Monday, October 3, 2022

Sad Day


My daughter lost her little buddy today; she came home from school to discover that her pet rat, Sylvester, had passed away. Her other rat, Lucas, had to be euthanized this summer, so today was not a surprise. Despite it being expected, it didn't make it any easier to say good-bye. He was a good little rat and he will be remembered for his wiggling whiskers and how cute he was when he nibbled on Cheerios. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022


Fall has hit Mackinac and it has been a delight. There is a chill in the air and the fall flowers are out. Fall on Mackinac, is by far, my absolute favorite season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Pet Peeve

My youngest and I were in Mackinaw City recently and I noticed this business in the Mackinaw Crossings Mall. When I saw their signs, my heart sank. Not because I have a personal problem with psychics, tarot cards, or mysticism, but because I have an issue with people who don't have their signage proofread.


 Here's a close up of the windows:

I suppose it is possible that the owner did have the design proofread first, and the proofreader missed it. Either way, correctly using an apostrophe to form a possessive is introduced in second grade, revisited in third grade, and then should be mastered. Third grade!

Common Core State Standards
English Language Arts
Second Grade
Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.

Common Core State Standards
English Language Arts
Third Grade
Form and use possessives. 

So many adults make this mistake and I know it is taught and reviewed repeatedly. (Well, I know it is reviewed repeatedly in my school.) OK, I get it, people make mistakes, I do too; trust me - I do.

Here's a few more from around town:

The problem isn't with "Jose's." That is correct - Smokey Jose owns the place, so it should be possessive. But, what does the taco own? It should just be "tacos" plural (as in more than one taco,) instead of "taco's" possessive (as in the taco owns something,) or "taco's" contraction (as in "My taco's too hot!") That last one would be considered slang, but it would be OK in quoted dialogue. 

This one's not too bad:

Mary's and Michigan's are correct, but what do the HGTVs own? 

This one needs some serious help:

I see these errors everywhere!

When I find signs like these around town, I usually take pictures so I can show my students at school. We play "Spot the Mistake" since they are fifth and sixth graders and should be able to find them.

How about you? Do you have a pet peeve? (I hope it isn't people who silently correct the grammar of others!)

Thursday, September 22, 2022


I firmly believe we are all entitled to our own opinions. However, one's desire to share one's opinion does not give one the right to deface another's property. I highly doubt the owner of the gas station was the one who placed the "FEAR IS THE REAL VIRUS" sticker on the changing table. Of course, I could be be wrong - but I highly doubt it.

I have a problem with these, too:

Whether gas prices are Biden's fault or not, it is inappropriate for people to slap these stickers on gas pumps. (Unless, of course, they happen to own the gas station.) I'm guessing both of these people would be pretty upset if I were to show up at their house and place stickers on their front door or on their car. It seems incredibly rude and disrespectful to me. Just my two cents.

I'll step down from my soap box now...

Thursday, September 15, 2022

A First

I was at Lake State University recently and I saw this. It was the fist time I've seen  free hygiene products. Have you seen these out and about?

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Mackinac Challenge #17

One of the challenges of living on Mackinac Island is donating things to charity. My mom keeps a box at her house and as she finds things she no longer uses, she places them into the box. When it's full, she puts it in her car and drops it at one of the thrift shops in town (Goodwill, The Salvation Army, The Gold Mine or New Beginnings.) It's a snap for her to just drive up to the donation door and drop off the box while she is out and about running errands. 

For me, it isn't quite so easy. I have to get the box to the boat dock, which can be challenging when you are walking or riding a bike. And then I have to find the time to top in a day often filled to the brim with off Island appointments. So, generally the boxes just end up piled in the basement. This summer the pile hit critical mass; with 18 boxes (and bags) of unneeded stuff, it was time for it to go. 

We arranged for a dray to pick the boxes up and deliver them to the boat so I could drive down to donate them. The intake lady at New Beginnings smiled when I opened up the back of the van. "Is that all for donation?" she asked. She was a little worried that it was a bunch of leftovers from a garage sale at first, but as soon as I explained my situation she was happy to help me unload the car. I felt good as I drove away; it was a three way win: none of it went into a landfill, New Beginnings is a good cause, and it was finally out of my house. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Long Did She Reign

In honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I share one of my Grandma's favorite tea cups - from the Queen's coronation in 1953. 

I'd also like to share this photo of the Royal Yacht HMS Britannia as she carried Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip through the Straits of Mackinac in 1959. I wasn't on Mackinac at that time; the photo was taken by the then Director of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, Eugene Peterson. (Thanks to his daughter, Marta Olson, for sharing.)

Recently I have been reminded of the Queen's words: "When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future." Wise words from a strong and courageous woman. May she rest in peace...

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Happy First Day

Today is Mackinac Island's first day of school.

For me, it is also the first day of my thirtieth year of teaching. Dang, THIRTY years. (Am I old enough to have taught that long?) It really doesn't seem nearly that long. Maybe it's because I truly love what I do...

Here's to the best year ever!

Monday, September 5, 2022

Calm Before the Storm

 Tomorrow is the first day of school
and it will be a storm - 
but a storm in the best sense
of the word:
it will be a flurry of activity,
and a whirlwind of excitement.
Full of smiles, happy voices,
and newfound friends.
And I, for one,
can't wait.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


Come outside and help me, dad said.
This batch of bees are really nice, he said,
I promise, you won't get stung.
My son, wasn't so sure.
I'll help, he said. IF
you pay me $10.00 for each sting.
Dad, confident that all would be well,
agreed: $10.00 per sting.

All was well, until it wasn't...

 Of  the 20 stingers found in my son's gloves,
12 found their way through.
And even when you aren't allergic
to bee stings,
12 stings is a lot.
So when my son's throat started
to feel "weird,"
it was time to go to the Medical Center.

A large dose of Benadryl,
an IV,
three hours,

and the kid is just fine.

He's actually pretty blasé about the whole thing and has already offered to help his dad whenever he needs it. Though I'm quite sure his dad will be purchasing a second pair of beekeeping gloves.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

It's That Time of Year

This view might not look very special to you - but I love it. At first glance it just looks like a random forest, but if you look a little closer you will see something special - blueberries

Sometimes, when the crop is good, you can actually see patches of blue from the car. The picking wasn't that good this year, but I still got to spend the day in my happy place. If you know where (and when) to look, you can find lots of wild blueberries in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There are "You Pick" farms, but we prefer to pick wild berries on state forest land. It's a perfect day - we're outdoors, spending time as a family, and the berries are free.

The picking wasn't as good as it was back in 2019, but the four of us working together managed to pick six pounds (2.7 kg) on this trip. Not great, but it's still enough for a batch of jam,

and one of these:

Blueberry pie! After I make the jam, I hope I have just enough left for a batch of these. I made them with dried cherries and they were amazing

Thursday, August 11, 2022


Another perfect Mackinac summer day is in the books. No matter how many times I see that view, I have to stop for a moment (or two) to admire it. I literally can't imagine not being able to see it every day.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Can You Feel the Love?

This is officially my new favorite picture of my brother. He and his wife were able to come up from Columbus, Ohio, for my father's Celebration of Life, and while it was a sad reason to get together, it was a delight to see him. I think hope he was as happy about being together as I was. 

A big shout out to my Uncle Andrew for catching this moment!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

All Too Common

Bikes regularly get "borrowed" on Mackinac Island (translate that to stolen.) Usually the bike gets left behind once the thief is done with it, so people often get them back. I noticed this bike on my walk down the hill this morning, and I'm assuming it was dumped last night.

I snapped this picture intending to post it on the Mackinac Island Residents and Summer Workers Facebook pages, but when I headed up the hill it was gone. I'm hoping it found its way back to its owner. Losing your bike is a hard way to learn an important Mackinac lesson: always lock your bike.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Mackinac People are the Best

Today was Election Day in Michigan. I arrived to vote right after lunch and just in time to see Joann's Fudge deliver some snacks to help Mackinac's Election Workers get through their day. They were also treated to donuts for breakfast courtesy of the Murray Hotel.  I love that my community supports our election workers!

Thursday, July 28, 2022


A few nights ago my family and I were hanging out in the living room when we heard an odd noise. It sounded like someone had dropped something upstairs. Since we were all together in the living room, I went upstairs to investigate. I looked all over but couldn't find the cause of the noise.

Until I got up the next morning and was getting ready; that's when I noticed how sticky things were in the bathroom closet. After a little investigating, I found what had made the mystery noise the night before. Somehow my metal container of hairspray exploded.

I'm glad I wasn't holding it when it exploded because the torn metal edges were really sharp. Luckily the mess was contained to one shelf in the closet, but it took quite a while to wash down every item on the shelf, as well as the walls and the shelf itself - it was all a sticky mess.

Now I'm just really curious about what made the metal fail like that...

Thursday, July 21, 2022


Not much makes me happier than
homemade Ben & Jerry's ice cream. 
Unless, it's homemade Ben & Jerry's
Heath Bar Crunch ice cream.

My husband had the audacity to
suggest that I added
too much Heath to this batch.
(I hadn't added it when I snapped the picture.)
I mean, is there such a thing
as too much Heath?
I think not...

Monday, July 18, 2022

My Favorite Things

One of my favorite things abut summer is fruit salad! So sweet and delicious. I love to get myself a bowl and enjoy it outside in the shade. It's the perfect summer afternoon treat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


 I found this horseshoe while I was 

walking to town today.

I hope it brings me good luck.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Coffee, Scones & Conversation

My good friend, Stephanie, just arrived back on the Island from wintering in California, so we've started getting together, once a week, for coffee. I hosted this week, which was the prefect occasion to use all those things I have in my china cabinet yet rarely use. (I'm trying to be better about that. I'm also trying to note where things came from so I can pass that knowledge on to my kids - if they choose to keep my treasures.)

  • The lilac china belonged to my Great Aunt Ruth. Neither of her kids wanted it and I thought it would be perfect for Mackinac Island.
  • The Arklow cream and sugar set were purchased by my mom when we visited Ireland in 1985.
  • The Dirigold cutlery belonged my Grandmothers. (They both had it and I consolidated it into one.)
  • I bought the Dirigold platter for myself. I found it at a thrift shop for a steal and since it matched what I got from my Grandmothers, it made sense to me to nab it.

Stephanie's visit also gave me an excuse to bake. Ever since I made homemade clotted cream, I've wanted to make scones.  They're so easy, I'm not sure why I've never made them. They were so easy I made two different varieties: sweetened cream cheese and dried cherry. Hands down my family preferred the cherry ones (topped with homemade strawberry jam.) Follow this link for the recipe to make your own. You won't regret it, though one batch only makes six scones - that's why I made two.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Happy Day

Happy Independence Day from Mackinac! I hope you had a perfect day. We were lucky enough to get two fireworks displays this year. I'm still not quite sure why there wasn't one, larger display, but by all accounts it was wonderful.

Thursday, June 30, 2022


While I was walking to town the other day I noticed something in the road. Don't see it? Here, let me zoom in...

See it now? It is a Eastern garter snake - a common snake on Mackinac Island. This little guy was completely unafraid of me. I kept walking closer and closer, until I was almost on top of him.

He just sat there, proud as can be, for a long time. Once he finally realized I was there, his head popped up in surprise and he slithered away.

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.)