Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: Mining, Skiing, Golfing & Racing

Yes, that is a mannequin dressed in uniform. LOL
Vernon and I saw the largest steam driven pumping engine in the country; the Cornish Pump. This photo really doesn't do it justice.  You feel like a miniature person like in Honey I Shrunk the Kids when  you see the giant pistons.  Yes, you may be thinking, oooh, a giant pump, how... um... boring!  Well, Vernon enjoys mechanical stuff and history and I am interested in the history of Upper Michigan. We stopped at the Cornish Pump museum after having lunch and picking out my ring so it was a day with just the two of us.  The girls were perfectly happy sitting at home on Facebook... and when we came home later that day, they were right where we left them that morning.  In addition to all the cool mining stuff, the museum has another warehouse showing planes, gliders, old cars, military uniforms and other cool military stuff.  Apparently the Ford plant here in Kingsford built the gliders they used in WWII.  We watched a really interesting video of people actually working in the Ford plant here... which is now empty and deserted.  These gliders did not have engines in them, and they carried personnel, vehicles and equipment.  You have to see one to actually appreciate this concept.  The way they were picked up by other planes was really cool too... one plane would pick up 2 or 3 at a time.. you have to see it to believe it.  I found a video below, not the one we saw at the museum but one that shows how cool these gliders can be.

After our history lesson, we picked up my ring, and Yasmine and we went to the Ski-Ters show.  I knew they would enjoy the water skiing. I make sure to go to at least one show every summer.  I should go to more.. they are FREE! The radio station was there giving away door prizes.. I had entered Vernon's name without him knowing and his name was called! He was like, HUH? It was funny! He won a cd of some old country western singer, and it was autographed.  He thought it would be a perfect gift to bring home to his parents. I thought that was a great idea as well.

There is this place just across the Michigan border in Spread Eagle. (Yes, that is the name of the unincorporated community) and there is a strip club in Spread Eagle! Pretty genius... anyway... I have always passed this place called the Bears Den and wondered if it was any good.  Well after living up here for nearly 12 years I finally tried it out.  This place is AWESOME! It's clean, well kept, and the people are nice.  We spent an afternoon playing mini-golf  and Vern kicked all our butts, but I came in second. Woo Hoo!

Next were the go-karts.  Vernon was a speed demon and passing up the girls.  Yasmine was holding her own and zipping around the track, and then there was Heidi... I laughed so hard every time she came around, so very cautious.  Vern and Yaz would try to get around her because they lapped her a few times and Heidi would have this "Oh Shit!" look on her face. It was great.  She drove right in the middle which made it difficult for anyone to get around her. Vernon's face was very serious and he was so focused.  I loved watching him drive, I'm glad I chose to sit on the sidelines to take pictures.

I tried so hard to find a car show for Vern. He loves American cars, especially old American cars.  I looked for weeks on websites, facebook, for anything anywhere in the U.P. or north eastern Wisconsin, I couldn't find anything.  Then I remembered that there was a racetrack in Norway, MI so I looked in to that.  We went to the races one night, and what we thought was only going to be a couple of hours was hours and hours and hours... I never knew these races took so long. UGH!  The girls got sick of it really quick and ended up in the truck, Vern and I got tired after a while and left before it was over, but we had fun while we were there.

This post was a bit longer than I had planned, but I'm hoping you found it interesting or entertaining.  I again tried to fit things into our schedule that were "American", or "Upper Michigan".  I think I managed to succeed at that.

Do you have tourist traps, attractions or museums where you live? Do you ever go to them? I have been driving by the Cornish Pump/WWII Glider museum for 6 years without stopping in.  Don't wait for company or out of town visitors to go... you may learn something about where you live and actually have some fun.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big News

On the evening of Tuesday, July 31st Vernon proposed.  There will be no story or video.  It was a private, intimate and one of the most amazing moments in our lives.  One that neither of us will ever forget.  He is such a beautiful wonderful man and I am honored to be his future wife.

We went ring shopping the next day at Ericksons in town and they had it ready for me by 5pm that day.  We walked in and I thought it was going to be difficult and stressful, but they made it so much fun. As we looked at the different bands and diamonds, the perfect ring just fell into place. 

We do not have a date set, nor do we have solid plans as to living arrangements but I will keep you posted.  This engagement isn't just about Vernon and I, we have our kids to consider and as you may know, they always come first in our lives... (hence the 13 years of living apart).

I have a Pinterest board with wedding ideas.  My profile is in the "Follow Me" button on the right.  The wedding will be small and private.  We traveled to Copper Harbor, MI one year and loved it so we would like to be married up there.  I love daffodils because they remind me of England; and I would like to wear a raspberry colored dress.  Any suggestions, ideas, or comments will be appreciated.  I'm so excited and can't wait until our big day.

What's even more amazing is that our kids and families are thrilled.  I'm a very lucky girl.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: It's Fun Being a Yooper!

Yooper:  a common term for residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  

It was important to me to show Yasmine what I could about Iron Mountain and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I thought the Iron Mine would be interesting for everyone.  Heidi and I have already been down there, but we surely didn't mind doing it again.  I knew Vern would enjoy it, he loves that kind of stuff.  Of course we had to stick our faces in the wooden cutout... it isn't a true tourist trap without one. (Right Kim M? LOL)

The next day we went out on the Menomonee River with a friend of mine.  He was more than happy to give us a ride in his speed boat and show us some  amazing scenery.    The Menomonee River is the natural border between Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. In the photo to the left, we are facing west.  Wisconsin is on our left and Michigan is on our right.  Pretty cool.  I've been living up here for quite some time, but I've never done this before.  I had a blast! The girls really enjoyed it too. Vern went on and on how beautiful it was, and how awesome the houses on the river were. "If I lived out here I sure wouldn't be inside watching crap on TV, I'd be out here every day."  He also pointed out one of the houses and said that if he were to win the lottery that is the house he would buy and he would move up here.  Keep buying those lottery tickets Honey.  Again, like the relaxing day at the beach, it was nice seeing Vernon sit back, relax and enjoy a beer.  He really deserves it.

Look!  He's wearing his Loving From a Distance "Worth It" t-shirt! We both have one.

After spending an evening out on the river, we went home and had pastys for dinner.  Of course Vernon has had real Cornish pastys, but they wanted to compare ours to the "originals".  Everyone seemed to have enjoyed their dinner.  Considering the drought, the corn from a local farm in northern Wisconsin wasn't too bad.  

I wanted to squeeze in the ski jump at Pine Mountain but I never got around to it. I really wanted Yasmine to see it.  I believe I have already taken Vernon there.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: Pictures, Porketta, Pizza and a Perfect New Swim Suit

Vernon was here for two weeks in July/August.  He brought his daughter and the four of us had a wonderful time.  We started out on day one with family photos!  We were sad that Vernon's son was not able to make it but we really wanted to do this and it seemed like the girls enjoyed it as well.  My friend Nick of NJ Freelance is ridiculously talented and I so badly wanted him to take these photos.  We were so grateful that he said yes!

The first few days they were here it rained.  Here I told him it was going to be sunny and hot and it was just as it was back in England... rainy.  The midwest was experiencing a drought at the time, so it wasn't much rain, and in England they were having severe flooding which was causing mudslides and the like.  Two extreme weather conditions both with devastating results.  Fortunately we didn't suffer from the drought as much as they did in southern Wisconsin.  We just saw it in the produce department with the pitiful looking ears of corn and higher produce prices.

When I go out I like to be prepared, especially when it comes to weather.  Living in the midwest all my life that is the way it goes.  Still raining off and on when they first arrived I thought we'd try "Out to Lunch" in downtown Iron Mountain.  The city sponsors free music entertainment, vendors come by selling food and from 11-2 people can enjoy music while eating their lunch.  We all dressed warm and I even brought an umbrella. The second we got to the concert, the sun came out stronger than I have seen it all summer.  Poor Vernon burned his head and I was hot in my jeans.  Poor Yasmine had long sleeves on.  I blame myself for telling everyone to dress warm.  Heidi and Yaz went to the downtown shops and looked around.  Yaz found some cute souvenirs to take home to friends and family and she got herself a really cute sweatshirt.  Oh... and Vernon had his first Porketta from Crispigna's and he loved it!  They make great Porketta!  I love how he trusts me when I get him to try new foods.  Me... I'm not so adventurous.

Our first weekend together we took the girls to the mall in Appleton, WI.  We had a great time.  We were surprised at how long the girls were gone.  Vernon and I stopped at a few places, but ended up in the food court, hanging out, people watching.  It was nice just hanging out together.  The best part was when we all had lunch at Rocky Rococo's!  It is my most favorite pizza in the entire world.  Some days I actually consider driving the 2.5 hours to Appleton just to have their pizza.  It's so so good.

Vernon enjoyed his pizza, and I believe that Yasmine did too.  It was awesome that they tried out my favorite pizza place. 

Before Vernon and Yasmine arrived I had purchased the most amazing swim suit.  I had not bought a swim suit in probably over 10 years.  I really wanted something that would support my chest and be comfortable.  Well, after searching and searching which seemed like for months, I found Linda the Bra Lady who specializes in garments for women blessed in the "chestial region". I found a beautiful suit top. I found a matching skirt bottom on another site. Vernon loves it and I got many compliments.  Vern and I went to the beach at Lake Antoine here in Iron Mountain.  It's a nice family oriented beach and park and it was not crowded at all.  We had a relaxing quiet afternoon.

We had a great start to our visit together and to Yasmine's first time out of the UK.  It was really important to me that I show her as much as possible, focusing on what we have and do here in the beautiful Upper Peninsula.