Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Christmas Prayer

Friday, as the entire school prepared to leave for Christmas break, 
one of my students pulled an envelope from her backpack.  
She rushed to my computer desk and thrust it towards me.

"I forgot to give you this," she said.

The envelope held a Christmas card from her family.  

Inside, beautifully penned, was the following prayer:

"May our dear Lord be with you and your family as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, 
the Savior of the world.
Usher you into the new year in victory,
grant you peace and grace for the year ahead. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot and Dry

Trees line three sides of my backyard.
I hang bird feeders in them.
Each day grateful diners serenade their thanks.

Most mornings I sit on the deck sipping a good cup of coffee.
The low hum of cars from the nearby highway is as soothing as listening to waves on the beach.

The problem's been too hot.

So, I've sat in my air conditioned kitchen sipping that coffee.

It has been a hot and dry summer here in the midwest.

My lawn, although low cut and well trimmed, is both crunchy and the color of hay.
The crabgrass, which manages to stay green through drought, is blonde as well.
Fortunately, I've maintained flower beds of blooming perennials that are hardy and find their way in arid weather, plus I water them no matter what.

This morning I awoke at 6:17 to the slightest pitter-patter of rain.


I opened my bedroom window and was welcomed by a cool breeze.
The weatherman made it clear that this reprieve would be short-lived.
I'll take it!
Now to brew that coffee and get out on the deck.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Diva Love!

I ring the bell while peering through a glass door.
"Hey Gi-r-l!", coos our hostess as she opens the door and embraces me in a hug. 
 "So glad you could make it!" 

She leads me through the foyer to her spacious living room.

This is my reentry into the Divas Book Club.  
The ladies take turns standing and extending their arms to me.
Their hugs are honest and strong.
I feel as if I've never been away.

We bring ourselves up-to-date over Grapefruit Margaritas 
and then make our way to the dining room 
for dinner and politics.

Oh, I've missed this!

Finally, we discuss possible books for the September meeting.

Seven books 
and a field-trip to the local Barnes and Noble later, 
we decide on one.

The next meeting place?
 My house!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Green Dot Stables - A Sure Thing!

My daughter and I were near the end of a great day together.  
We'd picked up breakfast from Avalon Bakery, 
shopped the Eastern Market, 
explored Belle Isle's Conservatory, 
and finally,
driven across Detroit for
what she promised to be
a treat.

It was a little spot at 
2200 West Lafayette called, 
"Green Dot Stables".

There was a horseshoe on the entrance door.

Hmm...a sign this place needs luck
just a decoration?

Thirty minutes, one shared meal of five sliders, a salad, two orders of fries, one cool Summer Soda, and a Mint Julep later,

Summer Soda:  Lemon-Basil-
House Salad: Chickpea-
Tomato-Cucumber-Herb Vin

Lamb Slider: Rosemary
Shredded Pork Slider:
Pork Butt-Slaw
Au Poivre Slider:
Beef-Peppercorns-Cognac Aioli
Hot Brown Slider:
Mystery Meat Slider:
Today's mystery was

The Quintet (my moniker)

Truffle & and Herb French Fries

Le Poutine French Fries

 I concluded
luck wasn't an issue.

Green Dot Stables is no outsider!

It has the winning combination of
great food prepared from scratch,
"Just Right" portions,
reasonable prices, 
and a pleasant atmosphere!

Get in the home stretch for Green Dot Stables.
Odds are,
you'll enjoy it!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Danger of the "Single Story"

The realtor who helped me find the house I live in today, I met more than 20 years ago 
under totally different circumstances.  

She had been invited to speak at our elementary school, during Black History Week, about the continent on which she was born, 

She stood in front of a gym full of students and spoke into the microphone with a soft voice, 
a soothing accent, 
and a slide show projector.   

Students watched and commented quietly to each other about pictures of the Africa they'd expected: dusty roads, 
women in tribal attire, 
and barefoot children.  

they soon were amazed to see pictures of 
bustling cities, 
new Mercedes, 
and Nike sneakers.  

Cee Cee's point was to expose our students to more of Africa in order to change their mindset and appreciation of it.    

She understood the meaning of a term I've just become aquainted with, "single story".  

When we know only a "single story" of anything or anybody, 
it can lead to stereotypes.  

She wanted to break the stereotypes our children held of both Africa and it's people.

Today, there is another woman, 

Chimamanda Adichie,  

sharing the same message in a way that helps us realize,

we too,  

may be creating stereotypes in our minds 

and passing them on to our children 

when we place too much weight on the "single story" we think we know, 

rather than dig deeper 

to find it is simply 

one chapter 

of a much larger book!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Resurrection Prayer

We thank you Lord for blessing us to live beyond the days when we thought Easter was all about the bunny, colored eggs, candy, shiny new shoes and white lace gloves.

We thank you for so many Easter seasons when we listened to spirited sermons and heart felt songs, and then reflected on 
how you had to carry your own cross, 
how they offered you vinegar instead of water, 
how the first of your two crucifixion mates mocked you 
       and the second asked that you would remember him in Heaven, 
how the sky grew dark so people could think about what they had done to you, 
how you asked God to forgive them anyway, 
how you died and rose on the third day morning 
      (even though as many times as we counted, it was really only two), 
how the angel rolled away the stone to reveal an empty tomb, 
how we could not wait to get home to ham, potato salad, turkey, dressing, 
      chocolate cake and sweet potato pie.

We thank you for Blessing us to live long enough to understand that it’s not so much about how Judas betrayed you 
and Peter couldn’t believe his own three lies 
and that there is no bunny that could possibly lay eggs, 
but how you willingly laid down your life in sacrifice for our sins 
and that it was an “ah-hah” moment when we realized 
this made You the Lamb of God.  

We now know that the number of days between your death on the cross and your rising up is not as important as the fact that You Arose!  

We understand the reason for this season is Your Victory over death and what that means for us as Christians.  

We now understand that though we enjoy having ham, potato salad, turkey, dressing, chocolate cake and sweet potato pie in celebration, 
You are the Bread of Life. 

We thank you Father for the gifts of age and wisdom.  

We pray that you will allow us to continue growing in Your Word as we strive to be more like you, while living our everyday lives.  

But mostly Father, we thank you for your forgiveness.  
It is proof that you understand our short comings.  

We thank you that your promises are kept, 
and that your love for us is infinite and unwavering.  

It is in your precious name that we pray and are able to have faith, Amen. 

Mychelle Martin
April 11, 2004

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Toast Birmingham: You Gotta Eat Here #4

Woke up with a "Flat White" on my mind.  

Got dressed, 
packed my writing bag 
and headed south for Astro Coffee.

A few miles in, I realized I wasn't up for the drive to Detroit.  

Besides, breakfast was what I really wanted.  

Breakfast and a really good cup of coffee.

Great coffee but a little too whole grainy for me today.

The Original Pancake House (not I.H.O.P)?  
The line of people waiting to get into that restaurant convinced me to keep moving.

So, I drove into the heart of Birmingham, Michigan and was greeted by an empty parking space two doors down from Toast Birmingham.  I'd heard good things about this restaurant so I parked, dropped one quarter in the meter and ventured in.

Beyond the door I passed a life-sized, big head, tiny waist Betty Boop statue, clad in red, holding a serving tray.   The hostess welcomed me and said there'd be a short wait.  A look around explained why.  It was packed with happy "Saturday morning" customers.  This place was quaint and appeared to be sectioned into three areas; casual dining on one side, more upscale on the other, and in between stood a bar.  

I borrowed a menu then took a seat near the door to enjoy the cool morning air.  What a selection of gourmet omelets, eggs, french toast, breakfast cocktails and yes...really good coffee!  I decided on a greek omelet with a side of grits. 5 minutes later the hostess lead me to my table.  

The waitress took my order and returned shortly with a cup of coffee.  The first sip convinced me I'd made the right decision to zip out earlier and feed the meter another 95cent.  This spot was cozy with red, fifties era, vinyl upholstered booths and two toned table tops.  After the second sip, I realized no two customers had the same style coffee cup (kind of like my selection at home).  My older sister would love this!  Mental note: bring her here for breakfast.

The order arrived on a white plate.  The omlete was fluffy and overflowing with spinach, tomato, kalamata olives, pine nuts and feta cheese.  Grits with a topping of cripsy Parmesan cheese coverd the other half of the plate.  I have to tell you, this omelet ranks in the top two of the best I've ever eaten.  The flavors blended well together but never lost their individuality.  The grits were creamy and satisfying.

As I sipped my second cup of coffee and finished off the omelet, a couple was being seated at the table beside me.  The lady wore a sharp black, leather jacket.  I could not help but compliment her on it.  Soon the three of us were in unexpected pleasantry.  We spoke lightly about retirement, enjoying life now, and feeling young at our age. 

Then, as I was preparing to leave, they did the sweetest thing...paid my bill.  I thanked them for that and the enjoyable conversation we'd had.   I left Toast Birmingham feeling the joy that couple wanted to share by their generous gesture.  I also realized I wanted it to continue.  So, I made a silent promise to do the same for someone else in the near future.

The next time you're in downtown Birmingham, Michigan, make your way to Toast for a wonderful meal and experience.

Toast Birmingham:  You Gotta Eat Here!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Feet On The Street Tours - Detroit's Eastern Market: Come Hungry, Leave Happy & Healthy

     My parents first introduced us to Detroit's Eastern Market in the mid sixties.  We'd load into our station wagon and cruise down Woodward to Mack and Russell.  As kids, we weren't impressed with the vegetables because we'd helped our parents with their vegetable gardens every summer.
However, the pepperoni in the meat market got our full attention.

     Years later, on a hot summer day, my oldest daughter reacquainted me with the Eastern Market.
We enjoyed walking through the open sheds while checking out fresh veggies, coffee and baked goods.

This winter my youngest daughter introduced me to the market in a brand new way...a two-hour, walking and eating tour with Feet On The Street Tours.  

Rocky Peanut Company

The tour began at Rocky
Peanut Company on Russell street
with fresh coffee and chocolate cherry
cookie samples.
Here we met our guides, Linda Yellin,
Founder of Feet On The Street Tours, and
Brittany Trapp.  

Rocky Peanut Company

Brief education on peanuts
from a peanut.
Rocky Peanut Company

Finally, we sampled freshly roasted peanuts before 
venturing to our second stop, Supino's Pizza.

Supino's Pizza

 Linda shared Supino's
Pizza's history.  It was featured on
"Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives"
last summer.
 One taste and I understood why.

Supino's Pizza

Excellent Portabella and
Pepperoni pizza.
Supino's offers specialty
pizzas from seasonal items on Saturdays.

Two slices of pizza later, we
left Supino's and followed
Linda to Shed 2 of the market.  

Interesting art!

Shed 2

It was one of the coldest days
of winter but no worries.  This
shed in enclosed and warmed
with geothermal heating.
I learned that on the tour.
Shed 2

I made a mental note to
return to this area after the
tour.  Something about fresh eggs...

The scent of wood smoke takes
my mind far away from the city.
It adds to the ambience of the
Linda and Brittany synchronized watches
and we split into two groups.
I went with Brittany to Shed 3.

Shed 3

Welcome to Shed 3!
It's huge, enclosed and warm.
Love this pic.  The sign on a stick
reminds me of the market tour in the movie,
"Under the Tuscan Sun".
Mumby Pie Company

Brittany shared information about the Mumby
 Pie Company as John shared samples.
I have to tell you, the samples here
were more like full servings.

Great Lakes Coffee

I sneaked off the tour for a minute
to get coffee from these guys.
They were right beside the Mumby Pie stand.
McClure's Pickles

And what did I buy here?
Potato chips.

Greenleaf Turkey

Flavorful and juicy gourmet turkey patties.
Shed 3

"Still Life with Vegetables"

Gabriel Import Company

Later, Linda escorted our group
to the Gabriel Import Company.  We
sampled green, Kalamata, and
Moroccan olives.  I bought
Olive Oil soap from Greece.

Our next stop,
Germack's new location
on Russell.


Coffee and a fruit/nut mix.
Just what I needed after a brisk
walk from the Gabriel Import Company.

Such a wonderful selection of most
any kind of nuts you can think of.
I bought some natural peanut butter.


A historical sight for Motowners!
From this storefront you's never know there
is a concert hall that seats hundreds of people

Our Guides

Linda and
Brittany share historic information
about the area before we leave
for our final stop.


Motown memorabilia adorn the walls
 bringing back musical memories of
of days gone by. 


Remember the Motown Review? I wasn't
old enough to go.


The tour ended here after Linda and Burt
shared information about Detroit rich African
American and musical history.

There must have been thirty other people in the group.  
We all walked away more knowledgeable of Detroit's Eastern Market thanks to 
Feet On The Street Tours.