wednesday (june 20):
-up at 5:30a for flight. arrived at DTW early. all went well. we went from about 65F in halifax to 90+F in detroit. ew.
-drove to dearborn for a visit with moomoo (my moms mom). X was very curious and sweet. then she wanted to go out and play on the playground in high heat (she so cannot self-regulate when to slow down and come inside yet). we went to shawarma place (on michigan ave) for lunch. pretty tasty, cheap food. got dessert at iversens bakery.
(moomoo blowing bubbles for X)
-drove to clarkston. X napped in the car.
-arrived at daves parents house just as the movers were leaving the driveway with the bulk of their household items. did i mention daves parents sold their clarkston house...the one we got married at? yes, they were to be totally out of the house by sunday. :( X instantly began exploring the lake and empty house. such a huge adventure. she was very social with grandma, which was cute. we spent the day watching her eat black raspberries from the bushes, catch frogs, scoop algae, go barefoot, get wet in the lake...the typical michigan summer childhood experiences.
(lake fun with grandma; at some point she started offering algae sandwiches to everyone.)
-went to our clarkson b&b, the mill pond inn. its right on main street in downtown, a nice place with flowers outside for X and a friendly hostess. we got dinner takeout from the clarkston union and ate outside our b&b at the table in the yard. dave and grandma and X went to the towns playground afterward. she was FILLED with energy despite the lack of sleep and heat!
thursday (june 21):
-X up early (7:30a, after going to sleep at 9:30p. ugh.)
-had a chatty breakfast with our nice hosts
-went to the whipps house for lake play with grandma (X could NOT wait to get there in the morning). grandma/pa babysat while dave and i picked up lunch at brionis (i was shocked X took to grandpa so easily this trip. she totally flipped a switch in terms of socializing in the last few weeks). she even did bubbles with grandpa!
-went to visit great-grandma ohara. we surprised her and she loved it. she and X had a great time looking at family photos together.
-drove to great lakes crossing mall to stock up on jcrew shorts in bulk for dave, i ran through my sections of jcrew and banana republic and then i had to get out of the mall. dave and X explored the bass pro store. she loved their huge fish tank and the ducks. on the drive home we hit a thunderstorm. cool! dave was happy.
-back at the whipp house, dave and i sifted through daves boxes of childhood memories/keepsakes to determine what we would take with us. hilarious. i love looking at that kind of stuff. then, daves high school friends paul and ryan came over with their kids (and pauls expectant wife, carla). the 5 kids had a great time and everyone was so well behaved and sweet.
(lily telling X "this is my juice box and that is yours")
-X in bed at 10p. long day!
friday (june 22):
-grumpy morning! a tired and hungry X for breakfast in the morning was not pleasant.
-to grandma/pas for lake play. while they watched her, dave and i ran up to target to stock up on socks and underwear. so sad really, we dropped almost $100! then grabbed brionis again for lunch. X seems now TOTALLY as ease with grandma and grandpa. it may seem like a weird remark, but she has, until this trip, been so iffy with people, even her relatives. it was great to see that she has turned a corner. and now we are sad to see the clarkston lake house go.
-drove to birmingham. parked at friend phils house and walked into downtown (he was at work). my, that town has changed. it seemed to me that the place is bursting with new boutiques and eateries. as usual, the town felt very upscale, and we very much did not fit in. i can see why we trolled around there in high school, but its so not my scene anymore. then we went over to poppleton park to play until phil got home from work. we got to meet quincy, his new dog. so adorable. and phil and bree (his girlfriend) did a bbq dinner for us.
saturday (june 23):
-got NY bagels for breakfast. yum!
-played at booth park on old woodward. really awesome playground.
-drove to royal oak. this town is more my scene, but still not quite...and it was never a real haunt of mine. we hit astoria bakery and royal oak brewery for lunch.
-drove to the renaissance center (aka ren cen) in detroit and checked in to our hotel. a 46th floor room facing the city. detroit really is something to see, and not to be ragged on nearly as much as it is. X was in HEAVEN watching the people mover track below. insta-babysitter. then we went down to the river walk and explored the river days festivities. so fun! the gorgeous water, views, fountain, and fair all brought downtown detroit alive and it really felt like a glorious city. we need to take advantage of it more in the future. it was a very hot and sunny day but for the amount of time we were out we had a great time.
(detroit river walk and river days fair fun!)
-wedding. i headed off to sarah rineharts wedding while dave went off for a solo night with X (it was an adults only wedding). the ceremony was outside at hart plaza, the reception at the top of the ren cen. it was so cool and so brave to have guests at such a public, outdoor location. it totally worked though. the bride was stunning. the woman has the body of a ballerina, the face of an angel, and a heart of gold. ive never heard her judge others, though shes quite hard on herself. she is so kind and open. she always makes you feel welcome, loved and important. i am so happy she found her man and i wish them all the happiness in the world. and more selfishly, im so happy i had her and the entire crew of people i winter swam with to weave into my childhood. im a better person because of them, really. i caught up with at least 5 of that crew at the wedding. two were moms who i saw last summer and love, great to share parenting stories with them. another one was dear, precious erin. she and i bonded, randomly and post-childhood, in ann arbor when sarahs job brought her to town and erin went to UM law. we all started having dinner together regularly and it was fantastic. erin is always bubbly, upbeat yet honest, and has an infectious energy. she always makes me feel like she cares about me more than i deserve and i just love being around her. needless to say, being at the wedding was a wonderful, memorable experience. plus, those people always restore my faith in humanity. there really are people like them in the world and from time to time the stars align to let me bask in the glow of their awesomeness (side note: X and dave had a blast without me. they rode the people mover, ate lamb shank in greektown, had a bath, and she went to bed easily. win!).
(beautiful bride and her father)
sunday (june 24):
-left the ren cen hotel for the zoo. we stopped at NY bagel again on the way. we got waved into the back because i saw phils dad. total VIP moment. lol. it was very nice to say hi to him.
-at the zoo we met up with the eatons (chuck and georgette and lily). then paul and lily (pauls daughter) showed up. it was hot, sunny, and as expected the going was slow with toddlers. i had assumed this would happen but in the heat i really wasnt digging it. plus, i forgot that the zoo is so sprawling (not at all like the shubenacadie or brevard zoos weve been to lately). i was dog tired and drenched in sweat by the time we made it back to the car. it was nice that big lily (pauls daughter) and X got to play and wanted to go in the same direction (miraculously), and it was lovely to finally meet smiley little lily (georgettes daughter). next time i see her she will be walking. :( such is life.
(zoo fun with big lily and little lily)
-drove to ann arbor. had a picnic at argo pond with my dads side of the family. the weather held up for us (it was supposed to storm)! it was still a hot day there, but we had some shade. argo had just opened a newly developed area called "the cascades". it was really well thought out and seemed like the canoe/raft rental was hopping! in a few years when the landscape matures it will be really gorgeous. well done ann arbor!
(X, me, grand-pappy and dave)
(my lovely cousin linnea took these pics. as always i love them. thanks lsd.photography!)
-popped over for a visit with lily (third lily of the day!), ercan, and baby everett. so nice. they always make me feel more peaceful and grounded when i leave their house. X was about at the end of her rope (and i fear we riled everett up too) so we couldnt stay long but they were extremely understanding and helpful and took all the pressure off, as usual. i hope next visit we can be fresh the first time we see them.
-checked in to our hotel in the UM league (didnt know, previously, that there was a hotel there). on the drive in, campus looked more fancy and refined than ever, and as always they are still expanding and constructing new things. once settled, i went out alone for takeout from amers. ann arbor completes me. from the feel of campus grass under my feet, to the young people oozing into the streets, top of the park jamming away, the pace of traffic and pedestrians, and the unique shops (which, sadly, are changing on me here as well). i love the place. its in my veins. when ive been away too long i need the recharge and i got it, even during this short walk for my favorite sandwich. thank you ann arbor. THIS is where i belong in michigan. i hope it always feels like a sort of "home".
monday (june 25):
-got brueggers bagels for breakfast
-went to county farm park. AWESOME playground. depressing that i was not aware of this park when we lived in aa.
(county farm park playground)
-went to the BP gas station nearby and watched a building being demolished. good timing.
-went to trader joes. swoon. pangs of jealousy every time i enter that place.
-lunch at j garden. of course! lentils and falafels are the bestest!
-hit up the childrens section of the downtown library with friends missy and lonnie for a short visit. it was nice of them to find time for us even with a very busy monday in progress.
-walked to kerrytown and got raspberry sorbet from zingermans. yum.
-did the playground at wheeler park (near caseys tavern). friend julie met us there. i love her energy and the genuine conversations we can have.
-drove up with julie (dave and X walked) to campus. met lily and ercan and everett on a blanket near the diag. great idea. sarah and little madelyn came for a bit and it was nice to see how big miss m has gotten. definitely a fashionista. so funny how different little personalities can be. X was more interested in making julie laugh, in fact both girls seemed very drawn to julie. so cute. got amers for dinner again.
(picnic with friends and babies!)
-left the picnic playdate and went to underground printing for some local shirts. what a cool store. we had steve and barrys during college but this store is way better. really nice shirts. we also went to insomnia cookies, decent but weird to have so much store space to sell a variety of about a dozen cookies.
tuesday (june 26):
-got brueggers bagels for breakfast again
-went to downtown ann arbor library but missed the toddler story time. happily though, we were able to meet up with jen and her little girl piper.
-jen and piper came with us to eberwhite schools playground. the huge wooden structures would have been bad ass if the playground hadnt been in full 90+ degree sun. blah!
(piper was high fiving X. adorable.)
-got btb burritos for lunch. drool!
-drove to moomoos in dearborn again. did we see a huge drug bust along the highway on the way there? its possible. visited with moomoo and had X burn off the last of her steam on the playground before heading to the airport.
-traveled home. the DTW airport was busy for a tuesday evening! had an easy flight home. done!
** link to the full picasa album of our trip **
** link to the picasa album of my cousins pics **
things that really stuck out to us this time: how huge the roads are (how wide and how plentiful they are). the massive amounts of truck traffic. the muggy, sunny, stormy weather. the feeling in the air is so different from halifax (the pace of life, as well as weather-wise. its weird, because halifax is humid but almost always its a cool humid that chills you to the bone, michigan doesnt seem to have cool humid but the water drips off every pore in the summer!). how obscenely cheap the food is, especially at restaurants.
i think i say it every time, but every time im back i feel how much ive changed. and it colors my impressions of things so much. it also makes changes other people have undergone seem very abrupt, it can be a disorienting experience. just another downer about having moved away, every time you come back you recalibrate to the current reality of the place you are coming back to and you will have to do the same thing over and over again each time you come back.
i think im done mourning the loss of what life in michigan was like. i will likely never live in a place that is surrounded by old friends. this doesnt have to depress me. it is what it is. wishing or comparing is also counterproductive. i can simply appreciate the benefits of old stomping grounds when i come back to michigan and focus on the positives of life away when im away. i think i can work on that dichotomy a little more these days. i feel better about things than i did last time we visited at least!