Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving With Family In Michigan

Meet Abby, the newest member of the family.

Wednesday morning, my husband-Lon, son-Jared, niece-Brittany, brother-Bob, sister-in-law-Bonnie and I headed from Wisconsin to near Detroit where two of my brothers-Tom and Carl have homes. On the way, we stopped to visit my nephew-Ryan, his wife-Sarah and their daughter-Abby who recently moved into a new home in Rives Junction, north of Jackson, Michigan. Another nephew-Drew, niece-Beth and everyone previously mentioned joined in the fun that evening at Ryan and Sarah's beautiful home.
On Thanksgiving Day, everyone mentioned above met for dinner at my brother-Carl's home in Waterford, Michigan, northwest of Detroit. We filled two tables for the holiday meal and the entire house with laughter and the warmth that comes when family members separated by hundreds of miles are together.

The younger folks did their own thing on Friday while my husband, brothers and sister-in-law went to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the MGM Grand Detroit casino. We even made time to do a bit (half an hour) of Black Friday shopping at a Bass Pro store.

Today, we said our goodbyes and thank yous and returned home to Beloit. We're thankful for good weather and no travel problems.

I thank Carl and Tom for welcoming us into their homes and providing us with more wonderful experiences to add to our memory banks.
How was your Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's hoping you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and weekend.

I'm fortunate to be spending the day with my husband, son, brothers and many of those in our extended family.

I hope to be back to posting stuff here in a few days.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My NaNoWriMo Experience

I'm coming down from the high I've been on since November 1st when I first sat down to write my first novel. As I type this, I'm sitting slouched down in my recliner chair instead of sitting upright in my desk chair at my writing table. My eyes are half-closed and I know bed is going to feel real good tonight.

It's nice to have reached my writing goal of 50,000 words as a participant of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. I'd like to summarize how the 22 days went. I'm really too tired, but let me try.

1. It was exciting to be doing something I'd never done before.

2. I knew if I sat down at my keyboard, words would come.

3. Some days I really wanted to sit down and write.

4. Some days I sat down to write only because I knew I had to in order to reach my goal.

5. When I make up my mind to do something, I'm hyper-focused. That worked to my advantage.

6. It was fun having blogger friends who were also participating. Knowing we were all doing the same thing at the same time was comforting and motivating.

7. Instead of writing nonsense in order to reach 50,000 words, I found myself with a certain amount of purpose and direction. That was unexpected and made the whole challenge more worthwhile.

8. Writing 50,000 words wasn't as impossible as I'd anticipated.

9. I'm looking forward to going back and reading my novel. Considering how quickly I had to write, I'm sure a great deal of my novel will be somewhat unfamiliar, like reading someone else's work.

The most exciting thing about writing for me is reading something I've written and being amazed. Reading something I've recently written and barely recognizing it as mine is an unusual experience, one that keeps me coming back for more.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The First Novel on My Bookshelf

**************I received the book Anne of Green Gables as a Christmas gift from my second cousin and her husband when I was eight years old.
I cherish it because it given to me by Marilyn and Dick and also because it was the first novel I ever owned.
Reading Anne of Green Gables was exactly what I needed at that age and yet I enjoy it more everytime I open the cover and step into Anne's world.
Do you have a book that meant a lot to you when you were growing up?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Novelist or Novelty?

***************For a few days in early November, I noticed this beetle in the room where I write. He flew clumsily and climbed from one object on the table to another, seemingly indifferent to my pursuit of the latest, greatest novel.

Without so much as a howdy, he alit on my laptop. He made his way to the keyboard while I sat back and observed. Go for it, I thought. Perhaps, he had something to contribute, a means to advance my cause. I sensed he was here for a purpose.

He looked things over. I waited for a sentence or two from his perspective, or a catchy phrase or even a single meaningful word.

Without adding so much as an exclamation point, apostrophe or semi-colon to my most magnificent manuscript, he abruptly and rudely, flew off, much as he'd come. Such is life.

In my mind, I'm nearly a novelist, yet to my recent roommate, I was merely a novelty.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NorthPointe Revisited

As I promised in my previous blog post regarding NorthPointe, I took my camera with me on my visit on Friday. I took over 100 pictures and then was faced with the daunting task of narrowing that number down to a reasonable amount to post here.

NorthPointe Health and Wellness Campus is an amazing facility and its employees are exceptional as well. I asked for and was given permission to take photographs as long as I promised to avoid including members in the pictures.

The individuals who staff the NorthPointe campus are the cream of the crop. When I asked a young fitness director upstairs in the fitness center if I could take some pictures for my blog, she was very friendly and gave me the go ahead. I was amazed to see that she went up to each person in the area and explained that I wasn't photographing them, only the fitness center. How considerate is that!

As I moved between the two floors and from the locker room to the spa and back upstairs again, I met the same friendly fitness director whom I had spoken to earlier. During our conversation, she asked me the name of my blog. She recognized it and told me she'd seen my previous blog regarding NorthPointe. You can imagine how happy that made me. One of her co-workers had searched NorthPointe on the internet and ended up at my blog. Yes!!!

When I enter through the revolving door at the main entrance, I'm awed by the spacious and beautifully designed and furnished lobby.

Mary's Market and Cafe offers salads, sandwiches, bakery items, sports drinks prepared with your health in mind. Tables and seating are available for enjoying a snack and relaxing.
Clothing and exercise accessories can also be purchased from the adjacent mini-sport shop.

NorthPointe Spa is located just off the main lobby. I recently enjoyed a relaxing manicure in this tastefully appointed full-service spa.
I experienced a minor inconvenience when I arrived at NorthPointe for a routine medical test earlier this year. The x-ray machine wasn't functioning properly at the time and I was asked to reschedule my appointment. When I returned a few days later for the test, the technician gave me a gift certificate to compensate me for having to reschedule my appointment. I used the gift immediately in the spa for a manicure and couldn't have been happier.

I like this. Water runs between two sheets of glass built into this wall in the spa area.

**************NorthPointe Wellness members check in at this desk.

Activity based childcare is provided in this room, the Fit 'n Fun room.

The hallway that leads to the men's and women's locker rooms is artfully decorated. Note the awesome "watcha-muh-callits" suspended from the ceiling.

************I followed verbal directions and made a left turn here, at the green tiled opening. The opening to the men's locker room is tiled in blue.

My dad was color-blind; fortunately, I'm not. Although, even if I was, on good days, I'd "probably" notice the life-sized WOMEN sign. Do you think??

Hey, hey, the YMCA locker room doesn't look anything like this.

When I saw these contraptions on the lockers, my first thoughts were: What in the world? I don't think I want to be here anymore. Actually, locking and unlocking a locker is easy and convenient. Really! After selecting a locker from the hundreds available and getting a few simple instructions from a tour guide on my first visit, I pressed the C, entered a four-digit number (any four numbers), pressed the key symbol and the locker door locked. To open the locker, I did the same thing with the same four-digit number. Voila. No padlocks and combinations to hassle with. Another YES from me!

Hey, lady. I'm getting dressed here! Other than this one of myself, I was extremely careful that I steered clear of everyone when I snapped pictures in here in the locker room.

A whirlpool, steam room and sauna are in an enclosed area adjacent to the locker room.

***************I swam some laps in this seven-lane pool during my first workout here.

A warm-water therapy pool has to be the best thing since hot chocolate. On a super cold winter day, I could handle hanging out here.

**************This is NorthPointe's spinning studio. The yoga studio is also located on the first floor.

Stairs or an elevator are available for getting upstairs. Normally, I avoid elevators but after a hard, long workout, the elevator may be very tempting and/or necessary.

************I love these wallhangings.
It's tempting to skip my workout and just stroll around the campus, appreciating the artwork.

*************I chose mid-afternoon on a Friday for my photo shoot. That's the reason it's quiet around here.

More than 100 pieces of cardiovascular and strength-training equipment are ready and waiting to be used.

Oops. I'm not supposed to include members in my pictures. What the heck, I've got their backs!

This is a section of the walk/jog track. With all the glass, it's the next best thing to running outside.

**********A view of the pool is available from upstairs.

***********A 2,000 square-foot Group Exercise Studio has more than enough room for a super big class.

These exercise machines have their own television sets to entertain you while you workout. After you program your vital statistics and what type of workout you want, it tells you everything you need to know about your what you've accomplished. Unfortunately, you have to do the exercising part yourself.

Need a hug?

**************How could anyone pass by this rack of hand weights without hefting a couple? In fact, they look good enough to eat.

Sorry about the huge spaces between some of the pictures. They aren't there when I create my blog posts. When I click on "Publish Post," everything shifts.
Thanks for tagging along with me on my stroll upstairs, downstairs and all around the NorthPointe Wellness facility.