31 May 2010

We'll miss you most of all, scarecrow.

Non-people-wise (of course!), I think Zingerman's (all of 'em) is the place we'll miss most when we move. It's not cheap, and over the past year and a half, it's been a special treat for sure, but I think most of you are with me when I say, if I could, I'd buy all Zingerman's, all the time, whether it's a meal, cheese, bread... whatevah! As of yet, we still don't know when we'll be officially leaving the close comfort of Zingerman's, but, in the meantime, we're making the most of it and have vowed to imbibe as often as we can. Last week we picked up some mac and cheese (the pimento mac is my current "usual") before Brad had to hit the road, and today we decided to hit the deli with Bob and Lynn before Brad had to leave again. Luckily we got there right before the first big storm of the day, and we snagged a prime seat inside.... right next to the dessert counter. Yum.

I'll take one of each, please!

I managed to resist, knowing we had a mini key lime pie at home in the fridge. But many things called to me. Rhubarb pie. Pecan pie. Cherry pecan croissant. Coconut and almond chocolate cake. Seriously, Zingerman's is the devil.

While we wait, Brad shows Bob the wonders of the BlackBerry.

And then... it was time to eat (shortly following the mass run for the inside of all the outside folks). Brad, Bob, and Lynn all went the reuben route, always a sure thing. Brad opting for the old garlic pickle (which, I must admit, I love [if you've never heard my pickle philosophy, I'm happy to share for your amusement] but can't really eat because they are laden with garlic), B&L opting for the gross new pickle. There actually was no line so in no-time-to-mull-over-my-decision mode, I decided on the tuna sandwich, on sourdough NOT nasty rye (smells like pickles!) -- simple but tasty: tuna and white cheddar. One of my current three favorite sandwiches there and easily the best tuna sandwich around. Duh!

Brad pondering how sad he will be to be two hours away from Zingerman's.

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of great food in St. Joe. And even more in the whole of southwest Michigan, I'm sure. But as far as I'm concerned, I'll always be an Ann Arbor girl, and I'll always crave my Zingerman's. So we fully anticipate heading home with a cooler full of food every time we come back to visit!

26 May 2010

All decked out.

Another potential list-check-er-off-er: a fancy grocer! Morning Glory Market, and it's in St. Joe, so wherever we live, it won't be more than five or 10 minutes away. I'm sure it's small, but it's something. I'll go check it out next time I visit (which might be next week).

While we're on the subject, I finished the text part of The Kind Life and whipped myself up a nice vegan meal Monday night.

A salad of romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, and butt beans. Roasted asparagus. And brown rice. I often forget how much I like butt beans, so hopefully I will remember to eat more of them in the future. This did reaffirm that I still hate brown rice. Gross. But, I bought it, so I might as well use it. Lisa Z. suggested making some fried rice with it. That sounds tolerable. I will do that. Blech.

I promptly followed up my earth-friendly meal Monday night with...

A giant ball of mozzarella! HA! I was grumpy Tuesday and I decided Zingerman's mozzarella WOULD make me feel better.

Tomato from Charlevoix, mozzarella, Zingerman's onion roll, and romaine. It totally hit the spot. For lunch today, too. Oh well, I tried. :)

Meanwhile, the house projects continue. While I was in St. Joe last week, f-in-l Bob got bored and decided to stain our deck. Thanks, Bob! But then it kept raining and Bob went to St. Joe, so I did the stairs. Go me! (Just so we're clear, our deck staircase is actually a full-size staircase. Just sayin.)



Go me! And while working my way down, I discovered a little friend who almost got himself painted.

Why hello, Mr. Frog!

I relocated him out of paint's way. But I hope he comes back to visit, of course. And now a quick note on tonight's dinner, my last single-lady dinner for four whole nights!

PB&J and cucumbers. Good thing Brad's coming home, it's hitting rock bottom. Ha! I figure reading while eating and eating outside in the sun classed it up a bit.

19 May 2010

Chickies, cheeses, and beachies.

I meant to post days ago, an immediate follow-up to my first St. Joe update post. But I get easily sidetracked these days, and I just lost my writing mojo. But I'm here now, so hopefully it was worth the wait. :)

Before I take you back to the beach, I would like to officially and publicly reaffirm my support of the chicken and all our feathered friends. I tend to be a little suggestible, but I figure as long as it's for a good cause, so be it, right? Anyway, my new library hold finally came in today and I started reading Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet (there's also a website I haven't checked out yet: The Kind Life). I've only gotten through the first few chapters, but they are all on the evils of meat, dairy, and sugar, to us, the planet, and, obviously, the various animals. I won't share anything specific that I read (I don't want to be one to push unsolicited preachery), but I'll just say this: I immediately went to the store and bought soy milk, soy cheese, brown rice (yuck!), lemon sorbet (gotta have a treat!), and a bunch of veggies. And I think it's safe to say the flirting I've been doing with reconsidering meat is out the window. I just don't want to be ok with it. I also never thought about/considered how the treatment of chickies comes into play for eggs (I know, duh, but I didn't), and now I have severe egg guilt. I don't know that I can kick the habit but I'm going to think about it a lot. For now, my goal will be to try to be as vegan-friendly during the week as I can (I can't make any promises for when the weekend rolls around and I'm forced ["forced" haha] to go out to eat with Bradford) and continue my veggie quest in general. It's been almost a whole year now. High five, biker chicken!

Ok, as promised, back to the beach (and how fitting, as it finally feels like summer today). Tuesday it was gloomy and rainy, but I went to the beach anyway. I had the whole place to myself, and I ignored the "Private Beach" signs and walked for an hour. I was at Jean Klock Park this day, which is technically in Benton Harbor. So far, it's my favorite all-around beach.

Later that evening, Brad and I drove over to Silver Beach (the main beach in St. Joe) and hit up Silver Beach Pizza for, well, some pizza, based on our realtor's recommendation. It's right on the train tracks and practically on the beach, so I assumed it was meant only for beach goers and tourists, but it was jam packed on an off-season Tuesday night, so I guess not. We had a great meal and can check another thing off our list: yummy pizza.

Nacho cheese, with breadsticks! Mmm.

Don't you love my dairy-heavy meal after my above-mentioned vegan discussion?

I brought the comb!

After dinner, since the weather finally cleared up, we walked down to the beach and over to the pier, having the sunset almost entirely to ourselves. We kept looking at each other and saying, "Can you believe this is going to be HOME?"

I pinch you, future town!

Wednesday was finally a beautiful sunny day, and warm, so I ditched my "drive around and see what's what" plan and drove over to Lion's Park, which is just to the left of Silver Beach, with a stretch of lovely beach homes between them. They're doing some sort of "construction" (f-in-law Bob explained it to me, and it's something about moving water around or something? But I've since totally forgotten what he said) but they weren't actually doing anything, so once I walked beyond the kid-full playground area and out in front of the homes, I had the beach all to myself again. I even found MY spot. A small little inlet covey thing, with shallow pools and a sandbar. I spent the afternoon there with my smuggled-out hotel towels and Molly Ringwald's new book.

And that night, because it was so beautiful, we grabbed dinner at one of the places downtown that has an outdoor patio, overlooking the water from above. A lovely view, once the pompous ass college kid sitting in the way of our view went away and took his annoying voice with him. ("OMG, I keep forgetting I'm not in Spain anymore! * titter titter * Silly me!")

I must also mention that house hunting in St. Joe went great, and we found our "dream house." Nothing we can do about that until our house sells, but worth noting. Also worth noting was Brad's use of "entertaining" in reference to space in a house. One of our most hated House Hunters terms. You know better than that, Bradford! (He better not say "man cave" or it's over!) And lastly, while house-talkin, this isn't the neighborhood of our dream house, but I sure wish it was:

18 May 2010

There's no place like soon-to-be home.

Aloha from St. Joseph's Chocolate Cafe, secret password "chocolatecrunch." I am quite pleased with myself right now, especially considering my sleepless night and cranky old-lady-back mood. (I give 50% of the credit to Dr. Bob for telling me to just take a whole handful of ibuprofen for my back!) After giving in to said back/mood situation, I decided I'd at least stick with one of my day's goals: find the yarn store and check that off the list of "must haves" for new city. So after meeting Brad for a quick lunch downtown, I plugged the address into my GPS and headed over toward Benton Harbor. Guess what? No GPS in BH. Hmph. Drove around for a while assuming I'd stumble upon it. I did not. Eventually mapped it, nothing looked familiar on the map. So I did directions. Ok, take this road, then this road. Oh, interesting, this road is one way, going the wrong way. Drive around, turn around, turn around, try again. I must say I'm a little charmed by BH, at least the downtown area. There are a ton of old buildings that have held up over time and I recognized some of them from my new St. Joseph history book. I immediately thought of Sara, who I knew would be so game for getting out and doing an impromptu photo shoot. Alas, I was alone and still a little cranky. But I couldn't resist pulling over and snapping at least one shot...

Eventually I maneuvered my way around the one-way street and lo and behold.... the yarn store! I was tickled pink with my street sleuthing skills. Considering what I was expecting, Ivelise's is quite a find. A very old lady find, but a find nonetheless. Big, lots of options, a big screen tv set up in front of the knitting area, and friendly, well, old ladies. They even have my favorite new yarn, the Michigan-made Shepherd's wool.

Yarn store, check.

What else have on found on my must-have list?

An adorable local bookstore! And... they even let me use the bathroom before they knew I would be a real customer. I knew the bookstore was here, but I was expecting kind of what I found with the yarn store (although in reverse, since the bookstore was yesterday!) -- old lady (and touristy). But I found neither. I mean, the two women working were older (than me at least), but it was a perfectly modern little shop, and they have TONS of stuff for such a small space. After a quick lunch with Brad (downtown has its own falafel/gyro shop, too!), I walked back over and picked up the previously mentioned book on St. Joseph/Benton Harbor's history, also joining the store's frequent flier club. (More research is needed on this House of David business that the book briefly touches on, and Sara also told me more about today. BH has its own crazy cult, and there is even a museum that I WILL be visiting.)

There's also a kitchen store (also a house + gift store), which I can see from my window right now. And while I was walking down the street to check out another home-type store, I stumbled upon a local artist co-op, Chartreuse. Officially my favorite shop in town thus far. Lots of fun quirky art, and I can't wait to pick up a few items for our new house. To stop myself from making any purchases, I walked back over toward my car but was wooed instead by a bench swing atop the hill that overlooks Silver Beach. I sat for a spell.

Eventually I made my way back to the hotel to clean up and head back out for some house hunting with Brad and Old Man Jim, our realtor. First up, a house based solely on location (walking distance to the beach, just over the dune!). Smallish, sucky front yard, sucky back yard... Next! Of course, the next house was the house we knew we'd like, and we LOVED it. On a quiet but homey little street. A waterfall feature out front and tons of beautiful flowers (for us to tear out because we're sucky gardeners! haha). A fully fenced in back yard lined with big mature trees. A huge laundry room with tons of storage. A spacious kitchen. Four bedrooms. A huge master bath. A fireplace. Why oh why can't someone hurry up and buy our house so we can snatch this house away from any other house interlopers?!

To celebrate our bittersweet find, we came back downtown for the Pump House Grille's Monday night perch special. I've actually been here twice before, once years ago with the girls for my birthday and one a few years ago with Chase. I suspect it will be a place we frequent. Good food, friendly people, a bar to sit at if so desired. And... TWO cups of tartar sauce. My kind of place. Yum.

And then back to today... I have some lovely pics of how I spent my afternoon post-Benton Harbor adventure, pre-Chocolate Cafe. But for now, I must run and meet Bradford for more house hunting!

09 May 2010

Pouty mcpout.

As I'm sure you suspected I would... I survived my first week sans Brad. And that means I got to celebrate my first weekend with him home! Hooray! And I dare say my Bradford has already become a west-sider, whining about all the traffic and people in Ann Arbor. He said he didn't miss Ann Arbor at all, but I don't entirely believe that. Especially after we enjoyed some of our favorite AA hot spots this weekend, starting with his favorite meal (churasco chimichurri steak) at Cafe Habana Friday night, a return to Palio after a year's absence Saturday night, and drinks with the guys at Grizzly Peak, our staple for the past several years. Stay tuned to see how we fare as the weeks go on!

Anyway, now that I'm about to start week no. 2., I'm feeling quite pouty. And what's better for feeling pouty than shopping? Especially when it's shopping at TJ Maxx! Woot! Reminder for anyone needing constant sweet scents in your house: TJ Maxx! I didn't go too crazy because I'd just stocked up the other day, but I did snag two giant candles (vanilla fig and vanilla uh some kind of flower [it's over there!!]) that would easily have been $20 at full price. (Random side note: If you get any of those scent-in-a-bottle-with-wooden-sticks-sticking-out doodads, do NOT spill the oil on cheap furniture -- it ate right through the finish on our Target bookcase!) Among other things (it IS TJ Maxx!):

I'm such a sucker for stationary of all kinds. Especially notebooks that have my long-long-long ago nickname on front in yellow. I figure I'll have a job eventually and I can use this to take notes!

I don't need to learn how to knit, obviously, but for $7 I got four little balls of yarn, a new darning needle (I have a cheap plastic one; this includes a nice metal one), and a new set of straight needles -- in pink! They had three different color variations; I grabbed pink and yellow.

Once I was done at TJ Maxx, I decided that I NEEDED one more thing to complete my night of pouting:


And, in case you're curious, a brief look into the Brad-less boudoir:

How we fall asleep.

What I see as I open my eyes in the morning.

Georgie, just cuz.

04 May 2010

Sweet sixteen.

First, good news -- we have another showing tomorrow! I was starting to get paranoid about not having anything lined up yet this week. Come on jerks, buy our house! :) Anyway, to prepare, in addition to all the candles I have lit around the house, I experimented with a new scent -- simmering cinnamon (a tip from my neighbor's girlfriend [yes, the crazy neighbors! She came over and talked to me this weekend and says her boyfriend's mom, the owner, doesn't weed her crap ass yard because she is "environmental." So that obviously explains the ac on from April through November and the generator!]). It smelled reaaaaally good, so I will definitely do this again tomorrow before the peeps come.

"Buy This House" scent.

So my project for the evening was to try to consolidate my boxes of personal stuff -- letters, school papers, mementos, etc.

The round hat boxes contain every letter, card, note, etc., I've received since I was 10.
I can't bear to part with them.

As you can probably guess, "work time" really became "reminisce" time, and not much got purged (although, to my credit, I've been through all this stuff before and it's probably as slim as it's going to get).

For Rachel... Systems theory! Self-efficacy! Nexus!

Here's what I managed to purge:


The find of the night is by far my elementary school diary, which averaged about an entry per year from 2nd through 5th grade, heavy on the 4th grade. My handwriting hasn't much improved.

And so it begins! From:


Why yes, that does say "peice [sic] of crap on rye."
(And yes, that does say "Tim's a babe." Double HA!)

Sigh. Worded only as a fourth grader could do.

I still miss my Brad like crazy, but I must confess I was pretty wrapped up in all this tonight. It's so funny how easily you can be back in your 16-year-old bedroom in your 16-year-old body thinking through your 16-year-old head. Nope, definitely not purging this stuff. It will be with us for at least one more move.