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On Not Winning The Stanley Cup

I didn’t want the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup this year for the team, the city, the fans or myself. I wanted it for my husband. In case you don't know, my husband is English and this was his first NHL season living in the States.

Most of us, even the fair weather fans, have supported the Red Wings for years. We’ve rode the roller coaster of ups and downs throughout our lives. We have a history with this team. For my husband, however, this is all new. He’s a new fan and doesn’t have the same connections and memories that we do.

My husband and my brother walking around Comerica Park.I have been a Red Wings fan since the early to mid 80’s. I was a fan when we sucked. I was a fan when Mitch Albom went to Kmart with Petr Klima. I was a fan when Jacques Demers was fired. And I was a fan when the Bruise Brothers, Bob Probert and Joey Kocur, were known for tearing it up on the ice.

During my freshman year of college a friend, who shall remain anonymous, would steal the Detroit Free Press sports section from the library for me so I could follow my team. I would try, and sometimes succeed, to tune in WJR from my dorm room in Milwaukee so I could listen to the games.

I was also a fan when we were awesome. In 1997, I was living in Chicago and wore my Red Wings jersey proudly when we won the Stanley Cup. I think I actually enjoyed being tortured by the Blackhawks fans. In 1998, I was home in Detroit for my cousin's high school graduation party on the day we won the cup. I’m still indebted to her for scheduling it on that day.

I moved back to metro Detroit in 1999 and started frequenting a bar in Birmingham, Dick O’Dow's. Imagine my amazement when I found out that this wasn’t just my regular bar—Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, and Brett Hull also hung out here. Seriously. I was on cloud nine and enjoyed chats with them on occasion. In 2002, the cup came to Birmingham and Dominik Hasek walked into Dick O’Dow's to a rockstar entrance. Pure bliss!

And of course, 2008 brought another cup to Detroit. This time I was living in England and had to celebrate on my own. Actually, I fell asleep before the end of the final game, before the cup was hoisted. In my defense, the games don’t start in the UK until 1am.

You see, I have had some great experiences as a Detroit Red Wings fan. More than I could have ever dreamed of. I have seen how a city can come together and celebrate after winning the Stanley Cup. I’ve had that joy, sometimes it was long distance joy, but I’ve had it. We’ve had it.

So I didn’t want the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup this year for the city, the players, or me. I wanted Stanley back in Hockeytown for my husband, so he could experience it. So he could see the joy, the love, the excitement.

My brother, Paws, and my husband at the Tigers game before game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.After the game, I went off by myself to collect my thoughts. And it dawned on me, my husband already has the love of hockey and the Detroit Red Wings. He’s been diligently watching just about every game since we arrived in the States in December. He loves the game, he understands the game and he certainly knows how to shout at the refs.

He might not know who Scotty Bowman, Jacques Demers, or Petr Klima are, but he’ll learn. He knows the names of Ted Lindsey, Steve Yzerman, and Gordie Howe. Hell, he met Gordie Howe before game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Gordie asked my husband whose name was on the back of his jersey. My husband replied that in Europe they don’t have names on the back of jerseys—it’s about the team and not the individual—so his jersey didn’t have a name on it. Mr. Hockey liked that answer.

My brother, my husband, Gordie Howe, and myself at Hockeytown.He also has a love of Detroit that I’m very proud of. He’ll defend Detroit and its beauty to anyone. He’s experienced the city and, in the short time that he’s been here, he knows it well. We both have learned about and appreciated the city since our arrival.

Yesterday, we were driving down to the Red Bull Air Race on the Detroit River and my husband, unprovoked, said, "I'm proud to live here." You see, he didn’t need the Wings to bring home the cup. He’s already a true Red Wings fan and a true fan of Detroit. That is what matters.

But, damn, I wish we won the cup!


Green Transit In Detroit: The Night Move

The Night Move Bus (photo by Joe Gall)Did you know that Metro Detroit has green public transit? Yes, it’s true! It’s called The Night Move and it serves Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Detroit. The Night Move is a bus that runs on B20 biodiesel and is partnered with to balance out the remainder of their carbon footprint.

The bus runs every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm to 3am and costs $10 in advance for an all night pass or $6 each way at the door. You can book it online.

What does this mean for you?

  • No need to worry about parking or debating about who is going to be the designated driver.
  • It’s safe and less expensive than a taxi.
  • Take The Night Move into Detroit to see a Tigers game or do some bar hopping.
  • Jump on the bus in Royal Oak and take it to Ferndale or vice versa.
  • Detroiters can take the bus for a night out in the burbs of Royal Oak & Ferndale.

But wait, there’s more! Starting July 1st, The Night Move will operate the Shanghai Express to take passengers from Royal Oak to Shanghai Wednesdays at Mon Jin Lau in Troy. This service runs from 9pm to 2am, every Wednesday, and it’s free.

The Night Move also runs during some special events. This weekend, June 13-14, they have added service for the Red Bull Air Race. On Saturday, they’ll be starting at 10am and will run on Sunday from 10am to 9pm. They’ll also be running the bus early when Kid Rock plays his two concerts at Comerica Park in July.

I just wish they would add a stop in Birmingham. Sigh.


The View From The People Mover 

This video of the Detroit People Mover was mainly shot in 2003, with some footage added after the new Renaissance Center station was completed. It's interesting to see how the landscape has changed in the last 6 years, some of the buildings are no longer there. I love the fisheye lense effect.

It would be great to have an updated video to compare the differences. The scenery of a city or area can change quite quickly, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Personally, I think downtown Detroit is looking pretty good these days.

The Detroit People MoverIf I had a video camera I would give it a try myself. Have you been in downtown Detroit lately? What do you think of the progress?


5 Free Activities in Detroit

I wrote about our geocaching adventure the other day and a few people remarked that it would be a great cheap date activity. Another friend mentioned that there are some great “staycation” ideas on Detroit Moxie. It got me thinking and the end result is this list of ideas for inexpensive outings, either for a date or a family.

"Catching Up" is in the Grand Circus Park Station of the People Mover.

This is a mix and match list and you can always add lunch, dinner, or drinks to the activities too. This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just some ideas I had on prior posts and a few new things as well.

  1. Midsummer Nights in Midtown – This is a new series going on every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in June in Midtown. Admission is free and there are performances and events suitable for a date or a family. Check out the full schedule. Combine this with a Museum Adventure Pass and you have a full day.
  2. Skyscrapers – I’ve already told you about the free tours at the RenCen but did you know the Guardian Building also gives free tours. The Guardian Building, an amazing art-deco skyscraper, has tours Monday through Friday from 10am-12pm. They last about 15-20 minutes and you don’t have to call ahead. If you haven’t been inside this building you’re missing out. I haven’t done the tour yet but I’ll post about it as soon as I do. Tour both buildings and then take a stroll on the RiverWalk.
  3. Landmark and Sculpture Photo Op tour – This is so simple you’re going to think I’m nuts. Go to as many of Detroit’s great sculptures and landmarks and take your picture in front of them. Simple, right? I always forget to get a picture with both the husband and me in it. You have many options here but I would start with the Spirit of Detroit, the Joe Louis Fist, Hart Plaza Fountain (Noguchi’s Dodge Fountain), and the Comerica Park Tiger. Take goofy pictures, bring hats, glasses and props and pretend you’re on a photo shoot. Make sure to ask someone else to take at least one picture of your whole group.
  4. Geocaching – I know I just wrote about this but it’s a great activity to get to know someone or to see how your family works as a team. Get the coordinates for a few different caches and pack a lunch. You can easily combine this with a hike or some sightseeing in your own town.
  5. People Mover Art - We use the People Mover often to get from place to place when we're in the D but have you taken a look at the artwork? "Art in the Stations" features mixed media including Pewabic tiles, neon, and sculpture. The People Mover costs 50 cents.

I'll add an extra one as a bonus, go on a tour with Inside Detroit. The tours are $10 per person but so worth it. Seriously.


A Decorator's Dream: Leon & Lulu

I’m not sure exactly when I heard of this magical place. I do know it was when I was back in the UK and I was redecorating our house. I would search through forums and design sites looking for inspiration or that perfect piece. Of course, I would find something I'd love and then find that I couldn't get it in the UK. Leon & Lulu would get rave reviews on one forum I frequented and I couldn't even see their products, but I knew I wanted to check it out.

The husband-and-wife team of Mary Liz Curtin and Stephen Scannell are the owners of Leon & Lulu, which opened in 2006. It was named after their family pets. It is housed in the old Ambassador Roller Rink in Clawson, which adds to its charm.

Roller skates hang from the balcony as a reminder that this was previously the Ambassador Skating Rink.The store describes itself as “an eclectic mix of upscale furniture, unforgettable gifts, and accessories in an environment unlike any other.” Leon and Lulu definitely delivers that. It’s quirky, fun, and a breath of fresh air.

Vignettes of perfectly placed objects.When you look at different design forums, everything can become very Pottery Barn same-ish. Leon & Lulu, however, is original. The furniture is beautiful, albeit on the expensive side. If you are looking for a statement piece, this is the place to come. You can do so much with accessories and Leon & Lulu have loads and most are affordable. The selection and quality of textiles and throw pillows is fantastic. And yes, if you’re looking for a unique gift or even a gag gift or something for a goody bag, you’ll find that here too. I’m partial to the ugly dolls.

Ugly DollsThere is a little snack bar set up, reminiscent of it’s former self as a skating rink, with popcorn, coffee (in real mugs) and ice water. A lovely touch.

Snack BarIf you are in the process of decorating or just thinking about it, you must check this place out. And remember, support your local small business owners and buy local.

Leon & Lulu is located at 96 W. 14 Mile Road in Clawson. Phone: 248-288-3600.