Lou Steigerwald, Ed. S.

  • School Superintendent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • Plant Wrangler/Gardener
  • Middling Gamer


When we tried to grow regular old bell peppers, they never ripened. So we tried jalapeños and they did very well. That’s great as Ian and I enjoy adding the canned peppers to meals throughout the year!

Why gardening?

I love being in our garden. Folks not from the U.P. are often surprised at the gardening we can do here. As you can see, these delphiniums are quite happy–that’s them not yet at their complete height! Our home here has a lot of room for gardening and I’ve been slowly getting rid of sod since we moved in here eight years ago. Why? Because I keep running out of space for my plants!

Gardening is pretty much the opposite of my job. Plants never complain, they work hard to be the best they can be, and if they are weeds I can yank them up by their roots!

This fall I chewed up a big section of sod. I got as far as planting some bulbs in November before we had our first snow. There’ll be more work to do in the spring…but more room for plants!

Elites and Ron DeSantis

Thoughts from a post by Diane Ravitch at: https://dianeravitch.net/category/curriculum/ regarding curriculum, critical race theory (CRT), and the definition of ‘elites.’

Ms. Ravitch quotes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding CRT, “Nobody wants this crap, OK? This is an elite-driven phenomenon being driven by bureaucratic elites, elites in universities and elites in corporate America and they’re trying to shove it down the throats of the American people.

Clearly Gov. DeSantis is using the word ‘elite’ as a negative description of anyone who might disagree with him. In Ron’s world apparently folks who work in the public sphere, who have gone to school after high school, and the business folks who run companies are not people to be admired or considered as role models.

“Get your fake in early”

Years ago when Ricki was pregnant with our first child, Ian, a colleague at Cass Tech told me how thrilled he was for us and told me, “Get your fake in early.” I looked at him quizzically and asked him what that meant.

A little background first. My friend had been a sergeant with the the Detroit Police Department before retiring and becoming involved in the education field. He shared that he knew whether or not a kid he had to arrest had a shot at a turnaround based on the response he received when he called home. If the parents started making excuses or even blamed the arresting officer, he had learned that, too often, he would see that young person again in a similar situation. If, again when he called home, the parent(s) were supportive of the police based on what they learned about their child’s behavior, he knew the child had a better chance. Some parents even asked him to hold their child in a cell for awhile and run him/her through normal arrest procedures so the child could see what being arrested entailed. He shared that he rarely saw those kids again.

A Lion in Packerland

Because our town borders Wisconsin, the Menominee River separates us here, NFL fans heavily favor the Packers. Green Bay, at about an hour and half drive, is much closer than Detroit at about an eight hour drive.

Add to that the fact that the Lions have not given anyone anything to actually cheer about in many, many years. In fact, the Lions have one only one playoff win in my lifetime. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad if I were, say, five years old. However, seeing as I am in my mid-fifties, one playoff victory in over five decades is horribly pathetic. Actually, pathetic is putting it way too lightly…perhaps dog-vomit awful? So it’s actually a logical and more self-preservative choice to root for the Pack.

Lions fans here must endure smug Packer fans who get to bask in victory frequently. Why be a Lion fan, I’m asked? Well, that’s a great question! The most accurate answer is that being a Lions fan isn’t really about fandom, it’s about a horrible addiction. Think about it–an addiction means one continues a habit even though one knows it is unhealthy and will end badly. Lions fans KNOW this! In my lifetime the Lions have made an art of discovering amazing ways to lose, penalty time run-offs, a record setting field goal bouncing off the crossbar by the other team, getting absolutely stomped by Washington following that singular playoff victory and on and on and on!

So we know it will end badly, yet we still come back for punishment time and time again. This is an addiction! It’s not healthy, but we still do it. Mind you I’m not the most faithful. I long ago decided that Lions fans get a pass on deciding to root for other teams while they wait for the “someday” that the Lions won’t suck. Tom Brady having been a Wolverine has made picking a back up team to cheer for quite easy (thanks Tom!).

Rooting for whatever team Brady is on has also provided me with opportunities to treat Packerland fans with my own occasional smugness in return (thanks Tom!).

So while I root for the Lions to continue to lose in order to secure a better draft pick (a very common position for Lions addicts…usually by the middle of the NFL season and sometimes sooner), I am hopeful for a Bucs Packers playoff game and the ability to say, “Keep your arrogant Rodgers, Tom Terrific won again!”

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