Sunday, February 27, 2011


Thanks to those of you who've commented on my efforts to bring the arts to our twin communities here in Lower Michigan.

To those of you who've asked: I have not taken up the church on their offer of space because the church actually meets in their annex for three services on Sunday, two church groups occupy it another two days and then all funerals, luncheons and some weddings are held there as well.

The actual sanctuary was built in the mid 1800's and has no plumbling.

I hesitate to plan activities at the annex and then have to cancel due to unforeseen events such as funerals. In the past two weeks there have been three in the annex followed by luncheons.

On March 9th we're holding a brainstorming session at the library and this week more flyers/posters will be distributed. I've asked the newspaper to do a story on our efforts so we'll see what develops.

Thanks, Treesong

A People Who Lack Vision...

are certain to wallow in self pity, depression, hopelessness and inertia.

Our twin communities here are a great example. When the Chrysler plant closed in the mid 70's the towns began to die. The high school shuttered its doors and was eventually demolished. The kids were bused to a arger town and subjected to slurs, judgments and being lost in a crowd. To this day they're often referred to as River Rats. It's a crying shame and it shows everywhere.

There are few people with vision or hope and enough domestic violence, alcoholism, drugs and robbery to cover every block in each village.

Thankfully, there are people who yearn for change and hope - though not necessarily Obama. There is talent here and dreams and, of course, critics.

I love the critics because they give me an opportunity to influence people.

For example, while posting a notice at the local restaurant about "Drop In For Art" (meets every Saturday at the library) an old timer said, "Why bother with art when the people need jobs?"

Of course he was mumbling under his breath the way most people with little vision and less courage do. Being me, I took his remark as an opportunity to introduce myself.

"Hello, I overheard your comment about art and wondered if you'd care to tell the kids at the library what you think. How about stopping by Saturday?"

He flustered, got a little antsy and turned a little red. "Well, what's putting scraps of garbage together going to teach them?"

"Not to throw out the useable with the rancid."

"Rancid" was a bit above his grasp of the English language so his buddy interpreted: "Rancid is the smelly, rotten stuff."

Then the critic says: "Well one or two paintings or pictures on a wall is enough. What's the point of the rest of it?"

I cut to the chase: "Broadly speaking, art is all around us, all the time. It's not limited to paintings or photographs. Art played a role in the car you drive, the style of house you live in, the clothes you wear, the furniture and and appliances you have." He chuckled a bit and I kept talking. "Art determined the choice of wall covering and booths and dinnerware right here in front of you. In fact, art played a role in why you choose to eat here and not next door." At this last remark four heads around the tabled nodded in agreement.

Mr. Critic considered for a moment and said, "Well..."

"Well," I said, "consider what I've said the next time you choose one color, style, model or material over another. And please, please, stop by the library where the next generation is making those same choices now - choices that may very well affect the kind of person they become."

I stood up, extended my hand and said, "Have a nice day."

Tomorrow I'm returning to that restaurant and ask the owner to display the kids' artwork and for permission to put a collection jar at the register.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Double Attendance

I'm exhausted. I'm excited. I'm encouraged. I'm thankful.

We had twice the attendance today at Drop In For Art at the library. An extra table had been set up so all the donated supplied that I brought today were placed there. Donations are going well but I have lots of duplicates and find I need some specifics. So I've put out a call for certain items.

The kids are asking for specific classes so I told them to go home and ask their friends and family to donate them. Next week I'll distribute more flyers and ask a few business owners to help me out for the sake of local kids.

Meanwhile three people have offered to teach an adult art class: dream catchers, silk scarf painting and wire wrapped jewelry.

Things are looking well but I know that within a month or less we'll need more space. Maybe someone will be inspired to provide a larger space. Miracles do happen.

Meanwhile, I'm going to curl up on the sofa and relax. Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We Had a Blast!

Three children and four adults met at the library Saturday to create collages from recyclables.

We ran out of time. We had way more donations than we needed. We had a blast talking and laughing and creating and inspiring.

And, we decided to continue this adventure. Actually, they decided. I was already determined to.

For the next five Saturdays we'll meet from noon to 3 p.m. (instead of 1 hour) at the library for "Drop In For Art." Still working with donated materials, we'll focus on the following themes: Crowns/Hats/Halos, Bag or Box It, Embellish It, Paper Mache and Anything Goes. I'll have an example at each class for inspiration but after that the sky's the limit.

An email is circulating now asking for more donations - including asking people to NOT donate to Goodwill but save it for a yard sale this summer to raise money for the group.

Sweetie says he'll clear a spot in the pole barn to accept donations. Our library has a huge green space where we can hold the sale and they'll publicize the yard sale and art classes too.

March 9th we have a 3-hour brain storming session at the library moderated by a friend who is CEO of a local non-profit.

Onward and upward. Thanks everyone for being such great listeners.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Assessor Pays Us a Visit

Sweetie asked for a re-assessment of this place a couple weeks ago. The man showed up today. The former owner had paid no attention to rising assessments which was at $61,000. We paid a bit more than half that for the place.

We'll have the new figure in a week. Mentioned this at writing group today. NO ONE knew you could even request such a thing!!!

"Uninformed is dangerous," I said.

"I think that's kind of strong language," said a new participant.

"Not if you care how your money's spent." I said.

End of conversation.

And then, more news arrived. Our land contract holder is probably going to walk.
Right now I feel numb.

Life will get harder if this news comes to pass. Instead of $1107 a month we'll have $557. Back to living entirely on preps.

Spent three hours with a mentor discussing the art project. she's coordinating a brainstorming session and will act as moderator. Believe it or not, right now it's a bright spot for me.

Meanwhile, I hope more people wake up to what's ahead. Despite all this news I still feel fortunate.

Take care, Treesong

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Attitude is Everything

As usual I've worked my you know what off promoting a community arts center for this little spot on the Michigan map. I've talked to anyone and everyone who will give me the time; attended a few meetings to share my plans for 5-10 minutes; received two sizable donations of supplies (wonderful, wonderful & thank you all around); and created a Facebook page where people post pictures of their work, encourage one another and share ideas.

Remember, I'm cash strapped and have no rich uncle nor lottery winnings. Add a lousy economy and the usual problems dragging people down and you know what you get - apathy.

But, I have determination, attitude, and talent. Right now those qualities count for a whole lot of people waiting to see me fail. As one wizard put it: "your idea will float down the river with the rest of the garbage." Thank you jackass, you've inspired a collage.

This Saturday I scheduled a FREE collage class at the local library for ages 8-14. Advertised that they either call or come into the library to register. One person called and asked why someone would do such a thing. One friend is bringing two grandkids - from a community 18 miles away. One friend is sending her daughter whose artistic talent knocks me over. Her home is four blocks from the library.

So I've prepared for 10 students and may have three. Maybe more and maybe less.

I've attracted enough attention and talk that a couple messages have been left on two fliers. Not nice ones.

I've been invited to join the library board from which four representatives have resigned in two months. The eight member library board has never had full membership. NEVER.

Yet anywhere one goes you hear the same refraim: "There's nothing to do here for the kids."

"There's no money." (while they hoist two 12 packs of Budweiser into their truck bed and stash a fifth of whiskey beneath the seat - I kid you not.

A local pastor offered space in the church annex to hold classes. I met him and toured the facility. It's fabulous. The youth group band has produced its own CD and financed its a trip to a competition/workshop out of state. Their 4 p.m. Sunday youth service attracts 60-70 kids. The church has 12 members!!!!!!!! So the impossible can happen here.

Is there a need for activity and role models in these twin communities? You bet. Do any of the locals exercise their gray matter and participate, plan or donate to any cause to change attitudes here? RARELY ever.

The pastor pointed out three projects/groups in the area: the Lions Club (all members from outside the villages except two people); VFW (ONE person put one brick in a Veterans Memorial while people from OUTSIDE the area paid for it, built it and commemorated it!). The church held a FREE spaghetti supper. NO ONE came!!!

I'd like to kick some ass and bash in a few heads.

But, I'll calm down, put a smile on my face and continue with my campaign. If half a dozen people (irregardless of age) join me in this journey then it will be worth it. And the rest of them? They're the losers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Facebook Began a Revolution!!!

And a certain man in this household is watching with interest as Mubarak prepares to step down in Egypt. He is amazed at what has occurred in 17 days.

Meanwhile, yours truly has busied herself with creating the groundwork for an arts center in our twin communities of Lyons-Muir. To inspire and encourage all our artists - and those who think they're not artistic I created an art page on Facebook.

On February 19th I hold my first class, thanks to our librarian's offer of a meeting room. Eight through 14 year olds will do collages of found and donated materials. The library space isn't ideal but it's a beginning.

Though I'm by no means a great art has informed and adorned my life. I want people here, especially the children to have that opportunity. Art has the ability to transform lives and communities.

Already, people are posting their artwork on the site and encouraging one another.

Another example of a small revolution in our community, thanks to Facebook.

In the meantime, I'm dreaming big, collecting donated supplies and money and believing someone will step forward with a permanent location for the art gallery/studio.

In a world full of depression, suicide, domestic violence, alcoholism, drugs, unemployment and poverty, the opportunity to create art while building relationships can lead to other possibilities.

If you're interested in joining us in some fashion in this effort please email me at

Have a great day folks. Treesong

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Palin Trademarking Her Name

"Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and “Dancing with the Stars” finalist Bristol Palin are attempting to trademark “Sarah Palin®” and “Bristol Palin®,” reports Politics Daily.

Palin family attorney Thomas Van Flein registered for a “Sarah Palin” trademark three days after the 2010 midterm elections. A “Bristol Palin” application was filed five days prior to the “Dancing With the Stars” Sept. 20 season premiere.

It’s common for celebrities to trademark their names to protect their brand or image from those who may try to make money off their name, but trademark attorneys say this is a rare move for political figures.

The application for “Sarah Palin” has two classes of commercial service for which her name would be trademarked. The first is for “information about political elections” and “providing a website featuring information about political issues” and the second is for “educational and entertainment services … providing motivational speaking services in the field of politics, culture, business and values.”

The application for “Bristol Palin” is for “educational and entertainment services, namely, providing motivational speaking services in the field of life choices.”

Like Sarah Palin’s application, the “Bristol Palin” application did not have a signature. It also didn’t show her proposed trademark used in a commercial context. Bristol Palin must file examples that demonstrate how her name is used in the actual sale or advertising of her “motivational speaking services in the field of life choices,” according to Politics Daily.

The applications are still pending.

No surprise here. It's all about the money folks.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowplow Arrives

The county snowplow came through our mile long road at 2:15 p.m. and made a second pass 7 minutes later. Our drive is still plugged as is one door on the pole barn. I shoveled for an hour to clear a 5' drift from the ceiling high sliding door so Sweetie could put the tractor tire chains on.

Maybe he will plow the drive yet today. I'm thinking that's a big maybe by the way he's breathing.

The truck is parked at the end of the trailer and I could shovel out to the road from there but I'll wait to see how things develop. On the other hand, if we have need for an ambulance here they couldn't get in. Sweetie, with his invincible mindset, tells me not to worry.


The winds have increased so the cold is now bone chilling. No snowshoeing today.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Drifted In

Barely slept last night. The exterior water heater door doesn't close well so it had been screwed shut. Ha, ha, mere mortal's attempt to fix the problem lasted until 8 p.m. The screwed were rattled loose and I listened to the music most of the night.

The 65' length of our mobile home runs east/west. The southern storm hit us from North and South. We have a 4-5' drift along our entire north side, covering most of our driveway. The drive entrance is a huge bank; the road is completely plugged and some joker tried to bust through it at 4:30 a.m. He/she is buried about 300' north of us.

I wish I had pictures but still have camera issues. has pictures but I haven't checked for rural area pictures. The channel came on air around 4:30 a.m. and is still reporting long after their normal time slot.

We never lost power though people 1 mile south of us did. There are over 1000 area closings and that includes my local Friends of the Library meeting today. Our writing group meets tomorrow but I'm not going & expect it will be cancelled too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hunkering Down During the Storm

All the media is focused on THE STORM - that 2100 mile swath of Mother Nature's winter fury. Five or more feet of snowdrifts are forecast along with 50-60 m.p.h. winds and 15-18 inches of snowfall.

I say, Let Her Rip! Unlike most of our acquaintances here, we're prepared - assuming this place doesn't go airborne!

Have a bucket of water next to each toilet, drinking water stored, dish and cooking water nearby, candles, flashlights and lanterns ready, and, of course, plenty of food.

I have a few more tidbits to share but the satellite TV is cutting out so the expected power failure may be nearby. Talk to you all in a couple days.