So after all of my nostalgic thoughts about teaching and my “old” lifestyle over the past few months (okay–two years!), I visited my past in Lansing at the end of last week. My purpose for visiting was to attend a workshop at Michigan State University on writing NEH grants. I currently write grants with a friend for Sandcastles, and I attended the workshop in hopes of getting more dollars for our little children’s museum.
I put together my most collegiate, non-sweats and t-shirt outfit sans snot stains and went to the campus where I formerly became a fellow of the National Writing Project and did some graduate work in the areas of writing and technology. It felt good to walk in academia and feel “legitimate” again as I made my way to the union where the class was held.
I joined a room of mostly PHDs. I was the only person in the room representing a museum, and a third of the way into the presentation I figured out why. The university jargon that came out of the presenter’s mouth was waaaaaaaay over my head and intended for someone in higher education wanting to do a fellowship focused on the mating habits of tsetse flies in a small village in Northern Zimbabwe. Okay, not really. But if I’d had that particular goal, I would have fit right in!
With a few ideas in hand, I walked away from that workshop one and a half hours before it was to end. Yes, I ditched it. For shopping. I headed straight to my favorite area, Old Town, in hopes to see my absolute favorite store, October Moon. I arrived at Old Town to find a prospering area enlarged by the addition of several more shops, art galleries, and eateries. I was so distracted/excited that I had to go to a few other shops before my favorite one!
And so I stumbled into my new second favorite store, Grace. This is a beautiful little women’s boutique chalk-full of purses and unique clothes–many of which are throw-backs to the forties. Very classy! The best part of this store is that its owner recognizes women who are not a size small. I was able to try on several dresses and jeans, two items that I normally have trouble finding. I walked out of the store actually wearing one of two pairs of jeans called Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. These were a little pricier than what I would normally pay for a pair of jeans, but sooooooo worth it. They pull in and flatter my twice-sectioned abdomen. And I wear two sizes smaller in this jean! Yeah!!!
When I finally got to October Moon, I was on cloud nine. The store had expanded to include much more eye candy…lotions, soaps, perfumes, garden items, home decor, stationary and stamps, lovely baby gifts, specialty packaged foods and teas, and purses galore. I walked out with a gorgeous set of bird stamps and some new soap to try on my sensitive-skinned babies.
Later that night, I met up with two girlfriends for dinner at Bravo. We ate, gossiped, chatted about mommyhood, and had a couple of drinks. As one friend just wrote in an email, “It was just like Fridays used to be!” (Well, except for the fact that we used to talk about other people’s kids who happened to be in our classrooms.)
When I returned home the following day, I was anxious to see my family and get back to my “normal” life. It didn’t hurt that I brought home a few new duds and memories to get me through to my next visit. I guess sometimes we have to visit the greener pasture (and shop!) to appreciate the hue of the one in which we live.