Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Nights in the City

I’d forgotten how interesting summer nights in the city could be. I remember last summer hearing firecrackers going off, cars zooming down the street and people out making noise, but it’s a little hazy in retrospect. It’s all back again – and this week in force!

On Tuesday night, we woke up at 4:30 hearing a pretty loud and intense screaming match up and down the street. Some sort of domestic dispute, if you can call it that when it’s a physically intimate but short term and casual relationship as evidenced by the content of the screaming. Part of me really wanted to shout out the window, “People are sleeping! And do you really want the whole neighborhood to hear your business?” (And all of *those* details that you’re screaming at the top of your lungs?)

Wednesday was the fireworks downtown (and I still don’t understand why they do them in June, but that’s another story), so at 12:30 we wake up to major firecrackers going off on our street. The kind that shoot up and make lots of light and noise. As we were startled awake by the noise and the lights, Dave and I were sure that someone was setting them off in front of our house and that the sparks were going to catch our whole block on fire! It turned out to be quite a ways down the street and eventually we went back to sleep. This was after waking up at midnight to more people screaming at each other because someone had left a car in the middle of the street while they ran inside and somebody else wanted to get by.

Last night was the revelry down at the Motown Museum in remembrance of Michael Jackson (who I realized had died through facebook of all places, from everybody’s comments and status updates). Around 10:00 or 10:30, we heard crazy firecrackers or something and then horns honking and people yelling. We finally figured out that it was down at the museum (at the end of our street). A ton of people had gathered and when people would drive by and honk – and I mean h-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-k! – the crowd would explode again in yelling. Our neighbor said we should expect it all weekend.

Our neighborhood is usually pretty calm and quiet, albeit with a little more street noise at night. Most of the time, it’s not a big deal and if it gets too loud, we close our window. But this week it was so hot and we so desperately needed the cool air that we left the windows open and just tried to laugh at it all! Definitely easier to do in the morning, though, when we’re fully awake! ☺ Nobody said life in Detroit would be boring.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I think it is officially hot. It's around 90 outside and 80 inside. Not so bad with a fan, but there are only so many fans in the house to go around :) At least I've learned not to leave the windows open during the day!

The cat's pretty much been sleeping most of the last few days. Last night I found him sleeping in the windowsill in front of the open window in the bathroom! I don't think I'm extra hot from being pregnant, just hot because it's hot. Dave suggested going to the DIA or the library where there's air conditioning, but I think I might be more inclined to go down to the basement, chill on the couch and finish a movie I started recently. Maybe with some ice cream. I'm feeling a little tired to be on my feet around the museum. And the exhibit I want to see will still be there another 3 weeks.

Dave said it's okay to take a siesta in the afternoon on hot days like this, as long as I don't check out for the rest of the summer! He reminded me that last year we had hot weeks and then it would cool down again. It's supposed to be more in the low 80's later in the week with nights in the mid 60's to help cool the house back down a bit.

I think mostly my system's just a little surprised that the heat really did come. It's been so cool through most of June that I'd started to wonder if it summer was really on its way!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Dave and I love Indian food (well, just about any good food), but we haven't had much lately because we hadn't found an Indian place we liked and I hadn't made time to cook anything at home. We've found great Thai, Ethiopian and Mexican nearby, but Indian has been hit and miss. On a friend's recommendation (thanks Nishba!) we tried another place yesterday and had a fabulous dinner. The dishes we had were really good (I just had leftovers for lunch!) and Dave and I had such a sweet time together. I don't remember what all we talked about, but it wasn't all baby stuff, and we had a really great relaxed time just sharing and laughing together. Good times for sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

32 weeks

- The baby has been hiccupping. It’s interesting to feel the difference between hard core kicks and punches and the light, rhythmic bouncing of hiccups. At my appointment this week, we could hear the hiccups along with the heartbeat on the Doppler. That was pretty sweet.

- I’m definitely more tired than I was in the middle of pregnancy. Even though I knew that energy levels tend to go down in the third trimester, I don’t think I believed it would really happen! It took me a bit by surprise and I was a bit bummed that I was getting tired so easily. I appreciate more that I’m done working and can take things slow and rest when I need to.

- Even though it doesn’t always seem bigger to me, my belly is definitely growing. Lots of people at church have been commenting and I have lovely purple lines all over my belly to show me it’s true! ☺ It’s also getting a little less comfortable to bend over or lean forward.

- We have some cloth diapers in the house!! We’re borrowing some newborn size Kissaluvs from a friend. I’d still like a few of several other types, but I was thrilled to have some diapers and I called my mom the day I picked them up just to tell her we have diapers in the house! Honestly, there have been some days when I was looking at cloth diapers that I was just as excited about them as I was about the baby, though I’m definitely more excited about the baby now that we’re getting closer.

- On that note (getting closer and more excited), I’m feeling very comfortable and confident about the birth. At our last Bradley class (a week and a half ago), I was still feeling like we’re so not ready, but after having a number of random conversations in various contexts about birth this week, I realized that we do know our stuff and we are very well prepared. There are still more things we’d like to do and practice, but overall I’m very comfortable with the choices we’ve made, my birth team and our ability to do this well. We picked a doula this week too, which definitely helps me feel more prepared. We have some specific things we’ll be working on with her.

- We have a stroller! I took the cat for a ride around the house the day we unpacked it and he lasted about 3 rooms before he jumped out. I went walking with a friend this morning and pushed her (almost) 3 year old in it. It was great and he loved how far the sunshade came down.

- I’m done working and can really focus on getting ready for the baby and getting the house in order. I’m also hopeful that I’ll be able to squeeze some more exercise and sleep into my schedule. Dave moved his desk and computer and I’ve been making some small progress on going through papers, piles and the like.

- I slipped and fell on the stairs a couple weeks ago. Definitely the crying because I’m scared way more than because it hurts thing, just like kids do. Dave heard me fall and came running, comforted me and helped me breath again. Aside from a few days of sore neck, back, hips and head from hitting the stairs, everything was fine. I’m grateful for lots of good cushioning around the baby.

- I hula-hooped recently. My cousin had an adult sized and weighted hula hoop and once I got over the worry of putting too much pressure on my belly, I did pretty well and it was a lot of fun. She said they make ones designed for pregnant women too, but I don’t think I’ll pursue it ☺

- That’s all (ha!) I can think of for now. I don’t have any recent pictures, but we’ll see if we can take one tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Last Day

Yesterday was my last day at work. It’s a little bittersweet since I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing, but I’m also really excited about this new season that’s coming. We went out for a farewell lunch yesterday with the core staff at CDC (We went to an Indian place with a lunch buffet, which some people enjoyed and some tolerated ☺)

I started out writing a series of posts in the fall about what I’m doing in Detroit. I wrote about the tutoring program and about hanging out with kids from my neighborhood, but I never got to the main parts of my actual job. I should probably use this post to reflect more on the transition and what I’ve learned in this season, but I want to tell you about what I’ve been doing.

The biggest component of my work in the last year has been helping start a fruit and vegetable market in the neighborhood. There are not very many grocery options in the neighborhood and since half the residents don’t have access to a car, they end up buying a lot of food at convenience stores, gas stations, and liquor stores. We also have lots of lifestyle related health issues in the neighborhood. In response to request from people living in the neighborhood and our own experience trying to access fresh and healthy food living in the neighborhood, CDC (Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation) decided to start a produce market. You can read more about all of that here.

The idea was to open the store first and then add a produce truck that would go around the neighborhood selling fruits and vegetables. But construction always takes longer than you think and city inspections, permits, etc. take forever, even when you’re in a better functioning city than Detroit ☺. We had a small grant to get started, so we bought and fixed up a truck to start selling around the neighborhood last summer.

In the meantime, I’ve work a variety of hats as it relates to Peaches and Greens. I’ve done the produce purchasing, served as manager, put operating procedures in place, worked in the store, led cooking demos with teens and adults from the neighborhood, been the go-to person when things goes wrong, been the liaison with a group from MSU working with food desert issues, etc. It’s been an interesting process: usually crazy, but almost always fun. It’s really good to see people’s enthusiasm about having fresh produce in the neighborhood and it’s good to see how far this has come. It’s also good to know that we’ve seen some problems and are doing something about them.

The other big part of what I’ve been doing is coordinating our community garden efforts. We have a children’s garden that’s in its fourth year and a new garden that is just starting this year. Some of the produce is going home with the people working in the gardens and the rest will be sold to Peaches and Greens as a way both for people to earn income and to get more locally grown produce in the store. I worked with kids in the children’s garden all last summer and fall. I’ve worked with them to get everything planted this year, but have now (mostly) passed it on. You can read more about the gardens here.

Ways to pray for these endeavors:
- Committed people from the neighborhood to continue working in the gardens
- Several people who are able to make a longer term commitment to the children’s garden
- That these initiatives would make a difference in people’s health and wellbeing
- That the kids working in the garden would see God’s hand in creation and in providing for their needs
- That the gardens would be a safe haven and peaceful space in the midst of a somewhat chaotic neighborhood
- For each of the employees at Peaches and Greens - they all deal with a variety of issues in their own lives, but are working so hard to grow and are committed to the store.
- For an increase in customers at Peaches and Greens that will make the store viable and profitable in the long run
- For favor in partnerships with various organizations that want to help the store grow and increase access to fresh and healthy foods around the city.