Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mackinac Problems

On my way to school this morning my pant leg got caught in my bike chain; like pulled in between the chain and the guard. Sigh. 

Any suggestions on getting oil out of fabric?

Monday, October 15, 2018


We came into school on Friday morning to find this little guy hopping down the hallway. He probably thinks the Three Rs are reading, writing and reptiles...

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Proud Mama Moment

Last spring, with the help of a poet, the Island kids wrote Mackinac-inspired poetry. Next, artists came to school to work with the kids to create art to "visually express the theme of their poems." Finally, the poems and artwork were displayed together in a juried show.

I actually didn't know about the "juried" part until we got to the opening reception and they started announcing winners. (We were in Seattle last June and missed the show.) You can imagine my surprise when the judge announcing the Best in Show winner said this, 

"This poem and painting beautifully captures the unique experience of visiting Fort Mackinac. Every time I visit Fort Mackinac I am overwhelmed by the vibrant colors and our State's history. 'The Fort' poem and painting immediately put me there and it honestly warmed my heart."

K couldn't believe she'd won the whole thing - Best in Show! She was on cloud beamed as the reporter from the Town Crier interviewed her. In case you didn't make it to the show (at the Center for the Arts at Mission Point) here is K's poem:

One of the best parts is, that lovely paining will be coming to our house soon. I have just the spot to hang it.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Homemade Ghostbusters Proton Pack

A couple of people have asked me how I made the proton pack I wore for Halloween a couple of years ago. I don't have pictures of the process,  but I can explain where I got the parts and how I put it together.

First of all, and probably most importantly, I started looking for parts early. I knew I wanted to be Holtzman  but there was no way I was going to spend $700 on a pre-made pack. My budget was more like $50.00... So I started scrounging every time I stopped at Goodwill.

Most of the parts were items I picked up at thrift shops for next to nothing. In fact, the most expensive part of the whole thing was the spray paint!

(Click to make the image larger.)

I used an acrylic tray as the base of the pack, rather than the military frame that lots of people use. The ALICE frame was running between $25.00 and $50.00, so when I saw the tray for $1.00 it was an easy decision.  My husband cut some slits into the top of it for me so I could thread through straps I took from an old backpack.

Most of the other parts ran around the same price - except for the spray paint and the lights. (Everything is better with lights, right?) The best part was finding the light saber on the shelf at The Salvation Army for $1.99. After cutting down the end and drilling holes, a coat of paint, and some added lights - it was close to perfect.

After scrounging all the parts I used E6000 glue to hold everything together. Best. Glue. Ever. It stinks to high heaven, but it's flexible and is great for holding things together that need a little give.

To be honest, there was some sewing involved since I did add the orange and gray ribbon to the jump suit. It was actually cheaper to buy a pre-made jumpsuit on Amazon than it would have been to buy the fabric and a pattern to make one. It may not be screen accurate, but it was prefect for Halloween.

Friday, September 28, 2018


It hit me the other day that I never really posted about the solar eclipse last summer. My super fantastic husband arranged for us to drive down into totality, rather than view the partial eclipse Mackinac Island was going to get.

He did a ton of research and found this lovely little park in Murphysboro, Illinois.   It was perfect - quaint and quiet. We started to worry early in the day as we watched thunderheads building nearby, but Mother Nature cooperated and we weren't disappointed. Right on time, the moon showed up and treated us to this:

It's not my picture (none of mine turned out nearly as well,) but it was taken from Murphysboro.  Pictures, even this one, just don't do totality justice. It was such an incredible sight. I never really understood eclipse chasers - until I experienced totality myself.

Before totality, we had a wonderful time playing around with eclipse viewing methods:

through the trees, 

through our hands,

and of course, through our eclipse viewers. 

As silly as it may sound, the two and a half minutes of totality we experienced that day was probably the most incredible thing I've ever seen with my own eyes. Really. The 13 hour drive back to Michigan was completely worth it. It was so amazing, we're already planning for the next total solar eclipse  to hit the United States. Did you know another one was coming? It doesn't cross coast to coast, but it still hits a number of states.

And, ever so conveniently, my husband's parent's backyard is smack dab right in totality.   One guess where we'll be on April 8, 2025.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

On the Mend

Things have been quiet around our house this week ever since my daughter got her tonsils and her adenoids removed. She's been a trooper through the whole thing. (She was even willing to get her IV before she was sedated.) Her trusty friend, Wonker, has been at her side the whole time, which I think helped. Her lovely volleyball teammates gave her a giant adorable octopus, but he was too big to go with us.

She asked her doctor if she would save her tonsils. "I don't want to keep them," K said. "I just want to see what they look like." (She is so my daughter.)

After a quick discussion, K and her doctor agreed she could bring a camera to surgery; that way the doctor could get pictures of the the tonsils for her since medical waste wasn't allowed to leave the O.R. with a patient. K's surgeon's sense of humor was clearly evident when we got home and peeked at the pictures. (Remember, we gave the doctor our consent to take photos in the operating room.)

Stop now if you don't want to see K's tonsils...

Everyone at the hospital was wonderful. I appreciated how they were willing to work with our scheduling constraints - given that we needed to be released in time to catch a ferry boat home. 

It amazes me that back in my dad's day a tonsillectomy meant a three day stay in the hospital; and here she was, in and out in under seven hours. K is on the mend and getting lots of ice cream and Jello. (Not a big fan of the Boost.) She's still uncomfortable, but each day is getting a little better...

Saturday, September 22, 2018


The Ashtabula had a little trouble yesterday as she made her way past the Island.  It was super windy and apparently the wind and waves pushed her a little too close to Round Island - where she ran aground.

If you click on the picture up above to enlarge it, you can see that she is listing ever so slightly to her starboard side. Probably not a very pleasant day for her crew. Luckily, as of this morning, she was free.

photo via US Goast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie