Thursday, December 31, 2020


2020 has been an especially hard year for me. I know it's been a challenge for everyone, but I am so ready for things to change. I've been struggling quite a bit lately, so this week I've been really, really trying to focus on some of the good things that happened to me in 2020.

 2020 was the year I discovered yoga.


This year I was diagnosed with problems between my L4 and L5 vertebrae. I've had back problems for a long time, but 2020 was the year things came to a head and I had to see an orthopedic doctor. He told me I needed to strengthen my core muscles, and if I did that there was a good chance my back would improve. He suggested yoga and I took his advice seriously. Fast forward eight months of practicing yoga three to five times per week and now I am mostly pain free - which is a wonderful thing.

In 2020 I finished two quilts.

The first was a cat quilt I made for my youngest. It was a request when their bedroom got redecorated - inspired by our tuxedo cat, Minnie.  I machine pieced and machine quilted this one during spring lock down.

I also completed a queen-sized quilt I started way back in 1998 (but whose counting.) I started it to commemorate the millennium, but it got packed away; then I had kids and it never got unpacked. I finally dug it out and finished it during lock down last spring. It was about 90% done, but it was nice to cross that quilt off of my to do list. (It's machine pieced and hand quilted.)

I got to spend more time with my teenage children in 2020.  

Most teenagers pull away from their families and start to focus on their peers. The pandemic took that away from my kids and kept them home. And while they did spent time interacting with friends online,  they also built forts in our living room and we played Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza and Monty Python Fluxx. We watched every 80s movie we could and laughed at the special effects. We crafted and designed T shirts and made pasties (so many pasties.) We laughed and we cried - together. I ache for their loss because they've missed out on so much,  but the extra time I got with my kids is something I will treasure forever.

In 2020 I celebrated my 24th wedding anniversary. 


I lucked out in the husband department. My husband is a wonderful man and I can't imagine my life without him. In some ways, the pandemic brought us closer together. We went on more walks in 2020 than I think we took in the past five years - combined. Every single day I am thankful he's part of my life.

We remained employed in 2020.

As a teacher and the director of the Island's Department of Public Works, we were both deemed essential workers. Teaching over Zoom certainly wasn't my favorite, but it was doable. My husband wasn't thrilled to move his office into his Fallout Shelter (his man cave) so he could work from home, but it beat the alternative. 2020 could have been so much worse.

In 2020 I stayed healthy.

Believe it or not, in 2020 I walked over 1,300 miles and averaged about 35 minutes of exercise per day. I may not be an Olympic athlete, but I'm pretty darn healthy. Every day when I get out of bed I try to be thankful I get another day.  Some days it's been hard. Some days it's felt more like it's another day to get through, but I just keep trying to be positive and grateful. Grateful for another day with my kids, another day with my husband, another day at school, another day on Mackinac.
But I would be lying if I said I want another day of 2020. I'm done. I'm ready to say good-bye to this year and welcome in 2021. I need a new year. I need a year of healing and a presidential president, a year of vaccines and diminishing death rates, a year of less stress, and a year full of hope for a brighter future; a Covid-free future - a happy future. I think HOPE has to be my word for 2021. Sometimes, I felt like I was in survival mode this past year, like I just needed to get through the day, or the week or the month; like I couldn't stop moving because if I did, I didn't know if I could start up again. Tonight I am full of hope that 2021 will be a better year.
I hope 2021 is a bright year for you, too.
Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The 2020 Garden

There's nothing like flowers to put a smile on my face. So here's a walk through some of the blossoms from my garden this year...

Every time I look at my peonies I am  reminded of my good friend, Lisa. When they she and her husband sold their house in Lowell, she dug them up and sent them home with me.

I nabbed this astilbe, along with a few others, from the clearance bin at Wal-Mart. I love picking things up after they've flowered from the cheap shelf at the big box stores. It is a great way to try out new plants to see how they'll do without spending an arm and a leg.

The Asiatic lilies were from the clearance bin as well. Lowe's I think - $2.00 each. Tho hostas in the background came from my friend Margaret. When she initially sold her house, the new owner planned to tear it down so she invited friends to come over and dig up everything. Just about every hosta I have came from her house. I love how they are almost impossible to kill.


The daisies came from Karen's house. Her husband brought them over when he finalized the sale of their Island home after she died. He knew a we'd take good care of them and little piece of her Mackinac garden was sure to continue... 

Every tulip I have came from the compost piles at Mission Point and Grand Hotel. Each fall they plant hundreds of tulips, only to rip them out once they have bloomed. After that, they all get tossed onto the hotels'  compost piles. The only downside is, the flowers have usually been cut off by the time the plants are pulled up, so you don't know what color you have until they flower the next year.

I picked this yellow rose up for $5.00 in the clearance bin. I'd planned to have it in a pot for the summer, and then toss it, but something told me to drop it into the ground in the fall - so I did. I've done that every fall since and it keeps coming back, year after year. I've picked up a few clearance roses over the years and they seem do do fine as long as I plant them in the ground for the winter. I've not tried leaving them in their pots.

The irises came from Dwight and Jeff's garden downtown. (They have the I Spy Garden near the corner of French Lane and Market street.) When they divided their plants a few came up to our place - along with quite a few ferns. D & J are wonderful about sharing things.

This rose campion was a gift from my friend Kelaine. She had a bumper crop one summer and brought me a few plants when she visited. (I think she first got them from her grandma's house.) I've shared cuttings with a few folks, so they've spread out around the neighborhood.

My mother-in-law gave us a few black-eyed Susans when we first built our house. We hadn't budgeted for flowers so when she came for her first visit, she brought some that she'd dug out of her garden. They've grown like gangbusters, and now I have them all over our property. They look amazing in August.

Lots of trillium grows wild on Mackinac - including on our lot before we built the house. Several plants decided to keep growing after we built, and I've just them go.

I love coming home in the summer. I just can't help but smile when I walk up to the house. It takes time to weed and water, but it's worth every second.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Mackinac Island.

I hope your day is filled with peace, joy and love. Lots and lots of love.

Monday, December 21, 2020

New Furry Friends

I'd like to introduce you to Lucas and Sylvester; my youngest child's pet rats. (Fancy rats as I am regularly reminded.)  They joined the family back in September and have been a positive addition - partially because they are so darn cute. Initially, I thought their long naked tails would gross me out, but the overwhelming cuteness completely overpowers the tail ickiness. I mean just look at that face!

They love Cheerios, attention, and paper towels. And did I mention how cute they are? They have the cutest little noses and whiskered cheeks that wiggle when they munch on treats.

They spend most of their time snuggled together in their nest. It seems like they are snuggled together 75% of the time, though they will separate - especially if there are Cheerios involved.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Right on Time


My days have been a little brighter lately thanks to Christmas cactus' perfect timing. It may be the first time it's actually flowered for Christmas since I've had it. I got this plant from my Grandma Mary - years ago. She told me she got it from a cutting she took from her mother's plant. A year ago I passed on a cutting to a teacher friend of mine at school, and her plant is blossoming as well. It makes me wonder about just how many people have had their days brightened by that one plant.

What's brightening your days right now?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Christmas Chicken?

My students were sad that we didn't have a classroom Elf on the Shelf. So I recently introduced them to Camilla, the Christmas Chicken (also known as the stuffed chicken I already had so I didn't need to spend $16.00 on an Elf.) The kids love her! 

 She has been entertaining us with her antics all month long. She's decorated the classroom with Christmas lights, left books for the classroom library, told us awful dad jokes (chicken themed, of course), pecked in hilarious YouTube videos to watch, and even left us birdseed to munch on. It's been a bright spot in the kids' day to come in and see what she's left for them...

Sunday, December 6, 2020

No Doubt

Just in case anyone isn't sure just how big of a nerd I am, I present our 2020 Christmas tree. And yes, we do have a giant Star Trek Enterprise on the top. And for the record, I love it and all its nerdy glory.

Our tree also has every single Star Trek ship ornament Hallmark has put out over the years.

My husband started collecting them back in 1992. He didn't have the first one - the Enterprise pictured below. When  we got married in 1996, I made sure to get the new one each year. I searched and searched for that Enterprise for years, but they were outrageous; over $100. A few years ago I was lucky enough to find a cheap one on Ebay, without the original box. I pounced on it. 

We had planned on adding the rest of our ornaments to the tree, but when the kids saw it, both of them suggested we leave it as-is this year. They got no complaints from me.

If you look closely, you may also find the one non-Trek ship in our collection. Friendship 7, in which John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth (1962.) See, total nerd...