Thursday, March 15, 2012

Modern Midwest Saturday Morning



Oh my, I am getting behind in my posting--simply because I am taking too many photos and yes, as Remi rightfully accuses me--am not editing enough. So my head is often entirely somewhere else. Actually, it seems that can be said of many of us in this in-between season time. Our weather has been precocious--t-shirt bearers swan in the sun one day then shiver under turtlenecks the next. No wonder we are all confused! 


So lets bump back to Ann Arbor, Michigan a bit--best to put this and one last post out there quickly before spring demands my full attention here in Provence (not to mention that I actually still have a post to share from Sisteron when I was knee deep in the snow--now who, I ask you, wants to see that? Perhaps my Australian friends who need a break from their summer heat?). 


The weekend is fast approaching so it is perfectly appropriate to return to a quiet Saturday morning in A2. Our first stop was the Farmer's Market, a very popular outing even in the heart of winter when fresh veggies are slim pickings. But look at these rainbow eggs! That is the making of one happy omelette, especially once you know how well-raised the volailles are that produced them (the only thing they are missing out on are hot-stone massages it would seem). Not to mention orange chipolte vinaigrette or creamy pumpkin butter, winsomely praised by chatty sellers who can sniff out your soft spot for something kind of like what your Grandma made...but 'organic'.



As this is the Midwest, there are frequently links to a prevalent Germanic heritage with several varieties of sauerkraut on offer. But, as this is cosmopolitan Ann Arbor, The Brinery also produces some seriously fiery kimchi...



...one that could easily be served at the funky, graffiti-covered Kosmo Lunch Counter, a Korean diner in the Kerrytown Market next door. If every single seat hadn't been occupied (with several folks hovering not so discreetly in the background for the next vacancy), I would have been psyched to have dived into a bowl of Bi Bim Bop, their specialty. 



Instead, my Mom and I strolled through Hollander's, one of the largest suppliers of decorative wrapping papers and bookbinding materials in the country. The Palazzo in Venice-esque paper especially caught my eye but there are styles and a range of colors to suit any taste--a visit is practically a crash course on design variations.




I wish that I had taken more time to photograph the architecture downtown as we headed hungrily towards The Jolly Pumpkin. It has kept its charm and character and I could easily envision myself living in a loft in one of the renovated brick buildings. 



...but even more so in a delightful cottage such as this, of which there are many, many, many--each painted more joyously than the last, something to battle against the frequently blustery winter skies. Blue and gold banners for the University of Michigan sway from even the finest of homes--these folks are proud of their Wolverines.


Being so close to Detroit (not to mention with many automotive plants in the area), American cars dominate the parking lots. I was surprised to see so many gas-guzzlers, rusted but with years still left in them. Perhaps surprisingly, they made me think of the "we will survive" attitude of the wonderful people I encountered on this and previous visits. Despite the torturous tides of the economy (several of the counties further south have experienced some of the highest unemployment rates in the United States), I have never felt pressure or sadness in the region. Just another Midwestern Saturday then but one that is full of an appreciation for the good breathe in, breathe out of life.







15 comments:

  1. Um - are those HEART-SHAPED, rainbow colored oil drops??? Is that's what's going on there? Whatever it is, it's beautiful; who knew that Ann Arbor was so colorful? You certainly sussed out lots beauty out of that cold, midwestern morning, but it does remind me of why I love living here! The only thing missing? You!

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    1. Love you, Sister. Yep, some of those are definitely heart-shaped--of course you would see that!! :)

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  2. Always enjoy learning about other parts of the country.
    Thanks for sharing these Ann Arbor posts Heather.
    It's easy to see the charm and warmth of this city. Also, sounds like there are a lot of great restaurants and shops!

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    1. Thanks so much, Laura. It really is an amazing town. I can't believe that I didn't take my camera on any of our walks to show the beauty of the surrounding forests and lakes, though. Bad on my part. Too busy chatting, I suppose!

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  3. Don't you just love how Americans keep going on no matter what they face? Ann Arbor reminds me so much of my home town in looks of the buildings. Love the chicken eggs and all those colors. We get fresh eggs up the road in different colors too and I never want to use them because they look so pretty in the bowl. Thank you for sharing your home town visit.

    XX
    Debra~

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    1. It's so true, Debra. We just keep on going! Like the Energizer Bunny! Hope all is well with you there. Your last post was so inspiring. More please!

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  4. What a gorgeous relationship you have with your sister!I read the comments first!You are always so up beat!Dont edit the photos you never know what could be useful in another post another day.Tell Remi "NO" Contessa says so!The eggs were beautiful as was the oil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!The painted house reminds me of houses in BERKELEY.The big old AMERICAN cars.............will soon be antiques!Bravo to the folks that buy AMERICAN.I cannot put myself in that catagory as we bought a FIAT 500 the last day of 2011!If I cant live in ITALY I will feel like I'm driving there.....stick shift too!New photo of YOU is very elegant!Black suits you!xoxox

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    1. Yay for my Contessa! Of course you are allowed to drive a Fiat--you are married to an Italian after all! But I do wish more folks would buy from their respective home countries. I think it is a shift that is going to happen naturally as Chinese goods gradually become more expensive but I hope that shift comes before it is too late!
      And you rock for driving a stick shift--very, very you.

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  5. Hi Heather
    I was first attracted to your blog because of the picture of you and your beautiful dog. Now I come back to enjoy your photos and fine writing. Thanks for the lift each time I visit with you!

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    1. What a truly lovely thing to say, Sanda--it is much, much appreciated. And I am so delighted that you left a little hello as it helped me find your blog. I think that we have things in common and I am your newest follower. :)

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    2. Thank you for becoming a follower of my blog. I am just getting started with this blogging business and I absolutely adore it! Can't wait to post each day. I looked previously but couldn't find where to become a follower of your blog (likely overlooked it) but I did sign up for e-mails when you post. I think we do have interests in common!

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  6. Those eggs are quite something else - rainbow eggs as well as rainbow oil drops. Quite a place, obviously! I love that you put on your explorer's hat wherever you go - the true traveller. This has been a really interesting insight into a place which doesn't, at least from our perspective down under, often get much in the way of observational coverage.

    And yep, snow! Sounds good - I am ready for the cosy cooler weather of autumn. Summer is lovely, but as you know I adore the changing seasons. So yes, I will happily read that post!

    Hope your weekend is wonderful. VB xx

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    1. Thanks my friend. I am glad that you have appreciated these posts. Ann Arbor is not a hot spot like NYC, LA or Portland nor is it a small town, it is something in between and yet very much itself.

      In a few months you will be missing your pool, I know but who wouldn't be excited about the prospect of an oncoming autumn? I know I will be (many months from now...sigh).

      Bon weekend à toi aussi! What are you cooking these days?

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  7. Fun post once again! We might as well call it summer now here. Been in the mid-70's all week with a destructive tornado in Dexter last night. Sidewalk sitting is in full swing. It actually kind of depresses me because it's not supposed to be this way yet. Anways, we all carry on. Looking forward to my Provence trip in July!

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  8. Hello Heather:
    We noted on the eggs label that the coops were heated...they certainly know how to make their hens feel loved in that part of the country!!!!

    Well, we are always game for a Farmers' Market and this one looks to be wonderfully cosmopolitan as well as offering the highest quality of produce. Perfect!

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