Life Replays: Those Sailing Scenes on the Great Lakes

Ain’t talkin’ ’bout love
My love is rotten to the core
Ain’t talkin’ ’bout love
Just like I told you before, yeah before

Alex Van Halen, Edward Van Halen, Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth

Some songs trigger replays or even fantasies. Van Halen‘s Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love is one that places me on any number of Michigan’s infamous beaches; playing in the sand and surf while drinking Bell’s Oberon on a hot, sunny, beautiful, summer day.

With the approach of summer and vacation from school I thought it appropriate to announce a temporary departure from my College Life Replay Mini-Series. Instead, I will share glimpses at summertime childhood memories.

My Dad is a Sailor

Sailing the Georgian Bay at 10 months. kateschannel

Before marriage and children, my dad purchased Veliero, a 32-foot Galaxy. He raced and cruised Veliero from Bayview Yacht Club until 2009 when he sold it at age 80. His love for spending breezy, sunny afternoons sailing the waters of the Great Lakes took hold of me before I learned to walk and talk. I was only 10 months old when he secured me to stern in my baby walker for a sailing trip to the Georgian Bay.

As my sister and I matured, my dad took us on countless day trips as well as some lengthy cruises to escape the summer heat and humidity. He only expected minimal help from us. So, we learned the benefits of being pampered passengers rather than expert crew. Our job was to feel the splash from the waves while riding on the bow, take a snooze while sunbathing, read a book, eat all the snacks, or to entertain guests who had been invited to join us. When I look back through my collection of childhood memories, those sailing scenes on the Great Lakes rank at the top. Here are some of my faves.

Getting hosed in the buff in Grand Traverse Bay. My mom, dad, sister and I were into week one of a three-week cruise of Lake Huron and upper Lake Michigan during the summer of 1978. On this given day we had just dropped anchor off the Grand Traverse shoreline near Charlevoix and we were going to have some play time on the beach. I was eight, my sister was five. While getting our dingy ready to row ashore, my dad says mom is preparing a big surprise for us. My sister and I exchange glances; and then start trying to guess the surprise. Screw going to the beach. We want the big surprise. That’s all we can think about.

We should have known better. First, our Dad likes the beach. But, not when it’s crowded with other children. He prefers quiet walks on the beach at sunrise or sunset while looking for Petosky stones. Second, my dad’s preferences for spending quality time with his daughters included teaching us how to row the dingy around a peaceful inlet or looking for fudge shops while we were in port.

After spending a half-hour at the beach with us, my dad gives into our eagerness and rows us both back to the boat. There my mom ambushes us on the stern. She orders us to strip. Then, douses us with a few buckets  of ice-cold lake water and soap while my dad uses a couple towels to give us cover from eyes of fellow boaters.

David Lee Roth centerfold in Tiger Beat magazine. My sister and I were settling in for the night. It had been another fun-filled day on our three-week cruise during the summer of 1978. She was thumbing through her Tiger Beat magazine — our intro to tabloid celebrities — checking out John Schneider (Bo Duke), Scott Baio, Ralph Macchio, Ricky Shroder and some of the guys from Menudo. Whatever I was reading seemed to dull as I watched her flip the pages. Finally, she let me have a turn. There, in the centerfold  was David Lee Roth; all blond and hairy in a hot pink, rainbow-striped body suit. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.

Using the head during a severe thunderstorm on Lake Huron. Going to bathroom while battling rough waters requires above-average balance. On this particular day, our time at sea started calmly but with overcast skies. No big deal. But, soon enough, we were in the midst of a heavy downpour along with thunder, lightening and strong winds. No port was in sight. My mom had just cautioned us not to touch any metal when duty called. The mast went right through the head. Usually, this provided extra balance support. But, grabbing onto to it would have been like a death sentence. Somehow, I managed. It’s interesting. When you’re 8, 9 or 10 there is little fear about anything. I knew all would be okay. Dad was at the helm; and he was a very competent sailor.

Drip castle mania in Lexington. When in port, my sister and I spent many afternoons on the beaches building drip castles. To make these one must have the utmost patience, some sense of design, imagination, focus, and the ability defend against creetons seeking to destroy.

One overcast afternoon we found ourselves in Lexington, which is north of Port Huron. We ended up at the beach and began creating. Three boys entered our domain. Their interest appeared to be friendly and non-threatening. We splashed in the lake with them for some time; and then showed them how to create drip castles. What transpired was a masterpiece. Too bad I don’t have pictures.

Then, in minutes, the three turned into monsters. They and some other beach creatures combined forces of evil, picked up their big hairy feet, and ran full-force into our beautiful, carefully-constructed drip city. Our great hall of justice, imperial palace and spa were smashed to oblivion. Drip city streets lay in ruin. Needless to say. My sister and I were pissed. After some choice words and gestures, we told these fools to scram or else. They scrammed.

Missing you by LaTisha Gaylor

Missing you.

Out-to-Lunch: Memories Starring Deniz

love all of my friends….just letting folks know that i think of them often – even if you don’t hear from me, i live in memories of good times and smiling faces or some great advice…thank you for being you.

— Deniz Conger

When I started writing this entry, the title was Out-to-Lunch: All About the People, because it is. But, there is one person who has a recurring role in the lunchtime escapes featured. That person is Deniz. Hence, the above quote, which I shamelessly ripped from her FB status this morning. So, here it is, Out-to-Lunch: Memories Starring Deniz

Before children, I developed written and visual communication tools for Syntel, a leading global provider of integrated information technology and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) solutions. My cubicle was located in the company’s headquarters in Troy, Mich., and was surrounded by others occupied with creative forces much like myself. For a visual think: The Office minus Steve Carrell and whoever his replacement is going to be.

For the most part, we were and still are communication mavericks, who often gave up our lunchtime recesses to polish lead generation strategies, finish deal-winning presentations, write speeches for the CEO or beat a needed-it-yesterday proposal deadline. But, every now and then, the opportunity to break out of the dull and the gray cubicle confines presented itself.

Here are my five favorite lunchtime escapes — starring Deniz — listed in descending order.

1. Sushi crash course at Noble Fish. Until this noble day, I didn’t know sushi. In fact, I hadn’t tried it before. My co-workers Deniz and Rob took it upon themselves to educate me with field trip to the sushi counter at the back of Noble Fish, a Japanese grocery store, at the corner of Livernois and 14 Mile Roads in Clawson. This encounter taught me proper sushi etiquette and about how much wasabi is needed for an endorphin rush.

2. Black bean burrito day at Good Food Company. Again, upon recommendation from my co-worker Deniz, we went to the deli at the back of the Good Food Company at 15 Mile and Livernois Roads in Troy. Sadly, anyone who has not eaten here never will. It went out of business and closed in 2009. Talk about a dagger to the soul of the best in natural, organic, vegan and vegetarian cooking. The head chef would even check with all diners to ensure all meals were as superb as she intended.

3. Pita House (now Lebanese Grill) on any weekday. Deniz and I escaped to this locale shortly after she began working at Syntel. It’s one of the few places I introduced to her. All people I know, have a weakness for the food and drink served here. The Lebanese Grill, which also has a location in Shelby Township (lucky me), makes the absolute best smoothies, lemonade, and Middle Eastern food in my part of the planet. Plus, the prices are reasonable and the wait staff is always attentive.

4. Style hunting and Macy’s lunch counter. It wasn’t Macy’s back then. It was Dayton Hudson’s and then Marshall Field’s. But, on this day close to the holidays, it provided us with much-needed fuel on a style hunting mission. Before, hunting Macy’s for outer wear accessories, Deniz and I stopped at the lunch counter for a turkey wrap with brie and cranberry sauce. Delicious. I believe we made at least three trips back to the lunch counter that same week because those wraps were like crack; and we needed a fix.

5. Royal Oak/Birmingham spring breaks. Have you taken a walk outside yet today? In my part of the planet, it is beautiful. This is no time to be sitting at a keyboard. But, here I am. Most of the time, lunchtime escapes to Royal Oak or Birmingham were on days just like today. The need to breath the warm air and see sunshine was just too great to ignore. Plus, how can one pass up the opportunity to people watch and to style hunt? Both Royal Oak and Birmingham serve up plenty of each.

I Love Michigan: Ann Arbor

I can’t help it. This post and those that follow are going to read like a script for those Pure Michigan ads. However, I don’t need a script. All I have to say is off-the-cuff, from the heart and Pure Michigan.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of a date day with my husband. We stole away to Ann Arbor for the afternoon and then to his brother’s house later that evening.

Why Ann Arbor? It wasn’t for MTV’s casting call for the Real World at Scorekeepers. But, isn’t it great that filmmakers think Ann Arbor is a great city? It has urban appeal, a great mix of people, and the University of Michigan campus.

Anyway, why Ann Arbor? The bargain book shelves and tables at Borders’ flagship store on Liberty. Great people watching from Amer’s big plate-glass window. Nickel’s Arcade and the University of Michigan are beautiful even under a gray, cold March sky. March Madness at Buffalo Wild Wings on State Street.

Plus, Ann Arbor has a permanent signature on our relationship. My husband and I spent nearly one year of our dating lives there. Our first date was on the patio at Good Time Charley’s. Then there were Saturday afternoons goofing off at Pinball Pete’s, Middle Earth and The Little Brown Jug; a Valentine dinner at Palio’s; autumn strolls through the Arboretum; and haunted hayrides at Wiard’s.

One more very special connection to Ann Arbor is family. I am proud and boastful to mention a number of relatives live there or nearby. Rest assured, my husband, children and I will be spending many more fabulous Saturdays re-visiting and creating memories in this fabulous urban landscape.