Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sedona 2108

This is the casita in Sedona, AZ where Gil and I have stayed for a week during the Michigan winter for three years in a row. It's cozy and just enough room for the two of us. On this latest trip, we hiked Chimney Rock Pass (3.2 miles RT) and Broken Arrow (3 miles RT) -- took the Submarine Rock side trip. Also hiked Baldwin Trail but it was long (7.2 miles round trip) and we hiked Chuckwagon which went alongside the 4x4 jeep road to Devil's Bridge.

We traveled from November 8-15, 2018. We looked at staying at the Wyndham Resort in Sedona for future trips. At Sedona Pines, we don't get AT&T phone reception and internet is spotty.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Nico to Winter in Kentucky

Nico Grafton-Raff will spend his winter in Kentucky on a horse farm free to roam the acres of rolling fields without having to live in a stall during what could be a harsh Chicago winter.

Having just competed in the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, he is enjoying the life of a snowbird in Kentucky for the winter.

He was offered for sale, but no offers came in at the asking price, so he will be around for Marika to continue training in the Spring 2109 at Stanley Luke Farm in Chicago.

He has shown lots of potential for becoming a champion Hunter Jumper and his training will continue -- much to the delight of owners, Marika and Gill Grafton.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Gil's 70th Birthday

Gil asked for a small, understated party to celebrate his 70th birthday. He wanted family only, which meant all the kids and grandkids, and his sisters (Meryl couldn't come) and his cousin, Peter, and his nephew, Yehoshua.

Everyone who was invited came -- if only for the day -- and although everyone arrived and departed at various times during the three day weekend celebration, the main event was on Saturday, September 15th, 2018 from 4-8 pm.

I had invitations made and coasters marking the occasion. Rachel Cohen Cooks Detroit catered the dinner of beef tenderloin and salmon. The kids bought Gil a 7-speed Townie bike. Evan and I made him scrapbooks. (Evan's was extraordinary!) Genie gave him a handblown glass globe.

It was during the transition season from summer to fall but we were lucky enough to have a weekend of hot weather. We sat on the patio under the umbrella, we swam next door at the Munn's pool, we went to the Petting Zoo at Kensington and took a hike on our favorite Kensington trail. We walked down the street several times to the pond.

Asher helped us make apple sauce from our own apples, picked tomatoes with Marika, fed the deer carrots, cleaned out the bird house, saw cranes on our hike and threw endless football passes in the living room managing to leave all the lampshades unscathed!

After everyone left, Gil said it had been the perfect way to celebrate and was everything he had envisioned it would be. Ta-dah!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nico: The Racetrack Rescue

Marika was blessed with the the literal gift of a horse by her dear friend and mentor, Gill Grafton. Gill and Marika have shared a love of horses and riding since they met at least 15 years ago at Huntington Ridge in Holly, MI. At the time, Gill was the most respected rider at the facility and owned two large stallions. Those two horses were feared and respected by many and Gill was careful to let only certain capable riders work them. Marika became one of those trusted riders.

Fast forward, Gill went to medical school and became an advanced cardiologist. Marika, similarly mentored by Gill's encouragement, went to medical school and has chosen her own medical specialty.

Marika now lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and Gill remains in Ann Arbor with her husband and young son, Graham. Gill and Marika have kept in touch and visit one another whenever Marika is in Ann Arbor. Marika has missed having a horse and dreamed of the day she could own one again.

Enter Gill and her generous spirit. Together, Gill and Marika looked at many videos of horses coming off the racetrack and available for sale. They found Nico at a Pennsylvania racetrack, liked the way he moved in the video, paid the asking price and shipped him to a barn in Chicago near Marika.

Nico will be a "project" horse for Marika and Gill. Together they will support his needs and Marika will begin the slow process of training him to be a hunter/jumper for competitions.

This photo captures the joy Marika feels when she is near a horse and in the tack room of a barn. I don't think Nico can even begin to imagine how much he is wanted, needed and going to be loved at this time in his young life.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

At Terry Lee's Wedding

Oh! What a wonderful weekend in Albuquerque. It was Terry Lee and Andrew's wedding date on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at the Season's event space. It was also the last weekend of the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. 

We had breakfast on Saturday morning with Elsie, our friend and the nanny to our kids when they were growing up. We had lunch at Terry's for the out of town guests who had arrived. 

We had dinner at Shelley and Herb Koffler's out in Placitas and met up with many friends from past days.

The whole week was made better by having Marika with us. She flew in on Friday night and left soon after the wedding. We walked around Old Town and stopped in The Albuquerque Museum.

Then it was time to get Marika to the airport.

Gil had taken photographs during the wedding. He edited and posted them to Dropbox; then shared them with Terry and others by email invitation.

We tried to go to the last day of the balloon mass ascension but it was cold (35 degrees) and too windy to allow the ascension go on. At least we were able to figure out the logistics of getting there -- buy tickets beforehand and take the bus to the balloon launch grounds.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

New Baby arrives on Labor Day!

We have a new baby in the family! Ellery Jane born on Labor Day. Marika was the first of us to go visit and introduce herself to the baby. Gil and I followed the next weekend. She is precious. And she was such a good baby while we were there although she was only 10 days old at the time.

We stayed at a house down the street on Knoll Street in a VRBO which suited us just fine. 

While we were in Boston, we went to an Open House to see a house that Adam and Laura had previewed earlier that week. They ended up buying the house. It was such an adventure.

They're going to love living in it. It's their first house. Their priorities were a goo school district and a reasonable commute for Adam. They have three bedrooms and a guest room downstairs. A lovely patio and yard. Nice street. A park just down the way for kids.

Their move in date is in January. I will hope to go and help them get the job done.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sunday Brunch with Arun's Family

Marika made New Mexico-style burritos and Aarti brought makings for mimosas for our Sunday morning brunch in Chicago. After brunch, we walked to the Lincoln Park zoo and all around the area until we wore ourselves out and came back home to allow Marika to rest before her scheduled night shift that night.

Arun and I left Gil at home and went out to dinner at Davanti Enoteca near North Side on Hubbard with his family and their friends. Aarti did all the ordering for our group.

I got in 13,000 steps by the end of the day. It was sunny and in the 80's for most of the day.

Gil and I drove home the next day -- Labor Day. Stopped in at the Green Well for lunch as we did on our way TO Chicago two days before.

All in all, a wonderful weekend trip!