Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Memorial Day at Clear Lake

It was a perfect day in West Michigan, to be on a lake, savoring the cool breeze, warm sun mixed with good food and warm friends and family.

And that's precisely what we did on Monday last.

After paying our respects to Aunt Marian in Plainfield Cemetery, Susie, her mom and I drove the five minutes to the Ten Have-Galloway-Chapman clan on Clear Lake: it was the day of the big potato cookoff and we had a half dozen different potato recipes to enjoy along with several salads and grilled brats from Kingsma Market in Grand Rapids (they make their own thank you very much).

A wonderful day with nice folks enjoying each other's company. One could ask for nothing more except maybe no double vision but that's another story. . . Be well, be happy and remember life is short!


Laurie and Susie

The new grill!

brats on parade



Aunt Bernice with nieces Melissa and Jennifer


Karen and Marianne

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Juliette Recamier

If you've read histories about Paris in the early 19th century you've probably come across this woman. A close friend of Madame de Staël and one of the more outspoken critics of Napoleon, a position which cost her dearly, she was reportedly one of the most beautiful women in a city that craved beauty. That and she had a mind of her own.

So, when you see Juliette, tell her I said bonjour and will stop by and pay my respects the next time I'm in town. You have to look hard for Juliette at the cemetery in Montmartre -- ever modest even when she was the toast of Paris she's now quite elusive. You'll find her in Division 30.

Monday, May 08, 2017

May 2017 update from Grand Rapids

Our wonderfully mild winter has been followed, as you have probably already suspected, by a gorgeous spring. So, we a couple of weeks ago took the opportunity to go across the street and stroll in Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, savoring blossoms, sun and blue sky. . .

"Baboon with chimpanzee" 1996 by Marshal Fredericks

"Juggler clown, acrobat clown, lovesick clown" 1991 by Marshal Fredericks

We were fortunate to have Easter dinner with the Ten Have Chapman Galloway clans out at Clear Lake -- there's always plenty of lively conversation and great food at their gatherings. We returned just last Sunday to join them all for lunch as they welcomed Berenice's parents who were visiting from France.


OK, here's the backstory: Berenice is from France. She began her American phase of life as an exchange student living with the Ten Have Chapmans and decided to try and make her way in the world from here rather than there, if you get my drift. And just a week ago she graduated form Grand Valley State University here in West Michigan and will spend the summer studying for the CPA exam before heading off to Detroit to work for an accounting firm.

Now, put yourself in her shoes -- even though your feet may be bigger than hers --  you're a young person living in a foreign county, no family, although the THCs have pretty much got that covered now, and you're learning a new language and culture and then decide, "Hey, I'm going to make my way in the world right here and right now." Would any of us be able to do that as an 18-year-old American right out of high school plopped down in Normandy or Brittany? Few if any, I suspect. What she is doing is nothing short of incredible.

Matt, Berenice, her mother and father

Berenice with her parents and John Ten Have

Garrett Ten Have Chapman
The other day we joined a tour group from Aquinas College's Osher Lifelong Learning Center and  took a bus to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. Visiting the museum had been on our to-do list for some months now and when we heard that the OLLI folks were planning a trip we took advantage of letting someone else drive there and back.

We left Grand Rapids at 8:30 in the morning and were back home by 5:30 -- and since it's about 6 hours there and back we spent about twice as much time on the road as we did on the museum. No matter, we had plenty of time to savor the treasures of all three floors and since it was raining the entire time it was good to be inside anyway.

The building's architecture is fantastic, well-represented by two of the main halls:

Riviera Court

The Great Hall

At the top of our must-see spaces were the Dutch Golden Age, British, Italian, Medieval and Renaissance, and American rooms. We weren't disappointed.

"View of Rutland, Vermont, 1840" by Asher Durand

Self portrait 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh

"Woman in an armchair" 1874 by Pierre Auguste Renoir

"Café scene in Paris" 1874 by Henri Gervex
The one was one of our favorites:
"The nut gatherers" 1882 by Adolphe-William Bougereau