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Archive for the tag “Lake Superior”

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Where I Live

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It’s another edition of Wordless Wednesday, and as usual, mine will probably have words.

There are some things that piss me right off about Michigan, but the landscape isn’t one of them. No matter the season, it’s almost always freaking gorgeous. Here are what some of my favorite spots look like in summer.

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Northern shore of Lake Michigan. We had so much fun swimming in the waves.

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Eagle Harbor, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan

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Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Michigan

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Sunset on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

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Floatie parking on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

As you may have guessed, I really like being by (and in) the water. I try to spend as much time by the water as possible in the summer–as long as I have my SPF Vampire handy, that is.

Be sure to check out the other blogger’s posts to see what summer is like where they live.

Jess * Gwen * Kris * Paige * Jessica

Writers Retreat Wrapup

 

My stress levels, so far this year, have been a bit on the high side, so I really, really needed this year’s writing retreat. Honestly, I think we’ve all been in super high stress mode. We all needed this break.

I didn’t get as much written as I would have liked, but I did get some written on my current story (and I’ve been writing ever since I got back) and planning progress was made on two super seekrit projects.

But more importantly than any of those things, I feel recharged and able to tackle the rest of the year. Many of the stressors in my life are still in play, but I feel better able to deal with them now that I’ve had a bit of a break.

So, I usually drive the first leg of the trip, and this is what was waiting for me when I opened the door to Jen’s car.

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Yep. It’s Samantha. You may remember Jen’s heartwarming story of how she got Samantha. And you may also remember what we did to Samantha. Well, technically, Samantha got into all this trouble on her own because she’s made of evil. We just documented it. 

But anyway, I opened up the driver’s side door, and there was Samantha. Waiting to cause trouble.

The drive was fun – but how can you not have fun when you’re in a car with Jenny Trout, Kayleigh Jones, and Kellie St. James? We sang along to a Disney songs, 80s songs and  the entire Hamilton musical from beginning to end.

In Munising, (a quaint little town on the southern coast of Lake Superior that features several Lake Superior boat tours, my favorite pottery shop, and a Bigfoot statue that’s chained up so he can’t escape) we stopped at Wagner Falls.

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Which was, as you can see, really pretty. And we also spotted a faery tree on the way out of the woods.

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Near Christmas, (another tiny little Lake Superior coast town) Jen took us through Murder Woods (not its actual name but it looks like a great place to hide multiple bodies) to get to one of the most insanely gorgeous spots I’ve ever seen. And Michigan’s U.P. is full of insanely gorgeous spots.

Murder Woods was a barely a road. I mean, it was probably an old logging road in the early 1800s. And it’s so rutted and narrow that only one car can get through at a time going about 7 mph. If that. But…it was totally worth it! Look at this place!

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Look at this gorgeousness! Despite the jolting trek through Murder Woods, it was completely and utterly worth it.

This was our view once we finally got to the house where we stay every year.

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We were all so happy to see Norris and Jess. It had been two years since we’d seen Norris and nine and a half months since we’d seen Jess. And we all ended up with sore cheeks and stomachs from all the hysterical laughter.

See that monkey creeping over the top of the laptop? That’s Bobo. He was stalking me all week. I finally had to get a restraining order against him.

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This was the night of the full moon.

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A little sunset/cloudporn.

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No trip to Calumet would be complete without a trip to our favorite yarn store, Camelot Dyeworks. And I, of course, got new yarn, and I’ve vowed to actually learn to make socks. In fact, I started them three fucking times on the way home. But I will persevere!

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Oh…and while we were out to lunch one day, Samantha had a bit of a mishap involving the oven. It seems that Gee (the little rainbow guy) was just about done with Samantha’s shit.

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And here’s our group shot from our last night there when we went out to supper. (From left to right: Kellie St. James, Jenny Trout (please note the jackalope on her shirt – Jess Jarman’s 3 year old niece named it “Satan”), Kayleigh Jones, Jess Jarman, me and Kris Norris is in the front.)

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The week went by too fast – as usual. And I can’t wait to go up there, again.

Only 346 Days: 19 Hours: 27 Minutes: 13 Seconds.

SIGH

Vacation Wrap Up

Last week, I was in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for our annual family vacation which involves my fam, my dad and stepmom, one of my brothers and his family and my two stepbrothers and their families.

It also involved zero wifi and cell coverage that was so bad that I had to drive over 30 miles to make a phone call. #PureMichigan

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of the trip.

We stayed at a little resort on on South Manistique Lake which is in the middle of nowhere. There were a ton of ducks on the lake and several mama ducks with their broods. They were super friendly and came right up on shore. It was a pretty quiet lake – very peaceful and relaxing. The sunsets were all gorgeous.

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One of the highlights of the trip was taking the Pictured Rocks sunset cruise. Pictured Rocks is a stretch of protected Lake Superior shoreline. There are amazing sandstone cliffs and caves and they’re colored by the various minerals and tannins that seep through the rock like manganese, copper, iron and calcium.

If you’re new to this blog, I love rocks. A lot. If you’re not new to this blog, you know this and are probably rolling your eyes. I loved every second of this cruise. The lake was as calm as I’ve ever seen it, and the scenery was stunning. If you’re ever in the U.P., do yourself a favor and take this boat ride (Sit on the right side of the boat for the best pictures.) I have probably hundreds of pictures from this ride, but don’t worry. I wouldn’t do that to you. I’ll just post a few.

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We also visited the Shipwreck Museum and the beach at Whitefish Point (The Edmund Fitzgerald’s wreck site is nearby at a depth of about 530 feet.) The museum now houses the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald after a new one was installed on the ship, engraved with the names of the 29 sailors lost.

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And one of my favorite moments of vacation was PETTING A BEAR CUB!!! Oswald Bear Ranch is a bear sanctuary. Orphaned cubs are often brought to Oswald’s where they can live out their lives in peace and the people who run the sanctuary fund it by allowing people to come in and observe the bears and for an additional (but totally worth it) fee, pet a bear cub. But these are a couple bears I was really fond of. The little guy who thinks that sign is bullshit is named Brooks and he’s the cub we got to pet. And the other bear is named Charlie. But I call him Zen Bear. He’s so chill.

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I got a bunch of reading done on vacation and quite a bit of knitting. Oh, and my niece did my hair for me so I could be a faery like her. 🙂

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But, eventually, we had to return to the Lower Peninsula…and reality. Which translates as I need to clean my house and finish writing a couple books and get a pile of editing done. I suppose I should get to it.

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Where in the world is Bronwyn?

I’ve been really good about blogging. I haven’t missed a single Wednesday since January 2014. That’s pretty damn good as far as I’m concerned.

The Wednesday Random bloggers are taking this week off because many of us will be without internet at our annual writing retreat, but we’ll see you all next week!

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Back from Vacation!

So I went on a writing retreat with Jenny Trout, Kris Norris, Kelsey St. James, Jess Jarman, Emily Love, Mia Watts and Anne (an awesome reader) and it was FABULOUS!  I got lots of work done, laughed until my face hurt and played Cards Against Humanity and laughed my ass off because I’m a terrible person, played in Lake Superior and even ate muffins made by monks. That’s right people, Monk Muffins! And they were delicious.

I’m going to share a few pictures and then get back to my story. And also episodes of Hannibal (which is Jenny and Jess’ fault) and cleaning my office, because holy hell, that has to happen! It looks like an episode of Hoarders in there. o.O

This was the view of Lake Superior from the deck of the house we rented.

 And this was our home away from home.

 A storm rolling in.

 Our trip mascot! Isn’t he adorable? Kelsey knitted him on the way up!

 This is Hunter’s Point in Copper Harbor on a particularly misty day.

 Hunter’s Point

 This is me playing around in the lake.

 Rock formation at Hunter’s Point.

 Great Sand Bay near Eagle Harbor.

 Rocks! No trip to Lake Superior is complete without rocks! At least, it’s not if you’re me.


Moonrise over Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan.

 Sunrise over Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan.

 Sunlight, rocks and water.

 The Tobacco River in Gay, Michigan

The Tobacco River Park in Gay Michigan
 

And this is what Jenny Trout made me and Kris Norris. Because she’s awesome.


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

One of the coolest things about the writers retreat/vacation was the some of the people we met.

One of the people, I’d already met. You remember Bill the DNR guy? The one whose life I ruined? Well, I took him out to lunch on Thursday and Jess and Mia came with. Bill also brought his Boner of the Year award for me to see, because yes, he’s just that awesome. 

During Jess Jarman and my Copper Harbor tour, we saw a sign that said Grandpa’s Barn. We thought it was going to be an antique shop. How delightfully wrong we were! It was a book store! A bookstore full of antique furniture and books for us to lust over. Aaaaannnnnd we met the very lovely Lesley DuTemple. She’s another Michigan author, and she’s an absolute doll.

Pro tip: I learned that if you make a crack about tax deductions while buying books, you’ll meet awesome authors.

In addition to picking up Lesley’s book, Stars in the Water, (which of course I had signed) I picked up a gorgeous art book with photographs by Steve Brimm, called Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: Spirit of Place. Lesley directed us to his gallery where we went to check out his work and get my book signed. His artwork is absolutely phenomenal. Seriously, if I could crawl inside some of these pictures, I would. And bonus, he’s a super nice, laid back guy.

Jess and I took the coast road back to the cabin and I’ll post some of  pictures at the end of the post. But we stopped at various spots along the way back, played in the water, laughed our butts off, picked up rocks…the usual.

On the way back home Saturday, Mia Watts and I had a fab time meeting people. We passed a sign for a “Huge Book Sale” so of course, we had to stop. We met a lovely fiber artist named Jean who has an entire library set up in her barn, so of course we had to browse. She was a wonderful guide who not only shared her barn and books with us, but also gave us a tour and the history of her studio which was once the granary on the farm where she lives. The history of her home was fascinating. If it’s okay with Jean, I’ll share it with you all in another post.

After that stop, we went to an estate sale. While we didn’t find anything there, we did enjoy looking around the lady’s stained glass studio, aaaaand she kindly agreed to repair my busted stained glass faery that some evil children broke while playing ball in the house.

On the way out of Houghton, we stopped at this run-down looking building that was advertising Green Stone jewelry. Now, I’ve been fascinated by this building for years. I used to pass it on my way in and out of Houghton every time I went to see Matt. Which was a lot. But at that time, it was pretty much abandoned. Now it’s a studio and living area for an awesome jeweler. Originally, it was meant to be a copper processing plant waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day, but the bottom fell out of the market so it was shut down before it was ever operational. After that it was converted into a dance hall. I believe he said it was called the Michigan Ballroom and was apparently the place to party in the 1920s and 30s. It’s been plenty of other things over the years, but I thought that was pretty cool.

In addition to getting a fascinating history of the place, he also showed us his workspace and let us handle the stones. One of the coolest things about meeting Paul is discovering that he made one of the rings that I wear everyday. It’s a daffodil ring that I bought from an etsy store located in Marquette where he sells some of his jewelry. What are the odds of that?

We pretty much stayed in the car until we hit Munising (southern shore of Lake Superior) and we stopped at this awesome little pottery studio that I’ve been dying to visit every time I’m in town, but it’s always closed. I am SO glad it was open when we came through. It’s run by a husband and wife team, and while the wife wasn’t there, Thomas was. He’s a potter and the most delightful hippie ever. I adore him. I bought several of his giant mugs (Killian insists that they’re steins) and they’re perfect for huge vats of tea. He was also kind enough to let me use the bathroom in his place since he didn’t have a public restroom. He and his wife live above the shop and I swear, it was like walking into my Aunt Malita’s house. Driftwood and rocks everywhere, antiques, pottery, books – cluttered but comforting. Probably one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I’ll definitely be going back up there with Matt and the boys later this month. Killian wants a vat of his own.

Here are some pictures Jess and I took on our Copper Harbor adventure. Interestingly enough, all of the people we met (with the exception of Bill and possibly Paul) are all people who chose to move to the UP – none of them were born there. And most are from other states altogether. I find that incredibly interesting.

These are all shots from the western coastline of Lake Superior except for the last four which are Jacob’s Falls and sunrise on Superior in front of our cabin on the last day. (Click to embiggen for a better view.)

Back from Vacation

I’m home from vacation, and I’ll admit it. I really want to go back up north. I spent the week with Jen Armintrout, Jessica Jarman, Kris Norris, Mia Watts and our friend Emily. I won’t lie and tell you it was the peace and quiet because there wasn’t a lot of that going on with six of us in a cabin. There was maniacal giggling, writing, drinking wine, collecting rocks, walking along the beach, listening to the waves – it was pretty much perfection.

Of course, I missed my fam and my friends who weren’t there, but I could have cheerfully stayed for another week. I know I’ve waxed poetic before about the insane beauty of Lake Superior, but  my God, it’s amazing. The whole time we were at the cabin, I only saw two people who weren’t staying with us.

As a reward for our hard work during the day, we went to Mickey’s for karaoke night. I suspect it’ll be a long time before they forget us. One of the highlights of the night was Kris giving me a lap dance during Mustang Sally. I’m pretty sure that’s when the elderly gentleman playing pool fell in love with her. And Kris being the awesome sport she was did several two-step dances with him because she’s just that fabulous.

Wednesday, we went into Houghton, where my hubby went to college and had an absolutely orgasmic lunch at the Ambassador. We all got something different and it was all fantastic. Matt and I used to eat there when we could afford to when he was in college. If anything the food was better than ever.

I’ll recap the rest of the week in a day or two, but here are some of the gorgeous photos I took. I also took video of the waves on the lake because I’m going to rip the audio to cd as a relaxation aid. Because I’m clever like that.

Okay, so I’m not sure this qualifies as a gorgeous photo, but it’s Angus who wouldn’t get out of my damn suitcase no matter what. 

This is the fantabulous cabin we rented. I’d totally stay there again in a heartbeat. 

This is the rock Jen wouldn’t let me take home because she’s a fun hater. 

This is the view of the beach right in front of our cabin. The pictures don’t do it justice  – you’ll just have to take my word that it was breathtaking.

A nifty sedimentary rock cliff where the beach shifts into the woods.

Some of the millions of rocks on the shoreline. Of course, after our week there, there are far fewer.

A mile or so down the shore from where we were.
 

Rocks and Husbands

I think I’ve mentioned in other posts that Lake Superior is one of my favorite places on earth. It never ceases to amaze me how it can go from this to the pictures below in a matter of moments. These top two pictures were taken at Whitefish Point. I’ve heard rumors that the lighthouse is haunted, but unfortunately, weren’t able to get inside and check it out.

The day after the top two pictures were taken, we went to Autrain which is a small town that sits on the shore of Lake Superior between Munising and Marquette. I wanted to stop on a certain section of beach and pick up some rocks. Of course hubby’s idea of the stones we should get were different from mine. I was thinking nice, palm sized rocks…however, Matt was thinking that boulders were the way to go. Sigh…

He wasted no time in finding a beautiful stone and started to unbury it while Killian and I looked for smaller stones and Corwin dug holes on the beach.

This is the rock Matt decided needed to come home with us, but before he could get it out of the sand, a storm blew in.

The lake went from completely placid to rough inside of ten minutes. Five minutes after that, we were battered by hail and pounding sheets of rain. The wind was so strong it blew my husband’s glasses off his face. We ended up searching for them in the midst of a thunderstorm so severe, cars pulled off the highway. It rained so hard, the parking lot (which was dry when we pulled in) was covered in swirling, calf-deep water. We finally found them about thirty minutes later once the rain stopped.
I told Matt the storm was the lake’s way of saying it didn’t want him to take the stone, but he decided since we were already soaking wet and his shoes and glasses had been trashed that he wasn’t going to let the lake or the rock get the best of him so he rolled it up the hill (it’s about 150 pounds) and hefted it into the trunk of the car.
Men… Stand back ladies…he’s all mine.
*rolling my eyes and shaking my head*

More pretty pictures

One of the things we did on vacation, was take a glass bottom boat shipwreck tour around part of Lake Superior – it was really cool. We saw a couple of wrecked schooners from the 1800s and a barge wreck from the late 1700s. In the wreckage of one of the ships we could see the captain’s toilet and bathtub. Unfortunately, those pictures didn’t turn out, but I do have some lovely pictures of the Grand Island Lake Superior shoreline.

These are sandstone caves along the shore.

This is the East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island which is in the process of being restored. Over the years it fell out of use and people from the mainland used to use the ball on the top for target practice. Near the lighthouse is a pair of nesting bald eagles and we saw the babies take flight.

The following day we went to Kitch-iti-kipi. Translated it means the Mirror of Heaven. It’s the biggest spring in Michigan and yep…the water really is that amazing shade of blue-green. The water was so clear we could see the huge trout swimming around 45 feet down. I could have stayed there all day.

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