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What making me happy this week 06.14.13

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photos:
1. mangos
2. blik eames decal
3. charles and ray eames © 2011 eames office, llc
charles and ray Eames “pinned” by chair bases, 1947, as seen in american masters charles & ray eames: the architect and the painter.
4. converse sneaker made with lucienne day textiles
5. nigella lawson’s old fashioned chocolate cake

My son finished his exams Thursday and christened the beginning of summer by having friends over for a fire in the backyard to burn homework, and to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. (Though earlier in the day he said, “I miss school already.”)

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival started last night. Three weeks of free outdoor concerts, food stalls, late night outdoor movies and many other amusements. I noticed they added some free outdoor yoga classes starting at 5pm on the lawn adjacent to my office. Maybe…

There are also free noontime concerts on Thursdays a few blocks away from my office, Sonic Lunches, sponsored by a local radio station. UM graduate Darren Criss was the star of the most recent one. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to wait hours to get in the door of the Michigan Theater. Most concerts are outdoors and not so well attended. But Darren Criss is now a superstar, having conquered Broadway and now starring in Glee. He also wrote and starred in “A Very Potter Musical” which he created while a student here. Such a talented guy. He has quite a fan base here in AA.

In addition to a free-for-summer child who loves school, the start of summer and the anticipation of the AA Summer Festival, also making me happy this week include:

1. Mangos. I didn’t like mangos for a long time due to my experience with some with stringy texture years ago. My brother had me try one a few months ago and it was amazing. Love them. But still need to learn how to properly cut one…as it is now, my hand turns into a sticky, slimy mess and much of the fruit is left on the stone.

2. I have some Blik decals on my office walls, but I may have to replace them with these decals based on Ray Eames textiles. I’ve been thinking about the Eames lately as they are featured in a current exhibit on modern design at the Cranbrook Institute where they met. I plan to attend at the end of the month.

3. Converse sneakers made with Lucienne Day textiles make me happy. But it makes me unhappy that I discovered these years after they were produced.

4. Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake that may daughter I made this week. I was in the mood for cake. She was in the mood for chocolate. It was better the next day after having been refrigerated.

5. Have you seen these Openculture videos on the Bauhaus, Modernism and American Design?

6. Six Words You Should Say Today, from the Hands Free Momma blog. I love simple suggestions for better parenting. As my sister said, filing this one away with the other important scripts! (One of the best scripts was given to me by my friend, Suzanne, who told me to practice saying over and over again, “I’m sorry, but that would be just impossible.” The period at the end was the most important part.)

7. Libby Callaway’s home featured in the Selby. I probably couldn’t live here, too much going on. But I love looking at it. I love that she’s taken a pretty modest house and really turned it into a spectacular and unexpected space. So much to love here, the chevron rug, the closet, the clothes…though, I’m no fan of antlers, bones or dental casts…

8. Convos with My 2 year Old: Episode 3
Not as good as the first one, but it did make me laugh

Happy weekend to you!

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061013rockslakeM

someone left this line of pretty rocks for us

061013sleepingbears

sleeping bear dune in the furthest distance, and south manitou island the dark line to the left of it

061013zonrockwithflies

see the fuzzy black dots? not dirt on my lens. flying black insects…with no breeze to blow them away. at least they weren’t biting, just annoying.

061013birdprints

large prints and wee prints

061013yellowbeachflowers

welcomed color on a gray day
(my parents were canadian and i still spell gray, “grey” first)

061013zdogshadows

a big bouncy dog found my daughter, i love the long shadows

061013zsunset

she has seen many sunsets at pt. betsie

061013ptbetsieon
pt. betsie lighthouse with the lamp just lit

061013autored

reading “the autobiograpy of red” on crystal, recommended by my daughter, the sun finally shining

061013turkeyshouse

wild turkeys bigger than my pug. i later noticed the christmas lights on the house. a newer kind. did someone live here so recently? or did they just decorate to draw attention to the antiques store next door?

weekend escape to the big lake

“i won again mom. did you see i used the word “idiosyncratic”? shall I put my can of whup*** away now?”

My daughter and I escaped this weekend to northern Michigan, to the big lake, Lake Michigan, and to Crystal Lake. My husband’s parents have a cottage on Crystal Lake, very close to Lake Michigan, which we have spent time at every summer since before our children were born. As a child my husband spent most of his summers there. He spent so many hours combing the beach for Petoskey stones, he would fall asleep with the pattern of Petoskey stones on his eyelids. I love that image.

It is not always easy for me to spend time at that cottage. Clutter, clutter clutter everywhere…I wish I was wired differently and that such unimportant things didn’t bother me, but I’m not and they do. I haven’t even mentioned the dog toys, crates, hair…gah. And I love dogs.

But it is in the midst of paradise and I am grateful for time there, especially since it is a place my children and husband love. (They don’t mind clutter…believe me and don’t get me started.)

It was a quiet weekend, almost too quiet for us. It was grey and cool. No waves on either lake. I have never seen Lake Michigan with no waves. No breeze in the woods surrounding the cottage. And very few people– that will all change at the end of this week when school is out for the summer.

Still, it was nice to get away together. We walked along Lake Michigan at Empire Beach, sat on the beach at Crystal wrapped up in towels and read and napped, bought coffee and giant soft chewy butter pretzels at the Crescent Bakery, watched the sun set at Pt. Betsie, ate at the Coho Café where our up north neighbor from Virginia was being trained to be a waiter (his family stays up at the lake all summer), and played Bananagrams, which I enjoy less and less every time I play with my daughter.

We plan to go back up north with the rest of the family in July, after my daughter’s job working at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival ends. Hoping the lakes and the air will be a little warmer!

What making me happy this week 06.07.13

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photos:
1. random photo of ant mural in ann arbor, on the back side of the now vacant borders building. did you know borders books originated as a single book store in ann arbor? in this town where brains count more than money, you were revered if you worked there…with your 3 phds, making less than minimum wage…because in order to work there you had to pass an impossibly rigorous literature test, or so i’m told. i miss borders.
2. the nasturtiums are starting to bloom.
3. the homemade gelato truck that we are going to lojack, for both the truck, named ingrid, and for the gelato.
photosource: annarbor.com (see direct link below)
4. played with these this last saturday. two robotic prosthetic hands, one with the fake flesh off and one with it on. kidding. only one robotic hand, the other is a real one…that we are going to attach to a robot. kidding. it’s just zach’s hand and we are going to leave it on zach, which makes him happy.
5. the basil is growing!

1. My friends and I are going to lojack this ice-cream truck. I want the truck almost as much as I want the homemade gelato that is sold from it. All local ingredients. I want to try the sesame fig and the salted caramel flavors. I will keep you posted on our success.
http://annarbor.com/business-review/hello-ice-cream-ann-arbor-entrepreneur-launches-italian-style-ice-cream-business/

2. From the Onion. This made me laugh because it is so much my life right now! “Man On Cusp Of Having Fun Suddenly Remembers Every Single One Of His Responsibilities.” The photo is the best.
http://www.theonion.com/articles/man-on-cusp-of-having-fun-remembers-every-single-o,32632/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=standard-post:headline:default

3. I guarantee you will smile—the fashion, the dancing. I want to be there. As I said in a comment to shutterbean.com today, I call being the woman in the orange extra bell bottom flowing pants– I call her hair, her clothes and her moves. And you?
http://www.good.is/posts/how-to-dance-properly-to-daft-punk-s-get-lucky

4. It’s graduation speech time, and here is one I love. I think his sentiment about realizing you don’t know anything so keep your mouth shut,
but sometimes you do, so open it up,
applies to old folks like me as well as those graduating infants.
http://www.upworthy.com/obamas-speechwriterstand-up-comedian-gives-a-graduation-speech-not-surprisingly-its-badass?c=ufb1

5. A teacher friend posted this on facebook. Teachers who got the last laugh. You have likely seen it by now. My favorite is the teachers who took selfies on a student’s confiscated iPhone…tee hee hee
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/33-teachers-who-got-the-last-laugh

6. I don’t know much about Viola Davis. I have not seen one of her movies. But after viewing this Elle magazine Women in Hollywood award speech, I have decided I love this woman. I love strong women who reach back and reach out. Plus she’s beautiful. I could never give such an eloquent, fearless, compelling, seamless, off the cuff speech.
http://www.elle.com/video/viola-davis-women-in-hollywood-speech-video-1226838796001

By the time you read this, I hope to be on the road on my way to northern Michigan. It won’t be very warm, but still, being on Lake Michigan will make me happy in any weather. I hope you have found bits of happiness this week– if not, hugs to you.

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060513spideroutsidea few photos from the past week

It has been an intense week, as they all will be in June. I run a few summer programs and this year many of my trusted instructors have left this transient college town to pursue graduate degrees or for real jobs.

So there have been many evening and weekend meetings and trainings, and more responsibilities that others used to take on. I can’t sleep because I keep running through my head everything I have to do the next day. So, so, so, so many balls in the air. So many moving pieces. I have an excel spreadsheet of everything that needs to be done and for everything that I cross off the list, 3 more things are added.

Some days I feel tired of being at work, and just plain tired, and I want a different job. Some days I feel really excited and proud of what I’m doing.

Here are a few random photos from the few random hours I have been home:

1) Finnegan lying in the sun where he likes to lie.

2) I made this lemon buttermilk bundt cake from shutterbean.com. I don’t have a bundt pan, but I do have a rose cake pan. Delish! This was gone in 24 hours. My family of 4 did not share it with anyone. It was dessert, breakfast, snack and gone.

3) Can you see the spider on the edge of the glass? He was in our dining room. We don’t like to kill spiders in our house. It could have something, or everything, to do with E.B. White’s, “Charlotte’s Web”.

4) A long overdue thank you note to my friend Cathy for the Catherineholm fondu pot and vintage red purse she sent me for my birthday.

My daughter and I may go “up north” this weekend to my husband’s family’s cottage. Sandy beaches, no internet, blue water for as far as you can see, woods…I am both looking forward to it, and also feeling a stomach-churning anxiety about not being here to get more work done. I am trying to ignore my anxiety because my daughter really wants to go. She may not have another opportunity to go for awhile as her summer job starts a week from this Friday and she is taking a stats class. My son’s final exams are next week, so he and my husband are staying home. They will have more opportunities to go up north after this weekend.

I hope that if you also are experiencing stress in your life, that you are able to set aside some time for yourself and your family and that you are also feeling proud of the good work you are doing.