Culture / Detroit / Food / Reading / Things I Like / Travel

Dogs, books, travel and food – some 2013 highlights

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2013: my Year of the Dog. Or better yet, Year of the Daisy. Daisy came into our lives in late spring as a stray, and quickly made herself one of the family. Having a dog has changed my life for the better. There’s no other way to say it. I’m so happy she found us.

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I’m also grateful for Canine to Five, the doggie daycare Daisy attends some weekdays and whenever we travel. She’s always happy to go (okay, nutty crazypants to go) and the people there are really great.

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This year also managed to feel incredibly weird at times. Good thing for friends who get it, understand and are on similar journeys.

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I read like a maniac this year. Some of my favorite books in 2013:

  • Chasing the Sea — about Uzbekistan and the catastrophic impact of agricultural practices in central Asia on the Aral Sea. (bought at Literati Books in Ann Arbor, a great new indie bookstore)
  • Year Zero — about 1945 in Europe and Asia and the impact the end of WWII had on lives there (warning: it’s a bit heartbreaking to read).
  • Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking — this book was so exquisitely awesome, I still think about it. Beyond getting a view of life in the former Soviet Union, it made me think about spiritual emigration, a concept that I dove deep and hard into. There’s a whole blog post I’d like to write about this book as soon as I can get my thoughts to make sense… to me.
  • The Thread — sometimes historical fiction is just plain cheesy or boring. But sometimes? It transports you into the past and helps you gain empathy for those who lived it. This book did just that and really informed my perspective about northern Greece. Helpful when I was able to visit Thessaloniki this summer and helpful as I think about things like what’s happening in Syria and other places with conflict and multiethnic populations.
  • The Warmth of Other Suns — I’d been meaning to read this book since it was first published and somehow, thought that I needed to wait for a certain mood to strike me to dig in. I wish I hadn’t delayed this one. It is such a phenomenal portrayal of American culture and the caste system that existed here until the 1970s.  Everyone should read this. This book, along with Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, led me to read Black Lake and Amsterdam, in search of my own roots.

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I ate like a maniac in 2013, too. Detroit has a fairly rigorous pop up culture and long may it live. Hooray for chefs like Brad Greenfield who relocate to Detroit and fill our bellies with righteous food. Hooray for Guns and Butter, (revolver), and every St Cece’s Tuesday night chef.

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I’ve barely scratched the surface of Detroit’s food scene, and from what I can tell, it runs deep and strong. Thankful for new restaurants like Marais (actually in Grosse Pointe), Craftwork (ribs), Ottava Via (porchetta), Rock City Eatery (poutine and pie), Detroit Institute of Bagels (good enough to break this paleo girl’s heart), La Feria (bacon wrapped dates) and so many more.

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My caffeine addiction persisted in 2013 and places like Coffee and ( ) pictured above, Red Hook , the Kresge Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Socratea, kept my spirits high.

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According to Chinese Astrology, 2014 will be the year of the horse. May the days run away from us like wild horses on a mission. My mission is to continue learning to be a better human. Also: chocolate, travel, books and friends. And… to blog weekly. Let’s do this thing. Happy New Year!

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