Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31 -- Lisa's Musings on Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day is a red, white and blue, wave-the-flag and-be-proud-to-be-an-American kind of day.

Like July 4 and Veteran’s Day.

I’m so thankful to those men and woman who made – and continue to make – this country the safest, best place in the world in which to live. It’s on these special holidays that I pause and say thank you to every veteran I can find.

And, I’m reminded just how incredibly lucky I am to have been born here.

But this was the first Memorial Day without my dad, who did two tours in Europe during WWII, and the tears began as I drove to the Memorial Day celebration I was covering in Ann Arbor.

I wore my red, white and blue and included an elephant pin with an American flag on it that my dad had given to me. He was a very conservative Republican and today, I wanted to honor everything about him.

Today was about what my dad and so many other soldiers have done for this country and for the freedoms all of us enjoy.

So frankly, I didn’t much care if people in Ann Arbor liked, or didn’t like, the GOP pin I was wearing.

If my dad could bravely serve in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force during WWII, certainly I could be brave enough to wear a GOP pin in Democratic Ann Arbor.

And, as expected, early on, someone took note of the pin.

When I explained its significance, this person said, “Well, there are a few good Republicans around.”

I looked him in the eye and said, “I can assure you, my father was one of them. And so am I.”

I’m sure I made my dad proud. He might have even laughed a little at my brashness. Not that I’ve ever been a shrinking violet, but wearing an elephant pin in Ann Arbor isn’t exactly something I’d normally do.

After a delightful neighborhood parade and an equally enjoyable chat with an Army veteran who had done two tours in Iraq, the tears returned when “Taps” was played at the end of the remembrance ceremony.

The last time I’d heard those bugle notes was at the end of my father’s memorial service in Allmendinger Park in September, which was my next stop.

It was time for a little personal remembrance on this Memorial Day en route home.

My pockets stuffed with tissues, the waterworks began as I started my walk across the park to the bench at the far end of the park. I brushed off the lilac leaves that had fallen on the slates of the bench that bears my dad’s name, and sat a while.

I remembered the good times my father and I had together for the 52 years of my life. It was the first time I’d been back to the spot where some of his ashes had been scattered; where family and friends gathered for his service.

And for the first time since he died, I really broke down and cried.

I wished my dad a Happy Memorial Day, told him I missed him and that I loved him.

Of course, a conversation with my dad wouldn’t be complete without including a “Go Blue,” so that’s how I ended it.

Then I left a mint on the bench because my dad had a wicked sweet tooth just like me. I walked back to my van and didn’t look back.

I hope all of you took a few minutes today to think about all those soldiers who have lost their lives while in the military and all the veterans who returned to American soil but have since gone to heaven.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

And dad, Go Blue!


May 31 -- Part 1 - Lisa's Photo Musings on a Memorial Day event

Here are a selection of photos from today's Memorial Day parade and remembrance ceremony in Ann Arbor.

Part 2 is a more personal look at the Day.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30 - Lisa's Musings (on The Backyard Classic) and Every Day Life

I’m back. Relaxed. Rested. Refreshed. And ready to take on Memorial Day festivities in Ann Arbor tomorrow. Rain or shine.

And, I’m sure that you’ve been frequently checking to see how little Driver did at the Backyard Classic in Bloomington, IL. (Smile)

Well, Driver did exactly what I’d hoped he’d do. He showed his red furry little guts out. Tail a-waggin. He showed better than he’s ever shown before, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of him. He never put a foot in the wrong spot.

He stood like a statue for the male judge -- after melting into male oblivion the first time he met a male judge of the species in the ring. I admit, I was a wee bit concerned about what he might do.

Unfortunately, the judges weren’t as impressed by him as I was. He finished second out of two in his class the first day and third out of four (beating the one dog that had beat him the day before) in his class in the big show.

Was I disappointed? Nope. I had no expectations, and I pretty much figured we’d get beaten. Driver’s a young male and has maturing to do. I know that conformation shows are a beauty contest based on a standard of perfection for the breed; but there’s a lot of subjectivity involved as well.

We experienced it in UKC, and we’ll see it in AKC, as well, and that’s all part of the game. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. In this case the eye of the judge.

Picking a winner is not an easy decision for the judge. And I understand that. Each judge comes into the ring with a preference for something. Some judges weigh how a dog moves more heavily than how it looks standing still. Others like a dog that looks pretty standing still and how it moves is secondary.

You pay your money and you take your chances.

And, if you’re a smart exhibitor, you keep a running list of which judges like your particular dog, and which ones don’t.

So, suffice it to say, I have my first two names on the Do Not Show To Again List.

Yet, despite the dismal show ring results, we had a great time. And both Driver and I had a chance to meet his very handsome daddy named Rev or more formally, Javahill’s I’m a B’Liever, and his delightful owner Donna LaHaise.

It was a great few days of vacation during which I turned off everything that reminded me of “the real world.” I didn’t read a newspaper, nor look at a newspaper headline.

I didn’t listen to the radio or watch the news. I didn’t bring my laptop and I didn’t make or take a single phone call.

For three and a half whole days.

Life went on, the news happened, and someone else covered it.

Now I need to think about answering the exactly 293 e-mails that arrived in my in boxes while I was gone.

Vacation's over and I thank Michelle for posting my blog for me while I was gone.

It's always good to be back home again.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29 – Lisa’s Musings (on the start of Memorial Day weekend) and Every Day Life

Editor's Note: Lisa is on vacation, but has written her blog posts in advance and charged me with posting every day. So, my name may be at the end as the person who posted it, but this is still her "everyday musings."

Today’s a big day for little Driver. It’s the date of the BIG Backyard Classic show.

Yesterday’s show was just a preamble.

Today, at about 10:30, we’ll be hanging out with 73 other Tollers at the Interstate Center. Only one will be crowed Best of Breed and I can promise you that it won’t be Driver.

I’m not knocking the little guy, but he’s got some growing up to do. His day will come, but I can pretty much promise you it won’t be today.

Hopefully, we’ll get some tips from other Toller breeders who can help me with grooming tips. Driver’s coat has some serious “flippies” in the center of his back and I’m not quite sure how to get rid of them.

I can’t wait to get other breeder’s opinions about him and watch his father compete in the highest level of retrieving tests. In fact, his father was one of the first Tollers to get a Master Hunter title, so it promises to be an exciting day.

Since today marks the official start of the Memorial Day weekend, as well as the unofficial start of summer, it’s now officially OK to break out the white clothing. In moderation, of course.

I plan to white a white shirt to mark the occasion even if you won’t be able to see it under my jacket in the show ring, and yes, the sparkly shoes will be on my feet.

They’re my good luck charms, now.

The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend, so don’t forget the suntan lotion. Either that or try applying some mayonnaise for sunburn relief. (Smile)

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Farmer’s Almanac: “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

So, do a jig (or two), maybe a shake, rattle and roll, or maybe just spin in a small circle a couple times for Driver and I today.

Happy start to Memorial Day weekend, everyone.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, Lisa’s Musings (while on vacation) and on Every Day Life

Editor's Note: Lisa is on vacation, but has written her blog posts in advance and charged me with posting every day. So, my name may be at the end as the person who posted it, but this is still her "everyday musings."

I thought I’d toss this out there for the long weekend so you can think about it and get back to me about it – if you so choose. No pressure or anything.

As everyone knows – this is a new day and age of newspapers and whether you like it or hate it, it is what it is.

And, I’m doing my best not to get run over in the rush toward learning new stuff. I’ve figured out how to blog and have a very loyal following, which is pretty cool.

I’ve kinda gotten the Facebook and Tweeting stuff under control.

We won’t get into my continued frustration with uploading video, but I’m told that all my troubles will be a nightmare of the past, when we all unlearn what we’ve been doing since March and learn something else. I’m told it will make my life easier, and I’m banking on that. I figure no matter what new system I need to learn, it’s got to be an improvement on the old one.

So, speaking about new vs. old. Or maybe it’s old vs. new, if you haven’t noticed it yet, there’s a whole new way of commenting on the news these days.

It used to be a hand-written or typed letter to the editor from someone in the community that was verified by someone in the newsroom before it was printed for everyone to read.

Now, anyone from anywhere who owns a computer and who has an opinion, fact-based or not, on what you wrote – can have their say.


And, they can either chose to make their opinion known using their real name. Or not. Take your pick.

So, I’m still kinda trying to wrap my head around this. I love having people comment on a story I write, but I also like to know who is doing the commenting.

It’s not like I can hide behind a fake name when I write a story; so why should they be able to take pot shots at a story I write while wearing a disguise?

Thankfully, most of my readers will either pat me on the back or kick me in the rump via e-mail, so I know who they are. And I try to thank them either way.


But the name of the game these days is first getting as many people to read your stuff as possible and then encouraging them to comment on it – for all the world to read.

So, if you have any suggestions about how I can get more people to A.) Read my blog, and B.) Comment publicly about it, I’m all ears.

When I get back from vacation, that is.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27 – Lisa’s Musings (on vacations) and Every Day Life

Editor's Note: Lisa is on vacation, but has written her blog posts in advance and charged me with posting every day. So, my name may be at the end as the person who posted it, but this is still her "everyday musings."

As you read this, and in the interest of full disclosure, I’m on my way to Bloomington, Ill. In fact, depending on when my editor posted it (thanks, Michelle), and then when you read it, I might already be at the hotel.

And as an aside for any would-be burglars reading this blog, don’t bother casing my house because I have someone staying there. Pretty much for this very reason.

Sure, I could have taken a vacation from this blog – like a normal person – but by now you know I’m anything but normal. I really enjoy sharing the silly things that happen on a daily basis in my life, and I kinda hate to break a daily streak that’s been ongoing since December.

The log for this blog says there are about 250 entries, and I’m pretty sure I’ve probably written at least 200 of them.

So, the point is, the next few blogs will be prewritten – I figure it’s better than sticking up some old blog rerun or something – even if it is almost the summer re-run season.

I have to admit, it was kinda of exciting filling out that vacation form – and it won’t be the only time this year. I’ve planned a few other trips, too.

This is the first time I’ve gone anywhere for Memorial Day Weekend. I’m usually at home covering an event of some sort and this year will be no different -- I’ll be back in time for the Glacier Area Homeowner’s Association parade and remembrance ceremony.

It sounds like a fun time with kids on bikes and cub and girl scouts and high school drummers. Very different than the more formal ceremonies I usually cover, so it will be something fun to look forward to when I get back.

But until then … I’m officially on vacation. No laptop. An answering machine (or house sitter) taking my calls and a cell phone that will only be used if I get lost – which, knowing my horrible sense of direction, is entirely possible.

So think of little Driver Friday and Saturday as he’ll be facing his toughest competition to date. I have no expectations, I just want him to have a good time in the ring, to wag his glorious tail and be the little showman I know he is.

Dog showing is a beauty contest and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this case, the judge.

What I can promise is that I will love him as much when he goes into the ring as when he leaves -- with whatever ribbon (or not) he may be awarded.

Oh, and hopefully, we’ll all have a chance for an unclouded view of the full moon tonight.

No howling allowed.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26 - Lisa's Musings (on lingering crud, warm weather) and Every Day Life

I haven't whined about my creeping crud for a few days, it's still not gone, so I've earned this.

This creeping crud, cold, whatever this illness is -- has no intention of leaving my body quietly. And quite frankly, it's getting old really, really fast.

Especially as I prepare to go on vacation.

Colds are supposed to last seven days no matter what you do and this disease has been going strong for 12 days now. Enough already.

And, it's wiping me out. I'll go a few hours and need to rest; I'll go a few more hours and then suddenly yack, gack, snort, suck wind ... it's not fun.

Like Monday when I was trying to take photos and video at the Kiwanis scholarship awards ceremony. I started coughing and could not stop. Fortunately, my "handler," realized I was about to expire and appeared like an angel with a nice cold glass of water.

It was a lifesaver, and I could not thank him enough.

While at home, I don't sit anywhere in the house without a box of Kleenex and a bottle of water near me. Even the dogs feel sorry for me. They sit at my feet looking up at me while I cough myself into oblivion.

And as you know, it's gotten kinda warm, which doesn't help matters any, either. Today, in lieu of getting another parking ticket while at the Farmer's Market, I parked in the surface lot at First and Huron. Under normal circumstances, the walk to the farmer's market wouldn't be a big deal and I thought I was well enough to make the trek.

Walking to the Farmer's Market was no problem, it was the getting back to my van after three interviews, photos and video that about killed me.

As I got closer to the lot, it was like seeing a mirage when in the desert. I could see the lot, I could even see my van, but it was like I could NOT get there.

Longest walk of my life -- well, except the 5K I attempted to do while dragging Whitney, my Aussie, who decided about a 1/2 mile into the walk she'd had enough.

But I made it to my van, then to the office in Saline and then home. I've written a couple of stories, edited photos and video and filed them. My eyes are now closing but there's no time for a nap.

So how long will I last at the Ann Arbor Board of Education meeting tonight?

Bets, anyone?

Cough, cough, gack, gack, yack, yack.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25 - Lisa's Musings (on cats and dogs) and From Every Day Life

If the cat vs. dog or dog vs. cat debate centers on numbers, cats rule and dogs drool.

According to stats from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, there are 93.6 million cat owners and 77.5 million dog owners in the U.S.

However, if the percentage of U.S. households that own a cat or a dog is considered the deciding factor, then give a bark out to canines.

Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog, while 33 percent of U.S. household (or 38.2 million) own at least one cat.

Also according to the stats, 67 percent of Americans own one dog, while 24 percent own two dogs and 9 percent own three or more dogs.

Woof. Woof.

Fifty-six percent of cat owners have more than one cat and on average, owners have two cats. On average, dog owners have two dogs. Humm, guess that makes me average.

However, bone/catnip 'mate' there.

I'm not quite sure what to think about these 2009-2010 numbers because I'm a house divided. A good portion of my income comes from being the editor of I Love Cats magazine, so I'm all about cat lovers owning cats and buying my magazine to learn more about their felines.

On the other hand, my heart belongs to my pups, my canine pals, which, come to think about it, don't bring in any cash, rather add to the expense side of the ledger.

But what they cost me in food, toys, vet bills and show fees, they more than make up for in love, amusement, exercise, and stress relief.

Dogs (and cats) are king.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24 - Lisa's Musings (on Kiwanis scholarships) and Every Day Life

There was a whole lotta money being handled at the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor meeting today.

And this time, it wasn’t in fines of quarters or dollars.

Nope. It was paper money – of the check kind – which totaled $29,000.

Today was the annual Kiwanis scholarship awards program during which 29 seniors in the Ann Arbor Public Schools were awarded a thousand dollars each for their college educations.

No one in the club knows, exactly, how long the Kiwanians have been handing out scholarships, but it’s been a long, long time.

And for these future leaders, it was really, really cool to hear what this money meant to the next stage of their lives.

Let’s face it – college tuition is super expensive and with more and more parents losing jobs, homes, second incomes, having their salaries cut -- every penny can make the difference between, well, attending college and not being able to afford higher education for their children.

One student told me the money meant everything to her. It marked a clean slate and a new chapter of her life. “This isn’t high school, anymore,” she said. It’s the next stage in the rest of her young live.

Seeing the baby faces of these soon-to-graduate seniors, and hearing the excitement in their voices as they talked about what they’d major in while in college.

Several soon-to-be graduates said they wanted to become journalists, which made me smile – and reminded me of how becoming a journalist was the only thing I ever wanted to do when I was in high school.

In fact, I’d already worked on the high school paper and at the local weekly before I got my high school diploma. In fact, I did an internship in sports at a daily newspaper my last trimester in high school because I’d already gotten all the credits I needed to graduate.

I was willing to give up all the fun senior stuff – just to get a jump on my future.

It’s something I’ve never regretted and a career that I still love – even if the requirements of being a journalist in today’s new “news ecology” changes as quickly as the weather in Michigan.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23 - Lisa's Musings (on dog hair) and Every Day Life

I have one very spunky, happy dog this morning. No, it's not the media darling Driver, rather Ryan, who looks like a new, slimmer version of his former self and is sporting a new 'do' today.

Late yesterday afternoon, my friend Nancy and I tackled his winter/neuter coat and removed literally pounds of hair.

There probably wasn't pounds of hair, but, there was a lot -- as evidenced by the photos with this blog.

Ryan, dear, dear Ryan, was taken outside for the grooming session because I knew there was no way all that hair would ever leave my house. We brushed and combed and brushed and raked. Then raked some more.

And as handful after handful of red winter Toller coat came out, Ryan was transformed from a pudgy looking dog into a much slimmer version. He still needs to loose a few real pounds -- and we're working on it -- but his before and after look was pretty incredible.

Once his toes and ears were trimmed up so he didn't look like a ragamuffin, Ryan looked like a completely different dog. And he knew it, too. You could see the twinkle in his eyes and the spring in his step.

Nancy and I decided that it would be pretty cool if we humans could do some grooming on ourselves and voila, look instantly slimmer.

But until then we'll just have to admire Ryan's new look.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22 - Lisa's Musings (on baby fox) and Every Day Life

There's never a dull moment out in the country. Ever.

Today, after an aborted trip to Ann Arbor when the skies opened on the Jackson Road Cruise and before I even got to the city line -- I turned around and came home.

Where the sun was shining. Sure, everything was soaked, but I decided to head out and shoot a few photos of my newly emerging flowers.

What I came across was even more exciting.

I have a baby fox here. Actually, two little ones, but one's a lot less fearful than the other, and they apparently like the tall grass outside of my little storage shed.

As I was wrapping up the flower photo shoot, I looked out over my little kingdom and there it was -- a little fox. It looked at me. I looked at it. It looked at me and I was mesmerized.

Then, it took off behind the shed so I figured it had gone wherever little fox like to hang out during the day when there's acres of woods behind this house ripe for wee foxes.

So, the dogs and I headed out into the fenced dog yard. But wait, there was a little fox tail behind the shed. It watched me. I watched it. It watched me. I watched it as I walked ever closer to the far end of the dog yard that's closest to the shed.

And then I saw a bonus baby. But it saw me and was gone -- vroom ... off into the great woods where foxes don't have to deal with dogs that look like them and people.

I debated getting the camera because, of course, it was inside the house upstairs and I'd need a long lens to get a photo of the little cutie. I hung out and watched the little one while Driver did his best tolling (leaping through the air and pouncing, running, leaping, bouncing -- kinda like Tigger).

The fox was nonplussed. And try as he would, Driver finally gave up attempting to lure the little red guy any closer. Tolling works to draw in ducks, but, fox not so much.

When the fox took a lie down in the tall grass, I headed upstairs to get the camera, change the lens, figuring that the baby would be long gone before I got back down there and into position.

But if you look very closely between the tree and the shed, you'll see the outline of a fox head and ears.

OK, so they're not the best photos but, try as I might, coughing (which is second nature these days) banging the fence, calling "Here little fox," clucking like a chicken ... the little fox was not getting up to cooperate for a photo opp.

Sure, it got up once and changed positions, but, I have a healthy respect for Mother Nature and her creatures. I was feeling just fine with a fence between the little fox and I. I wasn't getting any closer.

What struck me as interesting was the fox saw the dogs. The dogs saw the fox, yet they never barked. Rather, they tried to lure it closer by tolling, and when that didn't work, they went off and did what dogs do in their dog yard.

Perhaps there's something to be said about how close dogs and fox are when it comes to the hierarchy of the food chain.

And I think I've figured out why I don't have a family of ground hogs under the shed this year.

Fox trump ground hog, right?

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Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21 - Lisa's Musings (on Fridays) and From Every Day Life

TGIF and all that good stuff.

It's Friday night. That means a late night for me -- usually writing all those stories I've covered during the week and haven't gotten around to writing yet.

But the storms that have been rolling through here since late this afternoon have kinda put a damper on my progress. They've been good ones, though. One lightning bolt took out one of my neighbor's trees and I was sitting on my three-season porch to witness the snap, crack and pop followed by the wham of the large branch going down way out and across the field.

Armed with a hot cup of coffee, the dogs and I took full advantage of the fish bowl-like feeling of having these storms circle the property like a wagon train. We sat on the couch and felt the earth move under our feet.

I also noticed that my iris had begun to bloom on the back side of the house. That's the thing about spring. You really have to pay attention to the growing stuff because before you know it, they've bloomed and you've almost missed it.

I also took note that there were a number of tree branches that need to be whacked back or I won't be able to walk to the back of the property.

And, a hard rain also brings to light the gutters that are in serious need of cleaning. The water freely rolled over the tops of the gutters like a waterfall. Sure, it was pretty, but I'm not so sure all that water going directly on the foundation is such a good thing.

So, this was an educational rain storm for me. And I've started a list of all the projects that need to be done. I feel like I accomplished something during the hours of computer downtime.

I know, Friday nights in this house aren't the rollicking good times that other people have.

But that's OK. The dogs and I had plenty of natural excitement to keep us amused.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20 -- Lisa's Musings (about song birds) and Every Day Life

I was up this morning about 5 a.m. Not because I wanted to be, mind you, but because I had glop dripping down my throat that caused me to choke and gag and well, wake up.

I tromped into the kitchen to get a glass of water in the dark and between gasps for air, I heard it.

A symphony of birds greeting the new day.

I'm sure people in the city have birds that sing but out here in the country, these furry babies can really hit it.

And in between coughs, I listened carefully to their music. And it was delightful.

A real bird person would be able to pick out which song went with which bird species. Me, I haven't a clue. But as I laid back down in bed and closed my eyes, the birds became my lullaby as a drifted back off to sleep.

Two hours later, I awoke for good and immediately opened the windows, the doors and removed as many acoustic barricades to their songs as possible, then enjoyed my first cup of coffee on the three-season porch with the music of nature as my backdrop.

Sun shining, birds singing, life in the country doesn't get any better than that, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

It's fine to take the time to kick back and smell the roses in the country -- the ones the deer haven't already eaten -- but be sure to take some time to really listen to the birds, too.

It's a great way to start a day.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Results of our recent online polls

Which summer festival are you looking forward to?
Ann Arbor Art Fairs: 30 percent
Chelsea Summer Fest: 30 percent
Ypsilanti Heritage Festival: 24 percent
Saline Celtic Festival: 16 percent

What are you doing with your tax refund?
Saving it: 44 percent
Using it on household expenses: 37 percent
Spending it on something special: 15 percent
Spending it on vacation: 4 percent

How much do you donate to nonprofits each year?
$1,000 or more: 54 percent
Under $100: 21 percent
$100 to $300: 16 percent
$300 to $500: 9 percent

What do you do when you have an hour of spare time?
Read a book: 36 percent
Read a newspaper: 34 percent
Play online games: 20 percent
Update Facebook page: 9 percent

What do you think should be a priority of WISD consolidates services?
Human resources: 42 percent
Money savings: 33 percent
Students outcome: 18 percent
Service quality: 6 percent


May 19 - Lisa's Musings (on old cemeteries) from Every Day Life

I got an early morning call today giving me the head's up that a group of Lima Township residents would be working to clean up one of the township's four cemeteries.

And if you didn't know about the cemetery, you'd never find it.

I've probably driven by it thousands of times and didn't know it was there. But members of the Chelsea American Legion knew it was there because veteran's graves were flanked by American Flags.

I spied gravestones that dated back to 1801. Some of the stones were so weathered, you couldn't read who was buried there. Others were toppled over or covered in brambles. The site had definitely seen better days.

But a group of 10-15 township residents will spend the next four days cleaning up the cosmetics of the site -- led by the efforts of Ed Greenleaf. But this is just the first phase of the work.

Following the heavy lifting comes the mystery solving. As Greenleaf and other members of the township's cemetery committee will begin contacting families of those buried at the site to try to make heads and tails of all the people who are buried there.

The men are donating their time, their equipment, and their sweat equity to the cause in the names of all of those who went before them.

I'd like to give a shout out to Bill Coury, Don Laier, George Hellner, Ed Greenleaf, Ron Herrst, Craig Maier, Bob Bulmon, Chuck Chamberlain and Tom Bater.

A fitting way to honor former township residents before Memorial Day.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18 - Lisa's Musings (on Rotten Colds 2) and Every Day Life

I have rejoined the ranks of the showered and clean clothed -- after spending two days in the same clothing and wrapped in a blanket.

Along with the hacking, gacking and sneezing, I was freezing, and just could not warm up my ailing body.

Today, I made the effort to rejoin the ranks of people without colds and it worked -- for a while anyway.

I left the house and covered a Washtenaw County Road Commission meeting, warning and staying as far away from other humans as was possible.

I was almost full of energy until about 3 p.m., then the tank hit empty. I hit the La Z Boy, wrapped up in two blankets and attempted to take a nap. I left the walkaround phone on its holder because I really didn't want to talk to anyone, so of course, the phone rang off the hook.

It never fails. I rarely take an afternoon nap but when I want to, everyone, every PR firm, every telemarketer and assorted friends and sources, decide to call.

I ignored them all and stayed wrapped up in my blankie. Sorry friends and sources.

I don't get sick very often, so I might as well take full advantage of it while I am.

If the seven days of a cold hold true -- only three more days and I'll be my old self again.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17 - Lisa's Musings (on rotten colds) and Every Day Life

The verdict has been delivered -- I have a cold and not tonsillitis -- but I'm not sure which would be worse. So I stayed home today and did a lot of work that didn't require me to talk to or infect anyone.

Because when I have the traces of a voice -- it's kind of a cross between a Canada goose and Kermit the Frog. Part honk, part croak, with a lot of hacking and gacking in between.

Really charming.

In fact, when I called my editor this morning to let her know that I was sick, sick, sick she hurried me off the phone because she said I sounded so bad she was afraid she'd get sick through the lines.

Talk about feeling the love.

Yup, it's bad. But it could be worse. It could have happened next week when I'm headed out of town to a huge dog show where there will be more than 90 Tollers. I don't think I've ever seen that many Tollers in one place at one time, so I'm pretty excited about it.

And hopefully, like most colds, no matter what I do, the worst will be over in seven days. Plus, since I Facebooked that I was sick, I've had all kinds of suggestions to ease the pain.

I really liked the hot toddy suggestion, by the way. I have lots of chicken soup left to consume, mac and cheese went down easily and I've stayed home and rested as much as possible. Took a few naps throughout the day.

And, my dogs, bless their little furry hearts, get it, too. They know I'm sick as, uh, well, a dog, and they've left me alone when I nodded off and they've hovered at my feet when I'm writing.

Both of them are trying their little furry heart's out to help. And, just petting their soft heads makes all the difference.

Chicken barley soup from Arbor Farms $3.87, box of night and day cold medicine $6.79, box of Kleenex with lotion, $2.39. Dog's on each side, heads on my lap looking up adoringly, priceless.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16 - Lisa's Musings (on the Sunday Artisan Market) and Every Day Life

Never let it be said that I'm not a trooper.

I pushed through an as-of-yet-to-be-determined cold or tonsillitis, I'll know tomorrow for sure, to visit the artists at the Sunday Artisan Market in Ann Arbor today.

With nose dripping, throat scratching and feeling really punky, I ventured out in the brilliant sunshine to speak to the artists. And only lost my voice completely at the very end of my planned number of interviews.

If you haven't been there, you really need to check it out, and I've included a few photos of the artist's work as a carrot.

Did I mention free parking in Ann Arbor on Sunday? (Or, at least for now.)

There's so much talent at this market in so many different artistic pursuits. Plus, there's a price range for everyone.

My pick of the day was the rat dressed like the press at Lenea Howe's Folk Art booth. Howe, from Saline, was certainly the bubbliest artist I spoke to and although I didn't tell her I'm not a fan of dolls, her animal varieties were adorable.

And, I loved the fact she was quick to tell me that the media rat was not intended to offend. I thought it was awesome and if I'd brought any money with me, that rat would have come home with me.

She can blame my lack of funds on the farmers. I was at the market yesterday and came home with pretzels, cookies, asparagus, two flowering and one Everbearing strawberry basket, as well as a Gerber daisy.

I'm sure I came home with more stuff, but between the sneezing, the dripping nose, the stuffy head, the swollen tonsils and sore throat, I'm not thinking all that clearly.

Drat, drat, drat.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15 - Lisa's Musings (on goats) and Every Day Life

One of the coolest things about being a reporter is the new stuff I learn on an almost daily basis.

Today, I learned about goats. Things like they'll munch on grass and weeds, and low tree branches and leaves -- especially the dried kind -- are goat caviar.

But did you know they also like Fig Newtons?

Yup, those cookies are like dog bones for goats.

Each has a distinct personality, too, and goat fanciers highly recommend them as a fun alternative to weed whackers.

Goats are grazers; they won't dig up a pasture like some other farm animals tend to do. Plus they're small and can be made into pets.

I learned that goats are pretty cool farm animals; especially the Pygmy variety.

And they have names like Nutmeg and Cinnamon and Samson, Flair, Aussie and BB.

Thanks members of the Renegade 4-H Club for teaching me about your goats today.

Now that I've met the goats and their 4-H handlers, I can't wait to watch them compete at the 4-H Youth Show this July.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14 - Lisa's Musings (on walk-a-thons) and Every Day Life

I'm so jealous of students, parents, friends and supporters of Haisley Elementary School.

They spent the day participating in the school's annual walk-a-thon today collecting pledges that will benefit programs at the school as well as other charities they've supported throughout the year.

They had perfect weather and by all accounts, they had great fun.

Unlike the last walk I entered. It was at Domino's Farms in the winter and I took a dog with me. Her name was Whitney and she was an Australian Shepherd. In fact, she was a puppy I kept from the one litter I on which I was listed as the breeder.

Whitney was a beautiful girl. As beautiful as she was lazy.

I know, lazy and Australian Shepherd, don't belong in the same sentence, but believe me -- her idea of a good time was hanging out on the couch and eating bon-bons. Moving anywhere quickly was not part of her idea of fun.

But, I decided she should go on this walk with me just because. She was not of the same opinion.

We started out OK for about a 1/4-mile and then she decided she'd had enough and laid down. And was done.

Really done. As in wouldn't move any more. No matter what I did.

So I ended up dragging her ... literally, and after a few feet, she finally decided to move. Very very slowly, stopping every few steps for the entire rest of the "walk."

I thought we'd never finish, but we did -- long after everyone else.

And I can tell you, I was not smiling like the Haisley "Family" was today as they walked or ran, lap after lap, enjoying a beautiful day, getting lots of exercise, and supporting a good cause.

Humm ... I bet Driver might like to give one of these walks for a cause events a try.

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