Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pike Are Running in the Looking Glass

For the TweetPeeps @miseagrant with Michigan Sea Grant who thought the pike were really swimming in the Looking Glass River. *groan* Cheers!

PreCode Movies

Watched Baby Face (Warner Bros. 1933). TCM played the restored movie, re-released in 2004. The 4 minutes of cut footage, found in a film vault in Dayton, OH (removed by NY State Board of Censors before its release) were back in the film. Censors appeared more concerned about the morality part of Nietzsche's take on using feminine wiles to get to the top, than the actual sex content. Changing the speech from "Exploit yourself! Use men! Be strong! Be defiant!" to "Be clean, be strong, be defiant!" got it passed by the morality stiffs. The bit about Nietzsche is an example of what I like about precode films. Stanwyck is street tough, poor, but we see her with Nietzsche's book more than once. She can read. Complex philosophical concept is not unreadable to her. It's the babes hissing behind Stanwyck's back who contrast. Before Norma Shearer was America's wholesome wronged wife, she was a precode broad, too. Prior to self-appointed morality nitpickers getting their mitts into moviedom, there were marvelous wicked parts for women. The Motion Picture Production Code was a collaboration between the studio bosses and the prissy pants who make it their business to tell everybody in the country what's inappropriate. We have them today, even though the Production Code Administration went away in 1968. Wouldn't you love to know what Hays did in the Hays Office when he was screening all those questionable movies? I wouldn't, actually. But it's fascinating that the Hays Office was primly overseen by Joseph Breen, author of the Nietzsche rewrite in Baby Face.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Joy Arrives in a Recycled Box

I bought Pangea Organics Canadian Pine with White Sage shower gel at Organic Bliss in Ann Arbor a long time ago. Savoring the fragrance, I've smelled it more than used it. The aroma is natural and pungent and I can instantly transport myself to a Michigan pine forest, see sunlight flitting in the boughs, hear the wind in the tall pines and my own childlike laughter. Like most favorite things, it's almost gone, and expensive for my budget. I looked longingly on the internet once more, and was happy to find the washing-up and pine forest transport portal comes in a more cost-effective bar soap. The package arrived today in 100% post consumer recycled packaging. And the box the soap comes in has spruce tree seeds with instructions to plant. For the cost of a bar of soap, I can be clean, ecologically responsible and happy all in one package. Instant bliss, and more joy to follow as the spruce germinates, roots and grows.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gas Pricing Sign Ann Arbor, MI

Sign in Ann Arbor VA Lobby

Dad, The Atomic Veteran

Dad will be 84 tomorrow. Happy birthday, Dad! We're going to one of his favorite restaurants for dinner, and I've got candles and matches in my handbag. Yesterday we went to the VA for his six month check. He likes his doctor, and I respect her professionalism and her ability to be pleasant about his desire to find something that will make him feel younger, better, more his old self. I got him this hat for Christmas a couple years ago, and he wears it often enough to think about getting him a new one. He's proud of his service in the U.S. Navy and we are, too. He was at Bikini Atoll for Operation Crossroads, Able detonation on July 1, 1946. His troop transport had duty taking the residents of Bikini Atoll to other atolls in the Marshall Islands in preparation for the nuclear tests. People ask about his hat, especially at the VA. There are few of our atomic veterans still alive; because of age, and how and where they served. Many died of cancer and related maladies brought about by close contact to unleashed atomic blasts. Dad has carcinomas pop up on his head and hands (only one melanoma, thankfully) - the areas of his body exposed to radiation. But he's alive and I pray he has many more happy birthdays to celebrate. We both hope one day no one will be exposed to danger from war, weapons of war or the aftermath of combat, and can enjoy birthdays in global peace and good health.

How Rare Are You?

The less I drive, the more I talk on the phone. The one-with-one is onederful. Today I'm happily catching up on the free minutes weekend time. Groups are fun, but individual conversation is more revealing and deep and I don't have to drive to a gathering. Talking with a friend about a legal matter, she wondered how many women were in her situation. Am I the only one? I laughed because what we do not want to be is rare, as in the only one on the whole planet. My cancer surgeon told me you do not want to be an interesting case. Two divorces in my life and I gave each the marital home I bought. Gave houses away. That's not the rare I want to be, but it is what it is. As my friend talked, and we thought about rarity, I flipped the mirror. We both are rare positively. She retired as a successful engineer when there were no other women at her level in her field. Just her. Talking with another friend who is feeling as I am - muddled and meandering - I shared the "How Rare Are You?" laugh, and then the more interesting serious consideration. I pointed to the extraordinary things she's done in her life. She raised wonderful children to be good parents themselves, owned a machine tool company at a time when women did not do that, grew herself to be the powerful, secure woman she is today. We forget our accomplishments, our masterful strides, our contribution, our gifts. What have you done in your life that is remarkable? How are you extraordinary? When have you surmounted incredible odds to be successful? Many of us have performed feats that others would find daunting, if not impossible. Women always have done, and always will. That's what women do. We're rare, wonderful and interesting creatures.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Three Story Life: The Pounce

The Pounce is what happens when I wander upstairs. If I'm on my way to the kitchen, Dad will make a remark into the air. "I don't think those wing nuts are the right size." For years that would cause me to stop, turn and ask "what wing nuts?" and I'd be caught. If I'm on the way out the door, handbag on shoulder, keys clutched, The Pounce occurs concurrent with my hand touching the doorknob. "I don't understand this," he'll say. [Note the similarity to The Sideways Ask.] Slowly I turn, hand drops from knob, I ask "what?" and then I'm going to be late. Pounced again. Dad is so confident I'll respond, he doesn't even look up. If he's at his computer, he taps on the screen. "This." If he's in his globalpops-lounger, he holds up a piece of paper. No eye contact, confident in his power to stop forward motion. I drop handbag, keys, books, all things toted, and grab the paper or peer at the computer monitor, ready to explain "this." Used to work 100% of the time. I'm caught at about 45% now. As I adjust behavior, Dad gets wilier. Today I got flattened by The Pounce because he did make eye contact. He held up his hands, shrugged, rolled his eyes, in perfect imitation of a Jewish mom with an unmarried kid who's too skinny. He looked imploringly up. "What?" I asked. "Well, I went up to the hardware to get the back door window glass cut, you know, the broken window." "What size?" hardware man asked. "Standard." "Well, there's lots of standard, bring in the frame." "So I got some bolts to put the holder back on the wall." "What holder?" I ask. "The bathroom toilet paper holder." "So we've switched rooms?" I observed. "Well, yes, but the bolts don't work." "Take me back to the back door," I suggest as Pounce Tour Director. "Well, I've got all the screws out but one." "Let's go get it out then," I offer, thoroughly Pounced. "No, I'm tired from working the bolts." "What bolts?" I ask, apparently suffering short term memory loss from being Pounced yet again.

South Lyon City Council Campaign 2011

Walking in the neighborhood this morning, I waved at the cars driving by, as I usually do. Saw Harry in the distance who hollered "you're a candidate now. You have to blow kisses." As we shook hands, I said I told Dad I wasn't kissing any babies. Harry laughed. "But you still have to kiss old men." Yeah, well, we'll see about that. Went to the clubhouse to report a leaking gutter, and Karen and I caught up. Told her I'd received a flyer from the Area Agency on Aging about a caregiver symposium at Diamond Center. When I brought it to post on the bulletin board, Alice was there. She said she heard I was running for city council. I told her about the serendipitous string of events that led there, about walking to city hall to get the sidewalk repaired where Ms. Kennedy had fallen and broken her jaw and wrist. And we talked about Tony getting hit by a car on his bicycle. I said, "what I want to do is help to keep our seniors (me included) safe." Alice said, "I'll vote for you." I said, but you're Bev Dixson's campaign manager. Alice said there are three openings, so we can choose three. Nice to know. I can vote for Bev Dixson, too. Life gets better and better.

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19 Temperatures in Fictional Worlds

Tweeted about my Mac showing the temperature in Cupertino, CA instead of Michigan, and the link to Facebook (which I didn't know I had, but might be cool) brought comments from kindred Mac users. I wrote on my wall it would be fun if Apple showed temperatures from fictional locales. I drew this chart. Atlantis' temperature is constant, sunk in the Atlantic. If Plato was wrong about which ocean, so be it. Hogsmeade is about mid-UK latitude, maybe. JK would know. Barsoom is Mars in Edgar Rice Burroughs' world so I used Mars daytime temperature of about 318k. Villa Villekula is in Sweden. And Ankh Morkpork is in the temperate zone between the Rim and the Hub. I have an Ankh Morkpork passport, and some coins, so I can confirm the guess when I get back. If I could make money being an obsessive artistic reality:fiction twister, I'd be rich. Reality being what it is, I'll settle for smiling. With all this fantastic literature to wander in, we're all rich already.

The Path to Where?

A steep path on the Huron Valley Trail near the high school. It's a narrow, rock strewn little path, and I do not yet know where it leads. Yesterday my camera was along on the walk, and I stopped to take a picture. The path wasn't where I thought it was, now that I was looking for it, and found it after doubling back. It's steep enough and I'm old enough that I looked for hand holds. As I was contemplating a good angle, and wondering if I was just going to walk away, a sun glint caught old metal. In the center of the path is a coil of barbed wire buried in the dirt, under rocks, and exposed by erosion. There are storytelling analogies galore to contemplate: assent to the unknown, elusive goals, obstacles, hidden dangers, aging. Years after sighting the intriguingly overgrown path, I saw a man clearing it. He was working hard and slowly, perhaps he was a special person like my brother. And soon again it became the visual for a path I'd read in a novel. I thought it was The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu. But perhaps it was in The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. Each book is a search, a path taken, a path walked by, a path hidden and revealed. One day before the rocks are iced, the path more treacherous, I'll climb and find what is at the top of this hill, once hidden, now revealed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011



There's an old rusted sledge back behind the goalpost in the football practice field. It might be a piece of farm equipment. It has four 2x4 hollow uprights and on each is an 8x7 inch corroded spot in the rust shaped like a heart. I love rust, and I love that nature makes art out of castaway metal. And I like that on a gorgeous Michigan September afternoon, I noticed it and had my camera with me. Living in the now with gratitude!

Secretary of State Clinton APEC Speeches

The U.S. hosted, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chaired, the first APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy in San Francisco this past weekend. A transcript of her speech is here. In March, 2011, Clinton spoke at the first Senior Officials Meeting for the APEC Forum. That speech is here. Both speeches are chockablock with words like productivity, workers, capital, economies. Both are about wealth accumulation. "Ensuring that economic engagement delivers results to the American people is our top domestic priority. It is a top foreign policy priority as well, as well as a personal priority." Whether trade agreements forged in the last decades meet this triumvirate priority is debatable. Will KORUS add 70,000 new jobs in the U.S.A.? To be fair, I clouded both speeches separately: women the most used word in Friday's speech, but absent completely in the March speech. Economies, economic, growth, productivity were equally represented in both speeches however, noting that the speech on Friday was about women and the global economy pertinent to APEC. I understand these are economic speeches, but women are not measured by their productivity, which is the core message of the Friday speech: engage women and increase global output. What are the priorities of women globally? I doubt economies, trade, businesses and nations would be penultimate. Perhaps clean water, education, safety, freedom, healthcare would be. Clinton has said before that we must include women leaders and women activists to succeed. How we measure success in a global paradigm that is not primarily gauged on wealth and earth-ravaging growth for no reason other than to accumulate is up to the women of the world.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Artcraft Shop

I'm mesmerized by this building. It captivated me the first time I saw it in downtown South Lyon. My mother bought some items when it was open - wooden beads and eyes for making felt reindeer recently found unused in her sewing box. The shop was an art/craft supply. Great name. Beautiful sign. Charming building. Magical presence. The shop has been abandoned and neglected for years. The city cites the owner, and the owner continues to pay the taxes and ignore the rest. There is a toilet in the middle of a room; the ceiling is falling in at the top of the stairs. The brick just under the roofline needs tucking. I used to stare through the tattered curtains and imagine the shop loved back to life, the bell over the door tinkling as guests arrive and depart. The window I could see through, and daydream around, is now boarded. The Celtic knot plaster work on either side of the recessed doorway is crumbling. My novel, Chantepleure, is about life changing events. And rebirth. The Artcraft Shop is a featured player in the story: I brought it back to life fictionally. It would be wonderful if The Artcraft Shop could truly be reborn. If you'd like to read Chantepleure, write me here and I'll send you a coupon for a free digital book via Smashwords. You might just love The Artcraft Shop back to life for real.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

South Lyon City Council Campaign 2011

Last post the $10/day fine was accruing. Today I got a Paid in Full receipt for paying the $10 - no additional fines, and perhaps I won't be turned in to the Attorney General. Not for this. So now I'm a street legal candidate, and it's time to start campaigning for real. Sent the questionnaire back to the League of Women Voters sent. One question was what three top priority issues does South Lyon need to address and what action would I take? We need to slow traffic on Pontiac Trail. The speed limit is 45 mph, and drivers speed. We have a confluence of a senior community and the high school. At 2:36 pm when the teenagers start exiting en masse, seniors meet those cars, sometimes head-on, sometimes broadside, and vice versa, and sometimes not in a car at all. We can't cross the street on foot safely. Tony got hit by a car on his bicycle two weeks ago. He's 85 and suffered a broken collarbone, shoulder, three ribs and pelvis. He'll be a long time recovering. Number 1 priority: South Lyon seniors, teens, walkers and bicyclists need to be safe.

Black Rat Snake and Friends

Yesterday I shared the outdoors with two-legged, four-legged and no-legged fellow creatures. This 3 foot black snake was catching some rays on a tall stump in the river. Turtles stretched their necks to soak up some Vitamin D before the rains and the cold weather. A curious bald eagle wondered what beast she was looking at, one that wasn't up in a tree and was too big to eat. Herons hid in the shadows hunting. Swans glanced over their folded wings, calm and serene but watchful.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Three Story Life: Huh?

Dad made an appointment with the ear doctor when we got back from the island because Scott's hearing was weak. Dad said he'd ask to have his own ears checked, too. That was welcome news. When I first came here, we had a lot of "pardon?" and "I"m sorry, I didn't hear what you said?" Dad wasn't used to having someone in the house who talked. Then Dad started guessing. Your orchestra got tea towels? for oranges are on sale tomorrow; and Susan gonged the trolley? for she's going to the library. I started writing those down, because some were downright funny, but lost what I wrote. Now we're at huh? I'm a soft-spoken person; now I'm screaming in my own ears. Dad will say huh? and I'll raise my voice to repeat. Scott always looks up startled because he doesn't know me raising my voice, and I don't either. The ear doctor checked and Dad's practically deaf in one ear, and can't hear out of the other. He made an appointment to get fitted for at least one hearing aid, and then told a friend of mine visiting that he canceled the appointment because he won't spend the money. So I'm back in the shouting business. Dad has an appointment at the VA end of the month, and I'm going and we'll see what the VA has to offer. If that doesn't do the trick, Dad and I going to have Scott teach us sign language.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12

In time of war the laws are silent. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC). Where ends the path we have trod in the last decade? The last 4000 years? What have we accomplished for our countries and our world? What history molders unread; what history are we writing? When do we stop reacting, begin learning and growing, as people, as a species? How long before we all are weary of war?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Growing in Disturbed Places

Wildflowers or weeds I look up in books often are described as found growing in disturbed places. Along roadsides, in abandoned fields, ditches, scoured empty forests. It dawned on me today that most of the earth is a disturbed place. The rails to trail path I walk on was recovered from industry and the early 20th century explosion of distance transportation. Roads, buildings, ball fields, strip malls, everywhere we look - disturbed places. I grew up in disturbed places. I live in disturbed places. But as a human, we grow from disturbed places. It's not our preferred choice, but chaos being what it is, and humans being who they are, growth comes from experience, good and bad. I like chicory and birds' foot trefoil, butter & eggs, Queen Ann's Lace. I like tall dramatic ditch weeds. I like that all these survive with dignity, hang around together, nod toward one another and share community and whatever fate will bring together. Better to challenge disturbed spaces with your friends. Life is richer when your stem can stand tall and stretch to the sun, among cronies, no matter where you are.

Friday, September 9, 2011

South Lyon City Council Campaign 2011

New gold foil-stamped letter from Oakland County. $10 each business day is being added to the $10 late filing fee. As I did not have the original $10 when it was asked for, I'm glad they sent along a couple pages of Oakland County Election Rules of the Game for Dummies about how the County can do what the hell it wants about fines, fees and late charges. Now I know why I'm supposed to have a treasurer on my campaign committee. To write checks to Oakland County. One of the reasons I considered a political run was to try it without the huge sums candidates need to even think about running for office. Now I know why they need it. Poor people don't run for office. Oakland County is damn sure of that. Now what I want to know is this: does Oakland County have a debtors' gaol?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dragonfly Dialogues: Memories of an Awakening Spirit

Delighted to find Lorna Brown's new book in the mail yesterday. I was lucky to have read the manuscript, but the book in person is extra special - the cover rich and beautiful. Reverend Lorna Brown has been a spiritual teacher and guide for over 35 years. I met her a few years ago, and her sparkle, energy and vivacious embrace of life and new experiences is inspirational. Lorna's guided meditation helped me to find, and then deepen, the experience. She has gifts, and she is happy to share. The book has chapters as a life has chapters: family, early life and education, career, marriage, babies, illness, dying and rebirth. At the close of each chapter there are The Book of Wisdom lessons. And bless her, Lorna indexes these gems at the front of the book. Lorna makes sense of the many readings and workshops I've attended as I stepped on the path to spirituality. I can tell her about an experience, a vision, an insight, and she smiles, and teaches how this fits in the Universe we're experiencing. Coming out of meditation one night, I excitedly told the group what I had seen, and practically shouted, "what was that?" And Lorna, smiling, her marvelous face alight, nodded and said "prana, you saw life energy." I love this book, and am grateful that she wrote it, and is so eager to share her wisdom and joy. You can order the book through Reverend Brown's website, email her at or call 734.428.8748. The price is $18.85 total, which includes .90 MI tax and $3.00 shipping!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Making Peace with Mom

My mother passed on in 1998. She was a warrior to the end, refusing the food substitutes my father wanted her to eat - "why should I feed this body?" We had a tough relationship - I inherited her fierceness, her inability to love herself, her method of rolling through the world with armor thickened by doing everything herself. I know now, via age and information, that she built her defenses through ugly experience, and I wish I had that knowledge long ago. What happened this morning is peace. Irene Elviena Nisula Robinson had no help to sort out the pain, no resources as we have today, no guidebook for raising children without passing along the anger and resentment, no close friends or champions. Her circle was small, and Mom's strength was sapped by being a friend rather than having a friend. She did not love herself. She had thousands of admirable qualities. She taught us tolerance, patience; rational, critical thinking; gave us the opportunity to truly learn, and to appreciate the world for what it is. She gave us experience of knowing God, and gave us the freedom to choose how that manifested. She created the powerful, capable, creative, spiritual woman I am today. And I love her for me, and for herself.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is Love More Than Sex and Romance?

Title of an article I read this morning at care2. That I read it indicates it was intriguing enough to glance; I read it through because it just had to be better later. The first line is "most of us are obsessed with finding an ideal partner." Based on what evidence? I'm not obsessed, and I don't know anyone who is. Uh. Not obsessed about that. Are most of us endlessly seeking an ideal companion? Chasing ideal would be a lifelong disappointment, wouldn't it? The second page of the article makes more sense. We need to cultivate a loving relationship with our own self. We're stuck with us for life, and beyond, even if the self beyond isn't anyone we'd recognize. Why not have a romance with our true self? I tried the I love you exercise in the mirror, and it just doesn't work. But what if I treat me like a potential ideal partner? Send me flowers, dark chocolate, mushy cards, thoughtful gifts? Have a picnic in a meadow with my never-used picnic basket, complete with linen and glasses? Send myself bright, poetic emails? Hold hands with myself in the moonlight? I wonder. Right this minute it sounds pretty good. Lavish the good behavior and dating praise I'd slather on a possible partner on me. Savor finding out what my true beliefs, tastes, joys are. And I do like dark chocolate.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

South Lyon City Council Campaign 2011

So, while I'm dithering about whether or not to pay Oakland County $10 for late filing, when I don't know what the hell I'm late for, more mail is arriving. City of South Lyon writes, in a letter dated August 23, and delivered yesterday, September 3, that the deadline to withdraw was August 19. Okay. Oakland County wants me to pro-nounce my name phonetically in writing. Oops. Letter dated Aug. 23, arrived Sept. 1 and the deadline to comply is Aug. 31. I risk having my name pro-nounced incorrectly. Meanwhile a man running for Council knocked on the door, got my Dad, who informed him you're not allowed to hand out flyers or solicit in this community, and besides, my daughter is running. Oy. Ah ha! I just figured out why this mail is coming in after deadlines. Post office was forwarding my mail north and the north is sending it south. Kerfuffles abound. I still have to write to the League of Women Voters, and tell them one of the reasons I'm running for office is because I'm too chicken to do stand-up comedy.

What Women Want Now

This is what we talk about when we get together in coffee shops, each other's homes, or on the park bench down the road. Peace. Education, for us and our young people. Clean air and water. Understanding. Community. An end to gouging earth for no reason other than to accumulate wealth. We want leaders who value people over profits, community over commerce, creativity over conflict, and peace over war. Our friend, Reverend Lorna Brown wrote in the Ann Arbor Observer that we are evolving from homo sapiens into homo luminous. Her new book "Dragonfly Dialogues: Memories of an Awakening Spirit" closes each chapter with a lesson to help us embrace higher consciousness, to acknowledge when we perceive vibrations beyond our little reality, to share the joy and the awe, to celebrate the shift in our perception of reality. We want to contemplate serenity, to create harmony and balance in our lives, help others to do also, relish the wu wei (art of not doing), to grow from our roots comfortably, to appreciate the luxury of enough. We are powerful women, standing in our own power, and we have everything that we need. We abandon the materialism, egoism and the discordant, destructive cousins of self-indulgent pursuits. We talk about, and seek, barter arrangements rather than monetary. We want to share our skills, and participate in reskilling festivals to pass along our gifts. We crave nature, in our edibles, entertainment and exercise. We want food to taste the way we remember it, to nourish ourselves and each other, to create and recapture traditions that will survive for future generations. We want the company of like-spirited others.

Blogs for Women Over 60

Work avoidance 101: googled "blogs for women over 60" again, hoping irrationally that there might be some more good stuff to follow. 431 results. Top result I already know - feisty fifty. Then there's one I'll check - Sensational Women over 60 (and it's trademarked, which scares me a little). Then me, then me again, then we go right into the fat loss, fashion, weight loss, fashion realm once more. Is that what women over 60 think about? Google thinks so. Maybe next time I'll try bing. I already know Yahoo! will be all shopping, all the time, if you can get to the pages behind the pop-ups that defy even my Mighty Mac.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Scott in Big Shoal Bay

Work done before 2 p.m. each day so that Scott could go swimming in Big Shoal Bay. I sat on the diving rock, keeping him safe, watching the joy. Once in a while, he would time out, losing tether to where he was, I think, and he'd stall, bobbing in the water. I'd say to myself "please bring back his blessing," and soon he'd be doing strokes, somersaults and smiling. I'd say "thank you." Lots of tears splashed on that ol' no-longer-submerged diving rock; some grief heated, more warmed with love.

Backyard Buddy

This little guy was hopping in the grass under the birch tree at the cabin on Drummond Island. He thought he had an excellent hiding place because his eyes were under a leaf, but I had to scoot him along after I took his picture so the dog wouldn't harass him. He might be a Northern Leopard frog (Grass, Meadow frog) but he might be another critter altogether.

A Three Story Life in One Story

We went to Drummond Island for a couple weeks this year. We left August 11. I chose that date because I thought it was a Monday. Jane and I tried to schedule dinner before we left. "How about Monday, August 8?" Jane asked. I said, "The 8th can't be a Monday because the 11th is." So I found out not a Monday. It's that kind of summer. The packing was the usual - garbage bags and paper bags and stuff stuffed in the holes. I tried to not mind, and succeeded. There's plenty of time to think on a 365 mile trip, and I thought. My biggest challenge is trying not to mind. My therapist told me, just walk past [insert: dirt, underwear, shoes, dishes, food blobs, dirty laundry, doggie dollops] and say "whatever." I say that enough, and sometimes out loud, Dad will growl "what do you mean by that?" but I don't answer. Once he said "huh?" and I said, "I'm just talking to myself" and Dad asked "what did you say?" and I said, "I don't know, I wasn't listening." So here we three + dog were in a 600 square foot cabin. No escape. No three story divisions - just one story. Oy. The only privacy is out in nature, which is fine with me. I was so private, I walked 4 miles each morning. I chopped wood, moved rocks in a wheelbarrow, transplanted trees, painted shed, waterlocked the sauna. No internet, TV, or cellphones so we were crammed in face to face. If I moved outside, the guys moved. If I moved inside, ditto. And after 16 days, I really didn't mind. While I wielded a shovel and a wheelbarrow, Dad pulled up a chair. "Who knew watching your daughter work was a spectator sport?" I didn't, but I didn't mind. Dad pulled up a chair to watch me scrape, then paint the shed. After a couple of "duh" glances in his direction, he even let me do it the way he taught me to do it 50 years ago. This all reminded me that the physical labor work I can do, the manual skills I have, my Dad taught me. I can repair fancy schmancy wet plaster molding. I can drywall, paint, split wood, shovel, transplant trees, do minor plumbing and electrical repairs because my Dad taught me. Having him watch now is part of the pride in my work he can enjoy. Me, too.

South Lyon City Council 2011

South Lyon City Council must replace a deceased councilperson. The remaining 5 had voted to not replace the councilperson late in July. (I won a nickel on that bet.) The South Lyon Herald reported early in August that the vote violated the City Charter. If the position wasn't filled, the governor could appoint someone. The day I read that, I saw two men in suits inspecting the railroad track. I asked if the men were with CXS. "No," the man in the tie said, "We're with the city." We chatted some, I said I'd read the city council position was to be filled, and mentioned I had just been at city hall, getting some broken sidewalk repaired (a neighbor had tripped, broken her jaw and wrist). It was fixed in zippy time, and I told them I was impressed. One man said "why don't you run for City Council?" "No, thanks," I said. But darn, if I didn't take my 92-degreed soaking self right on to city hall and pick up petition paperwork. The deadline for signatures was Aug. 23rd. We were leaving town on Aug. 11th and not back until after the deadline. I turned in the paperwork the night before we left. "You only have two signatures as a buffer," the City Clerk said, after lining out the folks outside the city proper. "It is what it is," I said. I made the ballot. Yesterday, I get a letter notifying me that Oakland County wants $10 late filing fee from me, though. I canceled the order for my one and only campaign shirt on which I'd put a $10 deposit yesterday, in case I decide to give Oakland County $10 it apparently needs more than I do. The junk mail is rolling in, too. All to the home address rather than my post office box, because Oakland County can't follow mailing directions any better than the post office (who forwarded my mail north unasked.) League of Women Voters wants to know why I'm running, by Sept. 16 or suffer a DID NOT RESPOND IN TIME FOR INCLUSION note after my name on their website. I totally forgot about how public public campaigns are. Now I'm wondering whether it's worth handing over $10, which at this point is about 60% of my net worth, to Oakland County. What are the consequences? Will Dad bring me dark chocolate in jail? Shall I surrender my privacy, my good humor and my sensibilities for a position that may not be as positively impactful as me operating on my own as an interested citizen? Is there $10 of grist for the writer's mill in this? What the hell happens if I get elected, an unlikely, but possible event? Stay tuned...