The May List – 2015

IMG_0758 (994x1024)1)  May is unmistakably a celebratory month here in Grosse Pointe. The sound of lawnmowers is in the air once again and people rush out to buy colorful flowers to fill their many pots that were covered with snow for so many months. Tulips, pansies, daffodils and petunias were plentiful and trees were in full bloom.

After being here a full year, I still can’t decide whether Spring or Fall is my favorite season. They both have so much to teach us about life and living.

IMG_0712 IMG_0775 (935x1024)2)  We moved into our new house in the Fall, so we didn’t realize how many flowering trees and plants we had on the property ’til now. It was so fun to walk in the backyard and see a burst of color (we have a magnolia tree!) or new plant (so many ferns!) rising up from the ground.

Besides the magnolia, one of my favorite discoveries was the old lilac tree. I knew the tree was there, of course, but none of us knew what kind of tree it was until it started flowering. For a couple weeks we were treated to its delicate purple blooms. Swoon.

IMG_0459 (982x1024) 3) We attended our kids’ school auction this month. These earrings were the raffle prize (did you see the small print? – $11,000). To put things in perspective, at our last school the raffle prize was tickets to a Giants game. Live auction items at this event included a boat cruise down the Amazon and Thanksgiving in Paris. Toto, we are not in Kansas (aka our little preschool co-op) anymore.

5)  Speaking of getting dressed up, remember all the chili and Bailey’s I consumed over the winter? Enter my first compression garment experience. Did it work? I’m not really sure, but it worked for my self esteem, so it was worth the $30.00, I’d say.

6) Speaking of spending an hour Googling “smokey eye” and trying to glue fake eyelashes on for above auction (which I ended up pulling off at the last minute)… is there something wrong with me that I want Kim Kardashian’s new selfie book?

IMG_0952 (1024x1017)7)  Number of dead baby birds seen on sidewalks: six. Number of dead baby birds in our backyard that our dog rolled around in until he, too, smelled like a dead baby bird: one.

P.S. – I actually took several photos of dead baby birds, but just couldn’t bring myself post them (or look at them). Neither can I bring myself to tell you the story of the slow death of one baby squirrel in our backyard. You’re welcome.

IMG_0684 (1024x943)8)  You know it’s spider season when you start seeing trucks like this. Being from Northern California, pesticide is a four letter word, but we’re also anti-spiders and ants. We called the guy that the former home owners used and asked him to spray for just spiders and ants. He promised us the stuff he uses is anti-pesticide and non-toxic. I was skeptical…

Me: So it kills spiders, but it’s okay for kids? and dogs?
Pest Man: Oh sure, sure, once it’s dry in about 30 minutes you can touch it, no problem.
Me:  So….what about birds and squirrels? It won’t hurt them?
Pest Man: No, no, it’s totally fine! (pause). Except if I hit one directly. (crazy laughter).

He told me to “have a good summer, honey” on his way out (this is the same guy who told my husband to “make sure the wife doesn’t wash the windows” the day he sprayed). Oh my gosh.

IMG_0761 (640x960)9)  Are you freaking kidding me, Pandora?! I’m running along Lakeshore Drive when this comes on my workout playlist. Just wow.

IMG_0995 (1024x1024)IMG_0994 (1024x1024)10)  I checked out the brand new Detroit spots Sister Pie and Parker St. Market, which are across the street from one other in Indian Village. The pie was a hair sweet for me (I don’t like too sweet), but it was good, but the shortbread cookies were delicious. The market carries local and artisan finds, mostly food products. They both reminded me of places one would see in San Francisco. I’ll definitely be back.
https://i1.wp.com/gpfnc.com/images/222688_0_overlay_text_.jpg
11)  There’s a woman’s group called the Grosse Pointe Friends and Neighbors Club. It was founded years ago as an organization to welcome new residents to the area. Perfect. I went to a couple “luncheons” where I met mostly women in the 60+ age range (but some were closer to my age).

I’m sitting at a round table with eight women. They got to talking about the different neighborhoods in the area, saying one was edgier, one attracted young families, one was more laid back, one was stuffier and so on. Then someone says, “Lani, what street do YOU live on?” I swear, in slow motion, all heads turn towards me. Even the two ladies who were talking amongst themselves look up.

Me (smiling): No! I can’t tell you where I live or you’ll judge me!
Blink. Blink. Blink. Blinking and blank stares. A couple confused looks.
Me (said 10 times faster than normal): OkayokayIliveon123xyzStreetinGrossePointeFarms!
As you were, ladies.
#newgirlfail #Iwastryingtobefunny #storyofmylife

IMG_0596 (1024x768) (2)12) Summer break is pretty much here, which means I can look forward to answering questions like, “what shape is a monkey’s poop?” and “why does God exist?” all. day. long. (yes, actual asked questions, in case you were wondering). Wish me luck.

 

The March List – 2015

lucy.lakestclair1)  I loved winter, I really did. But it’s spring now and I’m officially over the cold (right after I posted the lovely photos of the lake thawing, it froze again, wah-wah).

2)  It has come to this: vacuuming in my underwear. Getting electrically shocked is pretty much number one on the things-I-hate list and I will do anything not to get zapped.

Case in point, my new vacuum routine:  hair in a bun, rubber flip flops (no socks), short sleeves and… no pants. I apologize to Marty the mail carrier and any of the neighbors who can see into our house (our first floor is 80% windows) and yes, even my children (“Mom. I can see your bottom.”). I see no other alternative.

Image via wikipedia.org

3)  So there’s this neighborhood pheasant. Very handsome, kinda like the guy above (I couldn’t get a photo of ours – he’s too quick). One day, our six-year-old yells to me (I was upstairs putting clothes away), “Mom! The pheasant’s outside!” Really? Cool. Then a minute later, “Mom? Why is the pheasant knocking on our door?”. What? No, sweetie, he’s not knocking on our door. “He is! Why is he doing that?!” Sweetie, he’s not…I don’t know, maybe he wants to come in. Eventually she stopped asking.

Fast forward two nights later. I hear a knock (three hard knocks) at our door. I get up, thinking it’s the UPS guy, who leaves packages on the porch and knocks before going back to his truck. I looked through the window, no package. Sit back down on the couch. Knock-knock-knock! Hmmm. I peek through the window again and still don’t see anything. Then I open the door just in time to see the pheasant running down our walkway.

Turns out, our front door has a gold metallic strip on the bottom about five inches high. Very shiny and reflective, like a mirror. Seems our little pheasant thinks one of his friends lives here!

strawberries4)  Organic strawberries are back! I’m pretty strict about not buying foods on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list (highest in pesticides) unless they are organic, so we haven’t had strawberries all winter. Seeing them in the store made me sooo happy. I knew they weren’t going to taste all that great (and I was right), but I bought three containers anyway and made strawberry shortcakes for breakfast one morning. Can’t wait to berry pick this summer.

IMG_9926 (768x1024)5) I took Sam on a very slippery walk (so icy!) to deposit a check, but the ATM machine was broken (it had been broken since the week prior). We walked behind the building to the drive-through window and I asked if I could make a deposit there, commenting on the broken ATM. “Well, it won’t be fixed until someone comes out here to fix it.” (Ummm, okay, thank you?).

When the tube came back through the chute with my receipt, there was also a dog biscuit inside. Sam was very appreciative.

Image from spotebi.com

6)  I am now proudly doing 25 push-ups a day (vs 20 last year). Clarification: 25 girl push-ups. The kind where your knees are on the floor (or in my case, where your knees are on the dog bed because ouch). I was feeling pretty good about this until I decided to research it…

One website describes the girl push-up as “a variation on the classic push-up that is often used by those who are not yet strong enough to do proper push-ups.” Oh snap! Moving on…

Bloody Mary Mix

7) I believe I’ve mentioned the delicious (and apparently, addictive) Bloody Mary mix by American Spoon. So maybe I went a little crazy and ordered 12 bottles (but I had to! for the free shipping!).

Many here swear by McClure’s, whose second ingredient is vinegar (pucker up) and if I remember correctly, whose first ingredient is water. On its own, it tastes like straight up pickle juice. Add a little vodka and the taste improves slightly, but it’s still not drinkable (the remainder of my jar went down the sink).

American Spoon’s first and second ingredients are tomatoes and tomato juice. It’s pricey (but I’m worth it, right?), so this summer I plan to try and replicate the taste in my kitchen. I’ve already bought the fresh ground horseradish. Keep ya posted.

IMG_9252 (1024x976)8) I was standing in the kitchen a few weeks ago and realized that the under-counter molding strip near the fridge was a different color white than the others. It was off-white vs. nordic white, such a slight color difference that you can’t see in the “before” photo. But of course after noticing it, I could see nothing  else. The great folks at Mutschler ordered a replacement straight away and the new piece has been put in. Easy peasy.

9) I lost my favorite glove. And then I lost the other one. :(

10) I can’t find C&H (California & Hawaii) sugar anywhere. I’ve never used anything but and I was hesitant to buy the bright yellow Domino brand (Michigan’s brand of choice, it seems) even though there was no other option. It tastes fine, but it feels so wrong. Plus, dumb slogan.

11)  Speaking of Hawaii, I used the last of my grandma’s ginger this week (my mom brought a batch over at Christmas). It was eons better than the stuff I can get here. Can one grow ginger in Michigan? I’ll have to look that up.

Picture

12) Remember the time I bought a coconut drink from Drought? No, because I’ve been too embarrassed to speak about it until now. The story goes like this…. I was in Detroit and popped in to Willys (Shinola’s sister store, featuring American-made clothing and products). They also sell juice from Drought, a local raw juice company I’d heard so much about. The packaging was pretty and I was thirsty.

Me: I’ll take the coconut shake, please. (The ingredients, which I looked at later, were coconut water + coconut meat, so basically, a coconut).
Them: That’s one of our best sellers. People love it!
Me: Great! I love coconut.
Them: That will be FIFTEEN DOLLARS.
Me: Oh. Wow. That’s very…. okay, here you go.

Was it good? Sure. It tasted like coconut. But so does my breakfast smoothie that is made with a 1/3 of a can of $2 coconut milk. For $15, it had better taste like it was picked from the organic jungles of Thailand this morning. I get paying top dollar for a jar of freshly-pressed juice., whatever. But coconut water? I cannot deny the success of the James sisters. But I can’t help picturing them snickering with glee whenever someone purchases a bottle of their beloved coconut “shake.” High five, ladies.

scrimps!

Image via yelp.com

Bonus #13)  I might be allergic to shellfish, you guys!! Worst. Scenario. I mean EV-er. I have an allergy test next month and I’ll fill you in on all the drama in the April list.

Happy Spring!

The September List

photo 2 (800x800)1) I’d forgotten how magical Fall is. I haven’t experienced a true Fall since I lived in Reno and that was almost 20 years ago (!). I can’t stop ooh-ing and aah-ing and taking photos (and I’ll have a bunch more to share soon).

2) Bug of the month: the cicada. A large, invisible (I’ve never seen one, have you?) insect that makes a loud buzzing noise. All day long. Wikipedia says, “Many people around the world regularly eat cicadas.” I can see that.

3) The worst peril of potty training is not your kid rolling around on the floor screaming “I want a diaper!” for 20 minutes. It’s when they finally poop in the potty and you go to empty it and your face gets splashed with toilet water.

4) I didn’t cry on the first day of school as expected. What I did do was giggle as I ate my lunch on the couch and watched Season 2 of Mr. Selfridge.

IMG_8297 (707x800)5) I’ve been wanting to check out J House Juice on Fisher and finally went in. In addition to a full Starbucks menu, they offer smoothies, fresh juices (Lucy and I shared a pineapple, grapefruit and ginger blend) and delicious coconut desserts that are big enough to satisfy your treat craving, but no so big that you wish you hadn’t.

6) The city of Grosse Pointe Farms does not want your old recycle bins. We bought one of their larger bins, so I called to ask if we could give back our small bin (they are currently out of stock, I happen to know).
Me:  Wait, you don’t recycle recycle bins? That’s kind of ironic, don’t you think?
Woman on Phone:  Well, residents don’t want used bins, they want new bins.
Me:  Wow, okay.
Woman on Phone:  They just don’t want to have a used bin, do you know what I mean?
Me:  I would want a used bin, actually.
Woman on Phone:  You could label it “trash” and we’ll come pick it up (Ummm). Or you could use it for something else.
Me:  Uh, okay, we’ll use it, thank you.

IMG_8330 (742x800)7) And the best Asian restaurant in Grosse Pointe is….(drum roll)…Trader Joe’s. Sad, but true. (And yes I’ve been to Bluefin Sushi). Maybe I’ve been deprived for too long, but the other day I whipped up their frozen sukiyaki, added some green onions and rice and I have to say, pretty darn good. Their orange chicken and pot stickers are also not half bad (do I need an intervention?).

8) A couple months ago, I requested a book from the library that was not in the Grosse Pointe library system or the State of Michigan library system. A couple weeks ago, I got an email saying the book was waiting for me at the front desk. Sure, Amazon is faster, but the library is free. Love.

photo 1 (549x800)9) We’ve painted the rest of the house, but now need to settle on a paint color that will tie our future kitchen to the family room. My husband has likened my paint selection process to that of a serial killer (really?).

10) I thought I would have all this free time when school started. I was going to be Martha Stewart on steroids. Baking, cleaning, taking lessons, general do-gooding. In reality, by the time I blink and have my second cup of coffee, it’s time to pick them up. Argh.

11) The day I do not have to make a school lunch, I will have all of you over for a champagne toast and a dip in the hot tub.

photo (735x800)12) Reupholstering a couch is not $600 (which I budgeted for). Or even $800 (my budget cushion). Not even close. So until we can afford it, the bright yellow floral couch and zebra rug will have to find a way to get along (but does it look like they’re @^#%$*  getting along!? The answer is no).

Unicorns at Lunchtime

Me (to P, who got up from the table):  Hey, what are you doing? You’re not excused.

P:  Well….I just had to peek out the window to see if my unicorn was trotting by and going over to the neighbor’s house, because if he IS… then I need to go downstairs to the fence because he’s looking for me.

Me: