Tag Archives: Detroit

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

Today my heart is both heavy and happy. Heavy with building lust and opportunity lost. Happy that a most beautiful, iconic structure has a savior.

For the past several hours, I’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole of the #fordetroit posts, absorbing every essence that is the future of Michigan Central Station (MCS) thanks to Ford Motor Company.

I grew up in Detroit, and I remember the first time I drove by that glorious building. My heart leapt with joy. How could something so beautiful be so unloved?

Certainly, I’m not the only person who asked this question. It’s been debated for decades. But once I laid eyes on MCS, my brain began developing a plan that has morphed a bit over time due to technology and the economy, but hasn’t strayed much from my initial vision.

At the time of my first sighting, I was traveling extensively for business. I had to put my idea on the backburner. It sat there and simmered, popped up again occasionally, but I didn’t have the experience to try to pull something like my vision together at the time.

I tracked articles and news stories about MCS, but it didn’t fully come back into my life until I started to write my novel series, The Diana Diaries. Book two – Destiny Dollars – introduces MCS into the discussion and book three (under development) – Destiny Detroit – takes the story to Detroit to pursue the main character’s vision.

The setup scenario in Destiny Detroit is fictional, but the development of the MCS project is all real in my world. My writing is influenced by my interests, and MCS, which took hold of my heart from the first moment I saw it, is part of that. I had hoped to bring it to life, at least through my book, at best through a finalized business plan accompanied by building lovers with deep pockets.

However, the last few years I was a full time caregiver to my mother, and aside from the moments to write here and there, I couldn’t spend a lot of time on my business plan. I had done some research, put together some spreadsheets to support my premise, but my focus was on my Mom. MCS had sat empty for so long I figured I had another year or so to jump in full force. First, finish the book, then present my plan to potential investors. Alas, that won’t happen. But Destiny Detroit will still contain my vision.

Joy Mangano, the HSN power lady and author of Inventing Joy, learned the lesson of not acting quickly enough on her idea for a reflective flea collar. We all know who beat her to market with that product. But, she learned and went on to invent numerous other products that serve millions of people. As I read her book, I kept getting pangs of guilt that I had not fully immersed myself in my MCS project. And now, there is none.

Would my idea have generated as much income as what Ford is doing? Probably not. But it would have helped to grow another local industry and provide much fun and flair to the neighborhood. Still, I applaud Ford for stepping up to save MCS and give it life once again. I can’t wait to see the fully restored beauty. And, should they encounter some snags along the way and need an out – I have a great idea waiting in the wings.

What am I talking about? You’ll just have to wait to read the book. Fingers crossed it will be out by the end of the year, written through tears of joy and happiness – with a touch of regret.

In the meantime, you can read the first two books – Destiny Drop and Destiny Dollars – to catch up on the characters. And, I’ll even send a copy to Bill Ford for his reading pleasure once the third book is complete.

Be sure to join my mailing list so you can be the first to know about the official release date of Destiny Detroit.

Cindi

KNIGHT UP! Why I love the Vegas Golden Knights

 

KNIGHT UP! Why I love the Vegas Golden Knights

People say that sports can change a person. I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to play the game to be impacted by it.

As I write this, the Vegas Golden Knights have just swallowed up the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A joyous day, to be certain, but only halfway to the goal.

Regardless of whether our beloved team takes home the #CupIn1, they are forever in my heart.

I began to follow the Knights back when they were just a hope. I read every article I could about the quest to bring hockey to our desert community. I listened to the pros and cons and everyone who argued it would never happen, but I admired and respected the way the process was handled. They had me at Bill Foley.

Everyone knows what has happened since then. We were awarded a franchise. We got a general manager, a coach, and the most adorable, hard-working, talented group of misfits to fill the roster. We got a broadcast team (I love the broadcast team equally as the players) who brought hockey into our homes. If it were not for them, this post might not exist.

You see, while all the stars were aligning for our Knights, I was a full-time caregiver to my dying mother. I rarely left the house, particularly that last year when I drove less than 500 miles – the entire year! It was my greatest honor to care for my mom, but even a caregiver needs something to smile about every now and then.

Enter the Knights. I had something to cheer about, because I knew what the outcome would be for my mom. But the Knights. Who knew? Even if they lost every single game, they still would have earned my devotion. On game nights, if mom was awake, I’d sit by her bedside and give her the play-by-play. Mom wasn’t much into sports, but she heard the enthusiasm in my voice for our team, and she lovingly went on the journey with me.

Las Vegas was hurting when the Knights began their season following the mass shooting of October 1, but they embraced the city and we hugged them right back. It’s been a mutual healing experience.

For me, personally, I don’t know how I could have gotten through these past few months without seeing my hometown team on the ice. Mom has since gone to that big hockey rink in the sky (well, honestly, it’s probably a movie theater), and I’m still cheering #GoKnightsGo in my living room. I’m not sure what I’ll do in the off season, but hopefully it’s a short one this year. And next year, I plan to actually make it to The Fortress for a game.

I grew up in Detroit (Hockeytown) and I lived in San Jose during the birth of the Sharks, but never have I ever been so grateful for the Vegas Golden Knights. Whenever I needed them, they were there. On the ice, or online.

Oh, that Twitter account! Sassy is thy middle name. Smart, funny quips morning, noon and night. How often it’s made me laugh out loud. I rarely start the day without searching for the latest updates on my Knights. Keep giving me those GIFs of William Karlsson’s hair flip, Marc-Andre Fleury thanking the goal post or doing the wave, or Jonathan Marchessault mugging for the camera. They are the GIFs that keep on giving. The Twitter account is in a league of its own.  

And it’s not just the official Twitter account that keeps me in stitches. The whole cast of characters, from our bright yellow Gila monster mascot, Chance, to Bark-Andre Furry and his beautiful singing voice heading the #DogsoftheGoldenKnights, to the newly minted Goal Post, The VGK Flamingo, and the limitless other superfans. I spend each day in harmony with them. And who couldn’t muster a smile with the shade throw-down between the Kings and the Sharks. 

As a writer, I can always disappear into my latest creation as part of my grieving/healing process, but it’s a lonely experience. The Knights have a strong worldwide community, and I’m very lucky to be part of that.

This last year has been a journey, to be sure, but as you see, sports can change a person – for the better – and I’m forever changed thanks to hockey and our Vegas Golden Knights.

Recipe – Obsessed! California Salad

California Salad

California Salad

Growing up in Detroit back in the twentieth century, I had limited exposure to both avocados and artichokes. In fact, I don’t think I ate an artichoke until I moved to California. However, once I ate them, I fell in love. I mean, really in love.

I tend to eat mostly Mediterranean style, with lots of olive oil, capers and plain old olives. Veggies are a big deal as are chicken and turkey. But, I do love tuna fish as well. So, lately I’ve been craving what I call a California salad. We do meatless Fridays around here, and this meal fits the bill.

In an Internet search, if I prepared this salad properly, it would be called something like the California Stuffed Avocado Salad. However, i like to do things my way, so I switched it up a bit and skipped the stuffing. It’s very simple yet very delish!

I start out by preparing a version of my sister’s tuna fish recipe. Basically, once you’ve drained the water from the tuna (using coffee filters rather than paper towels), you add frozen peas, chopped radishes and chopped artichoke hearts. Occasionally, I mix in a few chopped green olives.

For seasoning, I add Old Bay, pink Himalayan salt, Lawry’s seasoned pepper and onion powder. You can add fresh onions if you prefer. Add a dash of Miracle Whip (for the veggies) and Trader Joe’s organic mayo (for the protein), mix it all together and let it sit overnight.

The next day, I take half a Hass avocado, cut it into chunks, and form a circle around the plate. I season it with some chunky pink HImalayan salt and coarse ground pepper, then add the tuna salad. That’s it!

If done properly, instead of taking the avocado out of the shell, I would simply have topped the avocado with the tuna, but that just gets too messy. Plus, I’d rather not have the avocado shell to deal with on my plate.

You can prepare the tuna any way you like. I have a friend who uses tarragon and maple sugar pecans. And i absolutely love the cranberry tuna from Whole Foods. Pretty much any sort of protein salad can be used, including chicken, shrimp and crab.

If you insist on eating some carbs alongside the salad, Sun Chips are a good addition, as are whole grain Wheat Thins.

So, there you have it! This summer’s food obsession for meatless Fridays. It’s a refreshing, quick and affordable meal that anyone should love. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Here are some avocado cookbooks to keep you happy all year long!

Enjoy!

Duck Crossing

Duck CrossingI grew up in Michigan and although the state is not the land of 10,000 lakes like Minnesota, there’s certainly a lot of water around. Water attracts ducks. Ducks are birds. Birds are fun to watch.

It seems I’ve had a life-long love of birds. As an adult, I had the pleasure of sharing my house with my fine feathered friend, Jake’, whose tale I tell in my book Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion.

I’m told that as a young child, i used to sit on the neighbor’s stoop and sing the theme song to the Chilly Willy cartoon. I still love penguins, probably always will, but I had to look on YouTube for the tune.

Growing up in Detroit, we could see Canadian Geese from time to time as we were so close to the border. But, periodically, ducks have been part of my life.

I attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, and one activity every student can recall is feeding the ducks on the Red Cedar River. Springtime was particularly joyful, watching the Momma ducks taking care of the little ones and teaching them the do’s and don’t’s of life.

But now that I live in Las Vegas, one would think duck sightings would be at a premium here in the desert. Well, perhaps, but I’m blessed to live not too far from one of the few lakes within the Las Vegas Valley.

When I want to take a more scenic route to my destination, I drive by the lake to see where the ducks are. After a rain shower, it always cracks me up that they choose to waddle over to the curb and drink from the puddles in the street rather than the beautiful lake they inhabit.

I’ve had the opportunity to stop traffic to allow a family of ducks to cross the road to safety, reminiscent of my days at MSU. Why they choose to hang out in the rocks across the street from the lake, I have no idea, but they do.

Unfortunately, that can mean trouble for the ducks. From what I understand, birds mate for life, so the loss of a spouse can be heartbreaking.

I’ll never forget the time I came cruising around the corner to see a duck on the grass, wailing at the top of her lungs, surrounded by her duck friends. I looked into the street and discovered that her loved one had been struck by a car and would never come home again.

Birds are such fragile creatures. If you’ve ever had the chance to hold one, you can see they’re practically just skin stretched over a small skeletal structure, plus their feathers. Yet, they have so much heart and bring us such joy.

I cried that day. I knew what that little duck was feeling. I was also impressed with how the duck community rallied round to try to calm her. So much happens in this world that we just don’t always see.

One of my favorite movies – that also makes me cry – is Fly Away Home. It’s based on a true story about a young gal who rescues a family of Canadian geese and not only teaches them to fly but shows them how to migrate south for the winter – all with the help of her Dad.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s great for family night. If you have seen it, maybe it’s time to pop some popcorn and enjoy it again. Don’t forget the tissues. And watch it all the way to the end.

Birds are amazing creatures.

Las Vegas Driving Experiences

I had the pleasure of participating in five different driving experiences here in town, and I have to say it was absolutely the funnest thing I’ve ever done! I had no idea that Las Vegas was such a car town and that people actually come here just to partake in some of these driving opportunities

Growing up in Detroit, I was surrounded by the car culture. Most of the guys I knew could tell you make, model and year of every car that went by, and soon enough, I was a willing participant.

As a teenager, I would buy car magazines, particularly those focused on the exotic or luxurious. I’ve always loved cars and I’ve always loved driving.

You can read all about my recent experiences in my article, I Can’t Drive 55,  for the June 2013 issue of Luxury Las Vegas magazine here, or read the entire issue here. The June issue will be online starting on the 1st.

Enjoy!