“We were gonna get a matching tattoo together.”

I have thought about a tattoo. Me and my mom actually talked about it last week. We were gonna get a matching tattoo together. We don't know what we're gonna get yet, but I kind of want either a heart that matches hers or her handwriting and it says "I love you". But I definitely wanna get something to match my mom, just because me and her have such a close relationship together.

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“… It started out skinny and it just grew and grew and grew because I kept accidentally adding stitches.”

I learned the basics of knitting, which is just knit and purl stitch, from my grandma when I was about eight years old. And she... Yeah, she gave me some needles and some yarn, taught me how to do knit and purl which makes like a stockinette stitch, which is the stitch that, you know, you see in a t-shirt or like it's a smooth - like one side is smooth and has Vs on it. So like a machine knitted scarf or whatever would probably have stockinette. And I made a square, a square of yarn, and that was it. And then never did anything else with it and she died when I was 16. But then when I was 18 and a freshman in college, I picked it up again. I just got some cheap yarn from Michael's and tried to remember what she'd taught me. And it's like I just made up a cast on and I just, I only remembered how to purl. I mean knit, not purl which, if you just knit on both sides, then you get a bumpy stitch, which is also great. So I made these, like, scarves 'cause I didn't know how to do any shaping or whatever, and like I remember I made one for my roommate and it was so bad 'cause this yarn that I chose, it's like this really nubby fluffy yarn, which is great for scarves, but it was really hard to see your stitches and so like this one scarf I made her. I mean, it started out skinny and it just grew and grew and grew because I kept accidentally adding stitches. It was so awful, but she wore that thing. She might still have it as far as I know.

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“I can also make bird sounds like whistles.”

I can do that no one else I know can really do is play the flute. I mean, I know people who play the flute since I'm in band, but like my circle now like no one can play the flute. That's such a random thing. Most people play like the piano, the guitar, the drums, but I play the flute. I played - I started whenever I was in sixth grade, so I don't even know how old I was at that point. 12? Something like that. So I've been playing for like 15 years, which is crazy to think about. It's like the only hobby I have that I've been into that, like, seriously, and I have mixed feelings on it. I think I've talked about it before, but yeah. Yeah, it's pretty sweet. I can also make bird sounds like whistles. I don't know what kind of bird it is. It's just more like a stim for me, but it's really satisfying to me. I'll try and do it, hold on a second. ((bird sounds)) Yeah, I don't know how that all came through on a phone recording but I can also clack my tongue really freaking loud, like it echoes and it's almost kind of painful. I don't know. I guess in addition to the flute thing, I can sing and play the flute at the same time, which is kinda interesting. It makes like a buzzing sound while you play.

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“… It feels like I’m a tea kettle that’s about to boil.”

I've been noticing something over the last couple of weeks. And it's a feeling in my body. And the best way I know how to explain it, is it feels like I'm a tea kettle that's about to boil. Like, this anxious feeling that's like building up, and it hasn't spilled over yet, but it feels like at any moment it could. And I remember feeling that way all the time in grad school, and at other times in my life, but that was kind of when it was the most consistent, I guess. And at that time, you know, after two years of being in school. Well, six years really 'cause undergrad. I didn't really know how to relax, like, there are a couple examples that spring to mind. The first was I was in Newport, Rhode Island, which is kind of a nice vacation spot, sort of. Or scenic spot, I guess, in Rhode Island. So there's like a cliff walk you can do and there's big mansions you can tour. And it must have been at the end of one of my semesters. I don't think it was my final semester. But we went on a walk, that cliff walk, and we got to the end and my friend was like, "Oh, let's sit down and like watch the water." And I kind of couldn't. Like I sat and I just kept - I just felt very jittery, like "Why are we doing this? There's no point to this, like we need to go back." And I just kind of recognized that I wasn't able to relax, and I wasn't able to do something that wasn't - that didn't have like a "purpose". And then around that same time I guess. Well, this would've been maybe like the semester before. I was at home and I was working on a paper. It was over Christmas break, and my dad had just gotten an oximeter which it tells you your blood oxygen levels and it also tells you your heart rate. And my dad's not a fit person. He doesn't eat well, he doesn't exercise. And his resting heart rate was like seventy, maybe, so he's showing me how it works. And he put it on my finger. And it told me that my resting heart rate was like a hundred or something, or my heart rate. I…

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“She was really good at finding the little four-leaf clovers.”

And then the four-leaf clover, I kinda, sorta, got that for my grandma. She's still alive, but she is one of those people that could spend, like, a prolonged period of time just, like, standing in a clover field and find, like, five four-leaf clovers and she was always really good at that. So I have a bunch that have been, like, laminated and they're, like, pressed, that I've hung onto… I need to find a couple of those. But there's one that's stuck to my piggy bank at home that I've had since I was a kid. But yeah, I have a bunch of those just, like, everywhere 'cause she's always finding them. Like, she has a knack for it and I've never… I think I've been able to find one, but she's always able to walk away with, like, a couple and she was really good at finding the little four-leaf clovers and I thought that was, like, the coolest thing ever when I was a kid, so I just wanted that.

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“And every time I turned a corner… I was greeted with something more breathtaking than the last.”

Sometimes the true sign that I'm witnessing something so incredibly beautiful is when I start feeling, like, legitimately emotional. And the first time I felt moved to tears, that I can recall, by nature, was in Northern Montana driving through Glacier National Park for the first time. It may have also been the first time where I had my breath literally taken away by the beauty of something before my eyes. There's a road that winds its way through and - through Glacier National Park. It's called the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and it was built along mountain’s edge. It's safe, it's fine, it's not risky, really. And, all I recall is like, I sorta just made this decision on a whim to go drive that way. In my life, I'd never been to the Rocky Mountains before. And it was this big life moment, this feeling of just breaking out, breaking out of the norm. I had traveled before, but it was always with cause. There's a friend down there, there's - someone's college is over here, etcetera. It was one of the first times where I just said, “I'm going to go experience a novel, an amazing life experience just because I can.” And so with that, when I arrived at the foot of the Rockies and eventually entered into Glacier territory, there was this mix of emotion that was so strong, to know that I had brought myself in a car to the foot of something so magnificent. And every time I turned a corner on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, I was greeted with something more breathtaking than the last. We were there just after, you know, the road had opened. Actually, I think we were there probably three days after the road was sufficiently plowed, which a lot of times cuts into the summer. And so there’s waterfalls coming down to your right, splashing against your car. There’s these magnificent valleys, these beautiful greens and almost neon greens, and these wildflowers that ranged almost every sharp color of the rainbow. And, it felt like you were flying. Flying over one of the most majestic, amazing, beautiful places I'd ever seen. And you know, I'd turn a corner and I'd like, I'd catch my breath. There'd be like, I would lose my breath for a minute like (gasps). And I remember traveling with a partner, guess now my girlfriend, and…

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“I didn’t get one for a long time because… Jews had numbers tattooed on them in the Holocaust.”

"Do you have any tattoos? Is there a special meaning behind any of the tattoos you have? If you don't have a tattoo, would you ever consider getting one?" I do not have tattoos, Michigan Diaries. I didn't get one for a long time 'cause I learned that, like, as a Jew, it was just weird with, like, the Holocaust and everything because, like, Jews had numbers tattooed on them in the Holocaust. And I think there might have been some, like, more conservative or Orthodox practice where you can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo. So, it didn't really cross my mind until I was, like, 25. Like, I had a piercings - I had piercings. I had my ears pierced from when I was a teenager until kind of recently. And I had my eyebrow pierced in college. But yeah, I've been thinking about the tattoo, not like seriously, but might get, like, a math thing or a music thing or a nature thing or a science thing. Or an Earth thing. I don't know if I'd want to do space, I think I'd focus on Earth. Tree… That might be cool, like a tree. I always think about my bicep or like, shoulder, outer shoulder as the spot that I would get it. But yeah, no tattoos for me.

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“But here in Michigan, each season brings… a unique landscape.”

Ever since we moved up to Michigan, we've seen things that it feels, like, “Is this a movie?” Some things that are so beautiful, sunsets that are so beautiful. You know, people don't realize this. How hot it is in Florida. But when you're doing stuff in Florida, it's so hot, it's so humid. It feels like you're wearing a mask, and it just draws you, pushes you, it's like gravity is worse down there. Pushes you down and it's hard to see beautiful things. Even though there’s many beautiful things in Florida, it's hard to appreciate it. There's really, very few times of the year where you can get out there and it not feel like that, and for you to appreciate it. But here in Michigan, each season brings their - this unique, like, a unique landscape, basically. All the time, am I just like in awe. When we went hiking this weekend, we were hiking around a lake, and there were geese kind of quarreling and two flew off and it just, in front of the - because we went there kind of early, so we were still at sunrise and it was just beautiful like this scenic moment of them flying off into the horizon. It just felt like a movie.

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“Audio diary collection brings relief, therapy to those impacted by MSU shooting” – Fox 17 News

Project leader, Dr. Betsy Sneller, and project co-lead, Dr. Suzanne Wagner, talked with Fox 17 News about our project and how we've been impacted by the stories we've heard in our Spartan Strong collection. Click here to read the entire article or watch the video of the news story below.

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“…Doing science right now would be way better than just sitting there.”

Recently, like, two days ago I think, something really annoying for the whole class happened. So we were having snack, but then one person, I don't know who, didn't pick up their candy wrappers. So we had to - so we had to miss our science, which is at the end of the day, near our snack. So we basically have to sit on the carpet for 30 minutes. So for a while, people were trying to put together clues, figure out who it was. But then, our teacher just told us to stop. But for some weird reason, our teacher was videotaping us. I thought it was kind of weird, but some of the times, when I was sitting criss-cross applesauce, I just laid my head down on my knee then put both my hands out to make it a bit more comfortable, and sometimes I was just covering my ears because there was like a million people talking at once. But then, normally, so I don't like science the most. But then I thought, doing science right now would be way better than just sitting there. So that was just kind of annoying. And she said she would - she said that she would ask the principal to look at the, like, tapes and see who it was.

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