I've tried to post twice now in the past couple days, but I've been rejected either by blogger.com or my laptop. If you've ever seen my laptop, you'd understand. The bottom left quarter of the screen flashes pretty much non-stop these days, which means if you're on the computer too long you can get a migraine. Just trying to keep the computer hanging on a couple more months though...
Anyway, my birthday was fantastic... and apparently way more people read this blog than I knew because I got more happy birthday emails this year than I have in a long time. I should make public announcements of my achievements more often!
Friday after work we jumped in a rented PT Cruiser. We don't trust the panda (our car, which looks like a panda, have we mentioned it before?) for long journeys, much like we don't trust my computer for long stretches computering. The drive to Saugatuck was pretty easy. About two and a half hours, but it would have been less had we not been leaving the city at rush hour on a Friday. We stopped at Taco Bell for dinner and had the friendliest drive-thru attendant in the world take our order. Seriously. Funny jokes, enthusiasm, and more. Cracked me up. Let's hear it for northern Indiana.
We got to our B&B in the late evening. It's called the Seymour House and they treated us very well all weekend. It was too dark to see much on the grounds when we arrived, but we were treated to delicious homemade cookies right away. After settling in, we jumped back in the car and headed into Saugatuck (we were a couple miles south) and wandered around a few of the stores that were still open. We bought a sweatshirt for Rob because it was rather chilly. We bought a wicked cool outdoor rug made entirely from recycled plastic that we're going to put on our deck. Then we got some of the best ice cream I've ever tasted at Kilwin's. The flavor was Saugatuck Mud, I believe. We also were amazed by the display case there, which includes chocolate dipped twinkies and caramel and chocolate coated rice krispie treats. Whoa. Back at the B&B we explored the shelves full of movies and picked the old Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca to watch. I like old scary movies because the style is different enough that I feel the suspense but don't get terrified like I do from today's scary movies.
The next day, after a fantastic homemade breakfast and some nice conversation with our fellow B&B guests including a gentleman from Louisiana named Scuddy, we wandered down the road to a small beach that's part of a county park, recommend by our B&B owners. Excellent recommendation because the beach was beautiful and we shared the space with just a dozen or so other people. We had brought with us some badminton rackets and birdies we'd picked up in Saugatuck and tried to play for a good while, but playing badminton on a windy beach means you can't ever really get a rally going. After we were done with the beach we went to a pick-your-own farm, Earl's Berry Farm, where we picked a ton of fresh blueberries. The farm also has an ice cream shop with homemade desserts. By this time it was mid-afternoon, so we decided to split a bowl of peach cobbler for lunch. It was out of the this world good. I told Rob that if we hadn't been in public, I totally would have licked the bowl. I kid you not.
We headed back to the B&B to change clothes and meet up with Resa and Nick who were soon arriving at a nearby B&B to chill with the birthday girl. Resa saved the day by arriving with a copy of the new Harry Potter book for me, which I had not been able to locate in the surrounding area. Phew!!!! (If you have not read the Harry Potter books, you must. They are so fun and so uplifting and so genuine. Sure there may be better literature out there, but if you're an adult whose love of reading traces back as far as you can remember, these books will bring you right back to that joy.)
Our foursome then set off to a nearby Michigan winery, which we were told was by far the best in the area. On our way Resa warned that Michigan wines aren't quite like Napa and Oregon wines. I don't have a very refined palate when it comes to wines, so I didn't think much of it. Then we tasted the wines. Oy. Some were very good, but others were truly awful. I mean really, really tastes-like-dirt awful. You get to pick 5 wines to sample off their list so I decided to try the five of the more expensive ones in hopes that I wouldn't get any bad ones. Not a winning strategy. But we did find a nice pinot grigio we all liked. We bought a bottle and enjoyed it outside in the vineyard's picnic area.
Then it was off to Saugatuck. We did a bunch of window shopping in the very fun and unique shops. We had dinner at Restaurant Toulouse, which was absolutely great. Rob, Resa and Nick had the waitress put a candle in my bread pudding and sung happy birthday to me. Awww. We spent the rest of the night at a piano bar in Saugatuck which Rob did not want to patronize with me the night before, but because it was my birthday, he was forced into submission on Saturday. It was a ton of fun -- I love singing along to cheesy music and Resa is the ideal partner for such an endeavor. Resa told the piano guy that it was my birthday, so I got another happy birthday song. Awww again. All in all it was an excellent evening. I couldn't have asked for a more satisfying birthday.
Sunday the four of us headed south a little to South Haven and were amazed by the gorgeous beach there as we strolled down the pier to the lighthouse. Then Resa and Nick headed to their friend's lake house in Indy while Rob and I hit the road. We stopped at the Michigan City outlets on the way back to pick up a few things for Portugal. Rob drove the whole way home so I could read Harry Potter (what an understanding husband!), although I did put the book down when we stopped at Steak 'N Shake for food. I love Steak 'N Shake.
We were home early evening on Sunday and we cannot wait to go back to southwestern Michigan. It's beautiful and peaceful. The stars at night are overwhelmingly bright. Everyone was friendly and seemed happy to meet you. It was a great weekend.
Now after just a few days home, I'm off to DC tonight for the ACS convention. I'm sneaking out early on Saturday though to get home in time to run the Teb's Troops 5K on Sunday morning.
Whew. That was a lot of updating to do! I'll do OP stats later, but I can give you a preview: I've been sitting on my butt while Rob's been kicking butt. And eventually I'll post a review of Harry Potter, which I finished on Monday. I'll put it behind a link or something so I don't give anything away in case any of you are fans!