Stay in Ann Arbor for games at The Big House

First Street Garden Inn, a downtown Ann Arbor Bed and Breakfast, still has a few openings for football game weekends: Sept 8-9 and 15-16, and Oct. 27-28

via  U of M Football at “The Big House” — First Street Garden Inn


I’ve Been Writing Tons~Really!

I know it’s been a while since you’ve seen any blog posts from Marianne’s Musings but really, I’ve practically been living on WordPress since this semester started. Three of my five classes this fall involve either blogging or website design. It’s been an exhausting semester so far and I don’t think it’s going to slow down any before it’s over. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re motivated. I thought I was past the age of all-nighters for college but I’ve proved myself mistaken several times so far this fall.

In addition to the blogging, I am going to be re-designing a website for a new friend of mine as part of my Web Publishing Technology class. I met Kathy Clark, who runs the First Street Garden Inn in downtown Ann Arbor, at an Ypsi Spark sponsored meeting last June and we kind of hit it off. I volunteered to help show her how some different social media sites work, one thing led to another … and now I am going to do her website for that class. I’ve been doing social media for her inn as part of my Writing for the World Wide Web class, including a blog site. It’s been a fun and interesting part of my semester.

Kathy has a gorgeous old house in Downtown Ann Arbor, just around the corner from Washtenaw Dairy and within walking distance of the football stadium, downtown shopping/eating/drinking, and also U of M central campus sites. If you have any family coming to town who need a place to stay, or if you want to go on a pub crawl or FairyDoors Tour and stay in town, I can’t recommend her inn highly enough. The blog for the inn is and her website that I am going to be re-designing pretty soon is at  If you connect with the inn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or Pinterest, you will get the posts I do for her, too.  I’ve been creating some visitor guides that may come in handy for you or your friends/family so check them out.

If you’re interested in seeing any of the fantastically stimulating writing I’ve been doing for my classes you can go to the following blog sites. Trust me, if you have insomnia, the blog posts on these sites will help you with that!


It’s been nice taking a break from required writing to chat with you for a minute. I know I won’t have much time to connect anymore until this semester is over in mid-December. Then I’ll be a Bachelor of Arts Degree holder and finished with my classes.  (Woo Hoo!)

Until later, friends.  Marianne

Moms, do you have Directionally-Challenged Males in your Home? Here’s help

Blogger Meredith Masony at That’s Inappropriate is a mom’s blogger — she tells it like it is so we don’t have to.  You know, that woman after our own hearts that manages to make all our cares funny and give us a little time-out of the seriousness of parenting. Personally, I like hearing her frustrations and how they often mirror what I went through when my awesome kids were younger.

Last week, after seeing her post INSIDE THE BOWL: A MOTHER’S STRUGGLE I was compelled to do something to help her and other frustrated mothers of sons out there (no pun intended).  Of course, I think I was also probably just avoiding doing my homework, but this project gave me a worthy excuse. I could relate because when we moved into the house we bought in Lansing in 1996, there was brown shag carpet throughout the home, including the kitchen, dining room, and both bathrooms.  Tommy was potty-training at the time — can you say yuck? I think that’s why her post inspired me.

Anyway, I wanted to share the resources I created with you all so that if you are also in need, you can use them too. So, just click on the link here to get my Assistive Devices for Directionally Challenged Males.  Feel free to share these resources with your friends and family who may be in need.

And if you are an artist with better Photoshop skills that I have, I can envision golf-themed devices, too. Care to try?  Send me your results in a comment on this post.

Photo sign to post on toilet lids
Photo sign to post on toilet lids

Are you Lonely?

As part of my “Writing for the World Wide Web” course in the last semester of my Technical Writing degree, the professor set up a course blog where my classmates and I are assigned some articles to read and then engage in discussions about them. I wanted to tell you all about some of last week’s readings and get your response/reaction to them. I have copied my reaction to them below. The four articles with their links are:

“Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”;

“The Flight from Conversation;”

“Sherry Turkle–the flight from conversation… a response.”; and

All the Creepy Things Facebook Knows About You.”

As you can tell from the titles, these readings all have to do with social media and how it is affecting us.  I read these articles but then was stewing over them so much that I was late responding to the blog post, which I should have done last week.  However, I was finally able to wrap my head around the information in these articles and made my response, which I copied below.  I think my final response shocked even me. What do you think about the subject and my response to it?  Just click reply to share your thoughts on these articles.


My response to the articles:     September 26, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Wikipedia: ‘Loneliness     

“Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection or communication with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental, emotional or even physical factors.

Research has shown that loneliness is widely prevalent throughout society among people in marriages, relationships, families, veterans and successful careers.[1] It has been a long explored theme in the literature of human beings since classical antiquity. Loneliness has also been described as social pain—a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate them to seek social connections.[2]”

Loneliness: Causes, Effects and Treatments for Loneliness

“Loneliness is a universal human emotion, yet it is both complex and unique to each individual. Loneliness has no single common cause, so the preventions and treatments for this damaging state of mind vary dramatically. … While common definitions of loneliness describe it as a state of solitude or being alone, loneliness is actually a state of mind. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people.
Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, it is the perception of being alone and isolated that matters most. …
What Causes Loneliness?
According to research by John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago psychologist and one of the top loneliness experts, loneliness is strongly connected to genetics.
Other contributing factors include situational variables, such as physical isolation, moving to a new location and divorce. The death of someone significant in a person’s life can also lead to feelings of loneliness. Loneliness can also be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression.
Loneliness can also be attributed to internal factors such as low self-esteem.
People who lack confidence in themselves often believe that they are unworthy of the attention or regard of other people. This can lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.”

10 Surprising Facts About Loneliness” by Guy Winch Ph.D.  Oct 21, 2014  Pangs that attack your body in ways you never expected.

“…despite how common loneliness is, few people are fully aware of the dramatic ways in which it impacts us. Here are 10 surprising facts about loneliness that will change how you view this all-too-common but devastating psychological condition:
1. Loneliness does not depend on how many friends or relationships you have.
2. More than 60% of lonely people are married.
3. Loneliness distorts our perceptions of our relationships
4. Loneliness is contagious in social networks
5. Loneliness actually makes us feel colder.
6. Loneliness makes our bodies feel like under attack.
7. Chronic loneliness significantly increases our risk of cardiovascular disease
8. Loneliness suppresses the functioning of our immune system.
9. College freshmen who felt lonely had poorer reactions to flu shot.
10. Loneliness is as dangerous as cigarette smoking.
Clearly, loneliness represents a hugely important psychological injury and not one we should ignore. Therefore, make sure to take steps when you are lonely, and to educate lonely people around you about the dangers of remaining lonely.”


I think the four articles are full of exaggeration, hyperbole, all-or-nothing thinking, and are offensive in their simplistic blaming of a serious condition and global social problem on a social media platform. It makes me angry to think that people read this tripe and believe it! Writers should be more responsible in what they say when it’s for the public.
While I think it is a shame that Ms. Vickers died the way she did, and that she apparently lived without close friends or a support system, I think it is equally a shame that Marche thinks it is all Facebook’s fault.

The discussion about solitude by Turkle and her blaming it on the proliferation of social media, while not as offensive, is equally exaggerated. I know that when you are doing research on a topic, you can get caught up in your findings and things seem so much larger than they are, but, to put it bluntly, a psychologist like Turkle should know better than to lay the blame for a chronic global social condition on some new technology.
The article about what Facebook knows about me is an eye-opener, as I didn’t know there were so many places they can get their info from. The fact that they know every website I go to is rather scary! But I have the choice not to use it if I don’t like it; albeit it’s not much of a choice: stay connected with your family and friends, or don’t. Kind of like the choice we have with using Google or Apple or Yahoo browsers and software – they are all doing it, and we, the consumer, can either like it or choose not to participate. Hm.”


What are your reactions/responses to these articles?

*Image obtained from Pixabay


Just give the living gift that keeps on giving.

(This is another writing assignment for my Journalism Feature Writing class this summer. My instructions were to “Identify an issue that has been in the news (on Page One)  in the past month.  Consider the personal impact of the news.  How does it affect people?  Who would talk about this impact? Often, news features are used to ‘localize’ a national or state story and show the impact it has locally. Are local people talking about it?”
I completely misunderstood the instructions and wrote what I thought would be a follow-up local story that referenced a recent national news feature story. I think it turned out okay considering I got the focus completely wrong. As always, let me know what you think and how you think I could have done better.)

While millions of people around the country were celebrating the Memorial Day holiday with cookouts and campouts and parties, often with copious quantities of their favorite alcoholic beverage, Jodi Schmidt and Natasha Fuller were abstaining from that particular type of drink, and for good reason.

First-grader Natasha Fuller is only 8 years old.  However, she and Schmidt, a third-grade teacher in the Village of Oakfield, Wis, where Fuller attends school, were recovering from kidney transplant surgeries—separate, but together. With the support of their families, the two have been preparing for months.

Fuller was at home with her grandmother. She was born with a congenital defect that caused renal failure and was living with her grandmother so she could be close to Wisconsin Children’s Hospital where she had dialysis treatments three times a week while waiting for a donor.

Schmidt, however, has been spending her time leading up to the surgery undergoing testing, first to determine whether she was a match to donate one of her kidneys to Fuller, and then for the many different labs and monitoring tests necessary before the surgery. She also spent time preparing herself, her family, and her students for when the big day finally came to pass. And she quit riding her motorcycle to make sure she didn’t have an accident and jeopardize Fuller’s chances.

Schmidt says, “I can’t wait to watch her get married, go to prom and all that kind of stuff. We’ll be kidney twins forever.”

The mother of 3 says she hardly had to think about it to decide it was something she wanted to do, believing it was a matter of fate and destiny. Schmidt’s husband Rich says, “It’s just who Jodi is,” and says he believes, “The coolest thing about all this is, everyone got to see who Jodi is. I already knew this about her.”

Schmidt talked to USA Today reporters an hour before her surgery, saying, “I’m very excited and I’m more than ready to start the next part of our journey,” claiming, “To change her. In the big picture, that’s what I’ve been called to do.”

Their story has a happy ending, at least at this point in the game. Both surgeries were successful and Schmidt was able to visit Fuller 3 days after the surgery, just before leaving the hospital.

Unfortunately, many people on the organ transplant list don’t have such a happy story.  They are stuck in “The Waiting Place” — the transplant list — for an average of almost 4 years if they are lucky enough to get one at all.

 In fact, according to the National Kidney Foundation, in 2014:

  • 100,791 people were on the waiting list for a kidney transplant (121,678 total waiting for organs); (2,800 in Michigan)
  • Only about 17,000 people received a kidney transplant;
  • 3,668 sick people on the transplant list became too sick to have a transplant and were taken off the list;
  • 4,761 people died waiting for a kidney (over 13 people daily).

To put it another way, less than 17% of the people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in 2014 actually received one, almost 4% became too sick while waiting to actually have the surgery, and almost 5% died while waiting. As of January 2015, almost 83% of the people on the organ donor list were waiting for kidneys.


  • Over 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month.
  • Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant list.


What is so striking about these statistics is the fact that sick people don’t have to wait for someone to die to receive kidneys; they can be removed from living donors since most people are born with two kidneys. Also, with advances in medications to prevent rejection, in many cases it is not necessary for donors to be related to the recipient.

Other organs can be partially removed from donors and be transplanted, including the lung, liver and pancreas. Healthy people can live a full, productive life with just one kidney and the risks are no greater than with any other surgery.

Dr. Art Franke, the Chief Science Officer of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, says,

“Living donation is the ultimate gift of life,” […] “The selfless act by the donor gives the recipient a ‘second chance’ to live a fulfilling life.”

There are advantages to the patient when they receive a living donor kidney compared to receiving one from a deceased donor.

  • There is less chance of rejection if the donation is between family members;
  • the “living donor” kidney functions right away because it is out of the body for so short a time;
  • potential donors can have all the necessary testing ahead of time to determine optimal compatibility with recipient;
  • the procedure can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for both parties; and
  • frequently, the alternative of a living donor kidney means the patient doesn’t have to be on dialysis for years while they wait on the national transplant list.

To learn more about Living Donations, visit Gift of Life Michigan’s page How Donation Works or click on one of the resources listed below.


The National Kidney Foundation Big Ask Big Give Campaign is designed to bring awareness to the extreme need for living kidney donors and to get factual information to the public. Their motto is: “Being a living organ donor lends the opportunity to make better lives possible.”

You can help in several ways.

  • Americans are in need of more organ donors. Add your name to the Organ Donor Registry today! If you are interested in more information about becoming a living organ donor, contact a transplant center near you.
  • Contact your Senate and Congressional leaders and urge them to support the two Bills introduced this year. Ask them to contact the majority leaders of each committee the Bill was referred to and tell them to pass the Bill. According to these bills have died in committee and need your help to pass.


“The bill is designed to protect the rights of living donors and remove barriers to living organ donation. Specifically, the bill would end many forms of insurance discrimination facing living donors and extend job security through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to those who donate an organ.”

“It’s unfortunate that even today we still see our nation’s living donors being denied insurance or having their premiums increased because they made a selfless decision to donate an organ to someone in need,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation. “This bill is an important first step to increase access to transplantation by removing the appalling barriers facing living kidney and liver donors.”


If you know someone who may be interested in learning more but they need Spanish Language Assistance, direct them to the website  for bilingual information.

Facts about Chronic Kidney Disease

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Organ Donation

Find out how to become a living kidney donor

Gift of Life Michigan
Michigan Donor Family Council
Living Donation Fact Sheet- NKFM

Michigan Transplant Centers 

Big Ask Big Give- National Kidney Foundation

United Network for Organ Sharing

United States Department of Health & Human Services

Donate Life America

Donate Life Coalition of America

National Kidney Foundation Public Policy
NKF current national issues/legislation

NKF Peers Program

American Society of Transplant Surgeons

National Living Donor Assistance Center

I’m not Blonde—Just Naive

Hi again.  So this week is my last week of “school” for the summer and I have two more stories to share with you from my Journalism Feature Writing class.  This one is a “funny story” that is really just a personal reflection and not journalistic style. It was just to get practice writing in a funny style and give me time to write my big final article that I’ll post next.
Anyway, it is a little risque but it is a true story and I hope you get a chuckle from it like my kids and boyfriend did.

P.S. Please don’t be offended if you’re blonde–no offense was intended.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m not Blonde–Just Naive

By Marianne Frontino McCreight
Follow me @marmccr8 or

People say humility is good for you. I don’t find it too difficult. For every wonderful thing I do or impressive bit of knowledge I may have, there is something equally—well, not impressive that keeps me from getting a swollen head.

For instance, when I was 15, I got my parents custom matching t‑shirts for their anniversary. I had their names put on them and picked out great iron-on graphics that were especially suited for them. I was so proud of these thoughtful gifts I knew they’d love.

My parents had recently purchased a liquor store (party store) with their best friends and they were avid poker players, gathering with friends weekly to play poker. The t-shirt graphic showed a group of people playing poker with beer all around the room. Perfect!

I presented their gifts, anxiously awaiting their reaction when they read the sayings and realized how thoughtful I had been and how perfect they were.

I knew something wasn’t right when everyone there got very quiet. My mom barely looked at hers and dropped it in her lap. I was puzzled. My dad asked me what made me pick these out and I excitedly explained, “You all love playing poker and now you have a liquor store—I could just see you having poker games in the stockroom. Aren’t they great?”

Everyone in the room seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. I realized my mom didn’t wear many t-shirts so I could understand she wasn’t very thrilled about getting one and didn’t think any more about it. And honestly, my dad wore his t-shirt for years after that, usually around the house.

Many years later I understood that undercurrent running through the room when they opened their gifts. And I have to say, I think everyone who was there was a pro at containing their emotions.

You see, the graphic on the shirt had a saying that read, “Liquor up front—poker in the rear.”

What are some of your most embarrassing moments?

(Image courtesy of mintchipdesigns on Pixabay)