The August List – 2019

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

Here’s what went on in August:

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

At Detroit Abloom, Nancy showed us their butterfly cocoons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy September!

The July List – 2019

July was the quintessential summer. A road trip to upstate New York for a couple weeks by the lake. I always take my best photos on vacation. My mind is (almost) quiet, relaxed and open.

1)  I just paid $8 a month so you, my beloved readers, can experience my blog without advertising photos of weird foot diseases, strange devices and grapes? (some of the ads I just saw when I opened by blog in a reader view, something I never do). I am sorry for years of this torment you’ve had to endure.

Scene of the Incident

2) For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, here’s what went down exactly one day after I posted about deer flies. Copied and pasted for your enjoyment.

UPDATE if you’ve read the June List: irony struck this morning on my kayak adventure. Due to a freaking deer fly, I lost, then found my super expensive sunglasses (aka swatted my head, causing sunglasses to fly off behind me, circled back and miraculously saw them in some reeds), only to LOSE THEM AGAIN as they slipped off the end of my oar.

I then jumped in to retrieve them (shallow water 3’), only to lose both my flip flops (forgot I was wearing them) in the muddy ground. Found right flip flop, lost left one, couldn’t find sunglasses the second time. Dragged kayak and myself to shore to get back in. Deer fly still bit me in the end. Nature: 1, Me: 0

3) We met our baby cousin, Harrison. Named after my grandfather. Well, if you’ve been following the blog, not actually my real grandfather, but the man who carried my last name and married my grandmother.

4) And caught up with our twin cousins, who are cute and busy and curious and everything one-year-olds should be.

5) One afternoon we drove 45 minutes to Old Forge, probably the most touristy town within a one-hour radius of my Dad’s place. Nestled in the Adirondacks (my Dad’s place is at the very edge), the Enchanted Forest Water Safari is half water-park, half fairy tale amusement park. My sister and I went a few times as kids and in my mind it was a magical place, exactly what the name Enchanted Forest promises.

However, some of the displays were not as I remember. I mean what in the world? Why this didn’t scare the living daylights out of me when I was little, I cannot tell you.

6)  We also went to the Lewis County Fair, which WAS everything I remembered it to be. From the animal barns with blue ribbons pinned to their stalls and taffy stand and colorful rides.

It was fun to watch farmers prepping their animals before a show. I hadn’t realized that horses get sprayed with insecticide to keep flies off of them or that cows got shaved, making them look so smooth and clean.

7)  I finished three books while on vacation. One was “Truly, Madly, Guilty” by Liane Moriarty who wrote the popular “Big Little Lies” which is now a series on HBO. I love that her books are both perfect beach reads but also have enough depth to be compelling in a literary way. They definitely make you think about relationships, about situations, about happenstance.

8)  Another book I read was “Magpie Murders” which is sort of a modern take on the Agatha Christie murder mystery. It was fun and suspenseful and very British.

9)  My husband and I finally used our gift card to Marrow (an anniversary gift from my MIL – thank you!) in Detroit’s West Village. We went with another couple and all agreed that the chef’s tasting menu sounded delicious, so we did that. It came with many dishes to taste, all of which had interesting elements like tobiko sprinkled on pot stickers and flower petals on their signature dish. All yummy.

10)  At the end of the month, a friend of mine invited me to her high-school friend’s wedding, as her husband couldn’t make it at the last minute. It was held at the 45 North Winery (the 45-th parallel runs through the vineyards) on the Leelanau Penninsula. The couple was delightful and the wedding, beautiful. I don’t know the story of the horse.

My friend and I stayed at her mom’s house in Traverse City and on the way home, we stopped at a farm stand, where she bought cherries, which we snacked on during the ride home.

11)  I’ve been working a lot this summer, so I haven’t cooked much. I did make a quiche with Michigan-grown summer squash, which I got from the Trader Joe’s local produce section. I didn’t edit the pic, so it looks somewhat unappetizing. But there you go.

12) I often….apologize, for lack of a better word, for my kids being cautious and timid. They aren’t confident swimmers, they’ll only go on the “safe” carnival rides, they’re scared of the dark. I’m not sure why I feel the need to apologize for this trait. Maybe because I was also that way growing up, I still am. It was hard and painful and I hated being that kid.

I think it’s also because I want them to be strong, to be go-getters and risk takers everything “girl power”-ish. Last week I was thinking of how to caption this photo to post in Instagram. And as I was sitting there, I realized, when they finally DO do something….ride a bike without training wheels, let go of the edge of the pool, make eye contact and speak clearly to an adult…they’ve overcome so much to do a thing that other kids do naturally.

And so this captured moment, it’s her contemplating a really hard thing. Trying to convince herself that she can do this thing. It’s her overcoming an obstacle on her own. It’s her being so very, very unapologetically brave.

Happy August, everyone!

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.

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.)



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.