A return home

Last Friday I returned to my home-state of Michigan to attend my 20th high school reunion. I flew out of SW Florida as the hurricane was approaching Daytona Beach and watched news coverage from the airport. If you looked outside of its floor to ceiling windows you would have seen less wind and rain than a typical day during our rainy season, which is just wrapping up here.

Now I am back in Florida, back at my computer with cold Cuban coffee and listening to one of my favorite Detroit radio stations online, a station I was stunned to discover is still broadcasting (and as awesome as ever!). I listened to it while driving my made-in-Detroit rental car north on U.S. 23, fighting the familiar traffic that flees north on weekends, all while soaking in the beauty of a Michigan fall day with its grey clouds, blue sky, and bright sun peaking through to light up trees that were just starting to turn yellow and red.

Michigan in October

So much filled me with joy this weekend. Seeing friends who knew before I could read or write. Friends who saw me exactly for who I was in the way that only five-year-olds can. We swapped stories. We mused about what ever happened to this person or that who moved away in elementary school never to be heard from again. We tried to remember the name of our elementary school secretary (she was very much called a secretary then), and then finally remembered. (It was Dorothy.)

Mitten-State Love

The weekend closed with me sitting in a Detroit terminal eating a coney dog and Better Made chips, reading a copy of the Freep, the Detroit paper. I took a picture of these objects, that is how happy I was to have them in front of me. The only way to top it would have been to wash it all down with a Vernors pop. (And yes it is pop, not soda.)

There are other things I want to write about but can only do so in my journal. As I stood with a friend who has known me since I was five we nodded heads talking about how hard and complicated home can get when you are very much a grown adult. I thought about this as I stood in the local neighborhood market, staring at the back entrance where it used to house rental VHS cassettes, and then possibly DVDS, swapped now for shelves that sell craft beer. The butcher department still smelled of fish but strangers walked the small, neat aisles.

driving on US 23 in Michigan

As I drove south to the Detroit airport for my return flight, I found myself glancing at the Michigan highway ditches, half-expecting to see egrets hunting for fish instead of the goldenrods that were in bloom. Now I am home. Florida-home. Discussing the hurricane that has passed. Eating leftover take-out Caribbean food. But I am listening to the Detroit radio station, now available online, still as awesome as ever. And it turns out that U.S. 23, the road that leads to home in mid-Michigan, also goes all the way south to Florida, too.

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To dust bunnies and mismatched stemware!

Today is party day!

As I have written before, I have been working on building a village. I am new to my neighborhood, my state (Florida), to parenthood, to all of it. It’s taking time but I’m happy to say that slowly, ever so slowly, we are finding community.

I am pretty sure my (deceased) mother is the one who put a bug in my ear that, hey, you should have a bbq/potluck! She even reminded me about the favorite sangria recipe of mine that she loved.

(Yes, I take party planning advice from my dead mother. Trust me, you would too if you had my mother at your disposal. She was a master party planner. Lots of lists, sometimes party themes (but never tacky or cheesy–just fun), and always a great spread of food.)

A lot has been written about the carefree moms of the 1980s. I would love to try to capture the fun, laid back spirit of the parties my parents had, even if just a teeny bit.

My awesome 1980s mom. That is me, eyeing a very non-pinteresty sort of cake.

This is harder than you would think. Last night my husband and I were shopping at Target to get some last minute items, and he said, “You know what we need? A shiny copper bucket to put ice in with all the drinks!”

They had them but they were kind of expensive. But then I turned to him and said, wait a minute. We don’t need this damn thing! You know what Keith and Diane would have used? A crummy old cooler that they pulled out of the garage and hosed down! 

Keith and Diane’s favorite beverage container. Try it, it works great!

When your husband, the man who has zero design sense, starts suggesting fancy copper bins to put ice and drinks into, you know you have found yourself squarely in the Pinterest-generation.

So guess what we will be using: a crummy old cooler from the garage. That’s right, there will be nothing instagrammable or pinterstery about this party.

[Disclosure: love me some Pinterest. Love being creative, love having fun craft ideas…but sometimes you just need to chill the heck out ammiright?]

Today I raise a glass to carefree, no hassle parties. To good-enough. To dust bunnies and mismatched stemware! To friends!

I’d write more but that lime kool-aid isn’t going to make itself.

p.s. This week I have been writing about my journey of healing that came after a period of loss, and more loss, and more loss. I will pick up the series next Monday because today, my friends, is party day!

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