Friday, January 17, 2014


It's Friday! Friday. FRIDAY!!!!! I'm so glad. Sometimes I wonder if it's just a given that five days worth of weekdays wear people out. I wonder if there's anyone out there who doesn't feel tired by the time Friday comes around. Retired people? Do they feel exhausted by Friday? I guess I don't know!
The thing is, if you didn't feel a bit run-over by a busy week, you wouldn't appreciate the weekend so much, right? 

My good news is, is that Awesome the opossum came back, and then the GOOD good news is that he brought a raccoon with him! (I seriously don't understand why I am the only one who's excited about this). The raccoon followed the opossum, who followed the feral cat, who came for the flock of birds, who were eating at my bird feeder. I can't even imagine what will come next. PLEASE PLEEEEEEASSSSSE a monkey come next! If I saw a monkey on my deck, THEN my life would be complete. That's all I want. That, and a sloth. I have a feeling the chances are low though. I feel like the groundhog will be next, but can they do the stairs?

For those of you new to my ever growing animal menagerie, it all started when a feral cat began coming around. It was right around the time the temperatures began to drop and snow covered everything. How could I not leave a little bowl of food out for the poor guy? It used to be on the patio, but with a foot of snow covering the ground, I moved the cat's bowl up to our deck so I wouldn't have to walk down the slippery stairs to feed him.  Things were pretty status quo for a while until Awesome showed up. That was pretty entertaining. And then, the other night Noah said: "Dad! Why is there a raccoon eating the cat food!?" And Jon, not wanting to turn away from the CARTOON they were watching said: "Ohhhhh, it's just the opossum." Well, no, it was a raccoon. A really big, smart one. I almost could not believe my luck!

This is probably a good time to reiterate that under no circumstances am I going to go near these animals. I just stare at them through the glass and they stare back at me! (Willow the cat is enjoying this too). They only come out at night, and I don't plan on feeding the feral cat so heavily into the warmer months. I think. I have to research this.... But, due to Jon's.........lack of enthusiasm for our latest "friends," I only put out food during the day yesterday in hopes that the cat would come eat, get his nutrients in, and leave an empty bowl. As per usual, the cat just didn't come by during the day, and I did not have the heart (or truthfully desire) to bring the food in. So, I left it. Thankfully, eventually the cat came to eat! But that was after the opossum had a snack. No sign of the raccoon last night though, but if I had to guess, I'm sure he stopped in for a fishy nugget or two. 

I'm trying not to be naive, but I can't exactly see why it's such a bad thing to have these guys stop by? I'd say as long as they're not trying to damage the house or get into anything. As long as they're not standing around our door during the day when we come outside to use the yard, what's the negative? Do you know how many new things I've seen up close now, that I've never been privy to before!? Like an opossums long tongue or a raccoons tiny, but almost human-like hands! It's really cool stuff! One ironic note is that the poor feral cat is petrified of us and darts if we even walk into the kitchen, whereas the raccoon and the opossum look at me like their dumb, boring sister walked in. It's very interesting.

Here is the beginning of my animal selfies collection. They're the most unflattering pictures ever, but I don't care. I'm documenting HISTORY!

Now I just need to figure out how to get a selfie with the cat, the groundhog, the birds, the hawk, the chipmunks, the rabbits, the fox squirrels, the brown squirrels, the black squirrels, the elusive gray squirrels, the mice and the voles. Our backyard is one big animal par-tay. 

But what did Jon expect? When we bought the place, and some old wooden boards from the sub-flooring came up, a bounty of pine cones and acorns were found. When somebody cut out a section of drywall from the garage, pinecones and walnuts and nesting material POURED out. It was hilarious. AND it was ok in the end. You just have to chill. (edit:"No you don't." -Jon).

Ok, moving on from rodent infestation to food! EEEeeewwwwww that sounds gross.

Do you know those photos of beautiful coffee that I sometimes post? Well, they're from my favorite coffee shop -slash - "office".... Commonwealth!  (HI NICK!!!!!!!)

Commonwealth has become my second home. I've found that I face much less distraction when I perch myself up on one of their stools along the counter, instead of when I write at home. At home there's always the house phone and cell phone or laundry, but at Commonwealth, you have to look cool! And cool people don't sit in front of a laptops and fake type. You have to real type and get things done!

In addition to providing a beautifully designed, inspiring space (think reclaimed barnwood floors adding warmth to a pretty much minimalist-industrial look), Commonwealth has also taught me how to enjoy coffee for it's own sake, sans sugar. Their in-house roasted beans are so delicious, that even I, the girl who used to take coffee with her sugar and milk, can now pound a cappuccino straight. The coffee is just that good.

I usually come in for an hour and a half or so before school pick-up to get some writing in. That usually puts me post-lunch, but their food is on my faves list too. It's made in-house (which, by the way used to be a Scottish bakery during my childhood, where I would ride my bike to and buy imported Crunchie and Flake bars!). Commonwealth's head chef strives to use as many locally sourced and organic ingredients as possible. Everything tastes so fresh! My favorites include their Fried Egg Sandwich and Mediterranean Salad: the salty, marinated feta is addictive! I also think that their Mediterranean Quiche was scrumptious.  Actually, today I happen to eat lunch, the Mediterranean salad, you know what? It's my favorite salad! 

I'm doing an experiment today to see if I feel better eating a real lunch, rather than picking at leftovers or what have you from the fridge. I think I feel better already having ingested the salad.

So, most times, when I receive a little work of latte' art, or a nice plate of fresh munch, I like to snap a photo. I've recently realized that I have amassed quite a few of theses pictures and I felt like making a small collage. Here it is:

Let's be sad but inspired right now.... WHAT A SEGWAY! (I know, I need some practice.)

I wanted to share with you a short video, a Ted Talk from an incredible, inspiring human being named Sam Burns. Sam suffered from a rare genetic disorder called "progeria." Very sadly, Sam passed away last week, and his Ted Talk and other pieces of media, including a documentary began to circulate heavily around the web. I try to keep this site upbeat and happy, but Sam's impressive talk "My Philosophy for a Happy Life" was so incredibly moving and inspirational. Sam was wise way beyond his seventeen years. Much wiser than most of us. His positivity and insight helped to make the world a better place and I felt the need to share his words (I have to warn you, a box of kleenex is needed. I smiled and cried my whole way through talk).

Sam's lecture reminds me that attitude really is everything - how we choose to react to the world around us. Sam's message also reminds me of another young visionary who passed far too young from disease, Miles Levin. I don't scan the media for sad stories to latch onto, quite the opposite. It seems though that special things rise to the top, and Mile's words appeared everywhere in 2007. He was fighting another rare ailment, a childhood cancer. Miles began writing about his journey, the battle, his life and....most memorable to me, flowing with that life. "Keep fighting, stop struggling" Miles said. I know that time has probably distorted my memory of Mile's exact words, but one of his beautiful messages (and there were many) was that it's a relief when you stop struggling against life and instead you flow with it. Just yesterday when listening to a podcast, and I WISH I could remember which one, I caught a woman speaking about the same concept. I was cooking dinner and half-listening, but I knew what she as getting at. You're in the river and you can either sit in it as the current pushes on you and rocks you to and fro, or you can flow with the river. You might struggle with the uncertainty of where the river is going, but flowing and adapting is so much less abrasive and exhausting.

Uncertainty is such a scary thing. At least, I think so. In my world, I want everything to be black or white, no gray area! One book that I own and recommend on the subject of non-permanence and uncertainty is "Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teaching on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion" by Pema Chodron

This book is an easy read, broken into 108 short teachings from Tibetan Buddhism. You certainly do not have to be a practicing Buddhist to take comfort from this book, and the teachings apply to all of us uniquely. I'm still learning to be comfortable with uncertainty, but that's what makes me a human being on earth, right? My ego! My possessions! My attachments! We can only strive to become more of a master of flow. :)

Ok, now let's not be so serious......

A lot of people dress in black around here, or at least grays and neutrals. Sometimes I feel like I must look like an unsophisticated box of crayons. Maybe I wear too many colors, too many prints all at once. Maybe I would be taken more seriously if I wore black. All black. Maybe I wouldn't seem so awkward and naive if I wore black "LEATHERS!"  I hate that word - LEATHERS!  
(Let's pause for a moment and think about the following saying: "I am going to go put on my leathers.")

But, maybe I need a black motorcycle jacket and some black, high-heeled boots. Oh! And a purse that doesn't have birds all over it. Maybe I should have a black leather purse...... Mah leathers!

I wish I could go out somewhere this weekend. I wish I had someone to snowboard with. My life is like Groundhog Day the movie, isn't it? Every day is pretty much the same. When it gets warmer and the sun stays out longer, I'm going to take advantage of living in town. I vow to be outside, walking around more. I could become a "fixture" at a local bar, kind of like on Cheers. But, since I rarely drink, I don't know what I'd really do. Oh yeah, and I also have a family, so... 

Why am I so restless? I've never felt like this before. Am I having a mid-life crisis? Aren't I too young for that? Plus I'm a girl.  Maybe it's because I see all of these people in their  30's out, doing interesting things (I hear the drunk ones walk past my house every Friday/Saturday at 2:00am as the bars let out. But maybe they're the ones in their 20's). Maybe it's because I wish I was more plugged in to all of the change that's going on in downtown Detroit. I think I miss art and culture too. I think I miss sometimes leaving the house past 5:00pm... (That is a big one).

This weekend we might go to a giant model train exhibit with a free showing of the new Thomas the Tank Engine movie. Which, is all fine and well, but once in a while, I really just wish I was at The Majestic or Cranbrook or something.....

Anyway, yeah. I need to pack things in now. I have to get to school pick-up and then we're hosting a little playdate. I'll serve the kids chicken and peas and noodles for dinner. 

I wonder what alternate-universe Lauren would be doing right now? I'd have to stop writing because I was seeing my next client in a few minutes (I'm a therapist). Then, I'd be hosting a dinner party at my favorite art gallery down the street. I'll serve Yotam Ottolenghi's eggplant with buttermilk sauce, lemon thyme and pomegranate seeds to Yotam Ottolenghi, then fig and goat cheese tarts and for dessert, Brioche Perdu paired with lavender honey ice cream.  That's what alternate universe  Lauren's Friday night would look like.

I wonder if that's really better than putting your flannel nightgown on at 7:30 and eating a cinnamon roll? Naaaaaaaahh.  

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