The September List – 2015

IMG_2904September flew by. It was one of the craziest months I think we’ve had since moving to Grosse Pointe. Our oldest started first grade and our youngest (who turned four this month) is in preschool. Doctor appointments, school shopping, teacher meetings, lunches, homework. I am finally finding some kind of rhythm to the school day as we settle into Fall.

IMG_2687havenotused (1024x1024)1)  When I was out trimming our dogwood, I looked down and saw this little nest. I think maybe the vibrations of the hedge trimmer made it fall out of the tree, but it had been long vacated anyway. I really wanted to take it inside for decoration because it was so perfect, but my fear of potential bugs and germs trumped that thought.

Beignetshavenotused2)  Went to Eastern Market and got beignets from the food truck for the first time. Oh MY. The guy in the truck was a little bossy, telling people exactly where to stand and getting grouchy if you stepped out of line to throw away your coffee (um, so sorry), but the deliciousness of the beignets made me think his crabbiness was actually kind of cool.

IMG_1805 (768x1024) IMG_2656 havenotused (768x1024)3)  There are several little pedestrian pathways in Grosse Pointe that I’ve come across on my runs/walks. At first I was afraid to go down them (would I be trespassing?), but after seeing a couple other folks use them, I decided it was okay  (although the second pic lies behind a wrought iron fence. Definitely private). Now I use them all the time, just because I can. And because it’s fun.

IMG_2734 (769x1024)IMG_2770 (768x1024)4)  The first time I witnessed the dinner napkin as guest towel was during my first visit to Grosse Pointe in 2006 (my husband then boyfriend brought me home to meet the family). I was part confused (am I really supposed to use this beautiful napkin just to dry my hands?), part flabbergasted (but the trees!) and part intrigued.

I didn’t realize it was a thing until I moved here and started seeing dinner napkins in people’s bathrooms! I’ve never seen this outside of Grosse Pointe (although Oklahoma friends, help me out? I don’t remember it, but maybe I just never noticed). And, now I’m thinking of getting some for our powder room downstairs for special occasions. IF I can justify the environmental impact (better to waste water on washing hand towels or better to kill a tree?  Hmmmm).

IMG_2906 (765x1024)5)  My husband and I went to a bowling clinic. And he bought a bowling ball. And I bought bowling shoes. So that.

IMG_2763 (869x1024)6)  Just when I thought it was safe to put away my garden supplies, I saw Shirley over the fence one day and of course she offered me more plants. She dug them up right then and there. They are called corydalis and are used a lot for ground cover. Hoping they will take root quickly and come back next Spring with pretty yellow flowers.

IMG_2945 (768x1024)7)  HOWEVER. I don’t even know why I bothered to plant them because the stupid squirrels have been digging them up EVERY DANG DAY in order to bury the acorns that have been falling by the hundreds each day. From our neighbor’s oak tree. That mostly hangs over our house. And no they won’t trim it because they love their trees so much (we offered to pay 50%). Sigh.

8)  Speaking of squirrels, another one died in our yard. My husband buried it in the exact spot where the girls like to dig. Really?!?

IMG_2970 (893x1024)9) Did I ever show you this? Our four-year-old likes to draw and color pictures for our dog. We tape them to a piece of cardboard near his dog bowls so he can enjoy them. It’s really cute.

hallIMG_2718 (768x1024)10)  We bought a new console table (and cute little succulents – yay!) to replace the bench that was in our entryway (which you can see in the second pic). Now if only we could find a rug to replace the maroon one that we inherited from the previous owners. I will say that the rug is very cushy and feels nice underfoot. Still…I can’t look at it very much longer.

IMG_2927 (1024x768)11)  This is what happens when you see the lunar eclipse and you only have your iPhone camera. Hahahaha. My husband and I sat outside by the fire with drinks (whiskey for him, bloody mary for me) and chatted and checked on the moon every now and then. It was pretty great.

IMG_2963 (1024x1024)12)  Fall is slowly making its way through the foliage. It’s definitely sweater weather now (okay, sweater weather for ME), and yesterday we turned the fireplace on for the first time since winter. I’ve said this before, but living with seasons makes life seem to go back that much more quickly.

Wishing everyone a wonderful October!

The November List

IMG_8919 (1280x1280)1) This tree off of Lakeshore Drive is one of the last remaining (pear? cherry?) trees that were planted when the French first settled in Grosse Pointe. I know this because Alan Marschke, owner of the Oriental Rug Gallery told me so. I had to cut his story short to pick up the kids from school (he told me what kind of tree as I was dashing out, but I forgot), but trust me, I am going back to see him soon and will report back.

2) I called the Grosse Pointe Historical Society to see if they knew anything about the tree. They seemed genuinely thrilled to help me find out more about it and they will get back to me in a couple weeks. She may also be able to dig up some historical information/photos for me about the street we live on – sweet!

IMG_9085 (1280x1280)3) Squirrels = creepy. I’ve said it before and now it’s official. (And next year I will be throwing the pumpkins away much, much earlier.)

4) 14 degrees is cold. It is even colder when it happens in early November and you don’t have snow boots or a parka or even wool socks because you weren’t expecting it to be 14 freaking degrees. For a whole week.

IMG_9017 (1280x1280)5) Winter clothes are expensive. Dang.

6) Once you do have the right winter gear, it’s kind of fun to play outside in the snow. For about five minutes.

7) Bunny tracks in the snow are really, really cute.

IMG_8957 (1280x1280)8) It was not fun, not fun at all, having the stomach flu go through our household. The only good thing about that week was capturing this moment where the little one was so exhausted that she crawled into bed on her own one afternoon and promptly fell asleep.

9) A police car pulled into my driveway one morning. Concerned, I went outside to meet him. He was there to deliver my wallet, which I’d left at the Farms Market (aka Fresh Farms Market, a local grocery store). Now that, would never have happened in San Francisco. Score one for Grosse Pointe.

IMG_9099 (1280x1280)10) I went to my first professional hockey game at the Joe Lewis arena in Detroit. We scored, we fist-fought, we won. Gooooo Red Wings (I actually quite enjoy hockey and had a great time).

IMG_9140 (1280x1280) IMG_9139 (1280x1280)11) Small town Christmas parades are awesome (even when its 27 degrees out and your toes freeze because you still don’t have wool socks). It’s one of the reasons why we came here. Not for the parade, of course. But for the small town community thing. I love it.

12) The newness of everything is starting to wear off, which scares me. What happens now, after I’m done unpacking and remodeling and settling in? Luckily, Christmas is just around the corner, and with two little girls in the house and family coming to visit, there’s lots to do to prepare. Wishing everyone a very happy December!



The October List

IMG_8605 IMG_8589 (800x800)1)  Guess what? I found some delicious Asian food! It’s a 30-minute drive to Johnny Noodle King on Detroit’s Fort Street and it was worth it. They mostly have ramen noodles (duh), but a few appetizers, too. I got my favorite – miso ramen with pork belly. YUM. And I will be back.

2)  The 9-minute mile is so last summer. The 12-minute mile (maybe sometimes 13. or 14. or just walking) is way cooler.

3)  Just when I thought I could not make another design decision (spent seriously 20+ hours researching and finally coming to an agreement with my husband about which chairs would work for our kitchen table), I get an email from Fred the appliance guy, asking what color knobs we want for our stove. Put me over the edge.

IMG_8460 (800x800)4)  Sometimes it’s good to look down. (Case in point: this adorable fairy garden I almost missed).

5)  Most squirrels seen in the neighbor’s yard at one time: eight. Yes, there was a huge oak tree out front. And yes, it was super creepy.

6)  Just because it’s your birthday, doesn’t mean your kids are going to be angels all day because please dear God, give me a break already. On my birthday. For the love.

IMG_8619 (640x800)7)  Where can you munch on blackened filet mignon tips with Bearnaise sauce and get your bowling game on? The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, that’s where (okay so we joined a couple’s bowling league, no judgement).

8)  Speaking of the Yacht Club, we totally made fun of the Yacht Club and then about four months later we joined the Yacht Club.

IMG_8654 (721x800)9)  Insect of the month: this moth. I think he was in the process of dying (he was moving slowly and I tried to help him get back up in the air, but no go), but still so beautiful. I spent about one minute online trying to find out what kind of moth, but no luck (it is a moth, right? not a butterfly?).

10)  The previous owner of our house called my husband a couple weeks ago, asking him how we were liking the house and to remind him to change the filter in the hot tub. Nicest. Person. Ever.

11)  I called aforementioned previous owner regarding another matter and I told him we took the wallpaper down (he asked me what we’d done to the house – what could I do?). He said that wallpaper cost something like $100 a roll (according to one online source, for a 16 x 20 room, you need 16-20 rolls. And if you remember, the entire stairway, entryway and hallways were covered). Nervous laughter.

IMG_8446 (729x800)12)  There are drive-through everythings here. Post office boxes, pharmacies, kid drop-offs for school even. At first I was like…”okay, these people are LAY-zee!” And then I started using them and I LOVE them (I’m sure I will love them even more in Winter). Speaking of Winter, is it already here? Brrrrrrr….


The July List

My previous list entries were well-received by y’all, so I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. Surely I can learn 12 new things about this town, myself and life every month? I wasn’t sure what to call them. I tried Musings, Discoveries and Observations, What I’ve Learned So Far, etc. They seemed too grandiose. So I’m simply calling it The List. Here we go.

IMG_7712 (800x800)

1) I still heart Detroit.

2) Here, I am Mrs. Martin. I will never get used to the formality. Especially with friend’s kids. My first instinct is to correct them, but instead I giggle nervously (which I’m sure makes a great first impression).

3) I finally found the 2% minority residents. They are getting their smarts on at the Grosse Pointe Park Library. Heck yes.

IMG_6700 (800x549)4) Do not get the onion rings at the Village Grille. Unless you like semi-raw onions covered in corn dog-type batter. Better yet, don’t get anything at the Village Grille.

5) I’ve discovered a way to frequent Morning Glory without having to lower my coffee standards: iced tea. I don’t think I’ve had iced tea since Oklahoma. I’ve forgotten how refreshing it is to sip iced tea on a hot day.

6) Speaking of hot weather, people here don’t realize that San Francisco is not California weather. Stop apologizing for the”mild, wet, etc” Michigan summer. It’s July and I’m not wearing a parka. I’m good.

7) Word gets around. One of my mother-in-law’s friends knew we had put an offer on our house before we even told anyone. Umm….wow. That’s pretty impressive, even for a small town. (Did I say impressive? I meant annoying).

IMG_7611 (800x800)8) Delight Bakery & Cafe has delicious scones. Really, really good. Josef’s was closed a couple weeks ago, which prompted a visit across the street to this small shop. The “cafe” part of the title is a bit misleading, as they don’t serve coffee. If I could grab a cappuccino with my buttery scone, I’d be more inclined to make it a regular stop.

9) Toilet seat covers are non-existent. Even at fancier places. I feel like I’ve been to one nondescript place that did have them (Starbucks?), but that would be the only one I’ve seen. In San Francisco, even the hole in the wall places provided you with bum protection. Glad I’ve been doing my squats.

baseball (800x800)10) My first trip to Tigers Stadium was also the girls’ first baseball game. They may have enjoyed the carousel and peanuts more than the actual game, but watching the little one cheering with the crowd? Presh.

11) Apparently, it’s okay for complete strangers to ask me where I live. As in my address. And if you don’t readily give it up, they will kindly offer their address, as if to say, now it’s your turn. Cases in point:

Trader Joe’s guy (seeing my license): So what made you move out here?
Me: My husband’s from here. Kids.
Trader Joe’s guy: Where are you guys living, here in Grosse Pointe?
Me: Yes.
TJ Guy: Whereabouts?
Me: What?
TJ Guy: What street are you on? We’re over on Charlevoix near Merriweather.

EXAMPLE TWO (Me, on my morning run)
Lady in Car: Hey!
Me: Hi
Lady in Car: Oh, you can keep running. Do you know where Carver street is?
Me: Sorry, I just moved here.
Lady in Car: Oh! Welcome to the neighborhood. What street are you on?
Me: Uhh….
Lady in Car: I’m on Ridgemont. What street are you on?

12) Speaking of street names, how do you pronounce Cadieux? Wrong! It’s CAD-joo. What about Gratiot? Wrong again. GRA-chit. One more try with Vernier? And… wrong. VUR-nur. So much for the French influence.

Letter to the Editor: Let’s Get Rid of Styrofoam

GPMagAs a follow-up to my Burning Questions post, here’s a first step at public awareness for environmental issues that I care about: a Letter to the Editor of On Pointe magazine (also publishers of Grosse Pointe Magazine. Both periodicals are delivered to all Grosse Pointe residents free of charge). I would use the word “passionate” in place of “care about,” but then I would be holding myself accountable to bigger things, which I’m not really prepared to do at the moment. Baby steps.

Dear Sir,

I was so pleased to see that the Spring issue of On Pointe was focused on going green. As a new resident, it was great to read about the many steps the Pointes have taken to make our cities more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, and I’m proud to be part of such a community.

But I think we can do more. I was shocked to find out that restaurants and cafes in the area mainly use Styrofoam (or part-Styrofoam) for carry-out and take-home orders. Styrofoam is one of the worst products in our environment. One of the reasons being that its chemical byproducts leak into food, which can then harm our reproductive systems. And there is strong thought that food and drink consumed out of Styrofoam containers causes cancer (it’s classified as a possible carcinogen by the EPA).

I think it’s a perfect time to start the conversation (or pick it up, if it’s been started) about asking our businesses to consider alternative means of carry-out storage (paper-based, recyclable plastics, compostables). The Pointes have shown that they care enough to embrace change in order to better our communities.

And who knows where the conversation might lead… reusable bags in every purse and car trunk, the preference of water bottles to bottled water, recycling receptacles next to trash bins in shopping districts and parks, home-composting (which could eventually lead to a city-run composting program). We’ve come so far, but can go further. The possibilities are endless. Go Green!

Very Best Regards,

Lani Martin
Grosse Pointe Farms Resident


Twelve Things I’ve Learned So Far (About Grosse Pointe)

I’ve been living in Grosse Pointe for a little over two weeks now. Here are twelve things I’ve learned so far…

1.  The Starbucks in the Village makes a better dry cappuccino than any San Francisco branch. (milk foams better here, too. humidity levels?)

2.  Every second car is an SUV or truck. Every 20th car is a cop car. Every 50th car is foreign.

3.  An unexpected snowstorm in April is magical, revitalizing and cathartic.

snow in april

4.  Detroit-style pizza is going to be the death of me. (If I can’t fit into my swimsuit this summer, I blame you, Buddy’s!)

5.  I can make a perfect grilled cheese on an electric stove. Sushi rice, not so much. Pork cutlets, a struggle. Stove = 2, Me = 1.

stove.grilledcheese6.  Nope, that’s not a cute cottage, that’s a garage.

garage7.  Fire hydrants are red.


8.  Squirrels are creepy.

9.  Japanese beetles are not ladybugs (and they are all over the apartment. and also creepy).

10.  A quarter will get you anywhere from 20 minutes, to and hour and 15 minutes, at a meter (and look at them!).

meters11. Detroit is beautiful.

detroit212.  An after-dinner family walk makes everything better.