Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Musings

As you know, I don't usually blog on Saturdays, so this is a bonus of sorts.

My hubby and I left early yesterday morning to go to our youngest son and daughter-in-law's to babysit the grands - mostly Ellie because the other two were in school most of the day. Shortly after our arrival she donned her princess costume for our enjoyment.  What self-respecting grandma would pass up an opportunity to post a picture like this???

~ Ellie ~

While we were en route to their house, the E-bay bidding for the 3-piece Shirley Temple breakfast set was coming to an end.  Because I wasn't home glued to my computer so I could increase my bid if need be, someone else outbid me by .50 cents at the last minute, and I lost the breakfast set.

Not to worry though because when I returned home last night a gift bag and vase of tulips awaited me on my front porch from my sweet girlfriend.  Inside the gift bag was the Shirley Temple cereal bowl!  💓 Thanks, Lori!

This morning I promptly went on-line and purchased the matching cup and pitcher from a seller's 'buy now' option eliminating the risk of being outbid again.  It should arrive in time for my presentation next Sunday.  I'm glad to have the 3-piece breakfast set after all.  While I was at it, I bought a Shirley Temple tea set by Danbury Mint too.  I'll be perfect for a tea party with Ellie as well as a presentation prop.

I couldn't help thinking while I was with Ellie, she's the same age as Shirley Temple was during the filming of many of her great movies.  I wouldn't want Ellie to give up her childhood for stardom though.  It came at a high price for Shirley, even though she loved what she was doing. She related several sad situations she experienced with adults during her movie career.  

Have a great weekend!  I'm going back to my tea and book reading now.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Thing Leads to Another

As you may recall from my April 18th post, I purchased a Shirley Temple doll at an estate sale thinking I'd use it for a presentation about her life at an upcoming tea at Shore Pointe Assisted Living Facility, in hopes the residents will all remember her with fondness.

Turns out the tea will be May 7th - only 10 days away.  Yikes!  This month's tea is scheduled before Mother's Day. Shirley Temple Black is well suited for a pre-Mother's Day program since she's the mother of three children, and her own mother, Gertrude Amelia Krieger Temple, was the impetus behind her stardom.

Upon purchasing the doll, I promptly ordered three books from Amazon about Shirley Temple, and they all arrived on the same day.  I decided to begin with the autobiography [copyright 1988]. Since Shirley was the author, I knew I could depend on its accuracy. I started the book this past Monday while sitting in the hospital waiting room during my daughter's medical procedure.

Early on in the book Shirley revealed that the cute little "spit curl" by the side of her face [visible on the doll above] was an ingenious, spontaneous reaction of her mother's when the energetic three-year-old tumbled down the steps of the studio commissary onto red-brick pavement, hitting her head just minutes before filming was to begin.  Even though treated with ice, the bump quickly swelled, so her mother pulled one of her loose curls across the bump and plastered it down as a spit curl. 

Laying my book aside for a couple of days for other commitments, I plunged back into the book today.  I've been perched at my computer desk reading through breakfast and lunch with copious amounts of hot tea to keep me going.  Below is lunch with left-over bean soup from Tuesday's Bible study, and my book opened to page 106 of a 548 page book! Book reading will most likely preempt a few blog posts - just sayin' so you'll understand.

Shirley Temple was born in 1928, seven years after my mother was born, so she was more a prodigy of her time than mine, but I find her very fascinating.

She passed away in 2014 at age 85, but her official website is alive and well.  Every year my kids ask what they can give me for Mother's Day, so I instructed Jerry to tell them a collective gift of the Shirley Temple Collection which consists of 18 of her films from 1934-1940, selling for $69.98.  I'm sure four-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, will enjoy watching them with me, and if I'm lucky Isabella might enjoy seeing them too. 

I've also placed an E-bay bid on a Shirley Temple "breakfast set" of three dishes - a cereal bowl, glass and pitcher made of blue Depression Glass by Hazel Atlas.  If I win the bid it will be a great visual for my presentation, along with the doll.  In the book, Shirley stated her face was a useful merchandising tool, and General Mills Corp. obtained a license to stencil her image on cobalt blue pitchers, mugs, bowls, and plates to be given away as a box-top premium with Wheaties breakfast food.  A sure-fire way to get children to drink more milk and eat their Wheaties!  Now they're highly collectible!

The inside flap of the book cover said there was something magical about Shirley Temple that cheered the soul of America during the Great Depression.  She was the number one movie star of the nation for four years in a row [1935-1938].  Her adorable spirit charmed everyone in the country from President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt right on down to everyday citizens. The President stated that at a time when American spirit was lower than at any other time, it was splendid that for just .15 cents people could go to a movie and look at Shirley's cute smiling face and forget their troubles, if only temporarily.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Hollywood produced wholesome, upright, inspiring icons like that today?  Dream on!

And that non-alcoholic Shirley Temple beverage I mentioned in my previous post... Shirley stated that when adult Shirley Temple cocktails became popular, the non-alcoholic sugary concoctions of grenadine syrup, fruit juices and soda water topped with a maraschino cherry were devised to occupy children while adults imbibed their more powerful drinks.  Shirley's mother strongly objected to both, because the cocktails linked her daughter's name to alcoholic beverages and the ill-effects associated with them, and the non-alcoholic versions contributed to children's cavities! Maybe it's not a good idea to serve the non-alcoholic version to the residents at the assisted living facility after all!  ;-)

Amazingly, my intrigue with Shirley Temple all began with a doll bearing her image purchased at an estate sale!  Now books and possibly dishes have been added, and who knows what else might join the collection.  

Signing off to go put the electric kettle on for another cup of tea, then back to my book reading.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Catching Up

I've several things to write about so this post will be a compilation of multiple recent happenings. 

Yesterday was Bible study at my house - this session's "Woman of the Bible" was Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah.  It always encourages me to see how God uses imperfect and unlikely women [from mankind's limited perspective] to accomplish His purposes.

As always, we had lunch after Bible study.  I had a ham bone left from Easter Sunday dinner that was perfect for making bean soup.  I served it with cornbread and broccoli muffins.  I forgot to take pictures, but the recipe for the muffins [using Jiffy cornbread mix] can be found here. I also added a cup of grated Cheddar Cheese to the recipe.  Dessert was simple, lite, and perfect for spring.  I purchased individual angel food bundt cakes, and cut them in half and spread a layer of lemon pie filling between them.  Then I drizzled lemon frosting over the top.  There was, of course, lots of tea with our meal.  I'm glad my girlfriend reminded me to get a photo of the dessert [below].

Granddaughter, Tiffany, only has 19 more days until little Evie is 'scheduled' to make her appearance into this world.  Tiffany posted the photo below on Facebook yesterday.  It's taken in front of her house near Lansing, MI.  She's all finished working now until after Evie's birth. Actually that's when her work will really begin, but she and John will make amazing parents!

Sunday was my monthly program at the assisted living facility.  I titled it, Memories of Downtown Detroit Shopping.  I knew it would be a nostalgic topic the residents could all relate to.  Aside from numerous department and clothing stores on Woodward Avenue, we talked about Sanders Confectionary [established in 1875] and the Vernors Ginger Ale factory [established in 1866].  Both [though no longer family owned] are still available, and very much a part of Detroit's history and current enjoyment.  

Vernors brand is now owned by Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group of Plano, Texas and is sold in 15 states, but Michigan accounts for the majority of its sales.  I served a glass of Vernor's to the residents while I talked about the company.  Is Vernor's sold in your state?  I talked about Vernors' competitor, Faygo Pop, but I didn't serve any.

There's a Sanders store close to my house, so I went there the day before my presentation to buy some Sanders candy [chocolate/pecan turtles] for the residents.  Just walking inside the store brought back wonderful memories from my childhood, and my children's childhood. To this day they still talk about me taking them to Sanders for the confectionary's signature dessert - hot fudge ice-cream puffs.

The store has tables to sit at now instead of sitting up at the counter.  When I was there a group of men were sitting around one of the tables enjoying conversation.  Another man came in with his young son for an ice-cream cone and related his childhood memories of Sanders individual lemon meringue pies.  Memories are so sweet, and nothing can compete with them!

With Sunday's presentation behind me, it's time to hunker down and begin my research on Shirley Temple.  That program is scheduled for May 7th, which will be here before I know it.

On Good Friday, we went with our son [Steve], daughter-in-law [Sharon], and granddaughter [Brooke], to see the faith-based movie The Case for Christ.  It's the true story of the once fiercely committed atheist, Lee Strobel, [an award winning journalist and legal editor at the Chicago Times] and his quest to prove Jesus Christ didn't exist in the context of a Supreme Being.  After extensive research and investigation with several noted scholars and experts, he couldn't disprove the credible evidence of Christ's existence, or His crucifixion and resurrection. In the end, he became a Christian.  

Lee Strobel is played by Mike Vogel and his wife, Leslie, is played by Erika Christensen. I highly recommend this movie.  I wish I could give a DVD to every friend I know who doubts the Deity of Christ.  I love the words Christ spoke to Thomas in John 20:29 after His resurrection: "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  In other words, us!

[Internet film clip photo]

While some of my family members were traveling parts of the US over spring break, they brought souvenirs home for me.  Daughter-in-law, Samantha, brought me back a cookbook and note cards from Lee Drummond's Mercantile in Pawhuska, Okalahoma.  I love Lee Drummond and have another of her cookbooks, A Year of Holidays.  Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Sam!

Jerry brought me back a commemorative mug from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans - the original French market coffee stand.  Would it be heresy to drink tea in it? ;-)  He offered to bring me back some beignets, but I told him thanks but no thanks - by the time he returned home they'd be past their prime. 

Life isn't made up of all sunshine and roses... my beloved paternal aunt from Baton Rouge, Louisiana passed into eternity on Easter Sunday night.  I was sad I couldn't fly down for the service that celebrated her life, but it just wasn't possible.  It seemed fitting that she departed on Easter Sunday - the day Christ conquered death and the grave by His resurrection, assuring believers that death and earthly parting are only temporary.  Rest in Peace, Aunt Dot!  

I've had the privilege of having my sweet daughter with me for a couple of days while recuperating from a medical procedure.  She went back home this morning and I miss her already.  I love every opportunity to exercise my motherly privilege of spoiling her.  What fun we had spending two evenings munching on popcorn while watching numerous episodes of Call the Midwife on Netflix together.

There now!  I think I've gotten you all caught up on the latest happenings in my corner of the world so I'll sign off.  Take care everyone!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Birthday Wishes and Detroit Tour, Part II

Before I begin sharing the final sights of our Detroit tour I want to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II who is celebrating her 91st birthday today.  She will spend today low-key and privately at Windsor Castle.  Royal gun salutes will mark the day later today.  The "official" celebratory birthday will take place on June 17th.  The AP photo below was taken on April 16th, Easter Sunday.   Raising my teacup in tribute to an incredible, amazing lady.  May she celebrate many more birthdays!  And it's National Tea Day in the UK - how perfect for the British to celebrate their Queen!

[Internet Photo]

Now back to Detroit...  Pour yourself a cup of tea as I conclude our tour of Detroit.  We passed by Lafayette Coney Island and its next-door neighbor and archrival, American Coney Island, established in 1917.  They are the originators of the Coney Island Dog, and are two of the oldest businesses in downtown Detroit.  American Coney was founded by Constantine "Gust" Keros, 13 years after he immigrated from Greece in 1903.  His brother, William, opened Lafayette Coney Island next door.  We didn't stop for a coney dog yesterday, but Jerry and I have had them before, and they are very good [coming from someone who doesn't normally eat hot dogs!].

Below is "The Belt" - a newly redeveloped cultural public alley connecting Grand River and Gratiot. Its name refers to its location in downtown's former garment district.  Artist's murals have been painted on the exterior walls of buildings and it's a trendy place to visit .

Below are abandoned homes in Detroit's Brush Park - an area that was once made up of 350 homes of Detroit's elite society.  In my post of 4/17 I showed the 1876 Ransom Gillis house that Nicole Curtis, HGTV Rehab Addict restored in 2015.  Many of the homes have been torn down, but the ones remaining are being purchased and restored. The house and property in the first photo below sold for $315,000 and the photo beneath it sold for $259,000 - seriously!  A project is underway in the Brush Park area called "City Modern" where low and mid-rise homes will be built around the old restored homes.  It's wonderful to see Detroit coming back to life again.

Next we went to Shinola, an upscale store selling watches, bicycles, and leather goods, located in a former warehouse.  Shinola was launched in 2011 by Fossil Watch founder, Tom Kartsotis. The company is named after a now-defunct, popular American shoe polish. The store, which opened in June 2013,  is located on Canfield St. in Mid-town Detroit.

From Shinola, we took a mini break at Avalon International Breads, on Willis St. in Detroit's Cass Corridor.  It was founded in 1997 by two women.

Oh the delicious goodies inside this place, and NO I didn't stick to my plant-based diet.  I got one of their sea salt chocolate chip cookies at Pat's recommendation.

I photographed some other goodies I thought you'd enjoy seeing and drooling over. As you'll notice, I only photographed food items particularly associated with tea, but there were many other baked goods and breads.  Now that I think about it, everything goes good with tea!

They had a selection of Adagio teas, but since I was on a tour of the city I didn't want to risk having to ask Pat to make a restroom stop, so I refrained from a cup of tea [even though she would have willingly accommodated].

When Pat discovered I was a tea enthusiast, she took us by Socra Tea, a Tea House and Gallery, located in the lower level of the building behind me.  It's name is a nod to the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates.  It opened in 2012, and is Detroit's only dedicated tea shop at the present time, selling over 50 organic gourmet loose teas.  It is located on Garfield Street near Wayne State University School of Medicine.

I popped inside for a quick photo-shoot while the others in our group waited outside in the van. Thanks, Pat, for letting me see the shop I had heard about, but never visited.

From there we moved on to Eastern Market.  I didn't take any pictures there except for one wall mural.  I've been to Eastern Market many times and have blogged about it a few times. I purchase brown sugar cubes for tea there [even though I don't usually sweeten tea myself]. 

Next up was CAN Art Handiwork on Wilkins Street near Eastern Market.  Pat took us to unique places that as a suburbanite, I never knew existed.

Metalwork embellishment along the fence line of the CAN Art Handiworks facility or "compound."

Behind the fence and gate pictured below, are the metalworks of Carl Nielbock that span his 30 years in Detroit.  His father was a African-American, Detroit-native and WWII soldier, and his mother a German citizen.  Mr.  Nielbock was born in Celle, Germany.  His father was transferred out of Europe and away from his mother when he was a child.  Wondering about his father's side of the family, he came to Detroit when he was 23 and never returned to Germany.  

He's restored ornamental metal architectural details in private homes in Indian Village and Boston Edison, and well-known public places such as the Fox Theater where he restored the canopy and intricate details of the facade and interior chandeliers.  His current project is reproducing the clock tower that sat on top of the ornate Old City Hall [demolished in 1961]. He hopes to install it near the original site across from Campus Martius.

And speaking of the Fox Theater, said to be one of Detroit's Crown Jewels...  I've blogged about performances I've attended there before, but this was a quick photo I took yesterday. The theater, located on Woodward Avenue, was built in the late 1920's, and was fully restored in 1988 when Mike and Marian Ilitch purchased it at a cost of $12 million.

Next we drove to the Heidelberg Project, a place I've heard and read about, but never seen. We drove down Arndt Street that was once home to a thriving German community.  Trees lining the street have garments hanging from them to reflect and honor the people who once wore them.

The Heidelberg Project began in 1986 by African-American Tyree Guyton and his grandfather as a labor of love and act of defiant resistance to the crumbling east side neighborhood.  Saddened that the street he grew up on had become riddled with drugs and deep poverty, and the loss of three brothers to the streets, his grandfather encouraged him to pick up a paint brush instead of a weapon and look for a solution. Gradually he began turning vacant lots and the refuse collected into a massive art project. It is said to be Detroit's best-known outdoor art project, as well as one of its most controversial. Heidelberg Street is the centerpiece of the project. The abandoned and uninhabitable houses were painted funky colors with polka dots and other designs, and were turned into large art sculptures.  Several of his houses have been destroyed by arsonists, however, while other parts of the project have been demolished by orders of mayoral administrations. 

Paintings of clocks are a predominant sight because Mr. Guyton believes time is the most precious thing, and it passes so quickly.  [Amen to that!]  He was out working on his project when we drove by.  He declined having his picture taken when asked by the lady who was on the tour with us.  I have enlarged the photos below for better viewing.

Can you see the nine different clocks in the photo below?

Pat said he only intends to keep the project ongoing for a couple more years, then he will dismantle it so he has time to pursue other projects.

From the Heidelberg Project we went to Indian Village - one of Detroit's most exquisite and affluent historic neighborhoods.  It contains 350 stately homes on three streets [Burns, Iroquois, and Seminole - named for racehorses, not Indians, because the land was once a racetrack], built from the 1890's to the 1920's by some of the city's most esteemed architects. It became a historic district in the 1960's. 

~ Below is the largest house in Indian Village. ~

Below was the home of Mary Chase Perry Stratton, founder of Pewabic Pottery.

We drove past the first home of Edsel and Eleanor Ford, known as their "Honeymoon Cottage", but I didn't get a photo of it.  I couldn't resist taking the picture below of the "Little Free Library" inside a gutted grandfather clock, sitting near the sidewalk.  At first glance I thought it was being used as a mailbox.  People can take books to read from inside the clock, as well as deposit books.  Isn't that a great idea for neighborhood communities!

Pat pointed out other homes of well-known Detroit people, but I only took the photos above. I would love to go back there again when we have more time - perhaps during the village's home and garden tour this June.

Our last sight to see was Detroit's Belle Isle, a 982 acre island in the Detroit River, with seven miles of shoreline.  It's the city's second largest park [which is now run by the state], and the nation's largest public island park.  It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed New York City's Central Park. 

I didn't take any pictures inside the park but it contains a conservatory, aquarium, casino [a building that resembles an Italian villa, not a gambling facility], a marble fountain, pavilion, beach area, and much more.  The had already begun setting up bleachers for the Grand Prix auto race coming up on June 2-4.

We saw several other sights in passing such as Greektown, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library, Detroit Athletic Club, Orchestra Hall where the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs, Detroit Opera House, Comerica Park where the Detroit Tigers play baseball, Du Mouchelle's Art Gallery, the Inn on Ferry Street, the new arenas where the Detroit Red Wings [hockey team], and Detroit Pistons [basketball team] will play when the construction is completed, and other sights I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Pat packed a lot in our tour, but we barely skimmed the surface of everything there is to see in a two-hour tour. I highly recommend Show Me Detroit tours. Pat is very friendly, accommodating, and knowledgeable, having lived and worked in Detroit her whole life.  The $59 per person [senior rate] was worth every penny!

Below is the last photo taken when we returned to Rivard Plaza.  It was a very fun and educating morning.  I hope you enjoyed touring the City of Detroit with me.  I know this was a lengthy post but I didn't want to carry it over into next week.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Tour of Detroit

When I wrote my post on Monday [4/17], I mentioned that we had booked a tour of Detroit with Show Me Detroit Tours, and today was the day.  The weather forecast predicted severe thunderstorms, but fortunately we only experienced overcast skies.  If you've never toured Detroit, come along with me vicariously on today's post.

The two hour tour took us to parts of downtown [including Greektown, and the Stadium/Entertainment District], parts of Midtown, Eastern Market, Indian Village [a residential area] and Belle Isle [an island in the Detroit River], but this tour was by no means inclusive.  To see all the sights of Detroit would require multiple tours.

We met Pat, our tour guide and owner of the company, at Rivard Plaza at 10:00 a.m. this morning. Rivard Plaza is on the Detroit RiverWalk.  

The RiverWalk will span five miles when completed, but right now only 3.5 miles of the walkway is done.   The project was developed in 2007, and when finished will extend from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle.  Rivard Plaza is the focal point, and is located near the middle of the East Riverfront.

The cluster of circular skyscrapers on the right is the Renaissance Center - a complex of seven buildings on the Detroit riverfront with the tallest being the GM Building. The top of the building isn't visible in my photo because of low cloud cover.  It was originally built by Henry Ford's grandson, Henry Ford II, between 1977-1981, but is owned by GM now, and is the company's world headquarters.  The Detroit Marriott Hotel is also located in the 73-story tower - Detroit's tallest skyscraper. There are complimentary public tours of the facility M-F at noon. Even though I've been in the tower before, it was a long time ago, so I'd like to go again.

Looking across the Detroit River into Canada.  In the distance you can see the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor, Canada.  On a clear day it would have been very visible.

There were numerous boats [all the black specks in the photo below] of fisherman fishing for Walleye in the Detroit River today.  

Pat was giving us some facts about the RiverWalk and riverfront.  Besides Jerry and me, there was one other lady on the tour from south Indiana.  She was here visiting her daughter.

[Jerry and Me on the RiverWalk]

The downtown tour began with a stop in front of the Coleman Young Municipal Center, built 1951-1954.  It was originally called the City-County Building, but was renamed in 1997 after the former mayor. It's government headquarters for the City of Detroit, and houses the courthouse.   The 26-foot tall sculpture in front is called the Spirit of Detroit - a name given to it by the residents based on a scripture in II Corinthians engraved on the wall behind it. In one hand the man is holding a family, and in the other the sun.

Our first 'hop out' stop was the Guardian Building on Griswold Street.  It is known as Detroit's Cathedral of Finance, because it was built for a bank in 1928.  The Art Deco interior looks like a Cathedral.  The 36-story structure is now owned by Wayne County and is their headquarters.  The three-story lobby features local Pewabic tile.  We had a few minutes to go inside and look around. Inside was a Pure Detroit shop where I purchased a bottle of Faygo pop for my presentation at the assisted living facility this Sunday [more about that in a post next week].

[One side of the entrance]

[Other side]

~ Interior Photos ~

From there we drove past the Penobscot Building [also on Griswold] constructed in 1928.  It was Detroit's tallest building before the construction of the Renaissance Center.  It anchors the financial district, and was named for the Penobscot Native American Tribe in Maine.  

An upward view of The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel built in 1924.  It was once Detroit's leading hotel located on Washington Blvd.  After multiple owners, it closed its doors in 1986. It underwent a $200-million reconstruction and reopened in 2008.  I had high hopes they would have an Afternoon Tea program, and contacted management about it before they opened.  They referred me to the Food and Beverage Director, but he had no interest.  There are no hotels in Detroit that offer Afternoon Tea.  That's such a pity when hotels in Chicago, Cincinnati, NYC, Denver, Memphis, and many other large cities bustle with Afternoon Tea patrons.

Below is a very sad picture - it's the vacant lot where Detroit's iconic J.L. Hudson's Department Store once stood on an entire city block.  The landmark was imploded in Oct. 1998.  Pat said Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans plans to build a multi-story building on the site that will house retail stores, offices, and apartments.  If he would have been around in 1998 he probably would have saved the building from its destruction by city planners and officials who had no foresight.  It's a shame Detroit lost such a significant landmark.

For a bit of nostalgia, the building the red arrow is pointing to below is the Metropolitan Building built in 1924-25. The 15-story building was once the city's jewelry emporium housing diamond cutters, goldsmiths, and watchmakers which led to it becoming known as the "Jeweler's Building." It's where Jerry purchased my engagement ring.   We had forgotten the name of the building, but Pat knew it's name and exactly where it was located.  The building has been vacant since the late 1970's, but is presently being renovated into a hotel with retail on the lower level.  It will open in July 2018.  When I got home I retrieved the original receipt for my ring dated 11-12-1965 from Reich Jewelry, Inc. at 905 Metropolitan Building on John R. Street just off Woodward, in the central business district.

I will close the post here, and continue the tour tomorrow.  Ya'll come back, 'cause there's lots more interesting sights!