One thing I’m learning fast about Michigan is that it is full of lakes. And I’m not talking about the big ones, like Lake Michigan or Lake Huron.
In West Bloomfield alone – that’s my new hometown – 12 percent of the entire township of 31 square miles is water. From my own experiences, while driving around and getting my bearings accompanied by my new best friend – my GARMIN GPS system – most roads ride alongside a body of blue.
Now, most of these lakes in my new home town are private – meaning, any long-lasting view of a lake is obscured by these incredibly huge lakefront mansions. So when the common folk like me want to see a lake, we go to a public park, one of many in Michigan’s vast park system.
(Don’t worry, people, I’m getting to the eyeglasses part).
This weekend, only our second in town, we ventured to Proud Lake, a state park with hiking, canoeing, and swimming.
We came to this lovely swimming hole along the Huron River. Others who kayaked and canoed stopped here to take a break and swim. Teens and tweens frolicked in the gentle current.
We were having a great time until….
A woman in her late forties in a fuchsia printed bathing suit drinking out of a metal Coors canister on a dock, in spite of the “alcoholic beverages prohibited” sign, summoned me.
“Excuse me… can you get…”
And here I am thinking she was pointing to the teen in the leopard bathing suit behind me, thinking it was her daughter.
“Oh sure,” I willingly replied, tapping the girl on the shoulder.
But it wasn’t the teen she wanted. She wanted my husband.
This was getting interesting. i told you it was getting interesting.
“Hey, I may come off as very bold
or very drunk
but I have to tell you, those sunglasses have to go. And I mean this in the kindest way. But there are all sorts of new eyewear technology, I mean, there are transition lenses, and magnetic sunglasses that snap on to your lenses…. but those sunglasses – what are they COCOONS?? They are really ridiculous and geeky, sorry just sayin’ as I work in sales for an eyeglasses store in Ann Arbor.”
Now, I’m standing there; chest deep in the Huron River, just taking this all in. A woman, who we never met before, who knows us from – NOWHERE – is sipping a beer insulting my husband’s choice in sunglasses.
The inner Staten Island girl in me would immediately retort:
“Yo BITCH! Who the FUCK do you think you are disrespecting my MAN and his dorky sunglasses? Step off that dock I’ll drag your ass under!”
But that was never me. But many an Island girl would have spoken like that, really.
I did say to her “Gee, WOW! you do have a lot of nerve, and yes, maybe his glasses are dorky but he is a GOOD man!”
I did, and I can’t believe I did, stand there in the water and make chit-chat with her for about 10 more minutes before I swam away, to learn that she was just this dumb, racist white trash woman who in no way reflected most of the good people I am so far meeting in Michigan.
In the end, I did deep down inside agree that those sunglasses are a bit dorky. But what’s it to her? The man behind those sunglasses is the man I love.
In the end, I later apologized to my husband for not rightly defending his honor and his right to wear dorky sunglasses.
In the end, eyeglass saleswoman on the shore had her canister of Coors taken away from her by an interceding park ranger.
In the end, I came away with a funny blog post to share with you.
Do you remember a repeated exchange between two dogs in the Dr. Seuss book, “Go Dog Go”?
Perhaps this picture will jar your memory:
The dog wearing the very frilly hat is not insulted by the other dog’s dislike of his hat. He keeps his hat on and is not disuaded by the rejection of his silly head covering.
They agree to disagree and have a pleasant parting exchange.
The other day, on a rare shopping outing, in addition to buying a pair (okay, two) of much-needed black flats, I came upon the store’s purse collection.
I know that for many women, the purse is the must-have power accessory. Women may spend hundreds of dollars on a handbag and change their look at least once a season.
Me? I cashed in a gift certificate I received on my birthday a few years ago for an over the shoulder cloth handbag. Except for the occasional wedding or evening occasion, I have not changed purses in nearly three years.
I looked at the new handbag displays at this shoe retailer and then the worn straps and the bottom of my bag, which was beginning to tear. Yes, it was time for a new bag.
I chose a handbag from Sakroots.
Here it is:
I was drawn to its orange and red flowered pattern. It reminded me of wallpaper from the 1950’s. It has all the whimsy and just enough kitch for a springtime handbag.
My new bag is a bag with purpose. Sakroots gives a portion of each purchased product to The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees program. The program is working to reforest the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.
But when I got my bag home, was it greeted warmly by my family?
“Eew! That’s a horrible bag,” exclaimed my daughter. “Why did you buy that bag?” said my daughter.
“It looks like an old granny bag. It’s so old stylish,” said my husband. This is coming from a man who still wears sweater vests to work.
On first instinct, I scrambled for my car keys and dug up the receipt, looking to return my purchase as soon as possible.
But wait. No! I liked – no – like – no – LOVE – my quirky new handbag. Like the canine in the Dr. Seuss book, I will take the critique of those around me, but then I will move on.
So, do you like my new orange-with-red-flowered bag? I hope you do. But if not, that’s okay too. Because I do.
As the violence between Israel and her neighbors in the Gaza strip heats up, I have been glued to not CNN for updates, but the news feed on my Facebook page from The Jerusalem Post. I am relying on the Jerusalem Post and accounts from my friends in Israel to give me the scoop on the latest to what is going on there. I have given up on US media on getting any story related to Israel right. The latest picture on the JPost newsfeed brought back memories of my last nights in Israel spent in Tel Aviv.
When you think of Israel these days, I bet that fashion does not come to mind. No, no, you say, nothing is ever reported from Israel except conflict and war. What else can possibly be going on there?
A lot. Fashion, for one. Israel is entering the international stage for its fashion design. Israeli designer Ronen Chen’s can be found all over the world. Tel Aviv Fashion exec Molly Grad is one of Israel’s top female executive at Gottex Swimwear.
Tel Aviv designers teamed up with designers from Milan, its sister city, to put together Tel Aviv Fashion Week last November Some Milan designers included Milan’s Roberto Cavalli.
On our last nights in Israel this past December, we spent time wandering the streets in Tel Aviv, particularly the fashion district on Northern Dizengoff Street. The stores were closed, and that was a fortunate thing for my wallet because I knew I had no need to buy any of these clothes. Never mind my suitcases must have been already over the weight limit because of all the artwork, books and souvenirs I already purchased.
But the styles were oh so beautiful:
So, this is why this morning’s picture of a bombed fashion boutique in Ashdod really resonated with me.
This is a picture that I bet will never make it into US papers. It is not until you walk the streets in Israel, until you drive along her crowded yet modern highways, feel the beauty and the utter vulnerability of the land that you can really understand what is going on there and what Israel needs to do to survive. And thrive.
Israel, I stand with you.
America, if you want to know what is going on in Israel, do yourself a favor and get your news from The Jerusalem Post.