"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, September 19, 2016

Another Summer

My Office, decorated by Ellie.
 Time marches on and this summer marched quickly, with endings and beginnings, sadness and happiness, and all of the simple moments in between.

Ellie has gone and it happened at the end of the summer, which seemed so right for a California Girl.
I'll think of her often.  She helped me decorate my house with her incredible taste...which was a unique mixture of American style (courage, appreciation, flair) and a French sense for life as it should be lived.  I bought only a few things from her but they are part of my daily life and I appreciate them so much.
 I appreciated her, I'll always miss her.
If you haven't read the wonderful post written by her daughter Grace please go here.

My family had an ending of its own this summer: we placed my grandparents' ashes in their final resting place and said goodbye.  It was a lovely day and it was a sad day, all at the same time.
Grandpa Norv and Grandma Jean with their boat on the Detroit River.
We were on the river for our goodbye and the day was gorgeous.

Light of our lives, my nephew, flew in from the far far north for the occasion.  Here he is having a talk with Uncle Tom:
 Our daughter went across the pond on her own for the first time, she left for Switzerland the day after I took the photo below.  This was at the cottage of two of our best friends, Laura and David.  They've just sold this cottage so... another ending, we've spent so many fun weekends there over the years.  When the kids were small we'd go for a week and run a camp for them.  (Well, not really, but it seemed that way with the meals we'd dish up and the lifeguard duties.)
 She spent a month in Germany with side trips to Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.  Had a blast.

Then we dropped Lil' Rascal off at camp and hightailed it to the airport.

MrBP and The Bean 

Bean Selfie
 This is the Bean at 8am, it gets much busier later, but we were so fascinated by it, it's actually so cool to see and walk around and study the reflections and perspectives.

Chicago was amazing, we spent seven nights just the two of us, what a great spot for a romantic hols.

Oh gosh the Ralph Lauren Grill was gorgeous.
We sat on the terrace, I highly recommend.

Went to a Cubs game which was awesome.
Ate some terrible nachos and drank some beer.

Loved the guys parachuting in with the giant flags!
 I thought Chicago was pure American Style.  One of my favourite building facades:
 Of course we spent a whole day at the Art Institute:

 If you go you have to go to the restaurant, so lovely:

Looks spare but it suits the feeling of the Institute, and the food is great.
 We flew home and headed north to Algonquin Park.  A little country to offset the city.
 I wore my Elmer Fudd dress from the now defunct LLBean Signature line.  Also I went barefoot for four days, my feet were killing me after walking miles and miles everyday in Chicago in low heels.  (Don't ask me about sensible footwear because I have much to learn.)
Elmer Fudd Dress
Bare Feet
 We must have been missing our Rascals because we adopted a very cheeky and greedy chipmunk, who we named Ivan The Bold:
Ivan The Bold
Always rushed in at cocktail hour.
 We picked up Lil' Rascal, headed home to have a reunion with the European traveller and then spent a perfect Saturday en famille helping Ole Rascal move into his new apartment.
Ole Rascal, does he keep getting taller?
With his partner who we adore.
 We made it to a Blue Jays game:
They lost.  But it was still so fun.
I love baseball, it's such a simple pleasure.
 Finally we had a weekend to end the summer, another summer, with our best friends on their island cottage.  Don't you think we all look pretty well considering we had massive hangovers?
The Morning After.
Party on Baby.
I hope you've had a wonderful summer (or Fall if you're in Aus!) and that your September is off to a productive start.


  1. What a summer you had Dani! We love Chicago too. We didn't travel out of Texas, but have some plans to go to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving.

    1. Susan not sure I'd want to leave Texas if I was there, especially at your country place. :) Sante Fe sounds lovely for Thanksgiving. Chicago is so fun, I was shocked by the architecture and the style. Loved it. xo

  2. So many transitions, Dani. We love Chicago - it has been many years since my last trip, we are definitely overdue. We traveled to NY and Boston-both were wonderful in spite of the heat. That was in July. August was tough with senseless loss, funerals and memorials. In the midst of many of those tears, Slugger went off to college. Fortunately he's not too far away and is staying connected via texts and calls.
    Time for a deep breath as fall begins, lots of good stuff for Rocket Arm-QB2 on the varsity football team and a digital photography class that is revealing talent and passion. I'm refreshing my resume with the help of a pro and talking w/ DH about the next chapters...

    1. Julie so many transitions it's true, hang in there but you're one for looking forward and so supportive of your boys, so exciting to see what they'll do.
      Thank goodness for texts, our son always answered us during his years at Uni and it was a precious link when I was worrying over him. It still is!
      So sorry for the losses your family suffered in August, that sounds really tough.
      Will love to hear about what's next for you too. xo

  3. I'm out of breath just reading about your summer!

    And what a great-looking family!

    I'm missing Ellie too

    1. Fred I think we'll always miss Ellie's voice and I feel so badly she had to leave her daughter. That was the hardest thing for her of course.
      Thank you it was a good summer, oh and then Lil Rascal started high school which is a huge leap. Gosh she was in the first grade when I started this blog. xo

  4. Well hello I was just about to check up on you but it looks like things are going well! My daughter was in Switzerland all summer as well - lucky gal had an internship with the NGO she volunteered with on her GAP year. Is that ole rascal a graduate now? LOVE Algonquin Park and LOVE that bean - Chicago is such a great city - I have wonderful memories of great ribs followed by jazz bars late into the night! Glad you are well! xoxAnna26

    1. Anna that's amazing good for her, that girl of yours is a go-getter, wonder where she gets that. ;) Yes he graduated in June and he'd already started working, he's developing software for an engineering firm in Toronto, specializing in the mining industry. Loves his job and he's a proper grown-up now. Will likely do a grad degree but wants to work and save for a couple of years first.
      Chicago is a big party, even we were out at night! So happy to hear from you. xo

  5. Thank you for sharing. My GFs and I leave for Chicago this Friday for a girls' weekend. I sent them a photo of the delicious stuffed avocado and we are definitely considering the RL grill for lunch after shopping.

    1. Hex oh my gosh you'll have a blast! Please go to the RL Grill for lunch, we sat on the sidewalk terrace but the interior is gorgeous. Make a reservation because they get really busy. It was my favourite lunch spot and we ate at some great restaurants. Also the RL flagship store is there, it's just stunning, I walked around in awe, the women's is on the third floor, the concentration is on men's clothing but it's just a beautiful spot.
      I hope you have a wonderful time! Travel safe. xo

  6. Visited Chicago a few years ago, loved it. Just returned to Australia
    after six weeks in San Francisco, love that city too. Son and his wife
    living in San Fran. We find Americans super friendly, always enjoy our
    holidays in the USA.

    1. Anon I love travelling in the US for that reason too, I'm Canadian and while the people here are often polite I find Americans much friendlier. Chicago was no exception, so friendly and enthusiastic.
      San Francisco is top of our list for our next city holiday, you must have enjoyed your visit so much and I bet your son and his wife love living there. xo

  7. oh dani what a lovely post. so much to report on. ellie, it seemed like she would be here forever....it's so cool that you have things from her shop, that was smart. you and mr bp are such a stunning couple as is your whole family. glad you are back to the blog. xoxo

    1. Janet I thought she'd keep on because she was such a force and you could almost feel her willing it to be so. But it's a terrible disease, so devastating. I'm happy she's at peace and I'm sure she's keeping an eye on Grace.
      Thank you Janet xo

  8. Still sad about Ellie.

    She is so missed.

    I thought she'd go on and on x

    1. FF me too I thought she'd go on and on and I was hoping that moving back to the US would give her lots more time, not sure why I thought that. But she was a huge presence. We'll always miss her! xo

  9. Very sad about Ellie. She was a tremendous person and the whole thing makes me want to take life by the horns as she did.

    It sounds like you had a nice summer. Chicago is such a terrific city. Love your bean shots. I've been missing cottage life and we are trying to figure out how to get more water in our lives. Walking to Lake Ontario and fighting off the geese simply is not cutting it!

    I hope you are having a nice fall with the Rascals all absorbed in school and work. We must catch up soon. xo

    1. Jen I so agree about taking life by the horns, and time goes by so fast and we need to grab on to every moment. Nothing is more precious than our family and our friends and our interactions, Ellie taught us so much about appreciating life.
      I wonder if you should look for another cottage? I know it was a market for those selling this year, our friends didn't even have theirs on the market when they sold it, it was crazy. But if the weather is bad next summer (or this winter) it might be a good time to look!
      I'd still like to buy a place on Georgian Bay for the summer but mostly for the ski season, near our ski club and not a far drive. And no 400 highway ugh.
      We shall workshop all of it when I see you! Now that things are calming down we need to plan our next lunch. xo

  10. What a summer it has been for you and your family! I was sad to hear about Ellie's passing, so sudden, but from her last post, it sounded like she was just happy to be home and with her family and friends around her. Loved all the family photos and the photos from your Chicago trip are amazing! As for me, the end of summer was a bit crazy here, with back to school preparations. My son started grade 1 this fall and even though the transition from kindergarten to grade school doesn't seem like a big deal, I still felt a bit choked up seeing him in his uniform, walking into the classroom by himself!

    1. Louise I think she was relieved to be home and now I can see that she barely made it, but it was so important to her and she had help getting to California on a private plane which was so amazing. My heart breaks for her that she had to leave her daughter and of course we can all imagine how difficult that would be.
      Oh your son, that's a big transition, it's so difficult to see them on their own even when they are fiercely independent and want it so badly. We see our son often in Toronto for dinner or lunch and I have to tell you I can't watch him walk away because that's all I see until our next visit, it's terrible! And he's 23 years old and doing really well, but our children are always our babies.
      Your kids are at such a cute age, I loved that stage. Keep all of the artwork and write down the things they say! :) xox

  11. So happy to see a post from you! I almost emailed you last night because I was ordering a down vest and couldn't decide between three colors and thought you might be able to help given your smart shopping. But my discount expired at midnight and I didn't want to put you under pressure.
    Looks like you had such a lovely summer. Even the bittersweet moments are beautiful. I haven't visited Chicago in way too long and really should. It's an easy drive for me.
    Still keep thinking of Ellie and weirdly don't actually feel like she's gone anywhere. Thought Grace did such a wonderful job and how gracious of her to share with us one more time.
    I know you also have that serving spoon and fork I wanted! So glad you have them and the paisley. Will you use it for thanksgiving?
    Oh and on the vests I just ordered all three. I'm going to have to invent outdoor tasks this autumn (if it ever comes) to justify them but I can do that.

    1. Stephen Andrew I think you did well to order all three, options are good for outfit making and also you can always return. I was in bed last night by 9 so I wouldn't have been much good to you, I somehow have a cold, felt it as soon as we left Kawagama Lake on Sunday, could the rain combined with excessive rain-induced wine drinking have had something to do with it? Ugh bit early for a cold but I'm doing all of the remedies. Funny you mention that spoon and fork I'll be emailing you shortly. I also have the feeling that Ellie is still around, she was a huge character and we were her imaginary friends so for us it's not a leap to embrace the spirit.
      Chicago, so fun, I didn't want to leave and it also reminded me of Paris at odd moments, I felt like it was more of an American place than anywhere else, such style and knowing itself. Hmm kind of like Ellie. xox

  12. I love the things you chose from Ellie's shop, and it's a lovely thing to have and think of her. She touched a lot of people around the world. Your Summer looks fabulous. I get the feeling you're moving into a different phase in life now with two much grown up children and one almost there. Trips away with a significant other and no complicated babysitting arrangements seem like a very far away dream for me, although I guess it goes by in a flash. It seems like only the other day I was changing nappies and washing bottles, and yet they're all at school now.
    The Chicago Art Institue always makes me think of Ferris Bueller's Day off! Well I have to say there are some good genes in your family - your Cousins are very easy on the eye, and your progeny are also very attractive people :) Lovely to hear your news and catch up on your past few months xx

    1. So funny Heidi I was teasing my husband that is was MrBP's Week Off, inspired by Ferris. We had so much fun and it was lots of running around to see everything. My hubs was up before 6 every morning to run 10km before a room service breakfast and a day out and about, he's like a big kid :)
      We are at a different stage and when our youngest is at camp we are free to travel, the older two are entirely independent and self-sufficient and it really does go by fast. Their school years at home went by really quickly for me because it was so busy, that's the stage you're in now and it was my favourite time with my kids. "The days are long but the years are short" is the saying but it's true. XO

  13. Hi Dani, what a summer you've had! It was very sad about Ellie. A friend of ours lived with ALS for about as long as she did; it seemed that afterwards his family, his wife especially, were shell-shocked, almost as if they had PTSD.

    We just got back from our trip to the UK and Iceland. Iceland was wonderful - we were only there for 4 nights, but we learned a lot about it and would definitely go back. In St. Andrews I visited the Johnstons of Elgin shop and bought a lovely cardigan, I'm interested to see how it compares to the Brora cashmere.

    Congratulations to all the rascals, especially Ole Rascal - he is definitely a grown up now!

    1. Hi Patricia it's a terrible shocking disease and it takes over so quickly. Very sad and I'll continue to support the cause to find a cure. Your poor friend's family, they probably did have PTSD.
      I am delighted you had such a wonderful trip! I'll email you about Iceland because we have a fun idea to go there with our friends we met in Paris during the whole Icelandic volcano episode, we thought we'd have a hols in the country that started our friendship.
      Love Johnston's of Elgin and the quality IS Brora, it's made at the same mill, I saw it with my own eyes. Alongside cashmere for Chanel and Hermes as well of course, how posh is that! I bet your cardigan is lovely you'll never regret that souvenir.
      Thanks for your lovely comment XO

  14. What a summer! I adore the bean selfie. It looks like everyone in your family is ridiculously good looking.

    You're right, the summer has flown by. In the desert we've hit the cooler temps of fall, my absolute favorite time of year. It is a bit premature to pull out the sweaters, though soon. The mornings and evenings are perfect with just a bit of chill in the air. I keep hoping I'm going to see a fall color story on the frock blog.

    So sorry to hear about Ellie. I was pleased to hear she was able to go home. I don't know what I'd do in her situation, though I think I'd want to be home.

  15. Hi Dani! Sorry been so behind on my blogs. Moved one kid into college. Yikes!

    Love to see what you've been up to. Gosh so sad about Ellie isn't it? I just cannot stop thinking of her and feel the same way as you. I'm just so grateful I got to know her through the blog. She was a beautiful light. You were so lucky to have a souvenir from her shop. I wish I did.

    Just love your way of saying goodbye to your grandparents. The ashes on the river sounds very perfect as they must have enjoyed that. We are doing the same with my husband's mother's ashes in two weeks. I'm so sorry for you losing them. With every member gone life seems to be changing doesn't it? I kind of hate that, the growing older feeling.

    I adore the kid's pictures. You have beautiful kiddos. Hope your daughter had a good trip! It's wonderful that she did that. Chicago looked so fun. I have to get there soon and I'd love to see the museums. Smart that you guys did a full week. In a city that size, you get to see a lot! Hope your fall is going well...Looking forward to some of those cozy cooking posts! xo Kim