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Friday, July 31, 2015

Adventures in Marquette 2015

Yet another year in Marquette for the 4th of July!  I didn't get near as many steps registered this year, as the weather didn't cooperate as well as it has in years past.  I spent extra time in the UP this year with the idea of spending some time up north, in Calumet, and some time in the woods.  While yes, I got to head north to Calumet, the nature-trailing wasn't as prevalent.  For two reasons.  First, just like Detroit, Marquette has gotten an amazing amount of rain this year.  In the woods, rains means bugs.  Giant, biting, bugs.  The mosquitos were like mini vampires!  Second, the temperatures took a turn for the worse while I was up there, and there was several days of very chilly weather, as well as some rain.  I still got some of my favorite spots on the calendar, just not as many.

My first couple of days in town were great!  My Mom and I went and sang some karaoke at one of my favorite dive bars, Flannigan's.  I ran into a friend of mine and made plans to walk along my Presque Isle fairy trail the next day.  It was just as pretty, but was filled with the aforementioned mini vampires!  Thank goodness that Brad travels with a bottle of 100% DEET.  Now, Im all for "no chemicals" health and wellness, but I tried the peppermint and lavender oil.  I heard the tiny laughter in my ear as they got drunk on my very flavorful blood.  It simply didn't work.  Like always, we were graced with a  few deer along the path, watching us with as much awe as we had in our eyes, as we slowly walked past, mere feet away.

The next day I waited at home, taking a nap with my mom's cat, Teemu, killing time while she ran errands.  Here is one of the pics I sent to her before she got home.  After which we immediately headed out to eat at one of our favorite dinner spots,  Vango's.  Mmm Chips and spicy cheese, greek salad, waffle fries, and wash it down with a cold beer!  Could you ask for more?

I was lucky enough to be in town for my Godson's birthday.  Happy Birthday Izaak!!!  And what did the coolest kid in the world choose for his special day?  Cliff diving off of a waterfall at Canyon Falls with his very pretty girlfriend, mom, stepdad, baby brother, grandma, and godmother.    SUCH a cool hike into the woods to a couple of waterfalls that I never would have found.  I really wish they were closer to me.  They have such a nack for finding really cool nature places!  I didn't actually jump into the falls (bock bock bock), but took some really cool pictures.  It started to downpour on our way back to the cars, which made for an adventure.  Check out these great pics of the trail and the falls!

After the falls, I followed them home to Calumet.  That night we went to dinner at THE HUT, where my Mom, and most other girls that grew up in the Copper Country, worked there as a teenager.  Great, local whitefish dinner!  No wine.  Bummer.

That night I headed over to my Aunt Mary Lou & Uncle Al's house for some sleep and a morning sauna. I love their sauna, their location, their sturdy wooden steps down to Lake Superior.  I wish it was warmer, because it was just beautiful!  Can you tell the wind was touching my eyeballs?  Welcome to selfie-land!

If you've never been in a true Finnish sauna, you're missing out!  This is not a stinky steam room.  This is super health, sweat out your toxins, enjoy yourself, SAUNA!  Followed but a tepid or cold shower.  My grandmother used to run out in the snow naked and do snow-angels.  Im not that brave.  This is how I got to start my day both days waking up in the copper country!

The next day was full of fun!  ML & Al took me to Peterson's Fish Market, which is the best fresh fish from a tiny restaurant made out of a trailer.  The food was awesome, even if we sat outside, and it was cold out!

Next my Uncle Al showed me his newly fitted salkie.  I had never heard of one.  Apparently it is a cart that used to be hooked up behind horses.  But he rigged it to go behind the 4-wheeler, so we had quite the ride!

That night was full of fun hanging out with my bestie, Sam, drinks, and some karaoke.  She sure knows a lot of people in town!  There were a lot of people who presently or previously worked for her.  We were amused by the girl running karaoke at our last stop.  We noticed she was getting visibly intoxicated (not sure if there was anything else involved), and she could hardly speak.  At one point, after announcing a singer, she grabbed her purse and ran out of the bar crying, never to come back.  Another local regular sat down and took over karaoke for the rest of the night like nothing had happened!  Only in Calumet ... or were we in Houghton?

For my last day in Calumet, we took a ride up to Copper Harbor for a quaint lunch and a ride to the top of a mountain with a beautiful view.  Who knew I would find my name at the top!  I see a lot of "Serena", but it was a rare treat to see "Serene", and so close to my hometown!  And they weren't lying - the view was gorgeous!  I also made them stop at a waterfall on the way back.  I don't know why - I LOVE waterfalls!  Notice my tiger shirt from the Detroit Zoo, another of my favorite spots.

Back in Marquette, I got to do some of my favorite things:  I had lunch at one of the best food trucks in America, Dia De Los Tacos.  I sat down at Serene Point on Presque Isle (if you don't know what this is, read previous posts!).  Unfortunately, it wasn't long because of the mass havoc of flies that I had to endure.  And those little suckers bite!  I had the beer sampler, plus an extra pint of blueberry beer, and whitefish chowder, and The Vierling.  I visited the local gymnastics clubs, Peak Gymnastics.  Very cool club.  My mom and I also went to a fundraiser for them while I was there.

Which brings us to the fact that I went to my 20 year high school reunion.  I know I know, I don't look old enough.  Oh STOP!  You're making me blush!  But yes, MSHS Class of 1995!  I really had a great time catching up with friends of long ago - where they've been, what interesting things they're doing, and who they are now.  I had a great time!  I forgot how much I liked these people!  And of course because it's me, I had to dress a little sassy.  Just because I've been out of high school for 20 years doesn't mean I have to look the part!  Blue hair and all!  And I even got some old friends to make funny faces with me!  Thanks Kristie P!

For the 4th of July, my brother was in town, and my friend Bri and her 2 boys.  We had a blast walking down to the parade, with a stop at Blackrocks Brewery.  The pirate ship was actually pretty impressive!  

We then headed down to the lower harbor and our version of an INTERNATIONAL FOOD FEST (pizza, pasties, and a couple of chinese places).  But the bands are pretty good, and it's a good place to hang out.  Bri also made angry faces with me.  Don't we look good in our patriotic wear?

Other events of the weekend:  Birthday BBQ for Uncle Dougie, complete with a water balloon fight!  Swimming, climbing, and watching divers at our favorite cove on Presque Isle.

Before I left town, I visited some favorite, and new to me, stores in town.  Spice Merchants was VERY cool.  Rows and rows of teas, bulk spices, spike mixes, dip mixes, and so much more!  I couldn't leave town without some new tea!  Michigan Fair had some cool stuff for yourself or for gifts.  I bought this "She shoots.  She scores." For myself!  And of course you have to stop at Doncker's.  It has been a Marquette staple in this very spot since 1914, although it has been a store since 1896!  Not only is there really cool stuff to buy, awesome candy and chocolate (dark chocolate salted caramel is my favorite), but they have a kick-ass restaurant, where even Obama ate at when he was in town!

Last picture of the blog - randomly catching up with old friends because I heard she was in town.  She missed the reunion, but I had the pleasure of spending just a couple of hours with the famous Amy Fuller before our lives took us to opposite ends of the country.  And the 3rd and final brewery in Marquette (and within a mile of each other), The Ore Dock.  Miss you lots, Miss Amy!

Now go catch up with old friends.  Visit your hometown.  Tell me about your class reunion.

Peace.  Love.  Serene.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mom's Birthday Week

So this is exciting - I get to tell you about someone else's birthday week!  My Mom spent most of that week in Detroit with us (a few weeks ago), and we sure had fun!  She got a late start to her drive down because she broke her foot and had to stay in town for an orthopedic appointment!  NOT the proper way to start your birthday week, just for the record!

I must be out of practice in my blogging, because I didn't take pictures at everything we did, which I should of!  I will share what I can!

During the week we went to see Jurassic World in 3D, which was *INCREDIBLE* - I literally think there were 5 times during the movie that I turned to my mom and said "that was awesome".  I highly recommend going to see this in 3D before it leaves the theatres.  I can't imagine its the same at home.

We also went to the Detroit Zoo, which turned out to be an amazing day!  It was supposed to storm all day, so I think a lot of the crowds that would normally be there decided to stay home.  We strolled leisurely (well, she rolled, I wasn't going to make my mom hobble on crutches, so we rented an electric scooter!) through the park and didn't have to combat crowds.  It turned out to be a sunny and gorgeous day, with a slight to breeze to keep the temperature in check.  We particularly liked the rhino that was looking at us, and the penguins that had obviously found the A/C vent, and were basking in it!

On her birthday proper, my Mom, Bri, and I, started with a trip to the farmer's market, with breakfast at the cafe.  We then went to get mani/pedis.  We figured if people were going to look at the boot she's wearing, she better have pretty toes!

Next we went to One Eyed Betty's for a coke and an appetizer.  Great beer selection, but it was a little too early in the day for that.  (That's Bri on the right - you may remember her from Italy.  She helped make this day for my Mom super special!!)

From there, my brother picked her up in his great little
Porsche Speedster 356 
and took her for a tour around Detroit - she had never seen many of the sites before.  Talk about seeing the city in style!  This is one picture I wish I had for you, with her in the car, but at least I can show you the car!  That's me in it.  (Im not sure if the car has a name yet)

We ended the evening by going to one of the best steakhouses in town -
London Chophouse
I've had a lot of steaks in my life, and this was the best.  It was all ala cart, and we ordered steaks, salads, asparagus, potatoes, and of course wine.  It was fantastic!  And to top it off, my mom got a birthday surprise with dessert.  How cute is she?

All in all, a successful birthday week!  What will you do for your birthday week??