Hello! I have been lazy with my blogging lately. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of April (speaking of Spring, why is it still snowing!?), which means another monthly list is on the way. Until then, I leave you with some recent Crime Watch headlines. #smalltownproblems
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.
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!
4) 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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
1) Remember all that praying I did for snow back in December? The Lord answered my prayers on Super Bowl Sunday in the form of the biggest snowstorm (most snowfall – 16.7 inches) the area has had in 40 years, and the third biggest snowfall in Detroit’s history. Wowza.
This is me, getting some of the snow out of the way on Sunday afternoon. Snowfall continued through Monday morning. The girls had a snow day and of course spent a big chunk of it playing in the white stuff. Storm photos to come.
2) Snow days. Meh. (I’m a planner. Snow days throw me off my game.)
3) The most I heard about the Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year) was that one of the classes in the upper grades at school held an “authentic” celebration (the teacher was Chinese, go figure).
In San Francisco, it’s a public school holiday. There are parades and celebrations all over town. If you don’t know it’s a new lunar year, you are living under a rock. I miss that. The cultural diversity of the City. Maybe even more than I miss good Chinese food. Okay, I lied. I miss good Chinese food more than I miss cultural diversity. I am not ashamed.
5) The stomach flu came through our house for the second time in three months. This time it was back with a vengeance. The good thing is that the girls both knew the drill. “Mommy, I feel like I have to throw up!” Sit up, lean over trash can, throw up, drink water, lie down. Go team.
7) I gave up Facebook and bread for Lent. I was going to give up Facebook, bread and alcohol, but I can only take so much sacrifice. Instead of logging in to Facebook, whenever I have a few minutes (or seconds) to spare I’m trying to either reach out to someone via email or text or phone, or say a prayer for someone. It’s been nice, and not as hard as I anticipated.
The bread thing has been relatively easy so far, or so I thought until I noticed an increase in my pasta consumption. And last night I had a dream about eating croutons. Forgetting about Lent, I’d accidentally eaten one. I stood over the plate of croutons feeling so guilty. My subconscious definitely has bread on the brain.
8) Let’s talk about snow plow etiquette for a second (and is there such a thing?). I’m pretty sure all the neighbors’ plow services are pushing the snow on our property. I’m not kidding! Compared to the whole street, we have the biggest piles of snow on our lawn, and on all sides of our lawn.
Maybe it’s some kind of new-kid-on-the-block initiation? I actually don’t even care. That much. The last time a truck came to plow my neighbor’s driveway, I was shoveling my own. I gave the driver a “look” (you know the look. The “I’ve got my eye on you” look). Guess what, no new snow on our property that day. Hehe.
9) So I made a Thai dish. Not from my new “Simple Thai Food,” but from an easier-looking crock-pot recipe I got from my girlfriend (who got it online). It was promising – looked and smelled yummy, but in truth it was lacking. A lot. Even after I threw in dried chillies and sprinkled the crap out of my red pepper flakes into the mixture, it still tasted just okay. Next month I’m going to try to make something from my Thai cookbook. Keep you posted.
10) Valentine’s Day was a sugar-fest at the girls’ school. I can hardly talk about it without hyperventilating. I was there doing a craft with the kids (which turned out super cute, I might add). During snack (which was served 10 minutes before lunch), I bit my lip as I watched my kindergartener chomp down a cake-pop covered with frosting and sprinkles, a pretzel covered with frosting and sprinkles and a white chocolate-covered strawberry (and we all know white chocolate isn’t even chocolate).
I drew the line, however, at the chocolate-scented bear she brought home. Its chocolate-scentedness filled up the house within minutes. He was quarantined for 24 hours (left outside in the bitter cold), which helped….until I started smelling it again and he had to go to the land of no return. Buh-bye.
11) I hate getting shocked. As in electrically shocked. If I didn’t like snow so much, it would ruin winter for me completely. Out of all the people I know, I seem to get zapped the most. What is it about me that I generate so much static?
It’s even ruining my love of the central vacuum. The body part (finger, arm, leg, foot) that happens to hit the metal rod (which happens at least 10 times), gets a shock so bad, it makes me jump out of my skin. I can see the lines of electricity going from the vacuum to my body (see above photo). I also can’t even pet my dog, because if my hand touches him for longer than five seconds, I get shocked. Aggravating.
12) Even though it’s happened several times, I’m still surprised when I order a cappuccino and get this. A rock candy swizzle stick. Huh. I’ve only ever seen this done in Grosse Pointe (not Detroit or other suburbs), so maybe it’s a local specialty, don’t know.
I wondered, maybe this is how they do it in Italy? Although I don’t remember them when I last visited (about 15 years ago) and I had a lot of cappuccinos while I was there. I looked online for some clarification and only found that some claim the swizzle stick is “a sophisticated way to sweeten coffee and tea.” Yeaaah. Do you think this gentleman used a swizzle stick with his cappuccino this morning? I can tell you right now that he did not. Case closed.
1) The week my husband went out of town, it snowed. And snowed. I shoveled three times and I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed it. Don’t even try to “just you wait” me. I get that six weeks from now when it’s below 10 out and there’s a driveway piled two feet deep of dirty, heavy snow, I will hate it. Might hate it. But I don’t hate it yet. Nah-na-na-boo-boo.
2) You know you’re getting old when your three-year-old beats you at a matching game (aka memory game) and you were actually trying to win (we’re competitive up in this house).
3) Is it just me, or do the freaking Christmas lights never fit back in the box? Mine always end up looking like this (and that’s one of the better ones). Why don’t I just do away with the boxes all together, you ask? Couldn’t tell you.
Speaking of Christmas lights… it’s the beginning of February, people. The baby Jesus wants to go home. Shut ‘er down.
4) Checked out the Detroit Auto Show with some friends. I haven’t been to a car show since junior high, when my Uncle used to take me. I love anything shiny and sparkly, so I enjoyed the whole showy-ness of the whole thing.
The driverless Mercedes car was very cool and they’re supposed to be ultra-safe (I heard an NPR segment), but….not sure I’d be able to fully relax. The concept does seem rather nice, though, no?
6) When ordering pizza in Grosse Pointe, make sure to ask if they use fresh mushrooms or canned ones. Who even uses those? I don’t think I saw a canned mushroom my entire time in San Francisco. I’d actually forgotten about their existence until I lifted the lid on my pizza box. I’m not sure which word best describes my reaction. Disgust. Horror. Shame. Ick.
7) I took a knife skills class at Cornwall Bakery, a new spot in Grosse Pointe Park. I was the only person who came solo, so I felt out of place at the get-go.
It was their first-ever class, so they still have kinks to work out (like timing. I had to leave before the fajitas were done), but the instructor was super nice and I did learn how to hold a knife properly (although my wrist! And my long, creepy fingers. Gah). I wish I’d learned more about knives and the actual act of cutting vs. how to julienne a carrot properly, for example, but I’m glad I went.
8) AND! Oh my gosh I am just remembering because of this photo. One of the girls brought a bottle of wine and only shared it among her little group (there were eight of us in the class, five in her group). When that went down I was tsk-ing inside my head. San Franciscans do not roll like that. You bring wine, you bring wine for everybody, capiche?
9) I love how the lake changes every day in winter. I’ll see beautiful shards of ice sticking out of the lake one day, and the next day they’re gone. Such a contradiction to the other parts of nature. While everything else is quiet and bare, the lake is very much alive. Pretty cool.
10) I love a fireplace. In San Francisco we had a faux fireplace (it had been covered up, but the facade was still there). We kept talking about opening it up and bringing it to life again, but it never happened.
I love coming downstairs in the morning (okay, not really, because my brain is in a fog of sleepiness and one or both of the kids are trying to tell me something and the dog wants to eat and I have to figure out what to pack for lunch…but I digress)…and turning on the fireplace and keeping the kitchen lights dim while I make my espresso. It’s all very picturesque. Until the girls start fighting over who gets the turtle plate. Wah-wah.
11) Since I haven’t been able to find a restaurant here to satisfy my Thai cravings, I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Literally. My sorority sis recommended this book, which I bought a couple weeks ago. I’ve always been intimidated by Thai cooking (the ingredients!), but desperate times call for desperate measures. Now where in the world am I going to find birds eye chilies?
12) I popped into Josef’s bakery the other day for a dry cappuchino and almond croissant (which they were out of. Had a chocolate-almond croissant instead. Not a good substitute). I started chatting it up with two older ladies (long story. someone dropped a spoon). They both thought I was 20-ish. Twen. Tee. I suppose that’s one good thing about being the only Asian in town?
2) School pick-up line in this order: Ford, Pontiac, Yukon, Jeep, Dodge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover, Yukon, Ford and….Honda CRV (me).
3) Went to the new Corktown restaurant Gold Cash Gold (they kept the name of the pawnshop that used to occupy the space) during its debut week. The frites (with pickle mayo) were to die for and my grilled cheese sandwich was scrumptious. Another win for Detroit.
4) You know you did not spend last winter in Grosse Pointe when you are praying to God every night to please make it snow (alas, no white Christmas for us).
5) I’m not sure what possessed me to try the sushi at both Trader Joe’s and Kroger (grocery store kinda like a Safeway). I don’t need to tell you that all but one bite of each ended up in the trash bin.
7) Michigan, you are killing me with the tailgating. The latest: school bus (full of kids) honking at me and trying to pass me on the shoulder in a 25-mile zone. Craziness.
9) Winter makes me want to stay inside all day with a hot bowl of chili with loads of cheese and sour cream on top. And wine. And cookies. And Baileys on the rocks. Mmmmm.
10) Hot flashes are no joke. I don’t know if it’s the medication I’m taking (side effect is hot flashes, go figure) or my age (nooooo), but whoa. I usually run cold, so it’s very weird for me, this sensation of feeling overheated. It actually works in my favor, now that it’s winter, but I’m worried how well I’ll fare come summer.
11) Speaking of summer, maybe I should not be eating that sour cream or those cookies or drinking that Baileys on the rocks. Curses.
12) A visit to Benjamin Moore always lifts my spirits (I mean, how can you not smile when you walk into a shop and see these guys). I stopped by with a few holiday treats and to say thanks for all their help over the last several months. Until next time!
1) This tree off of Lakeshore Drive is one of the last remaining (pear? cherry?) trees that were planted when the French first settled in Grosse Pointe. I know this because Alan Marschke, owner of the Oriental Rug Gallery told me so. I had to cut his story short to pick up the kids from school (he told me what kind of tree as I was dashing out, but I forgot), but trust me, I am going back to see him soon and will report back.
2) I called the Grosse Pointe Historical Society to see if they knew anything about the tree. They seemed genuinely thrilled to help me find out more about it and they will get back to me in a couple weeks. She may also be able to dig up some historical information/photos for me about the street we live on – sweet!
4) 14 degrees is cold. It is even colder when it happens in early November and you don’t have snow boots or a parka or even wool socks because you weren’t expecting it to be 14 freaking degrees. For a whole week.
6) Once you do have the right winter gear, it’s kind of fun to play outside in the snow. For about five minutes.
7) Bunny tracks in the snow are really, really cute.
8) It was not fun, not fun at all, having the stomach flu go through our household. The only good thing about that week was capturing this moment where the little one was so exhausted that she crawled into bed on her own one afternoon and promptly fell asleep.
9) A police car pulled into my driveway one morning. Concerned, I went outside to meet him. He was there to deliver my wallet, which I’d left at the Farms Market (aka Fresh Farms Market, a local grocery store). Now that, would never have happened in San Francisco. Score one for Grosse Pointe.
11) Small town Christmas parades are awesome (even when its 27 degrees out and your toes freeze because you still don’t have wool socks). It’s one of the reasons why we came here. Not for the parade, of course. But for the small town community thing. I love it.
12) The newness of everything is starting to wear off, which scares me. What happens now, after I’m done unpacking and remodeling and settling in? Luckily, Christmas is just around the corner, and with two little girls in the house and family coming to visit, there’s lots to do to prepare. Wishing everyone a very happy December!