Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Annie here. Happy Halloween dear readers! I don't understand all the fuss about Halloween - chocolate makes me sick and those sugary fruity candies are nothing compared to sweet, sweet cheese and hot dogs. But alas our neighborhood is a hot bed of trick or treating and the children swarmed upon our house like locusts. Even Tag 5, a website I read, covered the greatness that is Rountree's neighborhood parade and Trick'R'Treating.

To start Halloween right Master Mary made her Grandpa Tom Kelly's buttermilk pancakes for breakfast - they even gave me a bit - best I've ever had! Mary went to work as Governor Reagan and Dan went to work as a Professor as he does everyday ;-). After work we took some photos by our pumpkins and waited for the action to start.

Mary and me with our Pumpkins
Our first house guest was our neighbor friends, Smash the Beagle and his owners. Smash was dressed in a smart sheriff outfit and had his masters, Maggie and Paul, in jailbird costumes. We got to play around in the yard and inside the house for a while.

Maggie, Paul and Smash

Me and Smash waiting for Treats!
 After Smash left we were bombarded with a steady stream of trick or treaters - I was confined to the bedroom with Dan so I am not sure there were any costumes better than Smash's. Around 8:30 we had more neighbors drop by to say hello! Baby Sophie (who adores me) stopped by with her parents, Marlene and John. Sophie turns one this Saturday and she really like watching me run around the house sniffing and sometimes barking at her parents!

Marlene and Sophie
One of my good friends, Liz, texted me a photo of Pumpraham Lincoln - I thought this was pretty well carved (though not quite as cool as my likenesses in pumpkins).

Pumpraham Lincoln
Livesay Jack O Lanterns and Pumppups
Happy Halloween, dear readers. 

PS: What was the best costume you saw today?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Hallows Eve

Happy Halloween Eve from Annie to you, dear Readers! Here at the Livesay household we just finished off a dinner of chili and corn muffins and we have pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven. You'll have to wait for tomorrow for the big pumpkin carving reveal, but to keep your interest up we'll post some photos of the during carving and pre-Halloween shenanigans with some of our Springfield friends.

Mark Zuckerberg, President Kennedy, President Lincoln, The Childlike Empress, Rizzo & Atreyu

Atreyu & Falkor the Luck Dragon
We met up with our friends on Saturday night at the Farmer's Gastropub and then when out and explored downtown Springfield where the Downtown square was closed to traffic due to the city's huge Halloween Pub Crawl - the costumes we saw were fantastic!

Dead Presidents
People walking by Ray and the baby commented several times that "I'm sure that's not a real baby!" Ha ha - it was and baby Avery was a very good sport.

We even ran into another, shorter, Lincoln. Dan was jealous of other Lincoln's attire and other Lincoln was jealous of Daniel's height!

Lincoln meet Lincoln
We had a nice evening listening to the Halloween Party mix on Pandora and carving pumpkins - Annie especially enjoyed eating rogue pumpkin seeds and bits when we weren't paying attention . . .

Annie wants to know what you, dear Readers, will be doing to celebrate Halloween tomorrow? Will you dress up? Carve pumpkins? Pass out candy?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hiking in Arkansas with the Take-A-Hike Group

This past weekend I went on a four hour hike with the Take-A-Hike group of Springfield, MO. This is a great group that Dan and I have gotten to know through their Thursday evening hikes at the Springfield Nature Center. Sadly my camera and my phone both ran out of batteries during the hike so I was only able to take three photos (the first three in this blog) but luckily some other hikers had their cameras, so the rest of the shots are courtesy of Kevin and John.

Watch Your Children!
These two photos are of the Pedestal Rock from below and above, respectively.

Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area, Arkansas 

 I didn't know that this trail was dog-friendly, but I'll know for next time and bring Annie (and Dan along). Pictured here is the Take-A-Hike group and Dizzy and Shadow, a doberman mix and black lab, respectively.

Take-A-Hike Crew
When we were moseying down the trail we passed some cowboys wearing hats and real cowboy boots - we thought the boots were a bad choice for the slippery rocks to be hiking in, but when we saw their beautiful horses we realized why they were wearing their boots.

Horses in the Woods
On our drive back to the rendezvous point of Jasper, AR we stopped and looked out over the Arkansas "Grand Canyon" - that is the sporty Mazda I got to ride in :-).


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Visiting Old Friends

Springfield is home.

Ann Arbor is also home. I am spoiled to have more than one home. While I went home to see my Mom and make sure she was being pampered and getting better I also took advantage of being in Ann Arbor to catch up with some old friends.

On Thursday I went downtown to Pure Visibility and saw my old coworkers and dragged a few of them out to lunch with me at the Jolly Pumpkin.

Brent, Mary and Mike at PV

Mary, Barbra, Brent & Lauren at the Jolly Pumpkin
On Thursday night after Alex, Dad and I got back late from the hospital Alex and I went to meet up with Ben Root (Alex's friend since Eberwhite) and Becky (my friend) at the new Beer Garden, Bill's Beer Garden, in the parking lot space downtown behind Downtown Home & Garden on Ashley St (our old street). We had good fun catching up with them and running into more people we knew. In particular it was fun to meet some of Alexander's high school girlfriends who called him "piggy" for apparently being some sort of super-mooch. This gal told me a terrific story of Alex asking to borrow $2 when all she had was a $20 she gave him that. After he came back to the car out of the convenience store she asked for his change. Nope - it had all been spent - on toblerone bars - yup, that's my baby brother ;-).

Becky, Alex, Ben & Mary at the Beer Garden
On Friday before going to the hospital I swung by CitiMortgage - where I dutifully spent the first, post-college, seven (!) years of my administrative career before they let me go due to redundancies. One of my favorite projects while working at the mortgage company was working with my boss and the Ann Arbor Art Center to pick out artwork for the new building. We were given free reign and were able to pick out some pretty fantastic pieces of original, Michigan-made, art pieces. I took a picture of a couple of my favorites. I was happy to see that the most controversial, and also most expensive piece we picked out was still proudly hanging in the atrium of the building. :-)


Jana Andringa and Mary next to Art
After visiting old co-workers at CitiMortgage I swung by Ann Arbor Radio to say hello to the people I knew who were still working there and I picked up tailgate tickets for my Dad to get into the 107one tailgate party. For lunch I went out for sushi with an old friend, Frank Bennett, who I met while working at AAMG (presently CitiMortage). He still works for Xerox and happened to be working at the 777 building that day so I went up to his 10th floor office got a good view of Ann Arbor then we ate sushi and caught up.

Mary & Frank at Godaiko
After sushi it was time to make Kelly's Cookbook soups. Two soups were on my radar: the delicious Carrot-Ginger Soup and the always popular Debra Kelly's Apple Butternut Squash Soup. I had the help of my good friend, Jenn Cornell, who I met as she was the PR liaison for InterFirst and AAMG.

Mary & Jenn Peeling Butternut Squash

Backyard Shenanigans
On Saturday after spending the day at the hospital and tailgating I took the Megabus to Chicago where I unloaded and hopped in a cab to meet up with Anne (my sophomore year roommate) and her friends for dinner. After dinner we headed back to Anne's in-laws condo in the city where I met Angel, their new dog and got to have some serious play time with my God daughter, Maya Izidora.

Roommates Reunited!

Angel Chilling on the Sofa
 On Sunday before I had to fly out of Midway we took a walk downtown to Lou Mitchell's where we met up with an old college buddy, Tuna Atmaca, and his wife, Sinem, who happened to be in town from Istanbul for a training conference. Maya rode her  Big Wheel :-)

Anne, Kenny and Maya on the Big Wheel

Tuna, Kenny and Maya Sharing a Laugh

Mary, Sinem, Tuna and Anne

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tailgating in Ann Arbor

My visit home happened to coincide with the Michigan-Michigan State game. Although I wasn't able to actually watch any of the game due to tailgating and a bus trip to Chicago - I was kept up to date on the action via tex messages from my pal, Becky. Before I had to board the bus to Chicago (to catch the plane to Missouri) Becky and I biked all around town tailgating.

Dad and I awoke early on Saturday and greeted Mom in her room before she had even begun making her rounds of the wing. After a nice visit Dad and I drove back to Ann Arbor to meet Becky, hop on our bikes and start tailgating.

1st Tailgate: Breakfast at 1240
We made our way down Main Street to Hoover then cut through the Baseball and Yost Ice Arena parking lots to drop in on the "Meat On a Stick" tailgate where we did jello shots and said hello to some old friends.

2nd Tailgate: Mary & Janice

Mary with the twins, J & Jeff
We then pedaled South on State Street to the Probility Tailgate where I met Becky's boss and some of their patients and friends. Food highlights here included hot apple cider, noodle salad and a charcuterie tray.

3rd Tailgate: Mary & Becky in the Probility Tent
We then had a long bicycle ride all the way over to Main and Pauline to drop in on the 107one Tailgate where we met up with my Dad, Alex and Ben. Food and beverage highlights included New Belgian beer in addition to the live music by the MacPodz :-).

4th Tailgate: Mary, Dad and Becky enjoying New Belgians at the 107one Tailgate

Dad, Mary, Ben, Becky and Alex
After the Band stopped playing the five of us went next door to the North End Zone tailgate party hosted by Tom Wall. Becky and I ran into an old friend, Kari Wall and I ran into Brandon - the chef from the Grange. Food highlights included salmon, black rice salad, prime rib and a fully stocked bar - did I mention that a law firm was paying to put this tailgate on?

5th Tailgate: The North End Zone
After that we thought we were done, but alas as we were biking towards home we remembered that there was one more tailgate that we were invited to on Berkeley Street near my parents house. We dropped in on this one, made friends with the enemies then called it a day! Music highlights included a dj spinning tunes :-)

It was then time for me to pack up my belongings and head to the Bus Stop where I crashed one last tailgate! hah! I ran into sisters who were cheering for opposite sides of the game.  

7th Tailgate: Sisterly Love
This is Annie's blog so I ought to mention the dogs I ran into at the Probility Tailgate.

Bella, the Golden Retriever Puppy

Dexter the Big Boy

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I went home this past Wednesday to visit with my Mom, Dad and little brother. Mom was still recovering at Karmanos Hospital from her stem cell transplant in Detroit when I arrived, but I am happy to report that she is now home in Ann Arbor!

The staff at Karmanos was the, simply, the best! One of Mom's (many) favorites was Carmelita from Haiti.

Carmelita and Mom
Mom was a star patient, making the rounds around the 8th floor modeling scarves, burkas, minks, knit hats and smiles as she gained strength and got well. I was able to get a photo of her with more of her wonderful nurses and aides.

Mom and Part of the Great Team at Karmanos

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bill & Jill's Wedding & Reception

My Aunt Jill and Uncle Bill have been together for twenty years and got married this past Saturday, October 13th, 2012 at The Pleasant Home in Oak Park, Illinois at 5 o'clock in the evening.

Jill looked stunning in her strapless fit and flair dress with a gorgeous lace up back and beautiful white, feathered head piece. Bill was looking very handsome in a traditional tuxedo.

After the ceremony there were cocktails, mingling and a reception line. My date, cousin Jessica Dudar, and I were seated at the Colonial Golf Course table (each table was named after a course Billy & Jilly have played). At the table there was a small bag of retro candies - such as bit-o-honey and next to the guest book there was a bowl of golf balls with the inscription "Billy & Jilly, October 13, 2012" - how cool! Jessica and I were honored to sit inside the house at an adult table while the rest of the cousins were relegated to the kiddie table outside on the front porch :-). I think it's because I was the senior most cousin represented at the wedding. 

Kelly Cousins

Adult Kelly Cousins
Jessica and I had the pleasure of sitting with Nicki, Jill's co-worker and fashion consultant at UIC, her date Michael in addition to Juniper, Jill's niece on her side, and her new husband, Clint from Jackson, Wyoming. Juniper and Clint were recently wed on an island in Jackson Lake - just the two of them! Jessica and Clint had a shared connection as they were both DePauw graduates!

Aunt Patty made a gorgeous wedding cake and adorable golf-course themed groom's cake - this was a surprise to the Bride and Groom.

Golf Course Groom's Cake

Wedding cake - adorned with Roses and Orchids

Cutting the Cake
After the cake was cut there was a toast by their best man and then DANCING!!!

Best Man's Toast
Great Toast!

The band was fantastic and the moves were like Jagger!

At the end of the night after great dancing, wonderful food and a beautiful ceremony it was time to load up the presents and the flowers. Those cousins that were left to help with these tasks had a blast showering Bill & Jill's car with rose petals as they peeled away into the night!

Katherine is wearing my shoes!

Jill in her Get-Away dress surrounded by Family and Flowers
What a night!