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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ANN (-ual) ARBOR



Monday Inge and I made our annual Christmas shopping trek to Ann Arbor, an hour away from the farm.













We browsed Crazy Wisdom bookstore with all its pretties like these soaps on the right. We sipped coffee in the tea room on the second floor. We ransacked books, some for gifts, and some for ourselves.-





Books I leafed through:

~ Immersion Travel USA has ideas for visiting a place long enough to really get to know it, and maybe to volunteer and make a difference where you stay.

~ iBrain is Dr. Gary Small's book about how technology is shaping the way 20-somethings' minds develop, function and interpret information.

~ John Lennon: The Life is Philip Norman's new in depth biography of the Beatle.

I can't tell you which ones I bought, it's a secret.

~ ~ ~




A few c-c-c o - l - d blocks away is another have-to stop: Hollander's School of Book and Paper Arts. You can buy everything you need to make a book. I've never done that. But I am in paper heaven walking the wood floor between racks of decorative papers, some of them home-made. In fact I start going into a trance, a defense so my systems don't overload with so much beauty.















Is there anything more full of promise than a blank journal? Well, maybe a baby.

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It was freezing cold outside, windchill around 0°F (-18°C), so we didn't stay in the mini windy city as long as usual. Didn't even stay for dinner. Too bad the Michigan Theater didn't have any matinees. Ok I have to explain why the photo below is so good. Those of you not from Michigan may not realize that two of the universities in this state are major rivals: Michigan State University (aka "Michigan State" or "State" or "MSU" - GO GREEN!) and the University of Michigan (aka "Michigan" or "U of M" or "UM" - GO BLUE!). I could write an essay on the cultural phenom between these two schools. To summarize: Michigan State (where I work and earned my BA - woohoo!) is in East Lansing and began as an agricultural university referred to often and a bit condescendingly as "Moo U." The University of Michigan is in Ann Arbor and is known for its law school, med school and other high falutin hoity toity snobby entities. (Oh! Did I say that? Forgive me, Ginnie! You're one of the nice, humble alums.) They are both excellent research institutions, but there is little love lost between the schools' sports fans, and otherwise. Anyway, I could go on and on. But I enjoy walking up Liberty Street in Ann Arbor - home of "Michigan" - in the photo below, and looking at the two theater marquees that spell out "Michigan State" - bwaahhaaa.
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BTW, this Michigan Theater is a wonderful historic artsy icon. You can still hear organ music before the movie starts; the 1927 pipe organ rises up from under the stage.




x o x o x o x o x

Today's ornament:

Dorothy: "There's no place like home."

46 comments:

Vicki Holdwick said...

Ruth,

Love the last picture. Actually like the entire post, but to see Michigan State so proudly displayed in AA, bwaahaha!

Prasad said...

oh!!the snaps look awesome!!!! and major christmas cheers for ya and the family :D

and um waitin for christmas too!!! there'll be a BIG BIG dinner at my friends house which i hav never missed ;)

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a great time. Ann Arbor is amazing.

(cough, cough) You forgot to mention Michigan State's Law School, two Medical Schools, and one of the few Vet Schools in the country.

I always found it slightly amusing that the competition to get into Vet school is more difficult than being admitted to one of the many medical schools.

VioletSky said...

Ruth, once all this snow clears, I'm coming for a visit and you can show me around Ann Arbor and that amazing theatre.

Ruth said...

Vicki, Glad you're of like mind, and laugh, bwaaaaaa.

Ruth said...

Oh thank you, Prasad! It's already a happy Christmas season for me, and I can't wait for daugher and fiance to join us, since Peter is home too, and we will have good times. Too bad you can't join us on the frozen pond for some slip-sliding away.

I hope you have a happy Christmas at your friends' place. Good eats good friends, what's better?

Ruth said...

Oh dear, yes you're right, Anon. Actually I think I had a momentary lapse of underconfidence and inferiority. :|

I didn't realize vet school is more competetive than med school. Hmm.

Another major feat MSU just accomplished is obtaining the building of the new isotope accelerator for $550 million. That will be big for our local economy! I'm very proud of that.

Ruth said...

Sanna, come on down! I'd love to explore AA with you, see a movie at the Michigan, and see what you discover that I haven't noticed.

Anonymous said...

I've had several students that have the scores and the desire to get into Vet school, I believe there are only 11 or so in the country.

Instead, they settle on Med school or Dental school.

Loring Wirbel said...

Yaay! MSU always was the coolest. I'm seeing the same tendency locally in Colorado Springs, where the underappreciated UCCS always has to confront the oh-so-cool private fine-arts four-year college Colorado College. CC has turned into a cloistered, do-nothing school, while UCCS has experimental theatre, avant-garde musicians, radical politics. The hicks always give you more to chew over, while the ivory towers grow more and more post-modernist (I use that as a derogatory term) over time.

Wrensong Farm said...

Sounds like a fun day! I love bookstores but I never want to leave when it's time. I love your "evil" sense of humor over the MI State signs in Ann Arbor! :)

Ruth said...

Anon., that's messing with my brain. Puts vet school in a new light.

Ruth said...

Loring, may I use that at our department Web site? Hehe.

Reminds me of what my friends Lloyd and Karl say, who taught at Brown and at Yale before that. Brown students, they say, are way more engaged with real life than Yale students. I wonder if the same correlation can be made MSU vs UM.

Ruth said...

Hi Tammy! Didn't know I was so mean, did you?

You shoulda seen me at Border's after we'd done all our other shopping. I was falling asleep in a chair while Inge paid for her books. Musta been all that cold air outside wore me out.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, The organ at the theater would be amazing to hear.. I can just imagine... have you gone there?

and the paper and book arts spot.. I would never come out! oh to have access in the flesh to this kind of materials... I'll dream on...those colors and patterns are so inspiring

Thanks so much... loved being in your hip pocket for the tour...

Anet said...

Oh, I just love Ann Arbor. It's such a fun place.... but GO GREEN!
I read your comment about MSU receiving $550 million for the new isotope accelerator, Yeah!!! My husband might get some work from it! fingers crossed**** His company does lots of work for MSU.

Cute ornament! I used to have the wicked witch ornament but she broke ;(

Sharon said...

I'm so sorry the weather didn't hold off one more day for you. Those papers are amazing and the theatre shot brings back such memories. I think the last time I saw anything there was Paris, Texas in the 80's.

Donica said...

I am so happy to hear you had a good time....actually, i expected that you would since this an annual event :)

Maybe we can make a day trip to Ann Arbor and you can show me around on one of my trips to see you. Everything you described sounds absolutely wonderful!!

Sandy said...

Oh..fun browsing with you. I love papers. I would go crazy in a store with all those beautiful papers...'

Enjoyed seeing the photos and your pretty Christmas ornament.

And I see my chick has found a home and settled in on your sidebar...thanks, fun seeing it there.

I have to get busy and do another portrait of one of your beautiful birds.

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, Ann Arbor is one of David and my favorite places. David usually hits the great "old school" record store and I wonder about visiting all of the interesting shops. In the summer there is a fun street vendor that sells used books for five bucks. He has some good titles and is located on state street. Your photos are really great I don't think that I have been to the paper store,although that doesn't surprise me,since there are always so many interesting places to explore. My latest favorite place to visit is Treasure Mart. It is located in Kerry Town and is full of consignments,antiques and well... just about everything.Fun post,glad you had a great day,hope it was a memory maker.

Loring Wirbel said...

Ruth, of course you may. I will always de-ride-ah Derrida, because po-mo is just an excuse for sitting around sticking your thumb up your butt.

Ruth said...

Dear Gwen, Don and I went to one movie there, but we can't remember which one, it's been a while. It is so fun, because everyone holds it with a sense of honor and wonder.

Gwen, you would not even believe how many racks are in Hollander's. Just when you think there couldn't possibly be more designs and color ways, you turn the corner and a new vista spreads out. Then the back room with all the shelves upon shelves of hand made papers just take any breath away you might have had left. Please come down, I'll take you.

Ruth said...

Anet, you nailed it. If we could figure out a way to have MSU in Ann Arbor, that would be the perfect solution. :D

I hope Brad can get the isotope accelerator job!! It's so nice to have something to look forward to for people to increase work projects.

So which part of the witch broke? Could you put a house on her legs and make it look right? :)

Ruth said...

Sharon, truth be told, we were supposed to get freezing rain, so we were fortunate that the drive was easy. How cool that you've been to the Michigan! The State is pretty cool too, we've been there more.

Ruth said...

Donica, let's do it! I see that Cathy (Shicat) has some other recommendations too. There are some good eats in AA too.

Ruth said...

You know, Sandy, when I take home papers from Hollander's, they are like sacred matter, and I handle them with respect. But deciding what I'm going to take home is just too much sometimes.

I love your chick and Kaeley's toes on my sidebar! Thank you again. I would love to see another one whenever you get inspired, and I'll add it to my happy gallery.

Ruth said...

Cathy! Cool, I need recommendations, because I need to bust out of my AA ruts. Summertime is a little more manageable for exploring. Hollander's paper store is in Kerry Town too! So next time you go to Treasure Mart, check it out, and next time I go I'll check out Treasure Mart. We ate at the little diner in Kerry Town with bip-n-bop and a funny mix of hot dogs and fried rice.

Ruth said...

Haha, Loring, I haven't heard "de-ride-ah Derrida" - that's good. Yes, we have a whole little po-mo group in my dept as you can imagine. And I remember when Derrida died a few years ago it was all heaviness.

If anyone can give me a clear definition of what post modernism is - that I understand and can remember, I'll send them a prize. Sometimes I think it's just everything that you can't label or categorize. But I'm no scholar, and I haven't studied anything po mo.

Loring Wirbel said...

Shi-cat/Cathy, if your husband likes the Ann Arbor record stores, he'd better go to Flat, Black & Circular in East Lansing - it's one of the best on the planet. Seriously.

And Ruth, I always assume that one base of po-mo is to assert that all history and positioning is a series of narratives, none having any more legitimacy than any other, which is fine, except that it means there can be no values or ethical senses of history because one story is as right as another, and that there is no purpose in political action, since one narrative bears as much legitimacy as another. It's an excuse to sit in an armchair and get fat and fart and still claim that you have a more radical "calling" than someone who actually goes out and ACTS in the world. There, does that sound anti-po-mo enough?

Barry said...

Sounds like a great day.

I'm very tempted to buy that ibrain book. Sounds very interesting.

Ruth said...

Barry, I really should read it myself because I work every day with 20-somethings.

My Castle in Spain said...

Gosh...how i envy this paper heaven!

Dorothy is cute
:-)

Ruth said...

Lala, thanks.

Loring Wirbel said...

Eight inches of snow for mid-Michigan today? Sounds like you're getting some of our fronts! No need to thank us.

Ruth said...

Loring, Don will thank you tomorrow if he has a snow day, which seems likely at this point. I'm off for the holiday break, but I'm s'posed to go to an office party in town tomorrow. We shall see! How many inches are you sitting under now?

Loring Wirbel said...

Only a few inches are left on the ground. Two supposed falls turned out to be duds. It has stayed cold, but it's been sunny enough to melt some of what was on the ground. There's supposed to be some flurries today, but big snows up at the ski resorts. I'm hoping there's not too much today, as there's a play tonight, concert tomorrow, Carol's work party on Saturday. On Sunday it's supposed to go back down below zero, then some snow on Monday, so a White Christmas is almost guaranteed!

Ruth said...

Busy busy busy. I wish for you a white Christmas and easy drives. I drove home in a snowstorm Wed. night after our faculty party. Wow, good tires do wonders, and I even had them rotated just before the party. Ain't I good?

VioletSky said...

Ruth and Loring - just jumping in to say we are expecting the WHOLE country, from BC to Nunavut to NFLD, to have a White Christmas, which is so unusual it hasn't happened for over 40 years.

Ruth said...

Sanna, BRILIANT!!!

Bob Johnson said...

You go to some cool places, and Ruth, I love that Crazy Wisdom Purple cup, are they for sale? It has a Moon and star on it and my fav color purple.


Lol, Indigo Book store just opened in our mall, I was looking over the same John Lennon book, didn't have enough pics in it for me,lol.

I love the organ idea and Dorothy is very cool.

Ruth said...

Bob, I looked through the bookstore's Web site and couldn't find any for sale. :( Next time I'm there I'll check though.

Christina said...

I am seriously over here drooling, over the bookstores.

: )

Ruth said...

Come on over, Christina!

Ginnie said...

You are so cute, Ruth! It's funny but just the other day I was thinking about you and Ann Arbor. Must have been when you actually did it. :) HA! Don't we love the rivalry. It makes our world go 'round. At least this year I can gloat with YOU over the MSU game vs. GA. We don't need to discuss a thing about UofM this year. (sigh)

Ruth said...

Boots, I'll avoid any talk of UM, just for you. :)

Bob Johnson said...

That would be cool Ruth.