On the way to work this morning I totally rocked Freebird. An oldie but goodie. It made me reminiscent for vacation too because I totally feel free when we’re away.

[sidebar: well, sort of. As a self proclaimed planner (read: neurotic) I tend to focus on what’s next, even on vacay. For example: will we go for ice cream after mini-golf and if so, will I get any? If I don’t get any, will I feel awkward? If I get some, will it make me sick? etc. etc. It becomes, really?, you can’t even relax and play the damn putt-putt?!]

What I mean by “free” I think is free to not be where I usually am, to wonder what it would be like to pick up and move, free to not think so much about work and real life stuff.

Before this gets totally off-base. I present our week in Traverse City, MI.

La Dolce Vita house. Traverse City, MI

Saturday night we met up at the house and hubs and I went grocery shopping (aka: my favorite thing to do) and picked up some pizzas and salads for an easy dinner.

Sweet reunion in Traverse City

Sunday morning, hubs got all crazy with the cheeze whiz, pulled out a giant sack and made breakfast for 8 by himself while we watched Wimbeldon. Delish! We got inspired and played some tennis then relaxed on the deck.

Big Balls in Cow Town breakfast--cornmeal pancakes, fried egg and bacon

Dinner was good ol’ midwest summer bbq: dijon chicken, sausages and corn on the cob.

Dijon chicken, brats and salad

Mom #2 just finishing the first dinner (and also not amused that I had to take a photo)

After dinner, the games began. Everyone picked a number and partnered up for our euchre tournament. Somehow I ended up being partners with hubs (unprecedented!). At 10:30pm we sauntered down to the dock and watched the fireworks then headed back up to finish round 1 and have some pie my Mom #2 made with raspberries, sugar free raspberry jello and a premade crust. I don’t dig on pie so I had some dark chocolate.

First meal with the whole fam in T.C.

Monday I ran with my Dad in what felt like 100% humidity and we met up with everyone for coffee in downtown Traverse City. It was the Cherry festival while we were there so downtown was crawling with people. Somehow, it didn’t bother me like it usually would. While we got our coffee, my Mom had her palm read. Let me just say this: the woman was damn good. Freaked the hell out of Mom (and me!).

Tuesday was more tennis and such. We had found these courts in the neighborhood across the street from us. There were no signs telling us not to trespass. Nothing noting it was private. When we were done playing, as we were heading down the street we got stopped by a guy in a brown pickup truck who said he was a “conservationist” and that we could “get a ticket” for playing on those courts. We said there was no sign. He said there is and also said the courts were “very private.”  He definitely had a stick up his ass. We were clearly all adults and had no intentions of “setting off fireworks” on the courts. Lordy. It gave us great fodder for the rest of the week, though. That was the last time we played tennis, too.

S.i.l. making her famous black bean quesadillas


Gazpacho and salad madness for 8

Finishing touches

Gazpacho, salad and quesadillas

Wednesday we went hiking. It was a beautifully kept up trail and it leads you straight to the lake. Just gorgeous. Hubs challenged me to swim out to a sand bar. My heart was racing and I was terrified. But I decided, what the hell, and I went for it. I’m sure I look like a dead duck in the water. I mean, I’m a total flailer (is that a word?). I think I should suck it up and take swim lessons. When I swam back I noticed my heart rate was up and I was out of breath. This is a workout. Hmmm.

Beach at the end of the trail

Taking a break


Thursday we went to my now fave winery: 2 lads. We took the fam on the tour. I swear if I lived there that I’d be friends with the guide. She was very cool and you could tell she loves what she does. Another reason I love T.C. is because everywhere we went whether it was a winery or a grocery store, I got carded. Awww yeah.

Obligatory photo before wine tour...note the glasses...

2 lads wine tasting and snack plate

Mom and b.i.l. enjoying the wine tasting at 2 lads

Thursday night we played the Newlywed Game and I totally thought hubs and I would win. We came in second place. His parents were first (they’ve been married for 38 years) and mine in third (married for 40 years). It was ridiculous and actually a lot of fun.

Random: Look at hubs' bacon bandaid! The man loves his pork

Friday was our last day. I ran with my Dad and Mom #2 and the weather was absolutely perfect. It wasn’t even that humid which was wonderful. After lunch we headed out to mini-golf, which can get a bit heated sometimes. Let’s just say that both sides of the family are competitive. To soothe the wounded, we went to get some ice cream. I ended up getting a mango dole whip (non-dairy) and it was actually pretty good. Tasty kind of like a soft serve version of a push-up pop.

How cute is she? Smilin' even after a brutal putt-putt game

Friday night we grilled some more meats and veggies and toasted to a great week. We then had an overly intense game of pictionary. Talk about brutal. Kids against the Parents. We kicked some ass and they wanted another round of ass sandwich so we gave it to them.

The parents chatting it up while they wait for dinner to be served

My all time fave: grilled veggies and a sweet potato


Saturday morning came too soon. Hubs said it was “rude” and it was. Getting up that early is painful but the sun was starting to rise and the sky was all golden and red and delicious looking. It was worth it to have that burned in my memory.

But as we flew over LA getting ready to land, all I could see was brown, nasty city. Quite the contrast from the massively green place we had just come from. My first reaction to the brown is always: I’ve got to get the hell out of here. So I’ve had freak-outs for several years where we start looking for homes elsewhere. Last year it was Portland. Something always keeps us here though. I’m not sure why but today’s Yogi cookie was very timely:

You can run after satisfaction, but satisfaction must come from within.

Maybe it’s time to feel free where I’m at right now. Something to work on…


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