The January List – 2020


As I finally sit down (I’m actually standing, though) to write this on February 6, and it is finally starting to feel like winter in Michigan. Am I happy? Sure, I love the look of fresh fallen snow, and I love looking out the windows at night when there is a soft glow outside because of all the white. But I still love summer the best. Although I’m happiest to see spring.

1) How have I been doing on my resolutions? Not bad, actually. I’ve stuck to the workout schedule for the most part, skipping a day or two when my body didn’t feel great (something is happening with my knees, but I’m pretending like it’s not).

I did not buy a new lamp for the living room because it fell under the don’t-buy-anything-I-don’t-need resolution, but I did slip to purchase chili seasoning for the rims of my margaritas. Although the actual need for this can almost be justified.

I’m getting a tEEny bit better at drinking more water. And those are the ones I can remember right now, which means after I write this, I need to go revisit that list.

2) My daughter and I have been dying for the pistachio cake at Ochre Bakery. I was there at the beginning of the month to hang with my friend Julia, and was supposed to go back last week to meet her new puppy, but we had to reschedule.

Anyway, we decided to make our own pistachio cake instead of waiting until the next time I could make it down there. The recipe I found called for vegetable oil, so I substituted butter for that and it turned out pretty well. The girls chose glaze over frosting and I skimped on that. Next time I won’t and next time I’m also going to try coconut oil in place of the butter.

3) I made a lot of trips to the library this month and finished a few books. One was my book group book, “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid. It was one of those light reads about a heavy topic, which I always tend to like, because I think you have to be somewhat clever to do that. The ending was wrapped up too nicely, but otherwise I recommend it.

I also read “The Last Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine, which is a pen name for two sisters and had I known that before I started, I would have realized the book would be a bit cheesy. It was a fun read, and the plot was decent, but it was much too silly and the writing wasn’t good enough to be recommendable. However… if you’re sitting on a yacht with nothing else to do for a couple hours…sure, go ahead.

Another was “The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton at the recommendation of my friend Ray, who always gives great book recs. I was intrigued by throughout. Great if you like murder mysteries, but this one you can’t zone out on. You have to pay attention.

4) I’ve been super into puzzles lately and after doing all our puzzles for the second and third time, I broke down and bought a bunch of new ones. Okay, fail on the new year’s resolution, but again… I’m gonna justify this purchase as a need. I put in my headphones, listen to my podcast and zone out.

5) I stumbled across this podcast upon doing a search for “investigative journalism.” I hadn’t ever heard of this story and I was so curious about it. I’m fascinated with India as it is, so when I read the synopsis, I was hooked.

“For 40 years, journalists chronicled the eccentric royal family of Oudh, deposed aristocrats who lived in a ruined palace in the Indian capital. It was a tragic, astonishing story. But was it true?”

Right? It was great. I loved it. I could have completely wept at the end, had I been in the mood, but I have not been in the mood for weeping in a long time. Which is not to say I haven’t been incredibly sad in a long time.

6) I watched a documentary on Amazon called “Generation Wealth,” by Lauren Greenfield. Again, fascinating, and I was delighted when I started watching, to learn that the director is also a photographer (which was kind of what the documentary was about also) and her work is SO good, and if anyone wants to buy me the book with the same name or “Girl Culture,” feel free. I’m so drawn to her photos and love her style and perspective, and each shot tells not just a story, but a clear story. I’ve always liked that kind of work. Photos about culture and society, no matter which culture or society.

7) I also watched the new Ted Bundy documentary and I found it very well done in that it was more about the victims than about his crimes. It consists of many interviews, mainly his long-term girlfriend, who was a victim of sorts in her own right.

It also talked a lot about women’s rights and what was going on during that time (’70s) for women. And how women were told not to fight back in certain situations (and surprise, the one 18-year-old who did fight back got away) and how women weren’t taken seriously (not that we are now, but it was worse back then, seemingly), and how women were just starting to be allowed into the police force and crime departments and all of that.

8)  I made spaghetti squash for maybe the third time in my life? I came upon a recipe that said to cut it width wise vs. the more popular lengthwise, like so (above), and that doing it this way makes the “noodles” longer. It’s a pretty decent alternative to actual noodles. Much better than zucchini noodles, which get squishy and taste like well, zucchini.

I ate it with leftover Indian food on top, ate it once with scrambled eggs and another time with lots of butter and salt and Guyere.

9) As I am trying to come up with list ideas, I realize I didn’t do a whole lot this month. I watched more TV than usual, because I’m exercising more, which means a lot of stationary bike riding and show watching. In my downtime, which isn’t much (kid activities, work), I’m puzzling or sitting by the fire.

I feel like I need to ramp up the creativity a bit, whether it be taking more photos or writing or picking up drawing again (in middle school/high school I would sit in my room for hours just drawing), but I’ve been enjoying the nothingness. My mind and soul has needed it.

10) I mean I have literally been staring at the computer screen for over two minutes, wondering what in the heck to talk about in order to get to number 12. Scrolling through the photos on my phone to see if there is anything…

Aaaaand, here we go. I’m the best mom. Now you know.

11) I don’t think I ever shared any photos from the shoot I did at The Detroit Club with this lovely high school senior. When she was 13, she was our babysitter and she was an awesome one. And where did the time go? Everyone 40 and older wants to know.

12) One beautiful thing about Grosse Pointe winters are the sunrises. IF you get up early enough to see them. I would like to say this is the view from the office window, but my actual view is blocked by a fluffy pine tree. Still, what a view.

And just like that, it’s February. Although it’s already been February for several days now. Enjoy the month, and I’ll see you back in March with another list.

The December List – 2019 – A Look Ahead

December was kind of a crappy month for me. There were some cool things that happened, like my 10-year-old suddenly went from singing pretty badly to singing quite beautifully (and by singing I mean singing to herself while doing a craft or puzzle or some other thing where her mind wanders, which is mostly all the time).

And discovering my Enneagram, which literally made me cry when I read the results (finally, I’m understood). The nutshell of my Enneagram, above.

Otherwise, I’m kind of done with December. So in lieu of the usual 12-list recap, I bring you “My New Year’s Resolutions (That I’m Willing to Share).” In no particular order.

1) Drink more water.

So simple, but so hard for me for some reason. It’s the cheapest, easiest way to look and feel better. I don’t drink during meals (unless said liquid is alcohol, strangely), and sometimes I’ll go more than half a day without drinking water. Not sure how I’m going to remind myself to do it – I’ve left mugs and bottles of it on my desk, I’ve made notes – I’ll just have to do it.

2) Make pot stickers.

I love pot stickers by any name. Dumplings, gyoza, mondu. I’m obsessed. Have been since I was a little kid. I guarantee you I have eaten more dumplings in my lifetime than you have. They are relatively easy to make and other than the wrappers, the ingredients are easy to find in Grosse Pointe. And they are easy to freeze. And ten times better when they’re homemade. But I have yet to make them. No more excuses, it’s time.

3) Figure out the photography thing.

I’ve been loving photography. But it stresses me the heck out. I get anxiety days before a shoot and then the day before I wish I’d never said yes and then the day of, I’m sure I’m going to screw it up somehow or my camera will break or none of the photos will be in focus.

And then for all the work I do (driving time, shooting time, editing time), I don’t make a whole lot. But, I do make some nice pocket change and was able to buy a new lens this year with monies earned……Sooooo. I just need to figure it out. Suck it up and keep doing it or stop.

4) Get rid of excess (and extras).

I don’t have a lot of excess. I’m somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to decor and even clothing, compared to most women I knew. But there are areas where I need to purge. Like vases. Why do I need so many vases? I’ll tell you why. Because WHAT IF I buy (or even better, someone gives me, or even better, I grow and pick) a bunch of flowers that will only look right in that one particular vase.

I also can’t get rid of food. Like the one can of jackfruit that I thought I’d use that’s been sitting in my cupboard for ALMOST TWO YEARS (I’ve tried to pretend it’s not there by hiding it in the back as you can see and also do you love coconut milk like I love coconut milk?). Even though I should probably get rid of it, I can’t. Because not only is food waste a really bad thing, I also paid for that can of with my hard earned money, which I don’t have a lot of these days.

Could this apply to relationships/situations as well as objects/things? Heck yes.

5) Eat less meat, eat more fish.

I know how to cook and I  cook a lot. And I know fish can be one of the easier things to prepare. But I hate the fishy smell that hovers over your kitchen when you’re done and also cooking fish intimidates me. Why? I don’t know.

Yes, I realize I could also eat more vegetables instead of eating more fish, but I know I can’t accomplish that, so it is not a realistic goal at this juncture.

6) Stop getting sucked into social media stories about unexpected animal friendships and animal rescues.

I’d say less social media or a complete social media hiatus (which I’ve done for Lent and loved), but I now manage two social media accounts, so that would never work.

My problem is that once I’m logged in to post something for work, I scroll and see a post about a puppy who made friends with a chipmunk or hedgehog or possum and of course I have to click on it!!!! And at the end of the story there’s another story I have to click on about a black Labrador who rides the bus by himself every day to go to the park or a penguin in Japan that walks to the fish market and then I’ve wasted 15 minutes of my life that I can’t get back.

7) Don’t buy anything I don’t need.

Do I need to spend $10 on a movie night with girlfriends? Yes. Because me time is important, as is time with friends, as is blocking life out for two hours. What about $20 on a super cute shirt from Zara because it covers my arms in just the right places and makes me feel good about myself? Sadly, no. An expensive cut of organic, pasture-raised beef? Yes (I have my reasons). The West Elm planter I’ve been dying to get for the front porch that is now on sale? Nope. A new houseplant because I killed the other one? Questionable.

Which leads me to my next resolution…

8) Shop Amazon less.

Such bad business practices. And Bezos is a jerk. But it’s such a lifesaver at times. And sooooo easy. Kid needs a white t-shirt for the school play by Friday? Amazon. Recipe calls for specific curry spice that I have to drive 30 minutes to get “locally”? Amazon. And did someone say, “free two-day shipping”?

I’m not going to pledge a year of no Amazon. That would be insanity. But I do pledge to buy elsewhere whenever possible. Especially books. Even though they are always so much cheaper on Amazon.

9) Be nicer to my kids.

I’m not a mean mom. I’m just not always nice. And the irony is that I’m not always nice when I’m telling my kids that they should be nice. I’m 47, work a several jobs (marketing for the school, freelance writing, payroll for my husband’s company and photography) and I’m tired.

Sometimes I don’t want to parent or I want to parent quickly, which is usually not nice option. Sometimes being nice means letting them make that super annoying clicking noise with their tongues while I’m trying to type a work email instead of saying in exasperation, “Can you PLEASE stop making that noise!” Sometimes being nice means instead of telling her for the hundredth (probably two hundredth) time to stop shoving her clothes in the drawer, show her how to fold her shirts and hang out with her while she practices doing it. Parenting nicely takes time. And energy. Brain power and bandwidth. And I don’t always have it in me. But I’m going to try.

10) Dab on haters.

My 8-year-old has been saying/doing this (you have to do the motion) lately and it makes me laugh. But it’s also good advice. It’s basically like saying, “let it go,” but in much less zen and ethereal way (of which I am neither). I CARE. About EVERYTHING. I overthink and I ask why. I can’t let it go. But dabbing on haters? It feels more final and resolute. Like a battle cry or an outcast spell. Which I can totally get behind.

11) Exercise more.

BO-ring. On the list every @#*$&$ year.

Notice I didn’t say less carbs or no ice cream or no potato chips. Aside from being healthier and having more energy and feeling better, blah, blah, blah, my main motivation factor for exercising is so I can eat the carbs and the ice cream and the potato chips. And drink the spicy margaritas.

The goal is to move (cardio) every day. Even if it’s 10 minutes. Followed by targeted exercises of A, B, C or D (one per day in order). Abs, Booty, Choice of workout (or Chill, meaning no extra exercises, not sure yet which I’m going to go with) or Dumbells.

Google 10-minute Butt Lift by Cassey Ho for if you are looking for pure torture. Although this is coming from someone who doesn’t exercise a whole lot, so maybe for you it will be a piece of cake. I got to the point two years ago where I could do the whole thing without cheating and last night I cheated on every exercise but two. Ay carumba. But my mantra (as Cassey says in the video) is just to do better than I did yesterday. I can do that.

12) Pray more.

I believe in the power of prayer, yet I don’t always pray. In fact, I pray very little, which is to say I pray very little compared to the amount of praying I used to do. By prayer I mean connecting to God and my surroundings (nature, the universe, unseen energy) thoughtfully and purposely and prayerfully. And letting the answers guide me.

My friend Ingrid gifted me this book years ago and I still keep it on my nightstand and reference it often.

It hasn’t snowed all month, but when we woke up this morning there was a half inch of snow on the ground. Appropriate for the New Year. A clean slate. And just a bit ago my girlfriend posted this inspiring message that seems to have been written just for me.

I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason and I don’t believe that everything always works out. But I do believe in divine guidance/intervention and I believe in hope. I look forward to the New Year, in spite of the political climate and worldly goings on, in spite of personal challenges, in spite of the odds being seemingly stacked against us at times. Bring on 2020. I’m ready.

The November List – 2019

Hope those of you who celebrate, enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday! I write this as leftovers are still in the fridge and my table still looks pretty with my Trader Joe’s flowers and squash (the Mandarin oranges have been mostly eaten by the girls).

1) Winter came to Grosse Pointe in mid November with a 9-inch snow storm. Just the day before, we’d raked leaves. It was both odd and beautiful to see snow-covered leafy trees.

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2)  I left for a strategic marketing conference in Charleston a few days after the snowstorm. It’s been on my bucket list for some time, and I was thrilled to finally be going. I took a couple vacation days to spend sightseeing and invited my girlfriend Erin to meet me there.

It was unseasonably cold and rainy the first two days, which worked in our favor in terms of exploring – less people, less cars on the road – it was much more quiet than it would usually be on the weekend in our part of town (the picturesque South of Broad neighborhood).

3) On our first night, after a dinner at a Mexican restaurant (yes, I know, but it was SO good), we went to Magnolia’s for a final drink and dessert. Best pecan pie I’d ever had, and I am so, so picky when it comes to pie. I should have gone back again another day.

4) I toured two historic homes, both walking distance from my hotel. The first was the Nathaniel Russell house. The self-guided tour was really good and so fascinating. The trim in this room is 18k gold.

Pic from Charleston Carriage Works

The second home was the Edmondston-Alston House, which sits along Charleston Harbor. You can see Fort Sumter from the balcony and stand in the spot where General P T Beauregard watched the start of the Civil War.

5)  On our second night, we sat at a communal table at Fig, a new-ish restaurant in the area. We didn’t make reservations, so were asked to wait at the bar. When an elderly lady was shown to the bar, I reluctantly gave up my bar stool, but then we got to chatting about Charleston and she was so lovely.

Her husband came in a few minutes later and didn’t engage with us until Erin asked if they knew why so many buildings were pink. He gave an eloquent explanation of Charleston’s Caribbean roots and long story short, we later learned (after they’d been seated and we figured it out), that Judge Sanders and US Army soldier was also once the president of Charleston College and he’s kind of a big deal.

6) Back to the pink….it’s my favorite thing about Charleston. Pink houses, a pink church, pink stairs.

7)  Speaking of pink stairs, I love these photos Erin took of me taking pics. Rarely am I ever in vacation photos, simply because I’m the photographer in the family, plus it makes me happy seeing photos of me doing what I love doing.

8)  Another notable thing about Charleston is its window boxes. They are stunning, and I’m inspired to up my front porch game this spring/summer. Hold me to it!

9) And let’s not forget the old graveyards, which on our carriage tour, I learned that a graveyard is associated with a church and a cemetery is a burial site not associated with a church. I loved wandering the pathways and reading tombstone inscriptions. During one lunch break, after exiting the grounds, I realized I’d been sitting among the burial site of Vice President John Calhoun.

10) Most of this month’s list is about Charleston and it’s just as well. November in Grosse Pointe was fine, but non-eventful. I finished “Smoke” by David Vyleta. It was intriguing – historical fiction mixed with surrealism or fantasy? I don’t know how to describe it.

I enjoyed the uniqueness of it, the interesting premise of people “smoking” – emitting smoke from their bodies – to indicate vice or wrong doing, but thought the end was lacking. I just googled reviews and the New York Times agrees with me for the most part.

11) My sweet mom turned 80 this month, and she was celebrated (while I was in Charleston, or I would have traveled to Hawaii for it) by family and friends at a restaurant gathering. Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

12) We hosted Thanksgiving this year. Lucky for us, my mother-in-law graciously brought the main part of the meal and we were only responsible for appetizers and a welcoming home.

I continue to reflect on what I am thankful for, as we head into the last month of the year. I always appreciate these short couple of days that are quiet and lazy, before the Christmas season goes nonstop until the 25th.

Wishing everyone a wonderful December!

The October List – 2019

Another fast and furious list coming your way because life. WARNING – I did not proof this, not even one time. I am slacking on some of my paid work and therefore I need to quickly finish this so my brain can be free to do said work. I apologize for the terrible grammar and spelling and typos that you may find within.

First of all, I heard it snowed for about five minutes today. I missed it because I was hunkered down all day doing freelance work. Which was actually really nice – having the house to myself and getting it done. Not ready for the six months of cold that is Michigan winter.

1) Halloween was really cold (40s?) and wet, and I convinced my littlest to stay home with me and watch a movie instead of trick-or-treating. We watched Aladdin and I loved it (she had seen it before, I hadn’t) and ate popcorn (me) and ice cream (her). I’ve never liked trick-or-treating. The only thing worse than strangers is strangers in costume.

Also this pic is not my kid b/c I forgot to take pics of my own kids dressed up for Halloween. So sad. But I did do a Halloween photoshoot with my friend’s super cute kid as a purple candy monster, so there you go.

2) Can’t talk about October without talking about leaves. It’s been a gorgeous fall, with bright, bright orange, yellow and red leaves.

I took pics of this family and their English Labradors (oh my gosh, it made me miss Sam so much) at CCD, which is short for Country Club of Detroit, which is located in Grosse Pointe. They were going to keep the dogs in the house, but of I was like heck no, bring it on. And then two minutes later, I was wondering why in the everloving world did I think that was a good idea. But it all worked out.

This isn’t one of my favorites from the shoot, but it’s one that shows the lovely fall colors.

3) I turned 47 on the 14th. I mean, I don’t even know what to say about that.

I thawed a piece of coconut, sweet potato and macadamia nut shortbread desserts that are in the freezer from when my mom and auntie visited this summer as a birthday treat. It tastes better than it looks.

4) Speaking of Japanese purple sweet potatoes (also called Okinawan sweet potatoes), I saw some at Trader Joe’s for the first time this week! I know I can get them elsewhere if I looked, but I haven’t seen them and this means I can easily make my favorite dessert, which is very, very exciting.

If you’re wondering how it tastes, it’s not that much different than the more common orange kind, and I am thinking how to describe the difference….purple is less….dense tasting? Meaning the flavor is not as defined as the orange kind? So more bland or maybe less sweet.

5) Speaking of Japanese some more, I finally, after years of having a copy in my bedside table (granted I’d forgotten about it because it was in the bottom cupboard section that I tend to forget even has stuff in it), I read “Scent of a City” by a former co-worker Aki Gibbons. (How many author friends do I have? A lot.)

I loved the characters and the scenes. A lot of the relationships reminded me of those you’d find in Hawaii. The whole Asian culture thing. There were surreal parts mixed every so slightly into reality and also a thread of quirkiness, which always gets me (quirkiness). I think you can only get it on Kindle? I was lucky to get a printed copy (okay, a digital copy which I printed at Staples) because I do not do Kindle.

6) Back to Halloween. I went to the infamous Beverly Boo adult party and this year’s theme was Pirate. My super talented girlfriend did my makeup and even helped me figure out how to amp up my skirt by jabbing scissors through it. And she pulled my corset so tight I could not sit down properly, but it looked Ah-MAZ-ing. Detroit – if you are ever in need of costume make-up or regular night-out make up, let me know and I will connect you with her!

I have no idea who these people are in the photo. I ended up going to the party by myself, because my husband was sick and they looked very pirate-y and they offered to join me in my entrance photo so why not.

7) And yes this is a drink ice luge and no, I did not partake because I am not interested in having a raging headache for two days. But it was fun to watch.

8) I forgot to tell you I moved offices – woohoo! Not exactly exciting stuff, but I am happy since the people I work the most with are on the first floor (I was previously on second). I miss my view of the water (I’m still facing the water, but my view is blocked by an evergeen shrub), but all I have to do is poke my head out of the office to see it out the door.

I inherited an area rug, which is SO not me (is it anyone, really? I say no), but I’m leaving it there because there is no radiator in my new office (of all the people with no heat, I know….) and it is also nailed to the floor. Decorating is tricky because I have THREE doors, but I think I’m going to order some photographs (mine. no not of me but ones I’ve taken) on canvas to hang and that will help.

9) I cooked a bunch. The red pot I’m guessing is spaghetti sauce and I don’t know why I would photograph that because I make it all the time. And butternut squash soup which is such a pain to make (all the chopping and baking before actually getting into the soup part), but it is my favorite soup next to French onion so I make it in the fall and winter when I have time.

10)  I picked these books up at the library. “Smoke” I’d learned about from a magazine article, probably while sitting at the salon and “Dear Mr. M” I’d borrowed before because I liked his first book (“The Dinner,” which we read in my SF book group).

I started reading “Smoke” and after one chapter in, I almost put it down, but I’m glad I didn’t because it’s turning out to be a very interesting read. Great characters, intriguing plot, perfect setting (English private school, old London, a country estate, yadda yadda). Very Dickensian.

Image result for "grosse pointe" chamber of commerce

11) Our Grosse Pointe community suffered a devastating loss of two young boys in a house fire this month and it completely gutted me. Yes, there is tragedy everywhere and happening all the time. But when it happens close to home, it gets to you.

We’re all still pretty shaken about it, so the one thing I will say is that…firstly I’ve been pretty straightforward about this community being very difficult to get to know and to make friends with. Not that people aren’t friendly, but that I personally had (and have) a hard time making friends, figuring people out, fitting in. But I’ve witnessed this community come together in a way that makes me proud to live here. And gives me a sense of comfort that if and when I need them, Grosse Pointe people will be here for me.

12)  Flower season has come to an end. I visited Detroit Abloom at the end of the month, so say goodbye to its season and to pick some of the last dahlias. And beets. It was early in the morning and it was so peaceful (except for the one stray pitbull who wandered in and growled at me as I ever so slowly walked away and hid behind the compost pile OMG) and beautiful.

November is already a doozie six days in. But I am grateful for all the creative and freelance work that is on my plate (in addition to everything else – SIGH). It’s a good problem to have.

Until next month (which is actually this month, buy hey).

The September List – 2019

So. It’s October 8th, y’all. And I have zero ideas for the September list. The following is what I can come up with in the next little bit….

1) I volunteered at Detroit Abloom, something I haven’t done in a long time. Butterflies everywhere. I deadheaded Mexican sunflowers and it was lovely.

2) And then one afternoon, my daughter asks me to come outside to look at something. Reluctantly (I don’t remember what I was doing, but I remember not wanting to tear myself away from whatever it was), I follow her to the backyard, where I see about over 20 butterflies, fluttering among our hemlocks. It was amazing, and this photo is a very bad attempt at capturing them.

3) I had to let go of some things that were on my plate, in order to free up bandwidth for mental wellness. I gave up some freelance work and also my position on the board at Detroit Abloom. I still plan on volunteering there when I can. I hope I make myself make time for it.

4) And then my favorite client calls and says can you please take over our Instagram and I can’t say no, even though some of the work I gave up was with said client. What is wrong with me don’t answer that.

Shameless plug: please follow Ahee Jewelers on Instagram! @aheejewelers
It is a wonderful family-owned business, staffed by some of the nicest people in the world.

5) I picked beets from the garden (Detroit Abloom) and roasted them. They were delicious.

6) My youngest turned eight. We had a backyard party and I made coconut cupcakes.

I made the first batch of cream cheese frosting with some weird type of sugar. Not coconut sugar….I can’t remember now, but some kind of sugar that’s not sugarcane. It was disgusting and the “no aftertaste” label on the front of the bag was completely wrong. So I went to the store and bought regular powdered sugar and the frosting came put perfectly.

7) When we went out for her birthday dinner, she found a heart in her ranch dressing.

8) My old San Francisco roomie Liz came to visit! It was amazing! We haven’t seen each other in about six years. We went to Eastern Market, where we got caught in a downpour, went to the Heidelberg Project (finally. I’d never been) and hung out on the Riverwalk on the windiest day ever, went to my new favorite restaurant, Marrow, and talked forever about everything.

9) Heidelberg Project was ridiculous. It was quirky and fun, which is what I’d expected, but it was also very….. I can’t come up with the word. Let’s say I imagined it to be slightly more highbrow. But of course I’m glad I went and Liz was the perfect person to go with. We laughed a lot. For those not in the know, it is a street that doubles as an art installation project. Google it!

10) We did a huge puzzle. Mostly I did it, but the girls helped too and I think even my husband put in several pieces. I listened to In the Dark podcast Season 2 while I was puzzling. Holy cow. About the case of Curtis Flowers. Highly recommend. It was really soothing to me. Blocking out the world, listening to a reporter talking, while working on a puzzle. You should try it. Also please ignore the nearly dead flowers in the vase.

11) A former co-worker of mine from SF Weekly wrote a book and I read it. “Task Lyst” by Scott Hylbert. I was pleasantly surprised! It was fast-paced with an interesting plot, and the characters went to so many of my old Bay Area haunts and neighborhoods.

I’m always so impressed when someone I know writes a book. I know thousands upon thousands of people do so every year, but it is not an easy feat. I’ve tried it and it’s not something I think I can do. So kuddos to all of you out there who have accomplished that or are working on one!

12) I also read “Three Women” by Lisa Taddeo. And yes, lots of sex, like a LOT and very descriptive, but I wouldn’t call it gratuitous. It’s a book about desire, so it makes sense there would be a lot of sex in it. The author is a reporter and basically it’s a case study that reads like a novel, purposely crafted as such. The writing is really, really good. Stories are raw and real and heartbreaking. I do recommend it. It is not always an easy read, although it reads quickly.

I’m posting this last photo, because Facebook has been pulling the last photo on my list for my post cover pic and I don’t want it to be a book cover. It’s my favorite drink at The Charlevoix. Hot Hot Heat.

I could go deep on my feelings about September, it was kind of a big month emotionally (no catastrophic event to justify that, just the course of my life), but I’ve run out of time (lucky you). Happy, Happy October, everyone!

The August List – 2019

Summer is officially over at our house. School has started, which means kids are back in a routine and I’m back in the office. Above pic is me celebrating the first day of school with a glass of bubbly at bedtime the night before.

Here’s what went on in August:

1) After a long bout with pneumonia, my mom was able to come visit! She and her sister, my Auntie Melinda, stayed for a little over a week. We celebrated Auntie’s birthday with coconut cupcakes (of course!), went to Belle Isle and downtown Detroit, and of course visited our favorite people at our favorite gardens.

At Detroit Abloom, Nancy showed us their butterfly cocoons.

At Julia’s farm, Willa Rose Floral, we wandered around the garden, played with Buju the cat and watched bugs and bees enjoying the flowers.

2) Dahlias were in full bloom in August. I only planted four this year in our front yard. Our backyard doesn’t get enough sun and although some do bloom back there, it’s disappointing to see the several plants that don’t make it.

This Alloway Candy did amazing. It keeps giving me bloom after bloom and they are perfect with their pinwheel centers.

This one, I think is maybe Diva? Bad photo, they are a deep purple-red vs. magenta.

My favorite, the Cafe au Lait. I thought I got a mutant one. It only opens part way. But after talking to Nancy, it sounds like several dahlia plants have done the same weird thing this season. One reason might be leaf hoppers, a bug she says she has seen for the first time this year and they may be injecting a virus into the plant.

However, this one is almost there. You can do it, come on!

Here’s another Cafe. Please, please bloom before the weather turns!

3) I wore a one-piece bathing suit for the first time since right after I had my baby number one (that suit had ruching all up in front and made me look ten years older and why I still have it in my closet, I’m not sure).

I bought a few several years ago when we’d just moved to Michigan. But, I never felt comfortable in them. Then, this summer of not working out prompted me to try one on again and actually I quite liked it. So you may be seeing more of me (well, less of me) in a one-piece in the future. Lucky you.

4) Yep, that’s yet another Tana French book, her latest, “The Witch Elm.” It was everything I love in a murder mystery – complex characters, a romantic setting (Ireland, an old house, a garden, a mysterious uncle), suspenseful with some humor mixed in. Here’s the original cover with the original title. Dumbed down again for Americans (WHY, people?!?). The actual species of tree is indeed spelled WYCH. I suppose someone thought changing it to Witch would make it more….witchy. But it just makes it stupid, now that I know the real title.

5) I read yet another Tana French book this month, her first one called “In the Woods.” I’ve been hesitant to read it because it’s about children who disappeared, but the book actually doesn’t even cover what happened to them, so it wasn’t too bad.

Here are the different cover titles I found online. The one I read was the first one. The last one with the tagline “something is waiting” is again super dumb because the book wasn’t even about that and we don’t even know if something is or was waiting. “Lyrical and haunting” however, is completely accurate.

6)  Guess what else I found while looking for book covers online? A TV series based on the first two books. Coming out via Starz this Fall. Can’t wait. Although….pretty sure the girl detective was blond? Oh well.

7) As you may know from my June List with a Twist, I confessed to you that I am obsessed with true crime. I still can’t figure out why, because I am the scardiest scaredy cat you will ever meet. I’m sure a psychiatrist could explain it to me and I’m quite curious to know.

Thanks to my girlfriend Liz (who is coming to visit soon OMG!!!!!!), I am now obsessed with true crime podcasts. I started listening to them for our NY road trip and now they are my background soundtrack when I go for walks. Finished Dirty John, the first series of Serial and In the Dark (recommended by my friend Megan) which was incredible investigative journalism and won several awards. One of the cases made it all the way to the Supreme Court, due to all the information the team uncovered.

8)  Speaking of investigative journalism, it’s a little known fact that this career was high on my list of during college and afterwards. Same with photojournalism. Why I went into PR instead, is because my personality would never allow me to ask the hard questions, never allow me to get in the trenches (figuratively or maybe also not figuratively). I’m just not that brave. Above photo is an actual photo of me working up the nerve to photograph a stranger.

9) I do have what it takes to take portraits and this month I did a couple senior photoshoots. One took place in an amazing mid-century home not far from where I live. I’d gone to an open house earlier in the week and fell in love with the light. My gal was into theater and drama and was up for anything.

My other shoot was at the DIA and the lines of the building and metal sculpture made for such beautiful and fun backdrops.

Senior pictures are NOT what they were back in my day. I need to have my mom dig up one of my senior photos, you will die.

10) More about that house where I photographed. It was built in the 50s by a couple who was into Hollywood glam. They enjoyed the home for several decades before selling to a woman who passed away a couple years ago. The home was sold, but no one ever moved in (I did hear someone say at the open house that the person who purchased the home intended to restore it) and now its for sale again.

I almost didn’t contact the realtor to ask if I could have access to the house, because once again, too scared. But I did and she could not have been more gracious and kind, meeting me there to let us in and back again to lock up when we were done. The chances of someone buying the home to restore it are slim to none, but here’s holding out hope.

11) Detroit Abloom is hosting its annual celebration of the season next month. If you are in the area, please stop by!

12) And finally, the tomato plant that came home with my daughter at the end of fourth grade last year that I said would never grow in our backyard, but go ahead and plant it anyway, just don’t get upset when it dies because you didn’t water it and don’t cry when the bunnies and squirrels have at it, has about a million tomatoes on it. So there.

Happy September!