The June List – 2018

Photo by @willarosefloral

I don’t know if it’s the state of the nation or lack of sleep or being home with the kids 24/7 or all of the above, but I woke up in the middle of the night last night with what I think (hope) was a panic or anxiety attack.

Needless to say, after finally falling back asleep (after two hours of freaking out) and waking up early the next day, I told myself I was going to take deep(er) breaths and take more time for me. Which I did this morning at Detroit Abloom, helping them harvest flowers for the CSA bouquet program. It was crazy humid and already hot at 8:30am, but I didn’t mind so much and we finished quickly.

On with the list. June was summery hot, filled with quintessential summertime activities.

1) One of which is afternoons at the pool. We belong to the Yacht Club, so we tend to go there vs. the local/city pool. One day, I was enjoying semi-reading (littlest can’t 100% swim) a book in the shade, and a lady pulled up a chair literally inches in front of me (I moved out of my chair behind the gentleman to take the photo). Ridiculous.

Because I’m non-confrontational to a fault, I stayed where I was (even more ridiculous). Yes, I need to work on that. But I probably won’t.

2) My home garden is looking pretty good. Dahlias popped up this month (they take sooooo long to surface), which was exciting. The bunnies (I’m guessing) snacked on several of them, but even those are now coming back and looking pretty good. I made a rough map/key to show me which variety I planted where, but after a while I got lazy, so we’ll just have to see.

The David Austin roses Julia and I planted in May are finally starting to show life. One plant is completely dead (Squirrels! They dig up everything!), and one I thought was dead and was about to pull it up when I spotted some dark green leaves. I don’t know if I’ll get any flowers this year, I don’t know how roses work and I haven’t taken the time to look it up. My goal this season is simply to keep them alive.

4) A young robin followed me around the garden for several days. He would stay close when I was planting or weeding, hopping away if I moved significantly, but then coming right back. I am reading The Secret Garden with our oldest at night and this guy reminded me of the robin in that book. Maybe they are one of the more friendly wild birds? Or more unafraid perhaps. Or. This one is just a little special, per the husband, who said it also followed him around while he was using the hedge trimmer.

5) Three years after planting our serviceberry tree that my mom gifted to us for our anniversary, we had berries! It was such a nice surprise. They were oh so tiny, but packed a big punch and were very sweet.

6)  Speaking of berries, we had mulberries at the Garden. I was lucky to be there one day during their peak and Michael had already harvested a bunch. Wild berries are the absolute best.

6) I did my summer Costco run, so I’m all set. For a hot minute. #smoothieseveryday

7) My husband and I were invited to a tennis tournament (aka party where you play tennis). I have never played and he was rusty, but we showed up as requested in our tennis whites and ended up having a blast. I actually hit the ball a couple times. Woo-hoo!

There was food from the Imperial Taco Truck and drinks (I brought strawberry-jalapeno margaritas) and an ice luge (of which I did not partake) and a DJ. The party was still going strong when we left around 10:00pm.

8) We were also invited to a Sam Smith concert at the new Little Caesar’s arena, which neither of us had been to. I have avoided concert invitations lately (crowds = anxiety, also see beginning of post), but the tickets were for our friends’ private suite. THAT I can do. And I actually loved the concert. He had a fantastic voice and equally fantastic back-up singers, so I was happy.

9) I went to Gray Ghost Detroit restaurant for the first time, to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday. Food wasn’t overly delicious, but I enjoyed it. Drinks were great and the ambiance was nice. For a Monday night it was very lively.

10) I cooked lobster tails for the first time. I know, they are so easy, but I’ve always been intimidated by them for some reason. Threw them on the grill, made some herb butter and enjoyed.

11) A lot of firsts this month….. another was pasta from a friend of a friend’s company, Detroit Pasta Co. He makes and delivers homemade pasta and sauce. I tried the pasta only – he brought fettucine and pappardelle (my favorite. well, clarification, my favorite fresh pasta. My favorite shelf and restaurant pasta is hands down spaghetti).

I tossed the pappardelle with shitake mushrooms, onions (I would have done shallots, but didn’t have any), parsley and heavy cream. And a touch of red pepper flakes (necessary on every type of pasta). And made garlic scape pesto for the fettuchine. Divine.

12) Grosse Pointe is not known as a place to showcase your individuality, so I was pleased to see this sight one evening in the Village. Reminded me of San Francisco. You be you, girl.

Please tell someone you love them, spend time in a garden and be good to yourselves this month! Happy July, all!

 

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The February List – 2018

Oh my gosh. I can’t with The List right now. Every month I feel like I say oh this month went by so fast, but this is IT, people.

1) It’s cold. It was supposed to be done snowing and everyone thought it was done snowing, but as soon as my daughter brought her snowsuit home from school I knew it was going to snow again and it sure did.

2)  And then when it did snow, it was so random and weird weather-wise, that the snow stuck and it was beautiful for a hot second until the next day when chunks of ice started falling from the trees onto your car and your head if you happened to be out walking. We didn’t even let our kids go outside and play and almost didn’t want the dog to go out either but no alternative.

3) And guess what, the snowstorm I’m talking about actually happened on March 1st, so I’m not even technically allowed to put it in the February list, but I did, so there.

4) At the beginning of the month we had our biggest storm of the season come through, snowing all day long. I was hoping and praying we would not have a snow day, but our Head of School (I know, stop. Where am I, England? But that’s his title so.) had already called one the evening before. I shoveled at least three separate times and my husband maybe twice.

5) Had my office not looked like this, I would have relaxed and enjoyed aforementioned snow day, and eventually, I did because what can you do, really?

6)  The kids had an absolute ball and my sweet old Sammy boy was running and jumping along with them. As playful as I’ve seen him in a long time. Sometimes he is so gross and smells bad and chews on his foot and all kinds of really nasty dog things, but he is so dang cute and brings so much love into our home, we adore him.

7) Our oldest turned nine this month. We let her invite a couple friends to the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center (we would have invited all the girls in her class, but we only have one car and felt bad not being able to give all the girls rides back to our house).

(Just FYI if you are reading this and your kid didn’t go it’s because we are still so SF when it comes to emissions and vehicles and I’m sorry, we love your kid!) Although that one time I won my husband an Escalade rental at auction it was AH-MAZ-ing.

My point is we all went there for the first time and it was fun and cool and my favorite part was feeling all the animal pelts to see which one was the softest (there were also molds of poop samples, which of course the girls loved) and watching the girls ride the snowmobile simulator and fishing simulator.

And then they all wanted to play this shoot the squirrel game with laser guns that looked like real guns and I was like what in the holy hell is even happening right now.

8) We got home and it was nine-year-old girls gone wild all up in my house. They are kooks oh my word. But they had a great time and enjoyed my homemade vanilla cake from Marais.

9)  My mother-in-law took us to the Henry Ford Museum for our daughter’s birthday (ate lunch at Buddy’s pizza first – YUM. I just love pizza so much). I had never been there before and didn’t realize that Rosa Parks’s bus was in that museum along with a million other cool Americana items.

We sat in the bus and listened to the docent (although my girls were half listening, ah well) and I was so moved and touched and wanted to stay there all day and write poetry and think deep thoughts.

10)  Our big ski trip (our girls’ first times ever on skis) happened at the end of the month. We and another family rented a cottage at Crystal Mountain, about a five hour drive north. We’d never been and it was really picturesque and lovely.

Another event I should have been looking forward to but wasn’t because I was so stressed out, but as often happens on vacations, I was able to relax and enjoy myself, especially since the girls had phenominal attitudes about the whole ski gear, being cold, first time on skis thing. It was pretty cool watching them and it made me want to go on ski vacations multiple times a year, even though I hate being cold.

I also took a morning off and got a facial at the spa and sat in the steam room for a bit which made me want a new steam shower so badly or at least a sauna in the basement.

11) I hadn’t been to The Garden since before Christmas – what!? I’m not even exaggerating, so sad and completely my fault. I made a lunch date with the crew and they made me the most fantastic toasted sandwich using Trader Joe’s sauerkraut and swiss and homemade vegan Thousand Island dressing.

The photo looks not very appetizing because I’d already taken a bite and also didn’t have time to edit the photo but it was really so good. I want one RIGHT NOW. But even if I had all the stuff I couldn’t because I am cutting down on carbs big time because Hawaii in two weeks oh my gosh.

12) Wait, speaking of delicious, the Auction Chairs are always buying me the best treats, I am not sure why because I’m the only one on our hard-working team actually getting paid (chairs are volunteers as are well, the volunteers), but of course I’m not complaining because treats.

One of the things they’ve given me are these amazing chocolates from Hungary with caramelized lavender and star anise. It’s stupid good and I just had some with my wine. And yes I realize wine has carbs but wine.

To sum up the month: work work, snow snow, some good stuff, more work, more snow. It’s all good, people. Happy March!

Please Vote for The Garden Detroit! (5 seconds!)

Dear Friends,

The nonprofit that is so close to my heart, The Garden Detroit, has been selected as a finalist (25 nationwide) for The Atlantic’s contest which recognizes nonprofits for making positive changes in their communities. The winner will receive a $20,000 gift, and The Garden Detroit will use these funds to finish our Detroit Abloom pavilion and purchase a much-needed walk-in cooler for our flowers. There will also be a handful of $10,000 runners up.

Just click the link and vote for us! It’s that easy, no contact info required! You do have to vote for a second company, so go ahead and read through and pick the one you like.

https://www.theatlantic.com/renewal-awards/

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Love,
Lani

The November List – 2017

Another month gone and I’m struggling to keep up with pretty much everything.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas all over town. It used to bother me when people decorated for the holidays before Thanksgiving, but here in the Midwest, where trees and plants are bare and the landscape is dreary, I appreciate some sparkle and color.

1) I decorated my office with a string of lights (nearly killing myself by balancing with one foot on my tall stool and maneuvering the lights with a meter stick), and we picked out a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Really need something larger / more stately over the fireplace. One of those things you keep meaning to deal with that isn’t really all that important, so you never do.

2) My friend in Portland posted some of her amazing vintage Christmas wreaths on Facebook and I knew I had to have one. They are fun and festive and glamorous and kitchy and the girls were making squealing noises as I opened up the box and unwrapped it.

She can custom make one with whatever color palette you want. And no one else in town will have a wreath like yours, guaranteed.

3) I was so furiously writing last month’s list that I forgot to tell you about a wine and live auction I went to with my friend Renee. She wore these amazing shoes and I am always so impressed with her and anyone who can walk around in, let alone stand in, heels that high all night. And yes, I would if I could.

4) And oh my gosh the most exciting (exciting meaning !!!!!) part of the night happened on the way home when our Uber driver possibly/most likely saved our lives by slamming on the breaks in an intersection where we had a green light. He stopped just in time as we watched a car fly across the intersection.

We were so grateful that we didn’t even get mad when he:
A) Got pulled over by the cops for a busted headlight (Me upon seeing him pull up in his old minivan, “Ummm he has a headlight out, do you think that’s okay?”)
B) Missed the turn to my house at which point he put the car in reverse on Lakeshore Drive. (Renee upon realizing what was happening. “Ummm sir? Sir? Um, people don’t normally reverse on this street.”)

5) The freelance project I’ve been working on for months is finally done and it is beautiful! I’m not a big jewelry person (although I will take a blinged out cocktail ring if you want to give one to me), but after working with all this high-end luxurious jewelry, I’ve kind of changed my tune. Not that I can do anything about my newfound love of expensive jewelry, but hey.

6) Speaking of bling, my school auction is full speed ahead. Every so often we receive a donation from people who are moving or clearing out space in their home, etc. This interchangeable watch donation was particularly WOW, so I put it on and wore it for a couple hours at work.

I have to say that initially I tee-hee-ed about, but it did grow on me after a while because it is so beyond ridiculously quirky. And rarely does anything ever fit my skinny wrists!

7) Speaking of work, I recently read that the plastic in Keurig cups can leech into your coffee, and when ingested can act like estrogen in your body. Which means I shouldn’t be using them (I take medication that basically zaps estrogen from my body). And we only have a Keurig at work.

SO. I was all, I’m going to be so cool and European with my French press and that lasted about two days because it took so dang long and was messy to clean up.

So now it’s Trader Joe’s instant coffee for me every day after lunch. It’s quick, easy and reminds me of college. And no that is not my purse in case you were wondering, it is an auction donation if you would like to bid on it in the spring.

8) When I was at couples bowling (because we’re cool like that), I got a text from my Auntie that my mom had fallen and possibly broken her shoulder. It turns out that it was her collarbone that broke, not her shoulder, but it’s still going to be a very long and painful recovery. Send good thoughts and prayers over to her, please!

9) As I was out shopping at Barnes & Noble for my husband’s birthday present, one of the staff pointed out a book she felt he might like based on my description of what I was looking for. I knew immediately it was too magic-y for him, but it was right up my alley, so I bought it.

I am loving it so far (and i really love the cover also!) and I am about a third of the way in. If you like adventure and old London and magic, you will not be disappointed.

10) I always make an apple pie for my husband’s birthday and here it is and it was so delicious. I think I purposely block out of my mind how much I like pie so that I don’t eat it every single day of my life.

11) I dug up my dahlia tubers this month, and brought them to Detroit Abloom’s new root cellar (if you donated to the cause – THANK YOU!) to store for the winter. I am hopeful that most will make it and am already plotting out where to put what next spring.

The labeling part is tricky because if you don’t do it while the blooms are still on the plant, you risk not remembering which plant was where (oopsies).

12) This is what it looks like when you finish bowling and the dining room at the Yacht Club is closed so you end up at Irish Coffee and you are STARVING.

Thus concludes another month of Grosse Pointe life. Enjoy your December and have a wonderful holiday season!

The October List – 2017

Another frantically written list. Because life is nuts.

October wasn’t particularly quick or hectic, it’s just that I put off writing the list and then I kind of forgot about it so of course I am writing it now, when I have a freelance project due (but thank you Jesus, for the work, I am serious!) and feel an almost migrane coming on.

1) The last of the Detroit Abloom flower share bouquets were delivered the second week of October. What a season! I loved seeing the buckets of flowers on my porch every week. Already looking forward to next season, which promises to be even more exciting.

2) My own dahlias were ah-maz-ing to watch and they were in bloom all month long. There are several blooms still holding on, but the buds will not be opening, so sad.

3) I am slowly figuring out my camera. I try to take a few photos every day to practice and learn something new. I’ve watched a bunch of YouTube videos, to refresh the one class I took back in high school.

I took these photos of Sam, as I was testing out different apertures. He’s an old man, but is doing very well, considering his age of almost 12. He still gets ridiculously excited about food and loves playing with his stuffies. He brings me joy and I love him sooooo much!

4) So I turned 45 this month. Waaaaah! It was a hard one for me. I’ve already gone on and on social media, so you will get spared from my lament here on the blog.

5) I escaped the woe is me stuff one evening when my friends took me to dinner at the new Corktown restaurant, Lady of the House. The ambiance is really sweet, the bar looked cozy and the Irish-inspired menu was interesting and yummy.

Definitely I would go again for the parmesan cauliflower, salad (I usually do not like getting salad at a restaurant, but this one sounded and also tasted delicious) and fried donut things.

6) Warning! If you are not yet in your 40s, take note. When you purchase the ultra magnifying light-up face mirror at Costco because your eyes are getting to where they can’t see detail very well, the first time you plug it in and look into it you are in for a surprise. You might even scream.

7) My friend Julia at Detroit Abloom made me the most beautiful flower collar for a work event I attended. It was delicate and wild and colorful and super unique.

8) This guy came to visit one weekend afternoon. Our 6-year-old spotted him. Hawk or falcon?
I just love the large birds, they are so majestic.

9) We had several wind storms come through. One nearly ruined all my dahlia blossoms, so I ran out that day and clipped them all to bring them inside. They were not going to last much longer anyway (and notice my brand new birthday-present snips in the background! Yippee!)

In another storm, the flowering pear that dropped a huge branch on our front yard a couple months before we moved in to the house, dropped another large branch. The city does not mess around and within hours, a truck was out chopping it up and a day or so later, someone else came to chop it down and a couple days after that the stump was ground up and that was that.

10) So my houseplants are doing awesome. Okay, no. These are them, waiting for the compost bag, which they miraculously found their way into after a couple of days (if you want anything put away, just put it on the back patio because that is one spot my husband does not like to see things out of place)!

Headache update: It did NOT turn into a migrane, thank goodness. Thanks to Advil, which I finally had the sense to take. Also, I prematurely published this post by clicking the Publish button instead of the Save button (which I have done SO many times before, I wish a pop-up would ask are you sure you want to publish this post, you idiot!), so to all my subscribers who got a half-written post, I am sorry! And you’ll never know because this was written after the fact!

11)  It was a relatively warm October, but the week before Halloween we got a dose of cold and of course on Halloween day and night, it was very crisp and chilly out! At least it wasn’t raining, definitely tolerable. The girls had a great time trick-or-treating and even got to keep five pieces of candy. Ahahahaha. #theyloveus

12)  Okay, so my Dad’s birthday is the same day as my birthday (actually vice versa since he was born first). And our SF sitter Alyssa also has an October birthday and for some reason when the girls made cards this year, they said Happy Birthday AND Happy Halloween and they were much more excited about the Happy Halloween portion of their cards.

Also, I’m not sure what a vampire taco is, but I never want to see one in real life.

13) An extra number because I’m so happy with my “new” office. I spent a couple days over the summer sprucing it up.

I rummaged around the building’s many storage rooms and found an old draft table that a former art teacher used to use and got rid of my old desk, swapped out my boring black chair for a cool orange one that was hiding across the hall, brought a bookcase down from the third floor, vacuumed up the homeless person who was living under my desk, bought a metal stool, threw on an IKEA sheepskin and voila!

I guess October WAS pretty jam packed, because I didn’t even get to tell you about The Garden Detroit fundraiser or the Bees in the D honey that is quintessential honey tasting, I mean just divine.

Maybe I’ll put those in another post, but chances are, I’ll turn around and it will be November and time for another list already. The leaves are finally giving us a display of beautiful Fall color. They took their time this year changing, but they are out in full force now.

I appreciate all you readers! Have a great November!

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