Monthly Archives: January 2010

Friday Foto, week 1

You know, because alliteration is cool.

Due to extreme laziness (or extreme coolness!), I’m going to attempt to start a new little feature around here. Each Friday, I’ll (hopefully) post a photo (or foto!) from my week. There will also be a little explanation of the photo.

The good:

  • I plan to highlight life in Michigan/Detroit and prove to the vast Interwebs that Detroit is the place to be!
  • Photos are fun!

The not-so-good:

  • I rarely have a camera on me, so remembering to do this may prove to be a challenge!
  • My life is pretty boring, so finding new photo opps. will be interesting!

Ready? OK!!

This week’s photo was taken from my office. I work smack in the middle of downtown Detroit, and this is one of the many gorgeous views we have out of our floor-to-ceiling windows.

Pictured here is Campus Martius Park. According to their Web site:

In 1788, Campus Martius served as a drill ground for militia training. Campus Martius means “military ground” and was named after the Campus Martius at Marietta, Ohio, a 180-foot stockade.

[It also contains] the “Point of Origin” which is located in center of Campus Martius… It is from this point that the City of Detroit’s Coordinate system was created.

So, in other words, 8 Mile is exactly 8 miles from the Point of Origin. And you thought it was just a clever movie title. There are also mile roads for every mile after that, going up at least to 26 or 30 Mile.

After lots of years of politicking, this park was renovated and re-opened to the public in 2004. It has an ice rink in the winter and lovely grassy knolls in the summer where there are free concerts and movies shown on the sides of the buildings.

Each November, the annual Holiday Tree Lighting takes place here. Tree lighting is my favorite holiday in the city. The first tree lighting in 2004 was also the first time DD and I met; though we didn’t know it at the time. We wouldn’t re-meet and start dating for another 2.5 years.

Pictured on the right side of the photo is Compuware’s world headquarters. Their move into the city center from the suburb’s was the catalyst for much of the development of Campus Martius.

The gray box in the center of the frame is our fountain, which doesn’t run in the winter, but in the summertime it’s a gathering spot for lunch-goers and residents.

Many look at Campus Martius Park as the beginning of the revitalization of downtown Detroit that has occurred in the past five years, so I felt it was a good place to begin our photo series.

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Filed under career, DD (aka My Man), Detroit, Friday Foto, glass half full

On adulthood

As I quickly approach the big 2-9 (Which frankly? Is giving me more of a panic attack than the thought of turning 30 does) I’ve realized that those carefree days of my early 20s have been solidly replaced by…wait for it …

ADULTHOOD.

First, there’s the simple things, like what I choose to eat. While I still love a box of Mac & Cheese, it’s no longer the only thing I can cook. It’s also no longer something that I can eat without feeling guilty about the unhealthiness of it all.

Then, there’s the reading choices. My magazine rack used to be comprised solely of Cosmo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still checking up on the latest sex tips and trends (that are basically repeated every other month in a different way), my new favorite mag is Real Simple. Oh the organization techniques! And healthy recipes! And “real simple” design tips! My mother got me a subscription as a gift and I stare at it every night, waiting for just the right time when I can completely devote an evening to its fabulous pages.

Speaking of Cosmo, let’s look at the relationship choices. Back in those wild early 20s, my relationship “must” was solidly in the physical category. Sure, I find DD hot, but our physical relationship is nowhere near as hot and heavy as my other relationships have been. Apparently, your late 20s make you realize that while the booty is important, it’s not the most important. The fact that he takes care of me and respects me more than any other man I’ve known is what truly matters.

(I sound like my mother.)

Finally, there’s the financial choices. I set up an IRA this week, folks. I have a retirement account through work, but I’ve been talking about setting up a Roth IRA for years. Years! Apparently, being on the down side of 28 gets the wheels turning because in a matter of 20 minutes I transferred a large sum of money out of the liquidity that I loved as a fresh career gal and into the sunset of my life.

(I sound like my father.)

I suppose adulthood doesn’t have me completely in its hold:

  • I hate NPR. I want to love it, but it just puts me to sleep.
  • I have no need for cable news. After years of relying on local news, I’ve gotten used to being out of the loop on what’s going on in the world most of the time. If it isn’t on Facebook or Twitter, it’s clearly not important.
  • On a Saturday, I’m much more likely to sleep until noon than do anything remotely productive or resembling “errands” or “housework”.

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), glass half full, Hmm, relationships

A bloggeriffic weekend!

Typically, I’m not a fan of weekend recaps. I don’t think any of my weekends are particularly note-worthy, and even if they are, they’re a little too local for y’all in the vast Interwebs to give a shit about.

But this weekend was kind of epic, and the rare epic ones do deserve to be noted.

Friday night, DD and I headed to game night at a neighbor’s. A perfect event to end the week and ease into the weekend. Everyone brought a game, snack, and booze and we spent the evening Wii’ing, playing Scattergories (which this writer SUCKED at) and getting into quite the competitive game of Scene It.

Being the homebody I am, I was incredibly excited for game night. It’s also really exciting for me to be doing so much with the people in my neighborhood. Besides game night, we’ve done dinner parties, housewarmings, New Year’s Eve parties, and other fun activities.

This is the first place I’ve lived where I’ve known people in my neighborhood, and having the ability to get together with them is one of the reasons I moved to downtown Detroit. The next thing I’m thinking about organizing is a progressive dinner.

Saturday was spent reading and napping. But, I was able to get myself moving in time for a MI blogger meet-up! This is my second meet-up, but the first one where I actually got to meet bloggers in metro Detroit. There were about 7 of us, and after feeling like Detroit is completely devoid of 20-something bloggers for the past two years, it was really exciting to find out how wrong I was! Basically, Chicago and D.C. better watch out, because Detroit is on the blogger map!

I’d been reading Ria and Sillygrrl for years and it was exciting to see their cute faces in real life!  Lauryn, Jenni, Mandy, and Maeko are newer blogs in my reader, and I can’t wait to get caught up with their lives after meeting them.

Sillygrrl arranged a great night of dinner and bowling, and while I’m still clinging to anonymity around these parts, I’m sure if you wander to one of their blogs, you can sneak a peek at some of the photos!

Sunday, I headed to church (5 weeks running, that New Year’s Resolution is going fabulously!) and then came home to some Netflix, another nap, and finally some cleaning. The bathroom was starting to grow fur and the dust bunnies were overtaking the place!

How was your weekend?

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), Detroit, glass half full, loft style living, rambling nature

Nights like tonight

As usual, I’m spending the evening catching up on some work.

As I skim through various documents, pulling out nuggets here and there to write a few communications pieces, I’m hit with a general feeling of unease. In fact, it’s a feeling that’s been brewing for awhile.

Generally speaking, I love my nonprofit job. I love the people and I generally believe in the work. I say “generally” because I’m beginning to realize that changing the world isn’t so pretty from the inside. Everyone thinks nonprofits are only out to do good, to help people and save the world. Which is true in theory. Except, on the way to saving the world, there are still politics. Disagreements. Failure. And more politics.

Like it or not, a nonprofit truly is a business, and all businesses make good and bad decisions on the way to fulfilling a mission.

After over five years in the field, I think it’s really beginning to wear on me. Recent staffing changes have left me heartbroken and confused. Playing politics has frustrated me and made me even more glass half empty than usual.

There are glimmers. Work that I believe in and can get behind. But even then, the theory of helping the greater good eludes me as I get stuck in the day to day muck of writing a brochure, taking a photo, or creating a newsletter. In the muck, I lose sight of the ultimate goal. With loss of sight comes the loss of faith that we can make a difference.

It’s nights like tonight, when I struggle to stay motivated to complete a simple task, that I consider calling DD and telling him to pack his bags and start over somewhere new. DC or Chicago or just somewhere that’s not here. Maybe if I got a new job in a new place, things would be different. I’d be more passionate, more engaged.

It’s nights like tonight when I think about asking my boss (who’s all about professional development, even if it means leaving the organization) to help me find something else somewhere else.

But then I remember that no matter where I work there will be games and politics. There will be things I don’t want to do or don’t agree with. And there will always be barriers to saving the world.

The trick is figuring out how to rise above it every day. Finding a way to ignore the heartbreaks of the past, connect to the work in the present, and look for the glimmers.

I like the idea of changing the world, I just need to regain some faith.

______________________

While I may not have faith about MY world, LiLu and her cohorts changed a fellow blogger’s world. Brandy has been one of my favorite bloggers for the two years I’ve been around these parts, and when I heard that her boyfriend was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, I didn’t know what to do. But others did. If you want to be inspired, click on over.

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Filed under career, DD (aka My Man), Detroit, glass half empty, rambling nature

Never too late for resolutions

Come mid-January, I realize that resolution posts are sooo two weeks ago. But, there are an entire 365 days in the year and I say it’s never too late to decide you want to improve your life (or…decide you finally have time to blog about it!)

First, let’s look at how I did on the ’09 reso’s:

Using reusable bags. I use these nearly all the time now when it comes to my big grocery trips. In addition to being green, they are also 10 times easier to cart to my apartment now that I’ve moved into a larger building and my car isn’t right outside my door.

While the big trips have been a success, I do need to work on remembering to bring them when I do quick things, like a stop at CVS on the way home from work or a quick stop at Honeybee for a few staples. I always think of it as the clerk is pulling out that plastic bag and I always kick myself!

Less TV, more books. I’d say I’ve been 50/50 on this one. In the past few months, I’ve gotten better at reading before bed. I also joined a new book club, which has re-motivated me to get my nose in a book.

Cook more. Been doing well, especially since I moved to a nicer place with a better equipped kitchen and the addition of a dishwasher!!! I’ve also tried a few times to cook and freeze meals, which has helped on those nights I really don’t want to cook, but shouldn’t reach for the boxed mac & cheese!

So, I’ll continue to work on those…and I’m adding a few more to the list for 2010:

Eat better. Luckily, this goes with the cooking resolution from last year. I need to integrate more fruits and veggies in my diet and step away from the pasta. I’d also like to lessen the sugar in my diet. Diabetes runs in the family, and the last thing I need is more health issues.

Booting sugar means lowering the carbs and dessert — my two weaknesses. I’ve been playing with spaghetti squash, which is healthier than pasta, but still gives me that comfort food feeling. I don’t know that I’ll ever truly be able to say “no” to dessert, but I’ve tried not to keep it in the house, so it becomes less of a daily activity.

Make more out of the weekends. DD and I are known for taking full advantage of sleep time. It’s not unusual to stumble out of bed at noon on a Saturday or Sunday. Sad, no? There are many more productive things I could be doing.

So, I’ve started trying to get up early and I’ve been going to church again. The church thing is actually a bit selfish. When I do get married, I’d like it to be in the Catholic church, and us crazy Catholics like you to be a dues-paying member before we allow you to do such things. With a church just down the street from my apartment, I figured there’s no time like the present to give it a go. So far, it’s been a nice way to start my Sundays, and I already feel like I’m getting more done.

Participate more. My blog posts have become few and far between. My commenting has met a similar fate. DD has started traveling again for work, so I’m hoping that will motivate me to get back on a regular blogging schedule. I also want to participate more in 20sb and try to build more of a community.

Keep doing what I’m doing. Awhile back, I set a few goals for myself. Over the holidays, they kind of fell apart, what with my broken toe and the usual holiday rush. I hope to keep pursuing them in 2010. The whole getting up early thing hasn’t gone well, but I think I can continue to work on going to bed early, working out more, and getting back into yoga.

The resolutions are getting posted on the fridge as a daily reminder of the things I’m trying to accomplish this year. It’s a lot to work on, and I can’t say I have full confidence that they’ll all meet success, but I figure any progress is something!

How are your resolutions coming?

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Filed under DD (aka My Man), list mania, rambling nature

The decade where I found love, Part 2

Last we left, D and I were on an upswing and life was going well…

Read part 1 here.

2005 brought heartbreak when D and I called it quits in the summer. While struggling to figure out my next move, I reconnected with Mac, who lived a few miles away from my parents. Mac had always been in the picture, but with the on-again, off-again relationship with D, he didn’t stand much of a chance. When D and I finally ended it, I let Mac in. But for some reason I was still hesitant to go for it.

That November, while out celebrating the city’s holiday tree lighting festival, I had a 30 second meeting with DD. A friend introduced us, I thought he was attractive, and then quickly forgot about him when I left the bar a bit later.

Meanwhile, throughout 2005 Mac continued dating other girls, and in the winter of 2006, he met a young woman he really hit it off with. As you might guess, it was about then that I realized I wasn’t ready to give him up. I made a mad dash to claim him, and for the first time in nearly five years, he refused me.

The summer of 2006 brought a whirlwind relationship with a co-worker. He came out of nowhere and was the opposite of my typical man, but his wit won me over. I fell hard and quick and for a couple months, we were quite wrapped up in one another. A fight over nothing led to the demise of that relationship, but the drama would continue for months as we (well, I) struggled to figure out how to have an ex that was also a co-worker.

In the fall of 2006, I moved out of my parents house and lived with a roommate I found on Craigslist. One of my best roommate experiences thus far. I was also supposed to go to Italy that fall for my first trip out of the country. My friend and I got stranded for 24 hours in Dulles Airport, and had to reschedule.

In 2007, I finally made it to Italy. My friend and I spent 2 incredible weeks in Rome, Florence, and Venice, eating our weight in pasta and tiramisu.

A couple months later, a co-worker finally convinced me to meet a guy she’d been trying to set me up with for nearly a year. I walked into the bar that night and stood face-to-face with DD. Again.

There were a few casual get-togethers that month, though my shy demeanor was getting the better of me. DD persevered and we began dating.

That fall, we continued seeing each other, and I moved to my own place for the first time. DD and I had our issues, too. One week in October, he claimed he wanted space, and then called me days later asking me to meet his family for the first time. That Christmas, we went to his office party and proceeded to break up for about 5 minutes before he pleaded with me not to leave.

In 2008, DD and I seemed to work out our issues. We took our first big trip together. We shared the first “I Love You’s”. He came to my cousin’s wedding with me and met all of my extended family.

At work, I got promoted; a highlight of my career. My first real promotion.

Otherwise, the year was one of my most stable to date.

2009 was more of the same as DD became an extension of my family, and I of his. I moved to downtown Detroit to be closer to him and to work. We celebrated all of the major holidays together, from fourth of July barbecues to Labor Day picnics, navigating the waters of family commitments.

He and I ended 2009 by booking arrangements for a trip to Cabo in February 2010.

After a decade of first dates, blind dates, hopes for the future, and massive heart breaks, I think I finally found the love that I’m supposed to. Which makes the decade worth it.

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Filed under About, DD (aka My Man), Detroit, rambling nature, relationships, Uncategorized

The decade where I found love, Part 1

The format was shamelessly stolen from Amy, but there are versions all over. You know, just in case you thought I was being original for a change!

As I reflect on the decade, I realize that there are many things I don’t remember, but the one thing I do remember is the men. It was this decade that I dated. This decade that I had my heart broken (many times). And this decade where I found someone who loved me for me. So while there are other things I reflect on, it’s the path to love that I’ll most remember. (God that sentence is schmoop-filled. Sorry.)

In 2000, I was finding my way as a college freshman at Michigan State University; one of some 40,000+ undergrads. It was hard at first, but by the turn of the millennium, I’d joined a little club that worked with the Admissions Office. I met a few friends, and formed stronger relationships with the ones I already had. I was also having a rather scandalous non-relationship with a certain wrestler. Scandalous because he had a girlfriend and I happened to not be her. Some people go crazy and get drunk every day when they get to college, I went crazy and fell for a taken man.

2001 brought a new job in the freshman orientation office, thanks to that little club I’d joined the year before. It also gave me a summer job at school. The off-limits man was still in the picture, much to the dismay of friends.

That fall also brought a new man in my life, we’ll call him Mac. Mac and I shared an evening class together, and every night he’d either walk or drive me home safely, trying his hardest to woo me. While I didn’t quite let him in, I also wasn’t completely prepared to let him go.

In 2002, despite the current state of the world, I moved to D.C. for a semester study. I worked at a little PR firm and lived on Capitol Hill in a house with 12 other girls (to call it a wannabe sorority house would be an understatement).  In between the fun of living in my favorite city, I was also deeply homesick. Every night, I talked to Mac on Instant Messenger and dreamt of coming home to him.

The summer brought me home to the same job I’d had with freshman orientation. Mac and I went out on one date, and I suddenly decided that he wasn’t the guy for me. Later in the summer, I reconnected with an old friend, D (not to be confused with DD).  Mac got further shoved aside as D and I became closer through the fall.

I also got some news in 2002. My kidneys had finally declined to the point that I needed to start the process for a transplant. Denial became the word that would best describe me.

2003 included good times and bad times with D. Break-ups, make ups, and everything in between. I went back to the same orientation job that had been so good to me, and watched many of my friends graduate that summer. In the fall, I went back for my final semester. I was handling a full load of classes and an internship. I lived alone in the dorms, and though I didn’t realize it, my illness was taking its toll. I wasn’t very social, and I consider that fall the low point of my college career. In December, I graduated and moved home.

January of 2004 brought my kidney transplant. The year before, my aunt had done the testing and found out she was a match. She flew to Detroit in the dead of winter and literally gave me a piece of herself. The first part of the year was filled with recovery and a healthy dose of depression as my college days became more and more distant and I struggled with self-confidence in my ability to get a “real” job.

In November, I finally got a job and things began looking up. My relationship with D was on an upswing and I thought we were headed down the aisle someday.

Stay tuned for part 2!

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Filed under About, DD (aka My Man), rambling nature, relationships, Uncategorized