Monday, October 31, 2011

Homecoming weekend

The home team won, and I ended up staying out of gridlocked traffic and away from the stadium:  perfect!  For those who wonder, I'm not negative about football Saturdays, I just decided long ago to let the people who like football have those 109,901 seats, and not disappoint anyone by taking theirs.  (I'm already thinking about spring training, if you're interested in my sports preference.)

So-- we started the day at one of our favorite breakfast/lunch places, the Northside grill.  I had my usual BLT and added a cup of hot apple cider.  Perfect!  I got one section of the paper read while waiting for a table, but we had waited long enough that most of the people were in the stadium by then.  The staff was its usual cheerful self, and the restaurant was decked out for Halloween!  Nice job, Dave--

New mill race with 'white water' feature

We made a little stop at Argo Park to look at the river and check out the progress of the new mill race.  It looks great-- we may have to try it out in a canoe next spring.
Fairview Cemetery Civil War marker

Huron River

The river was beautiful, as usual, so we drove along Longshore drive to keep it within our view.  Then we stopped at Fairview cemetery to see how much history we could discover.  We looked at a large monument commemorating soldiers, and I guessed that it was from WWI, because it only referred to 'The War', but then we read the other side of the marker and it was commemorating the solders who fought for the Union!  We had found a Civil War monument.  I have relatives that were in the Ann Arbor area in the 1800's-- maybe I'll start looking for them.

Another beautiful day!  We had a real treat in meeting family at the Common Grill in Chelsea, and celebrating a birthday!  Follow the link for pictures, if you want to get very hungry.  The birthday girl wants to thank everyone for a lovely time--  :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday night auction

We had a couple of hours of great (free) entertainment last night, at Schmidt's Auction and Antiques.  This is the best auction house in the area-- and if you have never been to an auction, Schmidt's is a great introduction to the spectacle.

Are you afraid that you will end up owning something by accident because you raise an eyebrow or scratch your nose?  Check out this link on tips for beginners .
We have spent many companionable hours together at auctions, while waiting for our item to come up.  Why?  It is part drama, part party, and if you're not riveted by the action, it's fine to talk, laugh, read, needlepoint, and people watch.  (Unlike a movie).

Just try not to wave to anyone during bidding, or raise you hands in the air (like I did, apparently, getting this picture)-- and no, he didn't make me buy the earthenware pitcher that was being sold that moment.... Whew.
Another nice auction house is DuMouchelles in downtown Detroit.  Once you get the bug, you might want to check them out too.  The monthly Saturday and Sunday auctions at DuMouchelles are in the afternoon, and they have valet parking.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Retired in Ann Arbor: Penny Stamps lecture

I finally made it to one of the Penny Stamps lectures, provided by U of M's School of Art and Design, and it was a perfect way to spend an hour on a chilly Thursday afternoon.  First, the setting:  It is in the beautiful Michigan Theater, and starts at 5:10, most Thursday afternoons.  I was there a few minutes early, and enjoyed the theater organ before the lecture started-- especially his version of "Puttin' on the Ritz"--  You could bring in a coffee from the Bigby's next door, or  have some popcorn and liquid refreshment from the concession (even beer!).  I looked around to see how many people of my demographic (Retired in Ann Arbor!!) were present,  and there was a decent showing of grey hair.
Then about 2 minutes before the lecture started, a flood of college kids came in-- fresh off the bus from their previous class on north campus.  The speaker was Emily Pilloton-- an interesting speaker on several levels, who has also presented at TED.  The description and her lecture is posted here if you want to hear it.  Having taught for awhile early in my career, I had particular interest in her observations of how the school where she is working, doesn't work.
In summary, here are 4 reasons I'm happy to be one of the retirees in the audience rather than a college student:

  1. I'm better rested
  2. I'm not going to be tested on what I just heard
  3. I can legally drink beer if I want to
  4. There is very little drama in my daily life.
How about you?  Do you agree?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 2 at Hollander's School of Book and Paper Arts

I had a very happy day in class today-- made a new friend and one collage that I'm happy with (and another that needs to be cut up again-- and reassembled).  I'm not sure where these disturbing images come from, but it's all there somewhere in my psyche, I'm sure!  Don't ask my kids about it.... I'd be afraid to hear what they had to say...

It's also so neat to spend the day in Kerrytown.  Sweetwaters coffee bar is in the same building, so I started the day with a double latte, extra shot-- to get going.  Then I had an excellent cup of chowder from Monahan's for lunch, and took a break in Found gallery where I bought a few cool antique pictures that I will turn into something completely scary in my next collage--
Sparrow market in Kerrytown
Found Gallery
Then while visiting my car to feed the meter, I had to walk through Wednesday's Farmer's Market, and ended up with 2 homemade pasties ($5 each) and a large bunch of broccoli ($3)-- so dinner is taken care of!  (And it looks like the diet is postponed for another day too.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 1 of 2 at Hollander's school of book and paper arts

I'm back to my favorite class on collage at Hollander's in Kerrytown.  It is rather exhausting for me due to my innate left-brainness, but it is also exhilarating to get out of my comfort zone in such a comfortable and supportive environment.   Hopefully I'll end up with at least one piece of art that I can share without too much embarrassment!
Which side of the brain dominates your life?  If you are curious, take this free quiz offered by the Art Institute of Vancouver.

Work tables at lunch time
One of the fun (and important) parts of retirement is to get out of your routine and try something new-- so a couple of years ago I thought I would try a class that was the furthest away from anything I had taken in my life:  art.  I was truly an art virgin the first day I walked down the stairs from Hollander's store into the studio.  What was going through my head?  Oh, I am so excited to be trying this?
More like:  "WHAT AM I DOING HERE??  AM I CRAZY???"  (yes, I was screaming in my own head.)  But my previous try at something new was taking Learn to Row--  (more about that next spring), which was also very fun and exciting, but I reassured myself that at least in an art class, one can't drown.
So anyway, now I sign up every time this class is taught, so it was a success.
Also, Hollander's is one of my favorite stores in Ann Arbor-- they also offer cooking classes, of which 'moi' is one of the guest cooks in November.  Stay tuned for more about that!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beautiful day to look at houses--

 As far as I'm concerned, this is the best time of year!  It's sunny and mid-60s again, so I continue to cruise around Ann Arbor and environs in the convertible.  Which brings up a question that begs to be asked:  why retire somewhere with winter weather?
Here's my answer:  It is very beautiful in the winter, and if you learn to embrace the cold (and layer up), it is a perfect time for walks.  Two of my favorite places are the parks along the river, and Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.  And call me crazy, but I much prefer to wear boots and a down jacket than sweat through a walk in the heat and humidity.
On the other hand, if you can't embrace cold weather, my advice is to plan your retirement finances so you can head to warmer turf for the amount of time that makes you happy, and love Ann Arbor 3 seasons of the year.
While we're discussing the great outdoors, however, it is also interesting to note that our risk of earthquake, tsumani, hurricane, flood, tornado, volcano or wildfire rates from low to none.  I'll be sharing some "Best Places to Retire" resources with you in the future, and it's always interesting to see how Ann Arbor stacks up.
Today I met a friend for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants:  Cafe Zola.  A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times had the good taste to mention them in the 36 hours travel column-- but I hate it when my favorite places get stellar reviews, don't you?  It should just be our secret--  But it was very well deserved....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Retired in Ann Arbor: Pumpkin farm

The weather is still so beautiful, that I decided that I had waited long enough to get some pumpkins for the front porch.  I enjoy seeing the pumpkins in the field every year at Wing Farm as I drive back and forth on Zeeb and Dexter Roads, so this year, I decided to check it out.  It would have been more fun with the little guys (I passed on the free hay ride), but the selection was fantastic, and it was very convenient to choose, buy, and transport the pumpkins to the car.  Parking was also well organized.
Check out their website for hours and location.  (I got 2 large Cinderella pumpkins for $10).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Retired in Ann Arbor: Farmer's Market!!

We always seek out Farmer's markets when we travel, and aside from one in Paris, this is one of the best in the world-- (my opinion, of course).  I was there early this morning, to beat the crowds.  This is the most beautiful time to go!   I got inspired by all the fresh local produce, and bought some Northern Spy apples for apple crisp ($3), broccoli and brussels sprouts for roasted vegetables, and 2 colors of cauliflower for an au gratin casserole ($5 for all).  Go!  You won't regret it.  Ann Arbor Farmer's Market

Friday, October 21, 2011

Although, (as my brother says), when you're retired, everyday is Saturday, and then the big paper comes!
What to do today?
---Drive around and look at the colors-- and from 3-8 PM ($10), tour newly remodeled houses in the Remodelers Home Tour.  Also available all weekend-- check site for additional hours.
---Check out the 12th Annual ArtWalk 5-9 PM (free)  Also available all weekend-- check for hours and map.
---Or maybe it's time to see "Answer This!" at the Michigan Theater to see if I recognize any friends or locales from Ann Arbor.  (adults $9, seniors $7, or better yet, become a member and your ticket is $6.50, and you support this fantastic venue).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20--again!

Nothing planned for this afternoon?
There are at least 4 speakers offered this afternoon by various colleges of the U.  Check it out here:  Ann Arbor Events
Interested in history? medicine? art and design?  They're all covered-- and they are all free!
Go ahead-- go learn something new!  You'll be a better person for it.

October 20

Another chilly rainy fall day--
Yesterday we had to pick up new specs, so headed to SEE to pick up the totally cool glasses we had ordered.  If you wish you had a better look, check out this store!  They are very helpful, and people often ask us where we get our glasses--
Then we shared an umbrella to walk a couple of storefronts down to Ashley's for a beer, and to try out our new look!  This is a classic college bar, so happy hour (3-6PM) is a great time to go-- we love the HUGE selection of beer taps, and with the Beatles on the jukebox, and a shared order of nachos, we had a nice time.
Window shopped through Nichol's Arcade on the way back to the parking ramp-- I was drawn to Comet Coffee and Van Boven shoes, but we had spent enough money today, so I'll save those for another day!