Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry & Bright

Merry Christmas from Mackinac Island.

This picture is from a few days ago.
No snow today, instead it was
foggy, rainy and 34 degrees (about 1 C.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021


I don't have an Elf on the Shelf in my classroom, instead I have Camilla the Christmas Chicken. My students love her. They even love her awful "dad" jokes.

I love that they make sure to include her in our classroom activities.

She loves bringing the kids new books, curling up by the fire and reading to the class.  This year she brought CindersOnce There was a Christmas Tree and Sonya's Chickens.

Now that we're heading home for vacation, she is packing up and heading back to the coop. Little do my students know that they'll be able to check in on her using the "coop cam" my husband is setting up in our backyard chicken coop

Thursday, December 16, 2021

A Rare Occurance

"Snow Days" never happen on Mackinac Island. OK, almost never happen. But occasionally we do close due to other issues. Today we get the day off due to high winds.  And it isn't just MIPS that's closed; the Public Library is closed, the Service Company has rescheduled trash pick-up, the boats aren't running and the Mackinac Bridge is closed to "high profile" traffic. ("High profile traffic" is defined by the Mackinac Bridge Authority as semi trucks, pick-up trucks with enclosed beds, cars with bike carriers or luggage on the roof, cars pulling boats or trailers [with sides over two feet] and U-Haul type trucks.)

And no wonder it's windy. It's 58 degrees (about 14C) this morning - which is really weird for December in Northern Michigan.  

The only bad thing about today was, I got the text about school being cancelled about 15 minutes after I'd gotten to school. No complaints though, an unexpected day off is always a good thing...

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

It's Beginning...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

everywhere you go...

Thursday, November 18, 2021


Fall is fading fast on Mackinac. The vast majority of the leaves have fallen, so I was quite surprised to find these maple leaves near the Post Office this week. Of course it got me wondering... Why did those leaves hang on longer? Was there something abut that location that protected them, or do maples in general drop their leaves later? And, why were all the leave so red this year? So of course I had to look it up.

Apparently when you have cold (but not freezing nights) along with bright sunny days it triggers maples to produce more of a red pigment, while rainy gray days are more favorable for a yellow pigment. It makes perfect sense - this has been one of the nicest falls I can remember: warm and sunny with only a handful of frosts. That must be the reason why, this year, Grand Hill looked like this:

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel
Those leaves are all gone now, but they were stunning. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Halloween 2021

Here are our family costumes for 2021. These three high schoolers trick-or-treated for the win, bringing home close to 30 pounds of candy (about 13.5 Kg.) Weighing the candy when they get home is a tradition in our house. S was up from 2020's eight pounds with 11 pounds (about 5 kg) this year, while K was up a tad with nine pounds (about 4 kg.) K came home about an hour before S so it makes sense their total was lower. 

My son wanted to be Lady Dimitrescu, a character from one of the Resident Evil video games. (Don't worry - he's not upset; he's trying to look like a cannibalistic murdering aristocrat who may or may not be a vampire.)

While S was going for a very specific look, my youngest decided to create their look using a mask they made in art class paired with a cape I stitched up to go with a lion mask. The cape has since spent a lot of time at school. Apparently bringing blankets to class isn't allowed in the school dress code, but since a cape is technically an article of clothing, it's allowed. K was thrilled to discover this "loophole."

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Big 25

 Last week my husband and I celebrated
our 25th wedding anniversary. 

It's hard to believe it's been that long...

To celebrate, Allen took me out for an exquisite dinner at Chianti. It was, by far, the very best meal I've ever eaten on Mackinac Island; Grand Hotel food doesn't even come close.  So now I'm hopeful Allen decides to make a trip to Chianti a yearly tradition. Luckily they were running a "locals" special so we didn't have to pay the full $125 per person, though it would have been worth it - the food was that good!

Friday, November 5, 2021

New Digs

If you been hanging out here for a while, I'm sure you know we have chickens. You may also know that usually they leave the island for the winter.

But not this year...

This year they'll be staying in their lovely new coop. (Thanks to help from my husband, kids and nephews.)

Oh yes, and my mother-in-law. She did an excellent job supervising the tear down of the old coop and the new coop build. As did her dog, Shay.

The coop came as a kit, which made it much easier for us to put together - even if it did take longer than the 30 minutes the company claimed. It was still worth it; no measuring, no cutting and no design work.

So now the girls cozy, warm and dry in their new home, while I get a much nicer view in my backyard. And I get to keep them. Which I am thrilled about today, but we'll see how I feel in February...

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all you Trolls out there. For those of you who may not know, those of us who live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula refer to those who live in the Mitten as "trolls" - because they live below the bridge.

My Troll costume was from 2017, but just enough time had passed where my current students didn't remember me wearing it. Though I must admit Id forgotten just how itchy wigs can be. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Um...... What?

We arrived at school this morning to discover this. Some asshole (not the word I used at school) decided it would be a good idea to throw a can through one of the windows of our school.

Needless to say, the first and second graders had to spend the morning in the library so the custodian could clean up all that glass and put a board where the window should be. So sad...

Edited to add: The caught him! Our Chief of Police put a photograph of a "person of interest" wanted for vandalism of an island business. The guy turned himself in and apparently admitted to vandalizing the school while he was being questioned about the other business he damaged. I hope he has to pay to replace the custom size window he broke, AND to replace the rugs and pillows that aren't safe to use with kids anymore. I'd also love it if he had to come to the classroom and deliver the replacement items along with an apology to the kids, but I doubt that part will happen.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


Sometimes I just can't get over how adorable our cat is. I mean, just look at that paw. I can tell fall is here because when things start to cool down, she gets much more snuggly. 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

An Apple for the Teacher

 The teacher didn't get an apple today.
The teacher got an apple pie, 
a homemade apple pie.

I think it is the first time
I've ever had a student make
me a pie.
I love my students.

Monday, September 20, 2021


This summer I noticed these growing on my street. Whenever I see thistles growing, I think about my grandmother, Lillian. Of course I didn't know her back in the 30s when she looked like this:

I remember her looking like she did in the photo below - in the blue polyester pant suit. (What was it about older people in the 1970s and polyester?) And, yes that's me in the middle.

Anyway, thistles always make me think of her. When she passed away I inherited her china tea cup collection and four of them are decorated with thistles. All the other cups seem completely random - except for those four. So now, whenever I see thistles, I think of her.

I know the "thistles" we have on Mackinac aren't the same thistles that grow in Scotland (where my grandma was born) - ours are common burdock, but they remind me of her all the same.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


The clouds over Mackinac this week have been beautiful. There's just something about puffy clouds up in the sky, don't you think?

 I could just watch them blow across the sky all day long.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

I Wonder

On my walk to work this morning, I noticed something odd. These battery powered, red lights lined part of Cadotte Avenue; starting just downhill from Grand Hotel and marking  one side of the road. So far, no one I've asked seems to have any idea what they were for. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

First Day

Today was the first day of school and one of my new students brought me an apple to celebrate. Sometimes it's the little things that put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


medium size

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This last picture is what I want things to look like, but when I do it like this, this is what I get on the mobile site:

Monday, August 30, 2021

Back to School

It was a lovely walk to school this morning;
so lovely in fact, that I took the long way.

This week it's just teachers.  
Teachers and meetings, bulletin boards,
lesson planning, etc.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Good Night

We've had some nasty weather on Mackinac Island over the last few days.  Luckily, I've managed to stay dry. Unfortunately, my husband got home about five minutes after this afternoon's downpour began. I'm sure my flowers appreciated the rain even if he didn't. 

I'm back at school tomorrow so I 'm hoping for dry weather in the morning.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Helping Out

Several times this summer we've stopped at the Mackinac County Animal Shelter to help socialize the cats they have up for adoption. It's a great way to spend a couple of hours with a kid who adores cats.

It seems they have no trouble finding homes for all the kittens, but the cats older than a year are a little harder to place. My kiddo doesn't mind, they love on them all. But, the kittens are awfully cute.

I do have to agree with their sign. Maybe not only love and a cat, but those two certainly make life better!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

On the Road

Due to Covid, my son was unable to take Driver's Training last summer, so this year both kids have taken the class together. Recently, they both passed their written test and after their last drive with the instructor they are now able to obtain a Level One Michigan Driver's License. 

Michigan is serious when it comes to teen driving. There are three levels of teen driver's licenses:

  • Level 1: Learner’s License - essentially what use to called a Learner's Permit - driving with parents (or designated licensed adult) only
  • Level 2 Intermediate License – No driving after 10 PM (unless with a parent) except for a few allowable exceptions, only one passenger who is under 21, again with a few allowable exceptions, and no cell phone use except for safety issues
  • Level 3: Full License – Unrestricted
To move from one level to the next there are time limits and driving requirements. For the kids to move from their Level 1 to their Level 2 takes a minimum of three months and 50 hours of logged driving time - 10 of which have to be at night.

At this point, we're not sure just how we are going to get those night hours. It's not like we are on the mainland, after dark, all that often. We've been joking with the kids that when we're visiting Grandma at Christmas we're going to have to go out driving every evening.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Out With the Old

I don't know about all teachers, but Mackinac Island teachers tend to be hoarders. You never know when you might need something, and it's not like you can just make a quick stop at Meijer on your way to work...

As a result of years of that behavior, yesterday was Clean Out the Storage Room Day. Haven't used that in five years? Let it go! The text books and teacher's guides from two math series ago? Let it go! Broken furniture that was going be be repaired but wasn't? Let it go! Gallons of expired spring water? Let it go!

Let me tell you, we let a lot go.

As we were bringing boxes outside, I found this note in one of them. It made me giggle because it essentially referred to 90% of the items in that room. That box had been there a while because I can't remember whose handwriting that is.

By the end of the day the entire pile had been skillfully  Tetrised into a "two-footer." A two-footer is a trash dray with sides that are two feet tall. People usually use items, as we did, to extend its' capacity, though there is a weight limit. It can't be too heavy for a team of horses to haul it, up hill, out to the Solid Waste Handling Facility - which everyone just calls the Dump. Once there the items are sorted for disposal: wood, metals, general trash, etc. All the non-recyclable and non-compostable trash is sent to the mainland since our landfill was capped in the early 1990s. Compostable items are shredded, mixed with horse manure and restaurant food waste and then turned into to soil. 

A second two-footer is coming next week to get rid of the rest. Yeah, there's more. I told you we were hoarders.