Week 52 : Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties – Wrap-Up Edition

This last year has quickly passed and, like everyone else, it wasn’t the year I expected. Since Covid-19, I think we’ve all had more time for reflection. In thinking about my bucket list experience, there has been so much positive that has come from it. First of all, I have always been drawn to self-improvement projects that span over the course of a few months or a year. For instance, I’ve done Simple Abundance and I re-do it every few years and I am alway surprised at the different perspective a few years can bring. I’ve also embraced The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ve done P90X to get in shape, which is a workout program which spans 90 days. I’ve done Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home and the Happiness Project with time spans ranging from 9 months to a year. There is something intriguing about taking a chunk of time and using it to re-shape yourself. I also feel, as an obliger, publicly acknowledging a goal makes me more accountable. So the year has come to an end and now it’s time for the reckoning. Let’s go back to the year’s beginning and I will try to do a quick summary of my successes and failures.

Here are my results:

  1. Create a blog to document my year. Obviously, mission accomplished on this one. For the first 31 weeks, I posted weekly. As my list dwindled, my post frequency lessened as there was less to write about. So I give this one a big checkmark!
  2. Go skydiving. Checkmark here as well. (week 15) What an experience. To be honest, I didn’t do it to conquer a fear, I’m not afraid of heights. I did it for the adrenaline rush. I especially loved sharing the experience with my daughter. Now quite a few years back, I faced a fear by scuba diving. That for me, was a much scarier experience!
  3. Do 50 random acts of kindness throughout the year for family, friends and/or strangers. Check mark here. I did not share each act of kindness because I am a believer in keeping the nice things one does a little more private.
  4. Finish modernizing our house. Checkmark. We modernized our lower level and remodeled the bath. We still need to redo our wood floors on the main floor. That was waylaid by Covid. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it soon.
  5. Do a 5k. No check mark here for two very good reasons. One is I waited too long and Covid canceled the runs. The second reason is I was recently diagnosed with arthritis in my hips and my doctor recommends no running or high impact exercises. As it hurts when I run, I will be following that advice.
  6. Keep up my Duolingo streak. Well I’m not sure what magic allowed this to happen but on my birthday, May 13th, I have a 1,000 day streak on Duolingo! I have completed the whole program but go on it every day to refresh my skills.
  7. Lose 10 pounds- hahahaha. Ok, Covid, I see you. I was VERY close to reaching this goal and then….Covid. Damn you! I am back to watching my weight with Noom, but I am not sure I am going to continue with it. I am committed however, to getting the weight back off!
  8. Complete 50 workouts on my Nordic Track treadmill. Gold star here! I have completed 76 workouts on my NordicTrack. The last few were very interesting. One was a walk through Salt Lake City Utah with a couple of comedians. They weren’t hilarious, but made they did make interesting guides. The other was a meditation walk through southern Utah’s Scout Cave Trail with Dr. Shauna Shapiro. I did enjoy being able to walk and meditate and check off two of my daily line items in one fell swoop.
  9. See Stonehenge. This was done early on, week 3. What a wonderful trip for so many reasons!
  10. Keep attending French Class at the Alliance de Francais, Detroit. Well I’m giving myself a checkmark here. When I traveled to our Florida home over the winter, I switched to private FaceTime classes with my instructor David. And of course, all classes are online still with Covid. I definitely enjoy one on one classes though they are a little more expensive, they are worth it. I’m able to converse with and ask my questions of my instructor, a native French speaker. I think this is one of the things that I enjoyed the most this year. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone!
  11. Try one “new to us” restaurant a month. Well, check, until Covid reared it’s ugly head.
  12. Organize our storage room. Proud to say that Mike and I worked together to get this done! (Weeks 44, 45&46)
  13. Meditate daily. Check but I have to be transparent and say that I may have missed a day here and there. I am enjoying it though and plan to carry it forward. I use Headspace and also meditate on my own.
  14. Create my own signature cocktail. Yep. See Week 18 for the recipe for “The Tropical Bae.”
  15. Learn the alphabet in sign language. Done! Here it is.
  16. Decorate our Florida retirement home. This was such a joy to do! It is spread over several different posts. I am still working on selecting a few paintings and decorative items. Week 19, Week 30 and Week 37
  17. Go hiking. See week 13 for this one. We hiked to the Au Sable Pointe Lighthouse and the Pictured Rocks area.
  18. Read 50 books in 2019. I read 72 books. I’ve set my new goal for 2020 to 75 books. I am currently 5 books ahead of schedule. I am currently reading “Love and Ruin” by Paula McLain. It is a fictional account of the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and journalist Martha Gelhorn. I’ve always been intrigued by Ernest Hemingway and have visited his home in Key West. I enjoyed reading The Paris Wife also by this author which imagines the relationship between Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.
  19. Build a capsule wardrobe for Florida. Done, though I won’t say I’m entirely finished. I’ve enjoyed adding a few more pieces into the mix. If you want to see what I selected, check out week 22.
  20. Entertain friends and family in said Florida retirement home. Check! We enjoyed visits from our kids, our new neighbors, my parents and our old friends. It’s been amazing! Weeks 40 & 41.
  21. Complete the complicated puzzle that my husband Mike bought me at Christmas that sits untouched. Week 22 saw the completion of this puzzle. If only I had waited it would have made an excellent corona virus activity.
  22. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch. I completed this on week 25. I’ve made a couple loaves since then. It’s a lovely skill to have acquired! (Thanks Deana!)
  23. Try a new recipe at least 1-2x a month. I’m giving this one a provisional check. I was rocking it all the way until Corona virus hit. I feel like I am blaming this miserable virus for quite a bit but it complicated my methods. I usually select my menu for the week and then go shopping. Well, with shopping being hit or miss, I am having to come up with menus around what is available. I still enjoy trying new recipes though and will continue to do so.
  24. Find and attend a French Meet-up event. Again, enter Corona Virus. I saved this for my return from Florida and meet-ups are currently out of the question. I did attend a virtual Zoom Happy Hour with some of my classmates though, so I’ll give myself credit after all.
  25. During our annual family trek to the Les Cheneaux islands, take a day trip to somewhere we’ve not been before. Check! See week 13.
  26. Organize and catalog all of the photos sitting in a jumble in the storage room. A great big project that I was happy to wrap up! See week 28.
  27. Re-enact the Beatles walking on Abbey Road. Done! See week 2. I was so tickled to be able to check this one off on our awesome trip to London.
  28. Reach out to a friend or extended family member in person or online at least once a week. This has been even more so since Covid. We are zooming with family and friends probably at least as often, if not more so than usual.
  29. Daily Visualization. Done!
  30. Finish a course in the Masterclass online teaching series. I have finished several Masterclass courses and have enjoyed them all! My most recent was an interior design class by Kelly Werstler. I also did a Storytelling and Humor class by David Sidaris and am looking forward to taking a gardening class and a Mixology class. Perhaps I’ll come up with another new signature cocktail!
  31. Teach our dog Kobe a new trick. Check and here it is! His new trick is playing dead.
  32. Ride my bike from the Lower Huron Metro Park to Lake Erie and back (about 40 miles). Done, see week 14.
  33. Host a fun event for all of the ladies in my family. Well this one did not get done, sadly. Again with the Covid thing. But I am really looking forward to doing this at some future point. I am envisioning a Hallmark movie night sometime before Christmas, with cookies and cocktails!
  34. Learn to play a simple song on the piano. OK. Here’s the thing. I did make a HUGE discovery. I haven’t any talent or ability here. I also have no desire to try to acquire any. I am happily crossing this off my bucket-list and placing it in the “don’t ever do this” list.
  35. Learn how to use the Overdrive app to borrow books from the library. I have been enjoying the heck out of Overdrive/Libby. I use it almost exclusively, unless there is a book I am dying to read and the wait time is too long. I’ve also showed my mom how to do it and hope to help Mike’s mom with it as well. It’s a money saver and really allows me to indulge my reading without feeling guilty about spending the money on yet more books.
  36. See Buckingham Palace. Again, this was done early on when we made the trip to London. Week 3
  37. Work on our Family Tree through Ancestry.com. Done! Well, I’m not actually done with the family tree. It’s still a work in progress. But the interesting thing is extended family I’ve not met in person on both sides of my family have reached out asking to be in touch. I’ve been emailing back and forth with a couple of them. Such an unexpected benefit!
  38. Try the restaurant The Woods on our annual family trip to Mackinac Island. We were happily able to do this on our family trip to Mackinac Island. Week 9
  39. Take our kayaks on a romantic paddle leading to a picnic in the park. Yes! I discussed this one on week 15.
  40. Keep an herb garden and use it in cooking. This was done over the summer. What is surprising is the chives that I planted wintered over and I have a full crop already. I didn’t realize they were perennials. Week 6
  41. Try something new I’ve never done before. My spontaneous thing was asking my mom to pick a destination for her birthday for her and I to travel to. We had an awesome time in Williamsburg. (See week 17)
  42. Actually take out the jet-ski instead of letting it sit in the hoist un-used. Nope. This did not get done. I did take it out once. But we didn’t end up bringing it up north and I usually preferred a boat ride over the jet ski. I am hoping to get some use out of it this summer.
  43. Plan a sunrise breakfast on the pontoon. Done on week 8. Mike and I often enjoy spontaneous last minute boat rides. Having our boat at the dock, uncovered except for the canopy on the hoist makes it easy!
  44. Take our dog Kobe on a walk through a nearby park. Kobe was delighted with this one. He also enjoyed a whole lot of walks when we were in Florida as there is a dog park in our community located about 3/4 mile from our house. (See week 12)
  45. Watch a movie in French. Done. In fact, I’ve watched several and through the course of the year, my comprehension has definitely improved, though I still use the subtitles as I don’t pick up every word.
  46. Discover a new favorite wine. I was happy to have been gifted this wine aptly called Shady Lane. Alas, it was a limited edition from a private vineyard. I will stay on the look out for more wines of this varietal from their Shady Lane vineyard. Week 11
  47. Do a high-ropes course. So fun! If you remember it took two attempts due to inclement weather. But if you are thinking of doing it, I highly recommend Treerunner. It was fun for our whole family. (See weeks 17 & 20)
  48. See Liverpool. Again, I tackled this early on during our memorable trip to England. Week 2
  49. Go sight-seeing in Boston. We loved Boston and I discussed our trip during week 10.
  50. Do yoga at least once a week. I may have missed a week or two in here but especially now with arthritis, I am planning to practice it even more regularly.

So, if you are keeping track, I consider myself to have completed 46 of the 50 things I set out to do. Some things simply couldn’t be done thanks to Covid and others were interrupted. In the case of piano playing, I decided it really isn’t something I actually wanted to pursue. For me, this has been a worthwhile endeavor. In looking back over my 59th year, it has been filled with travel, novelty, leisure, enjoyment, learning, adventure, along with the unwelcome surprise of Covid-19. I think creating a list of desired goals and activities definitely added a richness to my year.

What have I learned from this year? I’ve learned I’m made of sterling stuff. I’m tougher than I thought. I am happy to welcome my 60th year, along with all it brings, both the joy and the challenges. We’ve got a new reality and while we are all learning how to adapt and adjust, I am going to keep reaching out to try new things. I’m going to push myself to look at things with different eyes, to challenge my body as well as my mind. I wonder what my 60’s will bring. What new challenges will be presented and what new opportunities will arise, or are they one in the same? Being diagnosed with arthritis makes me wonder about my genetic lottery, what other illnesses may yet reveal themselves? I hope my 60s are as wonderful as my 50’s have been. To tell you the truth if they are only half as good, it would still be more than I could possibly hope for. And for that I am so grateful. As my 50’s have drawn to a close, this will be my last post. Whether you tagged along for the whole trip or just popped in here and there, thanks for following me. You are appreciated. Stay well my friends. Cheers to the next decade!

Week 31: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties

It’s been a fun and productive week! The holidays always seem to add a layer of extra busyness. My shopping is only halfway done, which is very unlike me. I am normally 99% finished by this time. On the plus side, I know what I am buying, I just need to get out there and do it. I’ve already ordered everything I intended to order from online, so all should arrive in time. It’s just the real life shopping that I’ll need to complete.

So let’s dig in. In regard to item # 7 – Lose 10 pounds, I have plateaued with about a pound to go. I have decided my best option is to try to hold steady through the holidays and resume reduction efforts after we return from Florida soon after the first of the year. I believe that will be difficult enough. I am still using the Noom app and have found it helpful. On a related note, I am slacking a little on the NordicTrack workouts. I did two this week, bringing me up to 62 workouts of the 50 work out goal. One was a stroll through Dubrovnik, Croatia and the other a stroll along the Champs Elysees in Paris. We have visited both of these cities IRL (in case you aren’t familiar, you may see this abbreviation in your kids’ texts, it means “In Real Life”). I’m probably too old to be using these abbreviations but IDC. I’m pretty sure that means “I don’t care.” And if it doesn’t, it should! The Dubrovnik one was interesting as despite having visited this city, there were still new things to learn. I didn’t know that at one point in their history a kilo of salt was as valuable as a kilo of gold. They would harvest it from the sea and use it to “pay off” their aggressors to retain their autonomy. I learn something new almost every time I hop on the treadmill!

Item #10- Keep attending classes through Alliance de Francais. This Monday’s class is the last for this year. I will be setting up private FaceTime or Skype classes after the start of the year when classes resume. I hope this will allow me to keep up while traveling and pick right up where I left off in class upon my return. My Duolingo streak is intact and I am so excited that they’ve recently added additional content which gives me some new things to learn! I am also revisiting Pimsleur French IV and V, which is an audio language learning course.

Item # 11 – Try one new to us restaurant each month. This time we were out on the western side of the state meeting friends from that area. My husband is a private pilot, so we flew and shortened what would have been at least a two hour car trip to a short 45 minute flight. We were even able to fly over the Big House in Ann Arbor. Our friends picked us up at the airport and we went to a nearby restaurant called The Four Roses Cafe, in Plainwell. It is rather unassuming from the outside. In fact, it looks a lot like someone’s home who suddenly decided to open a restaurant, but oh my goodness! What a treat. Everything is made with the freshest ingredients and menus are changed daily based on the best locally available produce. I had a grilled romaine salad for my entree which was wonderful but the best was saved for last. They make some really scrumptious home made desserts on site from scratch. Between the four of us, three deserts were ordered and they were all amazing. My husband had the Coconut Cream Pie, our friends ordered a brownie sundae type desert and another chocolate desert whose name I can’t remember but it was reportedly delicious. I just had a bite of Mike’s pie and it was worth whatever calories were in it! If you are ever in the area, I would recommend seeking this place out. We arrived at 11:40 am on a Friday and had a half hour wait, so be prepared. They will, however, take reservations for parties of six or more.

Flying over the Big House!

Our Florida house is coming along. The couch, desk and end tables for the den should be delivered on December 31st. As far as furniture goes, we will just be missing our barstools. Curtains for the dining room and den are hopefully to be hung sometime this week. I still have a lot of accessorizing to do, along with fabric selections for bedroom curtains, and bathroom valances. The bedrooms do have blinds in place for privacy. They have dug the pool and poured the walls. They back filled and leveled the yard. Next comes pavers, and tiling/gunnite as well as a lanai surround. I can’t wait to watch it all come together!

Walls are poured and ground is back-filled and leveled. Making headway!

I am currently reading “This Is How It Always Is” book #70 of my 50 book goal by Laurie Frankel. It is a Reese Witherspoon book club pick. It’s a little early to decide if it’s one I’ll recommend but I’ll let you know.

This book is a selection from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. I’ve just started it, so I’ll keep you posted.

In item #26 – Organize and catalog all of the photos sitting in a jumble in the storage room, I have made great headway. There were way more photos than I originally anticipated and I keep finding more caches of them all over the house. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though and hope to complete this project before year’s end.

The large plastic container and the smaller boxes are still being sorted and filed. The smaller plastic boxes are almost all filled. Thankfully the end is in sight!

I haven’t been as good with item #13 – Daily meditation. It’s been a rather hit or miss proposition lately, primarily due to the busyness of the holidays, the extra get-togethers, cooking, shopping, baking, birthdays and events. I know they say that is when you need it the most, to calm a busy mind, so I am going to have to double down on my efforts to fit it into an already jam packed day. I think perhaps starting the day with a short bit of meditation ideally followed by a brief bit of yoga should help bring clarity that will let me tackle whatever lies ahead. Well, at least I hope so.

I have been working on my family tree a little through Ancestry.com. Recently a second cousin reached out to me via messaging and we have been exchanging helpful information for our family trees. It’s an interesting thing to have someone who’s shared a common history yet we don’t know each other and I doubt either of us had heard of the other before genetically matching on the DNA testing and determining that we shared a few relatives. I look forward to doing a deeper dive soon, perhaps after the rush of the holidays.

In item # 30 – Finish a Masterclass, I’ve finished the Anna Wintour Masterclass and have recently started one with make-up expert Bobbi Brown. I’m really enjoying it so far. She is kind of the antithesis of the Kardashians, very understated and natural. So far, I’m liking what I see. This will be the third Masterclass for this year. Before Anna Wintour, I took the Margaret Atwood Writing class. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of these courses.

Well, I believe I have a few presents to wrap and there is a glass of Moscato calling my name. I am taking the next two weeks off from the blog to revel in the holidays and enjoy spending time with my family. I will rejoin you on January 6th. Until then, I’ll leave you with my favorite holiday quote from Burton Hillis , “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” I hope the same will be true for you this season. Cheers!

Merry Christmas!!

Week 9: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties

Monday already? This week has just flown by! The highlight of our week was a long weekend in Mackinac Island. If you are not from Michigan and are unfamiliar with the island, you are missing out! This is a tiny island, with a coast of 8.2 miles, perfect for biking around the perimeter. It covers 3.8 square miles and much of it is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park. No cars are allowed and travel is done exclusively by bicycle or horse and carriage. It is an area rich in history and serves as a popular tourist draw, attracting both day trippers and those visiting for a few days. My extended family has been coming here for years. My parents stay in their boat at the marina and family members either stay with them or at nearby resorts. Once we arrived, I was excitedly looking forward to checking off a long-awaited item on my bucket. As many years as we’ve been coming here, we’ve never eaten at The Woods, which is a lovely restaurant associated with the Grand Hotel (another popular tourist destination). This Bavarian influenced restaurant is tucked away in the woods (hence the name) and requires a 30-45 minute carriage ride to get to it. My husband, myself and our daughters had six o’clock reservations on a Friday evening. After a leisurely carriage ride, we arrived right on time. Our waiter, Michael, was amazing. He has been working there for over 20 years and his experience and warmth made our evening even better. I ordered a grilled New York strip steak, done perfectly. My daughter Sam enjoyed her spinach Florentine ravioli and my older daughter, Jenna had roasted free range half chicken. My husband ordered the crispy maple duck breast. All of our entrees were delicious and even the sides were yummy. I especially liked the red cabbage. We ordered 3 desserts to taste, a mango cheesecake, chocolate hazelnut tart with dark cherry jubilee sauce and vanilla cake donut topped with Mackinac Fudge Ice cream. All were wonderful. It was a bit of a splurge, but the experience was memorable and worth it!

Cheers to another item checked off!

We were on the island from Thursday to Sunday morning, arriving by ferry and staying at The Harbour View Inn. It is possible to fly in, and we’ve done so if we are just staying the day. My husband pilots an older Mooney but the airstrip is even large enough to accommodate a small jet. We’ve stayed at various hotels over the years, but Harbour View Inn seems to be the one we come back to the most. It’s a short walk to the marina and depending on your room, you may get a little view of the harbor. We requested a suite which has 2 beds along with a siting area with a pull out bed, giving us plenty of space if we have an extra guest or two. Breakfast is included. I did manage to bike the island 4 times, in preparation for that ride to Lake Eerie. My husband Mike and daughter Sam actually ran the island, all 8.2 miles, while my daughter Jenna and I biked it as their support team. I was so proud of them both as this is not a typical run for either of them. This trip is always a memorable one and I am so grateful to be able to continue to make these memories with my family. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Mackinac Island, I highly recommend it. Hiking, kayaking, bicycling, shopping and dining, there’s something for everyone!

Mike and Sam on their run.
My family, (minus my sister and her husband). They only visited for one of the days this year.
Just a little bit of the Grand Hotel. Sadie’s is a family favorite for ice cream.
Another flower garden on the grounds of The Grand Hotel.

As for ongoing items, yes, I am still working out on my Nordic Track. I am at work out 22 with a goal of completing 50. I have maintained my 698 day streak on Duolingo. I always manage to get a lesson in, even on vacation. Our Florida home has broken ground and walls are up, so one step closer to decorating. (hurray!) I finished “Summer of 69” by Elin Hildebrand. It was a great light read. I always enjoy reading her books in the summer and this one did not disappoint. I think I particularly enjoyed the setting of 1969 as it was very reminiscent of my childhood. I am now reading “The Education of Dixie Dupree.” This is our book club meet-up book and I am looking forward to sharing insights. That puts me at book #40 out of my goal of 50 by December 31. I am 74% of the way there, 13 books ahead of schedule. I try to have a safety cushion in the summer when there is a little more time to read. Meditating via the Headspace App continues and weekly yoga is a thing, though just via Youtube this week.

Our bathroom is essentially complete, we are just waiting on some paint touch-ups, and some artwork that I’m having re-matted as well as the glass shower door that is currently being made. I will be excited to share the before/after when the project is complete!

And you guys…guess what? It’s happening and I am so excited! I’ve made my skydiving reservation for August 17th. I am doubly excited because my daughter Jenna wants to jump with me! If anyone else is game to give it a try, feel free to join us on the 17th. Absolutely looking forward to it! 

That’s it for this week. We head to Boston next weekend so I hope to have some cool things to share. If you’re curious and you want to check out my original bucket list, the link is below. Make it an awesome week! Geronimoooooo!

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/page/farewelltomy50s.home.blog/10

Week 8: Farewell to My Fabulous 50’s

Summer on the lake. Backyard views.

Well I am eight weeks in and feeling pretty satisfied with my progress so far. The check marks are flying and the bucket-list items that require ongoing commitment are also doing well. As Mike was off this week, we had a little more time to accomplish some of the things on our summer wish list (and my bucket-list). Fun fact: I thought we were approaching the midway point of summer, so I googled it. And guess what? Summer is not half over until August 7th. We still have a lot of summer left! Doesn’t that make you feel better? So let’s get on with it, shall we?

The bathroom is rounding home plate. Tony, our contractor extraordinaire and jack of all trades came on Saturday to finish up. The last items needed will be a custom glass door, which is scheduled to be measured by Al, someone Tony recommended, on Tuesday. It also needs painting which I’ve lined up for Tuesday. I picked several paint colors and we narrowed it down to the top two contenders. We painted swatches on the wall and have decided to go with Sherwin Williams Seasalt. Did we make the right choice? Let me know what you think! The wainscoting will be Extra-white, also by Sherwin Williams. The last thing we need are all of the accessories, towels, wash cloths, waste baskets, artwork, i.e. the fun stuff! I’ll wait to share bathroom pictures though until the final product.

Unfortunately the true colors didn’t translate well. They are a bit lighter than this appears.

I also used my herb garden to prepare a dish this week, Skinny Teriakyi Pork Chops topped with a few chives from the garden. It’s from a recipe I printed off the internet a few years ago. It was yummy! I wish I could attribute the recipe to someone however, despite an exhaustive internet search, I couldn’t relocate this exact recipe, just variations of it. Here is the recipe:

Skinny Pineapple Teriakyi Pork Chops

20 oz can Pineapple Slices in 100% juice, (reserve 1/2 cup juice)

1/4 cup less sodium soy sauce

2 TBSP brown sugar

2 TBSP rice vinegar

1/4 tsp ground ginger

4 -40z boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat

1 tsp fresh chives, chopped

  1. In a small bowl prepare marinade. Whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar and ground ginger.
  2. Place pork chops in a large resealable bag and cover with marinade. Seal bag and place pork chops in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. If possible, turn bag every hour or so to evenly cover pork cops with marinade.
  3. Remove pork chops from bag. DO NOT DISCARD MARINADE.
  4. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring marinade to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce for 15-17 minutes until sauce thickens, making sure to stir sauce frequently. After sauce has thickened, remove from heat and place in a small dish. You will use this marinade sauce while grilling pork chops and pineapple.
  5. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Place pork chops on grill and brush often with marinade sauce while cooking. Cook pork chops on each side for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Delicately add pineapple slices to grill and cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides.
  8. Let pork chops rest for 2-4 minus before serving.
  9. To serve, place a grilled pineapple on top of each pork chop and sprinkle with chives.

Serving size is 1 pork chop/1 pineapple slice, 268 calories

Skinny Teriakyi Pork Chops topped with garden chives and a side of my “special” coleslaw.

Yoga lakeside was ah-mazing! (bucket list item #50) Thanks to my sister-in-law Sharon and my niece Ashley, our instructors, for the excellent start to our day. Thanks also to Katherine for sharing her beautiful lake-front with us. Class started at 10:30am and it was H*O*T*. It felt like what I imagine hot yoga must feel like. Sweaty. Despite the heat, it was an amazing class. I know the heat seemed to improve my flexibility, but the best part for me was, as we were resting in savasana, a gentle cleansing rain came and cooled us off. Thank you Mother Nature!

Favorite way to do yoga: Outdoors with friends.

We tried a new restaurant, San Morello (bucket-list item #11). This little gem is located in the new Shinola Hotel in downtown Detroit. We brought Mike’s stepmom, Louise, out to lunch there for her birthday. The atmosphere was lovely and everyone’s meals were delicious. We ordered 2 dips with bread for our starters: Sheep’s milk ricotta with hot honey and garlic and also Italian butter bean wild mushroom sott’aceto. Both were yummy though I especially liked the ricotta dip. Louise ordered a traditional breaded eggplant al forno, (Melanzane for you Italians out there.) I had a classic tomato, mozzarella, basil wood-fired pizza, and Mike ordered Tuna tartare as an entree. Our waitress was very good and I would absolutely go back. We opted to sit inside as it was extremely hot but they do offer patio seating and I’ll bet it’s lovely on a cool summer evening. Here is a link to their website if you want to check it out for yourself. https://www.sanmorello.com

San Morello. You can see the patio dining to the left.
Lunch with the birthday girl.

After lunch, we walked around the city a bit and discovered this cute little coffee shop, Madcap Coffee, next to The Brakeman. It had large windows that open in the summer, allowing you to place your order street-side. We ordered their summer blend, which we enjoyed before heading home.

Awaiting our coffee. Bonus: a good place to people-watch.

Newsflash on the wine front: I may have a contender here for new favorite wine. I gave the waitress at San Morello my likes and dislikes and, after conferring with the bartender, she suggested I try a white wine from central Italy, Verdicchio Classico Castelli di Jesi Felici 2017, Marche. It was $12 by the glass, and I was able to find it online from $14-$20 a bottle depending on the vendor. If you, like me, prefer less dry white wines, with crisp fruit notes, you might like this one. Currently, it is my top contender for new favorite wine!

Top contender so far for new favorite wine!

Bucket-list item #43 was a sunrise breakfast on the pontoon. Mission accomplished. We got up early on July 4th before the lake gets busy and had a lovely little sausage/egg/English muffin sandwich with fresh pineapple orange juice, and fruit. I hope we are able to do this a few more times this summer. What an awesome way to start the day!

Breakfast on the boat. Don’t mind if I do!

On Sunday, we had planned to tackle that bike ride to Lake Eerie but we decided to take a raincheck. Literally. Rain would have affected much of our ride and why make it unpleasant when we don’t have to?

As you can see, it was a busy week. Hope you all had a happy and safe July 4th. Until next week, happy trails!