"If there's a book that you want to read,
but it hasn't been written yet,
then you must write it."
   Toni Morrison

Authors Blog

Kerrytown Bookfest 2015

By | Ann Arbor, Events, Norm's Author Blog

On September 13th , Norm and I participated in this year’s Kerrytown Bookfest. We had copies of all of our books, plus a few surprises. Since it was also my birthday, this was a “novel” way to celebrate our diverse writing projects . 

Where in the world…?

By | Travel

We thought it would be fun to share this map showing some of the places where we have traveled and stayed for at least a few days. We like to explore new areas each time we leave home.



I think we may have missed one or two, but ran out of room. We also have a few in mind to be added in the near future, so this will be updated in the future.

Hydrangea question

By | Ann Arbor

When is a plant likely to cause damage to a building? Will the damage be structural or cosmetic? Is structural damage caused by the weight of the plants or by water infiltration or by growth that lifts and displaces materials? All good questions, and all asked about three climbing hydrangea plants at corners of the Peter Heydon buildings on East Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor.



In this case, the climbing plants were knowingly selected by a highly qualified landscape gardener for their beauty, heartiness, and inability to harm the historic masonry. Maintenance is required to keep the plants trimmed away from the wood fascia trim, the shutters, and the windows, but there is no concern about the weight of the vines impacting the masonry structure, nor is there any concern about the vines penetrating the mortar joints or masonry units.

Some plant materials, like English Ivy, can do great harm and should be kept off historic buildings. The little ivy “feet” dig into the mortar and weaken it, then allowing water to enter the joints and cause freeze-thaw damage, which can result in eventual structural damage to the wall.

Mr. Heydon takes great pride in his buildings and their landscaping. Given his care and foresight, they will be preserved for many years for all to enjoy.


Ilene strikes a pose

Wilson House Acroterion

By | Ann Arbor

Installing a new roof lead inevitably to moments of discovery. The western half had not been re-roofed in a long time, and although there were no underlying shingles, there was also no underlying sheathing or waterproofing. Some of the boards were as much as 18 inches wide. Gaps between boards had been infilled with wood strips, but many of the old boards were badly split and broken. Needless to say, we installed new OSB over the old boards, before proceeding to install new asphalt shingles.

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