Monthly Archives: February 2010

Friday Foto, week 3

I’m here, but I’m also over at Ria’s today, keeping her Internet corner warm and cozy while she’s in San Diego. So, after you read about the best supermarket in Detroit, click on over for travel tales gone horribly wrong.

Guacamole. Tamales. Chorizo. Tortillas.

All of these and oh so much more can be found at my favorite local grocery store, Honeybee Market.

El Supermercado

One of the first questions I’m asked when I tell others that I live in Detroit is: Where do you go grocery shopping? See, there are no major grocery stores in the city. We do have a pretty fabulous farmers market, and there are a few independent groceries, but they are often high priced and lack selection.

Because I’m not so good with the daily or weekly trips to the farmers market and favor a wide selection of groceries, I travel every couple weeks to my local Meijer (think Kroger, Giant, HyVee, etc.) in a nearby suburb. But sometimes, I just need a head of lettuce. Or a chicken breast. Or some milk. Or some homemade guacamole.

For these little requests, I turn to Honeybee. Located in Southwest Detroit, the market caters to the high population of Latino residents who have settled in the neighborhood. Southwest is also home to Mexicantown, filled with fabulous ethnic fare.

When you walk into the supermarket, you’re greeted with cheerful ethnic music and bowls of freshly made salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole, ready for you to taste. You’re also greeted with bright lighting, produce that rivals our farmers market down the road, and the freshest meats. I would have loved to take photos of the inside, but I feel weird about throwing down the whole “I’m a blogger can I please take pictures of your private property” line. So you get to just imagine it for yourself.

Since Honeybee caters to a very specific population, this isn’t the place I go to for things like pasta, my favorite Weight Watchers yogurt, or that odd ingredient for a recipe. But for other basics that I need in a pinch, it suits me just fine. And when I’m in the mood for chorizo tacos (because plain old hamburger is SO last year), or fresh guacamole, I head two miles down the road.

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Filed under Detroit, Friday Foto

On gossip

My CEO recently asked each staff member to respond to several questions that would help him gauge staff feelings on a few issues.

One question was: Use three words to describe our office culture. Being the verbose person I am, I used three hyphenated words, one of which being gossip-filled.

I think most workplaces are driven by gossip. The grapevine is a main source of communication. In some ways it’s harmless — hey, there’s really awesome muffins in the kitchen — and in other ways it’s very harmful — hey, did you hear? There’s going to be lay-offs again.

The harmful gossip is what causes me to worry, often needlessly. After all, who really “heard” there would be lay-offs? You never know the source, and therefore, you never know the truth. As we all know, in many instances, gossip is more false that true.

A recent Yoga Journal article got me to thinking more about this. It contends that “gossip is one of our most widely shared — and, often, most unconscious — addictions.” The article goes on to challenge readers to think about the gossip in their lives and work to refrain from the harmful side of the habit.

After reading it, I decided to spend an average workday tracking how I gossip and making an effort to control myself. And I made it about two hours. But then, Coworker A was really annoying me and I just had to tell Coworker B about it. After that, Coworker C and I were chatting about a project and discussing why Coworker D was handling it all wrong.

Days later, I can’t honestly remember who any of these coworkers were, which proves that it really is useless chatter. Useless chatter that serves to slowly kill my insides and make me all glass-half-empty and cynical.

I don’t think I’ll ever overcome my urge to vent or indulge in a juicy tidbit, but I am still making a conscious effort to be aware of what I’m allowing myself to speak and hear and to recognize when something is harmful.

I figure it’s nearly impossible to fully overcome my tendency for gossip, and equally impossible to shut out the gossip of others, but I think it is possible to be more aware of it and how it affects my daily life. And if you have any tips for keeping your gossipy feelings to yourself, I’d love to hear!

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Filed under career, Hmm, rambling nature, Y is for Yoga

Churchin’ it up

Since around Christmas, I’ve been back in the weekly church groove.

Throughout my life as a Catholic, I’ve had a hit or miss relationship with mass. As a child I was forced (because that’s really the only way children will wake up early on a Sunday) to go. Then there was a time when I could make my own decisions and opted for sleep instead of worship. In college, I found the groove again with a Sunday evening mass at the campus parish. Then it was back to sleep.

This back and forth has continued for the past few years until my mother started in on me about marriage. I’ve always felt I would be married in the Catholic Church, regardless of my relationship with a weekly mass. But as my mother reminds me, I can’t be married in one without being a member of one. She and my father are members of a local chapel, but for many reasons, it’s not one I would consider as the backdrop for my wedding.

There’s a church a few blocks away from me that I’ve known about for years, but now that I’m officially a downtown resident, I decided to check it out. And slowly, I’m falling in love.

It’s a diverse congregation, made up of little old ladies that have been going there for 50+ years, young professionals and young families, and the homeless population who simply seek warmth and quiet. They have a new music minister who is nothing short of fabulous, and even the building itself is the most unique church I’ve ever stepped foot into. You can check out photos here.

Anyway, for the past couple months, it’s been an enjoyable way to spend my Sundays. I’m now a member, so if I should get engaged someday soon, I have somewhere to get married.

More importantly, I’m also realizing that it’s become a great way to reconnect with my own faith. At this week’s mass, they had the introductory rites for adults seeking to become Catholic as well as the candidates for confirmation. I was confirmed back in 8th grade, but I can’t remember one thing about it. I took religious ed classes all through school, and went to a Catholic high school. And yet my knowledge of the Catholic faith would probably fall in the novice category.

Since St. Al’s really does attract all sizes and shapes, it seems to hold a place as a “teaching” church. After all my years of being taught, perhaps I’m finally ready to be a student.

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Filed under Detroit, glass half full, rambling nature

Friday Foto, Week 2

In Detroit, everyone has a favorite burned out, blighted building. It’s what we do. We rally and protest for the right to choose and workers rights and civil rights. And for our buildings. Please, don’t mess with our buildings. We will stand in front of the wrecking ball and mourn the destruction like we’d mourn a lost friend.

The Michigan Central Station is one of these.

I love everything about the MCS. In one breath it evokes feelings of beauty and extreme sadness. Maybe even a little embarrassment.

Coming up to the battered and beaten MCS on a rather gray Detroit day.

Up close and personal with the thing. Not a window in the joint.

First off, the photos don’t do this giant any justice. Second, looking at the photos, you may wonder where the beauty lies?

The building once housed our region’s main train station and was built in 1913. Think Grand Central. Penn Station. Union Stations of the Chicago and D.C. variety. Except in Detroit, time went on and rail (and mass transit as a whole) just wasn’t needed like it is in other thriving metropoli. We just love our cars too damn much.

The building’s been empty since the ’80′s.

Now all that’s left is a shell of a former life. In many circles, the MCS is actually the stereotypical “favorite building” — it’s much cooler to love the more obscure, less-publicized buildings strewn throughout the city’s neighborhoods.

But I don’t care how cliche it is. I love it anyway. The MCS is a hulking shadow beckoning you home. It can be seen as you approach downtown from a couple freeways and is especially creepy at dusk, when you see the unlit monolith rising above the city. It’s the tallest building in the surrounding area, and is in the middle of a large, empty park — save for the homeless who take rest there — making it even more out of place and isolated. It’s the creepiness and the isolation that make it so beautiful.

So why put this photo in my series? I drive by this place weekly, so it’s definitely a part of my routine. Every time I head that way, I still look forward to seeing it. I don’t know why I’m drawn to it, but I am. Instead of considering it an eyesore, I show it off proudly to visiting friends and family. Of course, I constantly have to wave off their “typical Detroit” negative comments.

They just don’t understand it.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an embarrassment. It’s owned by an old, rich dude who doesn’t have much interest in making the city thrive. Or even making it pretty. It’d cost millions to renovate or demolish it. Millions he probably has, but oh well. There have been talks of a re-birth, but nothing ever comes of them.

So it sits, like a lot of Detroit. Waiting for its next move.

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Filed under Detroit, Friday Foto, glass half full, Hmm, love affair, Uncategorized

Not too much

Alternatively titled: Things I’m digging these days

One can never have too many/too much:

  • Peppermint hot cocoa. Especially this kind, bought here.
  • Black olives
  • Fancy cheese
  • Regular cheese
  • Netflix DVDs in the queue
  • Aches & pains from a good, hearty work out that remind you of that crazy headstand you did.
  • Hours in the day
  • Rose petals from fabulous bouquets, drying on my counter awaiting a sachet creation (someone tell me how to make a sachet!)
  • Good wine. Preferably red, but there isn’t one I’d kick out of my belly.
  • Honeybee guacamole and tortilla chips
  • Chocolate
  • Cheesecake
  • Dessert of any kind
  • Pasta

What am I missing?

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Filed under Detroit, foodie, glass half full, list mania

Overcoming the fear in yoga

On Friday, I went to my first yoga class in a few weeks. I also did a headstand for the first time, with the teacher firmly by my side for support.

It’s funny, because in the last class I went to, I felt incredibly disheartened in my practice — both in my struggle through basic poses and my inability to get arm balances like the headstands. After 6 years of practice, I’ve never been able to master these poses and it’s incredibly frustrating to watch others go into them so effortlessly.

I think a lot of it stems from fear. Fear of falling on my face, fear of breaking my neck. The latter is a fear I’ve always had; as a kid somersaults scared the crap out of me. But this fear is a major impediment to reaching the next level of my yoga.

After failing yet again at reaching the headstand in the last class, I reflected on my fears and made a commitmet to get over it. One of my resolutions for 2010 was going to be achieving a headstand.

And then I promptly forgot about it.

Until Friday. Yet again, I stumbled through most of the class, and then the instructor took us through headstand. I silently screamed at him, remembering the promise I’d made to myself and how quickly it’d left my priorities.

But Friday was different. The instructor set it up over three steps, helping us ease into it. After everyone else came out of the pose and took a child’s pose, I decided to try one more time. Knowing I probably couldn’t fully do it, but maybe I could at least get both feet off the ground for a split second.

Baby steps, right?

As I kicked around, the instructor came up behind me and guided both of my feet off the ground. Suddenly there I was, tightening my core, pressing into my arms, and freaking the f*ck out. I felt that at any moment I could fall, but I knew he was there and that between the two of us, I could stay balanced.

It was only a few seconds, but it was literally the best few seconds of my week. I came into my child’s pose and I’d be lying if I denied the few tears of joy that trickled out.

I can’t wait to try again — this time all by myself. I know what I need to work on and most importantly, I know that I can do it.

This really was just the kick in the pants I needed to boot my yoga apathy out the door.

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Filed under glass half full, Y is for Yoga