Last weekend was commencement weekend at UM and the photo above was my view on Friday at the Ross School Commencement ceremonies at Hill Auditorium. As a “townie” (or local Ann Arborite), this means that as students leave for the summer everything is a little less crowded, parking is easier to find, and – hopefully – we’re able to slow down just a little and enjoy the more relaxed pace of the summer months. I love my job, I love my (work) team, and I’m happy to call Ann Arbor home!
I have so much to be thankful for; we had the pleasure of spending our Thanksgiving holiday with family in Texas this year, as well as visiting our dear friends Jen and Walter and their family. We had our traditional giant mound of mashed potatoes, as well as other sides and desserts, and Steve and Deb were kind enough to make not one, but two turkeys for our feast – one brined and roasted and one fried. I have to say that I think my highlight of the day was when Tina so kindly fed Deb her cocktail so that she could continue to cook while she enjoyed her beverage – teamwork! We had so much fun playing games and visiting with family and friends and even had time to stop by a local brewery, Franconia Brewing Company, for a tour and tasting before we left. I hope you enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious treats and wonderful memories that you’ll hold dear for years to come! You can view more photos from our holiday weekend here.
Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds? Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? Paul Varjak: Sure. Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! – from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Suddenly, it’s October; it seems as though it snuck up on me somehow. Ryan did an artist talk at Savannah College of Art & Design this week and our friend, Lisa Waud, is doing this amazing project and was featured on Martha Stewart…hey, I know them! In other news, the fall weather is still really beautiful here and there’s definitely that cool, crisp, fall nip in the air; I’m just itching to turn on our fireplace for the first time this season and I might just have to do that over the weekend. I’m loving Oktoberfest this time of the year (Wolverine and Great Lakes make a good one!) and the amazing selection of antique apples here in Michigan too – we picked up an assorted bag of them at a local grocery store the other day. Finally, I wish you all a very happy college football weekend…unless you’re routing for Baylor, in which case I really hope you lose (go Red Raiders, wreck ’em Tech)!
We took a camping trip over the weekend and visited Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio; the scenery was nice, the company was great (first time camping with Melody and we had friends join us too), and the weather even cooperated. I did really enjoy most of the hiking and my personal favorite spot we hiked into was Ash Cave (you can view a short video I took here). And then there was the part where I crawled on all fours up the “stairs” (more like well-placed rocks with no railing along a cliff), ate “breadsticks” (hot dog buns with garlic butter and melted cheese) and pizza out of the back of our car in a parking lot, witnessed some very questionable fashion choices (the mullet to end all mullets is out there…I know, because I saw it in Ohio), and saw a man driving down the highway with his left leg dangling out the side of his Jeep as if that was how everyone drives a Jeep…totally normal…nothing to see here… My co-worker shared this with me this morning, which had me laughing so hard I almost cried. You can view more photos from our trip here.
We enjoyed a fun holiday weekend at home this year – complete with the wonderful company of friends on the 4th, a game of Horse at our neighborhood park, bag toss in the yard, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, apple pie, and sparklers!
Melody was ready for the holiday in her red and white striped collar and 4th of July bandana – and I like to think that the hot dog cookie we gave her tasted extra special because she ate it on the 4th. After all the excitement, she was a ready for a nap. I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!
On Sunday, rather than taking a bike ride or heading to the park for some paddleboat fun, we decided to start working on our basement stairs; the old and ugly green carpet is gone and the treads are all sanded now, next step will be to stain, seal, and paint…more to come on that.
Thanks to our dear friends, Mo and Adrian, for the fun package we received in the mail and to Ryan for surprising me with a gorgeous Polaroid camera, it was a pretty fantastic weekend; presents and fresh iced tea and strawberry mint infused sparkling water…oh my!
It was a very productive weekend at our house too – we’re in the process of having some work done in our basement and after Ryan removed the built-in shelves that were previously there, we managed to successfully make a trip to IKEA for some more basement storage (to quote my wonderful neighbor, Emily, “our love survived a trip to IKEA” and if you haven’t seen this you should watch it for a laugh); we also got our washer and dryer back up and running (they had to be moved to make room for the sump pump that was just installed) – it may not seem all that exciting, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference!
In the process of cleaning the house yesterday, Ryan decided it was a good time to go ahead and rip off and throw out all of the really old, really ugly, green carpet that was on our basement stairs; that was the last of the carpet to go and I say good riddance – I’m so excited to see our basement once we get it all done and am looking forward to the possibilities! Our garage door opener just stopped working too, but we’re having it fixed tomorrow. Owning a home can be a lot of work, and it may not be perfect, but it’s ours and we love it!
Rather than showing you the remnants of old dryer tubing, built in shelves, and really old, really ugly, green carpet Ryan just ripped off basement stairs, I’ll leave you with this photo from our neighborhood walk on Sunday morning…
Guess what we did on Friday afternoon last weekend? A whole lot of nothing, that’s what, and it was wonderful – we just sat out on our patio and enjoyed it; although Melody seemed skeptical about us removing her little patch of grass in this area, I think she’s coming around and warming up to it.
We got plenty of rain on Saturday afternoon and a bit on Sunday as well and in between rain storms we managed to pick up and put out most of our 17 bags of mulch, the rest of which we’ll surely get to this week. I also took the opportunity to cut some of our garden roses and put them in vases around the house; they smell pretty amazing!
And the award for cutest fist bump last week goes to little E – super baby fist bump power!
It actually snowed here this last week, but my dear friend Jennifer Reedy had this to say and it’s so beautiful and so quotable that I wanted to pass it along: “It was such a soft April snow. So vulnerable that most of it would collapse and dissolve into the earth almost immediately, so fragile it would be obliterated instantly upon contact with warm skin. So delicate and so very fleeting, I thought it beautiful and poignant. These clusters of snowflakes cascading down from the clouds that bore them, with only that brief journey through the atmosphere to exist within. It seemed a little sad, but also peaceful. No part of me felt anything at all akin to “ugh” while watching it. Things begin and things end, and we are at that crossroad in a season of change. So don’t fret Val, spring cannot be stopped now. Vibrant colors have burst forth by way of flowers blooming and the buds are growing every day on the trees and shrubs, as you know.”
Unrelated, but this had me laughing – it’s important to remember…things could always be worse…you could be dead on Mars.
It’s wonderful to witness the change in seasons – with the arrival of spring blooms and signs of growth all around, the sunshine seems somehow extra special this time of year. Our forsythia is blooming, and I see that our lilacs will bloom soon too which I find myself looking forward to each spring. They even had some beautiful pink peonies, which I was happy to take home with me, at the grocery store this week; I’m hoping the peony we planted last spring will come back this year (fingers crossed).
Even my purple shamrock is blooming…