Amidst work on my novel, I’ve so enjoyed having David in Kalamazoo full time, beginning last Friday. We’ve gotten caught up on move-in projects and some long postponed day trips. The first occurred last Saturday, our first return to Holland, Michigan since David’s 2015 birthday celebration. You can read about “Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan with Two Dutchmen” by clicking here, the two Dutchmen referring to David and his father from Amsterdam. This recent trip marked a different kind of birthday — the official beginning of David’s new life in our new home.
The day proved a jam packed manifestation of almost every article of clothing or boot I’ve sought since moving here. We also loved our gluten-free vegan New York style pizza at Crust 54, amazing vegan Thai at Thai Palace, and our pint of Dragon’s Milk at New Holland Brewing. As much as the cute boutiques, funky resale shops, excellent natural foods co-op, and gustatory pleasures, we delighted in all the signs scattered in stores and along the quaint downtown streets. You can see a few of our favorites below:
This next one proved an auspicious and accurate sign:
Umbrella in the background provided courtesy of downtown Holland and a testament to Lake Effect rain and snow: visitors can pick up umbrellas and use as needed, so long as they leave them somewhere in the downtown area.
In our own little reclamation ceremony, David and I also visited one of the most photographed lighthouses in Michigan, The Big Red Lighthouse in Holland State Park.
On our way to Holland, David realized that we’ve each lived in all four states bordering Lake Michigan. In gusts and mist, we stood on the other side of Big Red and released any experiences that no longer serve, calling back pieces of ourselves from all four shores.
This past Tuesday heralded another day trip, this time to Ann Arbor and the nearby IKEA in Canton, Michigan. We had never gone to either before, and our afternoon began with a vegan Reuben and vegan Chili Mac:
The Chili Mac was good, but the Reuben? Unbelievable! We managed to suppress our giggles when a father dining with his obviously vegan graduate student son next to us commented on his own Reuben, “So what is this?! A cabbage sandwich?” We gobbled ours, but he did not seem to mean that as the compliment his son assumed it was. David has clicked into my own writer mode of spending extra time observing any unusual character combinations we encounter.
On our way out of The Lunch Room, my eyes gravitated to a Celtic seeming stone, all the more synchronous since someone had just that morning asked if my “Laura of the Rocks” photo came from Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Here, in downtown Ann Arbor, we found an Ogham stone:
“Replica of a Celtic Marker or Ogham stone was used to seal agreements in early Ireland in the area now known as County Kerry. Parties touched fingers through the hole and thereby made their agreements binding. This stone is copied after one located near Kilmalkedar in County Kerry. Markings on the edges are Ogham, an early Irish linear script.
Sculpted in Ireland from County Kerry Stone by Pieter Koning, 1994
Dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1996.”
After our touch of Celtic magic, we spent time wandering around downtown Ann Arbor. We got much of our Christmas shopping done at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom. I could tell what a writer friendly city Ann Arbor is by the fact that the New Age bookstore featured a shelf full of books like “Tarot for Writers,” “Astrology for Writers,” “Wired for Story,” and “The Artist’s Way.” Once we finished loading up on everything from cards (greeting and tarot) to … I can’t say what else since some of the gift recipients read my blog! … we headed to IKEA, the main impetus for this trip.
We needed a desk for David, lights for our bedroom and my office, as well as snake plants for our fireplace. Supposedly, you can find snake plants everywhere, but no! Not in Kalamazoo. We spent Monday afternoon running around to four different stores who should have but did not have any snake plants. I wanted something to thrive rather than barely survive in low light. We joked that you can find anything at IKEA, so why not snake plants? Another score:
We concluded our adventure with dinner and dessert at the Cranbrook Whole Foods on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. Vegan mocha cake? Um, yum! Don’t mind if we did.
We will return to all of these locations for more food and fun, but we’re happy to report that we felt so grateful to return to Kalamazoo. We love our new home and its proximity to so much in town convenience, food, music and the arts, as well as so many opportunities for day trips. Yesterday afternoon brought the planting of another 80 daffodils — three months of blooms — and today, I’ve got to get those snake plants into larger pots. For now, though, I return to writing and sessions … another day in the heart of Dra’Faven.