The soundtrack of life

It’s rare the TV is off in our house, especially once we brought home our new baby — a fancy 47″ flat screen, HD, Netflix-equipped, monster of a TV. But, on the off chance we turn the TV off for an hour, the house is still rarely quiet.

There’s the tick-tock of the cute Motown/Detroit clock I bought for DD for our first dating anniversary.

There’s the rumble and crash of ice in the ice-maker.

There’s the ding of the elevator in our apartment building, usually followed by the slam of a neighbor’s door as they arrive home.

There’s the muted tones of people talking on the street 2 floors below my window.

Every few minutes, there’s the smooth humming of the People Mover, Detroit’s “mass transit” — an elevated train that runs in a loop of downtown.

Many days, there’s the swish of our washing machine, that can only be slightly muffled by closing the closet door.

If I’m REALLY quiet in bed, I can hear the thump thump of the treadmill in the fitness center that butts up to our bedroom wall.

If it’s a weekend or a Tigers game night, I can hear the honking horns, throbbing bass, and excited yelling of people out on the town.

If a certain neighbor is in a foul mood, I can hear her arguing with her boyfriend, sometimes followed by shattered glass and always followed by slammed doors.

See, when you live in a 2 bedroom loft that also has a combined living/kitchen/dining area and faces a burgeoning downtown district, there’s really no such thing as silence. Even though Detroit is a relatively quiet city, with a density nowhere near its big sisters Chicago and New York, it still has its own soundtrack. And when you couple that with living in a building with thin walls, many of your neighbors’ every day sounds are heard too.

For many people, my soundtrack probably sounds like more of a screeching nuisance than a pleasant melody. For me, it’s the latter. Sure, the thumping treadmill isn’t so awesome when it wakes me up at 5 a.m., but overall, it’s home to me. It’s vibrancy and activity and even security. Knowing there’s someone else close by, even when I’m completely alone, is a comfort that I’m not fully prepared to give up someday when we move to our own home on a nice, quiet, suburban block.

This blog post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Weekly Writing Prompt. Perfect for when I’m just getting back into things and need a little help.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Filed under Detroit, writing, blogging rocks!

Fast forward a year…

Hi guys,

Welp, it’s really been a year. Over a year, in fact. In that time, it’s entirely possible I’ve lost every. single. reader. I had. Hopefully a few of you have hung on to me in your RSS feeds, allowing my little link to wallow away to nothing, hardly even noticeable in your daily blog skimming. Perhaps, when you saw the link light up again, you forgot who I was — I know I do that fairly frequently with infrequent posters.

No blame if you’ve forgotten who I am. I’m just thankful you’ve kept me around all this time. It’s been a busy year to say the least. And at the same time, not all that busy at all. I spend most weeknights vegging out with my husband. (Last time I wrote, he was just a fiance.) Our weekends are often busy, but just as often not-so-busy.

Between planning a wedding, working the 9 to 5, and simply living life, you’d think I would have forgotten about this little corner of the Interwebs. Instead, I think about it nearly every day. Usually in that 25ish mile commute, as my hands grip the wheel but my mind wanders above the Interstate, I think about it over here. I think about how I genuinely miss getting everything out on “paper”. And even more so, how I miss interacting with the people who used to read my jumbled thoughts. I think about potential blog posts, rarely crafting an entire post in my head like I used to, but just thinking about wisps of posts that’ll likely never get written. A topic, a sentence, it all flows in and out again as easily as it comes to me.

And so I often think about coming back. “Next week,” I say. Or, “this weekend, I’ll do it.” For just about 386 days now. Today, it finally happened. And that’s about all I’ve got for now. No major revelations, but hoping that it’s not another 386 days and that the wisps keep coming and maybe starting knocking around enough to put to “paper”.

In the meantime, here’s a little peek at one of my favorite days of the past 386.

Husband and I, happy and newly married, in the park outside our first home (the tall white building behind us).

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), Detroit, relationships, glass half full, blogging rocks!, Wedding

A Supergirl Recap

Today, I’m guest posting over at Tomorrow Is Another Day. Angela was so gracious to allow me to invade her space while she enjoys a vacation to one of two destinations, depending on the Air Force’s plane schedules. I’m anxious to hear about her travels, but in the meantime, head over there to weigh in on my honeymoon options!

For those of you who wandered this way courtesy of Angela’s place, welcome! I wish I could say I had some profound post to welcome you to this neck of the woods, but, well, I don’t. I swear I meant to, and then, well, shiz got busy.

Since I can’t put together a coherent original post, I thought it’d be a good idea to provide a little introduction on who I am, by way of a smattering of past posts. Hopefully that alone will entice you to add me to your reader, and I figured my regular readers might enjoy a little catch-up as well.

Some of the posts are a bit, um, old, which just goes to show how rare my posting has really gotten. Which just means if you add me to your reader, you can promise I won’t clog it daily. See? Glass. Half. Full.

So, who is Super Girl?

Well, I live in Detroit. Like in the city limits of Detroit. You know, south of Eminem’s infamous 8 Mile. I like to think this gives me street cred. (It doesn’t.)

I have three kidneys. Organ donation is cool, yo.

I’m getting married to a boy I call DD. It’s exciting and only slightly terrifying.

I used to work in a job that was killing my soul. Slowly. I traded that job — and the 4 block commute — for something that has improved my mental state, even though it adds 60 miles to my car 5 days a week.

I do yoga. “Do” is a fluid term, as I consider it a good week if I make it to class once. But, this one time I did a headstand. That was cool. (Sadly, it hasn’t happened since.)

So, that’s me. Who are you? Say hi, and make yourself at home.

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Filed under About, career, DD (aka My Man), Detroit, Wedding, Y is for Yoga

Favorite Ingredients: Chickpea & Arugula Salad

I’ve been wanting to find a way to incorporate some of my go-to recipes for awhile now. Somewhere along the way, I realized that it’s not so much the recipes, but the ingredients I re-visit time and time again.

Initially, my goal was to feature a specific ingredient each month, with a new recipe using that ingredient posted each week. But given the fact that I can barely muster one post a week, that may be ambitious. For now, we’ll start with one ingredient and one recipe!

Chickpeas.

I love me some chickpeas. They’re a bit of a super food, being high in fiber and protein and being a “healthy” carb. And as a frequent eater of “unhealthy” carbs, chickpeas are my savior.

One of my new favorite recipes is adapted from the one and only Mark Bittman and his cookbook, How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Warm Chickpea Salad w/ Arugula

A couple bunches of Arugula
3 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Fresh Ginger (I use a refrigerated tube of it that I bought at my grocery store. Lasts long since I rarely use it.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Honey
1 T. Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

While these are the recommended measurements, I typically eyeball everything and haven’t had it turn out wrong yet!

First, rinse your arugula and throw it in a bowl. Then, add your olive oil, garlic and ginger to a skillet on medium heat. Let the garlic soften and add the chickpeas. Add a little salt and pepper and let the chickpeas get hot, stirring occasionally. After about 3 minutes, remove the pan from heat and add the honey and red wine vinegar. Stir and begin to mash the chickpeas against the side of the pan. They should be soft, and you don’t need to mash them all, it’s more about roughening the mixture up a bit. Add the chickpeas to the arugula and toss. You could also add other salad toppings (onions, hard boiled eggs, etc.), but I never have.

This salad may require a stove and a pan, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard. The arugula gives it a bitter taste, but it’s softened with the sweetness of the chickpea mixture. By warming the chickpeas, the salad is comforting, making it great for every season. Last but definitely not least, because you’re essentially marinating the chickpeas in the dressing, the salad has just the right amount of dressing. I *hate* overly dressed salads, and this is simply perfect.

Served alongside an equally easy pork loin that I’ll have to share, too.

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Filed under foodie, Recipes!

The Registry

This past weekend, DD and I registered for the wedding. Sure, we’re still over 8 months out, but I enjoy being ahead of the game. Also? I’ve kind of been looking forward to registering longer than I’ve been looking forward to the wedding itself.

I swear I’m not totally gift-grabby, though what bride doesn’t stalk her registry? Honestly, I’m just so excited to choose things for *us* and begin to coordinate the stuff that will make up our to-be-determined living space so that it feels like home.

As excited as I’ve been about registering, I’ve been just as terrified of it. I was terrified of making decisions on which sets of pots to get and which color towels to get and blah blah blah. After all, part of the point of this is to find and receive things that will last us well into our married life. And I won’t lie, I was also afraid of trying to find common ground with DD since I know our tastes are different.

After a solid two hours in Bed, Bath and Beyond, we exited in one piece with our relationship still intact and with a lengthy list of items. No fights were had, not even a small skirmish.

Here are a few keys to our success:

  • Research. I spent many hours perusing BBB’s website to get an idea of china patterns I liked, bedspreads I liked, and kitchen appliances I wanted. When we got there, I was able to quickly narrow down a few choices that gave us a jumping off point to make a final decision together.
  • Lists. It’s the kitchen stuff I’ve been most excited about updating and expanding because currently most of my stuff is hand-me-downs. Over the last couple months I’ve kept a list of things I’d want as I came across them. When I had to bake cookies, it reminded me that I really need cooling racks. It also reminded me to get a bigger mixing bowl. When I made soup, it reminded me that I’d like a bigger stock pot. I also printed off several “what to register for” lists from the Interwebz and used those just to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
  • Compromise. DD doesn’t cook at all, so he let me rule the kitchen department. He held the gun, I told him what to scan. When it came to picking colors for bedding and bath, we compromised and each picked a color. I decided to be OK with neutral bedding instead of trying to talk him into a pattern that I’d like, but he wouldn’t. And as for the china, well, I really have no idea how we came to that decision so easily. It was my greatest fear as far as finding something we both liked and the choice came scarily easy. Maybe our tastes aren’t so different after all.
  • Helpful Staff. Our salesperson walked us through the china and fine gift section right away, which made it super easy to get that knocked off the list. Once we selected a pattern, she added everything in that category to save us time. We can of course go in and delete things we don’t want. After that, she gave us a quick “tour” of the store, pointing out the brands/products that were least likely to be discontinued or were the best in their class. That was helpful for the few things I hadn’t researched, like pots and pans. She was also good about leaving us alone but still being available if we had questions.

There were a few things that didn’t go perfectly as planned:

  • Sticker shock. Even though I’m not buying the stuff for myself, I was still well aware of how much some of our items cost. There were certain things I really wanted to include, regardless of price. But once those were added, I was afraid the other items we’d picked were too high. This lead to a slightly heated discussion in the knife aisle where I refused to select the $200 set and opted for an $80 set. First world problems, clearly.
  • Storage concerns. DD and I don’t know exactly where we’re going to live yet. The goal is a 2-bedroom apartment in Detroit, but we won’t start looking for a few more months. As the china settings and coffee makers and kitchen aids piled up, I grew increasingly concerned about where the hell we’d store everything. But, the beauty of registering early is that we can always remove things if we need to, and do it well before any pre-wedding parties, so I’m not too worried.
  • Really use v. want to use. As DD and I wandered the aisles, I had grand visions of dinner parties that would require fine china and fancy serving trays. DD had grand visions of morning coffee and evening espresso. But truthfully, will the visions come true or will the serving trays and dishes and espresso maker collect dust in the corner? Only time will tell I guess!

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), decisions, list mania, Wedding

Super Outfit (and Super Girl) returns!

I’m breaking the blog silence to discuss something VERY important.

It’s not Casey Anthony. It’s not even the Royals’ impending USA tour. Because according to recent media, those two things are THE! MOST! IMPORTANT! EVAR!

I disagree. What’s most important to me these days? What to wear for our engagement photos.

We’re getting them taken in a few weeks and heading to Michigan State University to have them done. Both DD and I went there, and while we didn’t know each other in college, I figured that since we’ll have plenty of wedding photos in Detroit, we might as well get some additional photos at one of my other favorite places.

But, as per usual, I’m pretty stupid when it comes to fashion.

I’m really hoping not to buy a new outfit, but I suppose that’s an option. I’d like to have two outfits — jeans and then a dressier option. But of course, the original options I thought I’d selected just don’t look as good as I thought they did. Or, maybe it’s just me. So…enter YOU!

Without further ado…here’s the first few options. I could scrap the dresses and go for white or black capris in addition to the jeans. I love the wash and fit of these jeans, so I’m definitely wearing them, I just need to decide on a top!

Also, yes, the photos are bad. And yes, I did crop half my face out. I’m trying to maintain some semblance of anonymity on this thing, however futile it may be.

Dresses!

Option 1, the shirt dress. I really liked the idea of this. I like the way it fits on top, but sometimes it can look weird on the bottom. I’ll likely pair it with red pumps (as shown in the second photo) and would also likely try to find a red belt to go with it and break up the dress a bit — right now it just has a black belt that came with it.

 

 

Option 2, the pink, cotton dress. This is a late add after I wore Option 1 today and decided I maybe wasn’t totally sold. This is one of my go-to dresses for summer weddings, but I don’t think it’d be too formal for our photos. It’s summery and comfortable, but also has some bunching/static cling issues because of the fabric. Might be annoying to worry about during the photo shoot.

The jeans!

Option 1. This was my main plan and I’d pair the outfit with black slingbacks. But, if I wear the pink dress, it’d be way too much pink. Also, yes, I’d wear a tank top underneath…I’m not in this photo.


Option 2. A late add when the whole “too much pink” came up. I really like this shirt and I think it flatters me, but I’d hoped to go with more vibrant colors, like pinks, blues or greens.

Option 3. Just for fun. Similar to option 2, but a darker color. Again, if I go with the shirt dress, I wouldn’t do this since it’d be too much black. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll do this one anyway. While I like the shirt, it has a bubble hem that I’ve never loved.


What do you think? Should I scrap the dresses and try capris? And what shirt should I wear?!?!

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), Detroit, glass half full, Super Outfit!, Wedding

Frances

Hi! As I was perusing blogland today, I realized that my own blog has a lovely password-protected post right on top. Welcoming, eh? Let’s fix that!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Luckily, Mama Kat offered some great blog prompts this week and then the fabulous Mrs. Weber posted hers and reminded me that I had planned to do the same.

But, because work is crazy and I don’t have much time to devote to deep thinking, I’m going to go with one of the easier prompts: my first car. Because you know what? At almost 30 years old, I still HAVE my first car.

Here’s the thing. My parents weren’t very nice when it came to the whole give your only child everything she wants thing. Granted, they paid for things like my Catholic high school education, my undergraduate degree, and plenty of other necessities, when it came to the fun stuff, well, they weren’t very fun. I was told from the very beginning that I would have to save and buy my own car.

So I did. I babysat. I started working at a local Hallmark when I was 17 and kept right on working there during school breaks once I went away to college. I began working in my college’s freshman orientation office (a job that is, to this day, my most favorite job EVER), and kept tucking those pennies away.

Finally, the summer before my senior year in college, I cashed in my savings account and bought myself a 1997 Ford Taurus. It was 2002, making the car just about 5 years old. It had traveled an insanely small amount of miles and thus was a pretty good deal. Over the next couple years, I happily drove my family sedan back and forth to college. I named her Frances, which is a pretty stupid story on its own, having to do with Dirty Dancing and the fact that I always called my car Baby.

After college, I moved home and had a 60-mile commute to my first job. Frances safely got me to and fro. She was starting to rack up the miles, though, what with all the commuting and the driving back to college to see my then-boyfriend, later-douche. But, aside from the occasional tune-up and oil change, she was riding fine!

Fast forward to 2006. I’d moved out of the parent’s house, cutting down my commute. Frances was still carting me around town, but she was showing her age. The dome light wouldn’t turn off. She was a little shaky and loud. New tires were needed. But, she was still kicking.

Fast forward to 2009. I was moving to Detroit, eliminating my 30 mile commute entirely. Frances would have a much needed rest in a covered garage! But, while driving home, she decided she’d had enough. She stopped in the middle of a left turn lane about a mile from my house and refused to go further. AAA had to come tow her and I thought it was the end. But, if my parents were cheap with the car money before, they were overly generous with it now, as they had financed the majority of maintenance on Frances since I bought her. On that fateful Monday night, my dad and the Ford dealership brought her back to life. I moved to Detroit, where I thought she’d have a lovely retirement sitting in my garage, only coming out for a weekly ride to yoga or book club or a shopping trip in the suburbs.

Fast forward to 2011. I got a new job and a 60 mile commute. Frances tried to step up, but she just wasn’t having it. After a business trip to West Michigan, she made it clear she’d had enough. The sputtering was heart breaking. Though DD and I were newly engaged and thus, my car should now be his problem, I called my dad. He assured me I’d get home and told me what signs to watch for. When I did make it home, he took the car for another tune-up, which cost probably more than good ol’ Frances is worth.

And that brings us to today. Nine years later, she’s still with me. She’s seen me through college, two old boyfriends, one fiancee, two jobs, and five residences. Until a couple years ago, she could carry all of my worldy posessions. I’ve saved up enough money to buy a better car. But, I come from a family that drives their cars until they die, and Frances seems to have nine lives.

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Filed under Detroit, family values, Growing up super