Monthly Archives: August 2013

real buildings half curves

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      i love this building, stuck right in the heart of our bustling and modern downtown. each and every time i walk by, i am drawn in once again, as i encounter its beauty, and especially its ‘and a half’ address. each time, i feel as mesmerized by it as i felt the first time i ever laid eyes on it. 

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     a historic house known as ‘the shant’, (officially called “the hall of omicron”), it now serves as a meeting place for the university of michigan chapter of the delta kappa epsilon (DKE) fraternity, as well as the headquarters for the international fraternal organization and the gerald ford library.  

     architect william lebaron jenney, later known as the ‘father of the american skyscraper,’ designed the building. jenney came to ann arbor as a professor to found the architecture program at the university of michigan. the library is named after gerald ford, one of five presidents who were members of DKE. it houses books that were written by or about DKE brothers as well as memorabilia.

     according to A Century and a Half of DKE, a history of the fraternity, (founded in 1855, 10 years after the first frats came to the university of michigan), the building was used only for fraternity ritual in its early years. the cornerstone was laid in 1878 and construction was completed the following year. an exterior eight-foot high brick wall was added in 1901, increasing the building’s mysterious appearance. it was used only for late night meetings, the gas-lit interior enhancing the building’s eeriness. today, the building still sticks out as somewhat eerie, especially in comparison with its new surroundings. 

     i like to imagine the secret late-night meetings, the rituals, the ghosts of times past, that still inhabit this special ‘half’ place, caught somewhere in between the past and the present.  

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 ‘my address is like my shoes. it travels with me.’ –  mary harris jones

balls out

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     day after day, i see him sitting on his front porch, hours at a time, as i walk downtown and back. always perched between the 2 white lions, and looking over his little kingdom – a perfect, green lawn, mowed just so, with soldier-straight rows of plants and flowers – everything manicured and dead-headed and edged and aligned and watered and fertilized. he wears a polo shirt, 3 buttons done up, always the color of a sherbet, neatly tucked into his crisply-ironed and belted shorts, and on his feet are spotless white socks and shoes. i see his sign, carefully hand-printed – ‘3 golf balls for 1 dollar.’  

     he always nods and smiles as i walk by, a silent sentinel. one day, i walk up to meet him, to buy something, to ask him his story. he slowly approaches me, a bit shy, and tells me i can search the basket to find the ‘best ones’ and then just come back to the porch to tell him how many i have and he will trust me. 

     as i go up to the porch to pay him, i notice his mustache is as perfectly trimmed as his lawn. he’s an older man who carries a quiet and gentle pride about him. there is one leaf on his perfect lawn, showing his humanity.  he smiles with his eyes as he tells me he’s done this for a few years, won’t reveal how he gets the golf balls, or anything else about his interesting business, only that it’s his hobby. he lets me take a picture but doesn’t want me to use his name or his face.

     i can see it’s his simple joy, and more important than any money he makes, it’s his way of keeping in touch with the world.  he values the conversations he has with people who stop by throughout the day. he has lived a full life and now is enjoying sitting quietly between the lions and watching the world unfold before his eyes. 

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It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling. 

Mark Twain

 

if you tent it, they will come.

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all it takes is a few balloons, a length of police tape, local radio, a pop of color, and of course, a tent. people love a reason to flock together and create a festival out of most anything.  

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while stopping by my local grocery to pick up a few items, i once again found myself sucked into one of their parking lot extravaganzas. this time we were celebrating our state in all of it’s food and drink glory. combine watermelons, wine, granola, coffee, tortillas, and coupons and you have a state worthy of celebration. my check-out girl was absolutely giddy, anticipating her upcoming shift outside at the festival. embrace the cherries and jump on in!

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Let the tent be struck.  – Robert E. Lee

 

the toddle of shame: the morning after.

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as part of our fun day in the city, we took the babies to bill’s beergarten – local german-style social gathering spot, outside, and right in the hub of town. while there, they fully embraced the spirit of the environment.

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looking back, things must have been way too fun, as i got a call to pick up some things we’d left behind. nothing like the feeling the morning after, as i humbly returned to the scene to pick up my grandson’s sippy cup and bag of baby things.  

now there’s a life lesson from your grandmother. 

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james – loyal and understanding employee of bill’s beergarten, (and advocate of the “what happens at bill’s, stays at bill’s” policy),  returns the goods with a laugh and a kind word.

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I love the smell of juice boxes in the morning.  – Robert Duvall

 

with this ring, i thee ride.

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spent a beautiful day downtown, only to encounter a sweet and joyful wedding party on  bicycles. everyone was radiating happiness or perhaps it was the sweat glistening off of them, but no matter. and what wedding is not complete without a unicyclist in the mix, i ask you?

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Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. Aristotle 

Love is composed of two bodies inhabiting a single bike. Me

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