On Friday, September 24 we said hello to our Chicago home. And on Sunday, September 26 we said goodbye to our first home. What an emotional “changing seasons of life!” Seeing it empty reminded us of our first time viewing 747, and made us realize all the memories shared over the past two years. Saying hello and goodbye simultaneously is never easy, but the memories will always be cherished and it’s not a goodbye to our neighbors: simply a “see you later.” Wherever the three of us go, the house will always become a home 🏡❤️
As my last couple of weeks in the mitten come to a close, I move into my new season of life with a full heart. I was able to spend time with my best friends and although no time spent is ever enough, I’m heading to my new home with happiness and peace in my decisions. I could think that my time in Michigan was filled with “lasts,” but I’m truly elated for all of the upcoming “firsts” to be experienced with my small family unit 😌
September 1 – spending the evening with an old neighbor/friend, and our dogs
September 2 – celebrating a friend’s birthday with sushi and cocktails in Ann Arbor
September 3 – a long overdue phone call with one of my best friends from Asheville
September 4 – all-day quality time with one of my best friends and our dogs, filled with much needed conversations and exploring
September 5 – breakfast with a dear friend who instantly makes me feel at home, and floating in Ann Arbor with two friends and Linley
September 6 – a morning walk along the river
September 7 – floating down some rapids with one of my best friends, right before the storm
September 8 – spending nearly all day on the couch with Juan, watching Never Have I Ever while I worked
September 9 – Linley’s “Gotcha Day!” festivities
September 10 – we received an offer on our house and took Linley on a nice afternoon walk
September 11 – Linley’s third Doggie Splash and dinner with good friends
September 12 – our last hike at the arboretum
September 13 – morning snuggles with Juan and Linley before work and a much-needed phone call with a dear friend
September 14 – a night on the town, all on my friend Donna
September 15 – another great night with a friend in Detroit, and watching Lin run and play with his friends
Four years ago, I saw Lin’s sweet face on PetFinder and we rescued each other. The poor fella was abused, abandoned and had two days until euthanasia in Texas. He has been through so much, and I’ve been trying to make his life a brighter place ever since September 9, 2017.
Each Gotcha Day (birthday for rescue pups) I’ve tried extra hard to make his day even more special. This year, we kicked off our day with an hour-long hike in the woods. He enjoyed marking his territory, and we even saw some deer!
While I worked, we spent the entire day snuggling on the couch – which is one of our favorite pastimes 💛
After work, Juan and I took him to one of our favorite downtown areas and strolled along the river. Per usual, we had a great walk as a family.
We wrapped up our lovely celebration by running around with puppers at the dog park, treating Lin to some ice cream, and snuggles before bedtime ☺️
I can only hope that Linley is as happy as he’s made us throughout these past four years 🐶
August was, admittedly, a month full of turbulence, and was my last full month in Michigan. Despite all of this, there’s always light in the darkness. Here are some highlights that made me smile 😌
August 1 – kayaking, hiking and dining in Ann Arbor with Juan and Linley
August 2 – dinner and hot coco with my favorite cousin who visited from New York
August 3 – an evening on the lake with one of my best friends
August 4 – Linley enjoying himself at Home Depot (and loving all the attention!)
August 5 – back to Home Depot!
August 6 – a good night with a great friend
August 7 – profound conversations
August 8 – checking out the Chicago home
August 12 – a night out with an old friend, and some new ones
August 13 – meeting Mindy, Tom and Autumn at the dog park
August 14 – heading to Detroit’s infamous Eastern Market with one of my best friends, and being a friend’s plus one to the greatest wedding I’ve ever attended
August 15 – lots of small pups for Lin to play with at the dog park
August 18 – Linley getting Bark to School photos taken at camp, and playing with his friends at the dog park (again!)
August 19 – a dear friend taking my late-night phone call, and making my evening brighter
August 20 – a fun night in downtown Detroit
August 21 – Linley finally cooperating for a bike ride
August 22 – an afternoon at Belle Isle and eating ice cream
August 23 – getting to know my friend’s new boyfriend and having a little too much to drink on a Monday evening
August 25 – dinner and drinks with a bestie
August 26 – a best friend being a great listener
August 27 – celebrating Juan’s “big promotion” at our favorite jazz club
August 28 – reuniting with two of my best friends and spending the day together
August 29 – family bonding in Ann Arbor
August 30 – seeing Lin run around with his friends at the dog park
August 31 – dinner and drinks at my favorite speakeasy with one of my closest friends
And, Lin was just grumpy all month long 😂
With heaviness in my heart, I reminisce about my times at my favorite Detroit jazz club. After moving to the Detroit area a few years ago, Cliff Bells instantly pulled me in with its allure and 1950s Art Deco. Now that we’re moving to Chicago next month, we won’t have the luxury of visiting every so often. I wish I could bring Cliff Bells with us, as selfish as that sounds…
Juan and I almost got married here.
Some of the better moments with my parents were shared over dinner and drinks here.
The best live music I’ve ever heard was played here.
Milestones were celebrated here.
Here, I laughed more than I’ve ever laughed in my life.
Here, I truly felt alive.
How can anywhere else compete with all that this jazz club has given me? Has given us?
I am beyond grateful for this incredible place, and hope to find something similar (not a replacement!) in Chicagoland 🥲
July was full of spontaneity, love and laughter. Here are some of my favorite moments from last month:
-my teammates are excited to meet me, and have been giving me pointers on where to live in the city
-good phone calls with great friends, and my favorite cousin
-going to an indoor party for the first time since February 2020
-exploring downtown Detroit; admiring the architecture and fireworks while Linley kept running into things with a big smile on his face
-hanging out on the lake with my best friend and her family (+fast boat rides!)
-overcoming family bullying and past trauma
-finally meeting my former coworkers and spending a lovely weekend with them in Asheville
-a lovely evening stroll through a local riverwalk with Juan and Linley
-my supervisors asking how the move is going and expressing their excitement to meet me in September
-spending the entire morning floating and drinking on the Huron River with one of my best friends
-long conversations with old friends
-taking Linley on spontaneous adventures
-becoming closer with coworkers
-Linley’s kiss attacks!
-laughing and catching up with my home girl Donna on a weekly basis (never a dull moment!)
-when a friend can turn a terrible day into a phenomenal one
-Linley made an appearance on a company Zoom photo collage
-Linley trying to earn treats simply for being cute on a hot day (and sitting by Sommer and his treat bag on the bench!)
-spending time with the three sweetest kiddos who call me “Aunt Cate”
-Jaclyn saying “well, you’re my sister, so…” ☺️
-girls nights with a best friend in Ann Arbor (strong drinks in new places with old friends!)
-tolerating less bullshit
-a lovely day with Juan and Linley, full of walks and relaxation
-knowing that I will always overcome what’s ahead
I’ve realized that the majority of my evenings have been consumed by river walks with Linley, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! There’s a beautiful park near our neighborhood which allows us to mix up our walking routine every now and then. How have you been changing things up throughout this year and last?
Photos taken Sunday, July 25, 2021
Floating (and drinking!) on a river is a quintessential summer activity in Michigan, and was the perfect way to spend last Saturday with one of my best friends.
Donna and I usually hang out every week, and we tend to stick to the same places and pastimes: gin cocktails at a fancy bar. And although there’s nothing wrong with that, I wanted to change things up and float on the Huron River cascades. Yes, I did have a G&T in hand, but still… ☺️
Despite some difficulties with our locker, the inability to maneuver our rafts and the wipeouts that scuffed up our knees and hands, Donna and I had the best time together. We even stayed for an extra two hours than we expected; this is a definite must if you live in or visit the Ann Arbor area!
Donna is the absolute best and I’ll miss her so much when I move. Friends like her are hard to come by, and I’m grateful for her friendship and adventurous spirit ☺️
When people say “it’s the little things in life,” they aren’t wrong. A simple, easy stroll with my husband and pup was just what I needed yesterday evening. After a highly stressful day full of unexpected drama, unwinding by the river with two of my favorite fellas meant the world to me. I hope the three of us can have more spontaneous, relaxing walks together – before and after we move.
Photos taken Tuesday, July 20, 2021
There’s nothing better than a Michigan summer evening on the lake! One of my best friends, Donna, invited me out on her dad’s boat and we had the best time together. Her family has become a second family to me, and we enjoyed an evening speeding on the lake and floating with the best view of the sunset. Nothing feels better than this ☺️
In continuation of my monthly reflections, here’s a random compilation of moments that made me smile this month ☺️
-my former teammates planning an entire weekend for me in Asheville, NC – which will go down in July
-the homeless man at the corner smiling at Linley in the car right after he got groomed (bow tie and all!)
-my new teammates laughing when I said “I’m a Phoebe in my personal life, but a Monica in my professional life”
-hanging out at the pub in my hometown with one of my best friends, and running into some familiar faces
-planning an amazing vacation with one of my best friends on the entire planet
-having people show up for me unconditionally through these difficult times
-learning to accept the things I cannot change, and learning to defend myself in challenging situations
-making progress on my tattoo with the most talented, friendliest artist I’ve had the joy of working with (who has become a lifelong friend)
-Linley gently playing with a five-pound, five-month-old puppy at the dog park
-spending the day in one of my favorite cities with one of my favorite people
-having another two-hour long Skype session and planning an adventure with one of my dearest friends
-spending one-on-one quality time with friends, even throughout the week
-taking a three-hour walk with one of my best friends and our dogs
-eating pub food and strolling a downtown river walk with my dad
-singing karaoke with one of my best friends and her three kids
-having one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time with a great friend
-trying new, creative vegetarian food in Detroit
-baby birds and bunnies frolicking in our backyard
After some much-needed beach time in Empire, Michigan, our little fam visited Traverse City and explored downtown. We enjoyed some food truck eats – which obviously included some ice cream for the pup!
My favorite part about walking around downtown was that Linley and I had been there the evening before, yet he was so excited and acted like everything was brand new. Linley was smiling, pulling and panting the whole time! It’s the little things he does that bring me so much joy ☺️
The three of us enjoyed one last sunset on Grand Traverse Bay, for now at least. This was our last up north trip in Michigan for the summer, and I appreciated our time snuggling on the beach more than ever. We listened to the waves crash against the shore, watched an air balloon travel past us and saw the sky change from blue to orange before heading home.
Photos taken on Saturday, June 19, 2021