Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Ann and Her Arbor

Dave and I made a little trip to Ann Arbor yesterday -- the home of the University of Michigan, Dave's graduate school alma mater. Or, as the sign in the window faintly says, "the biggest little city in the middle!"

We drove westward in late morning and got there just before lunchtime, in order to walk up and down Main Street and explore some of the quirky shops. Dave bought some U of M swag, including a shirt for his dad, and we found an ice cube tray that makes cubes looking like tiny maps of Michigan -- which, given the state's quirky shape, is pretty impressive feat of design. (We haven't tried it yet so we'll see how well it ultimately works.)

Our goal was to have lunch at Zingerman's deli, and we did indeed stop off for some salads. (Dave's mom has been feeding us so enthusiastically that we just couldn't handle any more than that.)

In case I left the impression yesterday that everyone in Michigan is a raging Trumper, here's a photo of a house around the corner from Zingerman's with campaign signs for progressive Democrats. I have no doubt that people in Michigan run the full range of the political spectrum, even in the more rural northern part of the state -- but I must admit that up there, I only saw Trump signs. I think Democratic voters in rural areas may feel less comfortable putting out campaign signs, given how strident Trump's supporters can be.

After lunch we had an adventure. We happened to see a billboard for a place called "Cookies," which is actually a marijuana retailer. (I guess pot is legal here, to a point.) Dave wanted to ask about edibles for Crohn's disease, so we set out to find this place. Through a comedy of errors involving Google and Dave's phone, the first place we visited was called "Insomnia Cookies" -- we walked in to find a menu full of things like snickerdoodles. At first we thought they were pot-laced cookies but no, Insomnia Cookies is apparently an actual cookie shop. The girl at the counter seemed completely bewildered when we asked for marijuana.

We quickly beat it out of there and found the REAL Cookies, and after presenting our IDs we were admitted to a gleaming room filled with displays of buds under glass and various cannabis products in trendy packaging. Dave had a conversation with the staff about Crohn's but he didn't buy anything. Given that we're staying with his parents, and he's about to cross state lines to visit Drum Corps finals in Indiana, and he'll afterwards get on a plane to the UK, it didn't seem wise. An interesting experience, though. I've never been in a marijuana store before. The place seemed very clean and secure but it still kind of gave me the willies.

We hopped back in the car and went next door to a coffee shop where I got coffee that was allegedly flavored with Michigan cherries, but tasted more like mild Robitussin.

Then we got on the road for home. Soon after we arrived it poured rain, and water was gushing like crazy from the chipmunk downspout, so I guess that little guy found somewhere else to live.

I was sorry to hear last night of the death of Olivia Newton-John. Like the recent death of Nichelle Nichols, this one hits home for me. She was a superstar when I was in junior high and high school, and the sex symbol with whom I and all my gay male friends pretended to be in love. (None of us were out then so we all put up that facade. We laugh about it now -- our simultaneous infatuations with "ONJ.") I remember buying her "Physical" album at Tampa Bay Center, a once-popular mall that no longer exists. She had a terrific voice.


Pixie said...

There are literally cannabis stores in every strip mall around here. A booming business. I've been in a few and the staff are so helpful. I tried edibles but they did nothing for me, other than mess with my sleep.

Bob said...

That last window sign! Oy! I'm surprised some of the more rabid MAGAts haven't attacked the house.

Boud said...

Interesting exploration. Pot is legal now in NJ and I think stores are on the way, but I don't know much about medicinal use. But if it works, why not?

Sabine said...

So now tell us what was lunch in Zingerman's like. Just for future reference in case I travel through.
I once cut out a picture of ONJ from a mag and went to the hairdresser asking for that haircut - which was identical to what Rod Stewart's haircut was at the time but I was too embarrassed to say, I want to look like him, so fortunately, she filled that gap. I did not look anything like her/him after the haircut, maybe because all hairdresser experiences as a teenager ended in a disaster. But I looked wild enough to have an argument with my mother for weeks.

The Bug said...

As a person who lives in a semi-rural area I think you're right about Democratic voters. I would be nervous to put up signs in our yard. Makes me sad.

Ellen D. said...

My niece lives in Ann Arbor and went to the U of M grad school for Journalism. I will have to ask her if she has been to Zingerman's. You and Dave are sure getting to see a lot on your trip to Michigan.
Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is a Democrat and I have always heard good things about her.

Jeanie said...

Ann Arbor is a terrific city and Zingermann's -- well, you know. It's fabulous. Not inexpensive. But oh, so good. You're right about the politics. You go north of Clare (or maybe not even quite that far) and if you see a sign for a democrat, you should photograph it because it is rare. In A2, it's very progressive and more so in the south of the state. The ice cubes sound cute!

NewRobin13 said...

There are some nice pot shops here in California. Now I'm wondering if they do have anything that could be good for Crohn's. I'm going to check on that.
I understand why Democrats in more conservative areas don't feel safe putting up their candidate signs.
You made me laugh about the Michigan cherry-flavored coffee that tasted like Robitussin. Hah!

Sharon said...

That sign in the window (last photo) made me smile. I've never been in a marijuana shop but I do know someone who owns growing facilities.
This makes me remember the time I drove to Ann Arbor with my friend David to visit his uncle who taught at U of M. This was while we were working in Chicago. His uncle hosted a big Greek feast.

The Padre said...

Excellent Choice Of Colors For A Home - Zingerman's Looks Quint And Delightful - Travel On Brother Man


Linda Sue said...

There are loads of pot shops here- like seven elevens- I have not been in one mainly because I don't like the way pot makes me feel and eating it- effect lasts way too long. CBD is doable! Maybe Dave would benefit from Charlotte's Web products.
LOVE the Kavanaugh window- yes, absolutely!
Sorry for your loss- ONJ- your one and only girlfriend!

Barbara Rogers said...

My oldest son just changed his profile pic to ONJ on facebook, so I think he feels the same way about her (and is hetero as far as I know.) He grew up around Tampa Mall also...as a teen went to King High School...in case you all travelled in the same circles then. I do remember he saw Star Wars about 11 times.

Ms. Moon said...

University towns are always far more apt to be more liberal for reasons that I find obvious but I'm sure not everyone would agree with me. Tallahassee is a very blue spot in a red state and coincidentally- filled with retail pot outlets. I've still never been in one although Glen, who has a medical marijuana license certainly has.
A few days ago I noticed that my neighbor who still proudly has a Trump sign in her yard has now also posted a DeSantis sign. "To Keep Florida Free."
Why do I even bother to still be enraged at the pure ignorance of some people?

Margaret said...

That's hilarious about going into the wrong cookie store. I too am creeped out by marijuana places; when my late husband was having appetite issues we went to one. It didn't work and the brownies smelled and tasted REALLY bad. Gag. Glad you're seeing a mix of political signs there; like many places, most of the liberals are probably in the bigger cities and university towns.

Kelly said...

My state only does medical marijuana and though we have a dispensary, I've never been in it. I've considered talking to my doctor about it, since I do have qualifying health conditions. Probably a wise decision for Dave not to buy anything. After all, we've seen what happens in some places if it's found in your luggage!

I saw ONJ years ago in Vegas when she was just the opener for someone. I was also sad to see Walter E. Moseley died. I loved watching Magnum P.I. back in the 80s.

ellen abbott said...

I don't understand why people feel so weird about marijuana based health remedies since just about all our medications are plant based anyway, or were originally. But I do understand Dave's hesitancy since it's not legal everywhere in this country.

As for ONJ, Grease was always the movie du jour when the grandgirls were here.

Mary said...

Agree with The Bug's comment--Being a democrat in a semi-rural area means I wouldn't post any political signs in my yard. Sad to say, too many whack neighbors who all seem to own a sxxt-load of weaponry. Simply not safe--which shows you just how bad the country has become since the Orange Idiot debased the office.

jenny_o said...

Coffee that tasted "like mild Robitussin"!! A disappointment, I imagine, but you found the humour in it :)

Jim Davis said...

I suspect liberals/Democrats who live in upstate Michigan choose not to put up political signs given how rabid Michigan Trumpers are. Sad that it is this way.....

Colette said...

Ice cube trays with both the upper and lower peninsula's? I'd like to see a picture of that.

Allison said...

When we stayed in Issaquah, WA there was a pot shop down the street. Traffic was bad on Friday afternoons because of so many people buying things. We bought some CBD lozenges for headaches, but I do not think they were helpful and were extremely expensive. You could smell the pot a block away from the store.

e said...

I would enjoy those ice cubes!

Edna B said...

I find that gray house with blue trim very interesting. I hadn't heard that news about Olivia Newton John. I'm so sorry. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

John Going Gently said...

To me it all looks like an American TV set

River said...

Snickerdoodles! I have a recipe for them and they are so very sweet I took to adding dried cranberries to the recipe. Probably there are many different recipes for them, but they sure are a sugar overload.
I have no interest in the other kind of cookies you were looking for.

Steve Reed said...

Pixie: Interesting. I had no idea cannabis stores had become so widespread, though I knew marijuana laws were liberalizing.

Bob: I know! It seems pretty risky to put something like that in a window, even in the liberal mecca of Ann Arbor!

Boud: That's what I say. If people want to use it, either recreationally or medicinally, I have no problem with that.

Sabine: We just ate pre-made salads, so I don't feel qualified to talk too much about Zingerman's food. Most people go for sandwiches, I think. Do you have pictures of yourself in your ONJ haircut? It was definitely a style back then, along with the sweatshirts popularized by "Physical" and "Flashdance."

Bug: I'd be nervous too. I totally get it.

Ellen D: I'm sure she'll know Zingerman's! Glad you've heard good things about Whitmer. She's up for re-election and I've seen a lot of anti-Whitmer signs and ads. (She's almost as polarizing in Michigan as Biden or Trump.)

Jeanie: We saw lots of progressive political messages in Ann Arbor -- but yeah, university town!

Robin: I think CBD (an ingredient in cannabis, not the stuff that makes you high) is supposed to be good for Crohn's. Most of the products we were shown at the shop also had some THC, which DOES make you high.

Sharon: I thought the heart was funny. Like, "I'm saying this with love." LOL!

Padre: Isn't that a great color scheme for a house? I love the detail in the gable.

Linda Sue: I actually had a couple of real-life girlfriends too, way back in the day. It takes a while to figure these things out, you know. :)

Barbara: I know King High School! I had some friends who went there, but I attended school in an adjacent county. Maybe he and I crossed paths at the mall, though!

Ms Moon: I try not to allow myself to get too angry about this stuff, but it's sometimes hard! I think DeSantis could well be our next president, but I relish the spectacle of a primary fight between him and Trump.

Margaret: I guess like anything else, there are good ones and not-so-good ones.

Kelly: Exactly! Dave knows not to try to get on a plane or take it to another jurisdiction where there may be different rules. I hadn't heard about Roger Mosley but I looked him up -- I do vaguely remember him from the show. My brother loved watching Magnum PI but I wasn't a huge fan.

Ellen: Well, given the many years of demonization of marijuana and its users, I understand why people might still be hesitant about buying it or nervous about going into a shop. But yeah, a lot of our pharmaceuticals have botanical origins.

Mary: Well, that's the thing. Not only are many Trump voters strident, they're ARMED!

Jenny-O: And I did drink it all, I must confess. :)

Jim: Yeah, that's it exactly. And unfortunately that hesitancy contributes to the belief among Trumpers that they are in the majority and that Democrats have no support, which means the election MUST have been stolen!

Colette: I'll try to get a photo!

Allison: Ha! That's kind of like this place. They had lozenges and mints and jellies and all kinds of little candy type products.

E: We haven't tried to take them out of the tray yet. I'm anticipating difficulty!

Edna: It's a purple house, actually! Bright purple. It IS sad about ONJ, but she fought her illness for a long time.

John: Ha! America does definitely have a certain "look."

River: I'm not really interested in them either. I think Dave mainly wants medical marijuana, not something to make him high. But hey, if people like recreational pot, more power to 'em!

Moving with Mitchell said...

I had an old friend who went to Univ of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was an aspiring folk songer and wrote a song about the bagel place she worked there in the '70s which made Fragels (deep-fried bagels). She loved the city.