Michigan

Spring in the D

I wasn’t doing anything today and the SUN WAS SHINING so we – my daughter and I – headed to Midtown for lunch and some shopping. Actually lunch and some browsing because who can afford to buy anything?

There’s just something about Spring in Detroit.

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Look at that sky!

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First stop, shopping at Shinola.

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Browsing at Shinola, but shopping at Shinola sounds better.

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A few more stores and then lunch.

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There are lots of hip new restaurants in Detroit which are getting good press, but we opted for a golden oldie, a tried and true favorite. Plus, it’s right next to Shinola and the cluster of other hip little shops and we were HUNGRY.

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Traffic Jam & Snug’s garden – with a fountain made of an old tub and sink.IMG_2356

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As soon as we settled into our booth I heard the voice of a child coming from the booth behind me: “The best Republican by far,” he declared, “was Abraham Lincoln.”

“You don’t hear much good about Republicans,” he continued, “but I like them.”

Apparently he and his mom are visiting from Manhattan. It was impossible to not hear their conversation.

On the way out of the restaurant he reminded his grandma that she owes him $10, “because I won the poker game.”

He looked eight.

Eight-year-olds make the best lunch companions.

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When the hub walked in the back door after work, he asked the beagle if she had been a good girl. Then he asked me if I had been a good girl.

“No.”

“No?”

“We split a piece of four layer chocolate Kahlua cake with coffee ice cream.”

Speaking of cake. The waiter. Cordial and really handsome. I only mention it because he seemed like the icing on a perfectly lovely day.

We didn’t have the customary cup of decaf to go with our cake because we wanted to try one of the many groovy new Detroit coffeehouses.

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We decided on this one.  Lavender lattes. Yum.

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Then we walked a couple of blocks in the bright sunny air to Will Leather Goods.

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Will donates really nice backpacks to area school children. There’s a couple of walls worth of thank you notes. This one is classic.

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“We liked the inside part and the outside part… Your best friend. Karla”

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Will Leather Goods from the back.

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There’s something reassuring about men working.

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Especially in the Spring when everyone seems happy to be out there.

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Spring in the D. It was a good, shiny day.

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Michigan

Beach & Coffee

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Cafe miel at Madcap – a very pleasant start to a Sunday.

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90 degrees – everyone and their brother was at the beach.

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A refreshing spray on the Grand Haven pier.

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Monday morning cafe miel, this time at Rowster. Delicious.

Rowster - another hip, minimalist coffee shop. It's what we do.

Rowster – another hip, minimalist coffee shop. It’s what we do.

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The beloved blue bridge – pedestrian gateway to relaxation and rejuvenation.

Labor Day weekend in western Michigan – Coffee, beach and some great meals.

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life

A No Diego, Slows & Astro Day

The Diego Rivera exhibit is cheaper if you go on a Friday, but it is impossible to get a parking spot anywhere near the art museum – or anywhere in the city at all – on a weekday.  Every lot, every garage is full.

So after squeezing my Escape through the torn up, road-construction-narrowed streets and failing repeatedly to find a spot, we abandoned our plan and headed to lunch.

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I had been wanting to try this place.  It did not disappoint.

A few doors down was a groovy coffee shop and you know how the daughter and I love the groovy coffee.

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It was while I was eating my half of our sea-salted, hazelnut, chocolate chip cookie and sipping my mocha that Daughter pulled out her phone and had me read this quote:

When we speak of the wife obeying the husband, we normally think of obedience in military or political terms: the husband giving orders, and the wife obeying them. But while this type of obedience may he appropriate in the army, it is ridiculous in the intimate relationship of marriage. The obedient wife does not wait for orders. Rather, she tries to discern her husband’s needs and feelings, and responds in love. When she sees her husband is weary, she encourages him to rest; when she sees him agitated, she soothes him; when he is ill, she nurses and comforts him; when he is happy and elated, she shares his joy. Yet such obedience should not be confined to the wife; the husband should be obedient in the same way. When she is weary, he should relieve her of her work; when she is sad, he should cherish her, holding her gently in his arms; when she is filled with good cheer, he should also share her good cheer. Thus a good marriage is not a matter of one partner obeying the other, but of both partners obeying each other.  – St John Chrysostom 

“Yeah, that’s pretty good,” I said, “but I think he could have just said, ‘Obedience has no place in the intimate relationship of marriage’ and left it at that.  Because good marriages don’t talk about or define mutual respect and consideration, they just naturally do it.”

But being young and not yet married, she liked that someone spelled out the fact that marriage is a two way street.  Because so often godly Christians insist that the only godly street is a one way street.

In the car on the way home she said, “Maybe I shouldn’t urge you to play it so safe in your writing.”

And then she read a quote from Anne Lamott:

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”  – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“Right,” I said, “because the whole beauty of me is that I don’t need to be liked. I’ll still run some of my posts by you for your yawn-o-meter, but I won’t let your people-pleasing nature stifle me anymore.  Someone has to be a voice for the people who think like me, even if we are only 1% of the population.”

Solidarity INFJ sisters.  And brothers.

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life

Coffee Rich

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I woke up one Sunday morning at a camp high atop a mountain in rural western Virginia.  I had arrived in the dark the night before.  We were running late for church so the camp director suggested we all just grab a bowl of cereal from the camp kitchen.

“Oh, that’s okay,” I said, “I’ll just grab something from Starbucks on the way.”

Immediate, spontaneous, uproarious laughter burst forth from the group.  I was confused.

For the next half hour we wound our way down the mountain to a church nestled in the valley below.  We passed small tobacco farms, lovely vistas, a modest home here and there, a few stray dogs, a covered bridge and, finally, a creek.  What we didn’t pass was any business establishment whatsoever.  No gas station, no cafe and certainly no Starbucks.

Turns out, back then, the nearest Starbucks was 100 miles away in Knoxville.  Now I think they have a couple of them in Kingsport and Johnson City – about 45 miles away.

There are 7 Starbucks within a 5 mile radius of my house.  Within those same five miles there is also another coffee chain with a few locations scattered about.  And then there’s Tim Horton’s.  And that really good – and unfortunately really expensive – coffee shop over by the movie theater. One of my favorites is the shop where my daughter and I shared the warm, delicious chai lattes pictured above.  They serve really delicious, really healthy food there, too, but it’s a coffee shop.

So, lots of shops, lots of coffee on my way to church.  On my way to anywhere.  We are coffee rich here in the North.  Maybe we need it more than our Southern friends.  To keep us warm.  It’s going to be another below-zero day today.  Brrrrrrr.

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