…Life Happens

There is some quote or another about how life happens when you are busy doing something else. That’s true! Lots of stuff has been happening lately!

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This happened! Another packed house for the readin’! We heard some amazing stories, as always, and drank booze and ate my special Peanuts Tgiving dinner: popcorn, pretzel sticks, jellybeans and toast crackers! I’ve always wanted to do that and by golly THIS IS ANN ARBOR FUCKERS and we don’t do anything half assed so there we were.

This also happened:

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For the third time in a row, this sold out! We donated $700+ to Ozone House. The line up was all sorts of crazy awesome and I am so proud to have birthed this thing!

And now it appears that Britain and my history book will come out in early 2019 and my first FICTION BOOK (!!!) will be published in 2018! These nice people will be publishing the book I started writing in 2000ish and just kept updating and plugging away at.

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So! Life has happened!! Enjoying the ride!

Diggin' Around in the 1880s

Sometimes it is lovely to visit the past. I mean, we know the past. We didn’t get nuked by North Korea in the past, I ate lots of ice cream in the past. This is not meant to minimize the horrible things that happened in the past, so please do not take it as such. Sometimes I got back into the 1880s newspapers and read the idyllic tidbits of the past. Of course, the articles generally don’t mention things like, you know, women couldn’t vote and were really not much more than property, people of color couldn’t live in certain parts of town or have certain jobs and were treated like not much more than property. (As a friend of mine says–the racism in the north was just as bad…at least the south had signs).

But sometimes I put my blinders on and dig around back then, finding such gems as these:

  • Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup — available for squalling infants, pleasant tasting, and safe to use in all cases! Available “everywhere”, including our own Ann Arbor!
  • Little Mack’s at 9 Main Street recognized that men “have many minds and many shapes and many forms”; thus, they offered custom tailoring for the discerning gentleman
  • Over at 7 E. Huron Street, F.S. Mack offered tobacco “at Detroit prices”
  • Rinsey & Seabolt’s grocery store offered a variety of goods for sale–bread, crackers, cake, cornmeal, feed…and also paid cash for butter, eggs and produce!
  • Anton Eisele (mentioned in my history book, just sayin) advertised his marble and granite monuments…prices were “lower than ever!” The shop was located at the corner of Detroit & Catherine Streets
  • A person call him or herself only J.W.B. posted an ad asking to “rent a good piano”
  • The administrator of the Buchoz estate was selling “valuable real estate” at the court house. There was a Buchoz block back in the day (also mentioned in the book!), located on Detroit Street…not sure if this was the same Buchoz but it’s a safe bet that they were somehow related!
  • Over at the opera house, Professor Haines was offering private handwriting lessons!

Then I found stuff about sidewalks because we still bitch about sidewalks sometimes and HOLLA so did the folks back then!

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(not actual picture but probably pretty close)

In fact, the Courier (always ready with an opinion!) suggested that businesses who hadn’t the “energy or self-respect” sufficient to clear its walkways should be boycotted. But of course it was the Courier and they didn’t just say boycotted…they said to give the “cold shoulder of patronage” to these businesses. It is “bad enough to have to wade through slush on resident streets.” True, Courier, true.

There was also a correction to the census numbers for the city…there were 8,103 people and not 7,103 as originally reported.

There was a mention of the recent election, as well. Only two anti-masonic straight tickets were voted in the county–one in Augusta and one in Webster.  Also, it was reported that the county canvassers got $3 per day for two days’ work, plus mileage.

I have to wonder how mileage was paid! In food and care of your horse? Wear and tear on your buggy! That is absolutely fascinating to me…I never even realized that they paid mileage back in the day!

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"Rock Concerts" are a new "tradition"

I’m a huge fan of outdoor concerts. I have a photo album dedicated to ticket stubs of concerts I have seen in the past 20ish years and it is mostly comprised of outdoor shows. I took a break for a few years but returned with a vengeance in 2015 & 2016 when Ken and I saw Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash, Whodini, Bootsy Collins, The Time, P-Funk, Big Daddy Kane, the Sugarhill Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Chic, and the masta Joe Walsh. Very fun times! This year we’ve seen En Vogue & Bell, Biv Devoe with plans to see Chic & E W & F again and The Family Stone! Last night, I saw an 80s rewind concert. I won’t name the groups but instead will name the songs and see if you can guess:

  • Walkin’ on Sunshine
  • Everytime You Go Away
  • Melt With You
  • Mirror in the Bathroom
  • Safety Dance
  • Things Can Only Get Better

The show far exceeded my expectations and there was even this guy:

He kept talking to us about getting our e meters read? I don’t know but we each gave him $5,000. Ha ha just kidding! That was 1986 Tom Cruise. I knew he was weird but of course no one listened to me.

I decided to look up concerts in Ann Arbor’s past and it’s not often that you hit something awesome right out of the gate but I did this time!

Right? Apparently our first “rock concerts” were held in West Park and drew thousands of young people “and almost as many critics”. The crowd control, parking, and other issues were led by a group called the “Psychedelic Rangers” (mid-teens to mid-20s folks) who handle the “hot and dirty work.” The article says that the rock concerts moved to less populated areas and the criticism decreased. Of course, the rumor that these were havens for drugs and drug pushers popped up–and maybe they were, I don’t know. But the newspaper pointed out that many misconceptions about the concerts were made by people who never actually attended. Plus, they announced from the stage that drug pushers would be told to leave and not come back. The paper also complimented Ann Arbor for being one of the few cities who could host such events without “incident”–crediting the Rangers and the Community Parks programs–and also Ann Arbor itself (a city where many “new traditions” have been established throughout its history).

I didn’t catch the year on this article and I would have thought it written in the 1950s. Dude, it was 1971! June 27, 1971 (possibly around the time I was being conceived, btw, getting ready to depart the BeforeLife and hopefully able to peek in on my future adopted hometown)! 46 years later, we still rock.





Parade Festooning!

This past Tuesday saw the 27th annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July parade! As I do every year, I festooned myself so that I could march with a friend running for office (the amazing Jason this year!)

Yup! That is the top to my Wonder Woman Underroos that I am wearing over my UNION THUG shirt. I do not at all take for granted the fact that a 45 year old woman was not only allowed to but encouraged to wear this and parade around. Ann Arbor is truly a magical place.

Parades have a long and lovely tradition in our town. Back in the day, you had to take your entertainment where you could get it. I guess that is still true, except that right now my entertainment is coming from Pluto TV and a laptop hooked up to wi-fi. The first people in the mid-1890s couldn’t do that, and so they had to actually leave the house if they wanted entertainment.


I think these were WWI-era nurses but  it kinda reminds me of the Handmaid show I watched this spring. Anyway back then we had an opera house, and there were speakers coming into town, and church activities, but the big thing were parades. (One of the first pictures in my downtown history book is of a parade coming down Main Street). We don’t have as many parades in the ol’ deuce these days, but we have some good ones, including the aforementioned Fourth of July parade. We also have Festifools every April! This is me and my friends Robert and Rena from a few years ago!

I am not festooned 😦

This is from 1948  and was called the Re-dedication Parade.


I can’t recall what exactly they were rededicating…maybe something to do with World War Two? At any rate, we loved us some parades back in the day. Circus coming to town? Parade. Someone famous coming to speak? PARADE! Presidential candidate showing up? You know what time it was–parade time!

And it’s still fun to march in them even though I am not fond of the throwing candy to kids thing. Candy is horrible for you but some of us eat it whenever it is there and then get too wound up and things are too much and we have to take our “calm down!! chews” (as Ken calls them…they are little tabs I put under my tongue when I get a little manic). But beyond that, candy is really gross and it turns into sort of a reverse Halloween. Also, you just know someone’s eye will get put out by a flying piece of Bubblelicious.

1939: Devil Dogs Motorcycle Club

This past Saturday, we crammed about 15 people into our living room so we all could enjoy a viewing of Grease 2. Proper and polite as always, we reviewed the movie quietly as we pondered upon Stephanie’s wearing of pants as a way to assert her independence, Paulette’s insistence on pursuing Johnny despite his treatment of her and obvious torch he carried for Stephanie and Louis’ ongoing desire for–

Ha ha I’m just kidding! That movie is horrible but it is fun to watch with friends! No one really stopped talking the whole time, so it was hard to hear the amazing songs like this, this, or this! (FWIW, Michelle Pffiefer looks almost identical to my ballerina Barbie that I had as a child. It is rather bothersome).

I watched the movie at least 50 times as a kid. I remembered a lot but forgot how motorcycle focused it was. I did not remember that panty-dropper Michael built his own from scratch! He is hot and quite crafty! With motorcycles in mind, I dug around in the Old News Archives and did not come away disappointed.

I present to you–the Devil Dogs!

Circa 1939, this gang terrorized the streets–ha ha I’m just kidding. I can’t even write it. They are AWESOME! I love these people! And because we don’t do anything half-assed in Ann Arbor, these folks were in it to win it; specifically, to win the Best Dressed Motorcycle Club in Michigan. Yes, you read that right. They won honorable mention in 1938 for the national best dressed costume and I can only imagine what the fuck the winners must have worn.

Note that there are women in this club. That is beyond awesome! Both my dad and maternal grandpa rode motorcycles and I have vague memories of being plunked on a bike as a child. I’m sure my mother had heart attacks but I remember it as being a lot of fun.

These ladies look like they would have been a blast and I wish I could have known them and they could have come over for the Grease 2 movie night. We would have had a ball!


1888 Ann Arbor Argus: GRAVEL FIGHT!

My husband got his jury duty summons in the mail a few weeks ago. I’ve always wanted to be on a jury, but being a former lawyer pretty much guarantees that I will never be picked.

Imagine, however, my delight to see that the Argus printed the names of its jurors for December! They included Chas. Braun and Adam Frey from Ann Arbor, Thomas Dolan of Dexter, Charles Morgan of Saline, Dallas Pierce from Ypsilanti Town and Benjamin Dimmick from Ypsilanti City.

Two points, one–they differentiated between Ypsilanti City and Town, but I don’t know what the difference was…township, maybe? Two, and more important, NO WOMEN! It’s like the he man woman’s hater club up in there! Oh yeah, I realize that we couldn’t vote back then, but I guess I never thought about us not being allowed on juries. Well, a big ol’ 21st century HARUMPH!

It appears, however, that my fellow vagina owning citizens could file lawsuits, so at least we had that going for us. Specifically, Mrs. A. Terry was suing Thomas F. Hill for “trespass understood to be assault”. The Argus reported that Mrs. Terry was having trouble with her neighbors, and where exactly her lot line was. Mrs. Terry was for some time “endeavoring by various acts to show ownership in land owned by Mrs. Hill”. Plucky Mrs. Terry drove stakes into the land, and even built a small embankment made of gravel. Meantime, Mr. Hill saw the gravel, grabbed himself a shovel, and removed it.

Here is where the story gets dark…Mrs. Terry told Mr. Hill to stop removing the gravel and attempted to throw the gravel that was in the shovel pan into his face. Mr. Hill warded off the blow, but Mrs. Terry didn’t let go quite soon enough and almost fell down. Undaunted, she went and got her own shovel and for a minute, she was shoveling gravel onto his property while he shoved the same gravel back onto her property. (Sorry, but I have to say that I wish Smart Phones had been around because this would have been EPIC and instantly went viral). The mound of gravel built up, and Mrs. Terry filed suit.

The Argus said that when the case comes up for trial, “there will be fun in the court”.

Indeed, Argus, indeed!

Good Times, Bad Times

I often say that if ever I write a memoir (and I will likely not because apparently, my genres are creative nonfiction and women’s fiction–didn’t know that!), I will call it Good Times, Bad Times. Because that is how my life usually operates–extreme highs and lows with the occasional stretch of mundane. Maybe everyone’s life is like that.

(Please read to the end, or skip the not-humble brags if you wish)

There have definitely been some highlights lately! Most significantly is this:

That’s my friend (and one of the funniest people I know) Britain and I as we signed our book contract to write FORGOTTEN ANN ARBOR!! It will be about, well, the old timey stuff of Ann Arbor! Very excited. Creative Nonfiction FTW!

Summertime in general is a highlight for me because I get to do things around town that I can’t do during the school year. Why, just this past week all of this happened:

Monday–I’m sure you listened to me on wcbn.org (live streaming) or locally 88.3FM but in case you did not, then here is my bitchin’ playlist. A guy took time from his busy schedule to call me and tell me how much I sucked for playing Led Zeppelin. My man was driving but the urge to remind a volunteer DJ of her suckage took priority. Really. As it should be, I guess.

Taco Tuesday! Like seriously, how could you NOT want to hang out with these people?!

Later, I went to Manhattan Club which is exactly what is sounds like–we go to The Last Word and get Manhattans. Fin.

Wednesday found me square dancing in Detroit. Square dancing, biotches! I think you can see the video that my friend Kevin took if you click here. About :27ish seconds in, I flip him the double bird. Because that is how I roll.

Thursday saw me back in Detroit for a storytelling fundraiser! And Friday was MST3k and chill night with our friend (actually, RiffTrax! Miami Connection! Truly a gem).

Ken found this amazeballs seafood bake over in Ferndale and it was quite the time. I still have Lobster juice on my phone (which I would take a picture of but it’s on my phone which takes the pictures! Meta) but here is the meal before I gorged myself like a dog:

After, we headed to one of my favorite brewpubs, ROAK! I wrote about them after they opened and it remains one of the best interviews I ever did and one of my favorite articles.

I of course checked into the Facebook and tagged owner John Leone who replied that their latest beer, Creative Tension, was named after a phrase I used in my article!!!!! Oh that sorta went right to my head right there. Ken was like, “who is that?” and I’m like “yeah just the owner nbd hahahahahaha!” He also phoned the pub to instruct them to give us a free round. Feelin’ like a rock star, I was doin’ it.

There is a reason I am typing all of this. It is so I don’t think about the bad awful horrible thing that I found out on Saturday, which is that my beloved parapro from back in my Detroit days died. Gone. End. Passed on. Passed away. Called home. Gone home. Whatever the fuck all you want to call it. I’ve not even processed it I don’t think. Ken and I were driving home from the seafood bake/trip to ROAK last night and I started to sob. Ken took us on a memorial tour back to the first place where Peoples and I taught together. I haven’t been there in eight years but I remember parking next to his car in the parking lot. Whenever I saw his car and knew he was there, I knew I’d have a good day. And I almost always did. I’ll write about it at some future point but I can’t right now (I thought I could). I am never getting over this one. Godspeed.



Patti Gets Musical!!

When one’s brain vacillates between super hyper let’s do it all plan it all do all the things to crushing despair that tells me I’ve never succeeded, never will succeed, should just give up…well, one has to keep oneself busy. One has to do stuff that makes one happy.

This is not easy. I cannot just up and choose the path of happiness, however much I may want to. So I have to follow the old axiom in storytelling–whenever possible, show don’t tell. By showing myself happy fun time, sometimes I get there.

And also let’s be honest–a childfree by choice person living in her dream town in this idyllic old timey Village with real neighbors and Sunday dinners and a pool and with a job that has her home by 3:30 every day and 10 weeks off in the summer…yeah, there’s lots of times to show myself the fun. (Which btw works against me because when I am depression, my brain whispers this to me and reminds me how much I suck for not appreciating any of it. Good times.)

And that leads us to the MUSICAL THINGS I HAVE BEEN DOING!

Background~It is interesting to me when people say things like “their music got me through XYZ” or “that music spoke to me” or when people follow bands or whatever. I LOVE that they do that, do not misunderstand, but it is foreign to me. I guess I just don’t like music that much. I may hear something and go, “Oh yeah, that came out in 8th grade, shitty time for me, great song though!” or “Yup, I remember hearing that as I drove to my internship second year of law school.” it marks time for me, but I can’t honestly say that any particular artist spoke to me or guided me. The only bands I’ve ever been into were the early grunge bands and that was for like a year or so in my very late teens/20. They’re mostly dead now and have been for years, so I couldn’t follow them around like a Deadhead, and wouldn’t have anyway.

But I’m doing some musical stuff lately!

  1. For years and years now, I have been meaning to see about being a volunteer DJ on our local, university station WCBN 88.3. I felt weird though because I am old and actually owned vinyl and I am old. Fortunately, I have a friend who engineers a show and encouraged me to come over and try it out. I went for training level 2 today and maybe possibly ROCKED THE SHIT OUT OF IT! Here is my bitchin’ playlist:
    bob marley “what goes around comes around”
    The Beat “Rock and Roll Girl”
    Avatars “Hey Girls”
    River Raisin Ragtime Revue “Teasing the Cat”
    Traditional Jewish Melodies “Reb Dovidel”
    Knack “Good Girls Don’t”
    Never Nebula “Riders on the Storm”
    Film Music from France “Au Bout due Chemin”
    DIck Siegel “Angelo’s” Snap! Boo-Kay / Schoolkids
    Zapped soundtrack “Bomp Me”
    Steve Amick “Cheese Sandwich”
    Woody Guthrie “Talking Dust Bowl Blues”
    Miles Davis “So What” Kind of Blue Columbia 1959
    Luscious Jackson “Naked Eye” Fever In Fever Out
    raspberries “Go All the Way” Poptopia
    Louis Armstrong “Hello Dolly” jazz
    Elvis Presley “A Little Less Conversation”

Hell yes I played a song from the ZAPPED soundtrack! I had such a blast and will hopefully have a regular show this summer!

2. I’ve been tap dancing! My mom had me take jazz, tap, and ballet as a kid and I sucked at all of them. But something about tap makes me happy. I love the movies where a person is tapping and some stranger comes along and looks over and is like WHAT?!?!?! and then starts tapping the EXACT SAME THING! Wut!?!? I can totally dance like this!

Hahaha no but I can totally do the shuffle, ball change, shuffle, step.

3. Acted as DJ Peanut. See previous post.

4. Went to our monthly Community Sing and sang badly!

5. I should probably work on my ukulele this summer. I play it about as well as I tap dance, but it’s fun to sing the Clementine song which is a realllllly dark song! Seriously. You think you know it, don’t you? You don’t.

Nine more days til summer break!


Speaking Up & Out

There is much to speak up and out about these days. Maybe there always has been. I have been trying to do my part. Two weeks ago, I went to the Northlands Storytellers’ Conference in Wisconsin. It was the first time I have returned to Wisconsin since my disastrous law school experience. I didn’t quite have a nervous breakdown and the wind didn’t like suck my car back as I tried to escape after it was over, but I still had a few bad dreams (the same ones I always have–I’m living my normal life but somehow I have to go back there and live there and utter terror fills me). I am working on a story to address this and I think it will be quite cathartic.

Otherwise, I learned quite a bit about the craft and how I have a long way to go! I did learn about the theater of the oppressed and that was cool.

Also, I had lots of butter. This was legit one of the best meals ever so yay on Wisconsin for that one.


This past week, I hopefully used some of that new storytelling prowess as a guest teller at the annual Telling Tales Out of School benefit for the Student Advocacy Center. This is a very necessary organization that helps students and parents.

I told my story called “Mindy” about a time my friends and I bullied someone by omitting her from our group and the repercussions 20+ years later. (In other words, what happened in 1986 no longer stays there).

I appreciate anyone who listens to this, by the way. Unfortunately for me, the only way into the storytelling thing is through the Moth. I can’t do the Moth for a variety of reasons–the public judging by people, the time limit…I have friends who rock it and a friend who produces it and I respect the hell out of those folks but I am completely cut off from the attention I would like. As usual, wrong place/wrong time for me. Anyway, any feedback is welcome!

Here are some pictures of me, as taken and posted to Twitter by our local superintendent. No big de–OH HOLY SHIT YES THAT IS A BIG DEAL!

My legs really ARE that fat!
Gimme FIVE!

The next night, my friend Jess & I had a Salon! MOAR TALKING!!!! Specifically about affordable housing. We were like oh shit it’s just gonna be us but Ann Arbor said NOPE and people showed up! Did we solve the problem? Of course not. But it’s a good place to start!

Yup. Pretty much looked just like this!

Springtime in Ann Arbor

An amazing history book once said something about how there is nothing like Ann Arbor in the springtime.

Hahahahahaha! It’s funny ‘cuz I’m talking about my book ~

Order it please. Thanks!

(I also have a food co-op history book that is still hanging out, waiting to be purchased at the co-op).

But yeah I wasn’t kidding when I said there is nothing like Ann Arbor in the springtime. It really is quite lovely.

We start in March with our Film Fest and that is really the first sign of spring for me. Ken and I are volunteer screeners so we get to see some of the stuff early and we get a free pass to see whatever we want. Believe you me I wear that thing like a goddamn badge on my arm.

April brings spring break, part of which I spent with my dad in Florida.

So it’s possible that Ann Arbor does not have sundown drum circles on the Gulf of Mexico

It is possible we do not have ANY sundowns on the Gulf of Mexico. Do not hold this against us

My dad took us on a boat ride! I love boats! You know how some people want kids? That’s how I want a boat. But I will not get one because life has been cruel. (I’m just kidding. It’s fine)

I’d really like a boat though.

But anyway so springtime in Ann Arbor is awesome even if we don’t have the Gulf and boats. We do have drum circles. I have gone to them.

We also have this:

This is a shirt from the Smithee Awards. My very good friends put this show on every year. If you like MST3k, RiffTrax and all that, then this is the show for you. It is 19 categories of bad movie clips that we then vote upon and also we eat really bad for us snacks.

FoolMoon and FestiFools also happen in April!

Ken got me a glowing skirt to wear and also glowsticks!

The parade was its usual fun, with a decidedly political twist.

Yup. That’s Betsy!

To round out this most lovely season, we have the Water Hill festival in May and one of my favorite events, the annual Telling Tales Out of School fundraiser! I spoke last year and am speaking again. Apparently, I am on YouTube which is both thrilling and terrifying.

Today though is possibly the most meaningful day because it is the sixth year anniversary of meeting Ken Anderson! I went to a Sci Fi/Horror Meet Up and me being me asked everyone to write down their names so I could friend them on Facebook after. I wasn’t sure about that quiet kind of snarky guy with the really short hair (dyed white, for reasons I still don’t get and we still argue about) but I sent him a friend request. He accepted almost immediately with a comment like “God, you sure move quickly.” Boyfriend had NO idea. Happy six years, Kenny!