what's making me happy this week 03.23.14: kumail, adam and peter

030314museumceiling

030314bellsdiner2

032314pugshadow

032314sadfruit

032114bicarbonite

032314ironicefence

032314lunchroom

photos:
1) i love the glass doorknobs in our house and won't let my husband replace them, even though some work poorly
2) the ceiling of the lobby of the university of michigan's museum of natural history where we had an after hours event
3) a late lunch of jap che and bi him bap with my daughter at bell's diner. you can see us in the mirror and a sign of spring hanging above. i have one just like it at home.
4) i love my pug's shadow. i wish i could get it without the sidewalk cracks so you can really see his curly tail
5) my daughter was in my office and arranged my fruit to let me know how she felt about her organic chemistry exam
6) my daughter came downstairs to excitedly explain an organic chemistry eureka moment to me using her whiteboard, which really just confused me and lulled me to sleep. you can see my pug is alarmed that she is invading our space
7) old iron fence shadows
8) lunch at the lunchroom in kerrytown, loved our bahn mi sandwiches

Walking back from lunch this week I overheard someone say to another person, “We’re lucky it’s so warm out today!” Moments later someone else smiled at me and said, “Nice day!” The same day my outdoor running buddy, whom I have not run with since October, texted me, “Want to run tomorrow morning?”

So by now you have deduced the weather here in Michigan has changed. It’s sunny and…30 degrees outside! No NOT Celsius. That’s good old American 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may think we are a sad and uncivilized lot here in the mid western United States. Uncivilized? Yes. Sad? No. We are HAPPY. It’s balmy! The snow is melting! We are on the other side!

Also making me happy this week:
1. The Detroit Tiger’s Baseball home opener is March 31, a week from tomorrow. Ernie Harwell announcing Tiger’s games on WJR radio was the background to my childhood summers. And even though Ernie Harwell is no longer announcing, listening to a Tiger’s game on the radio while making dinner is better than a glass of wine (and even better WITH a glass of wine). Winter is over friends: the boys of summer are back.

2. Kumail Nanjiani. I was thinking of this episode of Portlandia when I was looking into our cell phone plan this week…Anyone who has a cell phone plan will be able to relate, but may not find it funny.

3. I loved, LOVED, Adam Savage’s (of MythBusters fame) story on the Moth podcast about talking to his kids about online pornography. I was a little worried at first…but he nailed it. No pun intended. (Naughty!)

4. What made me happy about these rejection letters to famous people published by Mental Floss (by the way, greatest magazine, a subscription is a great gift for any nerdy person) is that in fact I found most of them to be very kind. May we all be so kind in our rejections.

5. Finally saw the movie, The Desendants. I loved it, despite the fact that I watched it with my mother who made a disapproving noise whenever anyone dropped an f-bomb, and there were about 3,456 f-bombs dropped throughout the film.
I love movies and books that begin with characters you really don’t like at all, and then slowly their humanity and vulnerability are revealed as you watch them evolve into better people.

6. It makes me happy that I finally finished Donna Tartt’s, The Goldfinch. Emphasis on FINISHED. Powered through nearly 800 pages waiting for someone in this book to redeem him or herself. Waited to care about someone. Still waiting.

Yes, I know. I read Stephen’s King’s review in the New York Times where he states, “The Goldfinch” is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind.”

And yes, I also heard NPR’s Maureen Corrigan’s review. “The Goldfinch far exceeds the expectations of those of us who’ve been waiting on Tartt to do something extraordinary again, ever since her debut novel, The Secret History, came out in 1992. Hell, I feel like I’ve been waiting for a novel like this to appear not only since I read The Secret History, but also since I first read David Copperfield.”

Wish I would have read Brit Peter Kemp’s review in the Sunday Times before being seduced by Corrigan and King. “Outdoing even The Little Friend, famously a decade in the writing, The Goldfinch has taken 11 years to appear. These epic gestations are attributed by awed Tartt admirers and devotees of websites such as Donna Tartt Shrine to uncompromising perfectionism. “It’s because of perfectionism that man walked on the moon and painted the Sistine Chapel, OK? Perfectionism is good,” she has stressed. But it’s hard to spot much of it in this ineptly put-together book….Melodrama and sentimentality abound (Pippa, “like a fairy” in a gauzy green dress, is a particularly fey fabrication). Similar-seeming formulations recur. One character is “like an elegant weasel”, another like “an elegant…polar bear”, a third has an “elegant black-clad body like a python”.

For me, alarms went off early on when Tartt uses the phrase, “tugged on his sleeve”. Any respectable high school English teacher would justifiably CHOKE a student who used that cliché in her writing.

7. Feeling happy that I got my irritation with The Goldfinch off my chest. Thank you. And consider yourself warned.

Happy, happy week to you!

Advertisements

080313tomatoes

080313screensaver

080313finnyshoes

080313jensrecipe

080313cookies

08.03.13 whats making me happy this week

080313battlecreeklibrary

080313.policeboxcake

photos:
1. first tomatoes
2. photo my daughter used for a screen saver…on my unsuspecting husband’s laptop.
3. finnegan cuddling up with our smelly shoes
4. my sister’s handwritten (love) recipe and the last of her bean and rice salad
5. cornflake marshmallow cookies
6. hibiscus
7. mid century library staircase
8. dr. who phonebox cake

What a week! Home from a trip to visit my brother’s family in Virginia, my son’s 16th birthday and too short visit from my dear friend Cathy. In addition to all of that BIG happiness, here are some little things that are making me happy thing week:

1. Our first tomatoes from our garden make me happy!

2. My daughter, who makes me laugh a lot, makes me happy. (Also we fight a lot.) You can see (above) the kind of desktop photos she puts on any unattended laptops when she has the chance. She was recently sitting across from me as we both “worked” on our laptops. She laughed aloud and said ‘This meme reminds me of you.‘I tried to login to my iPad, turns out it was an etch a sketch and I don’t even own an iPad, also, I’m out of wine.’”
Do you think I’m a good role model?

3. My puppy. He likes to sleep among shoes. I think because they smell like us. Lucky for him, my family provides ample opportunity for him to sleep among smelly shoes!

4. Summer salads. I love them for their use of produce, freshness and mix of flavors. Three of our staples include my sister’s bean and rice salad pictured above, Giada De Laurentiis’ Mediterranean Farro Salad and this panzenlla salad.

I also tried this tomato and watermelon salad from shutterbean.com and it was like eating a big bowl of summer!

5. Speaking of shutterban recipes…tracy’s Cornflake Marshmallow Cookies are pretty amazing. In fact they are too amazing. It will be awhile before I can make these again because they are so darn good, both baked and raw! I made one batch one night and then immediately had to make another the next day and then I had to make myself stop. So, so yummy.

6.The hibiscus are finally blooming in this part of the world.

7. Libraries make me happy, particularly this mid-century modern one pictured above, where I spend my time when my son volunteers at a zoo about an hour away from our house.

8. Comedian Jim Gaffigan. We just saw him at Meadowbrook Theater, near my mother’s house. He has two stand up specials on Nextflix and just published a book called, “Dad is Fat.”

9. The Dr. Who phone box cake above that my daughter made for her friend who loves Dr. Who.

When my daughter delivered it, her friend’s 11 year old brother, who loves my daughter, asked her, “Wanna look at baby animal pictures with me?” Yep. That’s how we grow our men in Ann Arbor. Love.

10. And speaking of growing men. I am excited by this new project by Jennifer Siebel The Mask You Live In, about the very restrictive and destructive models of manhood that our society presents to our sons. If you haven’t seen Jen Siebel’s Miss Representation, about girls in the media, please see it. It’s not just for women, or parents of daughters. We showed this on our campus last year to a large crowd of male and female students and there was clapping and cheering at the end by all genders. See it. Please. It has a hopeful ending!

11. These capri yoga/active wear pants my sister sent to me. At first I thought they were Lulu Lemon, because my sis is all about Lulu Lemon and because they were so quality…but no, they are from Old Navy! = affordable! I love them. She says they are her favs.

12. Something about the song Royales by Lordes makes me happy…it’s a great workout jam. Turn it up…even louder. I know I will be sick of it in a month…

13. Also this song, We Are Flowers sung by Eef Barzelay from the band Clem Snide).

14. It makes me happy when a story stops me in my tracks, transports me, and then haunts me for days after, as happened when I heard Ron Rush read his short story, “Something Rich and Strange,” from his collection of short stories Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Happy week to you! Watch Jim Gaffigan on Netflix, he will make you laugh!

What making me happy this week 06.07.13

060713nasturtiums

060713ingridtruck

060713handandhand

060713basil

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.

052513dandiescape2

052513dandiescaping

052513dandihelp

052513finnypouting

052513finnyhelp

a day in my life: torturing the pets

photos:
1. Dandelion, trying to escape from the pool
2. Escape attempt 2
3. A rescue? Can you hear him yelling, “hellllllp me!”
4. Finnegan gets upset when I pay attention to Dandelion
5. Finnegan gets upset when he is carried away toward the humiliating new pool
6. Dandelion’s usual pose: A prickly ball.

It was a beautiful Saturday here in Ann Arbor. My husband is staying with his parents this weekend to help care for his mother with Alzheimer’s disease. We will be spending some time there this weekend and sometime at my mother’s house. We are indeed the sandwich generation, but how lucky we are to live close enough to our parents to help if and when they need it.

My son was gone all day at his new job, mowing lawns. He is 15, too young to work most places. Part of me feels like he will have his whole life to work, maybe this is too soon, but I see how proud he is of himself. He seemed pretty happy when he came home, so I guess…

This morning I went for what I call a run, most others would call a trudge. Afterward, I met some friends for lunch at No Thai! (the owner’s name is No). Not my favorite restaurant, but it’s a tradition with this particular group. No Thai! is in Kerrytown, the busiest place in Ann Arbor on Saturday mornings Spring – Fall. It seems as if all of Ann Arbor is at the farmer’s market, and/or Zingerman’s Deli. It felt good sit outside in the sunshine, with friends, in the midst of it all. After that it was home to plant basil, tomatoes and nasturtiums while the pet torturing took place.

I am not the pet torturer. Usually, I am the one being tortured by the pets. My dear doggie, Finnegan, will sit outside the bathroom door and cry as if his heart is broken, never to heal, so full of grief is he at having a closed door between us. You say sweet. I say annoying.

My daughter was the pet torturer today. I recently tried to replace Finnegan’s cracked Tubtrug pool (no, I don’t get reimbursed or sponsored by this or any other product, but I LOVE these Tubtrugs). They only had smaller-sized Tubtrugs at the store, but I was certain Finny would fit. My daughter was dubious. She was right. He sat in it once today and water spilled out along with rolls of his flarb. He looked humiliated, hopped out and would not go near it again….until forced later, by my daughter.

My daughter was cleaning her hedgehog’s cage and thought Dandelion might like a swim. Dandelion does swim, but he did not seem to enjoy it. He doesn’t enjoy much. It was nice to see his face for a change. And his wee little legs and feet!

Dandi’s swimming adventure only lasted a minute. My daughter will stick to bathing him in the sink in warmer water, which he still hates.

Next she decided to try Finny in his new pool again. Do you see the look he was giving me over her shoulder as she carried him to the too-small pool? The same one Dandi was giving me when he was being lifted out of the cold water, “Help me!”

back in the hammock

May 15, 2013

051513sassyhammock051513hammocktreesback in the hammock

We have had a hammock in our backyard forever. I think it started as a first father’s day gift to my husband, which is a mean joke since he is the person in our family who uses it least.

We usually have to buy a new hammock each year, as the squirrels have a great fondness for chewing the rope to bits. Our current hammock is up for the season and is going on its third summer. Haha squirrels! One point for the humans! (Though it’s likely the squirrels may be avoiding it because it’s made from some unknown toxic substance so maybe, Haha humans!)

I cannot stand to just lie in a hammock, and say, nap, or read. I am not wired that way. I used to give my kids terror rides in it when they were little, which they have loved. (I am wired that way.)

Every now and then, over the years, someone says to another, “Want to go lie in the hammock?” And on warm summer night at midnight, they lie in the hammock, side by side holding hands, or head to foot, always complaining of the foot, listening to far off sirens and dogs barking and doors closing in our little town, trying to see stars through the heavy canopy of the giant maple that hold one end of the hammock.

Usually the two in the hammock would be my daughter and me.

Last August, on a very emotional morning when she said goodbye to her little bedroom, house, backyard, town and family for her first year away from home, the last thing we did before she left was to lie together in the hammock, side by side, holding hands.
That was hard. She was so sad and so uncertain.

And look at her now. She conquered her freshman year and all of the challenges it threw at her, which were many. She made the dean’s list both semesters. She sang, studied science, made new friends and learned what it’s like to attend a very small college (1,200) in a very small town.

And now she is home.

And we are back in the hammock. Side by side.

033013happycard

033013minestrone
What’s making me happy this week 03.30.13: photos, a pickpocket, and sarcastic waitresses

photos:
1. happy card from my daughter
2. minestrone soup
3. Owen Was Here facebook page: Beautiful Detroit

Here’s what’s making me happy this week:

1. A homemade card from my daughter. I love that girl.

2. Minestrone soup. So easy to make and so delicious topped with parmesean and fresh basil. I’m not sure what the definition of superfood is, but I think this might be this.

3. My community college photography class. I will be sorry when it ends, even though I’m pretty sure I’m the worst in the class.

4. …speaking of photography, the Owen was Here facebook page is making me happy. Daily, beautiful, photos of Detroit and Detroiters– refreshing to see Detroit featured in something other than “ruin porn.”

5. Dinner at my friend Suzanne’s house made by her spouse who loves to cook. Beef bourguignon (yes, I did have to look up the correct spelling for that one)– Tres magnifique! As was the company.

6. I’m not sure that I can say Apollo Robbins is making me happy …but he sure is intriguing! I first heard him on NPR’s Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! But he was recently featured in the New Yorker, which I read after hearing him on WWDTM. He is a Las Vegas performer who goes by the subtitle: Gentleman Thief. He is a pickpocket who robs people on stage, even though they know that is exactly what he is going to do. He takes their wallets, scarves, keys, watches, cell phones…and he explains in many videos how he does it.

7. Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me…that show always makes me laugh.

8. Getting warmer and sunny here finally! Snow is GONE.

9. …speaking of sun…Ritchie Haven’s version of Here Comes the Sun is making me happy. (The intro is long, stick with it!)

And I say, it’s alright.

10. breakroomstories.com (where restaurant workers post the good, the bad and the ugly stories and photo from the field…) Some of it is raunchy, but a lot of it is very funny.
Be sure to look at the “tip jar” photos.
Sample Post:
Me: “Hi, I’m Megan, I’ll be your waitress tonight.”
Customer: “Well, hi, I’m Joe and I’ll be your customer for tonight”
Oh, the laughs that were had. ._.
-Megan

I love Megan!


030713holmviking
030713holmtealights
030713holmnails

photos: 1) http://www.salvagesisters.co.uk/?p=1429 2) http://ampersandvintagemodern.wordpress.com/tag/cathrineholm/ 3) http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-cathrineholm-candleholders.html 4) http://s3-media1.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/NjgBIv58GhRNTngth5_qgw/l.jpg

Ah mid century, Scandinavian design, durability plus happy, happy color. Sigh. I would marry Catherineholm if she were a person. (But she’s not…and I’m married, so…Can you tell I’ve been thinking about this?)

I do not yet own a piece of vintage Catherineholm enamelware, but that day is soon coming (as is my birthday, followed by mother’s day, and I do like that red coffeepot).

In the meantime I delight in photos, so send me yours if you have any! (photos or cookware)