Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Хайде на уикенд!

Summer weekends in Ypsi have been so great, it makes my Mondays-Thursdays drag a bit, but we won't focus on those days.

Seth leaves for Germany for another year in less than a week, so he (and his parents new puppy Kirby) came out one last time. Not only was I able to beat him in chess for the first time ever, but we also made a great dinner. We ran to the farmers market and food co-op, stopped by the Shadow Art Fair at the Corner Brewery and then started cooking.

I put together a fresh mushroom and Gruyere tart. It was rich and creamy with peppers and thyme. Seth manned the brussel sprouts and garlic scapes. I had never had scapes before, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Too bad they only come out for a few weeks a year.

Luckily I was able to come across a solid bottle of Bordeaux to go along with dinner. I was really surprised to find this for under $15. 2005 has a reputation for being the best recent year for Bordeaux and for good reason. This mostly Merlot blend from Chateau Bertinerie was a well balanced, medium bodied red that went very well with food. For a while I was getting into big, fruit forward reds from California that smacked you in the face with tannins, but more and more I am enjoying old world, particularly French wines that are more earthy, subtle, and meant to be drank with a meal. This one met the criteria nicely.

This past weekend was the Michigan Brewer's Guild Beerfest at Riverside Park, which is about a block and a half from our house and where I walk my dog every day. Myself, Dan, Allison, and Quillen were able to volunteer at it for a few hours in exchange for free admission and beer. Quite a good deal.

Here we are, gearing up to give 5,000 people their cups and drink tokens. (Yes, they gave us beer before and during our shift.)

There were about 50 breweries from around the state, and a record number of people came.

I had a great time. And it's surreal to me that something this awesome happens less than a quarter mile from where I live. Here's hoping that the coming weekends are just as fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


More and more I am feeling productive, comfortable, and confident in my new job. It's finally getting to a point where I have enough to do to keep myself busy, and I have learned enough about how the homeless systems in Ann Arbor/Ypsi work that I am beginning to grasp what this all looks like.

I guess that was a really wordy way of saying, I like my job and I am coming into my own here. I don't know if social work is what I want to do for the rest of my life, but it's pretty ok for right now. And for Michigan in 2009, having a job, let alone one you don't hate, is a pretty good feeling.

That's not to say that there are not challenges. I'm already having a hard time not getting too attached and invested in a few clients. It's difficult to learn that sometimes, no matter how much you want to help someone, there are no options. And it's even harder to learn that sometimes even if you are able help someone, they will do something to throw their progress back.

There are times that I would love to blog more about my work, because I think a lot of what happens is really interesting. But I don't really think it's appropriate to write about people and clients I work with on a public space.

As much as I miss Bulgaria, I'm so glad I'm not teaching anymore.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Last night I went to go see Javelins at The Elbow Room in Ypsi. I had not seen them since January of '07 and I have to say, they kicked so much ass. I had always kinda liked them, but I am now a full fledged fan(alliteration.) Julian's bass playing really surprised me and Matt R is one of the few people I know who can pull off the drummer/singer combo.

I have to make a seperate paragraph about Matt H.'s guitar playing. Seriously. That dude. He is like a melding of my two favorite guitar players of all time into one person. He takes the poppy inctricate melodies of Johnny Marr (Smiths) and combines it with this HUGE and lucious sound that reminds me a lot of Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine). He has to be my favorite guitar player on the local/regional level, and he competes for my favorite current axe man out there.

Check them out, it will be worth it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Next week something amazing will happen.

Long ago, in a time known as The Nineties there was a show. This show played on a music television station called MusicTeleVision. This show was awesome. And on Tuesday it will finally be released to DVD.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you.

The state starred so many great actors and writers that I'm not going to bother going through the whole list. But they went on to make Wet Hot American Summer, Stella, The Ten, Reno 911, and the new Michael and Michael Have Issues.

This is easily my favorite comedy show, even topping Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and What's Happenin' I have never actually bought an entire television series on DVD before, but I just might start.

Goodbye Mailbox.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Right now I'm coming down from a metaphorical high that lasted three solid days. Some friends came from out of town for the 4th of July and we had a kick ass time. For more on the weekend, check out the wife's new blog here.

On Saturday night, at about nine Seth and I decided that some cooking was in order. Liz's uncle had recently caught some fish for us on Lake Michigan, and so we made mahi mahi served on risotto with asparagus and topped with a burre blanc.

With it we drank a California Pinot Nior. It was bright and fruit forward with a big aroma of strawberries and raspberries. It was an interesting break for the Pinots I've been having, which have become more often then not, red Bourgogne. In general I find them more subtle and better to have with food.

Speaking of Bourgogne, back during memorial day weekend Seth brough over a great bottle and I made a balsamic roasted tofu-veggie stack complete with (bottom up) red bell pepper, eggplant, marinated tofu, baby bella mushrooms, zuchinni, and swiss chard.

This summer has been treating me very well. It's been incredible having so many friends near by, and ones from out of town that are willing to meet up. It's a huge contrast from last summer when Liz and I were alone in a town of people we could barely communicate with, and had to travel an average of six hours to see newly made friends. When I first came back home I was stunned at just how easy it was to maintain relationships here, and on some level I felt that ease made it less meaningful. But as time goes by I must say I get so much out of my friends here, even if I only have to walk two minutes to see them.

I have been meeting more and more people in Ypsilanti and I have to say, I am falling more in love with this town the longer I stay here. It's the only place I know of that has lots of cool stuff to do and is still affordable to live downtown in. For all the naysayers who think Michigan has nothing to offer, give Ypsi a try.

I've also come back from my reading hiatus and recently finished Under the Banner of Heaven and started Lolita yesterday. I think reading is like exercising. Your brain feels better when it's in shape, it just takes a bit of effort sometimes.

Tonight we are heading to Jackson for dinner with my family and Seth. Mom, Dad, and Aaron just got back from Germany, and Seth is about to go back. I think we are having creamed spinach salmon and probably some Riesling. I just hope I don't get too jealous when they are talking about Mallorca and Frieburg.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

no hmo

Even though I'm a pretty political person I do my best to keep this blog about other things. I mean really, if you want to read about politics on the internet you surely don't need to come here to do it. But I just can't let this rest.

Health care in this Country is abominable. It is unfair, unjust, and dehumanizing. Capitalism at it's worst. It takes a person when they are incredible vulnerable and tries to squeeze ats much money out of them as possible. It looks at sick person as says "Helping you is worth X amount of dollars to us."

My insurance at work kicks in today, which is why I have this on my mind. And without going in to details I have had to make a decision between being covered and being able to pay bills and I have not felt so helpless in a long time. I'm not sure I made the right choice.

But my point is, I should not have to make that choice. No one should. And to those who say they oppose a public insurance plan because they "don't want a Washington bureaucrat in between them and their doctor." I have to say it can't be worse than having an overpaid pharmaceutical and insurance CEO's standing there. If you trust the government to run our military, why don't you trust them to pay for doctors appointments?

I was talking to a friend of mine in Botswana, and after seeing how easily and cheaply people there can get medicine she has also become very passionate about this issue. To her, if Botswana can give their citizens affordable health care, why can't the U.S.A? I can't say I disagree.

I am hopeful for change. I just hope our leaders have the audacity to do.