The September List – 2017

Fall weather has finally kicked in, after a four-day heatwave with temps in the high 80s. I loved it. What I usually do to get these lists started is look at the photos I’ve taken for the month. Basically this month I’ve taken photos of flowers, which I’ve already shared with you. Soooo….I’m fresh out of ideas. This should be interesting.

1)  I told you about my new camera, but let’s go into detail. It’s a Sony a6000 with an E 50mm/1.8 oss lens, whatever that means. I trusted my friend’s photographer friend’s recommendation and just went with it. At first, it was very frustrating, not knowing all of the hundreds of different options. And I still don’t know them, but I’ve figured out how to at least take a decent photo with some tweaking of shutter speeds and aperture and all of that.

2)  I also bought the Adobe Elements photo editing program that I’ve been playing around with. It’s definitely more intuitive than Photoshop, but is going to take some figuring out, but I am hopeful.

3)  My dahlia garden is in full bloom, having loved the burst of sunshine we got last week. The best light is early evening, which is when this photo was taken.

4)  One of my last great summer homemade meals was this fettucine dish with peas, spinach, parmesan cheese and cream. The only thing that would have made it better is more cream and bacon.

5)  So now I am in charge of my work’s Instagram account. So I feel like I’m constantly taking and editing photos, which is great but also not great, because it leaves me with less time to take the photos I want to take. Thankfully, the other staff and teachers take loads of photos, so I need to rely on them more for images and just edit them.

6)  Over the summer I made some tweaks to my office, since I was going to be spending a lot more time there due to my increased hours. I took out two of the three desks and replaced one with a standing table. I keep forgetting to take an “After” photo, but here’s the before.

I did a LOT of spraying and wiping and vacuuming, you’d think there was a homeless person was living behind that desk. I managed to get some of the dust out, but since it’s an old building, some of it just will not budge.

7)  I still have a few vegetables in my little raised bed in our backyard. The chard is still looking good and there’s a little bit of kale. And a few carrots are hanging around, but no one cares to pick them because we all know they are super small and somewhat bitter, although very carrot-y tasting.

8)  I planted some of the nasturtium seeds from Shirley’s visitation. One in my stone bunny planter and the others near my vegetables. I’ve never planted them before and they grew easily, even with my neglected care.

9)  I replanted the hydrangea Shirley gifted me and I was SO nervous that it wouldn’t take well to its new and shadier surroundings. But I remember her telling me that one of the ways to learn about plants is to just try it. And if they die, then you try again, so I knew it wouldn’t upset her if moving it turned out to be a mistake.

It dropped a lot of leaves in the first month and for a while I thought I was going go lose the plant, and then in the last month or so, it decided to live, and even blossom. It still looks sparse, and this photo was taken when it was really cold outside, so the leaves are tight and look shriveled, but I’m hoping next year it will come back strong.

10)  My girlfriend hosted her annual mom’s back to school night, complete with champagne, donuts, craft cocktails and other fancy treats. I loved summer so much, but there is a giddy feeling that comes over me when the kids go back to school. Not as giddy as in past years, because this year it also means me heading into work vs. staying in my pjs and working from home, but exciting nonetheless.

11)  Our youngest turned six this month. It was the first birthday where I didn’t make the cake or cupcakes. I didn’t feel in the least bit bad about buying a store-bought cake, but I did sort of like the bragging rights of always making my kids’ cakes. Ah well. Local restaurant Marais did a really nice job on the two cakes (couldn’t decide between coconut and chocolate, so of course had to get both). They were a pretty penny, but so much tastier than another bakery would have done.

12) I can’t believe I made it to number 12! Just finished my third Tana French book, Broken Harbor. It was sooooo good. The ending got a little drawn out, but since the rest of the book was so great, I’m only taking off a half star for that. If you love crime fiction, you must give her a try.

I will close by saying that being a working mom with three jobs (I’m not even kidding, I am still doing payroll for my husband, freelance writing on my day off and on the weekends, and working for the school) is completely nuts. Nevermind that we don’t have a cleaning lady like everyone else in town so add that to the list of thing to do on my “off” hours, which is so dumb b/c I’m never off the clock, really.

However, I remain insanely grateful, even guilty, for being able to do all these great things like buy cakes and drink champagne and work in an office with million-dollar views and complain about cleaning my five bathrooms in my beautiful house that is still standing. Have been thinking a lot about all the tragedy around the world, and it’s even making its way into my dreams. Sending good wishes to all of you this crisp fall day. Happy October!

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The September List – 2015

IMG_2904September flew by. It was one of the craziest months I think we’ve had since moving to Grosse Pointe. Our oldest started first grade and our youngest (who turned four this month) is in preschool. Doctor appointments, school shopping, teacher meetings, lunches, homework. I am finally finding some kind of rhythm to the school day as we settle into Fall.

IMG_2687havenotused (1024x1024)1)  When I was out trimming our dogwood, I looked down and saw this little nest. I think maybe the vibrations of the hedge trimmer made it fall out of the tree, but it had been long vacated anyway. I really wanted to take it inside for decoration because it was so perfect, but my fear of potential bugs and germs trumped that thought.

Beignetshavenotused2)  Went to Eastern Market and got beignets from the food truck for the first time. Oh MY. The guy in the truck was a little bossy, telling people exactly where to stand and getting grouchy if you stepped out of line to throw away your coffee (um, so sorry), but the deliciousness of the beignets made me think his crabbiness was actually kind of cool.

IMG_1805 (768x1024) IMG_2656 havenotused (768x1024)3)  There are several little pedestrian pathways in Grosse Pointe that I’ve come across on my runs/walks. At first I was afraid to go down them (would I be trespassing?), but after seeing a couple other folks use them, I decided it was okay  (although the second pic lies behind a wrought iron fence. Definitely private). Now I use them all the time, just because I can. And because it’s fun.

IMG_2734 (769x1024)IMG_2770 (768x1024)4)  The first time I witnessed the dinner napkin as guest towel was during my first visit to Grosse Pointe in 2006 (my husband then boyfriend brought me home to meet the family). I was part confused (am I really supposed to use this beautiful napkin just to dry my hands?), part flabbergasted (but the trees!) and part intrigued.

I didn’t realize it was a thing until I moved here and started seeing dinner napkins in people’s bathrooms! I’ve never seen this outside of Grosse Pointe (although Oklahoma friends, help me out? I don’t remember it, but maybe I just never noticed). And, now I’m thinking of getting some for our powder room downstairs for special occasions. IF I can justify the environmental impact (better to waste water on washing hand towels or better to kill a tree?  Hmmmm).

IMG_2906 (765x1024)5)  My husband and I went to a bowling clinic. And he bought a bowling ball. And I bought bowling shoes. So that.

IMG_2763 (869x1024)6)  Just when I thought it was safe to put away my garden supplies, I saw Shirley over the fence one day and of course she offered me more plants. She dug them up right then and there. They are called corydalis and are used a lot for ground cover. Hoping they will take root quickly and come back next Spring with pretty yellow flowers.

IMG_2945 (768x1024)7)  HOWEVER. I don’t even know why I bothered to plant them because the stupid squirrels have been digging them up EVERY DANG DAY in order to bury the acorns that have been falling by the hundreds each day. From our neighbor’s oak tree. That mostly hangs over our house. And no they won’t trim it because they love their trees so much (we offered to pay 50%). Sigh.

8)  Speaking of squirrels, another one died in our yard. My husband buried it in the exact spot where the girls like to dig. Really?!?

IMG_2970 (893x1024)9) Did I ever show you this? Our four-year-old likes to draw and color pictures for our dog. We tape them to a piece of cardboard near his dog bowls so he can enjoy them. It’s really cute.

hallIMG_2718 (768x1024)10)  We bought a new console table (and cute little succulents – yay!) to replace the bench that was in our entryway (which you can see in the second pic). Now if only we could find a rug to replace the maroon one that we inherited from the previous owners. I will say that the rug is very cushy and feels nice underfoot. Still…I can’t look at it very much longer.

IMG_2927 (1024x768)11)  This is what happens when you see the lunar eclipse and you only have your iPhone camera. Hahahaha. My husband and I sat outside by the fire with drinks (whiskey for him, bloody mary for me) and chatted and checked on the moon every now and then. It was pretty great.

IMG_2963 (1024x1024)12)  Fall is slowly making its way through the foliage. It’s definitely sweater weather now (okay, sweater weather for ME), and yesterday we turned the fireplace on for the first time since winter. I’ve said this before, but living with seasons makes life seem to go back that much more quickly.

Wishing everyone a wonderful October!

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).