog

The most common complaint we hear at the shop is that we close at 4 pm. But it allows us to get out hiking on nice days. Today we drove northeast of Grand Rapids to Saul Lake Bog, one of our favorite remote spots. No one else around on the entire property. It has been set aside by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, one of the non-profits we support. It was a perfect fall day.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Odds and Ends

Here is John on Sunday taking a little rest after hiking to the top of Cottonwood Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We drove for more than 2 hours in light rain, but the weather cleared by the time we arrived as the forecast predicted. Then on Tuesday we enjoyed the last day of "summer" at the pier and lighthouse in Grand Haven, after having split a salad and tasty burger at Snug Harbor. Below is pictured the final stages of the construction on Breton Road right in front of our shop, Carlton Gardens. The flag says we're open, but it's been a slow summer for us---and for construction that began in early June and was expected to be completed by the time school started before Labor Day.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

One Miserably Failed Protest, One Success

On Friday, John joined millions of paid protesters (as Trump and senators had alleged) and failed miserably. However, I succeeded on Saturday in burning my bra---a serious success, considering the difficulty in staging it between rain showers---and then only one person showed up, and he was the photographer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Perfect trip to Michigan's UP

We had been warned just before we left for the UP at 1 pm Saturday that the power was out at Cedar Campus where we had reservations. Carlton had come to mind the shop, so we headed out not knowing what we would find. We arrived while the sun was still out and had a great time hiking along the bay and roughing it for the night---until I awoke with a bright light going in our bedroom. We stayed 2 nights and had a great time visiting friends on Drmmond Island where I had never been. Here they are with John in front of their very remote home. We had stayed at the cabin on Lake Huron 3 times previously and just love being there. Below is a pic of John by the lighthouse in St. Ignace and one of him walking through Hardwick Pines, one of our favorite state parks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Short Weekend in Petoskey

We always stay at the wonderful Terrace Inn where we trade yard art for free Sunday night stays. Patty is just the coolest innkeeper we've ever met, and she works harder keeping this Victorian treasure clean and tidy than any of the hired help. Every room has its own unique antique quaintness.

We love this area, bordered by Little Traverse Bay, because of all the wonderful hiking and biking trails. On this visit we discovered two parks we had never before visited---the Bear River Trail system right in Petoskey and the Thorne Smith Nature Preserve north of Harbor Springs, just past the Tunnel of Trees. Below John is looking out over a misty magical pond and wetland in that preserve and I am posing alongside a beautiful piece of driftwood with the Bay in the background. After leaving the preserve we continued north to Cross Village where we caught the sunset. All in all, a fantastic time complemented by perfect weather.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

12 Year Update: My Calvin Seminary Story

Here I document just one egregious episode in the administration’s long effort to rid itself of me. It is nothing short of a sexist smear. President Neal Plantinga, ignoring measurable results of my performance, drew on an old formula for ruining a woman’s career: accuse her of being hysterical. I had been called to a meeting with him and VP Duane Kelderman. According to him I was asked a straightforward question: 

            “What followed, without pause, was a tirade—a stream of accusations

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

14th Anniversary!

This morning John woke me up with a Happy Anniversary! Then he said: it's been mostly bliss, and not even waiting for a correction said, it's been incredible bliss. Well, if you count a lot of nattering back and forth, sure, it's been incredible bliss. Neither of us would have it any other way. This picture shows just the two of us, but John's two dearly departed wives, Ruth Ann and Myra Jean (as he always refers to them), are very much a part of our lives.

After closing up at the shop this afternoon we visited Meijer Gardens and shared a Reuben sandwich, the best either of us had ever eaten, then walked the grounds for an hour in the blazing heat. Below is John holding up the hoof of daVinci's Horse and gazing through the trees at Aria---also another lovely sculpture as seen through the trees.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Valerie's Wedding---and more

Yesterday was cousin Valerie Stellrecht's big day. She was a missionary for nearly 4 decades and now retired at 67, she has found Terry, the man of her dreams. It was a delight to be at the ceremony in Shell Lake, WI, only a dozen miles from the farms where we grew up. And what fun it was to meet so many people from my childhood, including Valerie's siblings, Don (Delores) and Jane, my best neighborhood buddy growing up. Also renewing old times with Janice and Russell Row, Linda, Janet, Lorraine, Melva, Wilma and others. It was truly a grand time. We spent the night at our favorite motel in Spooner, got up early and headed north, spending some time in the much heralded Minnesota port city of Duluth where we strolled the Lake Walk, then on to Amnicon Falls State Park, and finally to beautiful village of Bayfield where we are spending the night in a motel with a view of Lake Superior.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Fayette Historical State Park

As we drove across the UP of Michigan---destination Spooner WI---we stopped at this wonderful state park where the history of the 19th-century town of Fayette is preserved (with the help of Eastern Michigan University). For 24 years it was one of the country's leading charcoal production centers, some of the furnaces still intact. There was a whole village surrounding the "factory," most of the houses gone except for the superintendent's luxury home and various other buildings necessary to support a village. It's located on the Garden Penninsula overlooking Big Bay Du Noc on Lake Michigan. We found a nice spot to have lunch and then strolled around the grounds.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Zach's Senior Photo

Senior class photos sure aren't what they used to be. Even when son Carlton graduated in 1992, a sport coat, shirt and tie were the standard. Here is our grandson Zach looking totally casual, which is the way it ought to be. He looks like himself, not like a perfectly posed stuffed shirt. No one told him to lift his chin and turn his head to the left while keeping his shoulders straight. Enough of that old last-century professional photographer style!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Sunday Drive

You know people are getting really old when their best entertainment is a Sunday Drive! (Actually I should be back to hiking and biking soon; my last (hopefully) kidney stone surgery is scheduled today at 2:15 pm. Late next week I should be stent-free. YEA!) The Sunday drive did give me an opportunity for some interesting pics. Those sand hill cranes were fantastic---closest I've ever been to them, and wishing I had a better camera. And the sousaphone lying in the grass. We were up in the most NE township of Kent County along Lincoln Lake and turned into Baptist Youth Camp, where apparently a youth was taking a break from practice and left his instrument behind. It might have been tempting to grab it and run, but we probably would have gotten caught.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Business, Birthdays and Surgeries

Our beautiful Carlton Gardens is in a major summer slump due to construction that for a while blocked both of our driveways. It blocks only one of them now, but all the machinery out front gives the appearance that we're closed up. There is always plenty to do here but not behind the cash register. July is our birthday month, Franny (John's mother) was 103 on the 7th, the following week Carlton and John (who he introduces as "my dad") both had birthdays on the 13th. I missed the annual ball game celebration because I wasn't feeling well due to a series of kidney stone surgeries, the last one (hopefully) scheduled for August 1. The week after their birthdays I turned 73.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Summer Fun

Today we headed out to Lake Michigan (a 45 min. drive) and hiked in three of our favorite Ottawa County parks, Kirk, Rosy Mound (where John is looking down over the 100+ steps he just climbed) and Linear Park along the channel in Grand Haven, were we sat on a bench, ate our lunch and watched boats head out to the Lake. After we arrived home we sat out on our dock on the River and read the Sunday paper. I also touched up some things on our funky "totem" that we designed to mask our river birch tree that the township nearly destroyed to protect high line wires. Below is a pic of daughter Laura who drove up with Bob from NC this past week to spend time here in Michigan with both sides of their family. Tomorrow we're taking a day off from the Gardens and plan to go up north to Leelanau County for more hiking along the Lakeshore. It's beautiful weather these days but way too dry.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Wedding pics

The heat index was over 100 but it didn't take away from this really cool wedding. Granddaughter Kayla and Ariel, Carlton, Melissa and all of the rest of us had a grand time.