The June List with a Twist – 2019

I’m breaking with tradition for The June List. Many things happened in June: I finally went to Shewolf restaurant (a prelude to the New Kids on the Block Concert), summer weather showed up, as did a deer in our backyard, my sister came to visit and I started my new job. But I’m on vacation and need a change of pace. So I give you The June List with a Twist: 12 Truths.

1)  I have a love-hate relationship with The List.

I started this blog to catalog my journey of moving cross-country with my family and starting over in a new town. When I began working part time, it got harder to keep up with and it morphed into a monthly list of 12 points of interest/happenings/etc.  It’s a personal challenge to write the list each month (I mean, once a month is nothing, right? Seemingly).

Most of the time it’s kind of a pain, except for when I’m done and then it’s super satisfying.

2)  I hate all bugs and creepy things.

Do not count on me in a zombie apocalypse or any apocalypse for that matter or any crisis that involves bugs or creepy things. I will not come through for you. I spent 15 minutes trying to get two spiders, a cricket and a black beetle out of the kayak before going on my morning ride today (the beetle crawled into one of the holes in the backrest and wouldn’t come out, even after much shaking and poking with a stick). My exasperated husband came down and propped the kayak against a tree and hit it, showing me all was well. I didn’t believe him, but got into the kayak anyway, to show my bravery.

3)  INFJ all the way.

About 20 years I took a Myers Briggs test and I am up as an INFJ. I took another test last month for a work exercise and it spat out the same result. Out of all the people who take Myers Briggs, less than 2% of that population comes up with this configuration. Supposedly we are intuitive and can read people well, so I’m going to work on trusting my instincts.

4)  Do not let me drink anything other than champagne, tequila or the occasional glass of red wine.

No explanation needed. I have happily found an bottle of bubbly from Trader Joes that is pretty smooth and not too sweet and very inexpensive, which is great for me because I can never finish the bottle before it goes flat (I just Googled it and found it scored 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. Glad they agree).

5)  I’ve been putting off reading “Searching for Sunday.”

I’ve known about this book for years, have heard of it’s beautiful life-changing a-ha moments, but I’ve been putting off reading it because it will force me to go back into my past and how I felt the Baptist church did wrong by me in many ways, and I’m not super excited to relive that, but the book’s young author, Rachel Held Evans, recently died and people are talking about her and her books again, so I decided to buy the book in her honor and go for it. I’ll keep you posted.

6)  Forgiveness is a skill I have yet to master.

Thinking about “Searching for Sunday” makes me think about forgiveness. It’s a skill, a process, a practice and all those other memes that social media says forgiveness is. Does anyone ever really master the art of forgiveness? (Okay, probably maybe some). And surely I’ve forgiven plenty in my life – people, situations, entities, myself. You kind of have to, in order to survive or stay sane. But true letting go, in any situation (even getting to the relaxation point on vacation takes me days), is difficult for me. I try and I try, but where I get stuck is the mental tug-of-war of what is and what should be and that part of forgiveness is hard for me to wrap my head around. Maybe it’s an INFJ thing (or maybe it’s just me).

7)  I still want to learn Italian.

Ever since I picked up a set of learn Italian books and tapes from the library before my (third?) trip to Italy, I fell in love with the language and it was the first time I felt I might actually be able to learn a language (I have struggled with both German and French). That was over 15 years ago and I’ve searched for the same set of language books, but I don’t think they make them anymore and nothing I’ve picked up comes close. OR I’m using that as an excuse. It is still a dream and a goal of mine and I hope that I can push through whatever obstacle is keeping me from diving in head first and make it happen.

8)  I’m obsessed with my ancestors.

Someone recently showed me these two photos of my grandmother and her mother that I don’t recall seeing before, and I can’t stop looking at them. I want to ask them so many questions. I want to know everything. I want to go back in time and spy on their lives.

9)  Photography terrifies me.

Another love-hate relationship. Same with performing. When I was in the band, I hated the idea of going to a gig. Loathed. But once I got there, it was the best thing ever, completely zen, completely in love with the moment, completely euphoric afterward. I absolutely love taking pictures, finding the zone, but when I have an assignment, for some reason I am completely terrified until I upload the photos on my computer and then it’s (usually) all worth it. Maybe it’s like that with everything creative (or maybe it’s just me).

10)  What is my deal with true crime?

Why?!?!?! It’s so awful. Horrible subject matter, super disturbing, keeps me up at night and makes me hate mankind. And yet I watch the documentaries – “The Staircase,” “The Innocent Man” – my first podcast listen was “Dirty John” (thanks for the rec, Liz!) and next on my list is “The Case Against Adnan Syed” (however, the really crazy ones like the recent Manson movies, I won’t watch or I will never sleep.) I do love a good British-style murder mystery and I just got through reading “Magpie Murders” which was pretty entertaining, but those are fiction and wrap up nicely at the end, which is so much better for my psyche, so why I can’t just stick with those I do not know.

11)  I can’t decide what to do with my hair.

Because it’s now 10:45pm and it’s taken me just as long to write this @#$)(*% list than it does to write my normal monthly list and I cannot think of another thing. So hair. I want to chop it all off because I think my face wants short hair. But the rest of me wants long hair and I’ve been trying to grow it out for almost two years and to just end it all now after all that work seems wrong. And how many more years can I pull off long hair anyway? Not many. So shouldn’t I wear it long while I can? But when it’s long, I end up putting it in a ponytail, so what’s the point? The struggle is real.

Also I tried to find a photo of my beautiful long hair (back when I had long hair) and this is the best one I could find. No lie. Sad.

12)  Potato chips.

I love potato chips so much and I would eat them every day if they weren’t so bad for my body. Not that I’m even super healthy, I just know things would get out of hand if I allowed myself to eat the amount of chips I want to eat. My favorite are probably Kettle brand sea salt dipped in sour cream. The best. I have Cape Cod something or other potato chips in the cupboard right now and I might have to eat a handful in honor of this last list item.

Also, life is too short for a lot of things. So many things that I could have brought up instead of potato chips. But it’s late and I’m on vacation and trying to get vacation-like, so potato chips it is.

I leave you with a snapshot of my kayak ride tonight. I’ll be on the water again tomorrow morning, getting zen, thinking deep thoughts and also trying not to drop my oar every time a deer fly comes along.

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The May List – 2019

I was so excited to be done with work (I go by the school calendar), that I completely forgot about the list. It’s my last day of freedom, which is to say that after today, the girls will be on summer break and the mayhem at home begins (admittedly, my mayhem is pretty tame compared to most and I’m mostly looking forward to it).

1) The auction (my job is to oversee the auction) was held in early May and it was a beautiful, fun and successful event. But wow, what a lot of work. I don’t know how we pull it off every year, but it all comes together in the end, as events always do.

2) This stunning pink tourmaline and diamond ring was auctioned off in our Live Auction. I brought it to the event and of course had to try it on. It was custom made by Ahee Jewelers (one of my freelance clients) and it could not be more beautiful.

3)  We had our first outdoor Detroit Abloom board meeting of the year this month. It was so lovely to be in the hoop house, talking about flowers and plants and how to grow our organization. It’s going to be a great season! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! @detroit_abloom

4) We also held our first outdoor fundraiser of the year – a vegan bbq. It was such a weird day weather-wise. Hot, windy, with a good chance of rain, which it did off and on, but luckily the event ended JUST before the huge downpour.

5)  We had a face painting station under the pavilion. At first, a couple of our board members were doing the painting, then a board member’s young (10, I think) daughter stepped in and manned the station, and after a while, the kids started doing their own faces. It was really sweet to watch and I was lucky to snap this photo of these three.

6) Things are happening in my own garden. I bought lettuce seedlings vs. planting from seed this year, because the last couple of years have not been so good for my vegetables. I wasn’t sure if bunnies or squirrels or birds were getting them, but something was, and I didn’t want to plant from seed, only to have them taken from me months later.

BUT. My husband built me (via my pleading again) a wood/chicken wire fence for my vegetable bed in hopes of deterring whatever predator/s. And hallelujah, so far so good (which means definitely bunnies). One of my favorite things is walking outside for fresh produce. Wish I could grow more than just lettuce and beans, but there’s not enough sun in my backyard.

7)  Check out the April and May photos. Such a difference.

8)  Planted some coleus and silver bullet for the hot tub planters. Usually I get the full grown coleus in large planters, but by the time I went to the store, there were none left, so I had to do it myself, which is not a problem, except they look rather small next to the hot tub. Hopefully they will grow quickly!

9)  And an update on the clematis. It is so happy! But it looks like we may need an extension on that copper trellis, no?

10)  Our fourth grader took her first overnight class trip to Northern Michigan. It wasn’t as nerve-wracking as it would have been, had we not let her go to Florida over Spring Break, but it was still a bit scary, handing her over to the universe. I was mostly nervous about the drive there and back. It baffles me that school buses don’t require seat belt use. At least for this trip they had a sweet travel van and of course she had an amazing time.

11)  I went on my second Komen Race for the Cure walk. Our small team of less than 20 people raised $17,000. We were head to head for a long time with Ford, who had 130+ team members, and who ultimately raised the most money at $18.5k, but what a fun competition!

It was a memorable walk. A time to reflect on gratefulness and empathy. How far we have come and how far we need to go in terms of cancer research and treatment. Thank you again to all who donated!

12)  Lastly, I accepted a new job at work. I am now the Director of Marketing and Communications (a new position for the school) and I couldn’t be more excited to get started. There’s a lot to learn and do and I’ll have to work a bit over the summer, but the job is a lot more up my alley than event management and I’m up for all the challenges it presents.

And with that, I wish you all a very happy June! See you next month.

The April List – 2019

April is here, although you wouldn’t know it from the weather. Grosse Pointe didn’t get snow like some parts of the country, but it has certainly not felt Spring-like. I refuse to accept that this is the norm, even though it has been for the six Aprils I’ve lived here.

1) We said goodbye to our 13-year-old dog, Sam. What an incredibly good boy. Even though there were warnings about a week leading up to to his death, the loss floored me, as I knew it would. There is everything to say and yet nothing to say.

2) We did get glimpses of Spring this month and on one of those days, I visited my friend Julia, owner of Willa Rose Floral, and her new flower farm in Detroit’s up and coming Core City neighborhood. The house isn’t move-in ready yet, as you can see, but when it is, she’ll have an in-home studio as well.

The fritillaria I helped plant last fall was in bloom. I just googled it, didn’t realize they came in other colors. So interesting.

We did a little bit of planting. Aside from calendula, I can’t remember what else we put in the ground. Aren’t these crazy-looking seeds? They look like hideous worms.

3) For lunch we went to Detroit Bagels, which I was sooooo excited about. I have been thinking about their bagels since the last time I had one. I got a jalapeno bagel with egg, cheese and herb cream cheese. Although it was divine, I think I liked the rosemary sea salt bagel better, which I will dream about until the next time I go.

4)  Tons of yard work for us this month, which is always the perfect thing for clearing my head. A million leaves raked and so many more still to rake. Weeding, assessment of plants, all that Spring stuff.

Not sure if this azalea is dead or not. I broke off a branch and it’s a tough call, so I’m leaving it be for at least another couples weeks to see if there are any signs of life. We had a strange winter with all the ice storms. Not sure if that’s it (I have two of these plants quite a distance apart and they look the same) or if it’s because the cold has stuck with us for so long. (Yes, there is green on it, but it could be from last year, because it’s looked like that now for weeks.)

BEFORE pic

AFTER pic

5)  My husband broke down after months of me asking and made me a trellis out of copper (his choice) for my clematis. I was concerned about killing the plant during the transition from the old trellis to the new, and there were so many breakages and casualties, BUT….it seems to be thriving on its new support structure and it’s going to be that much more beautiful when it blooms (dark purple).

6) Now if he would only take down the wire fencing in our backyard – ha! It’s been an eyesore since day one and I think he has finally caved to that too, and had semi-plans to start the process, but then all my ferns and hostas and Solomon’s Seal would be crushed so…I’m hoping for a Fall take-down.

7)  And guess what? FOXGLOVES! While I was clearing leaves, I saw them. One, then two, then multiple plants on the side of the house. The seeds came from my dear neighbor Shirley’s plant and when I sprinkled the seeds two years ago, I was sad they didn’t germinate. The following year (last year), I made a last-ditch effort and threw a bunch of seeds in the bed on the side of our house. And Voila. Possibly my happiest moment this month.

8) Days are jam-packed for Detroit Abloom, now that the growing season is in full swing. My 2nd grader and I went there for her community service project for school. We helped weed flower beds where dahlias will be planted.

Tom showed us around the hoop house, pointing out seedlings and telling us about plans for the season. Such a busy and exciting time for farmers. If you ever want to volunteer, please click the link above and give them a shout!

9)  After paying $1.00 each for four peanut butter protein bars at Beyond Juice after boxing class (I was starving!), I decided to make my own. Without measuring, I added peanut butter, oats, coconut oil, coconut flakes and honey and mixed it all up. The end result was a pretty decent-tasting snack, but in the end I also added some chocolate chips, which took it to the next level.

10)  My husband and I were invited to the Pink concert and I gladly accepted on our behalf. We stopped at The Peterboro for dinner, where I had amazing shrimp and scallop dumplings and too salty but otherwise well-flavored eggplant, and a craft cocktail with mezcal, pineapple and habanero.

The concert was fantastic. Pink was inspiring – her acrobatics, energy, voice. All of it, loved everything.

with her brother

11)  My Aunt Betty (dad’s sister) turned 95 and my Aunt Anna (related by marriage to my Uncle Fred) turned 90 this month. I grabbed these photos of the two ladies off a cousin’s Facebook page from their joint surprise birthday party. Cutest ever. They are both amazing, strong women and I am so happy they are enjoying life.

12)  I had the privilege of taking photos of this young man at his First Communion. Life and work has been so crazy, I haven’t had time for photography, so I am thankful I was able to spend a few hours on my creativity with this project.

In last month’s list, I mentioned there was a light the end of the tunnel. Well, I am still in that tunnel, it seems, staring at the light ahead. I do believe it will be there for me when I finally make my way through. Keep you posted.

The March List – 2019

Hey everyone! Here’s what happened in March.

1) Just NO. This is what happened over Spring Break.

2) This is also what happened over Spring Break. My daughter got invited to go to Florida with another family for break, lucky girl.

3) Bali is also what happened over Spring Break. At least for my mom.

We usually go to Hawaii to visit family. This year, since we were just there in January for my Grandmother’s funeral (actually a very great time to go because it was bitterly cold here and icy), we debated whether or not we’d be able to swing the time and funds needed for another trip that soon, and ultimately decided we probably couldn’t, but let’s see how mom reacts and then we’ll decide for sure. When I brought it up to her, she excitedly exclaimed, “Oh! Guess what? I’ll be in Singapore with my friends! And Bali!”…so that was that.

4) Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day here in the Midwest. Before moving here, I didn’t know what a paczki was or how to pronounce it and I still don’t know how to pronounce it and no it’s not PACK-zki or even PaZ-ki. Somehow the Polish managed to slip the N-sound into a word without an N in it.

Anyway, it is a Polish dessert that in theory sounds very delicious and also looks delicious, but it is jelly or creme filled which I cannot do.  They serve them for an after-lunch treat at the school where I work and I did eat around the jelly as much as I could.

5) My mother-in-law was in Florida over Spring Break and left her cat Bella in our care. The first night, she kept coming in the bedroom, in order to sit on my chest. My dog comes in around 5am every morning, so I couldn’t completely shut the door (my husband suggested this, but I could not bear to think of my big dog hitting his head on the door, assuming it would open freely). I tried using different items of clothing and other objects to block the door in a way that would allow Sam to come in, but not the cat.

The second night, she was locked out completely (nevermind the dog. at this point, I just want some sleep) and I heard constant meowing outside the door, plus I kept waking up, worried that the dog was trying to get in.

Needless to say, by day seven, the cat was sleeping with me under the covers, next to my chest and sometimes my stomach, every night.

6) My girlfriend Ingrid often sends me snippets of inspiration via text or messaging, and this month I got a Dolly Parton meme. I love Dolly so much and it prompted me to look up my favorite story of hers that I once heard on the radio. I found a similar story/quote (above) in a Rolling Stones article. It speaks for itself. She is amazing and will not let anyone tell her differently. #notworthy

7) We went to dinner at a friend’s place this month. They live and work in a modern industrial space called Galleri 2987 in Detroit. One of the spaces in the building is an actual gallery with cool modern mixed media pieces.

They’re building another loft above their current one. I did a walk-through and snapped this shot of downtown.

8) The Garden Detroit as you know it is now Detroit Abloom. Meaning that the non-profit, where I sit on the board, has changed its name from The Garden Detroit to Detroit Abloom, which was and still is the name of our cut flower farm.

The flower farm has grown so much in popularity and people recognize its name much more than The Garden Detroit. Plus, the name really speaks to what we do – help our city blossom by various means of growing – flowers, plants, education, landscaping, bee production. It really made sense and I’m excited to start serving under the new name.

9) I still do quite a bit of copywriting for Ahee Jewelers. This month they needed a few shots of employees for social media, so I brought in my camera and snapped away. I loved being in what they call their “back room,” where jewelers and designers and finishers work. This particular employee was super chatty and nice. I told him that if I had to do that kind of work, I would surely get a headache and he turned to me with a puzzled look.

10) Speaking of photos, I went to my first photography workshop/mentors program with Detroit photographer Molly Grunewald. I found her on Instagram and love her work, her way of capturing people, so when she announced she was offering mentor sessions, I jumped.

I learned a lot about myself in terms of what I need to do to up my game. And it wasn’t the things I’d expected. It was things like confidence, being more in control of the shoot, being more personable with my clients (dear God please NO. I am the WORST at this).

The family we practiced on was the cutest ever. So cooperative and sweet and fun and photogenic to boot. But I think part of that was Molly, and her ability to keep things moving and light. Another thing I learned is that I reeeeeeeally want a 35mm lens. I love my lens and I’ll always use it, but there are some shots I struggled with because of it. Where Molly was able to get a nice wide shot, I had to walk way back in order to get the same shot and sometimes I backed up into an alley or a wall, which prevented me from the shot I wanted (whereas she was able to).

11) Our April book group book was “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty. I’ve enjoyed her other books, so was interested to see how this one compared. It’s not particularly deep, yet it is, somehow. Which is what she is good at. Touching on not particularly light subjects in a light way. It was a quick read, a great beach read.

The cover, however. Completely stupid. Has nothing to do with the book at all. I mean, sure, I can go into how it resembles smoke and a body, which resembles how some of the people at the health resort wanted to change and the human need to blah, blah, blah. But really, such a stupid cover. I am sorry to whoever picked the cover and thought it was a good cover. Obviously that did not deter millions of people from buying the book. Sign of a decent author.

12) My most-used emoji this month? See above. That pretty much sums March up for me. “I dunno” and “whatever.” For April, I’m going to take a page out of Dolly’s book, and just do me.

I think as moms, maybe even as women, we don’t really get to ‘just do us” very often. And when we do, we’re not always holding our heads high. I’m bedraggled and sick (literally have had a cold for two weeks) and frumpy (all of us in the Midwest are, that’s what winter does to a Midwest woman. But magically we all show up to the pool in summer looking pretty darn good).

My friend Anna reminded me this week that there is light at the end of the tunnel and there surely is. Work is about to spike up, but then slow way down, the sun will start showing its face more and more every day. Flowers are coming. And once again it shakes down to gratefulness and how one chooses to view life. And for me, right now I’m woman-shrugging-light-skin-tone-emoji (although in summer I will be olive), and I’m good with that.

HAPPY APRIL, HAPPY SPRING!

The February List – 2019

I am beyond. Just beyond. I have no brain capacity during a week when I need it most. Deadline week. Always a killer. So I do what one can only do in these situations. Procrastinate. Which, I have to say, is not one of my weaknesses. I would rather get stuff done. And right now, I’m knocking The List off my list.

1) It’s the beginning of March in Michigan. Which means it’s 10 degrees. I also am beyond done with winter. We had another ice storm in early February and everything shut down. Again. Then temperatures dropped slightly and wind came and then you had chunks of ice falling from trees and rooftops. Gah.

 

 

2) I can pretty much gauge my life by emoji usage and this month, my most used emoji was the horror/terror emoji. So that. When I went to Google it, it’s officially called “face screaming in fear.” Pretty much.

3)  Did I ever tell you about the time my friends from Ohm Coffee Roasters sent me a Christmas gift out of the blue? We love each other, but we don’t normally exchange Christmas gifts, hence the surprise. These types of gifts given in love with no strings attached are always the best kind, no matter what they are, although in this case it was a delicious assortment of small batch roasted coffee beans. I haven’t surprised gifted very often, but when I have, it’s made me feel so happy. I would like to do more of that. Maybe you can, too.

4)  I have always loved Valentine’s Day, even when I didn’t have a Valentine. I am a sucker for true love and celebrating love in general (although make me sit through a romance movie and I am in agony), plus PINK. This Valentine’s Day was uneventful, aside from my sweet bouquet from Willa Rose Floral (thank you! And thank you, Valentine, for getting them for me!), because life and stress and whatnot, but my littlest gave me this Valentine, I mean, who needs date night when my seven-year-old lupine loves me? I’m all set.

5) Can we talk about typos for a minute? Because I always seem to have them in this blog. People actually pay me to write nice things and not make mistakes like typos. Am I apologizing? Not really. Defending myself? Not that, either. I’m simply saying I think it is ironic that as a professional writer, I can’t get it right on my own work. And also I know that you know. And now you know that I know, too.

6)  We worked on a lot of puzzles this month because winter, ice storms, etc. This one I haven’t done since my husband and I rented a place in Anderson Valley, California one weekend when I was pregnant with our first. It’s a Swiss Chateau.

This photo was taken a couple weeks ago and now it’s a lot further along, but not finished, and it will never get finished because I’m having The Garden Detroit board members over for a meeting and I need the table. I suppose I could put some people’s dinner plates on top of the puzzle but…I don’t know, that’s not super classy, no?

7)  Speaking of our first born, she turned 10 this month. She requested my coconut cupcakes (aka Ina Garten’s coconut cupcakes) with cream cheese frosting, which I gladly made. They never disappoint.

She begged for a sleepover birthday party, which I was hesitant about, then had the brilliant idea of holding it on Presidents Day weekend, seeing as everyone would be out of town. Aaaaaaand everyone was in town. We had seven girls over, plus our two. Aside from the screaming (happy girl screaming, but screaming nonetheless), all went surprisingly well.

8)  I did a craft (which may surprise some of you, but I was actually quite crafty back in the day) for the party. This project I found online where you break crayons, put them into silicone molds, bake them and voila. I read a tip about soaking the crayons in warm water to get the wrappers off and that saved me.

The girls had fun doing all the steps, and when I took the molds out of the oven, I goofed and spilled some of the hot wax (face screaming in fear emoji), but contrary to my initial reaction, the crayon hearts still came out great.

9)  Okay, let’s talk about my new La Creuset dutch oven. First of all, it’s blue. Secondly, I made beef burgundy (yes I do know it is capitalized, but I don’t want to so #notatypo) in it the other week.

Pretty much the exact same recipe I always use for the crock pot, but this time threw it in the dutch oven and oh my goodness. Picture is kinda gross, but it tasted amazing. Huge difference. All the flavors came together in a way that they just don’t in a crock pot. I still love the crock pot for the ease of  it, but whenever I make stew of any kind, I’m going to have to defer to my trusty dutch oven.

10)  We can also talk about chocolate. My new after-lunch snack at work is a Trader Joe’s chocolate peanut butter cup. It’s such a treat and I look forward to it every day.

Next, is another new-ish favorite that my friend introduced me to, are Hu bars, my favorite being cashew butter and raspberry jelly, which does not sound very good, but it is. The price of a bar has gone way up since the one store in town started carrying them, though, so they are a rare treat. I haven’t tried the cashew butter and vanilla bean and I bet I’d like that even more.

11)  I didn’t read the book group book for this month because I am just too dang busy, and also because I am enjoying my current book, “Stiletto,” the sequel to “Rook,” a light fantasy/adventure book by Daniel O’Malley. The writing is smart and fast-paced and fun, and the characters steer the book as much as the plot. You really should read the first book first.

Mom’s hibiscus

12)  I have run out of things to talk about. Not much happened this month because work kind of took over. I try to maintain gratefulness, although if you’ve run into me lately you may not have figured that. But I do give a quiet nod to all that I have. Health, family, choices. And a prayer of thanks for it all. I think you can be stressed and tired and cranky, and thankful at the same time.

March is going to be another doozy of a month, but here’s to warmer days (maybe) and fewer hours at work (possibly) and more pressing on (surely). Happy almost spring!!

The January List – 2019

Not really starting off 2019 the way I wanted to. This is one of the latest Lists ever. I blame it on the Polar Vortex, knowing that really it’s because January is one of my busier months at work, and I flew to Hawaii for a week for my grandma’s funeral.

And now that I’ve remembered the List, I can’t concentrate on any of my other projects until I’m done writing it, and I have a freelance project due at the very least by tomorrow morning, so I need to crank this out.

1) We rang in the New Year with friends at the Dearborn Inn, as we have for the last three years. Shoutout to Emerald City Designs, who is also does the auction for the school where I work. They always do an amazing job. This year they featured centerpieces with flocked foliage, which is “in” right now, but not overly trendy.

2)  December was mostly void of snow. January it snowed and iced and everything in between. We had a total of six snow/ice/broken boiler days (school/work) this month, half of them during our Hawaii trip. The day of the ice storm, I moved two morning meetings to the afternoon because I am such a wimp driver in bad weather. But I wasn’t the only one, I mean school was cancelled.

3)  I can always tell how cold it is outside by looking at my rhododendrons. When it’s below freezing, their leaves are tiny little things, shriveled up and sickly looking. Between 30 and 40 degrees, they are slightly more open and above 50 they look healthy and happy. When it was below zero, they crumbled up into themselves to where each bunch looked like a single stick clump.

I’m very impressed with their survival skills and am hoping my other plants will hang on as well. Above pic, about 29 degrees.

break – Littlest keeps asking me when dinner is. I’m going to pause and attempt to make creamy Tuscan chicken, because I can’t stop thinking about it since we had some at a friend’s house last weekend.

back – Chicken came out good enough. Next time I need to double the sauce. I meant to take a photo, but forgot until we were cleaning up.

4)  I am so ridiculously tired. Exhausted. From the weather, work and kids. I had a coffee an hour ago and feel nothing. How am I going to make it to number 12 ?!?!? Also I have no photo to put with this number. I could take a selfie and post that, but I’m not willing to self deprecate on that level.

Instead I searched the interwebs for “tired busy mom” and give you this. Although I’m not sure why one of her hands is holding a martini, although I suppose one must make time for cocktails?

5)  My best buddy turned thirteen this month! Here he is with his new Christmas toy from Santa.

6)  Went to the new Grosse Pointe Park spot, The Charlevoix for the first time this month. They have a small menu, but everything is so good. What’s not to love about tacos and po’ boys when done right. And the drinks! They nailed the spicy margarita. Exactly how I like it. In this pic are the salt and pepper shrimp, which were super spicy and really good, and up top, the collard greens and coconut salad, which I loved.

7)  We voted in several new Board members this month at The Garden Detroit and I’m super excited about the new team. We’ve been taking turns hosting meetings and cooking for each other, which is nice. A lot of exciting things happening this year, stay tuned!

8)  Had game night with dominoes, champagne, Hummers and Georgie the French bulldog. My one girlfriend is really good about inviting people over just to hang out, something I need to get better at – the impromptu gatherings. It’s a little harder having to take the little kids into account, but still very doable. Perhaps a New Years resolution for 2019. I haven’t quite finished the mental list.

9)  So Hawaii. Once I open that whole can of worms (which, as cans of worms go, would be a very lovely can), I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop because I have SO many thoughts about it and SO many photos, I mean where do I begin?

I will say that the girls and I left on a Saturday, just as the first big snowstorm began (my husband, who drove us to the airport, had to pull over and stop on the way home to wipe the windshield because the car ran out of wiper fluid). My husband joined us the following Thursday, and we all returned on a Monday, which happened to be a snow day.

On the day of our flight home, my sister and cousins began piecing together our very large family tree.

10)  This trip was mainly about my Grandma, celebrating her life, coming together with family. But it was also about me in that I felt a shift. In a good way, I think. A shift in attitude, a shift in perspective. Something that maybe I’ll get into at some point here if I get my act together.

11)  And food. Hawaii is always about food. Have you tried opihi?

I haven’t, but I’ve had the opportunity to several times. It’s a Hawaiian delicacy that’s extremely dangerous to harvest. The opihi stick to the sides of very sharp rocks in the ocean. Apparently the guy main guy people used to buy opihi from died from harvesting opihi.

This particular batch was brought over from Hilo by one of our relatives. I just read an article that the “teeth” of the opihi may be “the strongest biological material known” to man, stronger than spider silk.

12) Number 12! I have nothing else for you. Except this photo taken the day we returned to school/work after all those snow days. OH. I do have something. My friend recently posted an article ranking all the states in terms of weather. Hawaii was number 1 and Michigan? Number 49. I don’t disagree.

Here’s the link if you want a haha. Based on the several places I have lived, it’s actually pretty spot on. THE ARTICLE

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! And have a great rest of February.