Random bits of my so-called life.

Job rant (oh not my job…)

December 1st, 2020 by kayak woman

I couldda ranted about my job today but really it was just that it was extremely b-o-r-i-n-g today. I was pasting screenshots (gazillions of them) into user guides and the application I use to take screenshots was being persnickety in a way I didn’t like. I suspect part of *that* problem is that I’ve been ignoring the app’s repeated exhortations to upgrade to the latest version.

This is a boring part of my job but I have to do it once in a while and I just suck it up, put my brain on autopilot, and chug through it until it’s done.

Nevertheless, I was feeling kinda punchy at the end of today… Until I read a NYT article that Teacher in a Strange Land tweeted. (I’m sorry, it seems to be behind a paywall.) I actually know (or once knew) Teacher in a Strange Land. She is a flutist that I crossed paths with in college. I doubt she remembers me but years ago I stumbled upon her blog, recognized her and started reading it.

The job I wouldn’t want for any amount of money in these excruciatingly hard times? TEACHER!

When I was in second grade, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I was good at “school” but what I think entranced me the most was the planners! Mrs. Bishop was my second grade teacher and I loved watching her use her planner. And don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Bishop was not ALL about her planner. I have had many good teachers in my life but if I had to name my best, it would be her. More on that some other day if I can ever articulate it.

I did NOT become a teacher. I wouldda been a TERRIBLE teacher. More on that some other day but maybe I’ve already written it. And I have never successfully used a planner in my adult non-teacher life. I bounce wildly between lists, apps, post-it notes, and letting my brain wing it.

Anyway, what kind of HELL are we putting our teachers through during this f*cking pandemic? Teaching a hybrid of in person and remote classes? Really? Who the hell can DO that? Some of these people are teaching kids IN school, risking their own COVID exposure while managing proper mask usage and “No you can’t share your eraser with Jimmy.” And what happens if “Jimmy” steals *your* eraser? And some of them are ALSO dealing with remote “learners”, meaning that they are basically doing TWO jobs every day. Well, read the article I linked to if you can get past the NYT paywall. What are teachers getting paid? A lot less than me and today I mucked around with frickin’ SCREENSHOTS!

Jeebus Fricking H Mackinac Kee-reist! I do NOT know the answer here but somehow we have to take care of our teachers. We will LOSE them if we don’t. Maybe education “as we know it” needs to step back until we get the pandemic under control. My kids could have missed a year (or whatever) of “regular” school without ruining their overall education. I do know that there are kids who need school to escape horrible home conditions. How can we help those kids get through this? We have to find a way and those of us who can afford to pay a bit more in taxes should help. I certainly will if I have to.

We have to pay our teachers better salaries than they currently receive. They are essential front line workers even when there isn’t a f*cking pandemic going on.

Louie Louiiii

November 30th, 2020 by kayak woman

Okay, you can have a blasted snow pic. This isn’t our first snow for the year but it was quite persistent. I don’t think the roads were bad today. The sidewalks were fine this morning, just wet, but then it was just starting up when I walked. Tomorrow will probably be different but I have Yax strapped onto an alternate pair of Keen sandals and Kahtoolas strapped onto a pair of boots but I don’t think I’ll need the boots tomorrow. But we’ll see.

I shouldn’t have been annoyed by this snow. After all, I do not have to schlep over to Cubelandia any more so whaddoo I care if it snows? I think it’s because being a permanent telecommuter in the COVID age brings forth some mixed emotions. I can’t even begin to put those into comprehensible words today…

My global fintech company still owns leases the little backwater building on The Planet Ann Arbor that I schlepped into forever and there is still a small group working in it. They need high-speed printers. I don’t really need a printer at all for the most part. Anyway, Amazon Woman and Building Mom are off-loading equipment that the company doesn’t care about to local pandemic home-schooling families. Whiteboards and the old Demon Drop chairs and things. Amazon Woman ended up inadvertently taking the whiteboard from my old cube, presumably for her middle schooler to use. I hardly ever used it and she recognized her hand-writing on it. From something like six years ago. Good luck cleaning that thing off.

The title is also a bit of a work reference. At the end of the day when we switched from NPR to Satty-lite radio, Louie Louie was the first song I heard. I love that song and I so miss my old colleague Lewie-Lewiiii. He lost his job in one of the waves of RIFs that happened the last five years or so. His boss was more upset (at least visibly) than he was.

The other Lewie who was a part of my life was my parents’ old Veteran Greenhorns friend. He never married or had kids and my earliest memories of him come from the days we spent summers in the Old Cabin. There was a potty set up behind the Big Door between the kitchen and the main room and if you opened that door all the way, no one could see the potty (I don’t think, I could be wrong 🐸). That door was always open and there were lots of coats hung on the back side of it (think the Narnia wardrobe). That was where those of us who were terlet training but too young to use the [stinky] outhouse by ourselves did our business.

When I was three, my parents were trying to get me to use the [stinky] outhouse and one day The Comm said, “You can’t use the potty when there are MEN in the living room.” I looked around the living room and all the usual MEN (dad and uncles) were there. BUT. Lewie was also there. I was not a stupid kid so I figgered that they didn’t want me to P in front of Lewie. I’m sure I kicked up a big 3-year-old fuss that day but I did eventually come to terms with using the [stinky] outhouse. In fact, I occasionally use that old outhouse nowadays. That happens in the event that the moomincabin water is out (because we’re opening or closing the cabin) or we have a LOT of guests around and they are serial showering or whatever. I always contribute terlet paper to that edifice. Of course, I am also an inveterate woodsP-er.

“I know nothing!”

November 29th, 2020 by kayak woman

Quoting Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes, which we watch re-runs of sometimes when we can stay awake past 10:00 PM. I usually can’t but I am an early bird, out listening to crows and owls and whatever at 0-skunk-30. R.I.P. John Banner, BTW.

So, you may be wondering how I get away with posting occasional derogatory remarks about the GG here on my blahg. It’s complicated. For one thing, I don’t think he always READS it. I think it is often WAAAAAAY too much for him. It’s often way too much for meeeee too. And sometimes he doesn’t understand it, which is okay because sometimes *I* don’t understand it. After all, it’s just a brain dump of sorts.

So yes, we are not totally on the same page in terms of polly-ticks at this moment in history. Maybe we never have been. I dunno. We don’t USUALLY talk about polly-ticks all that much. I don’t actually like to THINK about polly-ticks much. I’d prefer our government to bumble along on its slow course of checks and balances or whatever it was we were taught in high school so I don’t HAVE to think about it.

I can’t do that since the world turned orange. I was horrified that TBOM got elected (but also sorta understand how he did but more on that some other day – or not). But. But. But. Bdah-bdah-bdah. I am STRONGLY anti-Trump but I think our differences are a bit more subtle than Trump/anti-Trump.

We won’t get into any of that. I will say that the GG and I have always been on the same page about a lot of the things that count. He started working when he was 10 or so (paper route) and continued his work ethic until he retired, getting robbed at gunpoint in a gas station as a teenager (he did homework there when it wasn’t busy), working Hamtramck Assembly with his ID twin summers between college. Skinny young blond guys with hair down to their waists.

Hands-on father? Can I count how many diapers he changed or how many baths he gave? No I cannot. He was right in there from the very beginning. Being in the middle of 10 siblings, with nieces and nephews galore, he was experienced at the nuts and bolts of wrangling small children while *I*, birthing my first child at the age of 30, had never changed a blasted diaper. I could go on and on about his years of volunteering at every school the kids attended.

But then. He wasn’t finished. When The Commander got to a difficult end-of-life period, when my dad and brother were dead and I had a new-ish job with not much paid time off, he regularly went off to the yooperland to help her with the house and the moomincabin and probably the cars and take her out to dinner and just be friends with her. Oh! And he chauffeured her and my aunt Radical Betty (my dad’s sister and The Comm’s best friend) on a road trip around Lake Superior! No one could replace my brother for my mom but I know the GG occupied a special place in her heart and it sure helped meeeee out.

At any rate, we are not living in a Cold War at the Landfill here. When the radio gets too polly-tickle, we switch to music and I let him pick the music.

Love y’all, KW

Sometimes I hate 2020

November 28th, 2020 by kayak woman

The Groke here entering via an alien portal… Mostly I am putting one foot in front of the other. My job gives me something productive to do. The constant finessing of ordering food and other stuff keeps me on my toes. It’s still a learning curve. Chores and walking at 0-skunk-30…

WOW! This morning, just as the sky was starting to lighten a bit pre-dawn, I heard a bit of cawing and looked up to see what must have been several HUNDRED crows heading west. Were they really crows? So asked the GG Not turkey vultures or something? NO NO NO NOOOOOO! I am not a birder but I know what crows look like and I know what they SOUND like. I have very clear memories of waking up summer mornings in my cot on the Old Cabin front porch hearing crows cawing and my baby brother answering from his crib. Caw caw caw!

Anyway. I see my mouse fairly frequently because she works a few blocks away from the Landfill. Mostly we meet, masked, from opposite sides of our glass storm door as she picks up mail and drops grocks but we have had a few socially distanced whine gatherings in the back yard. I have not seen my lizard in person since sometime in July when we drove over for dinner in her backyard in Day-Twa. Today we got to see her again. She and her SO spent turkey day at the mouse house near Manchester and stopped by on their way home.

It was chilly but sunny and the GG made a faaaar in the back yard for the occasion. I wasn’t crazy about the GG’s CoVidiot behavior with his insistent sloppiness about how he wore his mask. GG: I’m drinking a beer. KW: Okay then, social distance, fer kee-reist! This was MAGA-like behavior and I am not a fan 🐽

What am I thankful for this year? It goes without saying that I am thankful for essential workers of ALL types and for kicking the Orange Baboon/Bad Orange Man to the curb, hopefully… Most importantly, I am thankful that our two daughters like each other enough to get together for a holiday BY CHOICE in one of their homes WITHOUT US! I said “like” instead of “love” for a reason. They DO love each other. I knew that pretty much from day one. But love can be a very complicated emotion and I believe you can love someone without liking them or wanting to spend time with them.

I cannot verbalize my complex thoughts about this. They come from a lifetime of dealing with [now dead] parents and a [now dead] brother and many other relatives and in-laws. My fam (FinFam and MacMu) and the cFam generally do pretty darn well. When we get together, we DO have a good time. We’ll get together again!

Plum line

November 27th, 2020 by kayak woman

For a few years there, us cFam gals used to schlep over to the Plum Market *on* turkey day to get something for dessert, usually from the Zingerman’s case. I have long given up trying to make pie crust. The Commander could make it in her sleep although my favorite pie-making memory of her was when she was marching around the moomincabin chitchen to Sousa marches that NPR was playing on one of the patriotic holidays. This talent skipped my generation. The beach urchins can do it but they do NOT have time.

Anyway, here is the first time we did this. It was 2012 and it was the first turkey day Lizard Breath had been here since before she lived in SanFran. We found this cart at the bus stop and the beach urchins at first thought it was a little sketchy that I grabbed it but what the heck?

Here we are again in 2014.

And again.

We haven’t done the Plum line in recent years. One of the beach urchins started working at the Plum and was therefore able to shlep desserts and whatever to our house from the store and didn’t necessarily want to trek over to her work place on a day she wasn’t scheduled to work.

Turkey day rambling

November 26th, 2020 by kayak woman

There’s always so much angst about the holidays, especially the winter holidays. Thanksgiving 2020 is in the damn books now and I guess we can move on? Maybe?

As much as I love to get together with relatives for turkey day, I have to say it was kinda nice to not have to do the usual amount of cooking. I did my usual holiday eggs benedict this morning (tday and xmas) but instead of having to manhandle 8-10-whatever eggs, it was only four. Which was kinda whew.

Because of pandemic food ordering, we ended up with a 15 pound turkey, which is a bit bigger than I would’ve bought if I had been over at the store eye-balling the birds. I have bagged the umpteen gazillion pounds of leftover meat. Making turkey tetrahedron tomorrow and will freeze the rest and pull it out whenever.

I cooked smaller amounts of side dishes and didn’t really do most of them ahead of time like I usually do. I mean, I work here at the Landfill nowadays so I can put things on to cook while I am working, although I took yesterday off because use-or-lose…

We use our gas grill to cook our Thanksgiving turkey which leaves Gertrude’s ovens free to roast brussel sprouts and keep things warm.

So here we are out here in the Landfill back yard burning pieces of wood and leaves. You can’t see me but I am bundled up in my Smartwool balaclava and leggings.

DO NOT GET ME WRONG! I look forward to spending holidays with relatives again one of these days.

Not gathering

November 25th, 2020 by kayak woman

So something like 10 years ago, the GG and I walked down to the Oscar Tango for dinner the night before Thanksgiving. We sat at the bar. Our server made the statement that the bars got CRAZY on Thanksgiving’s Eve. As she was speaking, someone came in the door making loud jungle aminal noises. I said, “It’s starting early.” It was all fun. We left well before things got REALLY CRAZY because we uh, don’t [usually] stay up late.

It all reminded me of hanging out at the Alphaaaaa (a Sault St. Siberia barroom) with the Mean Old Grunchy Old Grinch and Ozone Jim a gazillion years ago and somebody started making jungle aminal noises. Actually, it was probably Ozone Jim. Wonder what ever happened to him. Probably wearing a MAGA hat somewhere. Or dead. I prefer to think of him in a MAGA hat if I only have those two choices. He was a sweet gentle hippie-type young man with long red hair back in the day…

The Grinch is my beloved cousin and I see him at the moomincabin in the summer. Or did before COVID. The Grinch is the antithesis of a MAGAt but somehow manages to live among those who are and ferries some of them to the construction employment he provides for them. They often can’t drive themselves because DUIs (and poverty, JEEBUS). I get the feeling that he sometimes drags them out of bed. How many of our fancy trickle-down CEOs are providing these kinds of services to their employees? Huh?

The bars are not gonna be crazy this Thanksgiving Eve. Our Oscar Tango and Sault Ste. Siberia’s Alpha. Alas.

My Wednesday morning FaceTime call from MMCB1 came in as usual. But there was ANOTHER person on it. Yay! It was MMCB2. She hasn’t been able to call in for months as she takes care of the two local children who know her as Bubbe. So much fun to touch in with her again. These are women I’ve been meeting up with since our kids were in middle school. Like the MI-OH-IN “corner”, we didn’t exactly meet up in a nice neat corner (one was from the alternative middle school, the other from Forsythe) but these are two of the people who DID NOT GIVE UP on being friends with meeee. Because I am a sorta weird person. Not anti-social exactly, just awkward, i.e., not always sure what the heck might come outta my mouth next so frequently afraid to open it. But also not afraid to speak up if I see people doing the WRONG THING!

Contemplating infinity (or is it fractals?)

November 24th, 2020 by kayak woman

I am about to show my general ignorance for mathematical concepts so please forgive me. I’m just kinda riffing along here.

For some reason, looking at the branches on these trees reminds me of when I was like four or five and regularly contemplated infinity. I did this by folding pieces of paper in half and half again and again and again… Until I couldn’t fold them any more because I had a thick little wad of paper. But my brain understood that if I could work with a thin enough material I could continue to fold and fold and fold until… Forever…

I can’t verbally articulate what I’m thinking about the branches and infinity. Or are they more like fractals? Or a wee bit of both?

The concept of infinity is formally taught in calculus I think. My ignorance may be showing again. But limits, right? Nowadays a lot of kids take calculus in high school. Sault Ste. Siberia did not offer it back in my day except for people like my music buddy Rothy who was so good at math he got to take it at the college. Heck, high school teachers still kept paddles in their rooms back then. And they sometimes used them, although usually not if you made it onto the “college track”.

I did take a semester of calculus in college. I consistently got As in that class! Yay me! Problem? It was a LOT of work and that was not compatible with being a music major, which takes hours and hours of practice and rehearsal time. So I didn’t continue on any kind of math curriculum. Music may seem like a bad choice but it helped give me the “chops” to become a systems analyst. And that is also too hard to verbally articulate.

Bonus? Getting A grades in calculus was helpful in deterring attention from boyz in the class who thought they wanted to date me, not knowing anything about, well, my persnickety preferences in men, just for one thing.

Boy: Wow, calculus was really hard wasn’t it? What grade did you get?

KW: A.

Boy: [Ulping noise]

Ah well. Today I made Chex mix, worked on make-ahead gravy, and started *seriously* thawing our turkey, which is probably bigger than I wanted but pandemic ordering is what it is and I will use the leftovers. Oh, and I also worked for, you know, money. But maybe not tomorrow. We’ll just have to see what happens 🐽

Orangya glad I didn’t blahg about tRump again today? 🐽🐽🐽


November 23rd, 2020 by kayak woman

I cannot take credit for discovering this old word (do the Google). I read it on another person’s blahg. I am not gonna link to that blog because the blogger feels pretty much the same way about the Orange Baboon as I do and she was quite, um, colorful(?) today in writing about him. She is usually more measured but so many of us are at the Absolute End (quoting my late aunt Bubs, 1966 or so) and I felt like she was letting off some of the steam I also wanted to let off. It was a GREAT entry and I have often puzzled about why Trump’s mouth looks so weird when it’s in that O shape and now I know why (but we won’t talk about the Purple Eye). I (unfortunately) have some Trumpers in my small audience and I will not be a party to them potentially trolling her.

But hey, my own lifelong state, the Great Lake State aka Michigan, CERTIFIED our election results today after a bit of a nail biting week. Calls from tRump and flights to DC and Dom Perignon at some Trump hotel? Will that sway them? But I read “fake news” (or so I am often told) so who knows if the certification is true or not. I’m choosing to believe it.

One of yesterday’s commenters reminded me that Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana do not meet at a “corner” exactly. He is correct that they don’t. But there is a place where the three states meet and I am geometrically challenged about how to describe how they meet. I did appreciate the correction.

AND… We have owned Mooon Yoonit for over a year now and I have not crossed a border in it so I was astounded when a PINNNNGGG sounded and a voice welcomed us to Indiana (and then Ohio and finally back to Michigan). I think we need that technology to extend to crossing the Big Mac into the yooperland and back. “Welcome to god’s country [heavenly chimes]”, “Welcome back to Trollandia [sinister laugh]”.

Oh, do NOT get me wrong. Our whole state is beautiful, even the industrial and run-down parts. I am bi-peninsular and I love all of it 🧡🧡🧡

Three corners marker up close and personal in the middle of beautiful nowhere

November 22nd, 2020 by kayak woman

Middle of nowhere except that the Indiana Toll Road is a couple moiles away🐽

First a clarification on yesterday’s post. The moonshine aka Everclear was purchased because it is an ingredient in the fuel for the GG’s Stirling engine. It is not for drinking. I sorta knew that but never got around to asking.

I don’t touch the stuff myself. I think I have sampled a shot of the fancy flavored stuff they make nowadays but it really isn’t my cuppa. Once when I was a teenager, I went to a party with my boyfriend (not Bad Boyfriend) and at that party a couple of his then knuckle headed friends had obtained some moonshine from somewhere. They got so wasted that, well, the details are too gross even for this blahg. Code brown.

One of those then knuckleheads went by the nickname “Foot” and I’ll leave you to ponder that for now. I do have to report that he did GROW UP to attain a significant military rank. (I know that from my mother.) I’m guessing he is now retaaaaared in some kinda fancy digs somewhere. (I’m guessing that if mom knows anything about that, she ain’t sayin’.) I suppose I could look all of these folks up on Facebook but in general I think looking up old boyfriends and their friends/family on Facebook is not a productive hobby. So I don’t.

It’s a good thing we took our little road trip yesterday. I normally like to save road trips for Sundays for whatever reason. But yesterday was a GORGEOUS day for driving with beautiful sunshine and dry roads the whole way. Alas, the S word was floating about. A lot like the coronavirus. I woke up around 4:00 AM to use the water closet and it may have been raining but nothing outside was white. By the time I got up (around six) to take my 0-skunk-30, the white crapola was coming down. Fortunately I had dredged up some Yax and attached them to a pair of shoes last evening so I was good to go.

Old Man Winter has thrown a few minor snowballs at us but this was our first “winter storm” for the year. It was pretty wimpy. Walking at 0-skunk-30 was kind of crappy but overall, the temps hovered in the low 30s and the streets and sidewalks were mainly wet for most of the day. But we’ve only just begun.

Moonshaaan run

November 21st, 2020 by kayak woman

I had big plans for today including cleaning out the refrigimatator. Oh, not that it’s all that dirty or overfilled. It just seems to be a good thing to do the weekend before a holiday, even one that we are spending at home alone.

The GG had another idea… How about if we drive over to the northeastern corner of Indiana and pick up some moonshine at Gays? Say what? I made some feeble protests at first but then my brain processed that he was offering me A ROAD TRIP! I needed one.

Apparently “we” needed some moonshine. I’m sure we could find moonshine at backwoods stills somewhere in the Great Lake State but what he was really looking for was Everclear, which I don’t THINK can be purchased in Michigan. And NO NO NO NO, nobody here is gonna be chugging Everclear. It will last for YEARS.

Anyway, I got a couple of fridge shelves cleaned up, picked up some curbside grocks at Plum and finished a small load of laundry and I was good to go. We took a beautiful trip on back roads through Michigan and Ohio to Angola, Indiana and back. Sooooo much fun.

Another reason “we” zeroed in on Angola was that there is a small chain of liqwire stores called “Gays”. We have a wonderful sister-in-law named Gay. She has been married to the GG’s identical twin since years before we were married and although she and I are not alike in a lot of ways, she is one of my best friends in life.

So part of this road trip was to buy liqwire at a store named Gays and take a pic (I do not know why there isn’t an apostrophe). I did not go inside the store. I do not go inside stores. The GG wore a mask. Most people I saw go in were wearing masks. I saw one guy who walked right up to the door without a mask and then I *think* he put one on. I saw another guy exit without a mask, unless he whipped his off the nanosecond he exited. The GG reported that the store personnel were all politely masked and following other protocols. We were in Trump country but most people were compliant with the virus’s rules.

Besides the Everclear, the GG bought a package of Lima-ritas. On our way home, we found the “corner” where Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana meet. We stopped there to take a picture of the marker and drink a Lima-rita. I’ll post a pic of the marker tomorrow.

Oscar Tango-ing way back, you know, when

November 20th, 2020 by kayak woman

I can’t think how many years we’ve been meeting up with our friends of posterization Fridays at the Oscar Tango. It’s a long-time hometown favorite restaurant down on the corner of Liberty and Ashley kitty-corner from the Fleetwood Diner. It’s been a long time since we’ve been there.

The last time we made plans to meet up there was Friday, March 13, 2020. Yeah, Friday the 13th. That was the first day everyone on my team worked from home, an arrangement that ended up being permanent. I was really nervous about going out to eat that night.

I tried to think through whether we should just switch venues. The Griz is a little less, uh, crowded? Maybe it would be okay? That was before “we” knew that COVID-19 was aerosolized. I’m sure there were plenty of epidemiologists who had a pretty good idea about what we were dealing with but the message to the general public was and is muddled. I am a total layman but I know enough about viruses that big red lights and sirens were going off in my brain.

As I worked from home that fateful Friday, talking with others here and in India, I became more and more convinced that we should not eat at ANY restaurant that night. We eventually decided to host the Porters here and the GG walked down to Sparrow to get one of his fave whole chickens there. Me: Do you have your hand sanitizer? We were babes in the woods then. Mask? What mask?

I thought we should sit in the Landfill back room so we could space out but the GG convinced me that we had to sit at the dining table. It was okay and nobody got COVID-19 (unless all four of us had asymptomatic cases…). But I don’t think so.

We’ve seen our friends since then but always outside and at a distance. And via FaceTime! Virtual Oscar Tango!

So in this pic, it’s January 2019 and we are sitting in the front window booth at the Oscar Tango and here are our aliens of posterization arriving in winter gear.

I am just a tiny voice in the wilderness here on my brain-dumping blahg of blather but please please please do not gather for Thanksgiving this year. We are not gathering and we will be okay!

Love y’all but keep safe and keep your family safe,
Kayak Woman

Long ago and oh so far away

November 19th, 2020 by kayak woman

I’m not off on a nostalgia trip tonight except for maybe the one where a little more than a year ago we took our kids and their SOs to downtown Planet Ann Arbor for dinner at Knight’s on Liberty and a Bob Dylan CONCERT at Hill. A crowded concert. Mr. Dylan kind of phoned his performance in but I guess he’s known for that. It was still pretty cool. I still remember clumping up the stairs with umpteen bazillion people and nobody got sick!

The GG often tries to tell me that I get my polly-tickle opinions from NPR. Not true. My polly-tickle opinions have not really changed since I was young, it’s the polly-tickle parties that have shifted around me. To wit, I think NPR gets whatever polly-tickle opinions they have from meeeeee. But I actually regard NPR as a relatively neutral news source. Disagree if you want.

That said, I DO run NPR throughout most days now that I am permanently telecommuting. It’s background noise to me. I keep the volume low and I will admit that I hear the same jazz music over and over and over. I am an extremely casual jazz listener but how about more Brubeck, Corea, big band stuff, and the oooolllld jazz they play on Sunday mornings. Let’s mix it up a bit.

We have a [very persnickety] home pod or whatever it is. At the end of the day when NPR switches to news, we switch to Satty-lite radio. For the longest time we were listening almost exclusively to folk music. A couple months ago some other genres started to creep into our listening repertoire. 60s and early 70s rock certainly. We came of age to that stuff. And then some disco sneaked its way in and I actually kinda liked it. Play that funky music, white boy…

We were still listening to what I’m gonna call “rock” in the early 80s. We would watch MTV in our old upstairs flat on Jackson. And then… Hello… About the next decade was spent with Raffi and Hap Palmer and Wee Sing and whatnot.

Somewhere in the 90s, I found myself driving teenagers all over town in the POC (my Island Teal minivan, beautiful but crappy). I am not really a “cool moom” but for those kids I kept the radio tuned to the then “alt rock” station and I secretly LOVED most of that music. And driving kids around town. And driving.

Fun memory: my mouse had her driving permit and we left in The Indefatigable (Jeep Wrangler, stick shift!) to pick up our friend TK at his house a few blocks away. As she was driving, an Eminem song came on. It was one I liked, so I asked her not to change it. When TK got in the car, he was like, “Mouse? Music?” Mouse replied, “Well, my MOOM wanted to listen to it.”

Er, maybe I WAS off on a nostalgia trip after all but it certainly isn’t an unhappy one!

Also, Lizard Breath made the lantern in the photoooo. She likes to work with clay in her limited spare time but isn’t doing much during COVID because she uses shared studio space.

Love y’all, KW


November 18th, 2020 by kayak woman

So yesterday’s post and the comments got me thinking about my own history. First up, here is a pic of my childhood bungalow on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia. This is a pretty recent pic (March 2013 I think). It was a lot shabbier when I lived there. (Yes, really, I know that doesn’t seem possible.)

That whole front addition thingy was not there until after my parents moved out (and into my late grandparents’ house). I don’t know which subsequent owner added it or even who those owners were. I do know that The Commander was MAAAADDDD! that the first owners after her *limbed* the spruce tree. It’s that tree to the left in the pic. When we lived there it had beautiful branches sweeping the ground.

That window to the left of the entrance was MY BEDROOM beginning when I was in about first grade. In my early memories, that room was, well, I dunno what, a sewing room maybe. It had garishly flowery wallpaper in it. I fergit what year that house was built, 40s maybe? I could look it up but I am done done done looking stuff up for today. I loved the wallpaper and I was skeptical when she removed it and *painted* the walls all one color. I may have loved the flowery stuff but The Commander was bona-fide mid-century modern.

She had a few tricks up her sleeve though and she installed a bed with a SILVER colored padded headboard. I was entranced. Hollywood in a shabby little yooperland bungalow.

So here I am being nice to my [late] little brother for once, allowing him into my room to play with our Easter rabbits. Missing him. I remember the venetian blinds. I remember the bed but not those particular linens. The Comm made the lacy curtains. I remember that toy STOVE! I remember the growing collection of Golden Book Encyclopedias that we got one at a time at the grocery store. I READ those. At least some of them. I think The Comm may have made the bookshelf and I think it’s at the moomincabin now.

Another view is me intently doing some kind of art or craft prodject at the Yellow Table at the foot of my bed. There’s my clothing rack over there. No closets in that house. Well I think there was one upstairs in the “master bedroom”.

My family moved to my grandparents’ “retirement” house between my freshman and sophomore years in college. It wasn’t traumatic for me. I actually think I was in favor of the idea. I had a designated bedroom there and at least at first I think my bed there had my childhood silver headboard. But it was never my room. It was really The Comm’s sewing room and whatever else she wanted. That was okay with me. Eventually she changed out the bed for trundles and we and her grandchildren and sometimes her nieces would sleep there and those beds are now here at the Landfill, where we are not having visitors because COVID. Sigh.

I had a complicated relationship with that house because my childhood piano teacher lived there and taught lessons there. Her piano was in the living room (like ours was) and when I was a bit early, I waited in what eventually became my brother’s bedroom for my lesson. That’s not to say I don’t miss that house. We had so much fun there.

Almost every sentence I wrote today took me off into a multitude of stories associated with all of this. Some can be told on the internet, others not so much.

Love you all, KW 🧡🧡🧡

Room rater

November 17th, 2020 by kayak woman

Okay. What would room rater say about this? I think they would like the globe and the wall hanging (what you can see of it) and maybe the vintage shelf unit with the vintage light. I doubt they’d like the computer screen but maybe the fact that it’s showing the Vendee Globe would mitigate that somewhat. I think they would dislike the plastic shelf unit and the printer on top of it. I think they would HATE the clutter, especially the used up Kleenex. For whatever reason, the GG leaves crumpled up Kleenexes and paper towels EVERYWHERE. For DAYS if I don’t dispose of them. Wastebasket anyone?

I dunno. The GG and I are relatively neck-and-neck on house-cleaning. The crumpled up Kleenex routine is balanced out by the time I came home from work a few years ago and he was DEEP-CLEANING every damn room in the Landfill. I mean moving EVERYTHING and washing it all (including the walls) with soapy water. Even on the weekend I couldn’t really help with that prodject. He had a vision and he was following it with laser-like focus and all I could do was stay out of the way. But I clean the kitchen and bathroom EVERY day and I have done my own deep cleaning and will again. And I throw out the crumpled Kleenexes when I encounter them.

The room in the pic was Lizard Breath’s room throughout middle and high school. There was a bed along that wall below the window. It’s a small room but I think she was comfortable in it. We have a “circle” house, meaning there are two doors to that room, one behind me (the photographer) and the other to the right, out of frame. Before it was a teenager’s room the double doors allowed little kids to run wild circles around the house. Lizard blocked the “back” door (behind me) pretty much forever and backed her bed up to it. To this day I don’t usually walk *through* that room to get from the “back” to the “front” of the Landfill even though it is almost always open.

When we returned from dropping Lizard off at college that first day (soooo long ago now, ugh), I dropped the GG here at the Landfill and went off to manage a YAG audition. I made him a ‘hattan before I left for YAG and he sat and drank it in her room. For whatever reason, he rearranged her room after that night and I will never forget when she came home for the first time and saw what he had done. White hot anger? Yes. What did you do to my room? Alas, he was up at Hoton Lake that weekend and I told her she had to call him. I KNEW that moving her room around so soon wasn’t a good idea but I didn’t stop him.

A number of years later, she returned for xmas from her then home in SanFran. Our old bunk beds were set up in that room by then and she climbed into the top bunk (Shuggy was scheduled to sleep on the bottom bunk, I think) and had to move some rifles and an old Nesco oven and I dunno what other flotsam and jetsam around to carve out a sleeping place. By that time, after years on her own, she didn’t much care what we had done with her room but I’m sure she was wondering if her parents were getting prematurely senile. Guns in my bed? We were actually at Hoton Lake that time. I can’t remember why.

Question for teacher Margaret from teacher Pooh in yesterday’s comments. Love to all teachers always but especially in these trying times 🧡🧡🧡

Preaching to the choir

November 16th, 2020 by kayak woman

When you work for Corporate America like I do, you often have to take online training courses. I don’t mean educational courses about jobs. I’m not sure *anyone* (including me) could write a coherent course on how to do my particular job.

These courses are more to remind people of the ethics surrounding their job. Bribery, security, etc. There’s always a multiple choice quiz at the end and being a life-long straight A student, I am always a little nervous about taking the quiz even though I almost always get 100% and if I do miss a question it’s usually because I didn’t read it carefully or it involves an alphabet soup of acronyms that I can never remember. But mainly the questions have common sense answers. You don’t hand your brother-in-law’s company a contract without running it up the corporate chain and you don’t let people in the door behind you if they don’t have a badge. That kind of stuff.

This year, for the first time, we were served up a training course on sexual harassment, to use an “umbrella” term for a wide variety of scenarios. Amazon Woman and I were talking about this course last Friday (we both tend to do training on Fridays) and I said something like, “I couldda written that course.”

I mean. College piano teacher (male, divorced) gets the hots for 20-year-old me and invites me over to dinner. “I’ve invited a group of students over.” Um, yeah, one girl and her BOYFRIEND. I survived that night by asking (on the sly) the girl/boyfriend for a ride home and I grew a pair right then, boy oh boy. So when the orchestra director tried to crash my practice room, I gave him the 70s version of what we now call the side-eye and ushered him out as politely as I could.

I was annoyed in both of these cases and others because I couldn’t figure out why these guys thought they might be attractive to MEEEE.

Overall I haven’t really encountered a lot of sexual harassment in my various careers. The reasons are too complicated to articulate here tonight but for one thing all of the male bosses I worked for had stable marriages and respected the quality of my WORK. Any low-level harassment was perpetrated by people who didn’t have any control over my livelihood. Plus in my Childhood Career, the GG also worked there and I’m sure that was a deterrent to any attempts to mess with me.

Now of course I’m a baggy old bag and nobody is all that interested in getting into my “pants”. But why oh why oh why oh why do we have to keep talking about this stuff? As annoyed as I am about having to take training about this kind of stuff, I guess we are doing it because there are some people who STILL DON’T GET IT! I did pass the course with flying colors!

And I forgot my chainsaw

November 15th, 2020 by kayak woman

Let’s go for a rain ride! Yeah. A blast of heavy rain was headed our way along with some lightning that never really materialized. In fact, although we started out in extremely heavy rain, by the time we got to the intersection of Huron River Dr. and Zeeb it had slacked off a lot and there was actually some blue sky to the west.

But we couldn’t quiiiite get to that intersection because… I took this pic and a couple hours later saw a very similar one posted on facebook by the county road commission. And no we didn’t have our chainsaw with us but I’m sure the road commission frowns on random citizens cutting deadfall on high traffic roads like Huron River Drive. Old forest roads in the yooperland? I’m sure Chippewa County doesn’t much care who clears them.

Mr. Golden Sun showed his face a few times but mostly it was dark and occasionally dramatic cloud cover and HIGH WINDS! Those were kind of fun for a while but got a bit tiresome late in the afternoon.

All in all, not a very exciting day and I wasn’t very productive except for Mother’s March on Leftovers. Not that we’re having leftovers tonight exactly. I have a nice piece of salmon and some rice and collard greens. But there is part of a fancy-ish squash that I was intrigued by but is WAAAAAY too big for us and I’m sautéing some mushrooms that the GG bought last week and didn’t cook all of, not knowing how much they shrink when cooked. But gotta get the refrigimatator cleaned out before Thanksgiving even though it’ll just be two of us.

I read somewhere on the internet (so it must be true, roight?) that 38% of the people in some poll said they were planning to get together with family for the holiday. Whether these people are isolating ahead of time, etc., I don’t know. Both of my adult children have been VERY careful but one of them goes to her office a couple days a week and the other works in a grocery store. Fortunately we are all ADULTS and nobody is guilt-tripping anyone about not having a Hallmark Holiday.

What DOES annoy me is all of the folks on facebook who are posting pics with friends and relatives where no one is wearing a MASK! This is frightening to me. If it’s a pic from two years ago SAY SO! If everyone in the pic has been strictly isolating before the meetup, SAY SO! I feel an incoherent rant coming on so I’ll stop now.

Tandem dreams?

November 14th, 2020 by kayak woman

I’ve been getting my ducks in a row for pandemic Thanksgiving. Fresh cranberries arrived from Argus yesterday. Mixed nuts and sesame sticks arrived yesterday from nuts.com (I could get sesame sticks from Amazon but I didn’t want two pounds!). A 3-pack of Chex cereals arrived today from Amazon/Sam’s Club. And then I got serious about pre-ordering a turkey from Plum.

In the process of that there was a flurry of Kexting back and forth with my Plum insider, who is going to actually pick my turkey up for me since they don’t do curbside from the catering department. I am not getting a cooked turkey (assuming I ordered correctly😬) but pre-orders come from catering.

Anyway, my insider dreamed that she was at work and a front-end person alerted her that her moooooom (meeeee) had come into the store WITHOUT A MASK! So she was scrambling to find me a mask! Well, I’m not sure exactly when she had this dream but a couple days ago, *I* dreamed that I was in the Plum Market WITHOUT A MASK! I was frantically trying to cover my nose and mouth with my HANDS, which would probably NOT protect me or anyone else from the coronavirus. Are we all just a weeeeee bit stressed?

Then there is this little Landfill news tidbit. The GG Suzy Homemaker was rummaging around in the back room for a while this morning and I didn’t know what was going on and I decided I didn’t really WANT to know, so I was sorta ignoring it. Well. Ahem. This was what was going on and I probably didn’t wanna know… He decided to empty out a wastebasket that doesn’t get a whole lot of use and it turned out that there was a DEAD SQUIRREL in it! He thinks it has been dead since like last March? That brings up a few questions. How did it get in? I have been lazy about closing the screen when I’m outside but that’s when the weather is WARM! And it wasn’t all that warm last spring. This is Michigan, roight? And then there is the all-consuming question: WHY DID WE NOT SMELL it?

The pic is what Mooon Yooonit suddenly decided I needed to see on the dashboard seemingly all on its own last weekend. I did NOT know what to do with that display. What was it telling me? What is BSM? It also took me FOREVER to figger out how to make it go away. I mean, I’m sure I accidentally bumped something to make it show up but, as a UI/UX designer, there needs to be a HOME button on these newfangled dashboard displays. I shouldn’t have to be trying to figger this out while driving. That’s dangerous, no?

Action shot

November 13th, 2020 by kayak woman

I love Friday mornings at teleCubelandia. Today was extra speshul because not only did three garbage-y kinds of trucks go by, the gas meter workers were out there again so lots of stuff to watch.

I once posted a pic out my front window on facebook and four garbage carts happened to be out there, just like today. I wan’t focusing on the carts. It was just a random pic out my front window. Maybe it was snowing or something? I dunno. One of my crankier facebook friends was all hot and bothered about all the carts. “Look at all that garbage!”

I mean really. Do people think two baggy old characters like us are putting out FOUR big carts of garbage every week? The two carts on the left are compost carts and they do not go out every week. They go out a couple times in the spring and just about every week in the fall when the leaves start falling. This morning they also had some chicken bones and regular veggie-type compost stuff in them. All “legal”. The next one is for recycle. There’s a whole list of stuff we can throw in there but not batteries or styrofoam egg cartons! Finally, the garbage cart is on the right. It had two bags in it today. One was a half-full bag of kitchen garbage that I put it out because that garbage eventually STINKS, even though we compost almost all food waste one way or another. The other was a little plastic grocery bag from the wastebasket in my “office”.

Even though my troll is a yooper, she should know better. Sault Ste. Siberia doesn’t have as comprehensive pickup services as the Planet Ann Arbor and I don’t know what happens with leaves but there are plenty of places to recycle things.

I remember being totally amazed when we first got trucks with mechanical arms to pick up the carts. Now they are business as usual but still fun. And no, it doesn’t take much 🐽

I gotta go fix the refrigerator. Good night!

Down the terlet

November 12th, 2020 by kayak woman

I haven’t taken any good pics in a couple of days. I have taken ONE pic. It was this morning and it was of the refrigerator magnet that has DTE’s url for what’s going on with the scheduled gas meter replacement prodject in our neighborhood. When I went out for my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning there were all kinds of trucks and things hanging out at the end of the street waiting to start work. I dunno exactly what they got done today or when they’re gonna move the Landfill gas meter but I confirmed that *something* is going on now. If they need to come inside my house for any reason they better damn well be masked and distanced!

You didn’t want to see a pic of a gas/lucky-shuckial company’s url on a refrigerator magnet, so I posted this terlet pic instead. The GG encountered this somewhere on the North Country Trail and it fits how I feel about [some] things today. We won’t talk about how many attempts it took for him to text/airdrop me a FULL-SIZE photo but I eventually got one (and then I of course down-sized it for the web 🐽).

Why am I feeling like we’re down the toilet today? COVID-19 of course. What kicked off my distress was that Chippewa County, my childhood county where I still own property, reported its first two COVID deaths today. Do I know them? Well, who knows? Probably not but this bad news was reported by the Chippewa County Health Department and of course they cannot report names. This followed a letter (shared on facebook by reliable face-to-face yooperland friends) from War Memorial Hospital’s director about their SIX (count ’em) ICU beds being filled up and a lot of complicated stuff about how the northern hospital networks are ALL at or approaching capacity and… I have spent many hours hanging about in War Memorial and I know what that ICU is like. And make no mistake, the medical community up there is top notch. It’s not just some hick place.

Last spring, I was soooo nervous about traveling to the moomincabin in the summer. For a brief period of time our guv #BigGretch prohibited people from traveling between their OWN homes in the Great Lake State. I agreed with her and prepared myself to NOT travel to my childhood cabin (home) for the first time EVER. As it turned out, she rescinded that order and we managed several trips of varying lengths “home” over the summer. We did NOT interact with others except outdoors and at a distance and the GG masked on his occasional trips to hardware stores..

For a long time, the Chippewa County numbers were negligible. Zero or one new every day, etc. Last I looked, there were 40 new cases in a day and I’m afraid to look today. This has all happened in the last week or so. Exponential growth? Yes. This isn’t just happening in my beloved yooperland. It’s personal for me in Chippewa County but it’s happening ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

Please people, the CDC is making new recommendations. They are encouraging masks and discouraging people from gathering for Thanksgiving and the other upcoming holidays. So please don’t. We are not. It’ll be hard but we have to do this. I don’t blame the Bad Orange Man for the virus but his refusal to take it seriously and lack of leadership has not helped in any way shape or form.

Wear your mask, avoid getting closer to others than six 10 or 20 feet. Don’t dine inside restaurants. Don’t gather for Thanksgiving. Alas.

I know I’m preaching to the choir at least for a few of my regular readers.

Love y’all,
KW 🧡🧡🧡