22 April 2009


We first stop at the Vicksburg Post Office to begin tracing the beautiful velvet dresses JA mailed 3 weeks ago to Bratislava--never to arrive. LG was to be surprised with a lovely new dress for her first visit to the ballet--her daddy and mommy's early birthday gift. Nice government employee lady assured us the package was probably just tied up in customs. She says there's no accounting for U.S. Customs--they randomly select packages to inspect and there's no predicting how long the process will take. She says the only international packages she knows to go astray are those sent to the Philippines.

We drive backroads and then highways for my first ever visit to Battle Creek, easily finding Capital Street and Michigan Avenue and the State Street parking lot. We had taken the time to load one of JA's chairs into the Subaru, so we unload my wingback chair and ottoman and JA's occasional chair and move ahead to meet Judy Wolford at Creative Covering who will be recovering our furniture.

I have my fabric in-hand, a lovely linen in a shade of purple I wouldn't have chosen but it was on sale at Hobby Lobby for $4 a yard! I got the whole lot for just over $40. I would have chosen the lovely robin's egg blue sister fabric, but HEY! a bargain is a bargain and this purple will work as an accent in either the master bedroom or the guest edroom at the front of our second story. The ottoman is repurposed from a different set of wingbacks which I passed on to a friend almost 8 years ago. I kept the ottoman as I knew that skirted it would made a perfect companion piece to this set of Ethan Allen wingbacks whose construction makes reupolstering worthwhile.

JA and I quickly find a fabric in cream and light blue that isn't quite a French toile, but a sweetly unique resemblance. We look at all- weather fabric but decide to look elsewhere because all the fabric here seems to start at $38 per yard. Judy W. tells us that there is a spray that is weather and UV resistant that can be added to any upholstery fabric, so we decide to go that route.

Battle Creek has a lovely downtown all spiffed up highlighting the river front. We cross an iron pedestrian bridge and have lunch at Clara's--chicken salad for JA and a spinach and bacon calzone for me. I do not remember the last time I ate a calzone, but it was the right choice.

JA had asked Judy W. for directions to Horrocks--a combination nursery and grocery store extraordinaire! WOW! What a find! Has there ever been this much cheese anywhere? They have a lovely white cheddar that's their house brand and they vary it with blueberries, cherries, horseradish, bacon, jalapeños, habaneros, caramel... Plus more other varieties that I couldn't begin to remember other than the drunken goat cheese which I must sample the next time.

Speaking of sampling--there are 30 trays of cheese to sample, but most were empty. As we walk back to the nursery to reclaim our lovely Forget-Me-Nots in pink and lavender, and JA's gorgeous pansies with bigger faces than you would think possible, I ask the clerk where all the cheese samples go. She said that the same people show up daily to eat the cheese and other samples--she calls them the cheese raiders. Tacky me had found the caramel corn, requisitioned a paper coffee cup and then meandered through the store enjoying the bounty. JA tells the clerk--maybe someone poured the cheese samples into a paper cup and horded them... I can't imagine anyone being that selfish and tacky....

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is also a book and stationary store, and they have the widest variety of international foods that I have seen outside of a metropolitan area like Chicago or NYC, LA, whatever. A very, very fine sidetrip. I plan to revisit with CA. JA has already invited our cousin BZ to drive to Battle Creek on Monday for a revisit.

We are so tired as we drive back to Indian Lake. I grab my book and head for the sunny and warm porch, but end up reading three words before succumbing to the strongest urgings and dozing with head back in the chair and sunlight--a veritable cat nap. JA says she walked out to the lakefront right past me and I do not as much as twitch.

We stir fry some chicken breast, boil some soba noodles, and steam some broccoli, onions, and carrots--add some green onions and sesame seeds and have a splendid meal of Ginger Chicken. This all starts with the Asia Specialties $1.69 box from Aldi's (My new favorite grocery store--they are owned by the same parent company as Trader Joe's.). The box includes jut the right amount of soba noodles, a packet of sauce, and a small packet of sesame seeds. Just so good! We plan a trip to a local Aldi's to restock for me and get JA a supply. They have Yellow Curry Rice, Kung Pao Noodles, Thai Chili Rice, etc. The noodles are $1.69 a box and the rice mixtures are $1.99.

We climb into JA's king-sized bed and watch junk t.v. ending the evening with an old episode of Will & Grace--the one where Karen meets her estranged mother. We plan tomorrow's t.v. viewing to include part 2.

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