Archives

Goodbye Pontiac

pontiac

A week ago yesterday, I picked up my new car, a 2013 red Chevy Malibu.  Sad to say, it just seems like an end of an era in my life.  In the 16 years I’ve had my driver’s license, I’ve owned and driven two Pontiacs – a 1989 red Grand Prix and a silver 2002 Grand Prix.  That’s it.  I tend to hang on to cars.  I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that I believe my 1989 Grand Prix saved my life.

July 24, 2002 I was in a bad car accident in Austin, Texas.  I was driving on highway 290 on my way to work at Applied Materials.  I was almost to work when a big white moving truck made a left-hand turn in front of me; I had the green light and was traveling 55 MPH.  The other driver did not see me.  I slammed on the brakes so hard I broke my big toe and fractured the metatarsal.  I was lucky.  Most of the front end of my car ended up under the side of the truck.  I hate to think of the possible fate of any front-seat passenger I may have had.  Fortunately the only other injuries I had from the crash was a bad cut behind my ear from the molding on my driver’s side door and a small cut on my knee.  Despite not having airbags, I did not get bombarded with glass from the windshield.  Fortunately the safety glass held.  At 5 ft. 0, airbags might have made things worse prior to smart airbag technology.

Ironically I originally planned to sell that car after the end of my co-op with Applied Materials.  Instead I found myself car shopping for a new Grand Prix in Austin, Texas with my Mom.  There are so many memories of that 1989 Grand Prix though, I was very sad to see it go, despite its quirks.  My parents purchased the red 1989 Grand Prix new in 1989; I was 8 – and excited for a new family car.  Prior to that car, my Mom drove full-size vans that doubled as canoe livery vehicles throughout the summer.  Suffice to say my Mom was very happy to have a car again!  I was just as excited to go car shopping with my parents.  It was a 2-door, red, and sexy for its time.  Of course it was love at first sight.

One snowy Christmas Eve a year or so after my parents purchased the car, my parents, my sister, and I found ourselves helping a young woman who ended up in the ditch.  As we drove home from festivities at my grandparents’ home in Standish, we were nearly home when my parents saw a set of headlights in the ditch.  My Dad backed up the car and helped the driver, a young woman on her way to her parents’ home for Christmas.  My Mom, in her gorgeous fox coat, which my Dad had trapped for her, climbed into the backseat with me and my sister.  As the driver wasn’t badly hurt and didn’t want medical attention, we drove her to her parents’ home.  It is one of my favorite childhood memories.  When you are just newly 9 years-old, I suppose it passes for adventure.

I think the intention always was to hang onto that car until I was old enough to drive.  In the 1995 model year, Pontiac came out with an entirely redesigned Grand Prix, the wide track.  At the time my parents were friends with a couple who owned the local GM dealership.  Mr. W knew what he was doing and drove one of the new Grand Prixes over to my parents’ house.  All of us fell in love with that car.  Hook, line, sinker.  My Mom ended up with the car and the 1989 Grand Prix was put in the pole barn until I could drive.  At the time, there weren’t many 1995 Grand Prixes on the road yet, and my Mom got plenty of looks in her new car (of course it was red too).  At 14, I have to admit I was envious.

Now I had a car of my own!  I had nearly a year to play around with what would become my car, drive it in the campground, and set it up exactly as I wanted it.  I couldn’t wait to drive, even if it meant driving my little sister everywhere too.  A few months after I got my license, I ended up in my first fender-bender in that car one icy February morning on my way to school.  It was the first car crash my sister and I had ever been in.  We both just absolutely burst into tears – and then drove on to school and called Mom.

In many ways, it was E’s car too.  It seemed as though each school day my sister and I would fight over control of the radio and tape deck.  There were certain single tapes I had in the car that she insisted on playing over and over again; it drove me crazy.  I hate to admit this, but I used to make E pump my gas.  It was a while before I did it myself.  On cold winter nights, I picked her up from 4-H ski club, along with her skis, which we would have to put through the trunk into the backseat.  She even drove my car throughout my freshman year at Michigan State and had her 5 CD changer installed in the trunk.  Eventually, though, she ended up with my Dad’s old Jeep, which is an entire post on its own.

After my sophomore year at MSU I ended up with an internship at IBM out in Rochester, Minnesota.  There was only one problem:  I still wasn’t comfortable behind the wheel.  On my first day of driver’s education, back in June 1995, my cousin A, who is only 10 months older than me, ended up being hit head on by a drunk driver.  Fortunately A survived; the other driver did not.  A owned a white 1988 Grand Prix, and it too probably saved her life.

As one can imagine, her crash left an impression on me as a new driver, especially since we grew up together and went to the same schools.  I simply didn’t trust other drivers.  Things were better by my sophomore year at MSU, but the idea of driving out to Minnesota for the summer was daunting.  My Grandma ended up riding out to Rochester with me and then flew home.  By the end of the summer, I looked forward to the drive home by myself.

My drive home from Minnesota is one of my favorite memories of my 1989 Grand Prix.  I loaded up my sister’s 5 CD changer with my favorites and drove through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the UP of Michigan.  It happened to be a gorgeous August day, and I was anxious to start getting ready for my year of adventures in Ecuador and Spain.  After all those years, I finally started to feel comfortable behind the wheel.

1989 Pontiac

If I learned how to drive in my 1989 Grand Prix, I learned to love to drive in my 2002 Grand Prix.  That poor car:  I put it through a lot!  It has a few trips from Michigan to Texas and back again on it, and almost exactly 183,000 miles when I turned it in last week.

The thing is:  It was not the original car I wanted.  My Mom talked me into it.  Sure, I wanted another Grand Prix, but I wanted a sexy gold 2001 with leather seats and a sun roof.  The cars happened to be about the same price.  My Mom talked me out of the gold 2-door though.  She brought up the fact that I’d probably be moving at least once after college and the 4-door gray would be infinitely more practical.  She couldn’t have been more right.  I moved several times with the help of that car.

The funny thing is that the 2002 I owned echoed some of the styling of the Grand Prixes of the 1970s.  As a child, the Mom of one of my best friends owned a chocolate brown late 1970s Grand Prix – a boat of a car.  I remember thinking how deep the backseats were back then.  The same goes for the 2002.  In fact, three of my little cousins, all siblings, ended up getting carsick riding in the backseat of my car.  I doubt any of the three could see out the side windows at the time.

2002 Grand Prix

Oddly, I can’t say I have any memories of dating in either of my cars.  I didn’t date in high school, and when I finally did date in college, we always ended up either not driving or taking my date’s car.  I do have very fond memories of my boyfriend Brian’s old Pontiac 6000 though.  It wasn’t particularly sexy or great looking, but Brian more than made up for that.  It was just a great car with even better memories.  Originally owned by Brian’s Grandma Menja (Marie), Brian drove the 6000 throughout high school and college.  Brian totaled the car in 2001 only to have it fixed up and continue driving it until after we graduated from college in 2004.

In fact, most of our first date – the worst blind date I’ve ever been on – took place in that car.  It happened to be a rainy, freezing late February night in 2000, and since we couldn’t decide what to do next on our date, we spent a good share of the evening just driving around Bay City, trying to get warm and dry after getting caught in a freezing rain walking along the riverfront.  After we finally got together in 2004, we always seemed to find ourselves driving around in that car.  We drove all over Lansing, East Lansing, and Michigan State.  I loved that car too and was sad to see it go.

One of the best memories I have of that car is coming home to my apartment in East Lansing on graduation day to see him sitting on the trunk of his Pontiac looking like the best graduation gift ever.  My family couldn’t come to the graduation ceremony for my Spanish degree from the College of Arts and Letters, they were coming the following day for my graduation from business school, so Brian decided to come.  Memories of that last semester of college and that spring are some of the best of my life, thanks largely to Brian.

Yeah, you could say that I liked Pontiacs.  I will never understand GM’s decision to kill the brand.  If they ever bring it back, I will definitely take a look at what they have to offer.  Since Pontiac’s demise in 2009, I’ve heard time and time again that the Aztec was to blame.  I have to admit, it is quite possibly the ugliest car I’ve ever seen, although I don’t think it was the sole reason why GM decided to kill Pontiac.  Unfortunately, Pontiac’s untimely demise left a huge hole in downtown Bay City.  Dunlap Pontiac closed its doors in downtown Bay City after 85 years in business.

I love cars, and I’m not sure if I could truly call myself a Michigander if I didn’t.  Last week I not only said goodbye to a car I owned for over 10 years, I said goodbye to a brand I loved.  I’m just glad my Mom still owns her 2007 Pontiac Solstice.  I loved my Pontiacs.  I love my new Chevy Malibu too.  What I really love is the freedom a car represents.  I think it is time for a road trip.  Feel free to share your car memories in the comments.

Malibu

Dear D., Continued

It was unbearable.  The whole thing.  Every second worse  than the last.  I just kept thinking about calling him, wondering what would happen, if anyone would answer.  In the last weeks, we’d been reduced to spending our time together in recollection, but that was not nothing.  The pleasure of remembering had been taken away from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with.  It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.

The Fault In Our Stars – By John Green (Page262)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Photo credit: theunquietlibrary)

Dear  D.,

I’ve been meaning to write you all this past week for the obvious reason:  August 15 would’ve been your 31st birthday.  It pisses me off I can’t directly tease you about becoming a dirty old man despite the fact I am older than you.  I still feel cheated out of years of memories of us.  I suppose I had such a clear vision of us still arguing over memories in our 70s and 80s, just like your Great Aunts E. and G. and my Grandma, I still can’t quite believe it just wasn’t meant to be.

The passage above describes well what I feel nearly three years after you passed away.  I’m afraid those quirky memories we made in childhood, high school, and then college will die if I happen to forget.  I just don’t want that to happen.  I don’t want to forget.  I’m glad I read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green before I tried to write anything.  Now this letter has a purpose.

That is what is so aggravating.  Every time I think of you, what I want to say to you, or memories of us, it just seems to go nowhere.  Without you here, who is left to really care, besides me?  No one.  Once I come to that conclusion for the hundredth time, I realize how futile writing a letter to you is.  And yet, I can’t help it.  I have to do something.  There were way too many things left unsaid.

By the way, don’t get the impression that I’m the only one who remembers you.  I can only imagine the hole left in your family.  Just the other day I came across a post Carla posted on your Facebook wall.  I know she misses you just as much as I do, as does Jelly.  Some time ago I saw Jelly when I ordered something at Tony’s, and we just didn’t even know what to say to each other.  It was the first time I saw her since you passed away.  We talked about anything and everything else, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t first and foremost on our minds.

So here it goes.  Here are a few memories of us:

High School –

Freshman Year.  You ended up getting hours of detention for picking on me in Freshman English.  It became so bad Miss V. quipped that you and I would probably end up married someday, we were that practiced at nagging each other.  Every time I think of Friends, Romeo and Juliet, or Great Expectations, I think of Freshman English and you.  I can almost feel you tapping me on the shoulder and hear you make some smartass remark about people trying to look like Courtney Cox.  By the way, I know you knew you had it all wrong.  The haircut was called the Rachel for a reason.  You just liked to play dumb to get attention.  I still find it amusing that you ended up with detention and I didn’t.

Prom.  I will never forget you on Prom Night, senior year.  You ended up taking my cousin K. (Rusty) as your date, and she became Prom Queen.  I’d never seen you so incredibly happy.  You had to tell everyone that you were the date of the Prom Queen and were genuinely happy for her.  I know it is stupid, and I never admitted this, but until I saw you that happy, I was envious of K.  If you’d asked me to the prom, I doubt I would’ve said yes.  But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t imagine it.  It could’ve made up for years of us being ostracized by our class.  We could’ve spent all night making snide remarks, joking around, and just proving everyone wrong.  In the end, I don’t think either one of us had the guts.

Kayaking and Guy.  I’ll never forget your Aunt L. and Guy visiting from Texas one summer.  Somehow I was pressured into taking Guy kayaking.  I don’t think I ever paddled so fast in my entire life.  The entire trip was strange.  I just felt like I had to show him up, he was that cocky.  You were very right about him.  I can understand why you two weren’t exactly friends.  I’m trying in vain to remember whether or not you went with us.  Maybe you just came to the Livery and didn’t go kayaking?  It doesn’t matter.  We did talk about Guy and came to the conclusion that he was a little too wrapped up in Friday Night Lights.

State.  I distinctly remember the day we received our housing assignments for our first year at Michigan State.  My jaw dropped when I realized not only were we going to attend the same university, we were assigned to the same dorm complex, Snyder-Phillips.  Quite frankly, I wasn’t happy.  I just wanted to start fresh as MSU, and there you would be, a reminder of school years I would rather forget.  In the end, I’m so grateful for that simple twist of fate.  Quite simply, college would not have been the same without you.

Michigan State

A National Championship and the Flintstones.  I love the fact that we somehow found each other among throngs of people in Cedar Village after MSU won the 2000 National Championship.  I think about that April night a lot.  How could I not?  That picture of us outside Cedar Village – you smoking a cigar and your arm around me, me smiling like my life depended on it – is among my favorites.

2nd Floor, Snyder Hall.  You used to love hanging out on my floor in Snyder Hall.  I’ll never forget the crazy 3 AM political conversations we had, Kim included.  I just can’t wait until we have the first female President of the United States.  I’ll smile, think about how you just lost a bet, and carry on, thinking about how very wrong you were the entire time.  Sexism doesn’t pay.

Where were you?  I’ll never forget getting a call from your Mom freshman year at State.  She couldn’t get a hold of you and simply wanted to know if I knew where you were.  I didn’t at that moment, and the entire thing broke my heart.  I wish I could’ve helped her – and you.

Capstone.  We’d lost track of each other during those years I studied abroad.  Nevertheless, you found your way back into my life.  You just wanted me to look over your résumé and rekindle our friendship.  It worked.  You once again became a fixture in my life.

Crunchy’s and a Broken Heart.  D, I have no idea what your true feelings for me were, but you must have truly cared for me on some level, whether you wanted to acknowledge it or not.  During the spring of 2004, as my life was endlessly shifting under me before I could even regain my footing, you somehow knew how heartbroken hearted I was.  You knew that I simply needed a night out with an old friend who understood just how upset I was.  I wanted that job in Austin desperately, not to mention the mess that was my personal life at that point.  Many things happened that evening, of course , and even the next day.  I’m not going to talk about them here, but I need to say this:  Thank you!  You knew just what I needed, even if I didn’t.

Brian.  That same spring, 2004, I began my relationship with an old friend, Brian.  Your teasing still makes me laugh.  Some of it was so spot on, especially those jokes about how I could never have any fun while living in Arenac County.  You basically stated that any night of debauchery in Arenac County would become common knowledge before I even made my way home.  So very true.  I got the sense that you were happy that I finally had a man in my life, my first true romantic relationship.  Those were some wonderful days for Brian and I, and I think you could sense just how happy I was at that moment.  If only I could live in those moments forever.

Aftermath.

A phone call or two.  It still upsets me that we weren’t closer in those first few years after I graduated from Michigan State.  I thought we would have time.  Unfortunately that is what we didn’t have.  There were several times I wanted to call you up and just lay everything on the line.  I wanted to know what your feelings for me were.  That was one thing I could never figure out.  I wanted to know why you had so many issues with your Mom and brother, especially your Mom.  I wanted to know what was really going on with you.  Unfortunately we never had those conversations.  I didn’t realize just how wrong things were until you were gone.  It was too late.

Great Auntie G.’s Funeral.  Of all my memories of you, your Great Aunt G.’s funeral stands out.  It was the last time I ever saw you.  It started immediately.  We just gravitated toward one another.  I suppose that’s no surprise as we were the only people under 50 in the room.  Then, of course, my Grandma asked us to go get her a package of hearing aid batteries.  We may have been at a funeral, but it sure didn’t take us long to start laughing our butts off once we were out the door.  You either laugh or cry, right?  You have to admit:  It was the perfect excuse for us to catch up.  After picking up the hearing aid batteries, you and I just drove around  and reminisced.  We covered a lot of ground from Standish to Omer.  I’m so glad we had that opportunity.  In a way, it was almost as if you were saying goodbye.  The last time I saw you, you and your Dad were leaving the funeral home and walking toward the Granton.  It angered me at the time, but I suppose everyone deals with death in their own way.  I just never figured out how to deal with yours.

You have no way of knowing this, of course, but I never made it to your funeral.  I ended up having to work.  I suppose it is just as well as I would’ve been an absolute wreck.  A few weeks after your funeral, I tried to find your grave.  There were things left unsaid (most of which I am writing here today) and I wanted to get it all off my chest.  There is so much in our hometown and in East Lansing that will always remind me of you.

And yet, there is one thing that still bugs me.  What was our relationship?  Whatever it was between us was much deeper than simple friendship, and yet we never had a romantic relationship, not even close.  The closest thing I can come up with is that we were family without actually being related.  We knew how to get on each other’s nerves, we knew how to make each other laugh and cry, and above all, I think we both cared.  Was it really as simple as that?  I like to think so.  I love you and miss you.

Linds

PS – Oh, and one last thing.  Your Mom.  I never told you this, but your Mom happened to be my Grandpa’s favorite nurse.  I know that you didn’t have a good relationship with her and it never was any of my business, but I am grateful to her.  She took great care of my Grandpa when he was dying.  I wish I could simply tell her thank you.  I wish I could talk to her about you.

Dear D. | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

Snyder-Phillips Hall was built in 1947. The bu...

Snyder-Phillips Hall was built in 1947. The building was recently expanded to make room for a new residential college. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sisterhood

Me and E. ~ 1987 ~ Ages 3 and 6

Sisterhood.  I used to think it only meant the relationship between a woman and her sister(s).  I’m slowly learning that it comes in many forms.  I’m fortunate to have a wonderful little sister, E., who not only was my first and best friend as a child, but whom now inspires me as an adult.  It isn’t something I think about much, but last weekend, as my sister finally discovered GoodReads and I became inspired to write this post, I realized the depth of the shared experiences E. and I have.  Of course, there is the obvious.  We have the same wonderful parents, we share and adore a little brother, we spent almost our entire childhoods living in the same house, and we attended the same schools, even having some of the same teachers.

But there is so much more.  We both grew up playing and working in the family business, Russell Canoe Livery, having our Dad as boss, as did our little brother.  Our Grandma R. taught us all how to drive and supported us in everything we did.  She and Grandpa were fixtures at E.’s basketball and softball games, as well as the football, soccer, and baseball games of G., our little brother.  They even attended the games of great-nieces and nephews, many of whom E. and I considered our best friends.  E. and I will always carry those lessons of love and support with us, thanks to the concerted efforts of our grandparents and our parents.

At the end of our childhoods, E. and I even decided to attend the same university, Michigan State, despite our planned vastly different career paths.  Due to our age difference, almost exactly three years, and my tendency to study abroad, there was only one semester during which we both lived on campus.  One night my sister had one of those freshman year meltdowns that seem to happen to everyone.

Guess who she called?  Yep, her big sister.  I ended up at her dorm room and we ended up spending a good share of that evening just talking, about everything and anything.  I never realized she wasn’t anything but happy; she didn’t realize I wanted children someday or how deeply my infertility weighed on my mind (and still does).  It was the first time we’d shared so much since we were children.

I love the fact that we now share an alma mater too.  She eventually even met my wonderful brother-in-law at MSU and began serving as a Big Sister with Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  Her little sister, C., who is not so little anymore, is very much a part of our family.  C. and I were both in E.’s wedding party, along with E.’s gaggle of crazy friends.

E., Grandpa B., and Me ~ West Branch, MI ~ Christmas 2004

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to experience another type of sisterhood; the type that brings women together around a shared set of circumstances.  On Facebook I belong to a very active group of women and girls with Turner Syndrome.  Some Moms, and even a couple of Dads, of girls with Turners participate as well.  As Turner Syndrome affects only women, we are our own sisterhood.  Not only do we share a few similar physical characteristics, nearly all of us deal with infertility, short stature, growth hormone injections, hormone replacement therapy, and continued misinformation surrounding our specific genetic condition.  Through the group, we have cheered on adoptions, supported those going through invitro fertilization, tried to provide accurate information for parents of girls with Turners, and encouraged each other in countless ways, in spite of sometimes severe medical issues and even untimely deaths.  I can’t think of a better definition of sisterhood.

What gets me is this:  Why can’t women carry this attitude with them every day, no matter what the circumstances?  Instead we put each other down, act superior to other women, and generally make the lives of girls miserable throughout junior high and high school.  Then, after college, after we think we’ve put all that behind us, the pettiness starts all over again.  One of the worst bosses I ever had was a woman – and I’ve heard that from several other women.  As a business woman and a manager, I can only hope I can do better.  I will never understand why we must tear each other down in order to build ourselves up.

“Sisters” ~ Copyright 2011-20012 ~ Natasha Wescoat

You can learn more about Natasha Wescoat’s art here or find it on Facebook here.

On Writing ~

Snyder-Phillips Hall was built in 1947. The bu...

Image via Wikipedia

Writing | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

Check out my newest page.  It is part of my series of pages on my years at MSU (Michigan State University is the main page).  Before I started writing down my thoughts on writing online, I didn’t fully realize just how deep my blogging roots go.  It continues to amaze me just how quickly everything changes online.

Enjoy!

PS – You may also want to check out the page I created dedicated to MSU’s beautiful campus.

Campus | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

Update ~ March 5, 2012

Readers may have noticed that I haven’t added much “new” material lately, unless they’ve looked closely.  Lately I’ve been working very hard on the “pages” portion of the blog.  I’m still working on getting it exactly how I want it.  There are so many great topics, etc. coming up very shortly.  Stay tuned!

I will shortly get back to our regularly scheduled programs.  Promise.  On a side note, I’ve really enjoyed reblogging as of late.  I’m not going to share anything and everything, but what I do share caught my attention one way or another.  Thus far I’ve enjoyed meeting other bloggers via reblogging.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there!  Enjoy.

In case you missed it, below are some of the new pages I created.

Anonymous | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

No new content.  I just finally took the time to thoroughly work out the bugs in the HTML.  If you haven’t taken the time to read this conversation, please do.  The entire experience expanded my ideas as to what a blog can be.

Detroit Tigers Baseball | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

Yes, I did it.  I created a fan page for the Detroit Tigers.  If you want to follow the Tigers this season, look no further.  I embedded their complete schedule, included several links to lots of great information pertaining to roster, stats, etc., as well as added links to a few posts in which I discuss the Tigers.  I also embedded a few of my favorite Tigers-related YouTube videos.  It is going to be one heck of a season.  Opening Day can’t get here quick enough.

Detroit Tigers ~ Spring Training 2012 | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

Thanks to my Dad’s cousin, Glen Suszko, I have some great pictures up of the Tigers in spring training camp in Lakeland, Florida.

Michigan State University | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

I decided that I needed to pay homage to my alma mater.  I included some priceless videos.  It is also inspiring some additional pages coming very soon.  I loved college and always will.  Seriously.

Political Quotes | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

I spent quite a bit of time on this one.  I came across some wonderful politically inspired quotes, many from our Founding Fathers.  I may add more as time goes on.

Table Of Contents | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

I decided to create this page due to the sheer number of pages I created.  It is easier to understand what I’m doing when looking at the entire thing in this format.  Please take a look.  It will certainly be a work in progress.

Detroit Tigers infielder Carlos Guillén during...

Image via Wikipedia

Freshly Pressed Love

Snyder-Phillips Hall was built in 1947. The bu...

Image via Wikipedia

I believe I forgot to mention just how much I love Freshly Pressed and WordPress.  This beautiful Saturday morning I discovered the post below on Freshly Pressed.  It is exactly what I need to hear today.

Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success: A Manifesto « When I Have Time by Sara Rosso

I had an earlier version of this post which I lost when Word decided to crash on me.  Unfortunately the recovery version didn’t include the latest paragraph, and I accidently dumped the entire thing.  In the end, it isn’t a bad thing.  I started to discuss precisely why I need to hear the message in the above post today.  It turned out to be incredibly lengthy and much more well-suited for my About Me page.  I may just have to do that in the future.  The gist of the message is this:  I can’t understand why I am now so risk adverse in my career today when I was the EXACT opposite in my academic career at Michigan State University.  I consider my years at MSU extremely successful.  Unfortunately, I have yet to really do much of anything with my “career.”  I’m merely getting by.

But back to the topic at hand:  I just find Freshly Pressed amazing.  You can find Childhood Relived’s Angie Z.’s take on Freshly Pressed here:   I Got Your “Freshly Pressed” Right Here « Childhood Relived.  As a direct result of Freshly Pressed, I’ve discovered some wonderful bloggers.  Those listed below are just a sample.

Childhood Relived
My Pajama Days

The Middlest Sister | There are 5 sisters. She’s the middlest.

I’m just thankful I left Blogger when I did.  Below Dr. Helen discusses her recent move away from Blogger.

Dr. Helen: New Blog at PJ Media

Her new blog is here:  Dr. Helen

WordPress

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

On The Air

I’ve long loved radio and decided to put all my favorites in one place.  I’m not sure when I first loved listening to the radio, but as a child, I remember listening with headphones late into the night, long after I was supposed to be asleep.  I also made plenty of mix tapes.  That doesn’t even mention one of my favorite childhood pastimes, creating radio stations, original jingles included, using a Fischer Price tape recorder.  Today, I can’t stand to be in a car without the radio on.  Enjoy.

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM
The Fix

My senior year at MSU I decided to get involved with the major student radio station on campus.  It is something I did purely for my personal enjoyment.  I love music, and playing music, that much.  Everyone involved with Impact 89FM starts out on their online training station The Fix.  After learning the basics, you are left alone to spin music for a few hours by yourself.  You can’t imagine how much fun I had in the studio!  My only regret is that I didn’t get involved as a freshman.

Mid-Michigan Favorites

WHNN-FM
94.5 The Moose
98 KCQ
102.5 WIOG

WSGW – NEWSRADIO 790
FM TALK 100.5 AND SPORTS!

WCMU / CMU Public Radio

The radio stations I always associate with my childhood are WHNN-FM and 102.5 WIOG.  Throughout my later elementary school years, I rode to school with my Mom, who taught 6th grade at the time.  She listed to WHNN-FM every morning to catch Johnny Burke’s morning show.  Thanks to that station, I know the music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s pretty well – and appreciate it.  I still listen to Johnny Burke every morning on my way to work.  WHNN-FM covers a huge chunk of Michigan.

While WHNN-FM catered to my parents’ generation, 102.5 WIOG is still home to current pop.  It was the radio station as a teenager.  Like WHNN-FM, 102.5 WIOG has a huge reach.  Unless you liked country as a teenager, you listened to 102.5 WIOG.  Back in the 90s, mainstream alternative and SKA ruled the air waves.

94.5 The Moose and 98 KCQ are the two big country stations in Mid-Michigan.  Growing up, I hated country music.  Now, there is a lot of it I love.  In my opinion, pop isn’t nearly as relevant as it once was.  Country is now the genre featuring the best artists and innovation.  I grew up a fan of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Motown, and the Beatles.  Today I love Toby Keith, Blake Sheldon, Miranda Lambert, and even the Dixie Chicks.  Go figure.

News, Talk, The Tigers

Fox News Radio

WSGW – NEWSRADIO 790
FM TALK 100.5 AND SPORTS!

Driving anywhere with my Grandma during the summer months meant the Detroit Tigers on WSGW – NEWSRADIO 790 and Ernie Harwell.  Any radio broadcast of the Tigers will remind me always and forever of my Grandma.

Back in the day FM TALK 100.5 AND SPORTS! actually turned into a pirate radio station for a while.  I love the concept of anything to do with pirates.  Before that, it happened to be an alternative to 102.5 WIOG.

Austin, Texas

KOOP :: Community Radio for Austin, TX – KOOP Hornsby-Austin

Where do I even begin with KOOP?  It is the reason why I love Austin so much to this day.  Somehow I consented to go on a blind date with a man who happened to be very involved with KOOP.  At the time, he hosted the show ATX Live.  He is still involved with KOOP after serving as president of the co-op for several years.  Today he serves as the Tech Team Area Coordinator for KOOP.

At the time, his involvement with KOOP led to us spending plenty of time together checking out local bands, artists, and even festivals.  Andy even introduced me to one of my best friends in Austin, his former manager Cheryl.  Of course, they originally meet through KOOP.  I can’t begin to imagine Austin without the music.

It was directly as a result of Andy’s involvement in KOOP that I decided to go back to MSU and get involved with the Impact 89FM, even if only for one semester.

You can read more about my experiences in Austin below:

Ten Long Years … | Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

NPR

WCMU / CMU Public Radio
NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR
Fresh Air from WHYY : NPR
Arts & Life : NPR

Below is an article discussing a recent interview on NPR.  It is the perfect example of why I tune in.

Meryl Streep: The Fresh Air Interview : NPR

Internet

Pandora Radio – Listen to Free Internet Radio, Find New Music
The Beatles

Undoubtedly the internet is saving the radio from obscurity.  I love the fact that in many cases fans can now go to the website of their favorite band and/or artist and listen in.  In particular, I love The Beatles website for this.  Not only do they play everything in the Beatles’ catalog, they play John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s solo work as well.  What is there not to like?

Just Because: OutKast – Hey Ya! Don’t Rock The Speakerboxx

For me, music is almost as powerful as smell when it comes to memory.  This song will always remind me of my amazing senior year at Michigan State.  It was everywhere.

Greetings From The Third Coast: To Michigan, With Love

It all began this morning while making my usual Facebook rounds.  I saw that a friend of my brother posted a YouTube video featuring a vintage travelogue of Michigan from the 1940s.  I just had to share it.  Michigan is home and has been for all branches of my family going back generations now.  As much as it kills me to admit this, I am a Michigander to the core.  I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life thus far, I graduated from Michigan State University, and the Great Lakes are in my blood.  I even grudgingly admit that I have a Michigan, not Canadian or Minnesotan, accent.  Yes my fellow Michiganders there is such a thing.

Once there was a time in my life when I desperately wanted to leave it all behind.  Just like so many other people in my family, I wanted to live in Texas.  My family’s off-again, on-again love affair with Texas is a separate issue that could easily fill another post.  Oddly enough, it extends to both sides of my family.  Why do I bring this up?  I bring it up because it was through my experiences in Texas, and those of a cousin, that I realized Michiganders are unique.

Let me explain.  I have an older cousin who lived in Texas herself for a year or two.  I followed suit after graduating from college.  I then noticed something when I came home.  She and I had our own accents.  It didn’t last long as we reverted back to our Michigan accents, but for a while, if one carefully listened to how we spoke, it became easy to identify the Texas influence in our speech.  I loved it.  We had our own version of Spanglish.  Texigan?

The entire experience, which I may have mostly imagined, made me think long and hard about the impact of place on culture.  It then occurred to me that, if it were geographically possible, the place that I’d feel most comfortable would be with one foot in Michigan and the other in Texas.  Here’s the problem.  I love Michigan.  My entire family is here, I can’t imagine not living near so much fresh water, and the change of seasons is great, even when someone decides to cancel winter.

Where do I even begin with Texas?  I love the independent spirit of Texas, and unfortunately, I find it seriously lacking in most Michiganders, much of my family excluded.  There is a reason why Texans are fixin’ to do just about anything.  Michiganders, not so much.  Texans know how to recognize people with big hats and no cattle.  Michigan would be so much better off if we could develop that sixth-sense!

Unfortunately I am much more politically aligned with Texans than I am with Michiganders.  I despise most unions, I can’t stand political apathy, and I am all for limited government that recognizes the rights of the individual.  I’ve watched my entire life as Michigan hedged all of her bets on a dying auto industry.  Instead of trying to build new industry here, we shipped our best and brightest off to Texas, Arizona, and California.  Especially Texas.

Texas continues to reinvent itself and roll with the punches, exactly what Michigan needed to do and needs to do now.  Texans had the foresight to embrace technology in all forms instead of relying solely on oil and ranching.  I think of Michigan and see nothing but lost opportunity.  It deeply saddens me.  I truly love Michigan and care about the state.  I just hope the recent signs of life here are the start of something wonderful.  Michigan does have a history of reinventing herself too; it is just that the entire process is hindered by misguided politicians and union influence.  Maybe almost losing it all will finally wake up those eternally skeptical Michiganders.

Below are a few videos of interest:

The video above is the video I came across this morning that inspired this post. The video below is an inspiring version of “Michigan My Michigan” that honors those Michigan soldiers that fought for the union. I’m proud to say that I have a great-great grandfather who was among them.

Below is an attempt to explain the Michigan accent. It freaks me out because my recorded voice sounds so similar to hers. If you ever wondered what I sound like, this video will give you a pretty good idea.

Beaumont Tower at Michigan State University

Image via Wikipedia