Jan Stafford Kellis
The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin

The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin

The Dog Year by Ann Wertz GarvinMy rating: 5 of 5 stars Step inside The Dog Year and meet Dr. Lucy Peterman, a plastic surgeon struggling to navigate her life after losing her husband and unborn child. She copes by stealing hospital supplies and stockpiling them in her bedroom. Until…

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family by Kathleen FlinnMy rating: 5 of 5 stars What’s not to love here? Family, fishing, foibles and food are all part of this fabulous Michigan memoir that includes the recipes mentioned in the…

Bookworms Anonymous

Bookworms Anonymous

It’s here! You can find your copy on Amazon.com.   The women are gathered again! Bookworms Anonymous is a non-traditional reading group established in 2000, comprised of seven women in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They meet monthly to share a gourmet vegetarian meal and discuss and swap books. Part memoir, part…

Writing Weather

It’s a grand day for writing. The wind is whipping the trees around (no power outages at our house yet, but there’s still hope) and the rain comes and goes so it’s impossible to plan any outdoor activities. The clouds are cruising west to east so fast they look like…

Extreme Writing

As mentioned in Bookworms Anonymous, extreme reading is a little recognized sport performed by reading outside.  I doubt we’ll ever see it in the Olympics, or witness a district extreme reading tournament. It’s not really a spectator sport; the reader/performer is the team, the audience and the coach.  Extreme reading…

Bookworms Anonymous Meeting

Bookworms Anonymous Meeting

We enjoyed yet another successful Bookworms Anonymous Meeting the other night–Christine is cooking her way through a cookbook called Vegetarian Traditions and she prepared and served a four-star meal, with Almond-Crusted Tofu appearing as the celebrity. To read about the meeting itself and our fabulous group of seven readers, check…

Country Mice in the City

Tomorrow I embark on a journey to the city. Chicago! Named for a wild onion, it’s the city of big shoulders and wind and it’s my favorite major US city (I’ve been to NYC, LA, St Louis and Orlando, so those are the comps). My sister, daughter and I will stay just outside the city itself and take the train in every day as if we’re commuting. We’ll stroll the Mag Mile and State Street, take in a show at the Briar Street Theatre and eat lunch at Ed Debevic’s. It’s October so we will enjoy a color tour all the way there and back and we can leave our outer layers at home.

We’ll stop at a Borders Books. This alone is worth the 8-hour drive, each way, so we can sit on the second floor drinking coffee in the window and watching people scurry by on the pavement below. We’ll shop at Macy’s. Macy’s! And the fabulous Columbus Day Sale! Oh, to live in a place with stores. I’m also bringing three of my books to leave in various strategic locations for someone to pick up and read.

This, the eve of a trip to the city, makes me wonder what it would be like to live in an urban place. It seems glamorous from here, tucked into the woods where the only culture is the free karaoke performance at the bar. I’m sure I’d take in a play at least once a month and rarely eat dinner at the same place, cook less often than I do now (it’s become my  least favorite chore) and buy fresh flowers from the corner stand regularly. I’d probably dress better–a Life Is Good T-shirt would not be considered dressy casual in a city–and I’d know all of the train schedules, which taxis are the fastest, and the shortest routes on the safest streets. I would be just one more anonymous soul trying to get through the day with no one asking me how I like my new job or if I’ve seen the new hairstyle of the girl at the gas station.

I’d miss the trees. And my routine: a five-minute, five-mile commute to work on a two-lane road canopied by maple trees much of the way, mine frequently the only vehicle on the entire route. I run out the door most mornings, my boots untied and coat half-on, turn up the radio to hear 5% of the news events occurring in the world, none of which impact our lives here, and which  my commute was longer so I could hear the rest of the story. I always see Mrs. Goetz in her window, watching me turn toward work, so she can later report to me what time I arrived every day last week. She’s pretty accurate–if any local employers are considering time clocks, they should just hire her. She’d also be a reliable alibi corroborator if one had driven by her house at the time of the murder. She’d remember, down to the minute, what time she spied the vehicle and which direction it was headed.

But I digress. We are traveling to the city, it will be fabulous, then we will travel home and it will be even more fabulous for the brief interlude of urban sophistication. 

UP Living

UP Living

Some days it’s easier to remember why we live here, and today was one of those days. Autumn is just peeking through, painting random leaves and gracing us with bright sunshine and cool, crisp days. The tourists are gone now so there’s no traffic, no need to lock anything, and…

Writing Weather

Writing Weather

It’s a grand day for writing. The wind is whipping the trees around (no power outages at our house yet, but there’s still hope) and the rain comes and goes so it’s impossible to conduct any outdoor activities. The clouds are cruising west to east so fast they look like…

Aging (Slowly and Bravely)

My 40th birthday was nearly three months ago, and I’m adapting to my image in the mirror. I’ve also adapted my morning routine to include make-up every day (it’s no longer optional, and neither is the under-eye wrinkle eraser) and a flat-iron styling (actually adds some waves to my dull,…