2024 Science Festival

MI Diaries presented a collection of Michigan-centered stories at MSU’s Science Festival in April 2024. Take a listen through the stories here.

“I don’t think you need kids to have fun in the snow.” | Adults Diary | January 31, 2021

So we’re still suspects to receiving lots of lake effect snow and we received about, I don’t know six to eight inches last night here. And so today on Sunday we decided to take our sleds down to the dunes, and just do some hiking and sled down hills that we encountered along the way. Went up to a dune top that might be called Mount Edward, which is on the Northern tip of Warren Dunes State Park and we sledded down that and it was fun. And it was great. So this is probably our first super significant snowfall of the winter. If you don’t count Christmas. Christmas was a pretty good snow fall, it was like four inches, but if you live in Michigan you know that four inches of snow is not a whole lot. It’s great for Christmas cause it was so beautiful. But, today was the first really significant pile up, so it was great just get out there and play in it for a while. Even if I am about to turn thirty seven. I don’t think you ever are too old to play in the snow. That’s what I’ve gathered. And I think my theory is a lot of times, folks my age and older, when they have kids, they use kids as an excuse to play in the snow and, and feel fine doing it. But I don’t think you need kids to have fun in the snow. It’s just, it’s one of those things.

“In fact, I had two snow days this week.” | Teens Diary | February 3, 2022

Parts of Michigan got a lot, got a lot of snow this week and some schools got to have snow days. Did you have a snow day? What did you do on your day off? Have you ever tried any of the snow day rituals, like pennies under your bed, or ice cubes down the toilet? So, I did have a snow day this week. In fact, I had two snow days this week and on my days off I really, I just chilled. I spent, I spent some time with my family, which was really nice. Oh, I watched the new Marvel movie Eternals, which was – it was honestly pretty good. My favorite part was probably the Harry Styles part at the very end. That was like, super, super awesome. Because I remember Harry Styles from like my sister — from posters in my sister’s room and One Direction and it was really cool to see, to see him taking an acting role. So, I did that on my snow day. I also shoveled some snow. Although it was less shoveling and more playing in the snow. That was pretty fun. And I, and I think the reason I got two snow days is because I put 12 ice cubes down the toilet, 6, for Wednesday, and 6 for Thursday, and it worked. So if you want a snow day, then just tell as many people as you can to put 6 ice cubes that are in the perfect shape of a cube in the toilet because it definitely definitely works.

“It developed into like full-blown white out.” | Adults Diary | February 8, 2021

Driving in the snow, oh my gosh, so I had a story for this one. And I always think about this one time back, it had to be like early last year, it might have been around New Year’s or a little bit after or something, it was right before COVID shut everything down. I remember I was going up to East Lansing to visit some friends at Michigan State and, you know, we were gonna go out and party and do all that noise. And the weather was fine, there was nothing in the forecast, I had no idea and as soon as I started driving on the freeway, it starts to you know, sprinkle a little bit of snow. And I’m like, ah you know, I don’t love driving in the snow it makes me nervous, but I think it’ll be fine, just a sprinkle. And within about an hour or like in the course of an hour, you know, it developed into like full-blown white out. Everyone’s going like 25 on the on the freeway and at that point I was only like halfway there. So I’m like white-knuckling it all the way and, you know, I think I passed like 15 or 20 cars that had driven off the road and accidents and all kinds of stuff. So I was just freaked out. I already have really high driving anxiety. It was not good. Yeah, and so by the time I actually got there we were like, everyone was ready to go and I was still trying to recover from like just, you know, white knuckles, holding my breath for the hour and half it took me to get there. So that was pretty scary. I really did not like that. I, I definitely avoid driving in the snow now. 

“But then they told me why there was no school, and it made me really sad.” | Kids Diary | February 7, 2024

Today, I’m gonna be talking about what happened in 2023 on February 13th and how it impacted my life. From what I remember, on that day I was – so, I – when I got up in the morning and came to my parents, they told me that there was no school, so I was happy. But then they told me why there was no school, and it made me really sad, and a bit frightened, too. So, I’m pretty sure my family closed our blinds and stayed inside our house for that day. But I don’t remember it perfectly... I know that I was pretty scared, and I was sad at the thought that some students had just gone to campus, um, from their home, and then never returned home Like maybe a month later, I heard that there was a shooter in the building – in like a school building in Texas, and I was just really hoping that my school could still be safe... And yeah, I don’t really know what to say. Because I think that’s all. Well, I remember that I was, I was so sad about it that I actually cried. And the day we’re recording this right now, I am on the breaking point of crying, so I think this is all Im going to record.

“Thoughts and prayers to the Spartan Community today.” | Adults Diary | February 14, 2023

I was just hoping to briefly share my condolences to the Michigan Diaries team and Michigan State Community today. Just seeing some really tough news that I, you know, can, can only imagine the kind of, uh, kind of feelings that everyone’s going through in the active shooter situation. So I, yeah, just wanted, wanted to offer, you know, some, some words of support. Definitely have the team and the Spartans on my mind. And I saw that class schedules and sports schedules and stuff are canceled. 100% understandable. You know, I can keep making recordings. I think the planets will wait for Michigan Diaries whenever you’re ready. You know, if we gotta take a week off, you know, I’ll still be here. So. Or if you wanna continue the pace of normalcy, I would understand that as well. Yeah. Just I have to imagine really, really tough day for everyone in East Lansing. So my thoughts and prayers to the Spartan Community today.

“If I made a movie I’d want it to be in Michigan featuring…” | Adults Diary | February 2, 2023

This week, I am grateful for the sun. It seems as though we had a gray dome just resting over top of the state of Michigan, or at least the southwest corner of Michigan for what felt like most of 2023 so far to be honest. But this week, at least in my region, we finally had some clearing, and it’s underrated how powerful it can be to just get out of work and see that the sun is there. I take backroads home from work, so I can drive down past one of our state parks in this area that sits along the shoreline and, you know, today was one of those days where there’s that low winter sun, it’s there. You know it. It’s not so bright that you can’t really look at it, but it just peers through the trees and the woods and hits you just right. It’s this amazing tone that’s struck. If I had an eye for it, it’s how I’d want to set a scene in a movie. I’ve always kinda imagined if I made a movie, I’d want it to be in Michigan featuring the sort of things that Michiganders see that don’t often get replicated on film, like these sunny early February winter afternoons, snow on the ground, it’s cold outside. Your car is covered in salt and the remnants of whatever last snow-slash-mud mixture you’ve got cooking there. Actually, when you’re cozy in your car, I, I love that ambiance. So much so that after work this week on Tuesday, I think, I drove straight to the lakeshore, and I took a nap in my car as I pulled up to the shore of Lake Michigan, and stuck around for the sunset, and there’s sometimes where you just wanna get home after work period even if you’re getting home to do nothing. That’s actually me on most days, but every now and again I get this feeling like “Yeah, I’m gonna get home late, but at least this is worthwhile, right? You know, may as well make something of my day.” So yeah, I’m really grateful for the sun. I think I heard that we’re, we’re now done with sunsets before 6 pm and that makes me happy too. So I’ll take it.

“I was holding my breath the whole time for like 20 seconds.” | Kids Diary | August 9, 2023

My favorite thing — well, I went to Michigan’s Adventure with my friend again — the same one I went to the fair with — but there was like water slides there and it was just like really fun ’cause the water slides were like honestly scary, but most of them were fun. I like the black ones where you can’t see anything and there’s like a drop and you’re on a tube in it. Those are my favorite and I hated the ones that we went on. It was almost like a drop-slide thing where the platform goes under beneath you but you start out like a slide. So the platform doesn’t drop beneath you but you just like sit down and it’s super steep and water kept spraying my face. So I was like I couldn’t breathe. So I was holding my breath the whole time for like 20 seconds. And that’s like the max I could hold my breath for. I can’t hold my breath very long, but whatever. And then so I had like a terrible headache after ’cause I held my breath for like way too long.

“The momentum from my body was pulling me down off the cliff.” | Adults Diary | May 20, 2023

I am the least graceful person and I fully admit it. I have so many stories of just, just being a klutz. I remember maybe five or six years ago, I went hiking at Tahquamenon Falls, and I think I had all of the necessary equipment, you know, I had hiking boots and you know, I might have even had one of those hiking sticks or whatever and I will say that at Tahquamenon Falls it — when I went hiking it had rained, so it’s kind of slu- like not slushy but kind of slippery and muddy and then there was so many exposed roots and everything. 

So it’s just the perfect opportunity for someone like me who is less graceful to fall, but I can remember going for a hike from the upper falls to the lower falls and there’s kind of like a cliff and it leads down into a river and I was hiking, and I tripped and I was literally inches away from falling off the cliff — like the momentum from my body was like kinda pulling me down off the cliff like I was afraid I was gonna fall and like I was like kinda holding on for dear life not to like roll right over the cliff’s edge. And I can remember that after that, I had gotten such a, like a big bruise like a just it was a deep, deep, dark purple and it was like this size of a grapefruit. 

Like it didn’t like swell like a grapefruit. I mean it did swell but it didn’t swell like a grapefruit, but it was like so big around it was like as big as a grapefruit. It was on my knee. I remember taking a picture of it and kind of posting it on Facebook as like, yeah, look at how klutzy I am.

“I’ve never felt so Michigan country in my life.” | Adults Diary | September 15, 2023

When I was a sophomore in high school, there was a senior basketball player who kind of took me under his wing. We were both playing varsity basketball that year, and he helped me prepare for the season, et cetera. One of those ways he tried to take me under his wing was to help me flourish socially, so, um, I was fine with that to a degree, but then I remember there being this night where he took me out in his Ford Ranger, his light Sienna Brown Ford Ranger, and — is that even a color? Burnt sienna? I think what I meant to say is burnt sienna. But it wasn’t. It was just light brown, so scratch that from the record — in his light brown Ford Ranger. This guy took me out. He said “We’re gonna go to a party.” He’s like, “I know there’s this, there’s this girl in your class who I can tell is, you know, all about you. Let’s go see if we can find her, blah blah blah blah blah.” And I sat there just kind of quietly like, “Uhh, uhh, I don’t know, can’t we just, can’t we just hang at your house and play Nintendo 64? You’ve got NBA Live 2000, isn’t that enough?” 

But he took me out and drove me to a cornfield. He drove down this little, like, dirt track, which is kinda sketchy the way I’m painting this picture, and maybe it was, but. And out of nowhere emerged, like, six other pickup trucks, and I’ve never felt so Michigan country in my life, and there was a fire. And when we got out of his Ford Ranger, there was, like, the popular girls from school that I had known from school and school alone, but they were smoking cigarettes and it was just like a — like I’d walked onto a movie scene from the 1970s, I don’t know. And there were the guys wearing their plaid shirts tucked into their jeans, their Abercrombie jeans, already completely wasted, you know, throwing back beers, and everyone was just sort of standing around. And I’ve — I was gonna say I’ve never been more uncomfortable, but I’ve had many uncomfortable moments in my life. That was, that was among the more uncomfortable social moments for me in high school.

“We found a potato rock.” | Kids Diary | January 6, 2022

What’s the coolest thing you think you’ve ever found on a beach?  

We once went biking, and then we came across this little private beach area, but it was like really weird ‘cause it was clearly a public beach but then it was covered up by vines. And when we went down there, we found like this whole camping set up sort of thing, but it looked like it hadn’t been used or touched or anything in so long. Do you remember that?  


It’s really cool. 

What lake was that on? 


So you found a — an abandoned campsite. Have you found anything else that’s kind of cool on a beach? 

We found a potato rock, a rock that resembled an actual potato. Other than that, I don’t think so.  

You don’t think Petoskey stones are cool? 

Well, they are, but they’re pretty common.

“I saw my first shooting star that night.” | Adults Diary | June 8, 2022

I love the stars. I love looking up at the stars. I will – oh my god, when I – couple years ago I went camping, um, in northern Michigan – I love Northern Michigan – um, with friends of mine. And we’d gone camping. And we were at this campsite near Mackinaw City and we literally spent – it was a really clear night. We spent the entire night just laying in the middle of the road in the campsite and, like, this dirt road, with blankets, um, staring into the stars. And I saw my first shooting star that night ‘cause – one, I don’t think we’d ever been, um – it’s never been clear enough to see stuff like that, but we, we saw everything. Like, it was insane. Like, I know, still, with light pollution, there’s still a lot that we can’t see. Like, we’re not even seeing the half of it, even when you think you’re seeing all of it. Um, which is really neat to me, too. Um, but yeah, it’s really – I really like it. I like when it’s dark enough that you can see all of that, um, and it’s super cool. We, like, laid on the top of our cars and just, like, stared at the, uh, the stars for a little bit. And that was really cool. And I really liked that a lot.

“I love Captain Sundae.” | Teens Diary | October 24, 2023

You know what I do love, though? I love Captain Sundae which is a restaurant we have in Michigan. I always — every single time, time I go I get, uh — it’s an M&M and Oreo flurry. So it’s vanilla ice cream with M&Ms and Oreos mixed in and it is so good. It doesn’t really smell like anything. It kinda smells — you know, like when you open the refrigerator and then you like breathe in and it’s like really cold smelling and there’s just that weird smell and like makes your nose cold. That’s kind of what it smells like if that makes sense. And it kinda — it really just tastes like vanilla ice cream with Oreos and M&Ms cause, you know, that’s what it is. And then it just looks like vanilla ice cream and chopped up M&Ms and then some chopped up Oreos in it. And then the M&M’s skin of — skin, um — the outer layer — the shell of the M&M makes like the color, the color swirls in it when you mix it around, um and that’s kind of what it looks like.

“You can look across and see all the dots of where the luminaries are lighting the cemetery.” | Adults Diary | February 5, 2024

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.