Monday, June 20, 2022

Wait, What?

Did you know Meijer stores in Michigan sell Sex? Yup - Sparkling Sex no less. I snapped this picture and immediately thought, "Dad is going to think that's hilarious." And then, I remembered... 

Which was actually kind of a good thing because it meant that I hadn't been thinking about my dad at that exact moment, which is a step in the right direction. That first week or so, he was on my mind, literally, all the time. I'm not on the verge of tears all day anymore - another  step in the right direction. 

I know absolutely nothing about wine (I call my friend Michelle with all my wine questions) but apparently Sex is made by a winery in Suttons Bay, Michigan (near Traverse City.) It is described as "a fruit forward rosé with light red berry aromas and a balanced finish." Sex can be yours for $17.00 a bottle. The question is, is it good sex? I may just have to buy a bottle and find out.

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Potato Olympics

We needed a fun yet academic way to wrap up this school year and the Potato Olympics fit the bill perfectly. Potato Olympics you ask? Why yes!

First, the kindergarten through sixth grade students selected a potato and transformed it into an athlete. Next, each potato got a backstory and important measurements were taken.

The fifth and sixth graders spent time discovering what the term "an average potato" meant as they analyzed the length, girth and mass of all 20 potatoes. They investigated mean, median, mode, range and created line plots as they looked at the data.

Finally, it was time to coach the potato athletes to greatness! We held multiple events including:

the balance beam, 


the high jump,

and weightlifting.

The potatoes also competed in downhill skiing, the long jump and a relay race.

We all had an absolute hoot with these activities! While the athletes were taking a break the kids even got to play Potato Potato French Fry (Duck Duck Goose) and Hot Potato. Mrs. Lisk has decided we need to end every year this way; next year she wants a baked potato bar for hot lunch on the last day of school to celebrate the gold medal winning potatoes. Sounds like a good idea to me! (Just as long as we celebrate them, by not eating them. Those potatoes were a little worse for wear after all of those events.)

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Ten


I was worried when the lilacs opened this year. It seemed early to me and I was worried they'd be gone before the Lilac Festival. Thankfully, they timed their opening perfectly and have been lovely all week.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Nine

 I love these pink lilacs. They always open just a little later than the other lilacs in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Eight

Dewy lilacs on my walk to school.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Seven

Every day the smell on Mackinac is getting better and better. Enough lilacs have blossomed now that every time you walk past a lilac tree, the smell seems to follow you for a while.

Monday, June 6, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Six

Today was the first day of our last week of school. For the first time, in a very long time, I am looking forward to the end of the school year. I just need a break; from everything - no organizing, no planning, no prepping. Just me, my chickens and my garden...

Sunday, June 5, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Five

I love this picture. It's like I can almost smell them, and there is something about those tiny yellow centers. I don't usually notice them.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Four

My dad's been gone a week now. I know it is going to take time to grieve, but I miss him. He always read my blog, so today I am trying to find joy here...

Friday, June 3, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Three

I noticed these white lilacs just starting to open near Grand Hotel's bike parking lot. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day Two

Since the lilacs are just starting to open, you can't really smell them yet.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

A Lilac a Day - Day One

One of the ways I am trying to be OK is to find joy in little things. Lilacs are one of those little things that make me smile. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Good Bye

Content warning: death, parental loss

Three days ago, my father died. Suddenly. He died shortly before midnight, on Friday, May 27th, as a result of a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. All that white on the CT scan (inside the bright white ring that is his skull) is blood - blood where where it should not be. And the dark, heart-shaped structure is supposed to be in the center of the skull. There was so much pressure, that structure was pushed over to the side. 

"Catastrophic" was the word the doctor at the Emergency Room used. We knew it was bad, when the Mackinac Island Medical Center told us the air ambulance was on its way. The true level of bad didn't become clear until the word "unsurvivable" entered the discussion once he'd arrived at the ER in Traverse City. Then we knew; my dad wouldn't be leaving the hospital.
I am dealing with this shock as you'd expect - waffling between tears, anger, and love for a man who greatly enriched my life. I find comfort in the knowledge that he chose to donate his body to Michigan State's Medical School. My dad taught high school science for over 30 years and his final act of teaching will be to help medical students learn human anatomy; it is so him. It may be morbid to think about, but my dad really would find joy at the thought of medical students taking him apart to learn. His only frustration would be being unable to watch it himself.
He fell off the porch on Tuesday. The Medical Examiner can't say for certain whether the fall caused the bleed, or if the bleed cause the fall. I suppose it doesn't matter, the end result is the same. He was aware when I made it to my mom's house - he knew me and said my name, but by the time the ambulance arrived he was speaking gibberish.  When we reached the Mackinac Island Medical Center his grip was unequal, as were his pupils. He spoke twice in the helicopter, but by the time he and my mom landed in Traverse City, he was gone. His body was still alive, but the person who was my father no longer existed.

Thankfully the hospital in Traverse City had a Hospice floor. My mom knew my dad wouldn't want any interventions so the nurses unplugged the heart monitor, removed the oxygen, started morphine and tried to make him comfortable. He was moved up to the Hospice floor and we waited...

It was awful. Waiting. Crying. Wishing. Watching. At first he just looked like he'd fallen asleep watching TV; my mom kept saying she expected him to open his eyes and ask why my brother had driven all the way up from ColumbusIt was a weird dichotomy of emotions: on one hand I wanted my dad to pass - I knew he didn't want to be kept alive if his life meant being severely brain damaged and unable to think, move, or care for himself. But at the same time, every single time I squeezed his hand, I ached for him to squeeze back. 

Watching someone you love die is horrific. It is, by far, the hardest thing I've ever done. All you can do is sit there so the person you love doesn't have to die alone. In between the tears my mom, brother and I told stories and relived memories. We reminded my dad that he was loved, and that, somehow, we would be OK. It took three days; three days for the pressure on his brainstem to build, cause his heart to stop beating and for him to be at peace.

So now, I'm trying to keep my word - I'm trying to be OK. It's unbelievably hard, but luckily I have lots of support. I try to find joy in little things, and I remind myself that this is how things are supposed to be; children are supposed to outlive their parents. Saying goodbye, as awful as it is, is part of life. I remind myself that my dad had 81 good years. He spent his last evening on Earth having a lovely dinner with his grandchildren, and when he went, it was fairly quick, he didn't suffer and he was surrounded by love. We should all be so lucky.

When I arrived home a few days after he died my daughter asked me, "Did Grandpa Jack believe in Heaven?"

"I think he did."

"Then, I really hope he gets there."

Me too, K. Me too...

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


When you live on Mackinac Island you do have to take regular trips to the mainland. Now that the boats are running again, it's time to get in all the appointments that you didn't want to do when you had to travel by plane. (Due to the added costs.) This week was Family Dentist Appointment Week. 

While on the Mainland, my son and I found a gigantic pothole. On its own it isn't much to look at, but here it is with my 5'8" (about 1.7 m) son for scale:

Made me quite glad we encountered it on foot rather than when driving. I can't imagine what that would do to a car moving at more than a snail's pace.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

I Wish

I wish this photograph could have captured this morning more fully. It just doesn't do the scene justice; you can't hear the foghorn or the freighters in the distance or feel the mist in the air. Lots of people don't care for the fog, but I quite like it...

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Quick Question

Just a quick question: Is it ever ok to text while driving? Or, is it just an issue while driving a motorized vehicle? Asking for a friend.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Birthday Surprise

This year a one of my students' parents sent in a birthday treat for me! So so sweet - and I'm not talking about the cupcakes, though they were absolutely delicious (and gorgeous!) 

Monday, April 18, 2022


Mother Nature,

I am NOT amused. No one appreciates a late-April trek to work in the snow, especially on a Monday. No one. But it's my Birthday week, so I'll try to make the best of it.



Sunday, April 10, 2022


Today was a beautiful spring day on Mackinac - the perfect day to get out for a walk. My husband suggested we head to Sunset Rock to check on the ice.

The blue sky was perfect,

and the white ice looked gorgeous against the Straits.

Though, I'm sure in a short while it will all be gone...


Thursday, April 7, 2022


Last night the boat, the only ferry this time of year, broke down. On their way back to St. Ignace for the last trip of the day, the Huron broke down. 144 passengers spent part of their evening waiting to be towed to shore. According to my friends Bernadine and Stephanie, both of whom were on the boat at the time, things didn't get worrisome until the crew asked them to put on their lifejackets. 

Luckily Arnold Freight Company's The Senator came to the rescue. All the passengers were transferred and  taken back to St. Ignace. Meanwhile the Huron drifted in the Straits until the the US Coast Guard's Katmai Bay arrived to tow her to shore.

Thankfully no one was injured! Hopefully the boat will be repaired soon, but until then Star Line plans to run the Chippewa.  As you can see, the Chippewa doesn't have an enclosed cabin, which makes for a chilly trip this time of year.

Friday, April 1, 2022

April Fools

My husband loves playing April Fool's Day pranks on our children. He often plans elaborate jokes, but this year his plan was much simpler. He started with the power cables for their laptops and the X Box. 

He zip tied the cords together and then wrapped them in layers and layers of Saran wrap, Press and Seal Wrap, and shrink wrap. Next, he waited for the kids to wake up.

As you can see, the two teenagers were not impressed. Not one little bit...

Monday, March 28, 2022


The boats started today! For the first time, ever, I was able to go off on the first day of boats. (Years ago the teachers tried to negotiate to get the first day of boats off, but sadly we couldn't because the date changed every year.)

The kids and I popped off for a quick overnight with grandma and grandpa, and, of course groceries. Neither of the kids had been off the Island since before Christmas.

And chicken feed. I'd bought seven, 50 pound bags right before the boats quit in January. My calculations were pretty good - I had just two bags left.

Here's a little taste of the first boat leaving the Island this season... 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022


The Canadian ice breaker was back at it this morning. Check out this video to see the ice breakers taking out the ice bridge yesterday. 

We're all hopeful that the boats will start running soon...

Sunday, March 20, 2022


Our trusty little 1996 Polaris Indy Lite snowmobile gave up the ghost this week. My husband and my son have done their best to keep it running for the last few years, but it finally died. Part of me is a little bummed because now that it had crossed the 26 year-old mark, it was considered a "historic" snowmobile; the rules for registering vintage machines are different from registering other machines. You pay a one-time $50.00 fee and do not need to buy the yearly trail permit, which costs another $52.00. But, those savings don't justify the cost to completely rebuild an old and well used engine.

It's been a good little machine. We bought it a little over 15 years ago for $1500, so it's more than given us our money's worth. Both of my children learned how to drive on it, and it's taken them to school each winter day since my son turned 12. I'm not sure if it will be fixed and continue to run around Mackinac or if it will be scrapped for parts. Either way, farewell little machine - you served us well. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Sad News

At about 3:15 am last night the Mackinac Island Fire Department responded to a house, on fire, on the East Bluff. (The very first house when you are heading down the Bluff toward Mission Hill.) Sadly, there was nothing that could be done to save the historic home - it had already collapsed by the time the a Grand Hotel security guard noticed the flames and called 911. 

As of this morning, this was all that was left. Thankfully the house was empty for the winter - no one was hurt and no other homes were damaged.

Lots of people may not recognize this house since it wasn't visible from the water, but this picture will give you an idea where it was. No word yet on the family's plans, but please keep them in your thoughts.