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!

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The February List – 2019

I am beyond. Just beyond. I have no brain capacity during a week when I need it most. Deadline week. Always a killer. So I do what one can only do in these situations. Procrastinate. Which, I have to say, is not one of my weaknesses. I would rather get stuff done. And right now, I’m knocking The List off my list.

1) It’s the beginning of March in Michigan. Which means it’s 10 degrees. I also am beyond done with winter. We had another ice storm in early February and everything shut down. Again. Then temperatures dropped slightly and wind came and then you had chunks of ice falling from trees and rooftops. Gah.

 

 

2) I can pretty much gauge my life by emoji usage and this month, my most used emoji was the horror/terror emoji. So that. When I went to Google it, it’s officially called “face screaming in fear.” Pretty much.

3)  Did I ever tell you about the time my friends from Ohm Coffee Roasters sent me a Christmas gift out of the blue? We love each other, but we don’t normally exchange Christmas gifts, hence the surprise. These types of gifts given in love with no strings attached are always the best kind, no matter what they are, although in this case it was a delicious assortment of small batch roasted coffee beans. I haven’t surprised gifted very often, but when I have, it’s made me feel so happy. I would like to do more of that. Maybe you can, too.

4)  I have always loved Valentine’s Day, even when I didn’t have a Valentine. I am a sucker for true love and celebrating love in general (although make me sit through a romance movie and I am in agony), plus PINK. This Valentine’s Day was uneventful, aside from my sweet bouquet from Willa Rose Floral (thank you! And thank you, Valentine, for getting them for me!), because life and stress and whatnot, but my littlest gave me this Valentine, I mean, who needs date night when my seven-year-old lupine loves me? I’m all set.

5) Can we talk about typos for a minute? Because I always seem to have them in this blog. People actually pay me to write nice things and not make mistakes like typos. Am I apologizing? Not really. Defending myself? Not that, either. I’m simply saying I think it is ironic that as a professional writer, I can’t get it right on my own work. And also I know that you know. And now you know that I know, too.

6)  We worked on a lot of puzzles this month because winter, ice storms, etc. This one I haven’t done since my husband and I rented a place in Anderson Valley, California one weekend when I was pregnant with our first. It’s a Swiss Chateau.

This photo was taken a couple weeks ago and now it’s a lot further along, but not finished, and it will never get finished because I’m having The Garden Detroit board members over for a meeting and I need the table. I suppose I could put some people’s dinner plates on top of the puzzle but…I don’t know, that’s not super classy, no?

7)  Speaking of our first born, she turned 10 this month. She requested my coconut cupcakes (aka Ina Garten’s coconut cupcakes) with cream cheese frosting, which I gladly made. They never disappoint.

She begged for a sleepover birthday party, which I was hesitant about, then had the brilliant idea of holding it on Presidents Day weekend, seeing as everyone would be out of town. Aaaaaaand everyone was in town. We had seven girls over, plus our two. Aside from the screaming (happy girl screaming, but screaming nonetheless), all went surprisingly well.

8)  I did a craft (which may surprise some of you, but I was actually quite crafty back in the day) for the party. This project I found online where you break crayons, put them into silicone molds, bake them and voila. I read a tip about soaking the crayons in warm water to get the wrappers off and that saved me.

The girls had fun doing all the steps, and when I took the molds out of the oven, I goofed and spilled some of the hot wax (face screaming in fear emoji), but contrary to my initial reaction, the crayon hearts still came out great.

9)  Okay, let’s talk about my new La Creuset dutch oven. First of all, it’s blue. Secondly, I made beef burgundy (yes I do know it is capitalized, but I don’t want to so #notatypo) in it the other week.

Pretty much the exact same recipe I always use for the crock pot, but this time threw it in the dutch oven and oh my goodness. Picture is kinda gross, but it tasted amazing. Huge difference. All the flavors came together in a way that they just don’t in a crock pot. I still love the crock pot for the ease of  it, but whenever I make stew of any kind, I’m going to have to defer to my trusty dutch oven.

10)  We can also talk about chocolate. My new after-lunch snack at work is a Trader Joe’s chocolate peanut butter cup. It’s such a treat and I look forward to it every day.

Next, is another new-ish favorite that my friend introduced me to, are Hu bars, my favorite being cashew butter and raspberry jelly, which does not sound very good, but it is. The price of a bar has gone way up since the one store in town started carrying them, though, so they are a rare treat. I haven’t tried the cashew butter and vanilla bean and I bet I’d like that even more.

11)  I didn’t read the book group book for this month because I am just too dang busy, and also because I am enjoying my current book, “Stiletto,” the sequel to “Rook,” a light fantasy/adventure book by Daniel O’Malley. The writing is smart and fast-paced and fun, and the characters steer the book as much as the plot. You really should read the first book first.

Mom’s hibiscus

12)  I have run out of things to talk about. Not much happened this month because work kind of took over. I try to maintain gratefulness, although if you’ve run into me lately you may not have figured that. But I do give a quiet nod to all that I have. Health, family, choices. And a prayer of thanks for it all. I think you can be stressed and tired and cranky, and thankful at the same time.

March is going to be another doozy of a month, but here’s to warmer days (maybe) and fewer hours at work (possibly) and more pressing on (surely). Happy almost spring!!