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Why Does Michael J. Fox Never Come to Our House?

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I’ll start by saying my son loves Back to the Future. He even dressed like Marty McFly for Halloween, to the delight of others of my generation. His generation? They were a little baffled. After all, BTTF has not been remade as everything else from the 1980s has been.

And thank God for that.

The McFly-est Marty

The McFly-est Marty

To be more specific, my son likes the last 40 minutes or so of Back to the Future III, because it contains a long sequence with trains: people stealing them, crawling on them, and eventually blowing them up. So, by now you understand that Michael J. Fox is pretty common in our household. We even celebrated Back to the Future day last October 21st. (The futuremost point in the trilogy, duh.) My son kept asking me why Michael J. Fox never comes over to our house.

How does a parent even begin to explain that one?

So, it wasn’t that strange that I should pick up Fox’s audiobook version of his book Always Looking Up from the library. It is read by the author himself, which was a big factor in getting it. I like him. I never had his picture hung on my bedroom walls, but he is highly likeable. Ashton Kutcher fills that void nowadays.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

Fox explains right away that the title has a double meaning. First, he is short and has to look up at everyone. He is so short that I am actually a quarter of an inch taller than him! The second is that he is an optimist.

I must admit I picked up this book hoping it would be some sort of “how to” book on how to convert me into being an optimist. No such luck. He does talk about a stool with three legs. The legs are Optimism, Hope, and Faith. He says if you are missing any of them, then your stool will collapse. I am not sure I even have a half a leg. Maybe that is why I am always falling on my ass.

Not being a guide, he instead tells stories about how his optimism pulled him through. The book includes how when he realized there needed to be more funding for Parkinson’s research, he started his own foundation. Then as government regulations put up huge roadblocks to further research, he began to get involved politically for candidates who were pro-stem cell research.

I have learned way more about Parkinson’s than I ever thought I would and hopefully more than I will ever need to. The swaying, talkative Michael J. Fox we have seen for the last couple decades on camera is more of a side effect of his medication than his actual disease. Parkinson’s actually makes you freeze up. It makes it hard to have facial expressions, to walk, talking to slurred. Fox takes carbidopa/levodopa to ease these symptoms. He has to calculate when to take the medicine so that it will be in effect when he will be on camera. Sometimes he gets it right. Sometimes he gets it wrong.

Always Looking Up makes me wish I had read his previous book, Lucky Man, first. Listening to him talk I wish he was my next door neighbor and I could hang out with him and be his friend. He is both intelligent (which cannot always be said for the character of Marty McFly) and funny. He is so affable that while listening to the CD in the car, my son asked since Michael J. Fox was talking to us, if we could talk back to him.

Sadly, no. He might be a Lucky Man, but he is also a busy man with a very full plate of activism, acting, and family.

I am glad Fox took time out to share it all with the rest of us.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Another Country Song: DENTS

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Yes, I have attempted to write another bad country song. I don’t know anything about reading or composing music, so maybe that just makes it a poem. I was kind of inspired by the three books I am working on lately. Hope you likey…

Dents: Full of 'em

Dents: Full of ’em

DENTS
Cars and trucks are an extension
Of our body and personality
That’s why when someone gets
too close on the freeway
We extend them a profanity
Some people baby their cars
Keep them locked away from the elements
But what makes a car special is not
How pristine you keep it
It is the experience

It is not the outside that counts
But the memories within
These dents are displayed
Like badges of honor
From the battles fought
It may look worn and used up
But at the same time it is stronger
From all those miles and those loads
Don’t count me out
Because I will be there with you
Until the end of the road.

I had a car, I called it an SUV
An SRV according to the manufacturers’ files.
I don’t care, it was special to me
Two-hundred and sixteen thousand miles
Drove that car north and south
And halfway west across this great county
Slept under the stars
And president’s heads
It bore the scars
Of two hail storms
And one hail mark slightly larger and deeper than the rest
Where I lost my temper
When a campfire wouldn’t catch.
I never felt bad about that blemish
Because it was part of the history

It is not the outside that counts
But the memories within
These dents are displayed
Like badges of honor
From the battles fought
It may look worn and used up
But at the same time it is stronger
From all those miles and those loads
Don’t count me out
Because I will be there with you
Until the end of the road.

I have fallen down
All on my own
I’ve also had a little push
A time or two
I never wanted to let this hate
Eat me alive
But I regret not standing up for myself sooner
For setting the record straight
That I am more than the names
You chose to call me.
I want you to know, at the end of the day…

It is not the outside that counts
But the memories within
These dents are displayed
Like badges of honor
From the battles I’ve fought
I may look worn and used up
But at the same time I am stronger
From all those miles and those loads
Don’t count me out
Because I will be there waiting for you
At the end of the road.
 

And I say DON’T COUNT ME OUT
Because I WILL be there waiting for you
At the end of this road…

 

For those of you who haven’t heard, I have an event this Saturday from 12pm-5pm at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Lansing. You can click on my Events page for more info. See you there!

 

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Smart Phones? Should Call’ em Anxiety Phones

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Smart phones are like the absolute worst thing for people suffering from abnormally high levels of anxiety.

Landline phones were immune from such worries. When your phone connected to the wall by a cord, your only concern was whether someone would pick up on the other end and if you actually wanted them to.

That was a ROTARY phone I was talking on. Just try to explain THAT to your children nowadays...

That was a ROTARY phone I was talking on. Just try to explain THAT to your children nowadays…

Then came cordless phones. You could take the receiver into the bathroom with you. But that introduced the phenomenon of dying or dead batteries and the hassle of recharging.

People were not satisfied with only talking cordlessly within their own home. Oh, no. They needed to be able to talk that way EVERYWHERE.

My first cell phone was a Tracfone prepaid. I had to remember to buy a card for my minutes. I had to remember to charge it. I had to remember to put in the ROAMING CODE. I had to remember that I had it, because, well, I really didn’t use it that often. I had to worry about misplacing my phone and losing my charging cord.

As phones got wiser, then I was always running out of text messages (I used to purchase them in 200 message blocks-ha).

Then phones got smart. Except I am always a few steps behind the current technology. I not only have to worry now about keeping the battery charged, I have to worry having software up-to-date enough to access Cozi, Facebook, and my email. I have to manage my high speed internet usage lest I get decelerated. I have to fret about whether ABC will air the season finales I must see before my free Hulu trial expires. I have to consider whether I am on Wifi or 4G LTE depending on what tasks I want to perform.

And buying a new phone! You have to get your screen anti-scratch coated, a new snazzy case, transferring apps from one phone to another, finding a micro-SD card with always more gigs and one that is not corrupted.

My husband and I both have killed phones by subjecting them to too much moisture. But I may have thwarted that issue this time. My phone is reasonably water-resistant & it has a water-resistant case on it. Water-resistant X 2 = Waterproof, right???

Sometimes I am more concerned about if my phone has an adequate charge than if my son has had dinner yet. And don’t get me started on if my GPS setting has changed itself to battery-draining “high accuracy” again on its own without my permission.

But there is always the young boy. I worry he will drop it, change my wallpaper, erase my apps (all things, by the way, he has done in the past). Or worse, he might put it into one of his flour-heavy “experiments.” Just as long as the experiment doesn’t involve “will it float in the toilet”, I guess worse things could happen to it…

..Like blowing away in a tornado, falling into a live volcano, being eaten by a flying shark. Ahhhhh! It is just too much to bear. Maybe I should go back to a cord in the wall. Then I wouldn’t have to feel like I needed to look at my phone all the time to check for missed calls or text messages.

But I won’t do that.

Ill Communication-Official

Even though sometimes cell phones frustrate me to no end and make me just want to smash it (my husband has done that, by the way), I won’t give it up. Because they are just so fun to play with and waste time. And the only game I have on mine is alienSwarm, a sort of imitation Galaga.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Artsy Fartsy Pics: Greenfield Village Edition

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My family went up to see Thomas the tank engine at Greenfield Village this weekend. We all had fun even though the weather didn’t cooperate. I can’t call it a “typical Michigan spring day” because I only experienced rain, sun, clouds, and wind. I didn’t see any snow until the next day.

I had fun taking pictures. I had even more fun after I got home adding filters and effects to them and generally making a gloomy day appear a little brighter. Some might think this is overkill, but I love them.

GREENFIELD-Tractor

Steam Tractor

 

 Back in the days when anthropomorphic engines regularly crossed the countryside.

Back in the days when anthropomorphic engines regularly crossed the countryside.

 

The Depot

The Depot

 

The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse

 

The Workshop

The Workshop

 

Train Crane

Train Crane

 

The gnome that lives under the buffer.

The gnome that lives under the buffer.

 

I can picture this flickering as some sort of stop-motion movie you would pay a nickel to watch inside a machine.

I can picture this flickering as some sort of stop-motion movie you would pay a nickel to watch inside a machine.

 

You gotta have a caboose...

You gotta have a caboose…

 

Vibrant Thomas

Vibrant Thomas

 

An out-of-sight very orange engine, by request of my child.

An out-of-sight very orange engine, by request of my child.

 

Sir Topham Hat’s view, or as I like to remember it: Too dang cold to stand outside any longer.

Sir Topham Hat’s view, or as I like to remember it: Too dang cold to stand outside any longer.

Hope you enjoyed it!

 

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

 

Exercising a Different Kind of Creativity

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On Saturday, I went with my family to a National Train Day event at the Amtrak Station in Toledo. Who knew that there was a National Train Day? There definitely exists no website for it.

I was afraid it would just be like one table giving away Operation Lifesaver stickers and keychains with, like, homeless guys peeing in the corner or something. But we got to ride on a railroad work car, tour an Amtrak train, see several locomotives up close, and saw two and a half rooms of train-related booths. Some were of places we have been, like the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, and others we have on our to-do list, like the Fostoria Iron Triangle. We also found some destinations we might add to our list, such as the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

The Pere Marquette 1225 A.K.A. The Polar Express

The Pere Marquette 1225 A.K.A. The Polar Express from last year’s visit to The Steam Railroading Institute

 

After several hours, we agreed we had all had fun, but we were tired and hungry. We headed to Chick-fil-A for a rest and some lunch. We would eat, I would make my husband stop at Five Below for a hat I believed I had to have, and then we would head home. I would probably be lazy the rest of the day, if possible.

Me in my new cool hat. Sorry I didn't take a better pic.

Me in my new cool hat. Sorry I didn’t take a better pic.

Our intentions were almost thwarted when a carnival was being held nearby and parking was heinous. But we persevered, and upon entering the restaurant, it was busy but not over-crowded. My husband spotted his sister there with her daughter. Soon my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law showed up to too. We ditched the boys and through a crazy, unpredictable set of circumstances, I ended up awake past my bedtime an hour and a half from home on a girl’s night out with a completed painting inspired by my family. I had felt like the universe had given me an opportunity and I had no choice but to take it.

I used to list art as my favorite subject in school. Now I am sort of a non-practicing artist, like how someone could be a non-practicing Catholic. Those skills don’t disappear, they just lay dormant and get a lil’ rusty. But it felt good to use the colors and shapes part of my brain rather than the letters and grammar part I have been running marathons with for the past few years. I kept telling my sister-in-law that it felt like we were in art class back in school. Because, well, we indeed did go to school together and here is the proof, a picture taken in art class almost 22 years ago.

ART-OG JS1

My S-I-L: The OG JS

So, here is my finished painting. I am kinda proud of it. Sure, it isn’t up to professional standards, but it is nice enough to hang on my wall. I stole the saying from Hallmark. And I’m not sure if you can tell, but the hearts have glitter on them. Because, well, when you carve into this tree, there is glitter inside. It is a magic tree.

My Masterpiece. I really love it.

My Masterpiece. I really love it.

Yes, even my painting has to have a story attached. But then, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Sorry to disappoint, but this post is only 500…

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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