Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gray Skies, Sunny Heart

It's a gray Saturday morning and I'm in the car, cruising down the highway toward Ann Arbor.

Everything is gray, black or white. The charcoal-gray stretch of pavement beneath my car is anchored by expanses of white snow. Rising from the snow are stark black trunks of trees, with branches spreading like tangled spider webs. The sky is only a half-shade darker than the snow, the overpasses somewhat darker.

Even the cars are all silver, white, gray, black, pewter. The only colors present are occasional green mileage signs and the goldenrod signs that say "Watch for Ice on Bridge." A lone bright blue sports car whizzes by, a welcome relief.

But my mood is as sunny as the other bit of color in this scene -- two bunches of yellow daffodils, resting on the car seat. These are for my luncheon companions.

But before lunch, a couple of stops. First to Hollanders, an amazing paper and gifts store in Ann Arbor's Kerrytown district. And while I'm there, an unexpected farmer's market beckons.

At this time of year, most of the vendors carry things like artisan bread...


Some craft items, like these hand-made rugs, kissed by the snow...

And even ice cream -- no cooler required.

There's still time before lunch, so a quick trip to Treasure Mart -- the most overcrowded resale shop on the planet. (You may disagree; I'm sure there are others!)

I leave with a few treasures myself -- more on those at the end of the post.

Then I reach my destination -- Amadeus. I've written about this restaurant before, when I met blogger Anno in the past. And today we will meet again, along with blogger Becca, whom neither of us have met before.

Ah, but don't think that means we don't know one another well. In some ways, I know both these women better than people I see every day.

As we sat at this table right in that left window, wonderful light spills onto the table, warming us against the winter chill. We laugh, we smile, we eat!

Between bites of the Amadeus pancake, dill pickle soup, tasty rolls and lots of tea and coffee, we talk about family, blogging, writing, and so much more.

I feel very fortunate to have a lot of wonderful friends -- both locally and out of town. they are people in whom I can confide, laugh, enjoy a great night out. Some are extraordinarily special and have provided a wealth of support during the most challenging times of my life. They are sounding boards on the phone, at tea, on a road trip -- and I do the same for them.

Yet bloggers form a unique bond. You may well have experienced that -- in writing a post about something deeply personal, you are amazed by the outpouring of support. A surprise in the mail. An email off-blog that continues the conversation.

We may not spill our guts in full on our blogs (well, sometimes we do, but that's because we feel safe), but we share our dreams. We share our work and our creativity, our art and our poetry and photography. For some of us, the blog is the first, gentle foray into sharing our work with a wider audience.

And we share our hearts as well.

So, when I met Becca, I felt -- as I did with Anne before -- that I was meeting up with a friend I just don't get to see so much. One who has listened to my rants, raves, problems, concerns and dreams and who has shared hers.

But the Napoleon above, elegant, beautiful, sweet, delicate, beautifully textured is a fine representation of our time together.

I think we could have talked for hours, but we parted and I went off to Trader Joe's (where I proceeded to leave a bag of groceries on the bottom of the cart -- and had a terrific experience with their customer service when I called them from home) and here...

Yes, one of the closing Borders bookstores. I wondered, as I stood in line for 45 minutes to buy books I could probably get for less on Amazon, how our world will be with fewer bookstores. For me, there's nothing like feeling the page under my fingertips.

I told you I'd show you my Treasure Mart finds -- a small pink Depression glass for my bathroom; a silver-toned (not real) jug, also for the bathroom and this apple pitcher.

A story about this apple pattern -- my mother had this dish pattern; it was sold when my dad moved from our house. Years later I regretted I didn't keep it -- or a piece (preferably the teapot!) Marilyn at Delights of the Heart suggested I might someday find a teacup, and I liked that idea -- it was the memory that mattered, not eight place settings. So when I saw this -- perfect for flours or juice, and only $6 -- well, I was happy!

I found this, too. Silly, isn't it. But it made me happy.

A final word -- this is my 700th post. Not a milestone, I suppose. It seems 750 or 1,000 will be more so. But things with two zeros seem important -- so it seems fitting I should share this post with you, speaking about the bonds of blogging. It has meant a great deal to me knowing you -- and I so look forward to much more posting in days to come!


Marilyn said...

When I saw that apple pitcher I was so happy for you. I have never seen this piece, very unique. The star would make me smile too. What a totally fun day excursion, meeting bloggers, a farmer's market, thrift shopping. Funny but I will hit 700 posts later this month. I am thinking about a give away, which I don't always do when I reach another 100. Congratulations on 700! Isn't it fun?

Becca said...

How nice to relive that lovely luncheon all over again! It was a rare treat and totally delightful :)

The rest of your day looks like it was a blast as well!

Dogwood said...

Great pictures. Love the "grey" series of photos. Great!
OK...how I would love to dine at the restaurant. Yummy.

Happy days to you.

Rocky says "hi."

Retired English Teacher said...

I have to say that I just kept wishing I were with you while you shopped and while you lunched today. Someday, I hope to eat at Amadeus with you someday. Not only would I love actually meeting you and chatting in person, I know I would love this place.

You are so right about the blogging bond. I feel my life has been enriched in ways I never would have imagined by interaction with my most wonderful virtual friends.

Congratulations on reaching what I consider to be a great milestone of writing and publishing 700 posts! Keep on blessing us with your posts.

Bella Rum said...

I enjoyed this post. The restaurant looked so cozy and seemed the perfect place to meet with friends. I can picture the three of you there. The Amadeus pancake sounds delicious.

All those shades of black and white and gray will soon change. Thank goodness.

Joanne Huffman said...

You're right about the delight of meeting blogging friends in person (case in point, meeting you!). I love the way you bring people in on your adventures through your photos and your prose. Love your finds. Is that your book pile? You will enjoy Sarah's Key, I found it to be a riveting story.

Ruth said...

Hallelujah! Ann Arbor, Hollander's, farmer's market, artisan bread, Amadeus, chicken paprikash, blog friends, Trader Joe's, and oh so sad, Border's.

I love these local treasures, and your experience of them too.

Barb said...

Hi Jeanie, I'm late visiting - where does the time go? I agree that blogging has opened up a whole new arena for friendships. I've met several Blog friends - some when I travel to their areas - and we do feel right at home with each other. That restaurant looks cozy; I started to read the menu! You found lots of treasures on that Saturday.

Susan said...

Oh, wonderful post! I made my first trip to Ann Arbor nearly two years ago...to meet my wonderful blog friend (and now "real" friend, Ruth [synchronizing]). I was in all of the places you mentioned, except for Amadeus, which will definitely happen next visit, especially after seeing that beautiful Napoleon...yum!

I have met a few true sisters of the heart on my blog. I wouldn't trade them for the world. :)

Karen Owen said...

So much food for thought in this post! I was struck by your comment that we may know our online friends better than the people we see everyday. I think it's because we dwell on trivial matters with those we see often, superficially passing the time of day. "How are you?" "Fine, and you?" But with our online friends, we take the time to delve into how we really feel and think.

You found some marvelous treasures! I've heard rumors that Borders and Binders are merging. Wonder if it's true.

Sandy K. said...

What a delightful blog - you have a way with words. I have not been to the locations you spoke about, but all will be on my list. I did go to Trader Joes, in Novi (I think) two weeks ago, for the first time. Great fun! Have you ever been to the RePurpose store in Northville? I MUST! By the way, you asked in another post about my location - yes, along another grey patch of Michigan highway which leads to Alma. Center of the state.
I'd love for you to stop by my blog and offer a suggestion or two for an upcoming photo competition - there's a give-away involved:) But we might need to swap - as I LOVE the whimsical star!

Anonymous said...

You sure know how to have fun, Jeanie. I am happy for you, that you found the pitcher. What pleasure you will have, using it.

And congratulations on 700 - wow!!

Oh said...

Gorgeous photo entry, J! Love it. Quite the place, Amadeus and looks perfect for your meet-up. And then there's that darn Napoleon - yum. (and I just ate dinner but still...there's always room for a napoleon!)

What a great picture of the three of you! Thanks for sharing that - it brings you all that much closer.

Now, about that stack of books- you got another Cara Black!!! and Sara's Key, which Lisa's Yarns just recommended and An American in Paris? don't know that one but will google it in a minute. OK, all of them look/are excellent.

and congrats on 700 blog entries! Wow - that's a whole lot of writing.And TONS of pictures, which we love looking at, of course.

hugs to the Gypsy!

Naturegirl said...

Jeannie as I read this post I feel blessed in having the same experience as you in meeting bloggers in person! As you know recently I met up with a few that you yourself know and we shared a memorable few hours together here In Arizona!!It is amazing how we feel so connected to these women we meet through the comments they leave on our blogs.I will be returning to Canada in early April to my NEW home very close to Ann Arbor!!
Perhaps one day I can sit and chat and have sweet conversations with you!
So pleased that you stopped by my blog today and got a dose of blue sky!

beth said...

my kind of day !!!!

Privet and Holly said...

What a gift you
are to the blogging
community and to me,
Jeanie! What a very
special day, for a
very special lady.
I hope you found some
color, this week : )
More snow forecast for
xx Suzanne

Annie said...

Are we the lucky ladies, Jeanie, both able to meet up with blogging friends this week. What a joy to have such friends.

I'm sad about Borders. I have no idea if the one in our town is closing. Truth be told, I'm afraid to drive by and see a closing sign such as you showed us above.

Franciscan Appleware! I have a 12 piece place setting. I promise - if you are ever out this way, I will put it out in your honor.

Wrightboysmum said...

I loved this post as it's so on the money about bloggy friends. I'm meeting up with a couple of mine later on this year and I'm really looking forward to it. Well done on getting the little apple pitcher as well. It was meant to be.

Arti said...

What a delightful post, Jeanie. Thanks for sharing a wonderful day of travelling, bargain hunting, dessert savoring, book purchasing... and above all, blogging friendship coming alive! It must be a gratifying experience to actually meet your virtual friends. And you're totally right... the blogging experience is awesome, isn't it? It's beyond our imagination that friendship could be so strongly established by our mutual sharing in the blogosphere that it can be extended into real life. This is a rich and beautiful post!

Rosa said...

Wow, 700!! Congrats! I LOVE that start clown! It makes me smile too. As does the creme filled desert. As does your photos! SMILE xo

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