Got Writer's Block? Make a List

Autumn is in full swing on the third coast, the local ice cream shops have closed for the season and the air bursts on the skin like the snappy bite of a honeycrisp apple. Honeycrisps are a thing out here. Gone are the succulent berries to be replaced by gourds of every description…and lots and lots of apples.

I almost neglected a post today, busy as I was with the usual accountant/mom/bane of my spouse’s existence grind. The blog post wasn’t on my mental list. Truth is, I’m not fond of lists. I remember my mom was an avid list maker, usually disbursing said lists to my dad when he made the biweekly trek to the commissary and me because all children should experience chores ad nauseum. But I’ve learned lists not only are effective daily devices to keep our busy schedules straight (because when you adult – you also list) but they are also awesome writer devices: Here goes!

7 Dilemmas for a Burqueno In Michigan

1.      Burritos. I’ve seen white (what in God’s almighty name is a “white” burrito?) burritos, wet burritos and beany posers sporting square shawls of single Kraft slices but nowhere can I find that dreamy, steamy handheld or smothered manna found everywhere in the Burque from a chicharone and red at Stufy’s (or El Modelo) an El Pinto chimi, or the #5 breakfast burrito from Blakes. From Weck’s to Golden Pride and everywhere in between, a girl is never far from a great burrito in New Mexico. Send green chile please. And note to you Michiganders: putine, although gooey and decadent is no match for carnitas and papas wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Just sayin.

2.      Directions. Burquenos know much of the Burque was designed as a grid and even outside of the Duke city you can see for days. The Sandias are usually east, downtown Albuquerque is southwest and if you’re heading north on I25 you can spot Rio Rancho across the Rio Grande. I’ve been here ten months and I’m still not sure where I am. Look at a map and you’d think Lake MI would be east but there’s water everywhere and then there’s pesky things like trees blocking my directional view. Oh, and forget asking for directions because if you do – a Michigander will hold up a hand, point to a spot on the palm and say something trite like “there ya go.”

3.      The Dutch. There are more “Vans” up here than a parking lot during a state soccer tourney. Blond, blue-eyed behemoths and don’t confuse them with the Germans. Or the Swedes. They and their twenty offspring will hurt you. Yeah, and the only place you’ll see ‘em in wooden shoes and pointy hats is Holland, MI. (Okay, Holland is pretty cool. So’s Christmas MI but that’s another post altogether)

4.      Umbrellas. It actually rains here. Often. Recently I learned I was umbrella challenged while attempting to exit my car, purse and books in one hand, shaking spider exoskeletons out of my umbrella with the other and trying to find the little knob thingy that keeps the umbrella open.  After slamming my seat belt in the car, twice, I managed to almost get to the door dry only to clock a soul exiting the building because I couldn’t get the umbrella to un-brellafy or whatever they do.

5.      Wildlife. I’ve never seen as much roadkill as I have here on the third coast. Squirrels, Bambi and everything in between. This is because the little critters have no respect for those of us in hurtling hunks of death. Here one can swerve to miss a deer and take out a tribe of turkeys, a possum and a skunk if you’re lucky. True story. I do believe the turkeys and geese know there is safety in numbers and most types don’t want to extricate poultry parts from their grills. At least I don’t.

6.      Blood sucking bugs. Do you know how a fly bites a bit of exposed flesh? It makes a slit in your tasty hide, inserts a couple of mandibles and rips your skin open so it can spit on you and slurp up the juicy tidbits. If the little buzzing abominations don’t get you – Michigan’s state bird will. Mosquitos – nuff said.

7.      Kermit stands corrected. In MI its actually pretty easy to be green. The grass, the trees, the side of the house, unmentioned parts of the basement, fruit in the fridge past three days old. Yup. I now own stock in Clorox because anything that doesn’t move will inevitably grow a furry coating of mold, mildew or whatever you want to call it.

There are a multitude of listy things about Michigan. I just picked seven and got a whole blog. So next time you’re at a loss for words, make a list – expand it a little and viola! Works for David Letterman. It’ll work for you too.


Tammy Boeh