Monday, October 26, 2009

My Town Monday: Metro Detroit... and beyond

Most of the population of Michigan is the area known as "Metro Detroit." It consists of Detroit and the areas surrounding it, until one gets about to Novi... or 20 some miles East of me. (Okay, technically, Livingston County is part of Metro Detroit, but really, it's so far out that the designation is, in my opinion worthless... see the red circle on the map?)

Now, believe me, I'm happy not to live in "Metro Detroit" because I'm NOT a city girl. But there are some problems that comes with not being part of that congolmerate of urban life.

My TV commercials are all geared towards those who dwell in Metro Detroit-- or at least have little aversion to making an hour plus trek out of the sticks and into the concrete covered land. Time and time again, there are advertisements for stores and restaurants that are miles and miles from where I live.

Take for instance my recent trek to find and purchase a new winter coat. Being a picky bugger and not into this years "hip" coat fashions, there was discussion about how and where to find one. My husband was also looking for a jacket and suggests going to Burlington Coat Factory. Supposed to be great selection and good prices-- according to the commercials.

Okay... google google. Oh. The nearest locations is... an hour away. And pretty much all the locations are in places that are foreign and terrifying. We finally picked a location-- one at the gigantic mall Great Lakes Crossing. This was selected because most of the journey is on roads I'm now familiar with. And, I know the mall is RIGHT off the e-way. (We were successful procuring a new winter coat for me. And then we missed our entrance ramp and ended up taking a different route home, but it was all good, because, like I said, I knew the roads.)

Most of the chains have never made it out to the sticks. And in recent years, oddly enough, several chains that had spread out this way actually retreated back into Metro Detroit. We lost our Dunkin' Donuts and our Little Ceaser's locations in Livingston County, for example.

We're not Metro Detroit, but we're not small enough to be a small town. We're kind of a strange in-between. If the folks here weren't so keen on driving miles and miles to get to the chain stores, we might just have better luck nurturing more home grown stores. But, being so 'close' to Metro Detroit (and Ann Arbor) we've got a bit of a problem with being a bedroom community.

It's good... and bad. It's those people moving OUT of Metro Detroit and trying to bring the live they left with them out here that ruins it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My father had several different careers before I got out of school: soldier, electrical engineer, even a lawyer. So, I've always had an understanding that I could reinvent myself if I wanted to...or if I had to.

I get to teach people how to earn a professional certification in computers. Passing your Certification exam means more you can earn more money. Consider the following: Microsoft Office is used in over 97% of all businesses worldwide.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of office jobs require some beginning skills and many need advanced expertise in the use of Microsoft Office.

● Students who pass the MCAS certification exams earn more (about 12%) than employees who are not certified.

In addition, 82% of the students who get certified report getting a raise upon completion.

● Many employers consider certification in determining who to hire – MCAS can be the difference in whether or not you get a job, or get a better job.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Would you need to computers to achieve your goals?
Memo to self: the Trolls are from Clair's collection. I have a few Trolls that I got when I was a kid in the 60's.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All This Technology...

I got me some mad Word skillz. I can format, fix, and fancy-up all sorts of documents.

I'm slick in Excel. Formulas and logic functions and all that so all my required reports calculate and print automatically.

I can find anything on the web.

Download, upload, install... even some registry hacking.

But there's no undo command for catching a cold. No reverting to the previous saved version. Not even a "clear all" so I can start fresh. Nope. All I can do is cozy up with some orange juice, chicken noodle soup, and the internet until this nasty virus is gone. Maybe I should Google upgrades for personal virus protection...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Lost the Satellite Signal

(See the metal piece... without a dish? And it only stayed like that for three weeks.)

Where do I get these ideas?

The Ginks

A long time ago, in 1978, I made 12,000 flour and salt Ginks for American Greetings Corp.

Here is how you make the Gink dough:2 cups flour1 cup salt1 cup water (more or less).
Start with a little less than one cup water and knead the dough until it is smooth. If it feels dry and crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time and knead some more.

Bake in the oven at 180' F for hours and hours.

The Ginks are done when the bottom of their feet is hard like a baked crust.

Each of the faces were hand drawn.
Here's looking at you, kid!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Town Monday: Getting Out of This Godforsaken Town

Actually, the title is misleading. Unlike so many of my classmates-- and most of the young people in the county, from what I can tell-- I had no burning desire to get the hell out of the Livingston County area.

I never really minded the area. And growing up in this sort of mostly rural area made me rather averse to cities of any real size.

To this day, I still hate driving in Ann Arbor. Or anywhere that could be considered Metro Detroit. I prefer my roads with two lanes, maybe three.

I never really thought about where I would end up living once I reached adulthood. It all just kind of happened without much consideration beyond "for now." I got my first job at a local retail center... and proceeded to work there for 11 years. I went to college in Ypsilanti (about a 40 min drive to the south). And so, commuting to said college, I stayed put.

With family in the area, I didn't mind staying in the area. (Especially since my oldest bother maintains my car.)

Then, when I got my teaching job, it was in the same county. And so I stayed. We bought a house last year.

I think we've pretty well put down roots. It's kind of odd to think that I'll likely be raising any kids here. It's a nice place to raise a family. Not too busy or bustly. Plenty of shops and a fair amount of recreation opportunities that don't require me driving to places that have too much traffic or roads too complicated.

I don't feel trapped. I feel settled. I still don't want to leave this place. It is the quite, quaint, unexciting sort of place that's perfect for me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Feast

The garbage can sounded kind of funny....

We had a guest....

Bon appetite!

What are you having for lunch?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Makes Sense

Box Elder Bugs... on a Box Elder Tree.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Town Monday: Grand River Corn Maze

Being that the western part of the county is still largely rural, it's not surprising that there are a couple corn mazes in the area.

Hubby and I have been going to the Grand River Corn Maze for several years now. Each year they have a different pattern. And for the last couple years, the Grand River Corn Maze has also included the Slaughterhouse Haunted Corn Maze. There was a haunted house, but it was shut down this year (amongst rumors of tension between the powers that be and the family that built it.)

Last year's theme was the Olympics. There are signs in the maze-- I'm not sure, but I think that if you're still finding signs than it's a clue that you're on the right path. The maze is always quite tall, and there are two patches of trees. (We used to think there was only one patch of trees... that was a problem.)

We usually make pretty good time in the maze. My family happens to be born with a pretty good sense of direction. Combine that with good observational skills, and we're usually out of the maze in a half-hour. Hubby has no sense of direction... I worry sometimes that he won't be able to find his way home. He's one of those folks who couldn't find his way out of a paperbag with a map, a flashlight, AND a pair of scissors. But he has other redeeming qualities that some day I'm sure I'll find. ;-)

Hubby and I go to the corn maze during the day time. Preferably during the day on a Saturday when there's less people. I don't do the whole 'wandering around in the dark' thing. Flash light or no. I still sleep with a nightlight because of my overactive imagination. (Good for writing, not good for trying to fall asleep when it looks like the shadows are moving...)

Needless to say, we do NOT go to the haunted corn maze. Nope. Not happening.

Once, when I was young, foolish, and brand-newly wed, Hubby and I went to a haunted house. I'd never been in one, having been to few carnivals in my younger days. So, we spotted one on Tourist Trap Clifton Hill at Niagara Falls on our honeymoon. Hubby suggested we go in and I (foolishly) agree. Then, Hubby, being the sweetheart that he is insists that I go first since my eyesight is better.

Overactive imagination. Tension from the knowledge that something is going to jump out of me. I should have left Hubby in the haunted house. No one would notice one more "dead body." I still don't let Hubby forget that one. No haunted places. No things jumping out at me. At least when it's one of my brother's I can punch them for scaring me.

But the corn maze is fun. In the daytime.