Life In The Mitten State–A new blog

Well, it’s kind of new. I tried starting it a few years ago and never stuck with it, so this is attempt number two. It will be a place where I write about life in Michigan. Sometimes it will be about my own life and what it’s like to live here. Sometimes it will be about all the great things to do and places to see.

So if you are interested in Michigan, or you are just wondering what sort of shenanigans I might be up to, I hope you will check it out.



Nothing To Wear

I’m that girl; the girl with “nothing” to wear. I’m also the girl who thought she didn’t have very many clothes. Then I watched that Marie Kondo  tidying up show on Netflix…I thought wrong.

For those who are unfamiliar with Marie Kondo, she is a lovely Japanese lady who wrote a book titled The Joy of Tidying Up and Netflix has recently turned it into a series where she comes in a coaches families on getting their homes in order. I have not read the book but I did binge watch the show. I was intrigued with the method so I decided to give it a try.

You start with your clothes…ugh. The start of the process is to gather all of your clothes…yes, ALL of them, and put them on the bed; now you can see how much you really have.

This self proclaimed minimalist is slightly embarrassed by the following photo:


WHY do I have so many clothes and where did they all come from? Somebody needs to stay away from the clothing department.

Once this horrifying task is completed, it’s time to move on to the sorting. Each item is held in your hands, if it brings you joy, keep it. If it doesn’t then you must decide whether or not you will let it go. Items that you do not keep, you thank for their service. This step seemed a bit odd to me but it is actually an interesting way to practice gratitude, and I for one could do better when it comes to being grateful for my belongings. (And everything else for that matter.) I ended up parting with two boxes of clothing by the time I made it through the whole pile.

The next step was folding and putting away. She has an interesting method for folding; items are folded so that they can stand on end in the drawer. I think it’s genius because nothing is more frustrating than digging through a pile of shirts trying to find the one I want to wear! Here are a couple of examples of the finished product:

I was so pleased with the result that I’ve done my vanity and my bathroom. If I can maintain this, and I plan to do just that, it’s a total game changer for me. It is going to free up time and energy (physical and mental) that I will now be able to put towards doing the things that I love.


Going outside…one of the many things I would rather do than clean.

I hope this inspires you to find ways to make tidying a joy instead of a drudgery. I’m actually excited about keep things tidy!

This Little Site of Mine

This blog has sat idle for quite some time now. I used to be so good at getting on here and writing down my thoughts and feelings. I enjoy sharing my perspective and seeing how others feel about things too. I also love the way writing makes me see the world and the thoughts it causes me to ponder. But lately, I have felt like I have SO MUCH to write about, and absolutely nothing to say.

Many things have changed in my life and the this past year has been one of the more hectic time periods in recent memory. Some of my kids have experienced big life changes with family, career and location; which means I have experienced changes with family and their location. (It’s far away and I miss them, but they are happy so I am happy.) I am also facing my own career future and trying to figure out what that should look like. I think these are the primary reasons I have not been sitting down to write. With all of the things that have been going on, my mind has not been quiet enough to put my thoughts into words.

Trying to write has felt like sitting down with a box full of Christmas light strings that are all tied up in knots and trying to untangle them. (Picture Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation) The ideas and the concepts are there, but trying to string them into something that sounds good or that even makes sense seems impossible. Basically it’s hard, it’s frustrating and it isn’t much fun….but if I ever want to hang up the Christmas lights (read write something good) I need to put in the work and move past the frustration. I am hoping that this somewhat nonsensical post is a step in the right direction.

The dust is finally starting to settle and by the beginning of the new year, the newest version of “normal” should begin to set in. Hopefully by then, with work and determination, I’ll be writing on the regular again.

I sure would like to see this little site of mine start to shine.

Not My Thing?

As you all know, I am on a journey to healthy living. I’m eating right, exercising, getting good rest, developing good habits, blah blah blah blah blah. It’s not my thing, I hate doing it…Well, at least that’s how I felt a few weeks ago.

Today, I like pretty much all of it and mostly look forward to healthy food and even exercise (anyone who knows me will tell you that that is shocking). I could tell you that “I’m winning” or “I slay all day” but I think phrases like that are annoying and mostly untrue. I mean, everybody loses from time to time, and do people really want me to believe they are slaying it when they eat breakfast or pee? I’m more of the slogging through it and thinking “Man, this is hard! Why on earth am I doing this?” kind of girl, and I think a lot of people are right there with me. Some days, I do get out there and do it 95% right, but other days I’m still not convinced it’s my thing.

I truly believe things are beginning to head in the right direction for me.  I’m usually able to talk myself into doing what needs to be done, whether it’s putting down the cookie or getting on the bike. Even though I have started and failed at this journey many, many times, I really believe that it’s going to stick this time. The reason I am so hopeful is because I finally asked myself the right question:

“Why isn’t it my thing?”

I mean, I want to be healthy, active, and have more energy. I want to go an adventures with my husband. I want to be the grandma that can keep up with my grand kids…okay, I want to be the grandma that no one believes is a grandma. So I came to the conclusion that, if I want all this and eating right, exercising, and good habits are what will get me there, I need to make that “my thing”. So that’s what I have decided to do.

And that’s it; I made a simple and obvious choice…and like most hard and worthwhile things, I have to make the choice again every day. And I usually have to make it several times a day. That is the secret ingredient that I believe will keep me moving forward; I’m going to keep choosing to have a new “thing”.


Nana and Papa…”winning” 😉

I’m thankful that with time the choice and the work continue to get easier, I’m glad that I usually look forward to getting on the bike and that I get excited about new healthy recipes. These days, I guess you could say that there is less slog and more jog. (I’d put that on an t-shirt and wear it, but I don’t jog…That is still not my thing).




So after yesterdays slightly dreary post, I actually have a pretty upbeat one to write! As I said yesterday, I felt strangely motivated by the things I had written in the past and today the inspiration continued.

I received a lot of encouragement and kindness after yesterday’s post, for which I am deeply grateful. I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of confidence and hope; it is a wonderful feeling. I had morning coffee with my very best girlfriend and then I headed to a large church sale and a couple of thrift stores in search of up-cycling treasures. I didn’t find anything, but it felt good to get back to thinking about working with my hands and being creative again. When I got home, I had lunch on the porch with my favorite little girl…my two year old granddaughter. She is an excellent reminder of what truly matters in this life. After lunch, I put my bike on the car and heading to the trail for a ride. This is one of the things I have been doing pretty well at, but it’s still hard to convince myself to get at it some days. Today, I’m especially glad I did.

I had the best ride that I have had so far. I rode faster and farther than I ever have before. At the end of the ride, I was tired but I kind of felt like I could do it all over again.  Its amazing how a bunch of small things can come together to make you feel like you can conquer the world. I don’t know if it was the encouragement from yesterday, the fact that I listened to upbeat music, all the motivational signs that were placed on the path for an upcoming 5k, or just the goodness of my God; but I’m guessing it was a perfect storm of everything, and I am thankful.

I’m going to bed tonight ready to tackle a full day again tomorrow. I couldn’t be happier…I got a super-charged boost, just when I needed it. I hope you all get one too.

Flipping and Penning

Like it says in the Beatles song: “I wanna be a paperback writer”…well maybe not a paperback writer, but I do write. I also want to flip houses, and make pretty things to sell. Basically, I just want to so things I love and be the master of my own destiny.

I’m trying to figure out, from a financial standpoint, how I can make one or more of these things happen; because a girl has to eat. Throwing caution to the wind and quitting my very good job doesn’t seem like a viable option right now. But I’m also not getting any younger and I’m tired of waiting for someday.

I wrote the above words nearly three years ago…and not much has changed. While it was quite discouraging to stumble upon this in my drafts, it was also strangely motivating. Some things have changed; I did quit that job (Thanks to my husband of nearly 25 years giving me the support and encouragement I needed to take that leap.) and I have been working on some up-cycling and remodeling projects, I just haven’t made any money at them yet. I have not been writing, and that bothers me the most.

Life is a funny thing and sometimes it doesn’t go as planned (Okay, most of the time it doesn’t go as planned.). Some of the reasons I haven’t pursued my dreams are things I could not control, like a roll over accident two years ago that landed me in occupational and physical therapy for five months and took even longer to fully recover from. But mostly, I think my biggest road block has been fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection and mostly, fear of failure. Identifying the problem is a step in the right direction but I’m still struggling to find the way forward.

There are other areas in my life that I have wanted to change and I do feel that I am making progress in. I have been eating better, trying to keep more to a schedule that works for my brain and body, and I have started getting regular exercise. My hope is that I will figure out how to transfer that motivation into the things I’m not doing; because I’m still not getting any younger.

So what motivates you? What gets you past the road blocks and fear? What gets you to take action?

Where has the writer gone?


I would like to know what happened to the writer that used to live here. She was always so full of ideas and just could not wait to write them down.  A lot has been happening and there are plenty of things to write about, but the words don’t come.  She only manages to jot down a brief paragraph or two once a month( kind of like this one).

She says it’s important to her, that she feels more alive and like herself when she does it…but is that true? If it’s so important, why does it always end up on the back burner? When will she get her crap together and put her money where her mouth is?

Only she knows the answer to those questions and I hope she figures it out soon.


How To Go From Omnivore to Herbivore In Several Difficult Steps

I’m about to wade into some controversial subject matter here: I’m going to talk about food and diet. It’s pretty dangerous territory I know; so if you are feeling nervous or starting to break out in a cold sweat, just look away.

In all seriousness, I am  going to talk about my new relationship with food and how I’ve transformed from an all-American meat and potatoes girl into a *GASP* vegan.

It all started a few years ago when we went on a vacation. It was a phenomenal trip. We camped, we hiked, we went on boats and trains. We saw bison and sheep. I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, I brought home a souvenir from that trip that I didn’t expect and it took me a couple of years to figure out what it was. Somewhere along the line, I was bitten by a Lone Star Tick. For most people it’s just a bug bite, but for the “lucky” few of us, it is life changing. This little bug can cause humans to develop an intolerance (read allergy) to a particular sugar; a sugar found in mammals. This means I am now allergic to meat; and at first, it really, really sucked.

I absolutely LOVED steak, burgers and pot roast and I was very reluctant to give up the pleasure I associated with them. I was so determined to keep eating what I wanted, when I wanted, that I would take Benedryl before going to a restaurant so I could still order a mushroom and Swiss burger with fries! Eventually, I overexposed myself to the allergen and medication no longer wards off the effects. My allergy is worse than ever. (Can you say anaphylaxes?) I have heard people talk about food and say it’s so good it’s “too die for”. Yeah, no food is THAT good. So, I gave up meat. There were a few pity parties and a little pouting. (my husband might say there was A LOT of pouting.) But eventually, I adjusted. I honestly don’t even know what a burger or steak tastes like anymore.

When I had to give up meat I switched to fish and poultry. I was not very excited about it, but it’s not like I had much of a choice. In time, it became my new normal and it was okay. Plus, I could still have cheese, and cheese makes almost everything better. Things were good…for a while.

A few months ago, I started feeling like crap every time I ate a meal. I was even starting to see a return of some of the symptoms I would experience when my meat allergy began. *SIGH* After a little more pouting and a fair bit of denial, I knew what I had to do. So about a month ago I quit eating dairy. And while I was at it I decided to go all in and I gave up fish, poultry and eggs too.

Now I’m eating things like vital wheat gluten, seitan and nutritional yeast…which all sound weird but taste pretty good. I’m discovering new seasonings and foods. I’m losing weight, I have more energy and I actually feel happier. I’m saving money at the grocery store and on eating out too. (Small town restaurants do not have many vegan options). I could go on, but you get the idea.

I have never felt better but it’s still hard and I have cheated, just like I did with my meat allergy. For example, I had fish and chips with a Guinness while on a recent vacation. In the moment, it was heavenly, but a few hours later, not so much. Once again, I’m learning about risk and reward. I am really starting to embrace this new way of eating and I’m actually thankful for my allergy; it is forcing me to make changes I may not have made otherwise. I’ve learned a lot and I continue to learn things on this journey.

Our relationships with food are complicated, emotional and personal. It’s hard to change lifelong habits that seem to be fundamentally part of who we are. I’m not particularly adverse to change and I really see most change as exciting, but that is not how I felt about changing my diet. It’s a long hard road and I’m still struggling to find my way in this new food jungle I’ve entered. Sometimes, I still want to eat the way I have always eaten, so I have to constantly remind myself of this one fact in order to keep moving forward.  There is no food that tastes good enough to sacrifice feeling good for.