The February List – 2016

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Wow, clearly 2016 is kicking my booty. I feel like I just finished the January List. Which I guess is sort of true as that post was written in mid-February.

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1) We got more snow this month – yay! – but it’s still been a mild winter which means we can actually get out for a walk once in a while. We sometimes pass a tree on the Boulevard that has a container nailed to it. I wasn’t sure what it was until I saw someone pull a dog treat out of it. Now whenever we pass the tree, Sam looks forward to his treat.

2) Another way to score dog treats on walks is via the city garbage collector guys. The garbage is picked up by guys in golf cart-type vehicles, who zip up your driveway, empty garbage into the back of their bins and then drive to a larger truck posted up close by.

On more than one occasion, when I’ve been out with the dog, one of the guys will pull over, get out and give Sam a doggie bone and a pat.

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3) On our walks, I sometimes see lost items displayed on fire hydrants or lamp posts. The fact that people are taking the time to pick up these objects and place them in spots where owners are likely to find them is really touching to me somehow.

4)  The next time your doctor says, “it will only take a second,” beware. During a recent check-up, I asked my doctor about a mark on my shoulder that I thought might be a mole. She said it was a blackhead (eek) and that she would remove it for me. It will only take a second. Which it did. And then I got the $250 bill for “acne surgery.” Not cool.

5)  Farms Market has started selling the only ice cream in the area made with 100% organic, locally-sourced ingredients. Each flavor has about six to seven ingredients and it is to die for.

At $8.99 a pint, it also makes it one of the most expensive ice creams in town. There’s no nutritional information on the label, because why bother? We all know how many calories a scoop of ice cream has. A lot. There’s a sea salt caramel pint in our freezer right now and I cannot stop thinking about it.

6) Speaking of Farms Market, I keep meaning to tell you that I learned my lesson the hard way (like over a year ago) regarding not shopping at the very small and cramped store (they are remodeling, thank goodness) during the high-school lunch hour. Just don’t.

The other day I was driving by the store and was excited that I had escaped the frantic craze of the lunch crowd. No backpacks outside, no kids. All clear. I parked, went inside and one minute later, one of the staff yells, “Second LUUUUNCH!” And they all come rushing in as I try to flatten myself against the condiments.

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7)  Our oldest turned seven this month. I was too lazy to bake a cake this year, so we ordered one from Josefs. She requested a unicorn on her cake and we gave them free reign. So we got this unicorn, circa 1985. She insisted that she get the piece with the horn, since it has magical powers, as we all know. The chocolate frosting tasted somewhat chemically, note to self.

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SKATE (768x1024)8)  One of our friends who has a homemade ice rink in their backyard, invited us over one day to skate. The girls have never skated, nor do they have skates, but serendipity took over and someone happened to have two pairs of skates in exactly the right size.

My husband was out of town and part of me (most of me) didn’t want to go because I was afraid there would be crying and whining and general mayhem. But none of that happened. They were timid, but they both got out there and the older one started getting the hang of it without the net. Such a great first experience!

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8)  I chopped of the leaves of some bok choy and this was what was left of the stalk.

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9)  We finally had dinner in our dining room. I love baby’s breath when it’s solo. It’s so delicate and pretty. I made chicken mirabella and rigatoni with pork/beef ragu.

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10)  Remember the time I asked my dry cleaning lady where I could get good Korean food and she said, “my house”? The cooking classes finally happened! Details in a separate post.

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11)  I have been so bored with my hair lately, so I made an appointment with my stylist, who really is the best person I’ve ever had do my hair. Like ever and I’ve been to about ten fancy stylists in San Francisco.

To get ready for my appointment, I “pinned” all these awesome pictures of shorter hair and cuts with bangs and was almost ready to do the big chop, but when I told my husband my great idea, he said, “Please don’t do that. It’s going to make you be in a bad mood for two months.” Which I considered and realized was true. Soooo…I just had her add some new highlights. Problem averted.

IMG_4507 (809x1024)12)  I’m still on the health train, and with that comes riding the stationary bike in the basement and doing my floor work afterwards like a good girl. This is usually where the dog posts up as he watches me with non-amusement. He’s over it.

We are going to Hawaii for Spring Break this month and I cannot wait. I will take a million photos and post the best ones on the blog. Enjoy the rest of March, everyone!

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The Thaw – In Photos

IMG_0160And just like that, the snow is gone. It’s still freezing (literally. It’s 21 degrees right now), but there are signs that spring is on the way – birds chirping (a sound I didn’t realize was missing until I started hearing it a couple weeks ago), squirrels digging up the millions of acorns they hid in our yard last fall (annoying!) and even buds on the trees. Nature is ready for sunshine and although I did love the snow, so am I.

More photos of the thaw….

Sam and I walked along the lake last week to look at the icy landscape for the last time…

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Another beautiful sunrise…

IMG_0088 (1001x1024)I was finally able to go for a run without worrying about slipping on a patch of black ice!

IMG_0083 IMG_0084Lake St. Clair, just a few days after my walk with Sam…

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The Storm – Photos

Finally posting photos from our big snowstorm on Super Bowl weekend…

IMG_9902 (1280x1280)The beginning of the storm. On our way to a friends’ house to watch the game.

IMG_9781 (1024x768)Loved watching the snow come down Sunday night.

IMG_9763 (768x1024)The pristine newness right after a snowfall is the best. Hardly anyone was out walking around and I loved being alone with all of it.

IMG_9871 (1024x1024) IMG_9762 (768x1024) IMG_9868 (768x1024)IMG_9870 (768x1024)And the kids (and Sam) enjoyed it, too.

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The February List

IMG_97681)  Remember all that praying I did for snow back in December? The Lord answered my prayers on Super Bowl Sunday in the form of the biggest snowstorm (most snowfall – 16.7 inches) the area has had in 40 years, and the third biggest snowfall in Detroit’s history. Wowza.

This is me, getting some of the snow out of the way on Sunday afternoon. Snowfall continued through Monday morning. The girls had a snow day and of course spent a big chunk of it playing in the white stuff. Storm photos to come.

2)  Snow days. Meh. (I’m a planner. Snow days throw me off my game.)

3) The most I heard about the Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year) was that one of the classes in the upper grades at school held an “authentic” celebration (the teacher was Chinese, go figure).

In San Francisco, it’s a public school holiday. There are parades and celebrations all over town. If you don’t know it’s a new lunar year, you are living under a rock. I miss that. The cultural diversity of the City. Maybe even more than I miss good Chinese food. Okay, I lied. I miss good Chinese food more than I miss cultural diversity. I am not ashamed.

IMG_9964 (768x1024)IMG_9966 (768x1024)4)  Sledding rocks. Even in 18 degree weather.

5)  The stomach flu came through our house for the second time in three months. This time it was back with a vengeance. The good thing is that the girls both knew the drill. “Mommy, I feel like I have to throw up!” Sit up, lean over trash can, throw up, drink water, lie down. Go team.

IMG_99226)  My husband built a snowman for the girls when they were sick. His name is Sara (the girls name everything Sara) and he’s a Giant’s fan.

7)  I gave up Facebook and bread for Lent. I was going to give up Facebook, bread and alcohol, but I can only take so much sacrifice. Instead of logging in to Facebook, whenever I have a few minutes (or seconds) to spare I’m trying to either reach out to someone via email or text or phone, or say a prayer for someone. It’s been nice, and not as hard as I anticipated.

The bread thing has been relatively easy so far, or so I thought until I noticed an increase in my pasta consumption. And last night I had a dream about eating croutons. Forgetting about Lent, I’d accidentally eaten one. I stood over the plate of croutons feeling so guilty. My subconscious definitely has bread on the brain.

IMG_9842 (768x1024)8)  Let’s talk about snow plow etiquette for a second (and is there such a thing?). I’m pretty sure all the neighbors’ plow services are pushing the snow on our property. I’m not kidding! Compared to the whole street, we have the biggest piles of snow on our lawn, and on all sides of our lawn.

Maybe it’s some kind of new-kid-on-the-block initiation? I actually don’t even care. That much. The last time a truck came to plow my neighbor’s driveway, I was shoveling my own. I gave the driver a “look” (you know the look. The “I’ve got my eye on you” look). Guess what, no new snow on our property that day. Hehe.

IMG_9944 (1024x975)9)  So I made a Thai dish. Not from my new “Simple Thai Food,” but from an  easier-looking crock-pot recipe I got from my girlfriend (who got it online). It was promising – looked and smelled yummy, but in truth it was lacking. A lot. Even after I threw in dried chillies and sprinkled the crap out of my red pepper flakes into the mixture, it still tasted just okay. Next month I’m going to try to make something from my Thai cookbook. Keep you posted.

His name is “Cocoa Cutie.”

10)  Valentine’s Day was a sugar-fest at the girls’ school. I can hardly talk about it without hyperventilating. I was there doing a craft with the kids (which turned out super cute, I might add). During snack (which was served 10 minutes before lunch), I bit my lip as I watched my kindergartener chomp down a cake-pop covered with frosting and sprinkles, a pretzel covered with frosting and sprinkles and a white chocolate-covered strawberry (and we all know white chocolate isn’t even chocolate).

I drew the line, however, at the chocolate-scented bear she brought home. Its chocolate-scentedness filled up the house within minutes. He was quarantined for 24 hours (left outside in the bitter cold), which helped….until I started smelling it again and he had to go to the land of no return. Buh-bye.

11)  I hate getting shocked. As in electrically shocked. If I didn’t like snow so much, it would ruin winter for me completely. Out of all the people I know, I seem to get zapped the most. What is it about me that I generate so much static?

It’s even ruining my love of the central vacuum. The body part (finger, arm, leg, foot) that happens to hit the metal rod (which happens at least 10 times), gets a shock so bad, it makes me jump out of my skin. I can see the lines of electricity going from the vacuum to my body (see above photo). I also can’t even pet my dog, because if my hand touches him for longer than five seconds, I get shocked. Aggravating.

IMG_9863 (1024x1014)12) Even though it’s happened several times, I’m still surprised when I order a cappuccino and get this. A rock candy swizzle stick. Huh. I’ve only ever seen this done in Grosse Pointe (not Detroit or other suburbs), so maybe it’s a local specialty, don’t know.

I wondered, maybe this is how they do it in Italy? Although I don’t remember them when I last visited (about 15 years ago) and I had a lot of cappuccinos while I was there. I looked online for some clarification and only found that some claim the swizzle stick is “a sophisticated way to sweeten coffee and tea.” Yeaaah. Do you think this gentleman used a swizzle stick with his cappuccino this morning? I can tell you right now that he did not. Case closed.

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My Winter in Pictures

IMG_9641I’m loving winter. It’s been a mild one so far, with some very cold days and a few inches of snow, but no extremes. My husband and I were just saying yesterday how we wished the Northeast blizzard were here instead of there.

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sunriseThe winter sunrise is gorgeous. The last few weeks the sun has been coming up around 8 o’clock and we can see it from our street. It’s so beautiful reflecting on the snow and the wet concrete. Golden, pink, orange. Soooo pretty and of course photos aren’t nearly as good as the real thing.

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IMG_9582I love watching the snow fall. And the way everything looks before snowplows or footprints ruin its newness.

IMG_9694 IMG_9685 IMG_9466 IMG_9670 (1024x768)Snow and wintry skies add mystery and intrigue to buildings.

IMG_9619 (1024x768) IMG_9417 (1024x1024) yachtclubAnd the lake is constantly changing.

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Ask me again in March, whether I’m sick of the cold yet. I do hate that I can’t run as often (sure, there are folks who do, but I don’t gear up unless it’s warmer than 29 degrees). But I’m trying hard to enjoy what’s in front of me at this moment. Right now. So often I’ve not lived in the moment with heavy regrets later on. So I embrace you, winter. All of your harshness and vulnerability. I see you. And you are beautiful.

 

The December List

IMG_92301)  Teepees make me want to be a kid again (the girls got one for Christmas from my mom).

2)  School pick-up line in this order: Ford, Pontiac, Yukon, Jeep, Dodge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover, Yukon, Ford and….Honda CRV (me).

IMG_9195 (1024x1024)3)  Went to the new Corktown restaurant Gold Cash Gold (they kept the name of the pawnshop that used to occupy the space) during its debut week. The frites (with pickle mayo) were to die for and my grilled cheese sandwich was scrumptious. Another win for Detroit.

4)  You know you did not spend last winter in Grosse Pointe when you are praying to God every night to please make it snow (alas, no white Christmas for us).

5)  I’m not sure what possessed me to try the sushi at both Trader Joe’s and Kroger (grocery store kinda like a Safeway). I don’t need to tell you that all but one bite of each ended up in the trash bin.

momjeans6)  I opened my new H&M catalog and could not believe my eyes when I read the words “Mom jeans.” Ladies, raise your hands if you want to look like you have a droopy butt and huge thighs.

7)  Michigan, you are killing me with the tailgating. The latest: school bus (full of kids) honking at me and trying to pass me on the shoulder in a 25-mile zone. Craziness.

IMG_9216 (768x1024)8)  We had carolers! Two gals from Grosse Pointe North who were not only so sweet, but also really good singers. Love, love, love. Not once did we get carolers in San Francisco.

9)  Winter makes me want to stay inside all day with a hot bowl of chili with loads of cheese and sour cream on top. And wine. And cookies. And Baileys on the rocks. Mmmmm.

10)  Hot flashes are no joke. I don’t know if it’s the medication I’m taking (side effect is hot flashes, go figure) or my age (nooooo), but whoa.  I usually run cold, so it’s very weird for me, this sensation of feeling overheated. It actually works in my favor, now that it’s winter, but I’m worried how well I’ll fare come summer.

11)  Speaking of summer, maybe I should not be eating that sour cream or those cookies or drinking that Baileys on the rocks. Curses.

IMG_9171 (1024x1024)12)  A visit to Benjamin Moore always lifts my spirits (I mean, how can you not smile when you walk into a shop and see these guys). I stopped by with a few holiday treats and to say thanks for all their help over the last several months. Until next time!