Monday, August 17, 2015

Three boys and three girls

A week ago I had the pleasure of spending a little time with these guys.

The Purkey brothers.  It wasn't planned, it just happened which made it even more special.  Bob, on the left, lives in Canada.  Stewart, in the middle lives in Wisconsin and Tim (the baby) lives in the Grand Rapids area.  

They were in town doing a "drive down memory lane" and I was  hanging out on the river front with Augie.

As we stood near the water of our home town and chatted I was over come with memories.

Our parents were very, very good friends.  My sisters and I adored them.  As a matter of fact, Lisa and I told our mother that if anything ever happened to them, we wanted to live with Laura and "Purk."  We didn't think it all the way through, however.  What would it be like to live in a house with THREE BOYS???

Then I started thinking about the "three boys theme."

When we were very young we lived across the street from the three Irwin boys.

Then mom and dad built a house up near the hospital and we lived across from the three Curlin boys.

Besides loving Laura Purkey, we also loved Scotty Irwin who made the best fudge in the world and adored Carol Curlin who let us (me?) come over and glaze pottery.  

Funny - I don't remember any families with just three daughters.  That makes the Brachman girls very special, right?

There are no more Purkeys, Curlins or Irwins living here in Allegan.  That makes me sad but I still have the memories.

Shining flashlights across the street to the Irwin house hoping one of those cute boys would signal back.

Hearing David Curlin singing a Glen Yarborough song outside one night.

Trying to TP Stewart Purkey's house before he TP'd mine. 

Ahhh, the good old days.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Anyone want to hear about my sore glutes and hams?  Wait, wait, don't touch that dial - this is going to be interesting and helpful.
I promise.

I've been having issues for several years with sore "you know whats" and my hamstrings.

I've tried various stretches and massage therapy which helped but was never good at staying with it so after a while the discomfort would return.

Recently I've been in a good bit of pain which took up residence right smack dab in the middle of my left butt cheek.  It hurt all the damn time - I was miserable.

I know how to stretch the area but my sister, Lisa, showed me a yoga pose (the pigeon) which really helped.  I didn't think I could do it at first - there was a lot of groaning - but I kept at it and could tell the difference after a week or so.

What really helped, along with the stretches, though was the tennis ball.  Yup.  Put one of those little bad boys underneath your back side and lie on the floor.  Yowza, mama, it is amazing.

It's a little more involved than that but I'm telling you it has turned my life around.

I've used tennis balls before on my back but never thought about my rear end and hip area.  I'm thanking Youtube for the visual tutorial.  The bone cracker was cute, too, which helped.

Of course I still have some pain - I'm old - but nothing compared to a couple of months ago.

This was a public service announcement.  You're welcome. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Table manners

Were you schooled in table manners?  I mean other than "don't chew with your mouth open."

I always thought that one was a given.  All parents impart that wisdom, right?

Apparently not because I watched a teenager enjoying her dinner at the Butler in Saugatuck the other night and I don't believe her lips ever met.  I was so happy I wasn't sitting across the table from her.

The other basic one is "no elbows on the table."  I will freely admit that I break that one all the time - when I'm home alone and Miss Manners can't see me.  

I remember when my friend, Stewart Purkey, came home from his junior year abroad (France) and showed me how the Europeans handle their cutlery.

Fork in the left hand (if you're right handed), tines down.  Knife in the right.  After cutting, place the knife down and move the fork over to your right hand.

I thought he was showing off and acting all superior . . . and then I started practicing that European style and felt oh so European.
Still at it.

When I was at Stephens College for Women (how's that for snotty) they were heavy into table manners.  We dressed for dinner, etc.  The only thing I came away with after my one illustrious year in Columbia was that you could reach for something on the table as long as your ass didn't leave your chair. Classy, eh?

Here's the one that I am holding fast to ever since I became aware of it several years ago.

Before you pick up the glass of whatever you're drinking, make sure to wipe your lips.  If you don't, your glass with have an unsightly smudge on the rim.  Grossssssssssssssssssss!

I've tried to drink without blotting because, well, I wasn't eating chocolate (for a change) or something else sure to leave a mark but I can not do it.

Also, a pet peeve of mine.  Yes, I have more than one but this one is specific to the dining experience.

If you have to blow your nose - dude - get up and leave the frigging room!!!

Over and out.  I'm feeling the need to blot my lips.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Just a reminder.

If you've ever thought of visiting Michigan, here are some pictures that will encourage you to finally make a plan - and keep it.

If you live in the "mitten" and have forgotten just how beautiful our shoreline is - these pics will also refresh your memory.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ellen Good-enough vs Ellen the Good

Several years ago Petey dubbed me Ellen "Good-enough."  Why?
A fair amount of what I do doesn't come from the perfectionist part of my brain.  Yes, there's a small segment labeled "tight ass."

No "Type A" happening here with any regularity but with some tasks I dig deep and glazing my paper beads is one of those tasks.

I glaze each and every single one of those little suckers with 3 coats of hand painted glaze.

Sometimes that pesky Ellen Good-enough will whisper in my ear while I'm glazing and say, "Come on, El, who's going to know if there's one or three coats on 'em?  Give it a rest, sister, your eyes are crossing and your favorite show is coming on in a few minutes.  Wrap it up!"  

Then Ellen the Good pipes up loud and clear.  "Who's going to know?  You will.  It will haunt you when you try to sleep tonight.  Besides - I'll still be screaming in your ear.  SLACKER!!! So buck up and keep telling yourself how pretty your little babies look all shiny and happy."

Don't they look like little soldiers standing at attention?  Can you hear them chanting "glaze me, glaze me." Three times?

And so I do.  All the while listening to the sage advice of Ellen the Good.

Don't they look happy?  See their little smiling faces.  Doesn't it bring a tear to your eye?  Yeah, me too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Family dinner

Neither Petey nor I come from big families.  That's why we were so desperately trying to claim Alberto Altamore from Altamore Ristorante as a cousin recently.  A couple more visits and I think we'll have that relationship cemented up.

So imagine how thrilled we were when we received a text from our nephew, Mike (Peter's sister's son), last Saturday asking if we could meet for dinner in KALAMAZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Mike, his wife, Michelle, and daughter, Amanda were working their way across the midwest from Philadelphia checking out college campuses.

They landed in Detroit and got their "maize and blue on" for the 
U of M and then rented a car (changing colors on the way) to drive to Notre Dame so a natural stop for eats would be "the Zoo."

We picked out a place to meet up and were extremely happy with the result.

I'd heard about this fairly new restaurant.  I'd heard good things.  Those reviews were RIGHT.

I should have taken more pictures but I was so excited to see Mike and the family I . . . lost my concentration?  That's the excuse I'm going with.  We met @ 5p and this is what the place looked like.  We left @ 7p and it was packed.  On a Monday night!
We hadn't seen them in a year and it was wonderful to catch up.  We missed having Andrew with us but he was busy at a sports camp.

We're really pulling for Amanda to pick a college near us (Go Blue!) so we can constantly drop in on her and sit around her dorm room telling funny stories.  I'm sure all her new friends would love to spend afternoons with us, don't you?

Family - it's the best.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A tick!!! Eeeeeeeeeeek!!!

I didn't sleep well last night.  Something to do with the overhead fan and the cool air that was circulating around my head.  I kept waking up and trying to move the covers into a position that would be more sleep conducive. 

I finally stumbled out of bed at 6:15 this morning and dragged my tired bod into the bathroom - right after turning on the coffee pot.

As I flicked on the light I noticed a black spot on my chest.  I immediately thought it was chocolate.  That wouldn't be totally out of the question for me.  Sometimes a chocolate chip misses my mouth and lands elsewhere on my body but I didn't remember eating any cookies last night.

I was also pretty sure it wasn't a mole or a big ass freckle.  I mean it wasn't there yesterday (I would have noticed) and they don't grow that fast.

So I went to wipe it off.  It didn't move.  Then I tried flicking and that was unsuccessful.  I don't have long fingernails but they're functional when it comes to prying stuff off places so I gave that a try.

The spot came off - partially - but some of it was still STUCK TO ME!

I don't exactly remember what happened next.  The panic must have frozen my brain.  I found myself looking at the black spot on the edge of the sink.  I guess I put it there but I don't remember doing that.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I hadn't put my glasses on yet so I was operating under less than perfect conditions.

Ok, back to the conscious moment when I realized it was a BUG and not just any BUG . . . . A TICK!!!

I didn't run screaming for Petey.  He was still asleep and really - what was he going to do?  I'd already removed the little bugger and then flushed him/her down the toilet.

After Mr.Sleepyhead got up I checked him for ticks because, hello, it had to have been in our bed.  I also gave Augie a once over and they were both fine.

First time tick encounter for me and I really, really hope it was my last.  I've been scratching ever since.