We Are Family

This weekend I spent two glorious days with my younger sister, Tina. She and I are only 18 months a part. Through childhood, we had many of the same circles of friends. We have always maintained a close relationship.

The occasion bringing us together was pretty delightful as well. A cousin and his wife are expecting their first baby in about four weeks. My sister and I attended the shower Saturday afternoon. We gushed over the expectant mother as well as all the stylish wardrobe her future daughter assembled in a mere three hours. Other cousins and aunts attended the shower, which meant visiting and catching up on everyone’s busy lives.

Another highlight on Saturday afternoon was a two-hour visit with an aunt we have not been especially close to. My sister and I gave her a ride to the shower. Upon returning to her home, we had this amazing conversation about the status of public education, voter apathy, banking, family relationships, employment, books and travel. I marveled at the broad range of subject matter while also appreciating my good fortune in developing a better connection.

My sister’s visit wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to Shadbush-Burgess Nature Center. On Sunday, she went with Issa and I to meet our newest family member, Slim, who is a ball python. I adopted Slim for Issa’s ninth birthday. Slim continues to live at the nature center. Issa visits him weekly to observe his growth, to hold him and to help with giving him food and water. In addition to hanging out with slim, the three of us watched bearded dragons and bull frogs feast on their cricket lunches. Also, a very active tortoise roamed freely through the entire nature center.

I forgot to bring my camera to the shower and the nature center. Thankfully, Tina did a great job of capturing great shots from both events with hers. She will send me the photos soon; and then I will share them with you.

 

The Original Saturday Real-Life Escape

It began Saturday morning. I started the engine, set my music to the Black-Eyed Peas, and sped out of the driveway. Squealing my tires, I left my husband, children and dog for my sister and Hob Nob Pinot Noir. I escaped to the land of The Original Cottage Inn, Stucchi’s, the University of Michigan and flirty boutiques.

At The Original, my sister and I savored a child-free meal and traded strategies on how to avert meltdowns. Somehow food and drink tastes so much better without food strikes, projectile air launches, or requests for drink refills. Plus, nothing beats The Original. Just think about it. Does Ataris’ cover of Don Henley’s Boys of Summer measure up? Say what you want. It just doesn’t do it for me. The same goes for food. Mastery of artful, tasteful duplication is tough and not without peril.

Our escape route also included a trek through the campus at U-M, hunting for stylish spring accessories, and indulging at Stucchi’s. That scoop of cinnamon crumb cake was absolutely delicious; and worth every calorie and fat gram.

The original Saturday real-life escape was extra special with a visit to my sister’s home. There, I cuddled my nephew who is a bundle of six-month cuteness and discussed how challenging it was to catch leprechauns with my niece, Annalise. She even showed me the box she made for trapping them. Life is beautiful.

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.