I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, but I’ve set up housekeeping on a new, self-hosted blog/website (so I can stop hopping between a blog and a website).
If you haven’t seen the most recent episode (2/21/13), you might want to skip this post.
If you watch television, there’s no getting around the fact that once in awhile…someone you love is going to die. It’s almost always because an actor wants to leave a series, but fortunately it doesn’t happen too often.
Unless we’re talking about The Vampire Diaries. And apparently the writers can’t figure out how to make the show interesting without killing off main characters every season.
In some ways this show gets better and better, but that aspect of it is getting really old.
Frankly I didn’t care when they knocked Vickie, Anna, Tyler’s uncle, Caroline’s father and a few of the others off. Given the theme of the story, people dying is pretty much a given.
Jenna Sommers, John Gilbert, Lexi Branson (yeah, I know, she wasn’t an MC, but I liked her), Carol Lockwood, Alaric Saltzman (I’m still a little ticked over that), and now…Jeremy Gilbert?!
We’re talking not quite four seasons here, and the cast is dwindling more and more. The only humans left are Liz Forbes and Matt Donovan – and if Matt dies, I probably will stop watching the show.
Maybe it’s time to hire a few new writers. People who can come up with interesting scripts that don’t rely on reducing the cast every time we blink.
I’m going to stop here before this turns into a rant, or more of a rant than it is. But I have to say…if I wanted a steady dose of depressing ‘reality,’ I’d turn the news on. I don’t watch much television, and when I do, I watch it to escape, not to walk away feeling bummed out when the hour is over.
For some reason Michigan has come up in conversation a few times lately, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some cool information about my habitat.
First, we’re known as the Great Lake State, and we’re as easy to find on a map as Florida. Yup, we’re the state that looks like a mitten, although there’s a lot more to us than our resemblance to winter outerwear. Yup, we also have an Upper Peninsula. And to reach it, without taking the long way (via Wisconsin), or by boat, we have to travel across the Mackinaw Bridge…the third longest suspension bridge in the world. It is beautiful. It’s a masterpiece. And I hate it passionately. Mostly because I also hate heights, and I come close to having a panic attack every time I cross it.
I’ve never made a secret that I live in the country in a small community. So small, in fact, that the four small towns closest to me have a total population of 14,617. If you expand that to include the ‘big’ cities within thirty miles, that number jumps up to 188,358. Those thriving metropolises are Lansing (our state capital) and Battle Creek (home of Sugar Bear and Tony the Tiger).
I didn’t realize just how sparsely populated these areas are until I took a look at Detroit (706,985) – and compared all of them to cities like New York City (8,244,910)and Los Angeles (3,819,702).
But Michigan is a totally cool state. We have a little bit of everything, even tropical weather. Surrounded by so much water, it can get super humid in the summer. Interesting fact: we’re never more than six miles from an inland lake or river – no matter where we are.
We do have surfing:
Did you notice the ice on that guy’s head? You have to be pretty hardy to surf in our lakes. And yes, I went with a video filmed in Minnesota, but only because they’re still surfing in OUR lake. And it’s a cool video. 🙂
And totally cool land formations:
Pictured Rocks is located in our coldest lake, Superior. If you remember the Gordon Lightfoot song, The Edmund Fitzgerald, this is the lake it sunk in.
Speaking of sinking:
Some experts believe that up to 10,000 ships have been lost in the Great Lakes through the centuries, and the location of about a thousand of them are known at this time. Divers come from all over the globe to see them.
Like Islands? We have some of those, too:
Six United States Presidents have stayed at the Grand Hotel. It is the largest ‘summer only’ hotel in the world. In addition, Somewhere in Time (Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour) was filmed there.
Other claims to fame:
Okay, so maybe Da Yoopers are strictly a Michigan thing. We like ’em.
We are home to celebrities who are a little more well known: Francis Ford Coppola (uncle of Nicholas Cage), Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Bruce Campbell (my man Sam in Burn Notice), Taylor Lautner (feel free to swoon), Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper, and Gerald Ford, 38th POTUS.
So anyway…there you have it. Just a few of the reasons I love the fact that I was born and raised…and very proud to say that I still live…in a mitten.
Well…here are a couple more reasons:
So I’m a day late in getting this set up, but a few of you expressed an interest in joining a writing challenge this month. If you click on the ‘Challenge’ tab above, it explains things a little better than I’ll do here.
Wow. I think this is my shortest post ever. 🙂
…and Tim Hawkins can almost always provide one.
I was hoping to get a few giggles from my spam folder, like Jenny Hansen enjoys, but alas, it’s the same old boring stuff.
Through February 8, 2013, I’ll be giving away free copies of my short story, Someday…Maybe to anyone who would like to receive my newsletter . Just click here, fill the form out, and then confirm that you’d like to receive it when you get the email asking you whether you really want it or not. Upon request, I will send previous newsletters for anyone who wants to read the installments of Holding On To Yesterday.
The Saturday afternoon mail delivery brought with it a surprise. Well, maybe to call it a surprise isn’t the most accurate way to describe what this was. A surprise generally involves something nice (unless it’s prefaced with ‘unpleasant’). This wasn’t exactly pleasant. Nope. It looked like some sort of tax statement, and it looked like they’d taken some money out of my account for federal income taxes.
Since banks aren’t open long on weekends, I had to wait until Monday to figure out that it wasn’t a tax, it was for ‘other income.’ The problem was, they didn’t know what it meant, and neither did I. So the woman I talked to promised to find out for me.
And she did.
The other income was actually an iPod they sent me after I opened the account last summer. My old bank flagged my account every time I ordered something two days in a row from Amazon (I buy a lot of books). I wanted a bank that wouldn’t do that.
The woman who set up my account didn’t mention an iPod. And she sure as shooting didn’t say a word about it being ‘income’ I’d have to pay taxes on. If she had, I’d have said thanks, but no thanks. If I wanted one, I would go to the store and buy it.
My daughter was pleased as punch when it came in the mail several weeks later. She’s the reason I had resisted buying one in the first place. In two years time, three cell phones met their electronic maker in the wash/rinse cycles, and one was crushed beneath the tires of my van. I naturally assumed that if her cell phones had short lifespans, something an inch square didn’t stand a chance.
Long story shorter, I’m going to pay $15.00 – $20.00 in income tax on that iPod. Sales tax would have only been $3.90. I’ll grant you that we’re getting it cheap, all things considered, but I’m still offended.
They assumed I opened the account because they sent a flyer through the mail, letting people know about the ‘gift.’ Unfortunately, in my house, if it looks like junk mail, it goes directly in the waste basket.
I wasn’t really awful, but I let the woman know that by not informing me about the iPod/other income/income tax when I opened the account, they not only made an assumption they had no business making, they denied me the right to decide whether I wanted their ‘gift’ or not.
The woman said she would let someone know, and I thought the matter had been dealt with.
Nope. Someone else called about two hours after I finally fell asleep yesterday morning. And this time I really wasn’t happy. Partly because I’d only had eleven hours sleep out of the past forty-eight, partly because I was tired of talking about it.
She just wanted me to know that, because of my experience, they were now going to require anyone wanting one of their ‘other income gifts’ to bring the flyer in with them. And all employees setting up accounts will have to explain that anyone accepting the gifts will have to pay income taxes on it, and not sales tax (which is a whole lot less).
So something good has come of it. At least no one else will wind up with a gift they neither asked for, nor wanted…and then have to pay for it.
Yes, this was a bit of a rant. Have any of you had an experience like mine? If so, what was your reaction? I know that even if the tax bill is $20.00, it isn’t going to make or break my budget, it’s just the principle of the thing.
As is too often the case, sleep is an issue with me again. Or rather LACK of sleep. Insomnia sucks. So does a stomachache. Yup. Which is why I figured it was time to drag myself out to the kitchen and mix up a small glass of what works for me. That would be organic apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and a little bit of water. It works better, and faster, than any antacid I’ve ever tried. It’s kind of nasty, but I can handle a bad taste…IF something works.
Well…also if I don’t have to have too much of it.
Anyway, as is also the case when I desperately need sleep, funny thoughts tend to come to mind. Trust me, there isn’t a whole lot that’s amusing when it comes to vinegar and baking soda.
Unless you happen to be running late for a meeting, and you have a bit of indigestion and decide to save 1/100 of a second…by skipping the water.
Yup. I poured about two tablespoons of the vinegar in a small glass, added half a teaspoon of baking soda, swirled it around a couple of times and tossed it all back like a cowboy chugging a shot glass of whiskey in Miss Kitty’s saloon (Gunsmoke reference for those who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about).
I’ve never tested this theory again. Probably because I intend for the first experience to be the last experience. But I found, at least in that instance, that baking soda doesn’t really dissolve in vinegar.
And I know this because I had half a teaspoon of wet baking soda in my mouth.
Now half a teaspoon of baking soda isn’t that much. Not really. Unless it’s wet, and unless it happens to in your mouth. Then it feels like…oh…maybe two cups.
Because it gets everywhere. I must have gulped a quart of water to get that gritty stuff rinsed out.
And moral of this story is… Two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar and half a teaspoon of baking soda will get rid of nearly every case of indigestion. But only if you use a little water with it.
Of course if you’d like to prove me wrong, have at it. Maybe I didn’t swirl it in the glass long enough. If you try it, let me know how that works for you.
I’m going to try to get some sleep now.