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Thursday, September 10, 2015

It's Birthday Week!

Oh yes, it's back!  Birthday Week 2015!

This year will not disappoint!  I have lots of activities to bring to you!  No, there's probably not as much booze this year as year's past (I'm just getting over a week-long nasty summer cold), and of course no lunch dates with Granny,  but I hope you have as much fun reading about it as I had participating!  Here's a cheers to my awesome friends & amily!


First up for birthday week, kayaking and beach with my good friend (and hockey defense partner), Sherri.  It was a perfect sunny day with a slight breeze.  Grabbed a couple of kayaks out at Kensington MetroPark.  Floated around the lake with the hot sun beaming down on us.  Nothing particularly exciting, which makes for a wonderful kayaking trip.  We finished up with lunch while we watching the thunderstorm outside that wasn't even a thought in the sky when we were on the water.  Conveniently, it also finished up before heading back to the car!

Same day, onto sushi at
INYO in Ferndale with Darleen, Christine, and Kimmy.  Also from hockey.  Hmm!  I guess it was a hockey friend day!  Ha!  Not bad for the first day of birthday week!  The sushi was awesome, and the conversations even better.  Dar gave me my first-ever Alex & Ani bracelet.  It's beautiful and dainty, and I love it!


Starting the day with a massage at Little Lotus sounds like a great idea!  This lady knows what she's doing, and I was perfectly relaxed and pampered!  Sorry, no pictures!  I could barely think straight afterwards - she sent me to another world!

Next I was off to meet Melissa and Zach for a perfect taco lunch.  Doesn't everyone love tacos?  Tacos & Tequila in Royal Oak did not disappoint.  While I ate about one and a half of my three tacos, Zach ordered the "unlimited tacos" special.  We giggled while we watch him order 4-5 plates of tacos.  I can't be sure how many - I lost count.  That man really likes his tacos!  CHEERS!

As a bonus, we saw this super cool "Nightmare Before Christmas" tattoo on one of the waitresses!

Birthday weeks decidedly need fabulous hair.  So off to Dye Salon I go.  Billy cut and colored to a rockstar coif worthy of the rest of my rockstar week.  An ombre of Purple to blue here, another from blue to teal over here.  LOVE IT!!

Now for some FUN!  One of my favorite outdoor activities - CLIMBING TREES!  If you have never been to The Adventure Park in West Bloomfield, MI, you are missing out!  There are many courses of varying difficulties.   It is a ropes and zip lining course, and some definitely need some balance and arm strength.  It's the greatest workout you won't know you're doing.  And let's talk about adrenaline when you are standing on a small platform 2 stories above the ground, and they say, "Jump" and they mean it!  These pictures don't tell the greatest story - imagine these courses but 40 feet in the air!  And check out last year's birthday week for more!

Ok, so I had to treat myself, and I stopped at Olga's for dinner on the way home, and popped into the gourmet grocery store and bought myself a little indulgent dessert!  If you can't tell, that is an asian chicken Olga, side salad, curly fries, and snackers cheese (snackers out of frame) - these are my faves, although I don't usually order them all at once!  If you haven't tried the asian chicken, I highly recommend it.  If you've never had Snackers, shame on you.  Shame on you, sir!


Wed was reserved for relaxation.  It was a Pool Day with Katy!  Although we haven't seen much of each other in the last year, because of conflicting schedules, we talked all day like we hadn't missed a thing.  It was a great day, and we both totally burned.  The refreshing salt water pool (refreshing at 80 degrees!) was a perfect relief!

After a day in the pool, I went home and played in my garden (yes, I realize that doesn't sound fun or relaxing to some of you, but it was just perfect for my Serene Life!) and read a book in my Hammock.  Jealous yet?


Thursday was an interesting day.  I wanted to go horseback riding, but I didn't have anyone to go with.  So I jumped in my car, jammed out to some tunes, open the windows, and drove the 45 minutes (with traffic) to one of my favorite riding stables, Maybury Riding Stables.  I figured it was a good time - middle of the day - no worries!  I get there, and it is absolutely packed.  It's like 1pm on a Thursday.  Where did all of these people come from??  So I walk up and ask about the wait, and she says it's at least an hour.  Im thinking in my mind that Im going to get right back in my car and drive home NOT smelling like horse!  Then the woman says, "Wait, are you alone?"  I said "yeah," and she says, "hold on.  They might be able to take you on the ride going out right now."  The woman behind me practically shoved me out of the way and screamed, "We have two, and we've been waiting a lot longer!"  The woman half-smiled, tilted her head, and said (in that voice), "ohh sorry.  We only have room for one."  I followed her into the paddock, doing my best to avoid doing a happy dance.  It was a slow ride with many other people, but great cover from the sun through the trees.  My horse was incredibly well-behaved and responsive.  I kind of wanted to take her home!  I also had a great conversation with one of the guides.  A good day!

After work that night, Donna, and the wonderful crew at Bloomfield Gymnastics, joined me at
The Moose Preserve, one of our favorite dinner/cocktail spots.  It was great to just kick back and relax!  Some good food, great conversation.  Their brussel sprouts are to die for.  And you have to try the meatloaf.  It's amazing!  I know ... weird ... but I thought the same thing, and I've been going there for years and just tried it for the first time.  Uh. Mah. Gawd.  So good.


On Friday I headed back to Kensington Park with Bri and her two little guys.  We decided to rent the white swan paddleboat and headed out on the water.  Now this thing is MUCH tougher than I thought, and MUCH heavier than a kayak!  We were peddling as hard as we could, and going about 6 inches an hour.  Luckily, when I got tired, Bri said "Im training for a triathalon - I can take over by myself for a while."  Whew!  So we paddled around and enjoyed the sun.  We almost made it to our hour's worth of rental, and brought back the bird.  Now, this is a really cool place, so we couldn't just go home!  We headed over to the beach where we soaked in some sun, and Dominic & Gavin made quite a sand castle, complete with real moats.  These kids know how to BUILD stuff!

Last stop at Kensington was the farm.  I insisted.  So we walked around, said "hey" to the cows.  The horses were missing.  The sheep were sleeping off the heat.  The chickens were stinky.  The boys were particularly interested in the tractor.  Go figure.

Since that just wasn't enough, Friday night was designated for dinner and bar fun.  We started off at Beer Monk Abbey in Royal Oak.  It took a REALLY long time to get our food, but it was fun conversation in the meantime.  They have like hundreds of beers to choose from.  We had a variety of fried pickles, fancy french fries with dipping sauces, mussels, mac & cheese, and Im pretty sure someone got a monster burger covered in a variety of items.

We made a stop at my brother, Sea's, awesome condo right there on Main street (see adorable picture of Kimmy and I against the custom-painted graffiti wall!)  continued on to the local dealing piano bar, 526 Main.  It was a lively bunch in that bar.  We ordered drinks and Donna learned how to use the reverse camera on my phone.  It was her first selfie EVER!  We finished the night doing a little karaoke at Warrilow's in Ferndale.  What a great birthday bar night!


There is no more perfect way to start the Saturday than a casual stroll around the Royal Oak Farmers market.  This is one of my favorite places in the world.  The fresh local veggies, herbs, flowers.  The people who are passionate about their organic grass-fed goat cheese and carefully cultivated mushrooms.  It's just a calming place with great people.  Melissa met up with me and we bought some flowers for home before we headed out to lunch. (Rockin the Blackrocks Honey Lav shirt!)

Off to lunch at Kouzina.  Great little place where you order at the counter and get amazing greek food.  I always get the bowl with rice pilaf, chicken, beets, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and lots and lots of pickled beets!  And of course the tzatziki sauce!  SO GOOD!

What an awesome surprise for birthday week - a couple of friends had someone back out, and so they offered me the extra ticket to the Kid Rock concert.  AWESOME!

I was never a big Kid Rock fan until my friend Amy brought me to his concert during birthday week a few years ago.  I have to tell you, the man puts on one hell of a show!  And he's so great that he solicits sponsors for his shows so that he can keep ticket prices low.  We were halfway up the DTE pavilion on the side, and I think our tickets were $35.  I mean that's really cool!  My favorite part of the show was when he told us a little story about his life, and the songs that corresponded with that part of his life.  He would then play a part of the song and move on.  He has so many hits that there would be no way to play all of them in one concert, so it was a brilliant way to play everyone's favorites, but in a portion of the time since he didn't play the whole song.  My favorite part of the compilation was when he said, "I finally had a hit record and I made a lot of money.  So I moved out to LA and found the PRETTIEST, DUMBEST, girl I could find."  Of course he was talking about Pamela Anderson ... sorry, that was just really funny.  There was a lot of "O" looks and "did he really just say that?"  I would stay away from the drinks inside - they are pricey, and you don't want to spend half of the concert waiting in the bathroom line!  We had some cocktails while sitting by the car before we had in.  We didn't make any friends, but I did compliment a neighbor car on their music choice.  All Poison, all the time!  It was a great night - thanks Sam & Mary Jo!!



Sunday we woke up and headed out to Ann Arbor's Argo canoe livery for our annual "Tubing and Drinking" - with a floating cooler for drinks, and a stop for a potluck lunch.  This is a great river to float down with a handful of mini rapids that just makes it fun enough to break up the relaxing floating, but not big enough to really be any big deal.  Of course, there is the one exception for last year, when Sea, Kimmy, and a couple other tubes were tied together so Kimmy's tube got sucked under at the end of the rapid, in which case her arms flew above her head and she punched Seabrook in the face.  But NORMALLY that doesn't really happen!  It is kid-friendly all around.  They have to be 10 for a rental tube, but when you bring your own tube or float, it's up to your discretion, AND it's free!

The only issue we really have is that they also put canoes and kayaks (they continue far down
the river, while the tubers get out and the end of this small run and go back to the top), so you have to dodge them, or they dodge you.  So we did I think 3 runs down, stopped for lunch (Thanks Bri for packing our lunch!), and did a couple more runs before calling it a day.  Great sun, great people!  Thanks for joining - Sea, Mary Jo, Makenna, Hailee, Charlotte, Sam, Logan, Logan's cousins, Michelle, Donna, Billy, Kimmy, Aaron!  Did I miss anyone?


Last day of birthday week, my birthday proper, Monday, August 10th.  It was a beautiful day, and my instinct was to go to Starbucks, and Einstein Bagel, and all the other places where I would get free stuff, but honestly, it was a great week and I was exhausted!  So I just chilled out, admired my garden, took a nap in my hammock, until it was time to get ready for a super cool dinner at a super cool restaurant in Detroit called Antietem.  Although we had some issues with timing (it took well over an hour to get dinner - and we're pretty sure our waitress forgot to put our order in), the food was amazing.  I was so busy eating that I didn't take pictures of all of the dishes but a couple.  Thanks Sea, Bri, and Katy, for joining me for the finale of birthday week.  I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate it!  And I got to wear a really cute dress.  Just sayin.

How are you celebrating your birthday week?

Peace.  Love.  Serene.