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Oh How I Wish Again

I was in Michigan and have been many time since I left in 1981 and my impressions are as they have been -it is a very beautiful. Yes, Detroit is blighted and we took no photos of that blight NOT through any agreement or plan and we have not even talked about it but I think we both thought it too cliche, too easy.

And then, on the cover of the USA Today today was this story about states trying to create a brand for themselves, like Pure Michigan, an ad campaign that has been very successful in a way they may not have anticipated; making Michiganders feel better about their state.

We have always loved the place. I wonder how much of that has to do with the fact that we spent the first nearly three decades of our lives here. After all, I do know people who are glad to have left their home city, state or even country and have never looked back. I just know that my favorite beach in the world is there.

Now, I have been to some good beaches: Cape Cod, both sides of Florida, California, Jamaica, Mexico, even Hawaii and France, but for me the best beach in the world is just a few miles south of Manistee, Michigan.

(How many times on this blog will I bemoan the inability of happy snaps to convey the beauty of a place? At least once more.)

And what I find so astonishing about this beach is that, in the 40 years since I first saw it, almost nothing has changed. There still are not many people, there still are no amenities, there is still nothing man-made in sight except for one new item; a sign designating that dogs are welcomed to the right, dog- free beach to the left.

Over and over I say "I am not a beach person" but this place makes me indescribably happy.


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Good Cooks, Last Looks

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The apartment we rented in Helsinki appeared to be next to a huge park that led to the water. When we walked over to see it, we discover it was a cemetery, an enormous cemetery. It was well cared for, with beautiful huge trees and some unique tombstones, thus most of this post will be photos.

There is a much copper in Finland. One sees it in roofs and decorative objects, but this is my first copper grave marker. Or polished stainless steel.

Many were somewhat more conventional, but works of art all the same.

A musician lies here.

There were a fair number of rocks.

And sometime in the late 1800s, stones like these began to become popular and then common; chunks of granite with only one polished surface. Whether it was done out of frugality or fashion I cannot say. 

 Seventeen years ago, we remodeled our kitchen and chose for the counter tops a common granite called Baltic Brown. I was in Helsinki for days before I realized my countertops were everywhere. That granite was used for cobblestone…