The May List – 2017

May was a whirlwind.  Here’s the list.

1) We have bees at our Garden / Detroit Abloom lots courtesy of our friend Brian over at Bees in the D, and we are super geeked out about them. I have yet to learn how to care for them, but Brian is planning on hosting a workshop soon.

2) This month at Detroit Abloom, our anemones bloomed. I have soooo many favorite flowers, but they are one of my surprise favorites. Surprise because I usually go for pale colors and fluffy things like peonies. Anemones are mysterious and moody, but also bright and happy, depending on the light.

3) In my own garden, the lilac bloomed and they did not disappoint. I got a little carried away (per usual) with the loppers and trimming of the lilac tree as evidenced by the photo above, but there is still plenty of lilac tree left and it was fun to have some inside, even though they only lasted a few days.

4) I often stop to look over the fence into Shirley’s garden. I remember her taking me on a tour of it, telling me the names of all the different plants and pointing out her favorites. It makes me smile to see that her garden still looks so much nicer than mine, even in her absence. Sign of a great gardener. Her plants feel at home. Her garden helper does still comes over on occasion to fertilize or weed (and throw plants over the fence for me) which is nice to see.

5) Can we talk about potato chips for a second? I seriously am obsessed with them. In fact, right now I’m eating some Kettle brand (my favorite) pepperoncini chips (taste is okay, but I prefer plain. Or cheddar) with my sour cream-based ranch dip and I’m scared to look in the bag to see how much is left (not much). I can’t buy them or I’ll eat them but obviously I did both today. Whenever I go to a party and I spy chips (especially with french onion dip), I pretty much stay within a three feet of them at all times. What’s your party food weakness?

6) My husband and I celebrated our 9th anniversary this month. Our five year old presented me with this sweet card the morning of.

7) To celebrate, we went to dinner at a new restaurant (which there are so many of in Detroit nowadays) downtown called Parc Detroit. I’d been wanting to go for some time. It was lively and somewhat loud, but the service was good. The food wasn’t over-the-top delicious, but it was yummy enough. I got some kind of lobster pasta (if there is pasta on the menu, it’s mine. Always.) tossed in cream sauce, and the portion was large enough to allow me to enjoy some the next day for lunch.

8) The school where I work held its auction this month and whew! Glad it is over, but it was fun working on it and seeing it all come together.

I got to wear the 7.5 carat diamond earrings we were auctioning off in the live portion for a hot second. Photos do not do them justice, but trust me, they were fabulous. I mean, here I am at a reception where I know less than half the people there, listening to someone give a speech, and I am beaming. It has to be the earrings. And maybe the champagne.

9) Speaking of alcohol, my girlfriend brought her ….I don’t even know what to call it, cooler purse?…with her to the auction. Because why not. It was filled with simple syrup and juice and mini cans of Sofia by Coppola champagne and after I tried the house white, I stopped making fun of her and asked her to please make me a cocktail.

10) I read The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware this month. It’s a fun thriller, I suppose you could call it. Fun because it wasn’t gruesome or morbid or too dark and most of it took place on a luxury yacht. Not very literary, so if you’re looking for a GOOD book, this is not it, but it is a page-turner and something to zone out on. Beach read.

This photo was taken one day when my husband saw that I was frazzled with the girls and took them to his mom’s house for a couple hours. I’d been with them all morning and they were so whiny that day and uncooperative and I was so giddy to have some time alone that I made coffee and one of my favorite snacks and sat on the couch with my book.

11)  Speaking of books, after my yoga class one Friday morning (held at a church) I walk by and see that the gym is filled with tables of books. I cannot walk by a book sale without stopping and I ended up staying there for a whole hour (carrying my yoga mat the entire time. why?) and left with a set of children’s encyclopedias from the 80s ($5.00!) and about eight great (I think. I hope) paperbacks, each for a dollar or less.

12) I almost forgot about one of the best things I did this month, which was to teach my daughter’s class a Hawaiian song (Pearly Shells) and hula moves to go along with it. I was so nervous about learning the song on the ukulele and of course singing and teaching it. Which was just silly because the kids were super attentive and funny and so excited to learn something new and I left with my heart feeling so full.

I hope your May was filled with many memorable moments as well. I leave you with this gem from the Public Safety section of our newspaper. Can’t we all just get along?

Also, I went to Florida for the first time, which I will recap that in another post! Happy Happy June, y’all!

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

The April List – 2015

IMG_0171 (1024x765)1) We finally put some artwork up in the family room. What a big difference! The SF prints were hanging in my husband’s basement office, but he kindly gave them up for the good of the house.  They look much better proportioned in real life (they look weirdly small in the photo for some reason).

2)  “That was my favorite squirrel” – our youngest, looking out the window at the dead squirrel in front of our house.

As the days went by it got more and more squished (“ooh I see blood” and more “my favorite squirrel” language) so I decided to call the city to see if they would scrape it up.

Me:  Hi. I’m new here and I’m not sure if you do this sort of thing but…there’s a dead squirrel on the street in front of our house and it’s freaking our kids out. Could you come pick it up or how does that work?
City Worker:  Now, where is the squirrel, in the middle of the street?
Me:  Umm, pretty much in the middle of the street, yes.
City Worker:  And you say it’s in front of your house? Is it right in front?
Me:  Yup, right in front of our driveway, I would say.
City Worker:  Okay, can I get your phone number, in case there are any questions?
Me: About the squirrel?! Umm, sure.

Can’t fault her for being thorough.

3)  My sister bought me Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Goldfinch” for Christmas, which I finished this month. Not once during the 784 pages did I feel like it was tedious or dragging. Do yourself a favor and put it on your summer reading list (I almost wish I had saved it for a summer read). You will thank me.

4) Michigan vs. San Francisco terminology:
Park = Playground
Pop = Soda
Carry Out = Take Out
Chinese = Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese or all of the above

IMG_0493 (872x815)5)  I finally got a shot of the elusive pheasant!

6)  April 4th marked the one-year anniversary of our move. I went for a run that day and thought about everything that’s happened since we arrived. New house, new remodel, new school, new routines, new weather, new friends. I miss San Francisco more than I can express, but I’m also happy here. I haven’t thought too much more about it, but I will reflect on it more and when I do, I will report back.

IMG_0480 (799x1024)

7)  I’m not allergic to shellfish! Best news ever! Unfortunately, we have no idea what brought on my hives last month, but at least we can rule out shellfish. The allergist wanted me to come back for another appointment as a precautionary measure. He said I would need to set aside 2-3 hours, bring a piece of shrimp with me to the office, eat it and wait. He referred to this as an “open food challenge.”

Me: Can’t I just stand in front of a hospital and eat some shrimp? That would be a lot faster, and more convenient.
Allergist: Oh no, don’t do that. The next thing you know, the papers will say “a patient of Dr. R’s dropped dead in front of such and such..”
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t sue you or anything.
Allergist (concerned): Just make the appointment, okay?
Me: Okay.

I walked out of the office without making an appointment. Two days later, I ate an a-load of shrimp at a party. I’m good.

IMG_0344 (1024x1024)8)  April showers bring May flowers. That’s great and all, but the cold! Enough already. April was full of cold, cloudy days and even some snow. We did get a couple days of sun and warm, giving us a sneak peak of what’s to come. I can’t wait.

IMG_0482 (768x1024)9)  Speaking of flowers, I walked outside one afternoon to a beautiful surprise. A blossoming tree in our backyard. I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but the flowers are fluffy and big, similar to magnolia blossoms. So pretty!

IMG_0450 (892x1024)10)  Something you would never see in San Francisco – dry cleaning hanging on a door. One, because I can’t think of any dry cleaner there that delivers and two, because it would be gone in two seconds. Especially if you live near Golden Gate Park like we did.

https://igcdn-photos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/t51.2885-15/11111523_1652333978329361_1522025887_n.jpg

Photo from: GPFoundation on Instagram

11)  The Grosse Pointe library system lends out gardening tools. How cool is that? They also have a seed library, where you can search a physical card catalog (containing seed packets instead of cards) and “borrow” seeds to plant.  Residents are also encouraged to save and donate their seeds to the collection. I plan to use both.

IMG_0391 (1024x1024)12)  I have one more month before school is out, which means I can say goodbye to daytime “me” time. I hope to get a sitter a couple times a week so I can work (oh yes, I do have a day job doing payroll for my husband’s company), but also so I can have some down time. Summer will be fun, I know that, but sometimes a girl (especially an INFJ girl like me) needs her space. Can I get an amen.

Enjoy May, everyone!

Found: “Grosse Pointe Girl” the Novel

gpbook

“Welcome to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, where social rank is determined by the age of your money and the dryness of your martini.” – Book Blurb Opening Line

I came across this book today while doing an online search for the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (more about that later). I smiled when I read the blurb (especially the fantastic opening line above) which tells about a young girl who moves to (surprise) Grosse Pointe at the age of 13, and her social struggles and triumphs throughout her high-school years. Set in the 1980s, the book promises cultural references and teen dialogue that will appeal to any reader (can’t figure out who the book is geared towards – tween or young adult). It was published in 2004 and written by a (surprise) former Grosse Pointe resident.

Amazon reviews give it high praises, but reviewers on more bookish sites like Goodreads say that at best, it was an easy read, at worst, it didn’t have any plot or character development. Ouch. Though it may not be the best read, I don’t doubt it’s a fun one. If I ever get my hands on a copy, I’ll let you know if I’m right.

Much Ado About Book Group

bookgroup.laboulange

At La Boulange in Hayes Valley. 2014

Here we are. The Readers Respond book group. It was founded in February of  2001 (by a member who moved away a couple years later). My first meeting was May, 2003 (we have records!), making me one of the group’s longest standing members. The book we read was Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (like I said, we have records).

Joining the group was a life-changer for me. I had just gotten out of a terrible relationship, was working for a horrible boss (I still run into people who, when I mention his name, give me a look like they just smelled something rotten) and was pretty much hating life. I’m a super shy person in new situations (INFJ in Meyers-Briggs speak), but out of desperation for something good and true, I decided to check out a book club I found online at SFStation.

Some excerpts from the ad:
“The host moderates the meeting, gives a biographical sketch of the author and prepares a delicious spread of snacks; the other participants bring wine and wisdom.”
“While discussions can be tangential, they are always lively!”
“Must commit to attending and participating at meetings the second Thursday (of the month)…”

bookgroupWedding

At my wedding. 2008

Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about how we’ve managed to stay together for so long. We attribute much of it to our rules (if we have records, you know we have rules) and the fact that we actually uphold them. I think we’ve also just been really lucky (or perhaps serendipitous).

Another beautiful thing about this group is that no subject is off limits (yep, even that one). As a result, we’ve had many a “lively” discussion (as the ad promises) and much, much laughter. We’ve celebrated a multitude of milestones and have gotten each other through disappointments and heartbreak. When one of us moves away, as San Franciscans will often do (to the East Bay, to LA, to Oregon, to Australia, to travel the world), we continue to be in touch.

bookgroup.chinatown

Chinatown. 2013

You would think with friendships like this, that a last meeting would leave me in a state of…well, a hot mess. However, much like my last band hurrah, my last book group was not an emotional affair. Sure, we talked about my move and celebrated with some of my absolute favorites – homemade pot stickers, champagne and coconut cupcakes. I was given presents (the book I’ve been wanting! and a trivet of the Golden Gate Bridge) as well as a lovely card. So what gives? Why no tears or gnashing of teeth?

bookgroup.gifts

Parting gifts.

I’m not really the type of person to bottle up feelings. Maybe because this move thing is so monumental, I’m doing that without recognizing it as such. Maybe it’s because I know I’m going to see everyone one more time next week at my going-away shindig. Maybe at said shindig, as I’m sitting at the bar with a drink in hand, I will finally collapse to the floor and “ugly cry” (as my sorority sister Jen would say) for hours on end.

Whatever may happen, I know that, much like finishing the end of a good book, when I turn the final page on my San Francisco life, I’ll have so much joy and fulfillment from the whole experience, any tears shed along the way will have been well worth the ride.

Gung Hay Fat Choy: It’s Gonna Be a Biggie

Chinese Building on Waverly Place

Building on Waverly Place, Chinatown.

Chinese New Year is a big deal in San Francisco. Public schools are closed, Chinese food is gobbled, firecrackers are popped and at the end of the two-week celebration, a huge parade (the largest outside of Asia) featuring lion dancers, a 200-foot long Golden Dragon, stilt walkers, marching bands and acrobats floats through town.

I’d planned on kicking off the lunar year with an invigorating run. That plan got squashed when I woke up with chills and congestion. Thankfully, I’d scheduled our sitter to come for a few hours, so I took myself to lunch at Woodhouse Fish Co. on Fillmore Street. I ordered the deep-fried fish tacos and a hot water with lemon.

Woodhouse Fish Co. restaurant

As I waited, I witnessed at the table to my left, an exchange between potential business associates, meeting in person for the first time. “It’s so nice to put a face with the voice,” and similar niceties. The woman, a second generation San Franciscan (a rarity, as she pointed out) was upbeat and bubbly. The gentleman, who had never been here before, got a short rundown of some of the city’s history (the African American community on Fillmore Street during segregation, the influx of Japanese and Japantown, the Italians in North Beach, Chinatown). The conversation quickly turned to all the different foods we have at our fingertips, thanks to the mix of cultures. “I love my city,” she said. “I’m always discovering new places.”

fraiche.inside

After lunch, I popped in next door to Fraiche, my favorite frozen yogurt shop. Organic, of course. I always get the same thing: a regular natural (plain, nonfat yogurt) with olallieberry puree and mochi, a Japanese sticky, starchy dessert made from rice flour. (I overheard them saying to a customer once that it was a secret recipe, but I know how to make it. I’ll share sometime). But today I opted for a Blue Bottle cappuchino.

fraiche.window

I tried to concentrate on my library book (The Tiger’s Wife), but it was a beautiful day and I kept staring out the window, watching traffic and passersby. I thought about the woman at lunch and how proud she was of her city and how I share her fervor. Is the move going to be a huge letdown? Am I really going to venture out and discover all the cool places in Detroit? Or am I going to sulk in my kitchen (aka my office) and long for home?

I’m keeping an open mind. My friend Christine says not to think of it as being better or worse, just different. I can live with different.  No matter what, the Year of the Horse is going to be a biggie for us. And so it begins…Gung Hay Fat Choy!