The October List – 2018

1) Fall colors are KILLING it this year. I haven’t had the chance to capture the colors on camera (and would pictures really do the colors justice?), but the ombres are beyond and the spectrum of bolds and brights this year are fantastic. I’m sure the weather patterns have something to do with it and if I weren’t so lazy I would Google it, which I will at some point.

2) Halloween night weather was the best it’s been since we moved. No rain, snow or sleet! Temperatures were in the low 50s, high 40s.

A friend of ours puts up elaborate Halloween decorations every year and kids from the neighborhood and beyond come to check them out. A lot of the creatures have movable parts – a spider that jumps and a giant pumpkin monster that lunges towards you as you pass by. He makes all these creatures himself, which is very impressive!

3) It was our first time invited to an annual Grosse Pointe Halloween party (woo-hoo, thank you PC!) hosted by two couples who live across the street from each other. I am terrible at estimating numbers, but have been told it is attended by 100-200 people.

This year’s theme was Studio 54 and at first I was not keen at dressing up at all (Keen? I don’t even like that word. It just came out), but after looking up some 70s inspiration outfits, I realized I had some good options already in my closet.

My husband looked Ah-MAZE-ing in his sparkly silver shirt and matching platform shoes. I’m surprised he didn’t completely fall on his face, which he almost did about five times, once in the porta-potty (no, I wasn’t there!). The party was so much fun, loved seeing all the costumes and hanging out with friends and dancing.

(On a side note, you know you are at a great party when the 20-year-olds start throwing rib bones back on the buffet table? WTF)

4)  I turned 46 this month. Which was actually easier than turning 45. I could write ten pages as to why, but I’ll spare you. The mister and I celebrated with dinner downtown at the Caucus Club. Atmosphere was okay, but food was really, really good!

5)  I stopped taking Tamoxifen on my birthday. The drug that supposedly has been keeping cancer at bay for the last five years. It is both a relief and terrifying. I definitely was feeling the effects of the drug in terms of body aches and dry skin and other random things.

Ever since I’ve been off of it, though, I have been extremely tired, like second trimester slap-in-the-face tired, which I am hoping has something to do with the fact that I’ve had a cold for the last three weeks vs. a drug withdrawal syndrome because it really sucks.

6)  Went to my first Michigan football game! Thanks to an invite from my husband’s Uncle, who has great season tickets. All morning there were thunderstorms and even when we got to the parking lot it was raining and the game got delayed a bit because of lightning, but the clouds parted just in time for us to some tailgating and the game weather was absolutely beautiful. It was a homecoming game, so fans were extra festive and thus the atmosphere was too.

7)  We went to a friends’ house for dinner. She is Lebanese (or part Lebanese? Sorry, I don’t remember!) and made a bunch of ethnic dishes like dolmas, lamb and kibbeh, which OMG if you don’t know (which I did not), is Raw. Lamb. Insert bulging eye emoji.

I’ve had beef carpaccio many times and have watched my Filipino relatives eat chunks of marinated raw beef (I mean), but did not realize people ate raw lamb (although what’s the difference, I don’t know).

Anyhoo…..in the spirit of Julia Child, who taught me a bit about what it means to be a good host and a good guest…I tried it. The ground lamb is mixed with a bunch of spices, and you eat it with raw white onion, olive oil and pita bread. When I went to my happy place in my head and blocked out that it was raw lamb, it was REALLY DANG GOOD. It still kind of grosses me out to think about, but I would eat it again. But only if she makes it.

8)  I had another meal cooked for me by the dad (who was visiting from China) of one of the exchange students at our school. He made two of my favorites – ma po tofu and sautéed shrimp that you shell and dip in super spicy sauce.

He also boiled a WHOLE CHICKEN (which somehow was so much gaggier than the raw lamb), which was then shredded to be eaten with super spicy sauce. And a version of kung pao chicken. And baked chicken wings with MSG. Dipped in (surprise) super spicy sauce. It was such a treat for me, as we don’t have great Asian food around here!

9)  One of the super spicy sauces we dipped our food in was black bean chili sauce my mom sent me for my birthday from my favorite Chinese restaurant in Hawaii called Little Village Noodle House. I’d gifted one of my precious jars (she sent several because she loves me) to said exchange student because I’d heard he couldn’t find a suitable spicy sauce. Mission accomplished.

10) Oh, I forgot to tell you about our Dahlia Festival that took place at the end of September. I say “our” but I have been so far removed from The Garden this year, but I still think of it as possessive, because I do hope and plan to be more involved as soon as I am able (which means actively carving out time and committing to it).

Tom made this very cool contraption called a….flower loom? I have no idea, but you take flowers and weave them in and out of the loom as you feel so moved. It felt very poetic. I’m going to ask Tom to make one for me (I will pay you, obvs!), I think the kids would enjoy working on it next season.

11) Speaking of dahlias, my plants are still hanging on in spite of the near frost we had last week! It’s a miracle! Dahlias die after the first hard frost, but I guess that didn’t happen (one night it was supposed to get down to 32) because my plants show no signs of turning black yet, while just a few miles away at Detroit Abloom, the leaves are blackened and tubers are ready to be dug up for storage.

This particular flower wasn’t from my garden, but gifted to me by Nancy in my birthday bouquet. The petals are insane, SO beautiful in person, as you can imagine. Julia thinks it is a Peaches N Cream, which was a new variety for them this year.

12)  We weren’t the only ones to lose a tree in the neighborhood in the last few weeks (i.e. our lilac tree as referenced in last month’s list). As we were driving to school one morning, my daughter spotted this downed tree. I had to get out a snap a pic. Whoa. Luckily, the pictured house didn’t get hit by it.

That’s October! We are zooming on in to the holidays, I can’t even think about it or I will pass out. Wishes for a happy November!

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The October List – 2015

IMG_32901)  The fall foliage this year is beautiful per usual (my per usual is one year’s worth), but the leaves haven’t been great for collecting. Most of the ones that have fallen are already wrinkling or crispy or have black spots on them. Although in the last few days I’ve seen fresher ones. I remain hopeful.

IMG_2996 (1024x896) IMG_2997 (1024x940) IMG_2999 (1024x878)IMG_3022 (1024x1014)2) Mums the word. In a big way. How should we decorate for Fall? I’ve got it – mums! In planters! Flanking the front door!
(To prove my point, the first three photos were taken on the same block!)

I’ve always been annoyed by mums. I have no idea why. They annoy me like carnations annoy me. I get that they are one of the only flowering plants around this time of year and seeing their pops of color around town is kind of nice, but it’s a trend I just can’t get behind. (I will probably be eating my words next Fall as I decide what color mums to buy for our porch).

3)  I turned 43. So that.

For my birthday, my husband bought me a new iPhone. I’m not a big tech person, so I don’t know about all the other upgraded features, but I was excited to try out the new camera. At first, I didn’t notice the difference, but after a couple days, I picked up my old phone and flipped through the photos and wow, huge difference.
IMG_3211 (1024x1024)4)  I bought these fabulous shoes as a present to myself. I was so thrilled to have them (I’d been on the waiting list for weeks) that I wore them to go run errands one afternoon. It felt very Real Housewives.

IMG_30675)  Sort of also for my birthday (I like to celebrate all month), I took a solo weekend trip to San Francisco. I am usually really freaked out about flying, but this time I was giddy when I got on the plane. Five hours all to myself. What a treat.

It was so nice to be surrounded by familiarity. The sights and sounds of the city, and the people who know me to my core. It felt like home.

6)  My friend Erin and I stopped by Baker Beach one day to kill time and she made me get out of the car (I didn’t want to). I surveyed the trail I used to run every weekend, the cold Pacific Ocean, the glorious Golden Gate Bridge and the homes of Seacliff perched above the water.

It was too much to take in and I quickly jumped back in the car. Next time I think I can handle it. And I’ll be sure to pack my running shoes (which I purposely left home this trip).

IMG_3098 (898x1024)7)  Artisanal toast has not yet made its way to Grosse Pointe. A woman whose kids went to preschool with my oldest was on the cusp of this trend eight years ago (NPR even wrote about it here). But, San Francisco being San Francisco, the $4.00 toast is so yesterday (and when I say toast, I mean a piece of toast with butter. For reals).

Enter the $7.00 avocado toast. Some come with an egg or soft cheese or other garnish. Mostly all of them have olive oil or citrus oil or insert fancy oil name drizzled on top. I split one with Erin. Ours came with poppy seeds (and ricotta). It was delicious. Was it $7.00 delicious? Of course not. I figured out the profit on this meal and it’s pretty darn high. I’m envisioning a food truck parked on Mack Avenue, selling dry cappuccinos done right and avocado toast. I’d keep it in business.

IMG_3131 IMG_31328)  I haven’t spent much time in Sausalito, so it was fun to spend a morning there with a friend who recently moved in to the cutest apartment that almost (I said almost!) makes me wish I were single again. On top of the quaint architecture, the apartment offers sweeping views of San Francisco, Alcatraz and Angel Island that are to die for. We walked down the hill to town and along the docks. I felt like a tourist (I was a tourist) – it was awesome.

IMG_3255 (1024x768)9)  When I told people I was co-chairing the Book Fair this year, they would look at me like I told them I was a heroin addict (I’d have said cocaine, but heroin is the new drug of choice, at least at the local high school. But I digress).

It really wasn’t that bad, especially since the other chair had done it before and knew exactly what we were supposed to do and when, etc.

Side note: our school’s Book Fair is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in the region. Pretty impressive.

IMG_3184 (1024x782)10)  I finally went to Seldon Standard, one of the most talked about restaurants that has opened in Detroit within the last year (and there are a lot).

There were lots of scotch choices (and my husband enjoyed the $25 a pop one. hope it was delicious), the service was great and the food was delicious. Even though the experience was superb, we still think Chartreuse’s food is the best we’ve had here so far.

11)  I’m in a book group – wahoo! I started it with a friend of mine who I don’t know very well, which was part of the point. To get a group of women together who might not otherwise hang out. We are 10 strong (which is kind of a lot for discussions, but we will make it work?) and picked a spooky first book for Halloween.

It was….entertaining and amusing. A light read in terms of character depth (not much) and plot (meh). But it was a page turner, so I’ll give her that. I may start a monthly “what I’m reading now” blog post or I may just include it in my monthly lists, but expect to see more book “reviews” in the future.

IMG_3303 (1024x1024) IMG_3286 (1024x753)12) The Grosse Pointes are all decked out for Halloween. Even this fairy garden has a ghoulish visitor.

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!