The Day After

So, today I wake up with still the feeling of wowness!  I saw the eclipse of something beyond my belief, I have had multiple thoughts and emotions going through me and I will try to explain it all here.  I will bounce around and throw it all out there, and for that I apologize in advance.

When I got up this morning I was so surprised at how little this seemed to effect anyone but me.  I have known of this barbarian, but really what can one do?  Oprah brought it out in the open years ago, and what could she do to stop it?  I think we all feel like that.  I want to make a difference, but I don’t know how, I don’t know how to be significant enough, what can one thing do?  At church we are doing a study, based on the book,  “A Hole in our Gospel”, by Richard Stearns.  The title points to a man who cut out 2,500 verses in the Bible about wealth and poverty, and how we seemingly turn a blind eye to what God wants from each and everyone of us.  It easily explains why God has not taken away poverty, hunger, thirst.  God has given us all the resources to end all of that.  We are why there is poverty, hunger and thirst.    Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision.  His story of how he came to be there, is not unlike anybody else’s story of answering God’s call.  The angst of letting go of all that we think is important and jumping head into the unknown.  What is different is that he said yes, when so many of us say no. Or more often, will not even ask the question.  In this book, Stearns tells the stories of Ugandan youth, and all that they have to endure to stay alive, keep from being captured and enslaved.  So, all that Kony 2012 and Jacob, and Mr Stearns and even Oprah says, I believe to be true.  And like Gavin, I am sad.

So what now?  Let us open the doors for the critics.  I never expected such criticism from so many people about this.  They attacked these people for bringing this to the forefront of our world and all they can do is chastise them for financials?  A pastor once stated in a sermon that those who criticize, usually do so because they are lacking in that said area.  If the criticism is constructive, or comes from a place of love, than it is to enhance and better the individual or group, but if it is criticism for the sake of it, then it comes from one’s own shortcomings.  One thing that was said in the video that struck me so deeply was the fact that the US government would not intervene because of lack of foreign investment, ie: no money interest.  That is in and of itself what is wrong with our country.  We will disrupt for our bottom line, but not for the life of the bottom.  This is not a governmental issue, none of the atrocities committed are, they are a moral issue.  The group was criticized for using the likeness of Osama Bin Laden and Hitler to compare this monster to.  How is this guy any less of a monster than the others?  Is not the life of children and women important enough?  When children are forced to kill their parents, other children, rape, maim?  At what point does he no longer be a man but get to become a monster?  Not standing up against evil is an act of evil itself.

A video made by a pastor in Colorado was streamed one Sunday and the message was this:  If you see a child in your yard, cold and starving, you help him.  If you see a child cold and hungry 3 houses down, you stop and help her.  You see a child cold and hungry on the corner of your street, 3 blocks away, the main 4 corners, you get it…how far away does the child have to be before you stop caring?  And what if that child was yours, lost, cold and hungry, needing help?  God sees every child in this world as His own.  We should be looking at every human being like they have the face of God’s son Jesus.  Not a small task.

So back to the beginning.  How can I do anything that will be effectual?  They said it on their video.  Time, treasures and talents.  No treasure?  No big deal, most of us don’t.  Talents?  Use what God has given you.  Whatever your passion is, your gifts, your pleasures, you were created with them for a reason, use them.  Time?  One thing we never have seem to have enough of, but if you use your talents and passions, the time will be more readily given.  Oprah once said, “if you were to die today, you would have served your purpose.”  What do you want your purpose to be?

We really don’t know true evil the way these people do, or do we?  Do we think our armies can just take care of the bad guys and the evil is gone?  The evil of our culture is greed, manipulation, indifference, being too comfortable.  The evil of their culture is raw and dark and filled with hate.  One lit match in our jaded eyes will burn out rapidly, but one lit match in the darkness of their lives is a light of hope.  So whether one chooses to donate, aid in any way to the Kony cause is up to you.  I can only imagine if everyone lit one small match, wherever you are and for whoever God puts forth to you, how much light and hope we could bring to the world.  My favorite quote from the video was this: “A better world is coming, its just waiting for us to stop at nothing.”  So, what is stopping us?





F2?  Whats that?  Is it like Mach 5?  or G6?  No, silly!  It stands for First Fridays.  And that was what just happened in Adrian.  Well, everywhere, honestly, its not like no one else experienced a first Friday or anything, but let me explain.  Adrian, Michigan is where I just moved from.  Its a fair sized city in a rural county in southeastern Michigan.  Close to Ohio, but close to Ann Arbor, as well.  It has had its struggles through out the years, especially with the downtrodden economy and being in a rural area, especially so.  However, First Fridays is a way to illuminate the downtown Adrian merchants, area artists, local cuisine and an all out way to celebrate.  I am sure you have heard of it.  Detroit Institute of Art does them, Toledo Museum of Art does it, I mean why not a community?

In order to make this happen, you need a few key ingredients; planners and doers.  And we have them!  As I said before I moved away from Adrian about 7 months ago, but i am still the active President of the Lenawee Council for Visual Arts.  Also known as the person who know s a lot of artists.  So I helped out, in my own small way to get this thing going.  I was not able to be there for the whole night as the distance made it hard to get there early, but I got to experience a lot of the goodness happening.  Not too long ago I blogged about the Pewabic Pottery Empty Bowls event.  Well on this night, there was an Empty Cups event in one of the businesses, Classic Cabinets.  It was my first time in the showroom and I was really impressed.  I apologize in advance for my photos-I used my droid and I used a fun app called Retro camera.  Not the best of photos, but here is a peek at the Empty Cups.

And since we are on the subject of Empty Cups, I discovered a new microbrewery in Adrian!  This is totally new, the city has never had anything like this and it tastes good!  Its headed up by Mr Cotton, his wife and a couple of cronies.  I believe Mr Cotton’s first name is Jake (?)  and our servers name was Keith.  How do I remember his name so well?  because they served up free samples!  If you join their Founders Club, they will even create a beer just for you!  Crazy right?  And there was a gentleman serving up free samples of a delicious spanish wine.   You can see why I was not able to hit every spot in town, right?

Mr Cotton on the left and Keith in the middle!

Their logo and a description of one of their beers, the Blue Cactus Agave, my favorite!

And the wine.  Now that I think about it, maybe our servers name was not Keith…..If you did not make it to the first F2, there is another one coming for April, this one a bit more kid friendly and family oriented.  The planning is happening right now and I hope you decide to give it a try!

Hard Rock Bill

Post Pewabic Pottery event we ventured to grab a little bit more to eat in downtown Detroit, a small bowl of soup was not going to take the kids very far.  We had decided to head to the original LAfayette Coney Island, but got side tracked when we saw the Hard Rock Cafe.  I had not even realized there was one in Detroit.

The Hard Rock Cafe is located in the CompuWare building, right in the very center of town between Woodward and Farmer.  The atrium in the CompuWare building is exceptionally nice.

So we had lunch at the Hard Rock.  I cannot say that the food was bad, it was fine.  The space itself is pretty small compared to other Hard Rock’s that I have been to.  But it is Detroit and I think the size is appropriate for the current economic climate.  They had the usual displays of guitars, records, clothing and other paraphernalia.  Many of which we had to explain to the older kids who they were!  The service was great.  But the cost was way too high.  We spent $100, including tip, for food I could get cheaper elsewhere.  In comparison, I had a pulled pork sandwich with fries and it was $11.95.  Close to where I currently live is the Woodshop Union, 2011 Restaurant of the year.  I had their pulled pork samwich with onion rings for $8.95 and was sure that I had died and gone to heaven.    I am sure that the Hard Rock caters to the business crowd, for the most part, but I will most likely avoid going there for monetary reasons.

Rowen’s look says it all.

We decided to slip out the back entrance of the CompuWare building. Do you remember last post, when I told you about Pewabics wall tiles?  Well, here they are!  Not my favorite display, but I can at least show you an example.

I also took a couple of photos of the buildings that surrounded us.  Truly quite amazing!

Happy Leap Day!

Where am I?

In an effort to familiarize myself with my new home area, I took a drive out in the middle of nowhere.  Where I came upon this campground type of park, with a lake and a very large clubhouse or something of the sort.  The odd thing was that it was so far out in the middle of nowhere.  But it looks like it could be a great place to go to in the summer.  I better look this one up.

What do you think?


Astro’s Turf

After our enjoyable meal at Slow’s BBQ we walked two doors down to Astro Coffee Shop.  I am going to let the pictures tell the story of this place.  You have to stop and ask your self-is this really Detroit?  And then you say, “HELL YEAH!”  I love this revolution taking place!

Dude had me thinking he was Lenny Kravitz, or something.

I could see making this place a Ritual.

Cappy in Corktown

W spent a fabulous Saturday in Detroit this past weekend.  Sharing some food and laughs with some old and new friends.  There is a magic about Detroit that I have yet find in other places.  I am sure has something to do with the stories of a magical, fantastical Detroit told to me by my grandmother.  She was born in 1911, in Grosse Pointe Farms, back when it was actually farms.  There was not a whole lot of prestige related to Grosse Pointe Farms during that time, not like now, but heading to Detroit was THE thing to do.  She had grand stories of the Hudson’s department store, with their special doormen, the thrill of her first job at the ripe age of 15 on the 14th floor of the GM building, dances on Belle Isle.  Yeah I am pretty sure it is because of her and  maybe a little bit of Eminem and a Chrysler commercial.

We started our day at the DIA.  We headed to see Rembrandt’s Faces of Jesus exhibit.  It’s incredible for me, as an artist, to see a master up close and personal.  It  reminds me of my shortcomings but more so of my potential.  The  small portion of history in Amsterdam during this period was pretty interesting too.

Following our walk with the greatness of Rembrandt and Jesus, we headed to Corktown to get some Detroit BBQ!

Seriously, this is the door to Slow’s.

From the inside!

A full menu of BBQ fave’s, from pulled pork to brisket, and your choice of all sorts of tangy sauces to indulge your palate.

And you cannot be in Corktown, without your cappy, now can you?

New and old friends.

Yes, I totally take my camera everywhere-this picture does not do the loo justice.

We arrived a bit early for lunch, but the place was packed and jumping by the time we headed out, back into the light!

The view from Slow’s.  Most of you know that Corktown was where the Irish immigrants settled in Detroit.  As you can see from the picture, its south east of downtown.  Slow’s is right on Michigan Ave, just past Wabash.  I just read in a National Geographic Traveller excerpt about the author re-visitng his hometown of Detroit and going to Slow’s and the coffee shop close by-which we did-you get to see those pics tomorrow!  If you want to read the excerpt, I linked it on my Facebook page!


Life is like a Box of Chocolates.

I wasn’t planning on posting today.  I need to get ready to go out of town for a quick trip and I have things to do, but when I found myself locking myself in the bathroom stall in the gym to cry, I knew I’d have to tell someone about this.  We just joined this gym, and after a 5 month absence from working out, I have noticed a bit of atrophy happening.  So I diligently went to 3 yoga “mix” classes and was ready to end my week with pilates.  I came into the class truly surprised that I was only 1 of 5 attendees.  Should have been a sign.  The instructor immediately asked if anyone had not done pilates before.  She looked at me.  It must be the same 4 people that show up.  I said, “yes”.  “What studio?” “I just moved here, it was at a gym.”   She then proceeds in her brusque manner to tell me that she does not actually do the class with us, she will tell us how to do it and make sure we are doing it correctly.

Now at this point multiple things are going through my mind:  a.)  oh crap!  I’m a kinetic learner-this is going to be difficult.  b.)  is it just me or is she angry?  c.)  toughen up, its just ab work, you’ve done it before.

So she proceeds to them tell us to sit upright, not like the girl in the Michigan shirt (me).  So she comes over and physically jerks my body and then pushes on my sternum to physically force my chest to curl in.  After all of this is through, we head to table position.  I am thinking-okay, how bad can I screw this up?  Another side note-I started doing yoga in the year 2000, so table is what it is. Or at least to most people.  I was told twice to keep my head in align with my spine, but how am I suppose to see what everyone else is doing if I cannot turn my head?  I’M A KINETIC LEARNER!!!  So we proceed to doing a modified cat-cow, which meant all cat and very, very, very little cow.  Lactose intolerant?  Well, apparently I was too filled with dairy and she came by me, grabbed the back of my pony tail to adjust my posture.

Now at this point nothing is going through my head that makes any coherent sense at all.  Its like I was in junior high again and being berated for not being fast enough, or unable to do a chin up, or 3 pushups at the ripe old age of 12 is not good enough!  I was between trying not to cry, trying not to get angry and trying to listen to what I’m suppose to do next, but I can’t.  The voices in my head are screaming like a bunch of junior high girls being chased by the mean old gym teacher, and intermittently stiffling a sob.

So, here I am trying desperately to hold it together and I realize I need to figure out the next move.  No need I was again acosted by her  forcible hands into some other position.  It was a total knee jerk reaction, but immediately jumped up and yelled at her.  Seriously, this is me, “EXCUSE ME?  IS IT NECESSARY TO JERK ME AROUND, GRAB MY HAIR AND PUSH ME?”  Yeah, I freaked a bit.  Needless to say, her reaction was to raise her hands and sarcastically saying “Sooorryyyy!  I won’t touch you.”  Was the icing on the cake.  I just picked up my stuff and left and then went into the bathroom and cried.

I grabbed my ipod and got on the treadmill and started walking.  With my eyes closed.  Ever try that?  I had to hang on with two fingers.  I felt like Forrest Gump running from it all, only I was walking.  But having my eyes shut helped me try to arrange it all in my head.  I am not against posture/form correction.  I am against being bullied.  That is how it felt.  And I really felt like she really just didn’t want be there.  She does not want to teach.  She is not a teacher.  She must be a very unhappy person.  But I will thank her for shaving 45 seconds off my mile and allowing for me to go an extra half mile.

I’m trying really hard to just make a life for myself in this new place.  I miss my old gym.  I miss not being the only one who comes into the gym with sweatpants and a t-shirt, instead of Lululemon.  I miss everyone’s smiling faces and friendliness.  The trainers encouragements and just my friends.  On the brightside I got a new pair of running shoes.  I guess we shall see where they take me to, obviously not pilates.

3 out of 4

We live on a little lake. This being our first winter here, we really had not too much idea of how the lake was purposed in the winter. Does anyone ice fish? or how about ice skating? It did not take long to figure out what everyone does. You can only see 3 out of the 4 of the cleared areas.

And of course, yesterday, it was all a melted mesh. I hope they remembered to bring their nets in!


Let me preface this by saying, I know I already stated that I do not make new Years Resolutions.  Now, something that I decided would be a good thing to do, and is merely coincidental that it happens to be a new year, is get out and take advantage of what is close by and affordable that can enhance or oat least entertain us.  So the NAIAS  (North American International Auto Show) is in town and we decided to take the kids-yes ALL of the kids to go check it out.  Many of our adventures always end up being about the little ones, so I thought this time we could at least give the oldest one a little bread for once.  Everyone had a pretty good time and we saw some really cool things happening in the auto industry.  But lets be frank, we were there to check out all the cool looking race/concept/luxury cars.  And I think we succeeded.  Check out some of the photos. I used my phone camera, so if the quality is not great, I apologize.

This Infinity Elethra was probably one of the coolest cars out there-the whole roof was glass!  And the expressions on everyone’s faces when they came upon it was awesome!  I wished I had brought my proper camera to snag those moments!

Side mirrors on a Mini Cooper.

Rowen dancing with a Kia hamster!

This Camaro was sponsored by Hot Wheels and has a chrome paint job.  It looked just like a life size version of one of Rowen’s Hot Wheels!

This was probably my favorite, but I am completely old school!  If you get the chance to go, make sure you check out what the students at CCS (Center for Creative Studies) are doing.  They are working on some pretty cool and creative stuff!