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This is the kind of day we expected to spend more of on this trip and, while we didn’t have more of them, expect to enjoy them on future trips. That is: Peter goes about his day’s business — unencumbered by visiting parents — and we meet up in the evening for dinner (or maybe our meet-up that day is at lunch, or maybe it’s for a late afternoon walk, or….). Our intention is to visit Ann Arbor a few times a year, get a sense of his town, work/research and life, enjoy his company when he’s got time (hopefully a little here and there nearly every day.. or not) and generally be there, but not a source of stress or a thing to be managed. That’s the goal.

Today was that day.

We had two days of great conversations with these folks from San Diego.. Somebody and Fran. It’s almost embarrassing: we all pass through the B&B — day in-day out, year in-year out… as far as the eye can see — and fit the same predictable profile: parents visiting kids at UMich. Sure Sarah’s seen a million of us… all about the same age, with about the same aged kids, who are doing well academically, on their thoughtfully-planned paths. (She’s got a couple of those, too, though hers are a decade or so ahead.) Sure the conversations follow similar scripts: “Oh! You have a kid here, too? What are they studying? Are there others at home? How ’bout those Wolverines!

This is us — Jim, Somebody, Fran and me — at Sarah’s cozy kitchen table eating breakfast…. this day waffles, dill-ish eggs, fruit, cheese, all all the extra stuff. Taking about our college-aged kids (S&F’s have graduated, actually, and are working and have kids, who they are excitedly visiting). We actually exchanged contact info, but doubt we’ll see them again… you know how that goes.

They told us all about the Rouge Factory Tour (Ford plant in Deerborn), which we’ll end up visiting the following day.

This day, however, we planned a low-key Ann Arbor day.. that included a stroll through downtown (in sunny, 70-degree weather!)…

A stop at Literati — a great local, independent bookstore:

Jim may look like he’s reading a book (I thought he was), but he’s actually engrossed in his Daily NYT Crossword puzzle because he’s got a 33-day+ streak going and doesn’t want to break it (as of this writing, it’s still going).

We wandered over to the Farmer’s Market in Kerrytown, because that happens on Wednesdays. It’s a pretty sweet market, I have to say! Love those tiny eggplants.

We returned later in the day (not wanting to carry food around all day), to find most of the things we were planning to buy were gone, but ended up with a loaf of sweet-but-not-too-sweet nettle bread which we presented to Lisa and Claire later in the week. Very different. I liked it, Jim wasn’t in love.

Next up: the UMich Museum of Art, on campus and wonderful enough! This is just outside the museum, my very arty shot of a Umich flag framed by some modern sculpture (ha!) (mostly showing off how gorgeous the day was):

We spent a couple of hours there.. say Monet, Rodin, Klee, Tiffany glass and lots of other stuff.. including a few Pablo Picassos. This was my accidentally-great selfie.. where my mask colors match Picasso’s palette (the greatness of this selfie was pointed out to me later, and I must agree!):

Here’s the painting’s description:

Because I love this picture, I’m going to post it here… it’s just a photo I came across a few weeks ago of Picasso and .. who wouldn’t love it?

Looks like a guy who has women completing for his affections, no? (Did you read the painting description above?)

Here’s a painting I was quite in love with… artist: James MacNeill Whistler (of Whistler’s Mother fame).

And its description:

And two more: one of some lace detail (can never get enough of these… just love them), and one of the young Abraham Lincoln, which held my attention for about ten minutes, lost in thought about who he’d become and the impacts he’d have on this country (both of these are zoom-ins on much larger paintings).

One more that got my attention for all the wrong reasons:

I am not an appreciator of “color-field abstract” painters of the 1960s and 70s (this one by Jules Olitski). I hate to be that person, scowling at an art piece, saying things like “uh.. I could do that,” but the thought def crossed my mind.

I like the lace better.

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Completely dragging with our museum legs, we found a cafe to hang out in — Sweetwaters on Ashley and Washington — that was a big, relaxing, relief of an hour. And like I said, how we expected to spend a lot of our days.

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Then.. after hanging out for a bit in our B&B room, Jim and I went to dinner, just us … a whole day by ourselves. We ate at Sava’s up on State (right across the street from the campus) and enjoyed it. Not my shot, but here’s what the interior looks like:

Good food, casual, good service and lots of leftovers for Peter.