Sunday, July 31, 2016

Update from Grand Rapids

Life is pretty good -- in fact, it's damn good.

The Tarte has several irons in the fire (and they're getting hotter by the minute), I'm very close to wrapping up my four-volume series of guidebooks to the sculptures in Paris Cemeteries, our trip to France is inching ever closer (cannot wait), the family here is all well, and Dick and Dorothy spent a few days last week to visit family, friends and just enjoy being in Western Michigan.

Good? I'd say it's great! and I've got the photos to prove it. . .
the French Tarte plotting her next move

this is quite probably the only palm tree on a beach in Michigan (Grand Haven State Beach)

part of the Victorian Garden at Meijer Gardens

waterfall at Meijer Gardens

Dick and Dorothy on their 34th anniversary at Meijer Gardens

Van Halsema cousins at Clear Lake: Melissa Ten Have Loaney, Jennifer Galloway and Susan VandenBereg

Clear Lake: a place of refuge

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Trip to France update

So, the latest travel news regarding our upcoming trip to France in September is Susie has signed up for a day and a half of pastry classes at Lenotre. Located at their educational facility just off of the Avenue des Champs Élysée she has taken professional development classes there before and found them enjoyable and informative.

We also signed up for an afternoon one-on-one pastry shop crawl with Clothilde Dusoulier (of Chocolate and Zucchini fame). We've used her Edible Adventures in Paris guide many times over the years and find her insight refreshingly practical and her grasp of local nuances amazing.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Vandenbergs at Gun Lake 1961-62

According to family history there were a number of summers in the early 1960s when some of the west Michigan VandenBergs would gather at Len & Joyce's cottage on Gun Lake, wedged between Allegan and Barry Counties.
standing far left is Martin Vandenberg

Joyce VandenBerg on the trampoline

Susan VandenBerg on the trampoline (Joyce sitting left)

Dick VandenBerg?

Susan VandenBerg sitting left, her sister Mary sitting in the back

is this Marinus VandenBerg? 

(Part of an ongoing project of scanning old slides of VandenBerg and Van Halsema family photos and sharing them online -- more to come!)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A small but important VandenBerg reunion

It's been more than 20 years since the very large and very extended VandenBerg clan has gotten together for a serious reunion.

And while this small gathering the other night at Fuller Street CRC (Christian Reformed Church) didn't even come close to that 1995 shindig, a handful of cousins who hadn't seen one another for some time sat down to dinner together, to chat and share memories, and of course to figure out when to plan the next reunion.

l-r: Jack VandenBerg, Jim Speyer, Dick VandenBerg and Dave VandenBerg

Mary VandenBerg Speyer

Jim Speyer, Jack VandenBerg, Dick VandenBerg

Susan VandenBerg

Fuller CRC

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Meijer Gardens with Dick and Dorothy on their 34th wedding anniversary

It was a steamy afternoon when we drove Dick and Dorothy over to Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

They celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary that day, all day in fact, and so we treated them to one of the more beautiful corners of the Great American Midwest. The four of us strolled through the children's garden, along wooded and wetland trails and of course circumnavigated the Japanese Gardens and spun through the Michigan Family Farm garden as well.
"Lion around" by Paul Baliker

along a trail in the children's garden

entrance to the Japanese Gardens
from the hill

from the island

Dorothy and Susie

Happy anniversary -- 34 years today!

part of the Michigan Farm Garden

back inside the Tropical Conservatory: can't enough of that Plumeria!

or enough of the orchids, for that matter

in the Victorian Garden: Passion flower?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tunis goes fishing in Canada, 1946

A year after my father-in-law left the army at the close of the Second World War in 1945 he joined a small group of guys on a fishing trip up north into Ontario, Canada. Their destination was Lake Anjigama, Ontario, north of Sault Sainte Marie and just a bit east of Lake Superior.

Sadly, Tunis is no longer with us so he can't answer the scores of questions that hover at the edges of this images: who were these guys (especially the man in the canoe with Tunis wearing the WW2 pilot's cap)? Why Anjigama? Where was the lodge? How did they get the canoes? Did they have fun? The train ride alone must have been worth the trip. . .

Tunis humping his gear and then some


Tunis in front
(Part of an ongoing project of scanning old slides of VandenBerg and Van Halsema family photos and sharing them online -- more to come!)