Monday, February 27, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Matthaei Botanical Gardens

 Happy 50th birthday Matthaei Botanical Gardens!  We decided to visit the conservatory to see the photos of the original construction, and to enjoy the spring blooms.

 Be sure and check out the gift shop-- there are great spring flowers available for purchase for around $5, and some of my favorite children's gifts that encourage outside play and learning.  Who can resist butterfly nets and bug cages?

Century plant

This is a huge century plant-- which can be found in the arid house.  It is now 70 years old, and according to their website, we're still waiting for the first bloom.

(wow......70 years old and still a baby......I like it!)

It was a serene setting, with guitar and flute music floating through the air--

Free admission, but there is a charge to park unless you become a Friend, which we highly recommend.

Looking for an excuse to spend more time here?  Check out the many volunteer opportunities.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Ace Barnes Hardware

Sometimes we don't think about hardware stores as great shopping and gift-buying destinations.

But through the years, we have discovered that hardware stores can be great places to look for souvenirs while traveling internationally, because you can often buy the kitchen supplies that are unique to that country.

We have several locations around town that would be a wonderful find for a foreign visitor, as well as us!  One of my favorite hardware store destinations is Ace Barnes hardware on Stadium.

They have the best collection of gadgets, as well as very complete selections of some of my favorite imported brands, such as Le Creuset and Bodum.

They also sharpen knives, which is one of the to-do items on my list.
When I saw the cookie cutter display, I started thinking of the cool spring cookies I could make:  flowers and dragonflies?  Yes!
If you're looking for a little peek of spring, check out their display of outdoor patio supplies.......
and dream--
(while you're shoveling your sidewalk).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor Happy hour! at The Raven's Club

It has been awhile since we have gone out for happy hour (as opposed to the daily happy hour that happens in our kitchen), so we decided to try a new venue:  The Raven's Club.

We arrived shortly after 5, and settled into a comfortable table in the back.  My first impression was of how beautiful the restaurant is!  The lighting is very nice, and each table had a small candle on it-- so even before dark, it is a very romantic venue.  Classy music from the swing era and a Sam Spade-era film on the TV, complete the mood.

They had a great selection of happy hour specials, all priced at $4.  We had the following, for a total of $20:

Pint of Darkhorse $4
Pint of New Holland $4
2 delicious beef sliders $4
1 petit portion of pork ribs (with deliciously spicy BBQ sauce) $4
Pommes Frites $4
What a fabulous deal!

We were so impressed with our experience, and the full menu looked so good, that we made reservations for dinner this weekend, in one of the round booths in back.  Wow-- Valentine's Day is over, and I think I have a new infatuation!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Mining for treasure at TreasureMart

 It has been close to a month since I visited Treasure Mart-- so I was excited to see the new merchandise that has been consigned in my absence.  I didn't buy anything, but was interested to see the nice selection of Lenox china, among other items.  Lenox china is the only bone china made in the USA, and is known for high quality and beautiful patterns, and buying china from consignment or at auction can save 70-80% cost.

There were also a number of nice items that could make interesting and inexpensive Valentine's gifts.

Cute frame  $1-- only missing a special picture
of the 2 of you
Great globe-- (give them the world?)
Grandma's cookie jar
Clock with a Mona Lisa smile
Waterford champagnes:  marked down to $17.50 each
(Retail would be around $80 each)-- now you can afford
the GOOD champagne!
Amber vase  $6-- (This is large enough to
hold a dozen long-stemmed roses)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: Shopping for weird at the Property Disposition Office

So you may have noticed that I have been out of town for the last couple of weeks, and haven't been blogging about new Ann Arbor adventures.  One of the best parts of being retired, is being able to travel without one eye on our annual vacation allotment-- or scheduling around school vacations.  Perfect!

And of course, it helps to live in the awesome location of Ann Arbor, where all the amenities are available for a much lower cost of living than most of the other top retirement destinations, leaving money available for vacation.

I guess *Bruno* here had something to do with football practice.
Fortunately, he and his brethren are sold
But now we're back, and being out of the area, means that the items in the consignment and recycling shops have turned over-- so we decided to check both of our favorites.

I guess I lost the coin toss, so we decided to go to HIS favorite first:  the university's Property Disposition Office.

I have to admit that this merchandise doesn't usually speak to me, (used MRI machines....REALLY?) I thought I would get creative with ideas on what we saw.....

Stay tuned tomorrow for MY favorite consignment shop:  Treasure Mart.

Missing your old office chair?  I'll bet you can find one
from all the eras you worked.
Ditto on the desks-- this one might actually be cute for
a small space
Centrifuge-- any ideas on a good household use for one of these?

Random cable and wire-- next time Comcast is out, ask
if you get a discount if you provide your own cable.  :)

Lots of banquet glasses and dishes-- these red wines
weren't too bad, and they were priced at 16 for $10.
Need 112 of them?  DONE. 

General Orthopaedics and romance novels--
bet you don't have this on your Kindle!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Retired in Ann Arbor: 5 Reasons to Celebrate Aging

Fewer colds and a better brain, among others.  Read the rest here--

And GREAT vacations!