Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mistakes are the portals of discovery – James Joyce



i was so excited.

i’d saved up my change,

69 cents,

to buy my first record.

i got a ride to the store,

found ‘lady madonna’,

ran to the counter, counted out my change,

and skipped out of the store.


the moment i got home,

i put the record on, 

ready to hear my favorites sing,

i was a young beatles fan.

and i quickly discovered,

that in my rush and excitement,

i had actually purchased

 the fats domino version 

of the same song.

not the same,

but fun and different.

and new to me.

do you ever get that excited that you lose sight of the mission?

do you ever discover something wonderful and new quite by accident?

The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl.
Dave Barry

image credits: captiol records, reprise records

Half my life is an act of revision 
- John Irving



very recently, i received the note below, and was happy to have been one of a huge group of writers on this first-ever collaborative novel writing project. each writer was assigned a date to write her or his chapter, feeding off of the one before it, having never seen it before, and given 24 hours to complete it. i loved the challenge of this project, as well as the international group effort that went into creating it.

Writers, hello.

In November 2013, around 300 writers from 27 countries (and 44 U.S. states) worked together to write a group novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). We called the project #GrammoWriMo; and, clocking in at a total of 130,927 unedited words, we are proud to say that your draft was among the 41,940 completed!

Today, it is with great excitement that the Grammarly team announces the publication of this GrammoWriMo e-book on Amazon. (see above) Thank you for your patience with us through the editing process.

Finally, you’ll note that the e-book is listed for $0.99 on Amazon. Given the theme of the novel, we plan to donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

“What you don’t wish for will always be beyond your reach.” ― Micheal Ende

Thank you for all of your contributions to our 2013 GrammoWriMo e-book. We’ll look forward to working with you in 2014!

All the best,
The GrammoWriMo Team


Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner


six degrees of sexton-ation


we discovered last fall, in blog world, that we were connected, through many different avenues,

and mutual close friends. amazingly, we had never crossed paths in real life. until…..


i attended a wonderful and unusual book signing at our local ann arbor senior center,

with guest author, susie sexton.


susie read and offered anecdotes from her book,

and local Roy Sexton, Susie Duncan Sexton’s son,

(known throughout Michigan for his cabaret style performances),

sang some of his mom’s favorite musical show tunes.

they kept the audience laughing and clapping.

and roy was there to support his mother’s wonderful endeavor.


Susie Duncan Sexton – is a writer, political pundit, arts critic, animal rights advocate, (and mother of Roy) – has her own column on Jennifer Zartman Romano’s “Talk of the Town.” The column offers observations of growing up in a small Indiana town – the culture, the anecdotes, the legends, the gossip, the joys, the heartaches – and what Sexton has learned about life ever since. She also writes a column “Homeward Angle” for the Columbia City Post and Mail, and she recently published two books, “Secrets of an Old Typewriter,” and “More Secrets of an Old Typewriter.”


and just yesterday, i attended son roy’s own book signing,

at a new ann arbor local independent community bookstore, bookbound.

and susie was there to return the favor.


as roy shares a piece from his book, about growing up with films all around him,

susie is happily surprised by a shared love of favorite movies,

with yet another closely connected audience member, john.


roy (snarky and smart blogging movie reviewer), sang,

(accompanied by his longtime friend and fellow theater musician, rebecca biber),

and read and answered questions.

and susie was there to support him.


book bound owners, megan and peter blackshear

(former borders bargain book-buyer extraordanaire)

graciously hosted the event

in support of local authors.

they may have to create a ‘sexton section’ in the store.


only open seven months,

this store has brought a much needed bookstore to the north side of ann arbor.


and roy’s first book,
Reel Roy Reviews Volume 1: Keepin’ it Real.
has been making it’s way around the world.


there were so many sextons, so little time……

and i was so happy to be a part of it all,

and in awe of the heartfelt and mutual support shared by all.



Susie’s blog:

Roy’s Blog:

Susie’s author website:

Roy’s theatre group:






Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer. – Unknown



Washtenaw Dairy has been many things to many people in the community, and a home away from home for the neighborhood for almost 80 years.  what began as a dairy, has continued on as a family-friendly gathering spot for locals and visitors from all over, with ice cream and home made donuts and coffee and smiling faces, always happy to welcome in anyone who stops by.


when they proposed raising the price of a cup of coffee by 10 cents, topping out at over a dollar,

to at least break even, some of the morning regulars were upset,

so they decided to keep selling it at the old price,

and see it as a service to their loyal community. 


with the second generation of owners, one in their 60s, and his partner in his 80s, their quote sums up their approach “We won’t put on airs, we’re pretty much just workers,.” The workday starts early to make sure everything gets done. The first employees get to the store at two in the morning, the managers follow at four, and doors open at 5 a.m. “every day but Christmas.”


While ice cream is a big part of the business, the store also sells 150 dozen donuts a day.

“we don’t even know how to turn on a computer, we missed the whole tech thing and for us it’s really hard to get into.” despite the owner’s lack of technical know-how, they’ve been a major presence in the community for a long time. they donate ice cream or money to several hundred causes a year ranging from a the zen buddhist temple to the local high school hockey team. “we support the community, because the community supports us. that’s why it’s worked all these years. it adds up on your bottom line, but these same people come down with their families and buy ice cream. they’ve come for years and supported us.”


The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance.

Remember, the greatest failure is to not try.

Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.

– Debbie Fields




animal, mineral, or vegetable?


part of my life as a full-day kindergarten teacher is having lunch with the kids 3 days a week. it’s especially fun because the pre-kindergartneners also share our table, and while we might not get much time to eat, it never fails to be exciting and i am endlessly fascinated by their take on the food.



here are some chickeny stripnuggetstick things


here are some fishy stripnuggetstick things 


they are never quite sure what to ask for, or what we’re having, when wanting more.

every year, someone declares themselves to suddenly be a ‘bege-tarian’,

because they like animals.

and they stop eating any meat,

but somehow they don’t identify our nuggetstickstrip items as meat,

and i understand completely.


and i loved the day when one of them asked for syrup to go on their foodstripnuggety item.

why do you want syrup, i asked?

aren’t these french toast strips?, they answered.

i’m not really sure, but let’s go with that.

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

 Mark Twain




when life gives you eggs, turn them into mimosas



     it was the worst easter ever, that somehow turned into one of my best and most memorable. back in my cocktail waitress/student days, the owner of our bar decided we should be open and all work on easter. well all, except for him. he was not known for his people skills and did not care that we each had people who we’d rather be spending the holidays with waiting at home, or that no one was going to set foot in our bar on easter.

     after a couple of hours went by, with absolutely no customers of course, and hanging out and talking about how much we despised the owner for forcing us to do this, we decided to take matters into our own hands. the cook made up a mini buffet for us,  we whipped up a batch of mimosas, and headed to our upstairs balcony room, where we’d have a view of the door if anyone happened to actually wander in.


     our d.j. put on music,

(you never know who will stop in on easter morning for a dance, so of course it was mandatory that he worked too),

turned on the tv, took off our shoes, sat around a  big table, played poker,

and watched the ten commandments together.


we ate, and drank, and talked, and laughed, and figured the movie was our spiritual experience for the day.


and moses looked down at us from the mountain as we upped the ante and raised a glass to him.

and i think we broke a lot of his commandments.

now that, is an easter.


Time for work – yet take much holiday for art’s and friendship’s sake

                                                                                                                              George De Wilde 

It is a happy talent to know how to play.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



the family told  me that i’ve established a pattern of putting the grand babies inside of all kinds of stuff.

i say, we are in it together and they put me up to it.






we all had a great laugh when i was giving one of them a ride

in a large plastic container

and the glowing safety sticker on it said,

‘not a toy. this is not meant for play.

do not put your child in this.’


well, i didn’t have my glasses on, 

how was i expected to read that?


You’re never too old to do goofy stuff.  ~

(From the television show Leave it to Beaver, spoken by the character Ward Cleaver


My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. – Mark Twain



it began and ended with a rabbit. it was in my front yard for hours. it came each morning and sat like that for days on end. i told the ‘ 3 h’s,’ (my adult daughters), about this rabbit, who now seemed to have moved into my yard, but anytime any of them came over it happened to be gone, so they didn’t really believe me. they should have though, especially since they’ve called me snow white at times, due to the heavy traffic of woodland creatures who seem to hang out with me in my little yard, and it would have made perfect sense.

a couple of weeks later, i came home and was walking out to see the garden, when i looked up and caught my breath. i gasped, as my first impression, (for no known reason, don’t even try to analyze this one), was that a giant tin solider was standing there, stock still, and staring down at me. once i regained my composure, realized it was not a soldier, but actually, a 5 foot tall hand-carved wooden rabbit. and i don’t know which is more frightening really. i went inside and called the daughters, who confessed they had bought it for two dollars at a recycle center and placed it where i said my rabbit supposedly hung out each day. they thought i would love it and i do appreciate their humor.


i moved the giant rabbit to the front porch and my real rabbit continued on with it’s daily visits for a couple more weeks, until one day when i noticed the poor rabbit had passed away. i called one of the h’s to come over and help me bury it, as i just couldn’t bring myself to do so. as we were talking on the phone, i saw two huge, black birds circling around it, and as they landed and approached the rabbit, it got up and hopped away. what???!!!! it was playing dead? what was going on? i then had to tell h that is was not in fact dead but was only playing dead. this really kicked my credibility up another notch.

as luck and coincidence would have it, and in keeping with my ‘always learn something from my dates streak’, i happened to have a first date that night with our state’s fur bearing animal specialist, who works for the dnr. his focus was really on wolves and bears, but i figured i could ask him what was going on with my rabbit as it was technically a fur bearing animal. he knew the answer right away and told me that a mother rabbit will stay still all day, faking death when necessary, so that other animals will not bother it, to protect baby bunnies in a nest nearby, until they are ready to hop out into the world on their own. who knew?

soon after, the rabbit just disappeared and i figured that the babies must have made their way out into the world. over time,the wooden totem pole rabbit became a mainstay at all of the celebrations at my cottage. it was decorated, carried signs, wore costumes, and greeted guests for many exciting events. it became a part of the family.


my giant wooden rabbit decorated for the cat’s (sugar) birthday celebration

but – the rabbit drama was not over quite yet. all three daughters were over at my house one night, as i headed off for an evening with the ladies in my book club. they really had no plans, and i thought back to the days when they were little girls, and would cook up all sorts of adventure/trouble when they were together and had too much time on their hands. i brushed it off and went out on my own adventure.

when i came home, around midnight, i found a letter tucked into my front door. i discovered it was not a letter after all, but a police report. it seems someone had called the local police to file a complaint about a girl, (one of my h’s, and described as ‘latina- looking’), was yelling and screaming to get in the house and causing a huge commotion. oh, and that she was ‘indecently exposed’ wearing a thong of some sort. there was a hand written note at the end asking me to call the police in the morning.

i stormed in and thought about how i was going to deal with this whole crazy situation. i decided to sleep on it and as i went to pull back my covers, there was my giant carved rabbit, now dressed in my lingerie, waiting for me in my bed! i almost laughed but was still a bit crabby about whatever i had to do to deal with the police in the morning, so i just pushed it onto the floor and went to sleep.


when morning came, i questioned the girls, each one saying ‘you tell her, you tell her.’ finally they told me that they were bored and had dared the youngest h, in her late teens, to run outside around their car, in a thong. when she came to the door they locked her out for a minute, and she ‘overreacted.’’ when i asked why she would have agreed to this, she said, ‘they promised me 10$ if i would do it and i needed gas money.’ i told her i would have just given her the money, but this was really ridiculous, and they were all going to come with me to the police station to straighten it out. they could not believe i was making them go with me, one had to go to work and her boyfriend even stood in for her, another called her boyfriend and said, ‘we are in big trouble, mom is really mad!’

as i loaded them all up and was heading there, still crabby, one asked, ‘are you really mad? you really seem like you might be.’ they know i very rarely get mad and so this was a serous situation. one then turned to me and said, ‘mom, we were just kidding. we were going to confess that we made it up, but we didn’t know you’d get so mad and you’d turn us in, your own kids, if we committed a murder, you probably would turn us in too!’ um,,, yes, i would.

it seems they had been planning this night for weeks. even the guys were in on it. the eldest h had somehow gotten her hands on a blank police report and they had spent some serious time thinking about what they could do with it. they took the time to type it out and think about what ‘crime’ they could have committed that would warrant a police report. the youngest ‘h’ probably would have done the thong run, so that made sense, and they knew i would react, but thought i would be laughing. i have to give them credit, it was pretty clever, and i told them i will get my revenge one day when they least expect it, when they are all together again.

i kept the giant rabbit for a few years. then passed it on to the youngest ‘h’ and she kept it for another year, before we sold it at her yard sale for two dollars, it’s original price. this rabbit had seen a lot of action and was ready to retire.Image

When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.
 Erma Bombeck