Life in Manistee

Four Full Seasons

“You put lipstick on a pig! ” Ann

That is what she would say about my choice of paint for the house. I put lipstick on a pig.

This is my house…our house I still say most of the time.  It is not pretty, but we had grand plans to make it so. It is about 130 years old, and we can trace someone being here from about 1887 forward. One of the plans we had was to have the house vinyl sided, but they are asking near 25k here for siding, and it is just not worth putting that kind of money on this old house. The siding there now is asphalt siding that cannot be decently painted. I am sure there is wood under that, but who knows what condition it is in.

This is what it looked like when we bought it in 2018

I think it has more character now. The porch was actually the ramp that was built by Habitat for Ann to come home from the hospital. At my sister’s suggestion, I made it into a porch last spring, and this spring it was stained. Lu, the dog who does not know she is a dog, and I spend a lot of time out there.

It looks much bigger than it is. The upstairs on the left is a small sewing/craft room and a nice sized guest room. Those two rooms are only the size of the dining and living rooms, which they are above. The rest of the upstairs in attic, complete with odd and creepy things that would make a good separate blog.

This was a religious shrine when we bought the house. It now houses a hanging basket and a rooster brought from the mountains. We planted asparagus when we first moved because we were told the soil was so sandy that growing asparagus was a cinch. Bullschmidt. Some animal ate all but two….see them? I figured if they lasted through the carnage, they deserved to be left alone.

Another rooster from the mountains. They have both adapted well to the long and hard Michigan winters.

The blue in the distance is Lake Michigan, just three or four blocks away.

You can thank me. I had a very long continuation of this where I described, in detail, the layout of the house now and historically. (It has been added onto at least three times, making all the dang walls load bearing.) I deleted it because it even bored me.

I have a second topic to cover, but I will make that my next blog. I need to do it in the next couple of days because it is time sensitive. You see, I want to buy a riding lawn mower, and basically I want it to ride around town. Now you see why it needs a second blog? Maybe tomorrow.

Before I was a teacher…

I was a sailor.

We were a very unknown group of small sailors who fit nicely on small boats. We could sneak on a boat, do a job, and sneak back off….if you get my drift. We were wanted in eleven countries, and we had no fear. My cousin Linda, in the middle, was the ring leader. I was her right hand man/woman/kid, though I am actually on her left in the photo.  I don’t remember the curly headed blond, but I bet we shoved her overboard soon after this was taken, as I think she might have been more annoying than even I was. 

Ok, it is all a lie. It was dancing school, and believe it or not, we sang and dance to “There is Nothing Like a Dame” from South Pacific.  Would they be allowed to do that now? 

We’ve got sunlight on the sand
We’ve got moonlight on the sea
We’ve got mangoes and bananas we can pick right off a tree
We’ve got volleyball and ping-pong and a lot of dandy games
What ain’t we got?
We ain’t got dames!

I think back, and I can remember doing the song, and at one point we all punched the air to the line “We ain’t got dames.”  Someone find me a therapist!!

I also spent some time in the Pacific, just blending in with the natives.  They reached out to the Gods and asked that my eye be replaced. I taught them ways of the new world, told them great stories of everything I could make up, and eventually hopped a banana boat and came back to Michigan.

Betty Johnson School of Dance, what were you thinking? I have absolutely no clue as to what this outfit was for, other than another dancing school costume. Maybe Linda will remember what this was.  Were we part of Children of the Damned?

I know I posted this one last time, showing my mom’s photographic talents, but it fits here too. (I found these slides in the garage, so I think they got a little moldy.)

This little number was from “Hard Hearted Hanna, the Vamp of Savannah.”

Again, we sang and danced to a totally inappropriate song. I just looked up the lyrics and this song was actually written by Ray Charles. 

They call her hardhearted Hannah
The vamp of Savannah
The meanest gal in town Leather is tough
But Hannah’s heart is tougher
She’s a gal who likes to see men suffer
To tease ’em and thrill ’em
To torture and kill ’em
Is her delight they say
I saw her at the seashore with a great big pan
There was Hannah pouring water on a drowning man That’s hardhearted Hannah, the vamp of Savannah G-A  

Oh my goodness. It is not a wonder the convent would not take me. Well, that and the fact I was not Catholic…..   Lastly, I want to share a childhood trauma with you all. The issue was treated, and I really have no residual problems, but at the time it was such an embarrassment to my family and friends. I do not remember the name of the affliction….

  …but it caused me to have very large feet.  Just riding in the car on a family vacation was such an ordeal. People would stare and make such insensitive comments everywhere we went. The surgery was a success.    I really cannot even talk about it yet. Children can be so cruel.

Happy Mother’s Day

This is my parents on their wedding day. They were married 24 years when my father died. She remarried and she passed in their 24th year. She said to me, “Damn, I just cannot make it to 25!”


She taught me many of the things I had to know over the years. She taught me to cook. My sister got the cooking gene, not me, but I don’t starve. 

She also taught me the proper care of infants. You can see in this photo she was showing me how to safely pick one up. 

She taught me how to be a good photographer. I think this might be the “do as I say not as I do” type of teaching. My whole childhood is filled with photos such as these. 


She also taught me how to cut hair. If your bangs are crooked, cut more. If they are still crooked, cut even more. This is how my hair looked most of my younger years.

Looks like some kid from the Little Rascals, doesn’t it?

But most of all she taught me not to take Schmidt from anyone. I am like her in many ways, and unlike her in as many.  

Happy Mother’s Day Mom

My mom at 16 years old.

I think I just got old.

I know old is nebulous.  You are what you feel. Age is just a number. I can come up with a dozen more platitudes like those. But I think I just got old.

I wore my slippers to the post office.   

What is next? Wearing my underpants (I love that word by the way) over my clothes?  Or my bra?

Calling my pants slacks? Eating dinner at four? Going to bed after Jeopardy? (Get rid of Mattea, she is driving me nuts) Putting tissues up my bathrobe sleeve?

I really cannot expect to grow old gracefully, and I never was graceful in youth. I stumbled through, and now I would like to go back and do it a different way. Running away to join a circus might have actually been a great adventure. Who knows where I would have ended up? I would not have met Ann though, because she did not like circuses. Actually, either do I, so maybe it was not such a good idea after all. I might have liked driving a truck back and forth across the country, with Ann and the dogs and cats. Ok, maybe that was not a good one either. I did love my adult life, for the most part. I loved my twenty plus years with Ann. I would not change that, only the end.

I went to college because it was expected I would. I became a teacher because I had a couple of teachers who made incredible differences in my life. I knew I was going to be a teacher when I was in junior high, just did not know what I wanted to teach. First I wanted to be a physical education teacher because I thought it would be fun to play games all day. Then I learned that it required a lot of science and anatomy, so that was off the list. I loved math, and I was good at it, so math teacher was my next choice. Then I got a C in geometry. I was so good in algebra, but geometry just did not make sense to me. It was not the distraction of having Fran in my class, as the school system and our parents had already passed legislation that we were never to be in any classes together ever, ever again .  That is another blog!

I loved to read and thought English might be nice. I loved teaching, and I think I was good at it. I loved the literature part of it, but hated and I mean hated the grammar part. Like geometry, it made no sense to teach grammar from a book. Seemed to me it should be taught in reading and writing. I did like the kids though. They made it worthwhile.

Now I wear my slippers to the post office. 

Maybe I should be ok with that, just like I should be ok the day I wear my….here comes that funny word again….underpants over my clothes.  Superman did it. Some of the early photos of Superwoman shows that it was her style choice also.

If I have to get old, let me be a sassy, funny and clever old lady. Let me laugh at farts, cry at the cuteness of dogs, sing off key, miss people, and still take chances.

Let there be adventures and lots of laughs in my future. Hope to see you all sometime.

High is not for me

Be prepared to be shocked. It’s ok. I am an adult, and what I am going to describe to you was legal. But still, be prepared to be shocked.  Sometimes I wonder if I have a brain in my head.

Michigan is a recreational and medicinal marijuana state. Who saw that coming? Not me. Anyway, I have been reading a lot about the medicinal value of THC…the part of pot that gets you high. For years CBD oil has been around, and that is in pot too, but it does not get you high, and most of what you buy is fake.  

Let’s go back…waaaaay back. There are many of you on my friends’ list that have smoked with me years ago and not so many years ago. I never really liked to get high, just like to get to that 1 1/2 glass of wine mellow spot. Have not been a good drinker because it is too easy to run right over that mellow spot, if you know what I mean. I don’t like it there.

So, I have been reading about Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), and actually Ann and I tried to make it about five years ago, but that is another story. Damn, I sound like a pot head, but I am not. I do not like edibles because you never know when they are going to hit you. I do not like surprises. Remember, I am the one who reads the first chapter, last chapter, and then the rest of the book.  So, I digress…..

RSO is a tar like substance that is made from reducing pot and then reducing it more. It is very potent,(“ RSO is a highly potent THC concentrate that may contain more than 90% THC”  I got that from a website.) and it is used to cure many maladies. It is supposed to be very good for people with seizures, and some people say it will cure cancer. Thankfully, I do not….knock on wood…suffer from a serious disease other than some arthritis, and right now killer anxiety. From what I figured, I was a perfect candidate for RSO.

Called around and found that one of our cannabis stores has it, so I drove over to talk to them, and to buy some. I had it a week before I had the nerve to try it. The dosage to start is a quarter to a half the size of a grain of rice. It comes in a squatty syringe and you squeeze out the tiny amount you want. I decided that I did not want to try as large a dose as a whole quarter of a grain of rice, so I put a tiny dot on the end of a toothpick or on your finger. Kind of the size I would think ants poop. 

(I think this is the size of whole grain of rice, and a photo I got off the internet of RSO.)

I made sure my afternoon was clear, and I went about doing what I needed to do, in the house. About an hour and fifteen minutes later a great euphoria came over me, and I sat down for a bit, just to enjoy it. It was nice. Might try it at night for sleep. Lasted an hour or so, and really did not get in the way of anything I wanted to do. But it was nice.

During last week, I did it whenever I had a free afternoon. Did not want to put myself in the position to be driving.

Then yesterday happened.  I ran errands in the morning and got back about noon. I decided to try some RSO, just because. A relaxing afternoon seemed to be in order. When I pressed the plunger the syringe broke, putting the tar like substance on my hands. There was a dot, quite a bit larger than usual, on the end of the toothpick but I thought, oh what the hell. I think I might have licked my fingers too.

The man came to give me an estimate on a broken window. I went across the street to meet a neighbor. I had lunch. Then it hit. It hit like a shovel to the back of my head. It was so powerful that I had to sit down. And there I sat for four or five hours. Honestly. Well, to be totally truthful, I did not sit. I floated. At one point I thought I was floating on my back in water.

And yes, that is me. At least in my floating it was me.

I heard the dog bark and wondered where she was. I forced my eyes open and saw that the dog was sound asleep on my lap, all 61 pounds of her. But I could not feel her weight on me. Then I floated again, and I went here and there and never left my chair. I wish I had thought to put on Pink Floyd. as I think I might have enjoyed that.  I have never in my life been that high or drunk. Not even after surgery, and I have done some strange things coming out of anesthesia. One time I kept taking that annoying oxygen thing off my finger and yelling “Code Blue!”  That was nothing compared to how I felt yesterday.

Seriously. I am find today. Feel great. No RSO for me today or any day.  I will NEVER , EVER, EVER ingest that stuff again. I will stick to my boxed wine. I actually do like this wine.

I am bringing back my blog….again….

First…Ignore that it says not secure. That is the internet’s way to to get people to pay for a certain certification, people who sell things and take credit card numbers. I do neither, so it is not an issue.

In 2007 I started a blog to keep friends and family updated on the building of our mountain cabin. I blogged constantly and had many followers, until it was hacked around 2015. There was no reason for the hack. I did not sell anything so there were no credit cards or financial accounts attached to it. They took every photo and every word I posted for almost ten years. I now go through a hosting service, and I have owned this domain, Ann’s and Possum Manor’s for twenty years now. Time to bring at least one of them out of the cob webs.

I make no promises. I hope to blog at least once a week, sometimes more. You might get sick of my dog or my beads, but for the most part, I will try to keep things fresh. The posts that are here already were ones I did on Facebook, but stopped transferring them a long time ago. I attached them to the blog but never made the blog live. I am keeping them because they are there.

I think the way the comments go, the first time you comment I have to approve you before your comment will publish. Then after that you can comment all you want. It keeps all the junk people out, hopefully.

I will be adding lots of things to make the blog more interesting, but I am so out of practice that I am not sure what is available right now.

So on with the show!

I guess I will begin with my beading. Just before Covid, I taught myself to weave by watching YouTube videos. I made scarves by the dozen and dish towels in even more dozens. Then I got bored with it. I used to read book upon book upon book too, but I just found I could not pay attention. Then my friend Carrie gave me an old Cherokee weaving loom, and I just clicked with it. At first I was embarrassingly awful , but I have to say that I am now getting the hang of it. I loom bead lanyards and dog collars, but I have found beading Christmas ornaments had become very satisfying too. I am really rough with the earrings, so I doubt I will be posting any of those for a while, but I will share some of what I have already done.

These are dog collars, almost finished. The beaded portions are glued onto the collar and then they are sewn. I still need to sew them before they are wearable.

This is Lu’s collar.

This is one I am still working on, but soon to be finished.

I will show my ornaments at a later date. I don’t what to over whelm everyone the first blog.

Day 11

First published March 25, 2020

Day 11
Things you might not know about me.
1. I do not know how to work a fire extinguisher.
2. I have never had a banana split. Does not appeal to me though.
3. I did summer stock one summer. I was Sushi the Japanese Yen in Cabaret.
4. The first time I smoked pot…it is legal now so I can talk about it… was with the husband of one of my friends, and they are both here on my Facebook. I remember the Beatles “I am a Walrus” was playing.
5. I am exceedingly self-conscious. I just make up for it.
6. I never wanted children, but I sure have enjoyed my nieces and nephews.
7. If I was rich I would live no differently.
8. I went on academic probation my sophomore year in college. Lots going on in my life, but also look up at #4.
9. Three or four people on my Facebook have been friends since elementary school. Many more since junior high.
10. I wanted to be a teacher because of a few teachers I had.
11. I do not feel short, though I am only 5’2”.
12. I cannot believe I am as old as I am. Only my hips are disloyal.
13. I have hearing aids but never ever remember to wear them. What?
14. I am very well-traveled but am afraid of flying every single minute I am in the air.
15. I feel most relaxed and mellow in water.
16. I never appreciated my siblings until well into adulthood.
17. Hate surprises. I read the first chapter, the last chapter and then the middle of every book, in that order.
18. I saw a UFO….remember Ellen Reiner Roscitt…we were in the Barnes and Nobles parking lot.
19. I saw Ann’s dad peek around the corner of the door three hours after he died, but did not know he had died yet.
20. I prefer my food, except soup, to be room temperature.
21. I can and will keep your confidence forever. I just cannot keep my own secrets. I tell everything.

Enough of me. What do I not know about you?

Day 7

First published March 21, 2020

Day 7
A whole week. If we have to be in three weeks, we are a third of the way there. Wow….and I still have Cheetos. Have I lost my love affair with food? Wouldn’t that be a great side effect of this whole thing!?

This is a big fish fry area. Every Friday every restaurant (the Elks Club and American Legion alternate Fridays) has its own version of a fish fry, which is usually fish, potato and cole slaw. During Lent, one of the Catholic churches about twenty minutes away has its famous fish fry. For ten dollars you get: fish ( choice of fried or broiled, choice of potato, slaw, mac and cheese (??? At a fish fry?) , roll, green beans (again, at a fish fry???), a soft drink and homemade dessert. Quite a meal for ten dollars.

Oh my gosh, I just spend an entire paragraph on fish when all I wanted to say was we did a pickup of a fish dinner from the Jail House Bar last night. It is what Ann’s mom would have called a honky tonk (a story for another time), but serves up good food. The owner told me she can only allow three people at a time in her establishment, and she said she was really busy all day. I am glad people are consciously trying to help these small businesses.

Some of you are posting beach photo or hammock photos or just talking about the nice spring weather. How dare you!!! I walked close to the lake yesterday, and it was 27 degrees, snowing and windy. So windy that I took a video, and you cannot hear my voice, just the wind. The dog’s ears were sticking out like the Flying Nun. Oh, ick, can you believe we watched that?? I was the only one out, and I had to walk in the road as the sidewalks were icy.

I just looked at the ten day forecast, and after today we are going to steadily be in the forties. Ahhh beach weather in Michigan.

I am not very amusing today. Chalk it up to being an extrovert whose only contact has been Ann, the dog and the honky tonk lady. This came at a good time though. If it had been two months later, and all the activity of a tourist town was in full gear, I would have been crazier than I am now.

I miss playing Mah Jong. I learned last summer, and I have been playing each week. It is a wonderful game, and one that I am not really good at yet. I can play on line, but the robots do not gossip, and it is just not the same. Miss the clickity clack of those tiles.

I have a list of people to call for wellness checks. The senior center needed volunteers, and hell what else do I have to do. My list has 62 people on it, and I started yesterday, and they might get a weekly call at this rate. So far the people are fine, and they are very appreciative of the call. This leads me to my thoughts of the day:

1. When do you use the area code? I call these people and use just the number. Most no issue. One I got the recording to use the area code. I did, and then I got the recording that I did not need to use the area code. Someone is messing with my head, which right now is an easy thing to do.
2. When you plug something into the wall you have two possible ways to do it. Fifty percent chance of getting it right the first time. Why do I NEVER get it right the first time?
3. I have been thinking of downtown Detroit today. The old downtown Detroit with Hudson’s.
4. Teachers are being appreciated more right now. About time.
5. Today is Saturday, and the New York Times Sunday puzzle is available for download at 6PM. Not a minute after it will have been printed, and I will start it. Some weeks it is just not fun. Most weeks I love it. Do not do the daily ones, just the Sunday.

I am off to find my paint clothes. Yes, I actually have paint clothes. I do not enjoy painting, and we were going to have it done, but I am home and I can do it. Keeps the Cheetos of the world safe.

Sorry no laughs today, but some days there are just none. (Shit, how dramatic was that? Lol )

Day 6

First published March 20, 2020

Day 3984783636854 I mean 6

Had a bit of a mental meltdown yesterday. I know I need to be thankful for what I have, and it is not as if I am missing anything that is going on. It is just that this whole thing gets overwhelming.

Now I read there might be stimulus checks. Please no politicking in the comments. I figure if you need the money, use it. If you think it is an awful thing, and it comes to your mail box, donate it to someone or something that could use it. I cannot name how many people I have put on Facebook “snooze” as they call it. You see me, but I do not see you. Fake news, nasty politics on any side. Gone. I cannot read that stuff anymore. Someone sees something they think is so clever and fresh, and they share it…..then I see it on my feed ten times from all the others who shared it. Nope.

Ok, I am guilty. I did share the sock puppet eating the cars that passed on the road. I did, and I am not sorry. I was really talking about sharing the hateful political stuff.

Woke up to snow and wind. Power went out three times. Internet had to reset. Direct TV had to reset. Funny how I get irritated and forget these are luxuries, and they are luxuries.

Ate Cheetos. Still on the first bag, and that might have to go into the Guinness Book of World Records. If you are a Cheetos aficionado (do you have any idea how long it took me find the correct spelling of that word??) you then know that every once in a while you get a Cheeto that melts in your mouth like butter. Like the heroin addict who looks to match that first high, I look for that buttery, melting experience. Sometimes that means the whole bag. I am giving myself credit for self-control here.

What is on tv? Crap. Honestly, who watches some of this. I will admit I watched ten minutes of Dr. Pill Popper until I about vomited. That woman will never get a date. You cannot wash your hands enough after doing what she does…in her office…not even in an operating room.

I go through the channel guide and see that the move, Anna and the King, is on four channels, ten times a day. Was not that good.

I will rewatch Mean Girls. Bet I have seen that movie a dozen times. Ok, the remake of Parent Trap gets me hooked also. My most resent re re re watch is Jumanji, Welcome to the Jungle. I hated the first one with Robin Williams, but this one is hoot. If you have ever played a video game, this will make you laugh. We saw the sequel before the forced self-exile, and it was even better than that the second. Oh, I loved Little Women and JoJo Rabbit, but this is just silly fun, and so freaking clever.

This next thing most of you will not do. But if you do it, you will do it ten times. If you have Alexa, via Amazon….Say, “Alexa, give us a fart.” You have to say it that way, in those exact words. Do it, and then be transported back to junior high school. She has about a dozen different versions, and if you have visited me, you have heard her do them, because I think it is so damn funny. Farts are funny. Unless they come from my dog. Not funny at all.

I got an email from my insurance guy this morning…one of those virus support things we have all been getting. However, his started out with a quote from Maya Angelou that puts it all in perspective, and I loved it:

“Every storm runs out of rain.” Maya Angelou

I am in a much better mood than I was when I started typing this. Thanks.

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