Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Fickle Finger of Fate

I did a writing exercise with a new friend of mine where we wrote different stories using the same prompt. The prompt was "Write about the fickle finger of fate" and let me tell you, I had a heck of a time doing that. It took me three times and a small idea from Don to finally get the story. I haven't been doing much creative writing, so this is just the oil on my rusty creative writing joints. I hope you enjoy it anyways. I might finish the other two ideas I started and post them as well and see which one people like better.
The Fickle Finger of Fate

It was the fickle finger of fate that has gotten me here. It tore me from my house, away from my Ma and Pa and tied skin tearing ropes around my wrists. The fickle finger of fate beckoned me out of the caged wagon that I had seen so many other guilty women in before and lead me to the lake. But I am not guilty. I am not a witch. I am innocent.

It was the fickle finger of fate that brought Jonathan and I together. It was the Sunday that I had forgotten my bible. As I heard Pa bring the wagon to the front of the house, I prayed to God. “Dear God, please don’t let Pa notice that I don’t have my bible.” I frantically searched in the ground around my father’s work shop for something that looked square enough to hide my secret.

“Abigail!” I heard my mother call. My toe hit it first and I bent over to pick it up. It was wide enough to look like a bible under my skirt. I hid it in the pocket of my apron and ran across the field and joined Giles in the back of the wagon as my Ma sat next to my Pa in the front. I slid the piece of wood further into my pocket and felt my he art pound as Pa looked back at me. His moustache twitched as he looked down at my pocket. “Dear Lord, please don’t let Pa know I lost my bible. I will promise to be more careful and keep your word close to my heart as you have asked me to and never lose it.” I knew Pa would give me twice the lickings if he knew that I had substituted the bible for a log.

God answered my prayers and Pa looked away, hitting the horses’ backs with his reigns and encouraging them with a clicking noise. My feeling of relief lasted briefly as we made our way to the church. The rocking of the wagon churned the nerves in my stomach. The entire congregation would judge me as a heathen if I pulled the log out of my pocket and put it on my lap as if it were the bible. I would bring shame to my Pa and receive even more lickings. I began to regret looking for the log and began to curse the devil for planting the idea in my head. But cursing Satan wouldn’t replace my bible in my apron pocket.

When we arrived at the church, there were few wagons there. My Pa insisted on coming to church early to show God and Pastor Howland how pious he and his family were. This had worked to my advantage, giving me enough time to linger and rid myself of the cursed log. After Pa tied the horses to the fence and Ma gathered little Giles in her arms, I remained sitting. Pa gave me a stern look, waiting for me to get up and follow him. His stern eyes almost made me drop my confession and log into his hands, but the memory of the last beating I received for forgetting to milk the cows kept me silent.

“Sir, the ride today left me feeling sick. May I please take a minute to try to catch my breath?” I was finally able to say, however nervously. I did feel sick, but not from the shaky wagon ride I take every Sunday. I felt pale and hot and I must have looked this way for Pa nodded his permission. I watched him walk until I was assured that he was inside the church.

I looked around to see if there was anyone around. I did not see a soul. I pulled the log out of my pocket and looked at it. It was an imbecile thing to do. Pastor Howland would surely ridicule me in front of the entire congregation and make an example of me to all the other kids in the town. I knew I would never be able to live it down. God would never forgive me.

“Is that a log in your pocket?” a voice said, causing me to jump and drop the log. It was not my father, but it might as well have been.

“Good Morning Jonathan” I nodded my head down, both out of respect and to hide the blush on my face and the beating of my frightened heart. As I kept my eyes on the floor, I watched as Jonathan Howland’s hand came into view from my bonnet and picked up the log at my feet.

“What in the good lord’s name are you doing with a log Abigail?” the Pastor’s son asked me.

“I-uh…” I stammered, not able to come up with a very quick excuse. I knew I was done for. Jonathan would surely tell his father and he would never talk to me. He was 3 years older than me and out of school already and had barely talked to me before, but I did not want him ignoring me.

All of a sudden I heard him laugh. It started off small and turned to a sweet, jolly chuckle. I listened for a second with my head still bowed. I looked up and he was shaking his head and chuckling at me with the most beautiful smile on his face. I had never known how beautiful his smile was until it was directed at me.

“You are a strange little girl Abigail,” He said. I quickly bowed my head and began to race away when he stopped me.

“I think you dropped this.” I was expecting to see him holding out my log, but instead he held out a bible. I didn’t ask any questions, I kept my head bowed and took the bible from him and hurried back to the church. Later during the service, I saw him looking at me. When he caught my eye, he gave me a mischevious smile. I quickly turned away, but slowly turned to look at him again and managed to return a small smile.

The fickle finger of fate is a cruel child playing with its toys, for without my bible, Jonathan and I would never have become friends. It was also a piece of evidence used against me in my trial.

The fickle finger of fate put that stone in my hand. The fickle finger of fate pointed the way, straight to Martha’s head. She was a friend. But she was also a witch. All the girls said so. They claimed on God’s Word that Martha had danced naked, then forced them to dance naked to call up the devil to help her farm. One girl even confessed that Martha was going to sacrifice her. How could those girls lie? They were confessing in a church. They swore to our Heavenly Lord to tell the truth. They weren’t lying. Martha was a wicked, wicked witch who made a pact with the devil every year so he would make her farm grow abundantly. She had sacrificed the girls that had disappeared over the years. Martha was a witch.

Everyone in town showed up to stone her. We must all come together to rid ourselves of the evil. The devil cannot defend himself against a crowd of God loving Puritans. My Pa forced me to come, my Ma told me that they were just stoning out the devil in her and that she would live. I hated the devil that lived in Martha, and I hated Martha for killing those girls and being a witch among such pure people. I picked up a rock and threw it at her.

The fickle finger of fate is an accuser, pointing out the hypocrites and traitors.

The fickle finger of fate moved Jonathan’s lips into that smile and made me fall in love with him. The fickle finger of fate caused him to tempt me. The fickle finger of fate led us to the pond in the middle of the night.

I had no idea we were going to the pond. I would have never said yes. Since a child I had been afraid of water. But he snuck to my house in the middle of the night and threw pebbles at my window. He beckoned me-the fickle finger of fate beckoned me- out to join him. We had become good friends and we talked a lot at church. I knew my parents wanted me to marry him. He was the pastor’s son, he was strong and pure, he was the perfect husband. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so mad at me sneaking out of the house if they knew I was going with Jonathan Howland. This is what I told myself as I grabbed my shawl and slipped out the back door.

“Where are we going?” I whispered to him.

“Shh, you’ll see.” He whispered back, almost sensuously. I knew that he wasn’t capable of the kind of passion I often dreamt he would have in my most wicked dreams, but I knew he was a good man and he would treat me good and he would give me many children.

It was quite a long walk in the dark and when we began to walk through the thick forest he took my hand. The walk seemed shorter after that since all I could think about was my hand in his.

Soon we were standing on the edge of the pond and in a flash he was taking off his clothes and stood there in his long johns. I was shocked and scared. I did not know if he intended to take me or make me swim, but both those options scared me. Despite my dreams, God would not approve of such actions between two unmarried people. And I refused to swim. Swimming scared me more than defying God.

Jonathan got very close to me. “Let’s go swimming Abby.” He whispered. It was the first time he called me Abby and for a minute I was almost convinced. But I looked at the water past his shoulder and stood my ground.

“No, God would not approve, our parents would not approve.”

“Our parents aren’t here,” he leaned his head down to look me in the eyes .

I backed away from his warmth and seduction. “But God is here!” I persisted.

He suddenly got annoyed. “Where was God when you left your house with me?”

I did not know how to answer that question. Where was he? He was far from my mind as I defied my parent’s and the church’s rules. Where was he now, when I was scared and guilty and wanted to go back home and get away from Jonathan and the icy water?

“I know you love me Abigail. We will get married. But I have to know you, and you have to trust me. Come into the water with me,” he said sternly. It was a different kind of stern than my father. It wasn’t the kind of stern that made me obey, it was the kind of stern that made me shiver with fear and know that obeying would be worst than not obeying.

“No Jonathan, I will do now such thing. I will not lay with you and I will not get into the water with you.” I tried my own stern voice but it came out as a squeak. Jonathan grabbed my wrist and began pulling me to the shore.

“No!” I yelled, but he didn’t stop. That was when I started screaming and panicking. I pulled with all my strength and hoped that I could match Jonathan’s. The pure fear in me pushed me and I finally released myself and pushed Jonathan away with all my strength.

“You harlot!” he called after me. “You will regret denying me you witch!”

I should’ve listened. I should’ve stayed and I should’ve apologized and told him about my fear. But instead I ran. I ran and I didn’t even know where I was running to. I had gotten lost but somehow managed to make it home in time to milk the cows.

It was the fickle finger of fate that condemned me for being pure.


“She told me to meet me at her house in the middle of the night and she wanted to go for a walk with me. She acted like she didn’t know where she was going and I ended up walking to the pond since I visit there so frequently. She then told me to take my clothes off and I had thought we were to go swimming. I took off everything but my long johns, and she got completely naked. I was ashamed to see her in that way since she is not my wife and I asked her to put her clothes back on but she didn’t. She moved closer to me and I backed away into the water for I was afraid of her seduction. I began to get into the water and she got very angry. When I asked her to get into the water she began to scream and speak in tongues about how the water will kill her. She attacked me but I managed to push her off of me and escape,”

“Jonathan Howland, do you swear upon the Lord’s word that Abigail James was possessed by the devil and that she has practiced witchcraft?”

“Yes sir, I do.”


It was the fickle finger of fate that they executed to death by drowning. It was the fickle finger of fate that nobody believed me, not even my own parents for why would the pastor’s son lie? It was the fickle finger of fate that a man I refused to do impure things with accused me of being a witch. It was the fickle finger of fate that twisted my innocent life around its finger like the rocks around my feet and chose my fate.

I was brought to the middle of the lake by two strong men, with rocks tied to my feet and wrists. I saw the entire town watching on, waiting to rid themselves of another evil. But I am not evil, I am Abigail Smith and I was to marry the pastor’s son, and I love God.

I will not kick and scream as they throw me to the bottom of the lake and watch to make sure I don’t resurface. For I will let the fickle finger of fate point to them and tell them all that I didn’t die the way they expected me to.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

When I was younger and living in Japan we used to have typhoon days-the island version of snow days. You can't go outside, you can't drive anywhere, and you'd be lucky if you had cable. Typhoon days always meant one thing: craft day. Every typhoon day I would sit in my bed and do some sort of craft. Some days I would fold cranes, some days I would write and some days I would draw. There were a few times where I beaded things, or braided this rope I had from a basket together and make keychains. But I remember sitting in bed, listening to the radio, and doing some sort of craft.

It was a rainy day today and I was reminded of what I really loved about rainy days. It forced you to stay inside and get inside things done. Now I am older and I do things differently now. Today I went for an interview and hung out with my boyfriend. But I wonder... without those things and a computer to distract me, what would I do on a rainy day?

1.)Fold cranes. For about 4 years now I have been trying to fold 1000 cranes. I have about 500 now, and for a long time there I had a lot too. But then my brother needed them for his class and he promised to give them back... and he never did. I did a lot of them for Paper Cranes for Writers [a movement to show support to Heroes writers during the writer's strike] but had to send them all into the writers. I have probably folded over 1000 since I learned, but I don't have them all with me. I used to carry a little box with me with the paper in it and fold cranes during class. I know, this is dorky, but it was very therapeutic. I have neglected my crane folding habit, but I would pick it up on a rainy day.
How To Make a Paper Crane

2.) Sew. Create something. If you have a sewing machine, try something easy and useful. When I was younger, on my rainy days, I used to sew together scraps from my Mom's sewing projects into tiny little crazy quilts.
ThreadBanger always has great stuff that young people can make and wear. I also frequent CraftStylish and CraftGossip for great and easy tutorials.

3.) Write.
creativewritingprompts.com has a massive archive of writing prompts to get you started. Even if you're not a writer, try your hand at some of these!

4.) Read. If you're like me, 80% of your bookshelf has books that were only touched when you stole them from school or got them for 50 cents at a used book sale. Pick one up, start reading! Once you start, you may not be able to put it down, and you'll have a 79% of your bookshelf unread! Or you can head on over to
fictionpress.com and find some amateur writing, which I personally love.

5.) Organize your drawers. I'm sure everyone reading this has a messy drawer right now unless you're perfect. If you haven't gone through it in a while, take out the stuff that doesn't fit you and that you never wear. Or refold the shirts that got shoved away while you were looking for the Kelly shirt at the bottom of the shirt drawer.... One thing I did recently was put all my bras and panties into a box and then put perfum ads in there to make it smell pretty!

6.) Go play in the rain. You might get sick and you might look stupid, but playing in the rain can be an exhilirating and wild experience. Here's a better suggestion-- get some rain boots and splash in some puddles with someone special!

These are the things I would do. If you have a blog and you're one of my followers, I just tagged you to write about a rainy day next time you have one. :) Enjoy God's shower!

You Saw It Here First!: Mackenzie Sims

Since 1998, the Oscoda-Wurtsmith has offered a $3000 Pilot’s Training Scholarship to the young men and women of Alcona and Iosco counties who are interested in flight. However, only one young citizen can win this award and this year it went to Alcona’s very own Mackenzie Sims.

Between the months of December and April, Mackenzie tackled the grueling process of filling out scholarship applications. He has had his eye on the Pilot’s Training Scholarship since noticing a poster advertising it in the hallways of his school-Alcona High. He filled out the long application and went through the entire Federal Aviation Administration handbook to find the answers to 8 questions that could make or break his dreams.

A year ago, Sims applied for this scholarship. However, he soon found out that he was 2 weeks behind on making the age limit. The requirements for the Pilot’s Training Scholarship declare that you must be 16 years old by April 1 of the year the scholarship is awarded. Mackenzie was a little too late and his application was ignored.

Sims has had a dream of flight since he was 5. He says that it was Luke Skywalker who made him fall in love with flight. “I saw him blasting tie fighters out of the sky and though ‘that’s what I’m going to grow up to do.’” It was a few years later that he realized that shooting space fighters out of the sky was not a reality, but he still wanted to be off the ground. It was also around this time that he began to see how important freedom and his country was.

Hence, Sims decided to join his fascination with flight and the call of duty to his country that he felt dwelling inside him. He says he was always built for the military, that when he was young he was bringing his parent’s home finger painted tanks. Sims plans on joining an ROTC program, choosing from a wide variety of schools that will offer him the training he seeks.

After college, he plans to enlist in the military and eventually lead the Airborne Infintry. However, through his glasses, he has a setback. Some flight services, such as fighter pilots, in the military will not allow those without 20/20 vision to fly and Mackenzie wears glasses. But Sims won’t let that stop him, he will take all the roads that are open to him and succeed.

Sims has accomplished many things on the road to his dreams. He started with building model rockets and model airplanes, started flying remote controlled airplanes on the Great Lakes Signal Aces group, and is currently a Civil Air Cadet on the U.S. Civil Air Control where he is a Cadet Master Sergeant.

Sims started his training two weeks ago and is having a great time. He has already learned torking tendencies, and has learned the controls and gauges. He is very surprised at the amount of hands on learning he’s been getting so early in his training.

Sims would like to thank family friends Richard and Gale Simmons for supporting him, County Commisioner Kevin Boyat for his final recommendation, and John Barsalau, the Airport Manager at the Wurtsmith Airport for encouraging him. He is the son of Gary and Connie Sims of Alcona.
Sometimes I amaze myself...
Again, this is the raw article, my editor hasn't edited it yet. I want to know what you think. I didn't make him sound like I thought he was amazing did I?

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Real Journalistic Experience and a Really Bad Interview

When I first started my internship at The Alcona County Review, I was asked to bring in a couple of story ideas of what I would like to write about. Don's mother had given me an idea--Write about the new building going up on the edge of Church Street. She said "Everyone wants to know what the hell is going up there!" So I go into Cheryl's office [my boss] and tell her that I want to do this. She gives me the information I need to know, and I get to work.

Pam Burt is the name of the lawyer who is trying to open up this old parts shop into a farmer's market. I call her, and have a heck of a time getting through to her. When I finally do, she tells me that she doesn't want me to do the story quite yet and that she'll call me back.

This is mid-May.

She calls me while I'm healing from my tooth extraction. So I call her back and finally get a hold of her when I feel like I can do an interview. She tells me that the Farmer's Market isn't ready, but the Dairy Dome is. The Dairy Dome is a little old igloo thing that used to serve ice cream way back in the 80's. Her brother is trying to open it up. So she tells me that I can do the story on the Dairy Dome. Cheryl doesn't like that, she wants me to wait. So I tell this to Pam Burt. Pam Burt tells me she'll just give the story to the Alpena News.

And then it hit me. I just experienced my first competitive journalistic experience! Ok, it's not much, and I wasn't really involved, but it was a little taste and it was a little surreal.

But it gets better. Yesterday I was in Harrisville with Don. I was wearing boxers, a t-shirt, a hoodie, and boots. I didn't even have any socks or makeup on. [P.S. This is what I wear when Don and I are just watching a movie after having a long day] And I saw that the Dairy Dome had a surprise opening. Pam told me they were opening on the 4th! And I'm looking around and everyone from the community is there, like Pam's brother just went to every business and all of his friends and said "Hey, I'm spontaneously opening my business up, if we get enough people to gather outside it, more people will come."

Oh my god, I should have been there! I was so torn! There I was sitting in my relaxing clothes not relaxing at all! I'm grungy looking, and I don't have a pen and paper to my name at this point. But on the other hand, no one's out there and Cheryl would love me if I wrote this, even though she said no! And that's another point; she said no. But maybe she didn't know the severity of this issue. Everyone's wanted the Dairy Dome to open up for a long time, and this would be GREAT to put in the paper.

As you can tell, I'm still a little bit torn about it. I don't know if I should be the good intern who does what she's told, or be the initiative journalist and go out and do a spontaneous story in boxers and uggs.

Here's another story about my negativity's with journalism.

I had a really bad interview today. I have to do another article like the Spotlight I did on Joe Lavigne. Except now I have to do it on Mackenzie Sims. Let me just put it simply-- I am not too thrilled to be another beat on this guy's personal drum. He thinks he's cooler than an electric knife. And I have to interview him on his latest accomplishment: a pilot's training scholarship.

Let me tell you something about Mackenzie that is imperative to this story. He has a very unique stutter. Not only does he stutter on his first letters, but he does this speech impediment movement where he searches around for a very long time to find what he's going to say. And when he does find it, he either A.) doesn't say it because he thinks that his stuttering episode was him actually talking and you should have understood it or B.) tries to say the word three times. Now. I'm not making fun of people with stutters. I myself have a lisp. But he acts like his shit doesn't stink ww-wh-when it d-d-does.

So first of all, he shows up late. Kids, remember always show up 15-5 minutes before your appointment, it shows that you take it seriously. The first thing he does when he sits me down is tells me that all he wants is to have a shout out to the people that helped him. Then we conduct the interview. Halfway through, I ask him what his other accomplishments have been through his high school. He says "I don't... uh... well... people already...uh........." then he beats on his chest with his fist and says "You know?" Now, I could understand what this awkward hand gesture meant-that people already think he's a horn tooter, and this would just further his cause. I guess he's just done TOO much for anyone to handle! Towards the end, his stuttering problem started getting really bad and I'm not understanding where he's going with any of his stories and the clock has hit 1 hour since he showed up late. I hurry up and wrap things up and tell him that I need a picture.

And he tells me "uhh... well... could you uh... umm... well... ha!" He tells me that the Oscoda News [the next town over that's big enough to have a newspaper] recently did a photoshoot of the pilot trainees at the airstrip and that I can just go over there and get their pictures because "they took a really good one." That really ticked me off. I was already pretty annoyed because this was taking so long and he wasn't saying anything of use. And he tells me that I have to go get a picture from ANOTHER newspaper? It doesn't work that way! I say "Well, I got my camera here, why don't we just go take a quick shot now" and I'm trying my best to coerce him into just taking the picture! He's stuttering a million reasons no, but I'm not understanding them because they're all a bunch of nervous noises. And then I realize that he's not going to let me take a picture with my camera and I get upset. Because I know what the reason is. He doesn't want HIS face on MY camera. He has no problem if some other reporter took the picture, just as long as I didn't. And, when we were scheduling this interview, he said "I don't want you to know where I live, so why don't we meet at Simple Miracles?" I asked him if he would email me a picture, and he starts acting like THAT'S a problem too, like he doesn't want me having his email address.

I finally gave him my email address, told him that he must send me a picture by Monday before 10. He asked if it was imperative and I said yes, it's pretty imperative. I couldn't believe it. He thought he was better than me, didn't want me to know too much of his personal information like I'm just going to stalk him. As if I fabricated this entire interview just to talk to him. I was so upset. I wanted to say "Look, we're not in school anymore, and I'm trying to be a professional, so stop being a jerk."

Don told me something that is so true, that years down the road I will wish I could have more interviews like Mackenzie's because interviews in the real world of journalism can go a lot worst. And he's right, I'm going to be begging to do interviews with just regular old egotistical high school students after a hard day.

While Don had the kisses to ease the pain, Winnie had the best explanation.

As a journalist you will encounter so many others
that will try to make you feel
like an ant. You will just have to remember
you are a monster ant that is
ready to bite the living @#%& out of them and your words
can make or break
You live and learn, and these are just a few of my adventures in Journalism.

This is what my horoscope said for today:

An awkward social moment is forgotten, as your
workload increases. Your
life doesn't get much easier, though. There are
changes in your assignment that
makes it hard to complete it on time. Be
patient. Try not to blow a fuse.

And so I just need to forget about these things, and continue on. I have two business briefs that haven't even been started that are due on Monday. So I guess there's some things I need to focus on!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I am currently really into this game Set. It's like my Solitaire. Whenever someone is on the phone, Set is the first thing I go to to cure my visual boredom. I was first introduced to it last year by some Knowledge Bowl friends. Knowledge Bowl is a game like Jeopardy played by high school kids all over Northern Michigan. A girl showed me the game, and it took me a while to learn, and I only played it for about a week, but I couldn't wait until I could get out there on the lunch table and try my hand.

Here's all there is to it:

You have to find sets. All the cards are unique and it comes in these categories
1.) Shape [Circle, Diamond, Squiggle]
2.) Color [Red, Purple, Green]
3.) Number [One, Two, Three]
4.) Shading [Hollow, Striped, Bold]

You have to try to make sets of three out of the cards given to you. They either have to all be the same, or they have to all be different. For example, you can have a set of purple striped diamonds, but they all have to be purple, striped, and diamonds. And you have to have 1 diamond, 2 diamonds, and 3 diamonds on different cards.
Or, you can have something different. You can have three cards with three circles on them. But they either have to be all bold/hollow/striped and of different colors, or you can have one of each kind of shading and color.

There are a bunch of different combinations, and all the cards are unique, so you have to keep your eye out. There are much better rules on the site I've provided above, AND it has this cool little hint button! I looked everywhere for that because it's kind of hard to play the game without it, you'll give up really easily, and that's no fun either!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kittens and Bears

I got some t-shirts from Threadless about 2 weeks ago and they finally came in! Threadless was having a sale; $5 for a t-shirt. 5 is a pretty popular number isn't it? Surprisingly, my grandparents really liked the kitten one, which is in a way sort of disappointing. I got it because it was offensive. Baby and Kitty eating are my choice offenses. Oh well, here they are.

"I feel all warm and fuzzy inside like I swallowed a kitten"

"You know, sometimes I feel pretty average"

Alcona High Student Gets Accepted To Interlochen

17 year old Joseph Mark LaVigne of Harrisville has just been accepted to the Interlochen Arts Academy for his senior year of high school for their music section.

Interlochen Arts Academy is the first fine and most prestigious fine arts academy in Michigan. Located in Interlochen, Michigan, it offers courses in creative writing, dance, motion picture arts, music, theatre arts, and visual arts to grades 9-12. Interlochen also offers an extra year to students who choose to stay and complete a year of college there. There are about 500 students attending the school, making it one of the most prestigious high schools in Michigan.

LaVigne likes to show off the part of his acceptance letter that states he was chosen out of 1000 other applications. “When I got the letter, my heart was pounding for three weeks.” LaVigne won his acceptance on his percussion skills. The most amazing fact about this is that he has only been playing the drums for three years. He only recently got his own drum set, through those three years he has never owned his own drum set. Instead, he would practice for hours at school. “I would stay after school for two hours and just practice.”

LaVigne has been involved with music since middle school where he played the saxophone. He started music because he couldn’t find any other elective and needed a hobby. “I’m not a sports person, I’m more creative” he admits. He played the saxophone for three years until he started high school and then found an interest in drums. That was when he started getting passionate about music.

“The drums are really interesting; there are so many different kinds. There’s the xylophone, marimba, and tympani….” LaVigne plays all percussion on the Alcona High School band and on a full sized drum kit on his free time. But he doesn’t restrict himself to that. He’ll often start tapping out a beat with his toes or his pencil and experiment with different sounds. His newest technique is taking a violin bow to anything that will make noise.

While his acceptance into Interlochen is his proudest achievement, it’s not his only. He was awarded the Directors Award for the school band in 2006, the Patrick S. Gilmore Band Award in 2007, the Musician of Excellence award in 2008, and the High School Band Award in 2009. He was thinking about Interlochen for two years before now and finally decided to apply.

LaVigne isn’t sure of his plans after Interlochen. He believes that more doors will open up for him after his senior year. He plans to either become a music teacher, an elementary school teacher, or hopefully a professional musician.

Besides drums, Joe also enjoys playing the guitar, the piano, and art. He will be leaving Alcona on the 3 of September to start school September 8. He will be living in a dorm room on campus for the entire school year. His parents Kathy and Joe LaVigne are immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments. Joe is also the proud grandson of Monafay and Rick Rozanek from Alcona and Victoria Evans of Oscoda.

To help fund his tuition to Interlochen, Mr. and Mrs. Lavigne will be holding a Garage and Bake Sale at the Mikado Market on July 11 &12.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Swimming Hole; Harrisville's Hidden Treasure.

Down a dirt road, teetering on the edge of the town of Harrisville lies a gem. A crystal clear body of water, covered by trees and barbed wired fences. It may be slightly illegal to go to, but the police don't care as long as you're not trashing the area. But why would anyone want to? The clear, small, deep body of water is so beautiful, you almost don't want to jump in.

I went there the first time last summer. The Swimming Hole is actually an old quarry that got filled with water over the years after the all the minerals were taken out. There's a few little fish [although now that I think about it, I don't know how those got there] and some rumored snapping turtles. When I first got there, I was amazed by its beauty, but a little creeped out by the fact that it was a query and thought the water was unsafe. But Don had been swimming there for years and he wasn't glowing green yet, so I jumped in. Let me tell you, you have never felt anything as clear as this water. If you don't think that water can feel clear, you are absolutely mistaken. It feels like a breath of spring air, but on your chest instead of inside it.

Besides its clear water, the Swimming Hole has other magical attributes. There's no outside water corrupting it and it's pretty small [about half a mile long, and 500 yards wide] so therefore it gets warmer faster. That's a big deal when you only have about a month to swim if you swim at the lake here in Northern Michigan. It's June and I can already swim at the swimming hole,so I start my summer early. And The Swimming Hole is relativley private. You have to go through the woods and find a hole in the fence to get there. Only twice, between this summer and last summer, have I seen other people there besides who I bring. It's like having your own personal beach.

Today, Don and I had one of these such encounters. We had just arrived when we heard a car pull up. It took a while, but finally a man came down the path and greeted us. We thought that he was going to tell us that we weren't supposed to be there, but instead he said "So... this is the famous swimming hole?" and sat down and talked to us for an hour. He said that he had lived in this area for a while and never heard of this place until he saw us swimming there last week. He saw us swimming there again and decided to see what was going on. It was pretty nice to have him there because it took my mind off the sun burning my skin. But he didn't overstay his "welcome". He left when Don got in the water.

It's been a pretty rainy June, and it's kicked up a lot of murk from the bottom and created a lot of algae on the top, so I don't think it's the best season to go swimming there, but who cares? It's 80 degrees and that water is nice and cold. Perhaps I'll go again tomorrow.

PLUS! Don doing Asian Poses!

THE couple picture

There was this tremendous overtaking of fog yesterday at the end of Harrisville by the harbor, so Don and I went to inspect it. I brought my camera and took this beautiful candid shot. Maybe I really like it because my eyes are especially blue, and Don is kissing me, but I think it's just a perfect picture of us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Italian Rice Salad

For Father's Day, I made this rice salad. I love light italian foods! Capers, red onions, artichoke, white wine, feta, tomatoes, all that good light stuff that's in italian food. This recipe has the first three of that list, so I immediately loved it!

Here's What You'll Need:
3 cups cooked, slightly warm basmati rice [the warmth brings out the flavor of the other ingredients]
1 cup chopped red, green and/or orange sweet pepper [I used all 3]
1 6oz jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup raisins [trust me, you'll want those in there. I was skeptical, but it gives it a good citrus taste in the occasional bite]
2 tablespoons drained capers
Organic mixed salad greens, mesclun, or torn romaine [I used salad greens]
Fresh basil leaves [this is an option that I didn't take]

Here's How You Do It!
In a large bowl, combine rice, sweet pepper, artichokes, red onion, raisins and capers. Stir vinaigrette and drizzle over rice mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill. The recipe says to put the rice mixture on the salad greens, but you're going to mix it in anyways, so throw the grass in!

Now, I bought a bottle of garlic vinaigrette. If you can't find one in your local food store, or just want to make your own, the recipe gave instructions on how to make your own.

Here's What You'll Need:
1/2 cup canola or sunflower oil
1/3 cup snipped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried dillweed.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves of garlic; minced

Here's What You Do!
Whisk it all together.

Now, to me, that sounds pretty hard, and not as delicious as the store bought stuff, but if you wanna try it, by all means, be my guest!
Here's the end product!

Chi Chi no Hi WHOOOO~!!

Happy Father's Day to my father, my father's father, and my father's father's fathers. And all you other fathers. Happy fathers day to me, because my girlfriend Helena is now pregnant. Thank you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Join Me In The Asian Fun With Asian Poses!

I found this challenge on my friend Jordan's blog Sans Raison. It's called Asian Pose, and it's as it sounds. You've seen those pictures of the asian girls doing ridiculously cute poses? Well this site challenges you, as the Not-Asian person, to make a feeble attempt to be as cute as the asian girls who do these poses. Trust me, you'll never be as cute, which is why they're fun. Take a look around on the site, my favorite ones are when black/fat/white guys try to do them! The site also gives you a whole low down of all the poses done, and they give you many examples.

Asian Poses

I have just official challenged you to do this. I challenge you to take as many poses [at least 6 or more] as you feel, and I challenge the braver ones to do an asian pose in at least 3 candid moments. Candid moments include a time when you're not taking a picture of yourself. Try it in a family photo! Do it! Do it!

So I urge you, go forth and [attempt to] be asian! Tell your friends and everything!
Here's my collaboration of asian poses:

Name That Tune! Dell Commercial

Have you seen this commercial? If you have, I'm sure you'd remember it. The first time I saw it, I was laying in my boyfriend's bed ignoring him. And despite the negative circumstances of hearing this for the first time, the song rang into my ears and clung there. It's the whistling man! The whistling just really gets to you!

It's been in my head for a week now and after some youtube investigation, I figured out who sings this ridiculously catchy tune.

Stereo Total
Stereo Total Myspace
"I Love You Ono"on Youtube

Stereo Total is a French-German band from Berlin, consisting of a french girl and a German guy who met in a bakery and started their band in the mid 90's. Their song "I Love You Ono" is the song that appears in this commercial and is made of random objects and letters and whistles. The beginning of their song starts off "I love you ONO/Diamond Ring CHA CHA/Holiday Sun OPQ/Planet earth presents you" It then continues on to sing about big brothers, big sisters, an big fame.

But this song isn't theirs. It's actually a cover of "I Love You Oh No" by The Plastics, a short lived Japanese band from the early 80's. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the original version anywhere, so I can't compare it, but they have to be good for having made this song, being Japanese, and being from the 80's!

I listened to what Stereo Total has on their myspace, and none of it is too memorable. This song is wonderful, but from everything else they have, it just seems that they were just really good singing another band's catchy song and making it big.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dry Socket

Here's the news bruise.
I got my wisdom teeth out on Monday.
Bad idea, don't EVER get your wisdom teeth out. I was very excited, only for the laughing gas, but the weeks worth of pain is not worth the 30 minutes of total relaxation. Because you will not relax anymore after that. My oral surgeon's assistant decided to tell me 5 minutes before she gassed me that I won't be able to smoke otherwise I get this nasty thing called dry socket. Now I'm a smoker, otherwise I wouldn't have asked. I smoked a 3 cigarettes the day after my surgery and swished water around in the hole, ate a hamburger, and used the irrigation tool they give me. This is highly unadvisable. You're not supposed to do this. But I love food and I love cigarettes! How was I supposed to not eat and not smoke? Now I'm sitting here wondering if this pain in my mouth is normal, or dry socket. And I'm running out of motrin.

Here's the story. I'm not a hypochondriac, except when it comes to melanoma and now dry socket. I know it doesn't make sense to only be afraid of melanoma and not lung cancer, but it's true. Lung cancer doesn't scare me. And having to get my teeth pulled later in life doesn't either. But dry socket scares the crap out of me. Every day, every time I think about it, I have to look it up, find out what the symptoms are, listen to people talk about it, find ut how to avoid it... and it scares me so much more. So why do I subject myself to this? I'm trying to comfort myself, but really all I'm doing is scaring myself even more and annoying everyone around me.

But I can't help but think that everything is going wrong. There's a bad taste in the right socket, it's not closing up as fast, it takes longer to respond to the pain meds.... I wish I can just relax about this. My dentist was a jerk when I called him at 9am this morning and asked him about all this, so that didn't really help either.

I hate being so high strung!

Bag Holders!

I made some bag holders today. I found the instructions in Martha Stewart Living (my grandma gets it, so hold you tongue!) and they are mighty useful. They're the bags that you shove plastic bags in and just pull them out when you use them. I once saw that you can use tissue boxes for this purpose, but these are adorable and ridiculously simple. Here's all there is to it:

What You Need:
-A brand new dish cloth.
-A strong, fabric ribbon
-elastic 1/4in.

Here's the dish cloth I used. I would cut the tags that say "machine washable, made in China" off. They look tacky.

Fold it in half hot dog style, the wrong side out.

Pin the two sides together on the opposite side of the fold [the flappy side]. Then sew down that side. I sewed three inches in, but you can do less if you want.

Now you should have a tube, so flip it right side out so the design is on the outside. Now you're going to string some elastic through the seam that is already on the dish cloth. Cut 2 slits on the seam by where the two sides met, one on each side.

You're going to string the elastic through now. I had a hard time doing this at first, then my grandma taught me a trick; pin a safety pin through the elastic and use that to sew it through the seam. Just keep pushing fabric on in, and pulling it over the elastic. I don't know how much elastic you'll need, just sew it through until you get through the other end, the leave a two inch tail on each end. Pull the ends together to squeeze the hole relativley shut, then tie the elastic together. Use the safety pin to pin up anything that is lose and ugly.

This is what it should look like after the elastic affair. Repeat on the other side.

Now, sew the straps on. You can make them as long or as short as you want. Mine is somewhere in between. It all depends on the space you're making it for.

Now you're done! So simple and so useful right? I made two of these-one or my Aunt Sarah, and the other for my apartment.

One more thing. A while back I madea bathing suit using a tutorial from
ThreadBanger. It ended up beng a total fail because my butt was too big for the instructions, and it was my first time at the sewing machine in years. So it was too small and very crooked. But I love the way it turned out. I would've put hearts on the tops, but I'm seriously never going to wear this thing, so I didn't even bother. I will put hearts on the boobs of the next bathing suit I make. Here it is:

Monday, June 15, 2009

LED Sheep

Very very hilarious, only because they're working with sheep, and sheep-like cows, are stupidly hilarious. Poor things are being chased by collies with christmas lights wrapped around their bodies and they don't even care! They're just running!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You Saw It Here First!: Maggies on Main

“Maggies on Main, Where You’ll Find a Unique Gift For Every Occasion” is the tagline for this adorable gift shop settled in the back of the Harbor Town Mall, and it definitely rings true. Maggie’s sells a wide variety of gifts, including greeting cards, figurines, trinkets, candles, dolls, baby stuff, books, and jewelry. There are gifts here for mom, dad, daughter, sister, grandfather, and friend. But perhaps the hottest commodities are jewelry and Webkinz. Maggies on Main is the only store in Harrisville that sells Webkinz and they sell fast.

Despite the name, the owners name is not Maggie, it is Diedre Gray. The original owner had named the store after her grandmother, giving it the name Maggies Gifts. It was the first shop in the Harbor Town Mall, and in its seven years of business under the owner, it became a house name across Northern Michigan. So when Deidre Gray took over the business in the fall of 2008, she kept the name “Maggie” and re-titled it to Maggies on Main.

“We’re just a small town gift store that provides great service” says Gray. Great service and great gifts is something that the people of Alcona County can truly enjoy. New gifts arrive every day, so there’s always something new.

Store hours are Monday-Wednesday and Saturday 10am-5pm, Thursday 10 am-6pm, and they are open all season long. Store location is on Main Street in Harrisville at the end of the Harbor Town Mall. Gray’s website where she posts item updates for her store and events happening around town is www.maggiesonmain.blogspot.com/.


[Here is my raw, unedited version of my newest article about a gift shop in Harrisville.]

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Harrisville's Community Wide Garage Sale

If there's one thing you know, know this: I love garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, and of course-thrift stores. I'm a poor teenager who can't afford new things, and isn't reusing on of the three "R"'s of Greenliness? You can walk into a thrift store with $20 and come out wit $5 and about 4 more outfits. Anyone who says that it doesn't make sense to be in love with thrift stores must have way too much money on their hands.

Besides being a Used Things Junky, I am very good at it. After all, aren't junkies just good at what they're addicted to. I've never heard of a bad crack addict. I will find the most hidden treasures, and I don't even know how. Just about 2 weeks ago, I was in St. Vinnies [our county's thrift store] and just happened to see a box under a table. They ended up having the most adorable banana slippers in them! I am a self proclaimed Used Things Junky/Hunter.

Today was the Harrisville's Community Wide Garage Sale. I had reported on it a while back and was actually timing my summer off of it. Just the other day I thought "Summer hasn't really started until I go to that garage sale." I was waiting every weekend for the day to roll by.

I got a bit of a late start since I had an interview at 10 and had to wait for my boyfriend Don to roll out of bed, but we hit the garage sale lined pavement at around 11 am. Harrisville had such a wonderful, friendly atmosphere going on. First of all, I'm not a big fan of Alcona, but I think that Harrisville is one of the cutest, most beautiful and proud areas I have ever been too. It's the small town with the single traffic light, a small gas station and grocery store and well kept lawns and beautiful old houses. It's an adorably small harbor town that sits on Lake Huron. And I love it. All the people are very communal, so you can expect that the streets were full of people doing the same thing we were. I loved the feeling of that, and it's a feeling you can't find anywhere else.

We shopped, we drove around, we saw some friends, got some food, and cruised and played Don's stereo system real loud, and this is our end result:

[I don't know how this works, but I'm sure you can click on the picture to enlarge it]

1.) Antique beer bottles: Don found some antique beer bottles from Holland. He collects beer, so besides appliances for our apartment, that's all he looked out for. He was pretty happy about them, and he even made me smell the inside to smell the fermented drops of beer.

2.) This is a blacklight. I always found blacklights to be fascinating, and this was cheap, stands on it's own, and came with the lightbulb.

3.) Mille Bornes! [French for A Thousand Miles] I used to play this game with my younger brother a lot, and totally forgot about it. When I saw it at the church, I got real excited again. It's great finding things from your past that you can use in your present.

4.) Some books. I have a real hard time passing up books. I had to stay far away from the library and their book sale, otherwise I would just come home with more books I won't get around to reading.

5.) I found this memo board at this house with a bunch of old style collectibles. They were probably the best house on the block. I figured that Don and I could write notes to each other on it, or a shopping lists, or honey-do lists, or my own personal to-do lists. I thought the roller girl was adorable. It's not exactly the look I'm going for, but I like it a lot.

6.) A little picture that says "Love is brining her flowers from her kitchen." I told Don that he better give me flowers from my kitchen if I buy it. He said "It has naked kids on it." Which is what makes it so irresistable.

7.) I bought this french lady for my Mom. She collects porcelain ladies, and she has a china style cookie jar from DiCamillo bakery, so I figured that this would go nice somewhere.

8.) These are two stacks of postcards, one is postcards from Ireland and the other is cheerleader postcards. I have collected post cards since I was at least 9 years old. I have about 300 in my collection now, not including these. I thnk postcards are always a great find at junk sales, since they're just not that popular. So even though I'm not interested in the topic, I still wanted them.

9.) I had to buy this little girl reading because she was so cheap. I read on a blog [that I can't find] how someone repainted these old figurines into funky colors, I wanted to do that to this little girl! Paint her purple or something! Unfortunently, minutes before I started this blog, I found out that her head fell off...

10.) This is an ashtray of [I think] a woman in the ocean. Don and I have promised each other to only have cool ashtrays in our apartment, and this is the first one. We saw another cool ashtray that had a drunk englishman holding onto a light pole about to hurl. We were going to buy it if it weren't $8.

11.) Some pins. One is a sunflower that looks like it's from the 70's, a bust of a victorian woman, and a Jones soda pin!

I am currently very exhausted, sun burnt, and my elbow hurts from lugging treasures around town [because Don wouldn't]. So I'm going to leave it at this; if you don't go to thrift stores, garage sales, swap meets, and flea markets, it's about time to. You never know what you'll find. One mans trash IS another man's treasure, and another man's after that.

Here's some pictures from the day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Blog.

Starting off; I'm Jenny Nagy and I [currently, though not for long] live in a small town in Northern Michigan. I'm ambitious, goal oriented, and never see the end of many of my projects, but love doing them. I am an aspiring journalist and have been for some time. I am currently in the limbo between what is my old life of high shool and teenage-hood and what is the new life of college and adult-hood. This limbo is called the summer of 2009.

I started this blog because I thought it would be the best way for me to practice my journalism abilities. I keep a personal journal, but that is a place for personal thoughts and hopes and dreams as many private journals are. It is not the place for reviews of the books I have read, or practice for commentary, or links and pictures. This is what my blog will do.

As I continue through this limbo, and eventually ascend to my new life in college, I will chronicle the things that are shaping me into the person I will become. Here you will find tutorials, recipes, book reviews, theories, random thoughts, links, and of course, my writing.

I hope you enjoy and continue to enjoy.