Be It Ever So Humble …

IMG_1018As bad as that photo might be — I should know better than to try to snap a shot through my windshield while driving 70 mph — its meaning is clear. I’m back home again after a wonderful visit with my Zia in Michigan. She loved hearing about my trip and many of my photos reminded her of our Italian holiday a dozen years ago. We both laughed — as did my siblings earlier — whenever I mentioned my Zia in San Marino. She really did keep me entertained and I cannot help but smile when I think of my stay with her and my cousins. I cannot wait to get back to San Marino but, next time, I’ll stay longer.

While in Michigan, Zia and I cooked up a storm, as we always do. As luck would have it, though, only one dish, roast duck, will make it to the blog. The recipes for the rest of what we ate — from homemade sausage to pasta e fagioli to risotto — have already been posted. I really have shared quite a bit of the Bartolini cookbook.

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Fetch!*     *     *

Though the weather was a bit cool, even for that part of Michigan, we did have one nice warm day and Max and I headed for the beach. That dog loves the water and playing fetch is a great way to burn off some of his excess energy.

Due to the severity of last Winter and the fact that all 5 of the Great Lakes were completely ice-covered, the water levels are the highest they’ve been in years. One report predicted that Lake Huron’s water level will rise at least 8 inches this year. This part of Lake Huron’s shore has a very gradual slope going into the water. You can walk 50 yards and the water isn’t even waist deep. With a slope so slight, a rise of only a few inches can really eat up the beach. The photo on the left (click to enlarge) is of the cement pier in Fall, 2012. The shoreline is about 25 feet beyond the pier’s end. (It’s interesting to note that, at one time, the water level was high enough to keep the pier top wet. At some point, each of us fell on it, slipping on its algae-covered surface.) The photo on the right is the pier’s end today, with the water’s edge just several feet beyond. Looking at the left photo again, the water now reaches up to the point where the reeds first started to grow. Inch by inch, the lake is reclaiming the beach.

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Pier 2*     *     *

Now for some unfinished business …

In my last post, I wrote that I’d sent an email to WordPress Support because I was no longer receiving a blogging friend’s posts. While I was in Europe, they “fixed” it and I no longer received notifications for all but a few posts. Sometime while I was in Michigan, the missing notifications started appearing in my Google mail spam mailbox. I’ve no idea what WordPress could have done to get all of them treated as spam within Google Mail. Some days later, the notifications started showing up in my inbox, just as they should. In the end, I’ve got almost 1800 messages in my Google spam mailbox and some 500 in my inbox. I know I’m still missing some of you and will have to seek you out. Oh! And the blog that I first wrote to WordPress about? It’s still missing. Go figure.

See you in a few weeks.

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99 thoughts on “Be It Ever So Humble …

  1. Welcome home John! I am glad that you had a wonderful holiday with Zia but sorry to hear about the frustration of WordPress’s continued notification difficulties. I miss some also and I often find things in my spam filter that shouldn’t be there! Ah dear. I look forward to reading your roast duck post!

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  2. Great pic of Max, diving into the ocean. It sounds as though you had a great trip, with lots of excellent food. So sorry about your spam problems. I feel rather indignant if even one of my genuine comments lands up in my spam box, so I can imagine your frustration. 😦 Welcome home. 🙂

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  3. You’re up bright and early, C.J. Sounds like you have a lot of catching up to do and I know you take it seriously. I personally always appreciate your responses to my comments.

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  4. Welcome home! Your dog is so cute and it’s lovely to see him enjoying the water – my dogs hate getting their paws wet! I can’t believe you arrived home to so many emails; I would have been in tears! I can’t wait for the roast duck recipe – sounds like something that the Hotly Spiced kitchen will really enjoy xx

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    • Thanks, Charlie. Max really does love the water. It’s a pleasure bringing him to a beach and letting him romp. I’m stull trying to figure out who I’ve “lost” and who’s still here. This may take weeks!

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  5. I’m so happy for you – you’ve been having such a wonderful time with your family – both in Italy and with your beloved Zia!! I can NOT believe you now have sooo many comments to go through… that’ll sure keep you busy once you’re home!!

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  6. John, sorry about the WordPress problems. I’m taking a vacation from my blog and cleaning house. Something I should have done when I retired in 2002. Yeeech!!! I’m in TOSSER MODE right now. I can no longer create anything until I get rid of all this stuff that I no longer want or need. Some people are so lucky to be permanently organized at home. Me? I need to get PAID to clean house. I found more satisfaction at work. Anyway, I am one of those very lucky people who continues to get your posts. It seems that everyone has scattered for summer, and I love tracking them online. I am so grateful for the stories and the photographs. As for me? I’m grounded in the Sacramento valley heat and trying to catch up with people on a more local level. Still in this awful California drought and avoiding the sun. That is so hard when you live in California. I am so glad that you are traveling and enjoying family. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! Take care. Be safe. As usual, I’m finding it hard to keep up with you!

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    • Thanks, Barb. It was a wonderful vacation but next time I’ll hire an assistant to handle the blog. Max just didn’t do as well as I thought he would. I’m sure he would have done better if he had opposable digits. 🙂

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  7. Welcome home, John! I think I saw another cute picture of Max coming out of the water on Facebook. You can tell he’s a happy guy! I’d heard that the lakes were up this year, but wow…that’s remarkable! We’ve noticed our little lakes down here are very high as well. After so many years of drought it’s startling to see, but a good thing in our case. I’m so glad you had a great time spent with Zia and that you’re getting some good R&R this summer. 🙂

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    • Hey, Betsy! I recall that Atlanta was having a terrible time with drought a few years back. Glad to hear that your cup runneth over. Wish our friends in California could say the same.

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  8. Welcome home! You’ve been having a great summer thus far. Some of the technical problems with blogging are maddening, aren’t they? The web moves in mysterious ways — sometimes too mysterious. Looking forward to reading about that duck!

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    • Thanks, John. One thing’s for certain. I won’t be writing another email to Support in the foreseeable future. This surely was a case of the cure being worse than the disease. 🙂

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    • So glad you wrote, Roger. You’re one of the many who have gone missing. I just tried the “unsubscribe/subscribe trick” to see if you re-appear. Fingers crossed.

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  9. It surely sounds like you had a wonderful visit & I can just picture you & Zia cooking away catching up and talking about your trip. Who got tired first – did Max give up or did your arm give out? I’m going to have to check w/WP too because I think I’ve gotten some follwers dropped too & I know that I keep getting dropped from one particular blog that I always follow. I didn’t even realize it until I thought – gee I haven’t seen a blog from Judy in a while….

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    • Max used to run the entire time spent on the beach. Now, though, he’ll run but not indefinitely. First he’ll start walking back to me and, if I keep throwing the ball, he starts dropping it a few feet from me. Soon, it’s a few yards and then he won’t even bring it onto the beach. None of us is getting any younger, eh? 🙂
      It’s good to be back, Diane.

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  10. Travel is great but home is welcoming. That’s a lot of emails, you may have to cull the bulk to keep some sanity. Looking forward to the roast duck recipe… and photos, for virtual appetite stimulation 🙂 Plus we have a great duck lady at the local markets, and I’ve been thinking about marylands.

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  11. Welcome home and enjoy all you have to do to be organized again! For one methinks your spam folder will take awhile to clear and make sure nought important will get deleted 🙂 ! Hmm: wondered how Max would take your return: jubilant or cross at having been left behind? Think you got some bonus points for the Michigan trip!!! Thanks for the interim notice . . . and do take your time: you can see we are here 😀 !!

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  12. Welcome home John, I have missed you. Oh botherasions, what a tedious task trying to get your account sorted out. We are all still here so don’t worry about us.
    So pleased you had such a lovely visit with Zia and look at Max focused on his ball.
    Looking forward to your roast duck recipe.
    Have a lovely day ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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  13. Welcome back. Love the photo of Max. I so miss watching my dog’s pure joy when heading to the beach. Time to start thinking of another.

    And funny, but not so funny, story about WP. I’ve been trying to figure out why my blog e-mails now do not include photos. Just gave up on that one. I’m hoping, like so many other WP problems, it will just fix itself in time 🙂

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    • Thank you. I cannot imagine life without a canine heartbeat around here. Max really is a great companion — maddening at times but still a good dog.
      I’ve written to Support in the past and had good responses. This time, though, was a complete fiasco. So much so that I doubt whether I’ll write them again. Who needs the aggravation?

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  14. Welcome home John!!! Sounds like you had a great trip. One of the things I miss by living in the high dessert is water. We don’t get rain and there are very few lakes. There are a few reservoirs formed by dams, but nothing huge like The great lakes or some of the lakes we had in Louisiana. Wow – 1800 messages in spam! Oh my goodness John, that’s a lot of spam. So glad most of the problem is solved.

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    • Thanks, MJ. I’ve lived within a few miles of one of the Great Lakes my entire life. If I ever move away for Chicago, there had better be some sort of shoreline nearby.
      After all of the mess, I;m still not getting notifications of your posts nor is there any way for me to edit the schedule. I need to get on Bloglovin, like you suggested. I’m certainly done writing to Support. I don’t think I could survive any more of their help. 🙂

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  15. Welcome home! I have no doubt you had a wonderful time with Zia. I know Max did as well! Looking forward to your duck recipe. I was just telling Mike the other evening that duck has got to be one of my favorite dishes. So you know, this one will for sure end up in our kitchen too. 🙂

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  16. ho letto sotto che sei stato nella mia Toscana, e sono curiosissima di leggere quanto hai scxritto…anche io sono stata assente per un certo periodo, ma non mi ero affatto dimenticata di te un abbraccio

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  17. 1800 messages in your Spam box? Yikes! You will be busy for a while. 🙂 I’m delighted you had some wonderful time with your Zia. She must have thoroughly enjoyed hearing your travel stories. Its great to see you back, and i hope you can continue to share some travel stories with us. 🙂 You were missed, my friend!

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  18. We just returned today from our two-week vacation on the other side of Lake Huron, and the water levels were appreciably higher there too. It was a relief after a couple years of concerning drops, but then again, we don’t want it to rise too high either. It’s all a delicate balance, isn’t it?

    It sounds like you had another lovely visit with Zia – it warms my heart to think of the two of you cooking up a storm and being so close.

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    • I doubt the lake will ever rise to the point is was 35 years ago, Mar. Our beach is so different now. It hardly looks like the same place. It is good to see the levels rise again. I wonder what this Winter will bring?

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  19. Oh those mysterious blog posts. Don’t you wonder what goes on in cyberspace? Our lakes in MN are all very high – never heard of flood stage for lakes – but they’re flooding! I guess it beats the drought!

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    • I’ve been watching the new reports. You all in Minnesota have really gotten soaked. There has to be a middle point, Claudia. This seesaw between drought and flood is ridiculous!

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  20. Hey John, did you know I have not been receiving any of your post? Or from so many others 😦 I have been re subscribing like crazy. I don’t know what’s wrong seriously and I am fed up. Welcome back, missed you in my blogging world.

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    • I know exactly what you mean, Minnie. I’ve been doing the same and hope that this will clear up. Thanks for the welcome and I hope WP resolves this for us. What a pain!

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  21. I commented just now, not sure if it was posted. All I wanted to tell you is that at ties it really gets frustrating with issues like this, and unfortunately, many of us faces the same problem at oe point of time or other. I hope this issue gets solved soon. I love reading your recipes and looking at your gorgeous pics. Shall be waiting for your next post!

    Purabi Naha @ http://www.cosmopolitancurrymania.com

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  22. I’m glad you had a nice trip to Europe and a visit with Zia. I’m sure it’s nice to be home again though. I know I’m happy to be home after our 6 week trip to visit family in upstate NY this summer. Welcome back!

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    • It is good to be home. I bet you had a wonderful time. Upstate New York is such a beautiful part of the country and I know your family was thrilled that you visited.

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  23. So glad you had a lovely time in Europe and with Zia, it’s so comforting to visit with family even though it’s many years later and be able to pick right up where you left off. I’ve not cooked a duck so I’m very excited to see what you’ll be doing with it.

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    • Hello, Eva! It was truly a wonderful time getting reacquainted with my San Marino family. I cannot begin to describe the experience. Now the trick will be to get back there. 🙂

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