Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random Five Friday ~ July 26

Hosted by Nancy from A Rural Journal

Here are a  few things that made me smile this week.

1. Lemon Sugar Crepes - light and fluffy and tart, from Le Petit Zinc. And their coffee was heaven, although it gave me the jitters! I love the little courtyard; its a tiny garden oasis within the city of Detroit.


2.  A walk in the park with my husband and my dog Penny. Penny, a mild mannered English Setter, is usually a lazy bones unless outside. I had forgotten how excited she gets when around wild birds, and took her to a park with ducks and geese. She pulled me around the place in her quest to hunt and kill.

3.  Book Club with my friends. 

4.  A nice afternoon at Greenfield Village, which was started by Henry Ford. I love the Cotswold Cottage; you can have tea there!


5. Blueberry picking with my friend Jennifer and her son. We have been going together for 5 years. The first year her son was only a year and a half old! It was a wet and misty morning, and I didn't take any photos. Although I know they would have been beautiful, and I regret it. We followed our morning up with lunch at a restaurant overlooking a small harbor, where I had my first Summer Shandy of the season.

How was your week?

Eastern Market Mornings

Midsummer ~ a magical time of the year in my mind. The world is lush and full of life.  Midsummer you will find me traipsing local art fairs, wearing cut off shorts and running around barefoot, swimming, and enjoying as much time as I can outside.  I also like to take advantage of all the fruit that is readily around me.

One of the best parts of summer is the abundant availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. The premier destination in Detroit and the surrounding area, in my opinion, is Eastern Market.

You may not know that Detroit is laid out hub and spoke style (like a wheel), with a main central park, or circus, with main roads shooting off like spokes.  I have heard that this was developed for farmers, that their farms would be along one of the main spokes and they could just follow it straight to the center for the market. I am not sure if this is true or not, but I like the idea of it.

Detroit's Eastern Market has been in business in its present location since 1891. It is funny to think as I walk about it, perusing the local harvests at my fingertips, that it existed 122 years ago, providing the same service. Nowadays the produce is delivered by truck, when originally it would have been horse drawn carts. But I guess it is all considered horsepower - we are the motor city after all. (excuse the bad pun!)

When my husband and I head down, we always pop in to Astoria Bakery in Greektown for a coffee and a pastry.

My favorite is the Strawberry Danish.

Full up on sugar and caffeine, we wander about the riot of color, smell, and sound. 

And when we get hungry again, there are a plethora of food choices, between the restaurants that ring the market, the food vendors under the sheds such as The People's Pierogi and Good Girls Go To Paris, to the food trucks that pull up on the sidewalk right outside.I personally always opt for the food trucks,  and the two food trucks I like best: the Mac Shack and El Guapo. El Guapo has gourmet meat and vegetarian options with cool movie inspired names, and the Mac Shack changes the face of macaroni and cheese. It's not your average box of Kraft noodles and cheese, that is for sure. ( Although, there is nothing wrong with Kraft Mac)

My suggestion: The Aloha, Mr. Hand with tofu 
Billy's suggestion: The Pork Belly Confit

My suggestion: The Papa Smurf
Billy's suggestion: Cheech's Trip

One thing is for certain, Eastern Market is good for the soul, and for the stomach. 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Random 5 Friday

This is my first time participating, how fun!

1. Last night, I watched Streetcar Named Desire with my friends. I had been hoping for some steamy weather for the viewing, and received a heat wave instead! Temperatures this week have been around 103 degrees with the heat index. Very hot for Michigan! And Marlon Brando was super hot in that movie, although his character was not a good one.

2. My nephew had surgery this week. Poor buddy. He was born with some special needs, and had surgery to help with a few of them. I am hoping he feels better very soon, but it is going to be tough for him to wear a full leg cast for 6 weeks in the middle of summer.

3.  Sunday I went out with a long time friend to the DIA to see a movie. We saw Augustine, and..are still processing it. Afterwards we went to the Sugar House, a favorite of ours. We washed that movie right out of our brains. I of course had the Havana Sour, while she enjoyed the Part and Parcel.

4. Last Saturday I had the best day with my husband, my brother and sister-in-law canoeing. We canoed together 6 miles, with a few mishaps but lots of laughing. We followed the trip up with drinks at a few local breweries. 

5.  I have been getting ready all week long for my photography show on August 10th! It is a lot of work, but I am really excited - and nervous!! This is one I am thinking about including, a beach scene from Ocean Beach in California. 

A Very Hot Day

She hated this kind of heat - still, unmoving, itchy, like walking through tall weeds in shorts and flip-flops. She was the kind of lunatic who visited New Orleans and Savannah in August and didn't blink, but the heat this week was a different story.

It was the kind of day where you wanted to find the coolest spot you could, somewhere dark, where you could wait the heat out with ice cold plums from the fridge, and a pitcher of iced tea with lots of lemon, and a copy of The Secret Garden. Naps are sure to occur. Maybe instead of iced tea, she wanted strawberry champagne served in a coupe, but that would have to wait until the sun went down, and she would emerge from her nest into the nightfall, the day turning to night, not as hot. But there wasn't a chance of leaving before then; better to stay where she was, in her soft from so many washes t-shirt dress, no shoes. Especially on a day like this, when a cat lying in a patch of sun had more motivation.

Yes, better to stay where she was. Waiting for the sun to go down, reading and dreaming quietly, until the night and she could rejoin the world, alive in the cooling twilight.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Do we Americans truly understand Freedom?

Freedom. As our country celebrates the day of our collective independence 237 years later, what does freedom really mean? We aren’t the only country to enjoy freedom per say. Our western counterparts retain many of the same freedoms that we Americans possess. We Americans are truly a unique breed. We are loved and hated all in the same breath. So why do we feel we hold exclusive title? Why are we synonymous with freedom and independence?

As I fetter away on my keyboard, many families from many walks of life, rich and poor, immigrants (legal and illegal), are preparing food, drinks, and activities to celebrate our country, communally, with family and friends. Smells from BBQ grills waif through neighborhoods, shrieks of children playing, fireworks igniting in celebration. We loudly trumpet our independence and freedom and wave our flags as parades march in downtown streets across the country. Do most Americans truly appreciate the day and the meaning or is it just another day off to get a buzz and enjoy a summer’s day?

This country is steeped in tradition of extending freedoms and independence of its people. Passage of the 13th amendment in 1865 to outlaw slavery, the 19th amendment in 1920 enfranchising women, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 all act to promote freedom for its citizens. Each amendment a permanent building block, serving as the foundation of our young tumultuous country. Although, one could argue that our freedoms are being taken away with events like the NSA scandal and increasing pleas for gun control legislation in the forefront. That's a different discussion.


I tend to think our culture has embodied freedom more than any other and that is perhaps why. It is part of our intrinsic framework. Most Americans own cars and have a love affair with road trips and driving. Most of us can recall childhood car trips in all their glory. Echos of "Are we there yet" and wanting to stop at every tourist trap on the road side. We drive everywhere, the vast asphalt road being our guide. We grumble about wanting more affordable mass transportation but in a country as vast as ours, but underlying in our reluctance, I think it undermines our freedom to come and go as we please. We will not be dictated to by a train timetable but we will sit in congested traffic with a Dunkin Donuts coffee in our lap. It’s on our terms though dammit!

So as we all celebrate our liberty today, I hope everyone took a brief moment to honor our forefathers. They seriously had some big balls to do what they did. A few thousand miles of ocean and the several million francs gave a bit of confidence too. But we started as a nation of outcasts and storm bravers and as we sit in our backyard loungers stoking our metal fire pits from Lowe’s this evening, blowing up things, remember millions of citizens have died and continue to fight for our ability to get buzzed and eat too much. And we thank them deeply. It’s the American way and exactly what our forefathers intended.