“All I wanted to do was dip into my fantasy world where I could be Peter Venkman with my proton pack.”

I feel iffy on dressing up. Really strange thing about me that I try to analyze and typically fail. Sometimes I love attention. I like being noticed. And, on the same hand, sometimes I hate being noticed and I don't know what triggers what and how to reconcile those two. But I do know it's been a, a lifelong feeling that it all started -- or at least was initially recognized when I was in preschool and for show and tell, one of my classmates brought in, uh, his proton pack -- his toy proton pack from the Ghostbusters. And also I think maybe a Ghostbusters, like, you know, uniform which was s- -- I don't know, above and beyond. It was so extra honestly. But I remember watching that show and tell and I'm like, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen. I want nothing more than to have the opportunity to wear that outfit and wear the proton pack 'cause I've seen the commercial for the proton pack so many times and I always knew my mom and my dad would never buy that for me. And so like I had this dream of using it just once and lo and behold, you know, after show and tell, other kids in the class were supposed to get an opportunity to use the thing you brought in to be shared. And when it was my turn, I remember being struck suddenly with this extreme sense of self-consciousness where it's like all I wanted to do was dip into my fantasy world where I could be Peter Venkman with my proton pack. But all I could think about was that I would have to do that in front of others in the classroom. Who were all playing on their own. They would have never cared or they, they would have looked at me and said, "Well, yeah. Of course he's pretending to be Peter Venkman. It's the whole Ghostbusters get up." But I refused as a kindergartner when it came down -- er preschooler, sorry, when it came down to it. I said, "I -- no thank you. I can't do that. I, I don't want to put on the Ghostbusters stuff," even though it's what I wanted more than anything. And that's kind of like, carried on to the rest of my life. I don't know if it…

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“I do a lot of silly things, and it’s my favorite thing about life.”

I live in a rural area, and we have wetlands and that involves cattails. And I don't know if you know this 'bout cattails, but at the end of the season they basically turn into milkweed, kind of. Like, you know, milkweed pods, they have little seeds and they're on floaties. Or, like, dandelions. Imagine that but like cattails. Like, you're, you're imagining like this hotdog, corn dog shaped thing. If you squish it, it actually loosens up just a ton of these tiny little seeds. Like, imagine like a dandelion but compact. And so you can basically explode them and their floofs go everywhere. And on the way to work, because he [someone the diarist is seeing] also escorts me to work on bicycle, I picked a couple of cattail heads and I left them in the basket of my bicycle during my shift. And so when he came to pick me up after my shift was done, it was past the time that the store closes, so nobody was there. Doors were locked. We exploded a couple of these cattails under the canopy of one of the entrances. And then, one of the other guys I'm seeing, the next day, was like, "Hey, so I had to go grocery shopping this morning and I noticed under the entrance canopy there was a bunch of fluff. Was that you?" because I am very known for being playful, and I was like, "Yeah!" He's like, "What was that?" And I was like, "I exploded some cattails." And the rest of the story is then my next shift after that, I exploded a cattail -- 'cause I picked another one on the way to work again -- under the canopy again, and I was a little bit early for work ‘cause I like to do shopping a little bit like for my lunch and stuff, and anything I need. And I also get ready at work -- at work. So like, I put on my shirt, and I do my hair and everything like at work so that I look presentable, 'cause riding your bike to work destroys your hair and makes you sweaty and everything. And so I'd exploded this cattail and then I came back down after getting ready. I still had some, you know, time to waste, and the person I was seeing was still there after shopping…

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“They didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and so we all wore our pajamas that night and she was very happy.”

Back in the 1960s, my grandmother wanted to do something fun for all of her grandchildren. And so she decided to make pajamas for everybody in the family for Christmas. This was before this was a thing that people did like they do now. And this was my grandmother deciding to buy -- I don't know -- like, a hundred yards of striped flannel. It was the stripes that reminded me of it, and my cousin called since I’d recorded a few minutes ago and that made me think of it. Anyway, my grandmother made red and white striped nightgowns for my mother, my aunt, and my cousins -- the girls, and I. For our fathers -- my uncle, my dad, my grandfather and my two cousins that were boys -- she made black and white striped flannel pajama pants. And coming out of the box, they looked pretty cute…‘til they all had to put them on and modeled them. Well, they looked like they were a bunch of convicts from some prison. It was very, very funny. But they didn't want to hurt her feelings, and so, since we all stayed at my grandmother's big old farmhouse, we all wore our pajamas that night and she was very happy. My cousins got to go home. But my dad -- we had -- mom and I had to stay for another few days and so we had to wear our pajamas for a couple more days. My dad was later bit by the snaps at the waist because my grandmother didn't squeeze them tight enough and the metal part started to come out. And after a couple of days, my dad decided that as soon as we got home those pajama pants were going to be toast. But actually I think he cut them up into car polishing rags, which he probably got a lot more use out of. But it was pretty funny to see our entire family of 14 people wearing either red and white or black and white striped pajamas in the 1960s. Not something that people did back then.

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“There was two seconds left on the clock and I just chucked it over my head.”

I don't like homework. I'm a super busy person. Like last night, I had a basketball game. And then right after that I went to volleyball. Oh wait! I need to tell you this. It's super cool. But during the basketball game, I made one from half court. Like not ‘cause I was shooting from half court, but just because there was two seconds left on the clock and I just chucked it over my head and it, it went in and I was like, "Oh my gosh!" And then the coach was just like, "Oh, it's just luck." Like, dude! I actually practice those too. Be- because I've had to do that like three or four times now and I almost made it one time but this time I actually made it 'cause I -- sometimes I just like practice like just chucking the ball at the wall from like half court or like full court or something like that, and just like aim for a brick or something. And this time I actually made it and then the coach was like, "It's just luck." Dude, that's so rude.

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“When they were coming, they stole the ball we were using.”

So today at recess, just me and three of my friends wanted to play, like, just the us four. But then the other people who we normally play soccer with didn't agree to that and they got really mad 'cause when they were coming, they stole the ball we were using -- well, it wasn't really a ball. It was a bouncy ball since those work best for playing soccer, even though it's not a real ball. And then they got super mad at us for not being able to share it and stuff, so they told on the teacher. But since I was being nicer to them by saying to my friends, "Okay, we already had some time to play just the us four, so now I think we should play with them," but they didn't really agree, and it was hard for me to pick which side I should be on, so I was kind of in between. I don't think my friends realize that I wasn't following them a bunch. An- but the other group who we normally play w- with, they got really mad. And like I said, they told the teacher and they said that they -- that the other three people that I was with couldn't play with them if they asked. But then they said I could because I was nicer I guess.

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“When I poured the cinnamon into my crush’s mouth, she began choking violently.”

We, we made french toast that morning. It just felt like, it just felt like we're doing, like, these, these adult things. When you're 18 or 19, and for the first time, it's just at the outset of, of college, and you're like, buying food materials on your own, it feels so novel. Went out and bought a brand new thing of cinnamon for our French toast, and -- but, the same hand, you're still kids. Because I remember when we were done with, um, when we were done with breakfast that morning, we were -- again, were just kinda hanging out in my best friend’s kinda, like, basement apartment area that he had as a part of a bigger house that he shared with fellow college baseball players. Goofing around, and somehow, some way this, this girl that I had just met recently that I knew was gonna be so special in my life as long as I don't ruin it… We were goofing around. She was laying on the floor. I remember pouring -- what I was trying to do is pour bottled water into her mouth from like four feet in the air, like it, “This is kind of a cool trick, like look at us go.” It, it's so stupid. I don't know why. I don't know what compelled us to do that other than, like, flirting. It can be very strange for people. I guess, like, we just wanted to goof around with each other. And so I remember, though, I was doing the thing where I was pouring water into her mouth, and I looked to my right, and I saw the cinnamon that we had bought that morning for the French toast, and in my head I remember thinking like, “Cinnamon tastes so good in French toast, and it tastes so good in cinnamon bread. All the cinnamon I've tasted has tasted delicious in my life.” I said, “What if I do this girl a favor, and I, and I swap the water that I'm pouring into her mouth, and I just pour the cinnamon instead. So she gets, like, this tasty treat when she's not expecting it.” It turns out I'm an idiot. This is before the cinnamon challenge. So this was not widespread knowledge -- well, granted, it probably was widespread knowledge, but not for me. So, uh, when I poured…

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“Well, while this is happening the casket slips and now it’s tilted.”

My aunt, my son's great aunt, passed away, and she wanted all the nephews to be her pallbearers. And my son was 16 at the time, and he was a nephew, so he became a pallbearer. And I explained to him what pallbearers do, and he was like, "I gotta get in the grave?" And I said, "Heck no, you don't get in the grave. You just bring the, the casket to the grave and set it on a, a stand and they take care of it from there." Well, not my aunt. My aunt had the pallbearers put her in the grave. And then the funeral home director said, "Oh my gosh. She requested that her head be facing north and it's not." So they had to pull her out of the grave and flip the casket around and, and put the casket back in. Well, while this is happening, the casket slips and now it's tilted. And my son, bless his heart, he was 16 and a weightlifter and a football player and he was very well stacked. And he jumped in the grave and he held up the casket until they could get the ropes back around it. Climbed out of the grave dusting himself off. And they lowered my aunt into the ground. And I promised him that if he's ever a pallbearer again, that would not happen. My aunt, she was funny.

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“You can look across and see all the dots of where the luminaries are lighting the cemetery.”

I was in a cemetery on December 21st, 2023, for the winter solstice. I went to Kaleva, Michigan. They have a big Finnish population in Kaleva, and there is a Finnish tradition that you go to the cemetery on Christmas Eve and light luminaries and put them on the graves of your ancestors. Well, Kaleva decided that people were kinda busy on Christmas Eve usually, so they decided to change the tradition or make their own tradition to be the winter solstice, so the longest night of the year. So they have volunteers that come and light luminaries and place them on the graves all throughout the cemetery there. And it is a very large cemetery, and I think that they said that they light over a thousand luminaries now. And it was beautiful. So, it's obviously dark when you go. They start lighting them I think around four o'clock. And then by the time they're finished, it's dark and then you can either drive through the cemetery or get out and walk and see all of the, um, the graves kind of lit up by these luminaries, and you can look across and see all the dots of where the luminaries are lighting the, lighting the cemetery. So it was a pretty cool thing. I heard about it a long time ago, and I am not often, um, up north then, or in Michigan. I -- when I lived outside of Michigan, and if I, you know, when I came home for the Christmas holidays, I would usually get there, like, the 23rd, sometimes the 24th and very soon before Christmas. I normally didn't have that much time off work to be able to go sooner than, you know, a couple of days before the holiday, but this year I decided to take a little bit of time off before the holiday and was able to go up to Traverse, and then my mom and my sister and I who actually had flown in that day, like she flew -- er no, she had flew in the day before -- late the day before. And we were able to meet a friend of mine who I worked with when I lived in Muskegon. She lives in Manistee, but her husband's family is all from Kaleva, so they actually have ancestors in that graveyard. And we were able to find…

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“I am always and forever their Snow White.”

Tell us about a time you were able to dress up either in a costume or a fancy outfit... Oh, I get to dress up all the time. So one of the things that I love doing is volunteering to be a princess. So my theater group every year has princesses that they send to the fair, and I am always and forever their Snow White. So I have my Snow White dress which I bought myself because, um, I do it so much and so I can do princessing at other parties, and then I walk around and be the character. And I don't know if I can do the voice right now, but I can try to do it for you guys. "Hi!" No. Oh my gosh. "Hi! I'm Snow White. What's your name?" That's not exactly it because my voice is super hoarse from singing Love Story and “Since you've been gone, I can breathe for the first time" yeah... all day yesterday. And then doing a two hour vocal rehearsal after, but it was fun. Okay.

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“I don’t know how he did it, but he beat it, and he was wearing an Elmo suit.”

Tell us about a time that you got to dress up... During school spirit weeks, I really like to go all out, like, as much as I can at least. We had something -- like, it's like our homecoming week and like, most of us usually dress up. It's really fun. But there's one kid who's really, really, really good. He always has the best costumes. Like last year, we have something called “neon day”, and he came to school in like a literal neon green like, bodysuit. Like, covered his face, covered every single inch of him. And then he wore a green wig. So he went to school as a broccoli, which was kind of funny, but technically -- basically, he's really good. And so I wanted to beat him that year. And so I remember that one day we had, um, “dress up as a character”, and so I wanted to do a duo dress up with a friend of mine, and we were going to be going as the Good Witch and the Bad Witch from Wicked, and so I was going as the Good Witch. And so I had this cute little pink dress I was gonna wear, and then I did my makeup. I usually don't wear makeup because it takes a lot of time, and also my parents would probably not like that, and also it's just bad for my skin anyway. So that day I had done my makeup. I'd done my eyeshadow. I had a little glitter on my eye. It was really cute. And I mean, it was very poorly done, but I did my best and the dress was awesome. I had planned on going outside of my school to go find a stick that would work as a wand. I even made my own little tiara since I didn't have one, and I made it out of tin foil and it was a lot uglier than I wanted, but it wasn't horrible. I mean, like, it wasn't bad. It just looked more like something an alien princess would wear rather than the type of princess I was going for. And so I went to school and I was like -- what was I about to say? Oh, And so I got to school and I was like, "Yes. No one's gonna be able to beat this. This is…

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