Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Friday!

Danny and I have the worst luck with anniversary photos.  This picture isn't the best quality but at least it's better than last year's blurred selfie.  I started the week with marriage advice and will end it with wedding advice.

It's your day, do what makes you happy: During the planning process it may seem that this is the most important thing to happen to everyone in your inner circle but it's not. Our wedding theme was television, the reception was in the afternoon, we played Motown music exclusively and limited our guest list. This caused some problems during our year of planning but after the wedding was over no one said a word and I can happily look back on our big day.  

Photography is important but not everything: I was a laid back bride but one thing that stressed me out was pictures.  I didn't know how we would have time to do them and had a huge list of grouping/poses I wanted. The reality is you don't look at a wedding album often and there are only so many pictures you can hang in your house. I have over a hundred pictures but only use a handful. I'm glad we have the memories but I spent more energy worrying about it than was necessary.

Enjoy the day because time flies: Since we got married in the afternoon our wedding day was over by 5:00 p.m. but even our friends who have evening receptions comment on how quickly it ends. Remember to relish in every minute because it's over way too soon.

On to the weekend.  Today I'm going to an all day Live, Work Detroit event put on by D:Hive, I have no idea what to expect and I'm admittedly nervous.  Tomorrow, is Danny's early birthday celebration. It's beer fest at Eastern Market and he'll be enjoying himself with a group of friends. I'm the DD and will spend part of the festivities at the DIA.  After the festival we will head to Greektown for dinner and dessert.  Hopefully our downtown adventures end at a reasonable hour because the Lions play at 9:00 a.m. Sunday.  The weekend will conclude with a trip to the Eastside with Mom for a show at Granny's church.

P.S. This is what I thought about during our wedding Mass :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Model D & Co-Working

I'm not a great extrovert.  I don't mind putting myself out there but it's not easy for me to approach a stranger and start a conversation. It's something I'm actively working on and Model D events are a great place to practice because they attract people who are looking to make a connection.  Yesterday was a long day and I couldn't muster my usual enthusiasm for adventure.  Consequently, my default of sitting in a corner, listening to the presentation and going home was a likely possibility.

Fortunately, the environment prevented me from being a hermit.  Although I wasn't on my A-game, I did introduce myself to a couple people, this led to other introductions and some people introduced themselves to me.  By the end of the night I met ten new people and plan to meet up with one woman this weekend - not too bad.

On to the event...

The panel discussion on the Culture of Co-working was hosted by Bamboo, a co-working space downtown. Prior to this event I associated co-working spaces with the city.  I figured it was a new-age hipster concept, sprouting up in progressive neighborhoods.  Turns out they're everywhere including my hometown Livonia (a conservative suburb).

What is a co-working space?
I would define it as a work environment that brings together people who operate independently in order to create a sense of community and synergy.  Members are contract workers, entrepreneurs and in some cases corporate employees who enjoy an alternative work setting. For a nominal monthly fee (Ponyride costs $100), people have access to work space, meeting space, wireless internet and other amenities.  Each organization operates uniquely. Some cater to certain industries like technology, sustainability or the arts. Some are open 24 hours. Some have maker space for artists or builders. And some have private offices that can be rented.

It's a concept I think will become more widespread in our increasingly transient society.  For better or worse, the traditional work world is changing and co-working spaces allow people to make connections and create a support network.  A refreshing thought since it is easy to get lost behind a computer in a closed office.  There are over a dozen co-working locations in Detroit and Co-Lab offers a list of most of them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


A Different World, Good Times, Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Hanging with Mr. Cooper (among others) are all family shows with predominantly black casts that appealed to a wide audience and used to be popular television on the network stations. For reasons I'm sure others have explained, the big four stopped producing those shows. For awhile UPN filled the void with shows like Moesha, The Game and (my favorite) Girlfriends.  When UPN merged with CW they disappeared too.

I've been disappointed by the lack of black people on the small screen.  Some of the most iconic characters in television history are black. Who in the 1990s didn't know Steve Urkel? Aren't Claire Huxtable and Phillip Banks regularly listed as favorite tv parents? And doesn't everyone knows the theme for Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons?

This glaring absence has disturbed me for a long time.  Consequently, when I saw Anthony Anderson and one of my favs, Tracee Ellis Ross, were starring in a family comedy on ABC I was thrilled!  Admittedly, I'm not crazy about the title.  Blackish seemed to have the same branding issues as Cougartown but perhaps that's just me.

Regardless, good or bad, I was all in.  To my pleasant surprise I'm not watching Blackish out of a sense of duty, it's a really funny show.  Every week I watch scenes that could have been taken from my life (e.g. being so excited about a conversation I forget to listen to what someone is saying). And my friends and family are watching it too.  I've had multiple conversations where scenes or plotlines have made their way into conversation.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed the show is a success and reminds television producers that diversity programming is a good thing.

If you're looking for something to watch at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday nights, check out Blackish on ABC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DIA After Dark

Sometimes the best nights are the ones you don't plan for.  The trip to the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) I invited Mom and Aunt Margaret to was a documentary showing put on by the local community group, ARISE Detroit. The presentation wasn't what I expected and we decided to leave early and I'm so glad we did.  The early exit allowed us to explore the museum and discover a buzzing night life. The thing I love most about Detroit, is that it constantly surprises me.  It's obvious I think the city is making progress but even I'm often impressed at how well it's doing.  I've been going to the DIA for years and prior to this past week I would have thought my couple visits a year were sufficient, now I know better.

Mom and I went from the General Lecture Room to the Rivera Court for Friday Night Live.  The free concert series is a regular event at the museum and we saw the final part of Angelica Sanchez and Omar Tamez Duo's performance.  I will not pretend to be a musical critic but I found their music interesting.  I don't know what their intended message was but I felt like the music was a soundtrack to life.  The beautiful consistent melody of the piano was overwhelmed by chaotic sounds from a guitar and other instruments. 

Following the performance, we looked at Monet's Waterlily Pond, Green Harmony which is currently on loan from Paris. I love Impressionist art and Monet is one of my favorites.  As I admired the painting, I was reminded that I used to read quite a bit about Impressionist artists.  I can't remember the title of the book I most enjoyed and a trip to the library may be called for to refresh my memory.

Prior to leaving the museum and heading to Greektown, Mom and I visited the American Gallery. I love the art in this section; particularly the work of John Singer Sargent (the piece above is Madame Paul Poirson). I originally discovered Sargent's work during a visit to the Met in New York.  Portraits appeal to me and the fashion in his paintings leave me envious.  While we were exploring the museum I thought about a post I recently read on one of my favorite blogs: A Cup of Jo. It discussed the idea of taking it slow in art museums and spending 20 minutes in front of one piece instead of 20 seconds. It's an interesting challenge and something I intend to try.

The Detroit Institute of Art is amazing and leaves me with that big city feeling I crave. It already makes national lists of the best museums in the country and I wouldn't be surprised if it moved up in coming years because there have been a lot of changes to make the museum more accessible (free admission for tri-county residents) and visible in the community.  This visit reminded me that my trips to the DIA don't have to be confined to weekend afternoons and I'm really looking forward to going back.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Year Two

I recently had an interesting conversation with my sister about marriage and it forced me to articulate my thoughts on the lovely institution.  I previously mentioned that there are time I don't feel married.  As it usually happens - you live and learn.  I have since come to the conclusion that it's not that I don't feel married, I'm simply used to being married.  It's my new normal.

It's a nice normal too. It's easy to forget all the progress and successes in a relationship.  They become the new baseline and you learn to take them for granted.  I realized this in part talking with Mom this weekend.  I know Danny really well; however, I forget that she doesn't see him as often.  Consequently, when I see her and vent about whatever is bothering me in the moment, those are the things that stick in her head.  Danny and I have a great marriage; therefore, the small problems we have (e.g. Danny making the bed in the morning) stand out. I'll happily keep our little problems but I will also make a cognizant effort to talk more about our everyday successes.

Lessons in Marriage:

Year 1: The first year of marriage is REALLY hard! Even if you lived together and shared finances beforehand, the piece of paper changes things.

Year 2: Don't take the good things for granted and share them with your family and friends. The little things you complain about will seem more serious to them if they don't know the big picture.