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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Weekend in Which Precious Little Reading Was Done

Here I am with my sisters and mother at the North End on Sunday morning. We went there for breakfast after attending the service at Bethany Lutheran Church on Mothers' Day, and Kristi kindly took our picture before we left. We are all readers (all of them brought bags of books for Dog Ears!), but we didn't do much reading over the weekend. They arrived late Saturday afternoon, and after dinner we became engrossed in a nearly impossible puzzle, involving multiple challenges. First was answering the "Who said that?" question on the quotation pieces and matching each quote with the correct historical personage, actor, philosopher, general, or whatever. This phase results in a forest of paired pieces, all of which then have to be joined together, along with some blank and almost-blank pieces, to form the puzzle. We started on one table, had to move to another, and finally split into two teams, younger sisters in one room, oldest sister and mother in the other room.

Can you say 'OCDC'? Can you say 'frustration'? Can you say, "Oh, my aching back"? So yes, on Sunday morning we went to church and out to breakfast, but then it was back to the puzzle, which we worked at until dinner time -- and dinner had to be on the front porch, as there were no more available tables in the house. No one picked up a book all day!

Monday we started the day with a shopping spree at the Pennington Collection in Northport. Sarah's store is so colorful I couldn't stop taking pictures while my mother and sisters shopped. 

After stops at the post office and bookstore, we drove south to Traverse City and explored Building 50 at the Grand Traverse Commons. My family didn't take long to figure out that they wanted to try out Black Star Farms Tastes, so we had a light lunch of spring vegetables (carrot and beet slices, pickled garlic, and ramps), country terrine, and various cheeses with our wine. My mom and I both bought bottles of the dry Riesling, although we liked everything we tried.

A visit to Building 50 isn't complete for me without a stop in at Landmark Books. It's always good to catch up with bookseller Paul Stebleton, and I was happy to find a nice copy of National Velvet, a classic horse story I haven't read for many years. 

We caught up with David, back from his downstate road trip, on the front porch at home before we made our way to the Happy Hour for dinner. 

In the picture above, in case you were wondering, David is amusing my mother by making his hand into a duck. (Maybe you had to be there.) Below, my sisters posed for me in front of David's large semi-autobiographical art installation. 

The Happy Hour.... It always is. My sisters were happy to find some IPA beer, and I was happy to learn that it was from Marquette, up in the U.P. When time came for dessert, two went for peppermint ice cream, and the other two shared a giant cream puff with peppermint ice cream and hot fudge. Which two were which, do you think?

Naturally, I didn't go three entire days without reading. In fact, I made serious headway early in the morning and late at night with the novel currently at my beside, The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson. It is not peaceful bedtime reading. It is a horror story, in fact, with very little relief, but so masterfully and convincingly and compellingly written (how on earth did the author manage?!) that I practically propped my eyes open to go on reading, and sometimes I'd fall asleep for a while, only to wake up to find the light still on, which was all the encouragement I needed to read a few chapters more. I highly recommend this novel to courageous readers. Besides being a fictional tour de force, it also serves as a reminder to any American reader how very fortunate we are to be living in this country. The contrast with my weekend family visit could not have been more striking. 


Karen Casebeer said...

What a fun time you had with sharing the best of Northport and TC with your "girls" weekend. I love the shot of you all together. It's clear you are all sisters. Thanks for sharing this delightful time with all of us. Karen

P. J. Grath said...

We couldn't have done anything more special for our mom than getting all the "girls" together. The weather cooperated, too: we had a little rain, but NO SNOW!