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.

HAPPY APRIL, HAPPY SPRING!

The December List – 2018

I started this post by writing 2019 in the title, then deleting it, only to write 2019 once again, before correcting it to 2018. I started writing 2019 about two months ago, actually. On checks, work documents, etc. Maybe that means my mind has been ready for 2019 or maybe it just means I’m tired. Whatever the case may be, here we are in 2019! But first, December 2018.

1)  We did not have a white Christmas, nor did we get much snow at all this month. The most snow we got this month (and it was just a dusting) was on December 30th. The girls played outside for about an hour before it all melted away.

2)  I do love the spirit of Christmastime and I love picking out our tree and decorating. We always hang up our German ornaments and my mom’s crocheted snowflakes that I hope last forever.

3)  Our family Christmas traditions are few. We always do a chocolate advent calendar, and then several years ago my Dad and his wife gifted us with a Scandinavian-looking wooden advent calendar. The intent is to put little trinkets in each drawer, but the cavity is so small and even the tiniest trinkets don’t fit (so one year I did chocolate-covered almonds, which is not exciting at all).

Last year my husband and I began the tradition of writing short notes to the girls, one girl/one note per day. Little compliments or notes of encouragement. The girls love them and it’s a good practice for us, too.

4)  I read two books this month. One was our book group pick, “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn. I wasn’t in the mood for a historical fiction, nor was I thrilled about wanting to read another WWII book (although this one weaves back and forth between WWI and WWII), but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was well written, interesting and intriguing. Some of the characters were loosely based on historical figures, and I didn’t know anything about the network of female spies (I do love espionage) and am curious to know more.

5)  Before I get to the other book, let’s talk about book group and the yummy new drink I learned about, the Hugo. One of our members had just gotten back from a trip to Germany and said it was served everywhere there and made it for us. It involves prosecco, sparkling water, elderflower syrup and mint. And possibly lime. It was crisp and refreshing and I like pretty much anything with prosecco in it.

Writing about prosecco made me want prosecco, so now I am sipping on champagne. Kind of puts a damper on my plans to ride the exercise bike and lift weights after the girls go to bed (which is soon).

6)  The other book I read is “Do Not Become Alarmed” by Maile Melody. It’s a suspense novel with the focus on novel. The characters are believable and her prose is simple but great – not super literary or intellectual, but it is good, thoughtful writing. I’m definitely going to borrow another one of her books really soon. Also do not read this book after watching back-to-back episodes of The Innocent Man on Netflix.

7)  I went to my first cookie exchange party. Guess which ones are mine? Hint: Not being a true Grosse Pointer, I was not aware you had to make the cookies presentable, only that you had to bring them. WAH-wah. But mine were delicious, I have to say and I ended up taking two of them back home with me because I loved them so much.

There was a killer fudge and peanut-butter cookie concoction (the ones that look like brownies) which I put in a separate container with a sticky note saying “Mom only.” I rationed it over a few days. Another bar had coconut and lots of butter and I’m sure condensed milk, and that also went into the “Mom only” container.

8)  I gifted myself two plants this month. I’d read about the online shop Bloomscape. I liked the fact that they grew their plants to maturity, have great reviews, are a small company and they fully explain how to care for your plans and encourage you to contact them with any questions (which I have, twice). I got a dracaena and a fern. Yes, you can get ferns at Home Depot, but I wanted to get one from them!

My dracaena arrived tipped and with soil everywhere (inside the crevices of the leaves), huge clues that the shippers paid little to no attention to the “this side up” sign on the box. I was worried about it and called Bloomscape and they were super apologetic and promptly offered to replace my plant if needed. So far so good, although the outer leaves are getting brown. I have such a hard time with houseplants for some reason!

9)  My friend Julia also gave me two of the sweetest plants. One is a pilea peperromiodes (at least that’s what my new plant book says, I don’t remember the name Julia said), otherwise known as the pass-it-on plant, which seems fitting.

The other is a stone succulent, again don’t know official name. It is the strangest thing. It really does look and feel like a stone. I can’t wait for it to start sprouting or blooming or whatever it is that it does.

However. My 9-year-old “accidentally” knocked it off the plant table the other day. I say accidentally because that’s what she said, although at the time she was in the middle of practicing piano and something about a shadow in the window she had to investigate and by doing so knocked over the plant, which was nowhere near the edge of the table. It looks okay. Ish. Hoping it didn’t get damaged, which I won’t know for weeks and weeks, because I’m guessing the stone plant will look like a stone even when not alive!?

10)  My sweet grandma (mom’s mom) passed at the beginning of this month. I had been going through photos of our last Hawaii trip (March) and was organizing the ones I took of her with her four great-grandkids (my kids and my sister’s kids) when I got the call.

At 95, she had lived a long, full life and was probably ready to go, and she left the world surrounded by people who loved her, so really it’s the best possible scenario, but of course any passing is a very sad occasion, and it’s difficult being away from family during this time. I am going back in mid-January for services and am looking forward to reminiscing and celebrating her life.

11)  Even though I’ve had my photography/creative website up and running for almost a year, I’ve only just officially announced it, which is scary because doing so makes it real. You can now find me at www.lanimartincreative.com and follow me on www.facebook.com/lanimartincreative (please and thank you!).

I’ve gotten a lot of bookings for family photos, so that’s the direction I’m going in terms of professional photography, but I also want to hone in on the creative side of it. Making art for art’s sake, doing what I want to do vs. what the client wants. I don’t want to lose sight of the projects that fulfill me and why I bought a fancy camera in the first place.

It’s quite exciting, though, to be getting paid for something you create. Which I have been doing already with writing, but photography is more fun and I feel like I have more of a creative license with photography.

12)  I’ve tried and tried, copied magazine cut-outs, watched YouTube videos and almost sort of got it at times, but on the last day of the month/year, I nailed the smokey eye. I’m so proud, I don’t even care that I’m posting bathroom hair turban selfie pics. I may have taken the look from glam to tranny real fast when I added false eyelashes, but hey, New Year’s Eve begs for a little over-the-top-ness, does it not?

That’s a wrap on 2018. I haven’t made any resolutions yet, but I’m going to. They are going to have to include some self care, or this mom is not going to make it through 2019. Always a balance. Between kids, family, self, work, the world. When to say yes, when to say no, when to give in, when to push back. I plan to figure some of it out!

Wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year!