Relaxing Beginning to 2020!

Top ‘o the morning to you all, blog readers! I’m getting off to a very relaxed start to 2020! The “Forensic Files” marathon is on the TV, “Sleeping Beauty” (aka my husband) is still in bed, the sun is shining outside, and there is just enough snow to make it pretty, yet not enough to be annoying. I’m starting day one of six precious days off from work, too.


Rumaki is a “tiki” appetizer that was at its peak in popularity in the 1950s-1960s. What is it? Marinated chicken livers wrapped in water chestnuts, bacon, teriyaki sauce, etc. More about rumaki in a bit!

Later today, the “birthday boy” and I will head out to a local restaurant that offers free birthday dinners. We’ll be going to Haab’s, a downtown restaurant that has been in existence since 1934, and in some ways, is kind of stuck in time. The decor hasn’t been updated for quite some time, for one! The menu is also stuck in time and pretty “old school,” (although there are a couple of vegetarian options).  You can get rumaki as an appetizer, you can get chicken livers as an entreè, filet mignon and numerous other “meaty” dishes (the “chicken in a basket” is quite popular), and after 4 p.m., you can get baked potatoes as a side. The happy hour starts at 4 on weekdays, and really can’t be beat if you like a bargain (the deals start at just $2)! Yes, it’s pretty much a “meat and potatoes” kind of place – it isn’t fancy, isn’t filled with hipsters and isn’t a place you’re going to find kale and quinoa-based meals or a lot of gluten-free options. But the service is usually excellent, and the atmosphere is usually very calm and quiet. It’s become a favorite spot for me and my parents for family dinners (including birthday dinners).

Recently, we had a “family dinner” here on Thanksgiving weekend. I had to work on Thanksgiving day and the day after that, so this was a place for me to be able to see my parents and my brother and his family. We also unexpectedly ran into a guy I know from a rival trivia team, who was there having dinner with his wife and two young kids! That’s the thing about the place – it’s not unusual to run into other people you know here…

Soon, I’ll be headed just a bit north to Mount Pleasant, MI for a two-night stay. The main “purpose” is for my husband and I to see his folks. Their home is about a four hours’ drive from ours, and is located deep in “the country,” or as some might say, “the sticks” (though there is good WiFi coverage)! Their guest room, which I call the “Fonzie Room” because it’s attached to a garage/pole barn, is only a three-season room. If we stay in it in the winter months, it requires a propane heater be running constantly. In the winter months, getting to – and from- their house can be dicey, too because of winter weather.

This means a nearby motel stay was more convenient for a winter trip. It also means less driving, a pool and hot tub to use – and as an added bonus, we can see some of our old college “haunts!” You can read more about that in this blog I posted recently.

What else is planned for 2020? I haven’t made any resolutions or plans as of yet! Cabin/camping trips will most definitely be something we’ll be doing! Speaking of cabin trips, a blog I wrote about a 2018 cabin trip to Cheboygan State Park still ranks as one of my most-read blogs of all time – and was the most-read blog for 2019 (191 views for the year). There is talk of visiting this park again – if we can manage to rent one of the cabins again (they are very popular and need to be booked way in advance).

The year 2019 was a year of some big changes! I lost a tooth, I quit smoking, my niece graduated high school, a younger relative got married, a dear friend lost his battle with cancer (that was a huge emotional blow to me and a good number of my friends) and toward the end of the year, I successfully managed to cut back significantly on drinking. I virtually stopped drinking during the month of November, and since that time, I’ve cut way back. I basically turned down the volume on my drinking…

On the trivia front, my team did… pretty well! We were fairly successful in regularly winning prize money in weekly games, winning $1,745 for 2019. In December, we finished third in a regional tournament and won $500. After coming so, so close to winning prize money with a team I’d “helped” in April, and after having lost a dear friend (also a frequent trivia teammate) – this was kind of like… redemption. Also, I felt like our departed friend Archie was at this tournament game in spirit because of the Harley Davidson tiebreaker question we had that allowed us to win money (he was a Harley Davidson nut). I felt like we were able to officially dedicate that game to his memory. I just KNOW that he was cheering us on that day in spirit! Since he was such a huge U of M fan, I will definitely be thinking of him today when the U of M plays Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. Uh, “Go Blue,” right? 🙂

My “captain’s log” was one of my most-read blogs of 2019, and it included details of every single trivia game me and my trivia team played in 2019, including the location/date of the games, players present for the game, our scores, prize winnings and even the final questions. I’ll continue to log all of our games for 2020, and when we play our first game, I’ll post the new captain’s log for 2020 –  and continue updating/adding to it.

Full recaps of trivia games will definitely continue in 2020!


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