Sunday, July 17, 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday (Playing Catch-up...on Sunday!)

I haven't done a 7 Quick Takes Friday post in ages.  But then again, I haven't blogged in ages either!  (At least it seems like ages, when I think that for the first three or four years of String of Pearls' life, I was here just about daily, hardly ever skipping an opportunity to share my thoughts the way we introverts like to share them best--from the safety of our laptop computers...)

Anyhoo, I thought it was time to get back into the 7QTF routine. I'm already two days late to join Kelly et. al. for the link-up, so I better get to it lickety-split and keep these takes short and sweet.  Quick, that's what they'll be.

My brother-in-law died just over two weeks ago, but I don't feel able to write about the events surrounding his premature passing just yet.  His last days were filled with heroic acts of humility, acceptance, courage, selflessness, faith, hope, and love, as well as some truly extraordinary supernatural signs and tender moments of grace that have left all who were a witness to them forever changed.  I did blog about this beloved man, who is a hero and a role model for us all, in a recent post, just days before he died.  When I can manage to do it, I'd like to tell you more about him and his beautiful and holy death.

One great blessing, for which my sister-in-law and our whole family feel extremely grateful, is that before he died, my brother-in-law was able to realize his dream of opening a craft brewery/tasting room/ restaurant/event center/B & B in a Civil War-era structure known as the "Old Stone Barracks."  Valcour Brewing Company is located in Plattsburgh,  NY, with a bird's eye view of Lake Champlain, on what was once a large Strategic Air Command Air Force Base.  My brother-in-law had a vision for transforming this historical building--overseeing and doing much of the gutting of the interior himself, and then along with my sister-in-law designing what has become, just in the few months since its doors have been open, the popular place to be in Plattsburgh.  If you're ever in the area, you must stop by to enjoy one of their signature brews and soak up the Barracks' one of a kind ambience.  (And the food is as good as the beer!)

Our 40th high school reunion was at the end of June.  (My husband and I started dating in 1973, the summer after our freshman year, and graduated together in 1976).  One of the weekend's events was held at VBC's Old Stone Barracks.
It was so much fun catching up with dear old friends, like this beautiful lady.  (Thank goodness for Facebook, which has been helping us to stay in touch between reunions!)
My baby sister also had her 35th  high school reunion gathering at the Barracks recently.  My husband and I crashed the party.  (We can do this, you see, because we know the owner.  We have an in.)

My high school boyfriend and I are actually spending the whole summer in Plattsburgh (except for the times when he's commuting to work or we're off visiting with our kids and grandkids), staying at my husband's childhood home on the lake (which he and his seven siblings decided to keep after their parents both died, forming a family LLC to maintain its upkeep).  So needless to say, our date nights are usually spent at--where else?--VBC!

One of the reasons we're staying here, besides the fact that it gives us the opportunity to visit with both of our families, is that we're keeping an eye on Oyster Haven, our VRBO house located just several miles down the road.  Our first renters came for a week in June, to participate in a big bass fishing tournament on Lake Champlain.  One of the six professional fishermen who stayed at Oyster Haven was Andy Morgan, who ended up winning the FLW Tour's 2016 "Angler of the Year" award.  (He also won the title in 2013 and 2014).

I don't know if it's the luck of the Irish or what...but it seems that we have a lucky house.

Speaking of Oyster Haven, I really must do some posts about it, complete with pictures.  It is such a charming old house on such a glorious piece of lakefront property.  We have our third set of renters staying there as I write this.  So far, we have six weeks booked this summer, and inquiries are coming in all the time.

But I ask you: who could resist this view?

I was honored to be a guest on Allison Gingras's "A Seeking Heart" radio show (a sort of online Catholic book club) on July 15.  She was kind enough to have me on to talk about my Catholic YA novel, Erin's Ring--although we covered a lot of other topics as well, including the fact that we both married our high school sweethearts.  It was so much fun to talk to Allison.  I was a bundle of nerves beforehand, per usual.  I thought about backing out and seeing if we could reschedule for a later date.  But I overcame my fears, thank goodness.  And once we got started, I felt as if I was just chatting over coffee with an old friend.
If you're interested in listening to the podcast, here's the link.

Okay, that's it for me.  Now maybe you should head on over to Kelly's (if you haven't been there yet)!


  1. See, it's been so long since I've done a 7 Quick Takes post that I didn't even know that it's now just called 7QT (not 7QTF). When I first posted this, I also used a defunct meme for the link-up. I'm so out of touch. I really must get back on the old blogging horse!

  2. So sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. I am glad your time is being well spent this summer!

    1. Thanks, Madeline. (And I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this comment.)

  3. I love reading your blog! You are such a wonderful writer!

  4. Laura
    Prayers and hugs for you on the loss of your bil xxxx

    btw just love the external of the VBC

    1. Thanks, Erin. You would love the inside of it, too. One of these days I'll devote a post to that. The historical integrity of the building was kept intact (exposed beams and stone walls, original wood flooring, etc.), and it's absolutely lovely.

  5. Welcome back to Quick Takes! I'm also married to my high school sweetheart (I asked him to the senior prom and the rest is history). We just had our 20th reunion and a Facebook group was instrumental in bring it all together successfully. There is an upside to social media!

    1. Hi, Kelly (sorry it's taken me so long to reply!). Facebook was instrumental in connecting all of our old classmates for the reunion as well.

      Sometimes I get annoyed with myself for spending too much time on social media--but then again, without it, I wouldn't be a blogger, I wouldn't be in touch with friends I haven't seen in years, and I would have no way to market my Catholic YA novels to anyone outside of my family. It a really has so many fun and very useful purposes. Most definitely, I agree that there is an upside to this new age of technology.

      It's fun to "meet" another gal who ended up with her high school sweetheart! ;)

  6. We were just as happy to be able to re-connect in person too (though fb does make staying in touch easier!).

  7. We were just as happy to be able to re-connect in person too (though fb does make staying in touch easier!).