The December List – 2017

Back to work tomorrow after a two-week break, although much of that break was spent like this….

1) … because I came down with the flu or whatever nasty business was going around.

2) And then the week before that, the kids and husband had it, so I was dealing with that. I feel like December was a blur of snow and cold and sickness, (but we did enjoy our holidays).

Temperatures dropped into the negatives for several days and aside from not being able to really go outside (which I didn’t feel like doing anyway), I am very concerned about my plants and how they will fare come Spring.

3) It snowed quite a bit this December and the first few snowfalls I was happy to shovel because it’s so peaceful, especially at night when no one else is around except for maybe the professional snow blowers who get their jobs done so fast but never do as good of a job as a good old-fashioned shovel. Although I do envy then, don’t get me wrong. And it’s a great workout also.

Luckily or unluckily the next several times it snowed, I was too unwell to shovel, so my husband did all the hard work.

4)  We went to Mr. Paul’s Chophouse for the first time. It’s an old school dimly lit place in Roseville that doesnt’ take reservations and makes Caesar salad tableside and offers huge steaks (which we shared). Sorry the photo is so creepy, but I had to blur the subject. The steaks were really, really good, as was the Caesar. Fish, okay.

5)  We had ugly sweater day at work, so I bought this cheap number on Amazon so I could participate. Of course the girls looooved it and kept wanting to pet the cat and I’ve never gotten so many compliments from the kids at school. Hahahaha so great.

6)  We were so, so happy to have a White Christmas this year. It snowed a bunch on Christmas Eve as we were driving to my husband’s sister’s place for dinner. We drove about 40 mph on the freeway, so it took forever to get there and back, but it was so pretty! And I wasn’t driving!

7)  And I loved sitting around the tree on Christmas morning while it snowed outside while I pretended I wasn’t coming down with the flu.

8) Santa was more generous than previous years, bringing three gifts per child instead of two (I’m not big on giving Santa the spotlight). We hit a snafu when a couple days before Christmas, the little one brought home a letter from Santa saying that he was “working hard to get her the American Girl doll” she asked for. UMMM, heads up, people, please!

The sweet eighth grade buddies who crafted the letter were obviously not thinking about the poor moms and dads while writing the letter. I did request that next year they keep the letter general, as not to cause panic attacks or crying on Christmas morning for next year’s first grade class.

I actually thought about getting said doll, but I don’t usually spend that much, plus….to get it to the house on time I’d have to pay a lot more than regular price, which I wasn’t willing to do on principle. ANYway, my girlfriend helped me out big time by crawling around her attic to find me not one, but two (for both girls) American Girl dolls, complete with accessories, that her now college-age girls had played with.

Such a great save and the girls were thrilled! Sam, not so much.

9) The girls also got a handful of board games, which they asked for. Dominoes, which they have never played before and is such a great game. And of course fun to play with outside of an actual game. They did a lot of stacking and knocking down.

I wasn’t sure if they were ready for Monopoly, but so far so good. The last couple of days, they have played it for HOURS (without fighting!), which not only makes me so happy because it gives me time to do absolutely nothing  chores and cleaning and organizing, but because it was my favorite game as a kid. Although backgammon was a close second (and sometimes first) for a while.

10) I feel like I am one of the last people to read “A Man Called Ove,” which I started reading this month. I didn’t realize there was also a movie until I Googled it to get the book cover. The actor in the movie looks closer to 69 than the character’s 59, but he has that perfect curmudgeon look.

I’m enjoying the book – it is well-written and funny at times and sad at times and all the things that the back cover promises it will be. However, I find it just a tad too realistically depressing. As soon as I’m done with it, I plan to plunge back into the fantasy world with the second book of the “Darker Shade of Magic” series.

11)  Although both of us were still run down from being sick, my husband and I were able to buck up and ring in the New Year with friends at The Dearborn Inn. I even bought a fancy new dress for the occasion to reward myself for all my freelance work I’ve done over the last few months AND even despite not working out for weeks, it still fit perfectly, so hallelujah!

12) Speaking of not working out, I’m really not looking forward to getting back on that bandwagon again. My body is still tired and congested and once you’ve stopped it’s so dang hard to get back on that horse. BUT. I made a pie for Christmas and a cheesecake last week and plan to make scones this afternoon so…..Here. We. Go.

I always make New Year’s Resolutions, but haven’t gotten around to any for 2018 yet. Make more pie, exercise more, buy more plants, eat more plants, work at Detroit Abloom more, something along those lines.

It is full speed ahead tomorrow at work as I gear up for our May auction. Gotta hit that ground running. Waaaaaaah!!!

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!!

 

 

Advertisements

The March List

IMG_4724 (768x1024)

March, at least the end of it, was a whirlwind of Spring Break fun. In fact, I’m still living vicariously through myself on vacation. The Grosse Pointe weather report on my phone is showing three snowflake symbols this week.

1)  Dear Michigan: So you probably heard me telling all my friends in California and Hawaii that Michigan winters “really aren’t that bad.” You’ve made your point. Please, please, please move along so Spring can arrive.

2) Our neighborhood pheasant has been very noisy lately. I think he is also annoyed that Old Man Winter has been lingering. We hear him (and sometimes see him) every day now. Mostly I see him in Shirley’s yard (they haven’t come back from Florida yet. Can’t blame them). In fact, I can see him there now, pecking at the ground.

curtains (892x1024)

3) Our living room curtains finally arrived. For the second time. Oh my word. The whole curtain thing has been such a ridiculous fiasco from the beginning. I won’t tell you how much we spent on them because I’ll start feeling nauseous and I just ate. I’ll detail the whole story in another post.

IMG_4864 (1024x842)

4)  My four-year-old’s drawing of an elephant. Hearts.

IMG_4729 (1024x1024) IMG_4715 (768x1024)

5)  One day in early March we got some unusual morning fog. After dropping the kids off at school, I headed to the Pier Park to pick up my park passes (city parks here are private and open only to residents). I walked around the docks for a bit because it was so beautiful and made me think of home, I was the only one there. Serene and magical.

IMG_4610 (768x1024)

6)  There’s a strip of silver maples down Kenwood Road that were planted when the Convent of the Sacred Heart on Lake Shore was still in operation. It’s called the nun’s walk, as they are said to have been planted as a pathway for the nuns who lived there. Many of the trees have fallen, but this section of Kenwood is still intact.

I snapped this photo on one of my walks with Sam. It is lovely, but not nearly as lovely as it is in the spring and summer, so I will have to remember to take another shot in a couple months to show you.

7)  Our book this month was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. It was a perfect beach read (and although I did finish it on vacation, I never actually read it at the beach. We have two non-swimmers). Not deep, but the plot held enough interest and the characters were fun and the mystery aspect was mostly exciting.

IMG_4880 (881x1024)

8)  We stopped in San Francisco for two days on our way to Hawaii. It was nice to take the girls to some of our old spots – Golden Gate Park, Baker Beach, Ocean Beach (although the trash. nasty), eateries on Fillmore Street, the playground at Alta Plaza.

IMG_4866

9)  I got to see a handful of girlfriends, which always lifts my spirit and fills my heart. There’s nothing like spending time with old friends.

IMG_4850 (923x1024)

10) A new Fillmore spot (although I’d been to their Hayes Valley location before) was Smitten ice cream. I initially resisted having some since we’d just got done eating next door at Pizzeria Delfina, but after ordering for the girls, I got back in line to order some for myself. They had sea salt caramel. Ice cream always wins.

IMG_4914 (1024x1024)

11)  I’m already on number ten and I haven’t even touched on Hawaii ! Let me just say it was just what the doctor ordered – a fantastic trip! So wonderful to see family (and the sun!) and have the girls bond with their Hawaii family.

Aside from the two flying cockroaches (pronounced cock-a-roach by the locals) that got into our bedroom two days before we left. One on the wall above our bed, so I slept the rest of the night with the covers over my head, which was very stifling because no air conditioning (this was after my husband smashed it and pronounced it dead).  The other was in the bathtub – GAH! So I of course showered in the other bathroom, even after my husband killed it. I mean, you guys. Deathly afraid. Obviously.

IMG_5116 (839x1024) IMG_5037 (1024x1024)

12) Easter in Hawaii was really fun. The girls colored eggs and went on an Easter egg hunt in my mom’s front garden.  On Easter morning, my littlest woke up at 4am, her usual wake-up time on our trip (I know!) and I was able to spend the morning at the beach, reflecting on the day. Later we all went to my former church (still my mom’s) and it was great to worship with some of my old church family.

I hope all of you had a blessed Easter. I know some of you are already enjoying Spring. I know it’s on its way to Grosse Pointe. It’s just so hard be patient, especially after a warm-weather trip. Wishing you a very happy April!

The February List – 2016

IMG_4458 (1024x1024)

Wow, clearly 2016 is kicking my booty. I feel like I just finished the January List. Which I guess is sort of true as that post was written in mid-February.

IMG_4256 (706x1024)

1) We got more snow this month – yay! – but it’s still been a mild winter which means we can actually get out for a walk once in a while. We sometimes pass a tree on the Boulevard that has a container nailed to it. I wasn’t sure what it was until I saw someone pull a dog treat out of it. Now whenever we pass the tree, Sam looks forward to his treat.

2) Another way to score dog treats on walks is via the city garbage collector guys. The garbage is picked up by guys in golf cart-type vehicles, who zip up your driveway, empty garbage into the back of their bins and then drive to a larger truck posted up close by.

On more than one occasion, when I’ve been out with the dog, one of the guys will pull over, get out and give Sam a doggie bone and a pat.

IMG_4291 (768x1024) IMG_4290 (768x1024)

3) On our walks, I sometimes see lost items displayed on fire hydrants or lamp posts. The fact that people are taking the time to pick up these objects and place them in spots where owners are likely to find them is really touching to me somehow.

4)  The next time your doctor says, “it will only take a second,” beware. During a recent check-up, I asked my doctor about a mark on my shoulder that I thought might be a mole. She said it was a blackhead (eek) and that she would remove it for me. It will only take a second. Which it did. And then I got the $250 bill for “acne surgery.” Not cool.

5)  Farms Market has started selling the only ice cream in the area made with 100% organic, locally-sourced ingredients. Each flavor has about six to seven ingredients and it is to die for.

At $8.99 a pint, it also makes it one of the most expensive ice creams in town. There’s no nutritional information on the label, because why bother? We all know how many calories a scoop of ice cream has. A lot. There’s a sea salt caramel pint in our freezer right now and I cannot stop thinking about it.

6) Speaking of Farms Market, I keep meaning to tell you that I learned my lesson the hard way (like over a year ago) regarding not shopping at the very small and cramped store (they are remodeling, thank goodness) during the high-school lunch hour. Just don’t.

The other day I was driving by the store and was excited that I had escaped the frantic craze of the lunch crowd. No backpacks outside, no kids. All clear. I parked, went inside and one minute later, one of the staff yells, “Second LUUUUNCH!” And they all come rushing in as I try to flatten myself against the condiments.

cake (1024x831)

7)  Our oldest turned seven this month. I was too lazy to bake a cake this year, so we ordered one from Josefs. She requested a unicorn on her cake and we gave them free reign. So we got this unicorn, circa 1985. She insisted that she get the piece with the horn, since it has magical powers, as we all know. The chocolate frosting tasted somewhat chemically, note to self.

IMG_4410 (768x1024)

SKATE (768x1024)8)  One of our friends who has a homemade ice rink in their backyard, invited us over one day to skate. The girls have never skated, nor do they have skates, but serendipity took over and someone happened to have two pairs of skates in exactly the right size.

My husband was out of town and part of me (most of me) didn’t want to go because I was afraid there would be crying and whining and general mayhem. But none of that happened. They were timid, but they both got out there and the older one started getting the hang of it without the net. Such a great first experience!

IMG_4446 (1024x1024)

8)  I chopped of the leaves of some bok choy and this was what was left of the stalk.

IMG_4286 (1024x1024)

9)  We finally had dinner in our dining room. I love baby’s breath when it’s solo. It’s so delicate and pretty. I made chicken mirabella and rigatoni with pork/beef ragu.

IMG_4589 (1024x1024)

10)  Remember the time I asked my dry cleaning lady where I could get good Korean food and she said, “my house”? The cooking classes finally happened! Details in a separate post.

IMG_4519 (576x1024)

11)  I have been so bored with my hair lately, so I made an appointment with my stylist, who really is the best person I’ve ever had do my hair. Like ever and I’ve been to about ten fancy stylists in San Francisco.

To get ready for my appointment, I “pinned” all these awesome pictures of shorter hair and cuts with bangs and was almost ready to do the big chop, but when I told my husband my great idea, he said, “Please don’t do that. It’s going to make you be in a bad mood for two months.” Which I considered and realized was true. Soooo…I just had her add some new highlights. Problem averted.

IMG_4507 (809x1024)12)  I’m still on the health train, and with that comes riding the stationary bike in the basement and doing my floor work afterwards like a good girl. This is usually where the dog posts up as he watches me with non-amusement. He’s over it.

We are going to Hawaii for Spring Break this month and I cannot wait. I will take a million photos and post the best ones on the blog. Enjoy the rest of March, everyone!

The January List – 2016

IMG_4117 (768x1024)

Oh my gosh. It’s mid-February and I am just starting the January list. Here it is…

1) Snow. Eh. It only snowed once, maybe twice last month. It was pretty, it was white, there were some cute bunny tracks and there was a little shoveling involved. Not much to report.

IMG_4084 (964x1024)

2)  My Dad and his wife gave us a spiralizer for Christmas. I’m not very big on kitchen contraptions – I use a toaster, blender, mixer and rice cooker – so I wasn’t too sure about using it, but gave it a try with some zucchini, if only to say that I used it.

It was a lot more user-friendly than I expected and quite easy to clean (huge). The “noodles” were fun, but I was not fooled into thinking they were actual pasta noodles. It’s nice because the girls are able to use it and it’s always great when they can help in the kitchen. Although they will still not eat the finished product.

IMG_4254

3) This handsome guy turned 10. Whenever I try any to do any kind of floor workout, he gets all up in my business. Sometimes he brings me toys or licks my feet. Not super productive, but it does make me laugh and I usually do end up taking him for a walk afterwards.

IMG_4142 (1024x1024)

4) I went to Arizona! My girlfriend and former San Francisco book grouper Kimberly got married – hurray! I was so pleased that I managed to pack lightly and not check any luggage, so when I got to the gate and they told me I had to check my carry-on, I was bummed.

I begged and pleaded and said that I had to go to a wedding right when I landed (which was mostly true), but they stared at me with no pity whatsoever and handed me my luggage tag. Which ended up in my purse. Oopsie.

IMG_4181

5) The wedding was a beautiful traditional church wedding…

IMG_4216 (1024x1024)

…and the reception was held at the luxury Royal Palms hotel in Scottsdale. SO pretty. Wish I could have stayed there instead of the Marriott!

IMG_4174

It was fun to dress up and I bought a new Halston Heritage dress for the occasion. I’ve been all about 70s glam recently. Love it. Which is very strange because I’ve never cared for it before. Now I lose my mind over it.

IMG_4071

6) I love this rug that I wove on a loom in college (my favorite class!) and I keep trying to find a place for it in the house.

IMG_4055 (768x1024)

I tried our entryway (we are still using the old owner’s maroon rug which I am so over), which didn’t look quite right, plus I don’t really want people wiping their shoes on it.

IMG_4077 (768x1024)

I tried our downstairs powder room, where it looked pretty good, but it is too slippy for the girls (who use that bathroom a lot), even if we put a rug pad under it. It’s back in the closet for now. :(

IMG_4238 (768x1024)

7)  I forgot to ever talk about our buffet we bought for the dining room. My husband and I have significantly different home decor tastes, so it took a while for us to settle on this piece of furniture. I found it online through Cottage Home Furniture in Maine.

They were great to work with. This particular sideboard did not come with glass door, but I special requested and they were happy to oblige. It arrived a couple weeks later than promised, but they were good about keeping me in the loop.

8)  Our book group book this month was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s an end-of-days (of sorts) type setting, but not as dire or creepy as The Road (if you haven’t read it, oh my. Excellent writing but so depressing) and most of the book focuses on the characters.  The writing was great and engaging. I really enjoyed it.

After I posted this, a friend told me that the author wrote the book while in Leelanau, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A big chunk of the book takes place in that area, so I see now where she got her inspiration for that setting.

IMG_4237 (768x1024)

9)  I was at Barnes & Nobles looking for a birthday gift and decided to pick up an adult puzzle (vs a kid puzzle, which we have a ton of). I hadn’t done a puzzle in so long and it was fun. The girls tried to get into it, but of course it was hard for them, but they did manage to put some pieces in, which was exciting for them.

IMG_4125 (1024x1024)

10) Soooo…..I’ve been on a diet. Of sorts. Just trying to get healthy and strong. I am the laziest exerciser you could ever know, so I never have really pushed myself during workouts. But I’m trying now and it’s really hard, but satisfying. I also kind of hate salad, so when I tell you that I’m eating lots of salad, that is huge.

My big indulgence is balsamic reduction. So bad but so good. (In case you weren’t aware, most store-bought balsamic glazes have caramel coloring, which is a possible carcinogen. Normally, I would not allow myself to come close to the stuff, but it makes me eat salad, so I weighed my options. When I run out, I’ll attempt to make my own).

11)  The girls got a bunch of games for Christmas and one of them is Jr. Monopoly. It’s a great game because both the four-year-old and almost seven-year-old can play and I can actually tolerate it, unlike some of the other games they have. Even though I’m always stuck with the car.

IMG_4031 (1024x1024)

IMG_4032 (1024x1024)

12) One (very, very, very cold!) Saturday, we drove into Detroit and walked along the Riverfront and Hart Plaza and peeked into the Renaissance Center. After our little adventure, we went to Mercury Bar in Corktown for an early dinner.

On our walk back to the car, we saw a huge flock of birds flying across the sky. Most of them landed on one large tree, so I made my husband drive near it so I could take a picture. From far away, the birds looked like leaves.

It was kind of a magical moment. Watching them swoop in front of us out of nowhere and then spotting them on the tree. I hope 2016 brings more bursts of zen like these for all of us (me, you, humanity), which are much needed in the midst or our crazy lives. Enjoy the rest of your February!

The November List – 2015

IMG_3357 (1024x1024)

I am scrambling to put things together for the list this month. November came and went in a flash. Here goes….

1)  It seems like as soon as the cold weather came through, we got the decorating bug again. We got dining room furniture (finally!) which took forever to pick out.

IMG_3431 (768x1024)

Our table had to be  just the right size and it  had to extend to just the right size for larger gatherings. And it had to not be too formal (my request) or too rustic (husband’s request), but in the end we did go with a distressed one because it fit (lucky me).

My husband got the final say in the chairs (although I picked the color) because we went with my choice for the kitchen/family room (see below) last year.

IMG_9246 (1024x1024)

They are a bit formal for me BUT I have to say I really, really like them. I almost went with a light plum with the color instead of mustard, but that was more of a risk and I’m not much of a risk-taker when it comes to decor.

2) We also bought a bar…

IMG_3685 (844x1024)

…which we’ve been wanting for a long time. My husband has taken a liking to scotch (which is very Grosse Pointe of him). I love the concept of drinking scotch or whiskey –  the different bottles and the square ice cubes and the cool glassware. But unfortunately I don’t love the taste.

And yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. A lot of these photos were taken just today because like I mentioned, I am behind on everything.

3)  Which brings me to my next decorating obsession: trays (see the round one on the bar?).

IMG_3688tray (1024x991)

I bought a tray for the living room, for the powder room, for the master bathroom. How have I gone my whole life without trays?!

4)  We replaced house number plaque that the former owners put up, with Heath Ceramics house numbers. It was quite the project. The old plaque was stuck there with tons of epoxy, which my husband spent all day taking off with various tools, electric and non. They are gorgeous.

BlurredHouseNumber (950x1024)

5)  Now our maroon front door looks extra out of place. Our painter was here yesterday (I know, I know. Separate post) and I asked him what he thought. He said he would definitely paint the sidelights (new vocab word for me) the trim color and not make it the same color as the door. I’d never thought of that and it seems like a great idea to me.

Here’s an example of painted and unpainted (not my house, obviously). What do you think?

Here’s our actual door (I can’t even talk about the doormat/rug right now so don’t ask).

IMG_3660 (768x1024)

6)  I’m hosted book group last night and I loved the book, but I can’t tell you what it was because I’m giving it as a Christmas gift. So I give you this book instead.

themagicians

it’s the first in a trilogy. I’m on the third one. It’s a great read if you like light fantasy (elements of magic, but not too crazy). I guess you could say it is Harry Potter-esque, but it is also very different. More grown up (which doesn’t necessarily mean better. I did love Harry Potter). The second was just okay, but I am getting into the third book. Hopefully the ending will not disappoint.

7)  We got our first snow of the season on the 21st.

IMG_3562 (835x1024)IMG_3569IMG_3577 (1024x768)

Our littlest ran outside as soon as it started to fall (if you look closely you can see snowflakes in her hair). It didn’t start sticking until evening and we didn’t get a whole lot, but there was enough to play in for a day or two and make a small snowman.

8)  I finally saw a show at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.

FoxTheatre

Photo via OlympiaEntertainment.com

The girls and I were invited to go see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with another mom and two other girls. The girls were just adorable and the theatre is beautiful. We had a suite, which was extra awesome.

9)  Earlier this year, I won a blow out party at the salon I go to, Chez Lou Lou (which hands down has given me the best haircuts ever, even compared to the six different hair stylists I had in San Francisco).

IMG_3555 (768x1024)I redeemed the prize this month. A handful of gals and I were treated to champagne, tea/scones and had our hair done. Then we went to the Yacht Club for dinner and walked around their Holiday Mart.

10) Speaking of Holiday Mart, it seems like every time I turn around I see a sign for a different Holiday Mart. The War Memorial, churches, libraries, clubs, you name it. I don’t think I went to (or heard of) one Holiday Mart in San Francisco. You either shop in your neighborhood or online.

11)  We raked leaves for the last time this past weekend (the last week for leaf collection by the city was this week).

IMG_3438 (1024x768)Our birch tree is still dropping leaves (you can see it in the pic), but all our other trees (except the evergreens, of course) are bare.

12)  We had a great thanksgiving with my husband’s side of the family.

FamilyThanksgivingWe started with appetizers and a champagne toast (for my husband’s birthday) at Uncle Jim’s and then went to the Yacht Club for our meal. There were 19 of us! One baby, five kids and 13 adults. It was my first time having Thanksgiving at a restaurant, but it was pretty nice and of course there is no prep or clean up, which is fantastic.

This post had a lot of “stuff” in it. Furniture, accessories, theatre tickets, holiday marts. I am grateful for all of it but I thank my lucky stars even more for the non-material things – a roof over my head, a safe neighborhood, healthy kids, a family who loves me. The list goes on and on.

Enjoy your December and I will see you back here soon with another post about paint!

Reflections of Fall

IMG_3289 (1024x1024)

IMG_3288 (1024x1024)

News of our first snow storm coming tomorrow gave me the push I needed to get my Fall photos up! We had a beautiful Fall (it’s not quite over, I realize that, but many trees are bare now). Not quite as amazing as last year and not because it’s no longer new. The colors just weren’t as lush, probably because the leaves were drier, is my guess?

IMG_3287 (1024x1024) IMG_3269 (1024x1024) IMG_3189 IMG_3316 (1024x1024) IMG_3476 (1024x1024) IMG_3460 IMG_3291 (1024x1024)

Fall always brings a great moodiness to it that makes for much more interesting photos. Summer is beautiful in its bright, fresh way, but Fall and Winter make my camera happy.

As we head into Thanksgiving, I am feeling extra grateful for the ease of my life and the beauty that I get to see every day in the Lake, the trees, the sky. I will never take for granted these simple joys of life. Wishing you all a very lovely Thanksgiving holiday.