The April List – 2018

Spring finally came to Grosse Pointe at the end of April. The month brought several snow flurries and lots of cold. This morning isn’t a whole lot better at 35 degrees, but the sun is out and it’s supposed to get up to 54, so I’ll take it.

1)  One night we had a weird mix of snow and ice and I woke up to ice covering everything. It was a bit dangerous to be out, as pieces of ice were randomly falling. It was pretty though, which I would have been more appreciative of if it were oh, NOT SPRING!

2)  I started taking Wednesdays off at work again (I was supposed to be doing that all year but could not get the work done over just four work days a week). One Wednesday I went to the Garden, which was pretty depressing as we are a month behind now, but we did plant a bed of stock, and we are all looking forward to an abundant season.

3) The girls and I planted lettuce and kale in our vegetable bed. I can’t do much else in that spot, as our backyard isn’t sunny enough for most vegetables. Our carrots last year grew about an inch. We’ve been successful with beans, but each plant only gives us a handful so I’m trying to utilize the space in a more productive way, albeit must less exciting.

4)  If you read last month’s list, you know I was anticipating my haircut, which I love. It’s the shortest I’ve gone in about 20 years (I just spent 20 minutes trying to find evidence, but could not). I went to The Zealous Root here in town. The gals did an amazing job with what they had to work with.

Disclosure: My stylist also gave me a digital makeover, so I (sadly) look way sweeter in this photo than I do in real life. I mean, look at those eyelashes. They are epic.

5)  While I was waiting for my hair appointment, I read the cheekiest little book about Grosse Pointe, which I must get my hands on. I went to the store where it supposedly came from, but I think copies are long gone. I will keep searching.

6)  I started this month’s book group pick last night and I think it’s going to be a fantastic read. I’m only a few chapters in, but already I am fully engaged in the plot and can’t wait to dive into it again tonight. It puts my other thriller “The Good Girl,” (that I put down in order to start this one) to shame. Not sure I’ll be able to finish it now.

7)  I did manage to drag my behind to the Detroit Body Garage one Wednesday morning, something I have been meaning to do for months. I took it easy-ish, not pushing myself too hard, so I wouldn’t hate the rest of the week. It felt great and I’m going to try to make it a regular thing.

8)  What else can we talk about?…….oh. So the school auction is coming up and I wasn’t going to buy a new dress for it and then I was. I mostly fit this one, except I may have to pin it or keep hiking it up by the armpit, which, whatever. I can’t decide if it looks cool/hip or obnoxious/slutty, but if the other dress that’s coming in the mail doesn’t fit, than this one it is, regardless of how I end up feeling about it.

9)  I went to the new downtown hotspot Prime + Proper, but only for drinks, as we couldn’t get a reservation on short notice. Craft cocktails were delicious and I hear the food is even more so.

10)  I got to hang out with not one, but TWO puppies this month. Soooooooo adorable. How can you stay mad at spring when you get to spend time with a puppy? Okay, I am still mad at spring for the record, but puppy time certainly helped.

11)  I went to karaoke not one, but TWO times this month with new friends of mine. It was so entertaining and fun. I mean, karaoke is pretty much a ridiculous activity, but I am all over it. The crowd is a mixed bag, which I love (and which also adds to the entertainment factor) and it was great to sing on stage again after so long, even if it was just karaoke, and even when the song was not in the right key for me. Ha.

12)  I fit into my snake pants last week, which I can only do about once or twice a year. Which means one of two things. I purposely have been losing weight. Wrong. I’m super stressed. Right?

I’m actually not sure. I don’t feel that stressed, but I suppose I might be. Either way, I was elated to fit into the pants. The kids have been asking me to make scones, which I will probably do today, which means I will have to wait another six months to a year to wear the pants again, but if you’ve tasted the scones, they are completely worth it.

I have high hopes for May. The weather forecast looks good and my work (is supposed to) slowly taper off, giving me more time at the Garden and my own garden, and also more time to be a mom, which has been rough this year with my increased work load, so bring it on, May, I am ready for you!

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The May List – 2015

IMG_0758 (994x1024)1)  May is unmistakably a celebratory month here in Grosse Pointe. The sound of lawnmowers is in the air once again and people rush out to buy colorful flowers to fill their many pots that were covered with snow for so many months. Tulips, pansies, daffodils and petunias were plentiful and trees were in full bloom.

After being here a full year, I still can’t decide whether Spring or Fall is my favorite season. They both have so much to teach us about life and living.

IMG_0712 IMG_0775 (935x1024)2)  We moved into our new house in the Fall, so we didn’t realize how many flowering trees and plants we had on the property ’til now. It was so fun to walk in the backyard and see a burst of color (we have a magnolia tree!) or new plant (so many ferns!) rising up from the ground.

Besides the magnolia, one of my favorite discoveries was the old lilac tree. I knew the tree was there, of course, but none of us knew what kind of tree it was until it started flowering. For a couple weeks we were treated to its delicate purple blooms. Swoon.

IMG_0459 (982x1024) 3) We attended our kids’ school auction this month. These earrings were the raffle prize (did you see the small print? – $11,000). To put things in perspective, at our last school the raffle prize was tickets to a Giants game. Live auction items at this event included a boat cruise down the Amazon and Thanksgiving in Paris. Toto, we are not in Kansas (aka our little preschool co-op) anymore.

5)  Speaking of getting dressed up, remember all the chili and Bailey’s I consumed over the winter? Enter my first compression garment experience. Did it work? I’m not really sure, but it worked for my self esteem, so it was worth the $30.00, I’d say.

6) Speaking of spending an hour Googling “smokey eye” and trying to glue fake eyelashes on for above auction (which I ended up pulling off at the last minute)… is there something wrong with me that I want Kim Kardashian’s new selfie book?

IMG_0952 (1024x1017)7)  Number of dead baby birds seen on sidewalks: six. Number of dead baby birds in our backyard that our dog rolled around in until he, too, smelled like a dead baby bird: one.

P.S. – I actually took several photos of dead baby birds, but just couldn’t bring myself post them (or look at them). Neither can I bring myself to tell you the story of the slow death of one baby squirrel in our backyard. You’re welcome.

IMG_0684 (1024x943)8)  You know it’s spider season when you start seeing trucks like this. Being from Northern California, pesticide is a four letter word, but we’re also anti-spiders and ants. We called the guy that the former home owners used and asked him to spray for just spiders and ants. He promised us the stuff he uses is anti-pesticide and non-toxic. I was skeptical…

Me: So it kills spiders, but it’s okay for kids? and dogs?
Pest Man: Oh sure, sure, once it’s dry in about 30 minutes you can touch it, no problem.
Me:  So….what about birds and squirrels? It won’t hurt them?
Pest Man: No, no, it’s totally fine! (pause). Except if I hit one directly. (crazy laughter).

He told me to “have a good summer, honey” on his way out (this is the same guy who told my husband to “make sure the wife doesn’t wash the windows” the day he sprayed). Oh my gosh.

IMG_0761 (640x960)9)  Are you freaking kidding me, Pandora?! I’m running along Lakeshore Drive when this comes on my workout playlist. Just wow.

IMG_0995 (1024x1024)IMG_0994 (1024x1024)10)  I checked out the brand new Detroit spots Sister Pie and Parker St. Market, which are across the street from one other in Indian Village. The pie was a hair sweet for me (I don’t like too sweet), but it was good, but the shortbread cookies were delicious. The market carries local and artisan finds, mostly food products. They both reminded me of places one would see in San Francisco. I’ll definitely be back.
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11)  There’s a woman’s group called the Grosse Pointe Friends and Neighbors Club. It was founded years ago as an organization to welcome new residents to the area. Perfect. I went to a couple “luncheons” where I met mostly women in the 60+ age range (but some were closer to my age).

I’m sitting at a round table with eight women. They got to talking about the different neighborhoods in the area, saying one was edgier, one attracted young families, one was more laid back, one was stuffier and so on. Then someone says, “Lani, what street do YOU live on?” I swear, in slow motion, all heads turn towards me. Even the two ladies who were talking amongst themselves look up.

Me (smiling): No! I can’t tell you where I live or you’ll judge me!
Blink. Blink. Blink. Blinking and blank stares. A couple confused looks.
Me (said 10 times faster than normal): OkayokayIliveon123xyzStreetinGrossePointeFarms!
As you were, ladies.
#newgirlfail #Iwastryingtobefunny #storyofmylife

IMG_0596 (1024x768) (2)12) Summer break is pretty much here, which means I can look forward to answering questions like, “what shape is a monkey’s poop?” and “why does God exist?” all. day. long. (yes, actual asked questions, in case you were wondering). Wish me luck.

 

The April List – 2015

IMG_0171 (1024x765)1) We finally put some artwork up in the family room. What a big difference! The SF prints were hanging in my husband’s basement office, but he kindly gave them up for the good of the house.  They look much better proportioned in real life (they look weirdly small in the photo for some reason).

2)  “That was my favorite squirrel” – our youngest, looking out the window at the dead squirrel in front of our house.

As the days went by it got more and more squished (“ooh I see blood” and more “my favorite squirrel” language) so I decided to call the city to see if they would scrape it up.

Me:  Hi. I’m new here and I’m not sure if you do this sort of thing but…there’s a dead squirrel on the street in front of our house and it’s freaking our kids out. Could you come pick it up or how does that work?
City Worker:  Now, where is the squirrel, in the middle of the street?
Me:  Umm, pretty much in the middle of the street, yes.
City Worker:  And you say it’s in front of your house? Is it right in front?
Me:  Yup, right in front of our driveway, I would say.
City Worker:  Okay, can I get your phone number, in case there are any questions?
Me: About the squirrel?! Umm, sure.

Can’t fault her for being thorough.

3)  My sister bought me Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Goldfinch” for Christmas, which I finished this month. Not once during the 784 pages did I feel like it was tedious or dragging. Do yourself a favor and put it on your summer reading list (I almost wish I had saved it for a summer read). You will thank me.

4) Michigan vs. San Francisco terminology:
Park = Playground
Pop = Soda
Carry Out = Take Out
Chinese = Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese or all of the above

IMG_0493 (872x815)5)  I finally got a shot of the elusive pheasant!

6)  April 4th marked the one-year anniversary of our move. I went for a run that day and thought about everything that’s happened since we arrived. New house, new remodel, new school, new routines, new weather, new friends. I miss San Francisco more than I can express, but I’m also happy here. I haven’t thought too much more about it, but I will reflect on it more and when I do, I will report back.

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7)  I’m not allergic to shellfish! Best news ever! Unfortunately, we have no idea what brought on my hives last month, but at least we can rule out shellfish. The allergist wanted me to come back for another appointment as a precautionary measure. He said I would need to set aside 2-3 hours, bring a piece of shrimp with me to the office, eat it and wait. He referred to this as an “open food challenge.”

Me: Can’t I just stand in front of a hospital and eat some shrimp? That would be a lot faster, and more convenient.
Allergist: Oh no, don’t do that. The next thing you know, the papers will say “a patient of Dr. R’s dropped dead in front of such and such..”
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t sue you or anything.
Allergist (concerned): Just make the appointment, okay?
Me: Okay.

I walked out of the office without making an appointment. Two days later, I ate an a-load of shrimp at a party. I’m good.

IMG_0344 (1024x1024)8)  April showers bring May flowers. That’s great and all, but the cold! Enough already. April was full of cold, cloudy days and even some snow. We did get a couple days of sun and warm, giving us a sneak peak of what’s to come. I can’t wait.

IMG_0482 (768x1024)9)  Speaking of flowers, I walked outside one afternoon to a beautiful surprise. A blossoming tree in our backyard. I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but the flowers are fluffy and big, similar to magnolia blossoms. So pretty!

IMG_0450 (892x1024)10)  Something you would never see in San Francisco – dry cleaning hanging on a door. One, because I can’t think of any dry cleaner there that delivers and two, because it would be gone in two seconds. Especially if you live near Golden Gate Park like we did.

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Photo from: GPFoundation on Instagram

11)  The Grosse Pointe library system lends out gardening tools. How cool is that? They also have a seed library, where you can search a physical card catalog (containing seed packets instead of cards) and “borrow” seeds to plant.  Residents are also encouraged to save and donate their seeds to the collection. I plan to use both.

IMG_0391 (1024x1024)12)  I have one more month before school is out, which means I can say goodbye to daytime “me” time. I hope to get a sitter a couple times a week so I can work (oh yes, I do have a day job doing payroll for my husband’s company), but also so I can have some down time. Summer will be fun, I know that, but sometimes a girl (especially an INFJ girl like me) needs her space. Can I get an amen.

Enjoy May, everyone!

Michigan: The First Few Days

Michigan

Photo credit: the Husband, who drove 2405 miles across the country with Sam the Labrador. They made it in just 2 1/2 days (because he is amazing!)

The first few days in Grosse Pointe have been very surreal. I’m more exhausted than I’ve been since the girls were babies (both terrible sleepers) and I’m emotionally…..distressed? stunned? drained? I can’t even find the right word. Perhaps emotionally confused.

I knew once I got here, that my body would shut down somewhat from all the packing and adrenaline surges that got me through the San Francisco moving process, but I didn’t realize just how tired I would be. Every day (no matter how much coffee I drink), I’ve fallen asleep at some point – on a chair (while talking to someone), in a car (while kids were being loud) and I’m not the kind of person who can sleep anywhere (quite the opposite).

Since I haven’t been able to sort out my emotions, it’s also been hard for me to write, which is why this entry comes five days after our touchdown in Michigan. I can’t seem to organize my thoughts properly; everything is jumbled.

GPlakeshore

Lake Shore Drive (also spelled Lakeshore)

But I press on. I’ve gotten out for a couple runs, which always does wonders for my disposition. I’ve found a perfect 3-mile loop, which includes a few blocks on Lake Shore Drive, which borders the calm and beautiful Lake Saint Clair.

The day we arrived, it was cold and raining. As we pulled into town, there was still evidence of the brutal winter that so many experienced this year. Clumps of snow on the ground, ice in the lake, bare trees and bushes, and dry leaves everywhere.

However. All this…cold weather hanging-on stuff means that I haven’t missed a drop of Spring (thank you, Jesus). My heart needs the full season. New beginnings and such.

GPwall

Moran Road, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Yesterday, the girls and I were the only ones at the playground (save for the friends who took us there – friends of my husband’s who are my only friends here) , mostly because it was about 40 degrees out – yikes. But today…today it was sunny and blue skies. The girls played outside while I fixed dinner and kept an eye on them through the kitchen window (we’re at my mother-in-law’s place ’til the moving truck comes). And after dinner, they bundled up and went back out again. Laughing, exploring, not wanting to come back inside. Although this was just a minor portion of my day (there were time outs, tantrums, breaking up of fights, the usual), this is why I came here. And I hope it’s a sign of what’s to come.

The forecast for the weeks ahead show some cold (super cold!) and wet days. But they are dotted between days of sunshine and clear skies. I do believe that Spring has found its way to Grosse Pointe, and I welcome it with arms wide open.

GPrun