Random bits of my so-called life.

Memories of my old parking place

October 19th, 2021 by kayak woman

Three years ago yesterday I arrived at Cubelandia at the exact moment a flock of geese took off on their southward journey. Aaaannnd I had enough of my wits about me to get a pic!

I have no idea how many goose flocks our business park supported SUPPORTS! I am not there but the geese did not leave with me. Many geese stay throughout the winter.

Three years ago today? I arrived to see this spectacular sunrise. I didn’t have to scramble to get this shot.

It was so much fun to have my very own parking place all those years. I mean it wasn’t ASSIGNED to me in any kind of official way like my dad, who had a name plate marking his spot. (I still have the plate at the moomin.) It was just that nobody else ever parked back in the row I parked in except for the occasional birder might park over there. Great birding spot.

Here at the Landfill I don’t get my own spot unless I’m the only one here. Otherwise we are constantly jockeying vee-hickles around. At least we only own two vee-hickles these days. Plus the Lyme Lounge which only lives here part time. It was a lot worse back when we had three or four (yes, really) to deal with. I know people who have downsized the number of vee-hickles they own to one, especially during the pandemic. I applaud them but it won’t happen here.

That’s about all my over-fried brain can come up with today. It was a looooong (but fun) workday and it was 70 degrees at the end of it so I hung out in the back yard for a bit reading my current book Cloud Cuckoo Land, which I am greatly enjoying. This won’t be the last day I’ll be able to hang out back there but our days are numbered as we count down to EDT.

I’ll have to do a boooook blaaaahg soon.
Sayonara, KW

Goat path driving

October 18th, 2021 by kayak woman

When I took this pic, I thought I was taking a photo of a roadside memorial. And you can see that but what I decided I liked most about the photo was the lace of leaves in front of the cornfield or whatever that is. Also, I then had moments of remorse (if that’s the right word) for taking the picture at all. It felt a little voyeuristic somehow, taking a picture of someone else’s loved one’s memorial from a car accident.

To back up, it was Sunday morning and it was GORGEOUS and my chores were largely done and jazzzzz was about to come on the radio and Cygnus and I had a Mission! That mission was to drive Lima Center Road from its southern endpoint to its northern. (I did not actually go all the way to the south end because Pleasant Lake is in the way). We have a lot of lovely back roads in the county and the terrain changes between flat and twisty turny up and down glacial stuff. Lima Center Road was my focus for the day. It’s mostly flat but there is one particularly pretty place where there’s a double bend in the road that navigates around a creek.

There were a lot of photo ops on this little boondoggle but when I am driving solo, I get past those ops toooo fast, even at a very slow speed and I am not calibrated to back up and stop.

Then there is the whole sun-dappled thing. Someday I may figger out how to capture the sun shining through the woods. Even driving is a bit difficult because it’s hard enough to see deer on the side of the road when the light is a little flatter.

Another time, when approaching this double bend, there was a CHICKEN in the middle of the road (there’s a farm there). The chicken did not seem to care that a vee-hickle was approaching and I had to shift down to slow-as-she-goes so as not to hit it. I didn’t hit it.

This boring little story could end here but it didn’t. Alas, I received complaints that I took “my” car out on dirt roads and heeeee will have to wash it. Cygnus belongs to both of us but the intention is that I’ll drive her the most. I was a bit nonplussed that someone was trying to tell me where I could drive 💩 Not sure what that was all about but the GG has driven me down some truly scary roads in our time together and I don’t think Lima Center Road on a sunny day compares to a utility goat path near Gaylord. In a snowstorm…

Just another farmers market pic

October 17th, 2021 by kayak woman

Except I posted this one on Instagram and an Insty friend noticed that the guy on the right buying apples could possibly be her brother. Who lives here on The Planet Ann Arbor and who I know… Small world.

I’m not friends with her on Instagram because I know her brother. I found her because she and wanderfacts were friends and I figgered out by her yooperland posts that she was my friend’s sister. And then I friended her. I *am* friends with her brother on Instagram. I don’t know if it’s her brother or not and I’m not sure she can tell either. I was not focused on people’s faces on that quick dark pandemic seven AM trip. I’m sure he’s capable of getting to the market at that early hour but I don’t know if it’s his habit. But still, small world, online or off.

I was especially good friends with her brother’s first wife Paula, who died quite unexpectedly in 2004. It was in December and it was one of the darkest, fugliest weeks I can remember. One of the beach urchins was friends with their daughter and between that and play rehearsals, Senora (her language teacher) called me to say she had sent my kid home. She wasn’t sick, just exhausted. When I made the official absence call, I got someone really rude who insinuated that I was covering up for some sort of delinquency. Um, no, she’s been with her friend whose mother just died, jeebus. This was not typical of that school so there must’ve been an office sub. When I followed up with Senora, she was also nonplussed and reminded me that my kid was a straight-A senior student.

Paula and I worked together on the youth theatre guild our kids belonged to. I LOVED the guild and the GIFTED executive/artistic director but SHE and various PARENTS could sometimes drive me around the bend. Paula and I shared a certain “wry” sense of humor and we would often get into email exchanges about whatever backstage drama was going on at the moment and she would literally have me falling out of my chair laughing. Miss her and will never forget her.

Congratulations are in order 🥂🥂🥂

October 16th, 2021 by kayak woman

The son of one of my cousins got married this afternoon. The wedding took place in upstate New York near the Finger Lakes.

Oof, the GG attended the wedding but I did not. Why? Because I am one of the biggest COVID cowards on earth. This young couple has been very careful to ensure their guests’ safety but even though I am fully vaxxed, I couldn’t make myself travel there and gather with a sizeable number of people, at least some of the time in indoor venues. This is not a complaint! These are great “kids” and I wish them a wonderful wedding and all the best for their future together.

Here’s the thing. I won’t name names but I now personally know FOUR people who have had breakthrough cases. Two are relatives, the others are very good friends. All are fully vaxxed and the two who have already recovered had mild cases and are fine. Still. One of those cases caused a POTENTIAL exposure in my household, resulting in someone sleeping in the Lyme Lounge (in the driveway) until a second negative test. Nobody really knows exactly when or where this person was exposed and I do NOT blame them! It was really a pretty minor inconvenience for us. There’s just so much we STILL don’t know about the virus and even information from sources I trust (not facebook conspiracy theory crapola) has been hard to decipher.

I’m also not doing all that well with traveling during the plague. Driving from The Landfill (which I own) to the Moomincabin (which my family owns) is one thing. Dealing with obtaining food and lodging on a multi-day road trip I am not CURRENTLY comfortable with. It is not something I can control as well as I can control a trip to the moomin. I am okay with using rest areas again although I don’t like when they are crowded and no one is masking.

The GG drove, as did a lot of other people. Part of his trip involves hiking the North Country Trail in Ohio. He took the Lyme Lounge and parked it in a campground in eastern Ohio, hiked, then left it there to drive to the wedding. He’ll pick it up on the way back and do more hiking if weather permits. I think he’s staying in a cheapo chain hotel during the wedding. I won’t name the chain but it is NOT my fave, especially the one at the end of the Knoxville airport runway and the druggie one in downtown Bradenton.

CHEERS to my young first cousin once removed and his bride. I knew she was a keeper the first time I met her or maybe it was the first time she showed up on Instagram. SEEYA ON THE BEACH!🧡🧡🧡

Play day

October 15th, 2021 by kayak woman

I’ve been feeling like I needed a day off lately so yesterday I had a Come To Jeebus meeting with my timesheets. And guess what? No wonder I need a day off. I have quite a sizeable number of PTO hours to burn before end-of-year. Our vacay hours can’t be carried over into the next year, which I have no complaints about.

So. Okay, I’ll take tomorrow off (that would be today) and a few other Fridays including the day after Thanksgiving. And I usually take most of the time between xmas and New Year’s off. There is NEVER anything going on then and although I can always find something to do, why bother?

Back in the day when I only had two weeks off per year, I would telecommute during the holidays but once I got cabin fever and schlepped in to Cubelandia. When I arrived, the LSCHP (my boss at the time) boomed, “Look at what the cat dragged in!” He had no clue about how many vacation hours I had left and didn’t expect me (or anyone else) to show up. And in fact, he was hoping no one would so he could have the place to himself. Did he care if I was productive? Probably not at that moment.

It took me a while to figure out why I had so much time left this year. Normally I try to take a solid two weeks in the summer. At the moomincabin. Summer 2021? I was at the moomin a LOT including a whole six weeks. I was ALONE there a lot of that time. Apparently if I am at the beach, it doesn’t matter whether I am working or not. I am simply THERE.

My dad had a more stressful job than I do and I’m thinking when I was a little kid he only had two weeks off per year. It’s hard to believe that since he was a bank VP at that time. Here I am a lowly business analyst and I get almost five weeks. The difference for him was that he LIVED and WORKED in Sault Ste. Siberia so we MOVED to the moomin for the entire summer. It was an easy 15-20 minute drive to his job. He still valued his two weeks off and us [horrible] kids used to taunt him when his vacay was almost up, singing “One more day of vacation”. I don’t remember all the words but the tune was “The Bear Went Over the Mountain”. Even though he was living there he still had to go into the bank every day.

P.S. Mask up. I have heard of TWO MORE breakthrough cases today. These are people I KNOW!

1050s house?

October 14th, 2021 by kayak woman

Yep. The King of Cryptic Text Messages sent this pic with that caption. Um. 1050? The folks who lived in what is now the NE United Snakes of America did not live in dwellings that look like this or use this kind of dishware. Oh, 1850s? Yeah, that’s better. He is camping/hiking in Ohio on his way to a special event that I will talk about when it happens along with my excruciating decision not to attend 🐸

Somewhere I stumbled upon an article about how employment perks have changed since the pandemic sent so many of us home. My company has presented some things, mostly on-line classes and things. I applaud their efforts but I have not participated. I devised my own exercise routine umpteen bazillion years ago and am not probably gonna change it at this point in my life. Financial advice would probably have been welcome 30 years ago but I don’t really need it now.

Mental health tips? Really I am okay. Turns out that an introvert (even a friendly one) can easily exist in a mostly solitary mode. I mean the GG is often here (except when he’s not and it’s calmer when he’s not 😉). I/we have a couple of weekly “zoom” groups with friends. I don’t see my kids all that often but I do get texts from them occasionally, actually more often with Liz now that we check in about the NYT puzzles every morning before work. “Did you get the pangram yet?” Etc. 🐽 I do know that a lot of people are struggling more than I am and I don’t mean to make light of that.

This article discussed a number of other perks, some of which I like better than others. Kitchen-themed care package? Um, I have MULTIPLE cutting boards and I flung a bunch of mugs a while back. That stuff would go straight to the Kiwanis Thrift. Pet adoption fees? This is a wonderful gesture but could go either way in my opinion. Not everyone can (or wants to) take care of a pet. I hate to see pets get adopted and then returned because they weren’t a good “fit”. Pets are a HUGE commitment and this could incite people to adopt who maybe shouldn’t. Personally I live in a NO PET ZONE. Snack subscription boxes? I am not a big snack hound but that could be dangereuse for some people and maybe cancel out the exercise stuff? Aromatherapy candles? Double-nope. House-plant of the month? Oh man, do you have any idea how fast I kill houseplants?

Virtual pizza party sounded like fun until I realized that people MIGHT want to show their faces instead of hiding behind their badge photo. My badge photo is actually not too bad for a baggy old bag. It’s a lot better than the fugly I posted as my facebook profile pic for “this scary season”. Scary indeed.

There was a lot more and I hope I don’t sound too curmudgeonly here. If I were a young homeowner, I would probably be more intrigued by kitchen-themed care packages and I might even be more interested in house plants (live and learn). I know better than to adopt a pet. I am a one dog woman even on a three dog night.

Again, I greatly enjoyed reading about all of these new-fangled perks. There is a lot of creativity behind all of these things and I am SURE that a lot of remote workers are excited about signing up for them.

Now, what do we do for the workers who have to deal with the unwashed/unvaxxed/unmasked and sometimes just plain frickin’ rude public (and PLEASE don’t forget grocery/restaurant/retail workers). First thing off the TOP of my head? Home COVID tests. And pay increases. I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the choir here but if you are NOT vaxxed, GET VAXXED! And wear a goddamn mask into the grocery story because some customers don’t.

P.S. On a lighter(?) note, the GG had to VACUUM lady bugs outta the Lyme Lounge after his hike today and there were also a lot of stink bugs. Maybe it’s better to hike Ohaaaao in zee vinter?

Keep out

October 13th, 2021 by kayak woman

I was wary when I approached the schoolyard entrance this morning at 0-skunk-30 because there was a WHITE thing there. Even though I KNEW it was a rectangle and therefore not anywhere near skunk shaped. I couldn’t read it without turning on my phone light.

I have mixed feelings about its message. I understand ESPECIALLY during our ongoing plague that they are just trying to keep the kids safe. (And there are frickin’ dogs with irresponsible owners…) But. If you are a pedestrian who needs to get to the other side of the schoolyard, getting there without going THRU the schoolyard requires a mile walk in either direction. I won’t try to describe the geography involved, you’ll just have to trust me. Fortunately I walk THROUGH the schoolyard well before the hour of 8:00 AM. I do fondly remember the days of carefree walks through there any old time of day.

Great fun face timing with MMCB2 this morning. One of her other names is Bubbe and she has been on bubbe duty for the last five years so has rarely been able to meet with us. Her time is freeing up a bit now and we welcome her back. It was just the two of us today because MMCB1 is traveling. Although the three of us make a great cackle group, it’s nice once in a while when only two of us meet.

Oh, that cartoon four-legged aminal on the sign in the schoolyard. I dunno what it looks like to you but it is a DOG! A huskie. There’s a sordid history behind this (in my opinion). The original principal of the school liked birds and throughout the beach urchins’ tenure at that elementary school, the mascot was still a hawk. The original principal was still alive when the beach urchins were at the school. She lived in the neighborhood and I frequently walked by her house. I once heard her in a radio interview talking about the time the district wanted to move her to a different school. She dug in and they caved and let her stay there. (I believe Haisley Elementary was built the same year MYYYY elementary school – Stinkin’ Lincoln – was built in Sault Ste. Siberia.)

By the time my kids were at Haisley, principal jobs were becoming revolving doors and the woman who “ran” the school when we were there HATED hawks so at some point there was a vote to change the mascot and Haisley is now the Huskies.

P.S. I have to clarify that it’s possible that one of the reasons our principal hated hawks is because the original principal had kept a stash of taxidermy(?) hawks (and other birds?) at the school. Those were still there in our era and probably it was time for them to gooooo. The GG probably remembers more about this than I do. He is more “social” than I am and may have rattled on with the principal. My relationship with her was almost always business oriented. I did PTO jobs (including digging us out of a huge treasury “mess”) and my kids stayed out of trouble. (I am not bragging about any of that.)

Lay down and boogie and play that funky music ’til you diiiiiiie

October 12th, 2021 by kayak woman

This is the Lyme Lounge in its Halloween glory two years ago. Six months before COVID when we were all so innocent about cold-like symptoms. I don’t even think COVID was on the horizon in October 2019. It’s arguable about when it started showing up though. I caught a Man Cold that Thanksgiving weekend and it had just about subsided when I started coughing again and spent another three weeks hacking up a lung. I will always wonder if I was an early contractor of COVID but I doubt I’ll ever know. No one around me got sick but I was in vacay / holiday-telecommute mode by that time so I wasn’t really near anyone except immediate family. But maybe it wasn’t as contagious back then? I know I sound CRAYZEE but COVID is such a WEIRD disease and each variant of concern seems to become more contagious.

Anyway, we slept in the Lyme Lounge last night. It’s in the Landfill driveway right now and it isn’t decorated for Halloween this year. Not for any particular reason. Just that this year’s schedule hasn’t allowed time for the GG to decorate it. I love sleeping in the Lyme Lounge but anyone any taller than the GG or me would find it a challenge.

The only problem with sleeping in the LL is that I have to pick up my phone to look at what time it is instead of just eyeballing the clock. I did that at 5:53 and I was thinking about getting up but then it sounded like it was raining and I kinda went back to sleep. It was still pitch black when I did get up (the sun rises at something like 7:47 AM these days).

This is a lot less scary than the decoration the Lyme Lounge sported for a SHORT period of time in 2016. The GG had been up north on some kind of boondoggle and the day after he returned, I got into the Ninja to do my Zen Commute over to Cubelandia. And I looked up and saw THIS! I love the color orange but not in a politician, especially one whose modus operandi is to yell and scream and call everyone names including those who SUPPORT HIM! I do not get why people like him.

I was freaked out for a bit when I first saw this on the Lyme Lounge. By the time I got to Cubelandia, I realized that we had been pranked [probably] by the other twin of terror. We won’t go into polly-ticks (too much) tonight. The GG and I are NOT on the same page but he did remove the Trump magnet. “I’m gonna be traveling.” Aka, I don’t wanna get into debates with other campers.

I promptly ordered some “I’m with her” refrigerator magnets. I did support Hillary Clinton although I have mixed feelings about her candidacy but I CERTAINLY preferred her over the Orange Baboon. I’m kinda done for tonight. I do NOT want Trump to come back.

Skunk City

October 11th, 2021 by kayak woman

Oh boy. It was totally pitch black as I made my way over to the schoolyard entrance this morning. What is this? It was a black and white aminal rounding the corner toward me. Mostly white and scruffy as all getout. It only took me about a split second to figure out it was NOT a dog.

I wish I could’ve gotten a pic but I was busy making a hasty retreat. I don’t know how fast skunks are capable of moving. Usually they kind of amble along in my experience but I was not taking any chances. I got about halfway back down the block when I dared to turn around. It was walking along the other side of the street and turned up somebody’s driveway so I cautiously made my way back through the schoolyard.

The skunk population varies per year. One year when the beach urchins were in elementary school, I was regularly woken up at that Batscope Hour, nauseated by the smell. (This was before I walked early in the morning because I was busy getting kids off to school.) One morning after a very skunky night, I walked my mouse over to third grade and it stunk to high heaven over at the school too. Mr. K of Plutification Blues was exclaiming over this and I told him how awful it was at my house over night. Night of Skunks, we agreed.

We’ve had a few years of relatively fewer skunks. There was a period when rabies was present in the skunk population and we have always suspected there may have been a quiet “cull”. But who knows. Anyway, with fewer encounters, I’ve gotten careless about watching for them. Guess I will have to be more vigilant again. At least I don’t have a dog to walk.

So instead of a skunk picture, you get this kayak the GG sent from down in the Huron River. This was a good thing for him to do because it gave me a nice quiet space for working. I swear he was on the phone with at least three of his siblings this morning. It’s not that he’s on the phone that drives me nuts. It’s that he paces wildly all over the Landfill when he’s on the phone, especially when he’s talking to his sibs.

‘lectric Jack reflects on life

October 10th, 2021 by kayak woman

Or at least the Landfill ceiling.

Jeebus, what an antsy day I had. I have to be very careful about how much coffee I drink because if I have a drop too much I will be hanging out on the ceiling with ‘lectric Jack. Sometimes it doesn’t even take an extra drop. I had about a cup and a half this morning and I had a really hard time focusing on ANYTHING all day. And my coffee cups are on the small side.

What did I manage to do today? Puzzles except I have five blank spaces in the xword. I’ll eventually figger ’em out. Cut up tenderloin and veggies for kebabs tonight. Finished one book (The Stone Sky, third in N. K. Jemisin’s wild sci-fi Broken Earth Trilogy) and started another one (Crossroads, Jonathan Franzen, an author I haven’t read before). I loved the sci-fi. Crossroads is a TOTAL 180 but so far pretty good but we’ll see if the characters end up annoying me.

Nevertheless, by the end of the day I was kind of a nervous wreck, frantically doom-scrolling (or just scrolling) social media. We won’t talk about that. I NEED TO GET BACK TO FLINGING AND START DOING SOME FIBER ART STUFF! Preferably slow-stitching stuff.

I “inherited” ‘lectric Jack from The Commander. The last Halloween of her life she was rather grumpily adjusting to life in an assisted living apartment. Festivities were planned and residents were decorating. We set her up with lights and costume stuff and I think she borrowed a witch’s hat from my cuz TBJ. But she was also insisting on her electric Jack-o-Lantern and I had NO CLUE what/where that was. I mentioned it to Connie (her uber cleaning lady) who knew exactly what she was talking about and where it was. Alas, the Comm didn’t get to spend Halloween in her apartment as a bout of pneumonia sent her to the hoosegow. She survived that stay but it wasn’t the last one and each time she returned “home” a little weaker.

So ‘lectric Jack lives with me (and Froggy and Frogette and Green Guy and Bucky Beaver and Softy) now and I appreciate that he provides Instant Halloween. Just plug him in. No fuss, muss, or pumpkin vomit.


Don’t got much

October 9th, 2021 by kayak woman

About the biggest excitement of the day came early when the spelling bee pangram was the first word I got and it was… drum roll… EGGPLANT! This totally cracked me up. No, it doesn’t take much. Unfortunately I couldn’t UNsee it after that so it took me a while to get on a roll for finding OTHER words.

I’ve been [frequently] making eggplant parmesan for more years than I am strong enough to count. The recipe I originally used was from the Vegetarian Epicure and I have not varied it much. Occasionally I end up with some extra spaghetti sauce in the freezer and I use that instead of the simple sauce in the recipe. That version of it is not veggie since I put ground beef in my spaghetti sauce.

Up and outta here early to hit the farmers market before everybody else did but then couldn’t believe how many people were there. I wanted salmon but there were too many people hanging around Monahan’s seafood counter for my taste in this pandemic time (glad their shop is doing well though).

I now PERSONALLY know TWO vaxxed people who have had breakthrough COVID cases complete with symptoms, thankfully mild ones. Up until now, the only people that had COVID that I knew PERSONALLY were an elderly aunt and uncle. They were in poor health and living in a nursing home when the plague struck and they both died. And don’t get me wrong, I view their deaths as just as tragic as those of younger people. Our elders may not have much time left to live but they deserve a better death than the one COVID provides. I think people should STILL be masking and distancing, vaxxed or not. All right, I’ll shaddup about that for now. (After thinking about it overnight, it occurred to me I know a few more people who had COVID. They are fine!)

I frequently got hummus from Argus Farm Stop in my delivery orders (which I am on a bit of a break from but will definitely do again). Today I got some directly from the producer! Who is an extremely friendly lady. Not that it matters at all but I loved her and I’ll have to try some of her other stuff. I remember when hummus was a “new” thing to a lot of us who grew up without “exotic” food. I love telling my Jewish buddies that I met my first bagel at about the age of 16 and it was a Lender’s bagel from the A&P or whatever and we ate them toasted with butter 🐽🐽🐽 I used to try to make my own hummus back in the Jurassic Age. I was not very successful and would rather pay an expert to make it for me.

I had a list of Plum stuff too. The GG has been rummaging the mostly empty refrigimatator since he returned from his most recent boondoggle so I bought some easily grab-able salads and stuff for him. And some chips. When I am Moom Alone, I am on a CRUSADE to eat leftovers. The pic is after I left the Plum and that red light is one of the longest lights in town so I was in no danger while taking the pic. Left turn outta Maple Village on to N. Maple. During the weeks Maple to the right of this intersection was closed for the Big Water Main Break there was no need for a traffic light there and my quick trips to the Plum were as easy as pie.

Cabin closing 2006

October 8th, 2021 by kayak woman

While the Twinz of Terror were out in California, I was up at the moomincabin “helping” The Commander close the place for the season. This MAINLY involves draining the pipes. There are other important tasks but this is the most difficult task and one you do NOT want to do wrong. This was the first time The Comm faced doing it without my dad, who had died the previous March. She doesn’t look very happy in this pic but I assure you she was not crying, it’s just a wonky picture. That said, I think she *was* a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully, after that year, the GG took over the whole process and he is an expert at stuff like that. He can do it all standing on his head with one hand tied behind his back. I am TERRIBLE at hands-on mechanical stuff. It just isn’t in my wheelhouse.

It was a GORGEOUS dead calm day with warm sun and I had picked up whine and lunch stuff from one of our fave Sault Ste. Siberia restaurants, Karl’s Cuisine, for a deck picnic. So here is Radical Betty sitting on the steps. We had probably already put the deck chairs away.

While we were eating lunch, we heard a really strange unearthly noise and looked up to see an old birch tree kind of spiraling down into itself. Remember, I said there was NO WIND. It just picked that moment to implode. It was probably already dead. Here’s part of what was left of it. Not a very illustrative pic.

People sometimes ask why we close the place so “early” so here’s a cautionary tale. That gorgeous cabin-closing day was a Saturday. The following Wednesday (that would be October 11), The Commander and Radical Betty decided to drive down to Petoskey for a little boondoggle, lunch and shopping and that sort of thing. They got down below the bridge and it started snowing. And snowing and snowing and snowing. It was getting pretty deep when The Comm finally took the situation into hand and demanded that RB turn around. They did make it home safely and hey, the moomincabin was closed up so no frozen pipes!


October 7th, 2021 by kayak woman

Lizard Breath and I have gotten into a daily habit of texting back and forth to report our progress on the NYT xword and spelling bee (without giving each other any answers). Today I had reached genius on the bee and although I hadn’t gotten the pangram yet, this one had some great words: gorgon, grotto, pronoun, pronto, proton, purport, ROTGUT(!), and torpor were my faves. I f-i-n-a-l-l-y got the pangram, which was gunport but wouldn’t you know I actually tried portgun first, which is DEFINITELY NOT a word 🐽

I opened the photo app on my phone and it served up some stuff from 2006 of all things. The photo is Lizard’s first apartment in California, in Berkeley. She later moved to two different locations in San Francisco’s Mission District. I wasn’t on this particular trip. The Twinz of Terror flew out to visit Liz and her “identical” cousin TBR, the Uncly Uncle’s daughter. TBR was attending a grad school program. Liz was working for a non-profit that supported bay area families.

I flew out there solo the next March and loved staying at her apartment there. Shabby Comfortable, just like Liz grew up with and is therefore accustomed to. They were dealing with ants in the kitchen and slugs in the bathroom. I slept on the couch, which was fine with me. I can sleep just about anywhere. Except for the small bed in the Lyme Lounge or someplace with moe-skee-toes.

It was my first time flying in about 30 years. I am not crazy about flying even though as a kid, I grew up flying with my WWII pilot dad in a rented Cessna and sometimes he even let me take the controls (which were also in the passenger seat, you can guess why). For me it’s partly the “crashing” thing but only partly. I know the statistics. It’s also that I am super sensitive and I feel every vibration and change in altitude. I always appreciate a pilot who tells us we’re starting our descent because it affirms what I already know.

On the other hand, Liz was unable to pick me up at the airport (car issues) and I managed to navigate TO the BART system and THROUGH the BART system over to Berkeley. All by myself. It wasn’t easy and it was before smart phones. Nevertheless, I persisted!

Anyway it was a great trip and we traipsed all over the place both by BART and her then car, I think it was Maggie (who was fixed). Although I loved the whole area, Point Reyes was probably my fave. Lake Superior on steroids and I got a little vertigo on the wooden stairway down to the lighthouse (and on the bus). Then there was the guy selling bus tickets who tried to insist that Liz needed a child ticket. Um, nope. 22.

Oh. HAHAHAHA! We went to get grocks at the Berkeley Bowl the first night I was there (and I was dead taaarred). Somebody asked me where some esoteric produce item was. THEY THOUGHT I WORKED THERE! Um no, flew out here from Dee-troit Metro this morning. First time in California. Was it my Ann Arbor Hippie Vibes showing themselves? Not that I’ve ever been anything more than a hippie wannabe and by the time I moved to The Planet Ann Arbor I was WELL past that stage and working my first tech job.

I was taking classes at WCC during that trip and I took advantage of the time difference to get up at 0-skunk-30 (like 5:00 AM) and work on my homework. Good times but it is nice to have her over in the DayTwa area.

Vax card scramble

October 6th, 2021 by kayak woman

So, I became aware at some point while I was still at the moomincabin that I couldn’t easily get my hands on my vax card. This was precipitated by the news that boosters would likely be recommended.

First. I don’t take my vax card everywhere I go. I don’t need it to get in to the grocery store and the farmers market is OUTSIDE although I do go inside Kerrytown for the whole chickens the GG likes to grill and other stuff. I don’t go inside many other places. But I do pack it when I am “traveling”, which for me mostly means from my residence on the Planet to the family seasonal residence in the yooperland. I remembered carefully packing it and not UNpacking it but I couldn’t remember where it was packed.

I knew I would have to deal with this at some point but I got the J&J and so am not eligible for a booster yet so I procrastinated. Until. Today. The Mother Ship (big global corporation I work for in case that wasn’t clear) sent out an email. Upload a copy of your vax card by Friday or “else”. I’m not sure what else is but…

That was incentive enough that I jumped up immediately and looked in a pocket in one of my rolling suitcases and VOILA! There was my card along with the moomincabin property tax bill that I thought I had but didn’t and a book of checks (to pay the property tax bill) and an envelope and stamps. To mail the property tax bill with. Gah. It’s okay. I had fun meeting the township treasurer at her day job although I’m sure she thinks I am nutso.

So now my vax card is at hand and also in my phone (as an image). I am impressed that my employer is requiring COVID vaccines even when many employees (like me) are telecommuters. I mean telecommuters may work from home but they could be out in public going to restaurants and attending concerts, etc. I am not doing any of those things.

October blues

October 5th, 2021 by kayak woman

It wasn’t exactly a bad day but other than getting up even earlier than usual and doing the xword and spelling bee in the dark (during a beautiful rainstorm), there wasn’t much to write home about. 1) An annoying traffic situation involving a bus just pulling out of a stop, a vee-hickle in the right lane I hesitated for because I THOUGHT it was passing me (on the right) and maybe thinking about passing the bus. But no turn signal so who knew. Aaaaand a big f*ckin’ pickup truck directly on my butt HONKING LIKE HELL. SLOOOOOW DOWN. 2) A moom in a maskless school district in Georgia where EVERYBODY is getting SICK WITH COVID calls the superintendent to complain about no masks and he a) blames it on undocumented immigrants and b) LAUGHS AT HER when she tries to call him out on that! This man is a total idiot. She recorded the call. I hope there are consequences for him. COVID remains a public health emergency and there is no excuse for this man’s behavior. Faaaar him. Fast.

So. How about a collection of pics from October 2020? Not necessarily in chronological order.

The GG hiking with the Softies (not shown) and Softy Beanbag (head sticking out of backpack). Once when he chaperoned a second grade field trip, he took Softy with him, attached to his backpack somehow. One of the teachers spied Softy and said something like, “Nothing has been going right this morning but now I know it’s all gonna be okay.” The GG is wonderful with groups of kids. Me not so much.

I met up with various cousins at MDUH’s house. It was pre-vaccine but most travelers had spent time in town isolating at Air BnBs and I isolate by definition. And MDUH’s house had a deck (he has since moved – by his own choice) and it was warm so we ate outside. MDUH was flinging and I took this artifact home. I am not in an acquisitional stage but it’s from my dad/grandad’s bank. Remember when banks gave out ashtrays?

We are a pretty blue city but you didn’t have to go too far out in the county to find big TRUMP signs. I was somewhat heartened (but still nervous) to find a lot of ByeDon signs, even out in the county. Well. Some parts of the county. This one is my next door neighbors’.

I dropped my ballot off at Vet’s Park early on a BEAUTIFUL morning. My fingers were sooooo crossed that we wouldn’t have to endure four more ORANGE years. Note that I said orange. Not red or blue.

My impatiens looked pretty good last year. This year they are really lush. The ones at the moomincabin were fine all summer but died out at the end. Did Heinrich (snowshoe hare) get them? Some people think so but I’m not sure.

Apparently I got up late whatever this morning was because at this time of year it is pitch black at the time I usually take my walk and Mr. Golden Sun doesn’t rise until after I get home. Actually I love the morning dark.

And this is the day that I found out that the She-shed is electrified!

The leaflet season

October 4th, 2021 by kayak woman

Click and click again to see the “leaflets” a little better. I dunno what tree these things come from. I actually looked around for it this morning but couldn’t figger it out.

These itsy bitsy little leaflets are AWFUL. There’s no way to keep them from getting tracked into the Landfill, even if you take your shoes off in the entryway. And the GG is in and out with or without shoes ALL THE TIME. Then there’s vacuuming them up. I use Rooomba for a lot of my vacuuming. The big tornado upright vac drives me nuts plus it’s kind of broken. Rooomba is wondrous for most stuff but she does not pick up these little leaflets very well, so we have to pull out the tornado vac. We have something like five vacs but that’s a whole ‘nother story. One of them is something like 70 years old.

There were only a few of these things on the ground this morning. It rained off and on all day, sometimes heavily, and that probably influenced a lot of leaflets to let go and meet their demise. I guess this is the beginning of fall. It seems a bit late this year. Very green still with a bit of color around the edges and the big leaves just beginning to fall. My impatiens are STILL going great guns and there have been occasional hummingbirds at them. I’m only a very casual birder but this seems late.

As per my typical mid-pandemic grock shopping style, I went to Plum shortly after it opened. I bought a FEW items and didn’t get near anyone else for more than about a split second. I was MASKED and the few other people I saw were too. I bought a Zingerman’s baguette, mushrooms, boneless chicken thighs, pierogis, pita chips, aaaaaannnnd CHOCOLATE CHIPS! Ghirardelli chocolate chips! Semi sweet. And I was worried that Plum might have an “off” brand? Roight. Stay tuned to see if/what I do with these. It might not happen until the weekend.

P.S. Mid-pandemic? Yes. I have a strong hunch we are not done with this yet and we won’t be until the unwashed (oops, I mean the unvaxxed) get jabbed. MASK UP!

Talk about a rude awakening

October 3rd, 2021 by kayak woman

I was actually awake but it was pitch black and raining and I decided to get just another 40 winks in before getting up. It was not to be. SHREEEEEIIIIKK!

Can you guess? Yes. It was a smoke alarm. In addition to the shrieking, a voice was saying FIRE… FIRE… Well. There was NO FIRE and there was no reason for it to go off in such a dramatic manner. Jeebus. What do I do? I guess there’s probably a way to poke a broomstick or something up there and shut it off. But I couldn’t THINK! Because of all the frickin’ NOISE!

I do know that the only way I can get up there to change batteries or whatever is to go out to the She-shed and get the ladder. The step-stools inside the house can get me close but I have to extend my arms ALL THE WAY to reach the damn thing. Which somehow doesn’t feel as safe as it would have 30 years ago and I never have been crazy about ladders and things from the getgo. And getting the ladder out of the shed in the pitch black pre-dawn hours? Just unlocking the shed is a major process, one I won’t detail.

Also, because of our loverly planet building codes, we have FOUR (count-em) smoke alarms in close proximity – one per bedroom, don’tcha know? This particular rule seems like overkill in our little house. Does it matter that our three “bedrooms” all open to a teensy tinesy little “hallway” (vestibule?) where the fourth one is. I couldn’t even tell which one was shrieking. We don’t close the bedroom doors at night. If there was smoke anywhere near the vicinity, ONE alarm would pick up on it.

Just about the time I thought I was gonna go INSANE, the shrieking stopped and it hasn’t happened (fingers crossed) again since. What caused it? I do NOT know. To be on the safe side, my mouse monkey came over and changed the batteries in ALL FOUR of the blasted things. Fingers crossed that I won’t be shrieked awake again tonight although I have considered sleeping out in the Lyme Lounge, which is currently in the driveway.

I really want to replace these alarms with something a little “smarter”. I’ve had my eye on the Nest alarms for a long time. Some of the features I read about today? 1) They give you a couple seconds “heads-up” if they are about to shriek so you have a wee bit of time to check out what if anything is going on. 2) You can turn them off with your phone. 3) They SELF-TEST! What does this mean? They can sense a low battery and send you a message so you can replace it preemptively instead of scrambling around reacting to a shrieking alarm in the middle of the night and trying not to break your leg to replace the battery!

This is where I wanted to be this morning

October 2nd, 2021 by kayak woman

And this is where I was. The waning crescent was a bonus.

This being the Planet Ann Arbor farmers market. The GG is off on another junket, this time to the Porcupine Mountains with the Softies, a bunch of women who like to hike like I like to hike with a shower in the morning and whine at the end of the day. I dunno if they really do the whine part.

I was encouraged to join him on this trip but my traveling energy is just about at its nadir right now, especially after all the trips back and forth to the yooperland this summer. Not that I did a whole lot of traveling once I GOT there but I was there for SIX WEEKS and I am still working on “getting up to speed” back in the Landfill. After all, I still have a full time job to attend to. He sensed my lack of traveling energy and offered me a pass, which I gratefully took. He did take Softy Beanbag🐭 with him because Softies🐸 He better not lose her🐽

I got to the market at 7:00 AM this morning, which is when it opens. I don’t actually like driving down there early at this time of year because it’s pitch black. It’s not that I can’t drive in the dark. It’s that The Planet, out of concern for pedestrians, has installed umpteen bazillion crosswalks and I think about 10 of them are on Miller, which I take to get to the market. Is this a problem? It isn’t the crosswalks that are the problem, it’s the RULES surrounding these new crosswalks that can be problematical, especially in the dark. You (the driver) are supposed to notice if there is someone APPROACHING the crosswalk from the sidewalk and stop. Problem? When it is pitch black, it is almost impossible to see anyone who isn’t IN the crosswalk. I am a frequent pedestrian as well as a driver and I would rather wait until there is NO traffic and just run across the street. Oh well. I could go on and on (and on) about this. I go a bit slower than the speed limit so I can react quickly if someone DOES approach a crosswalk. Fortunately this morning I had no f*cking tailgaters so that was easy.

Lemme see… I bought lamb stew meat from Sparrow and onions, potatoes, apples, and lettuce from the market. From there, I made a short utility run to Meijer, then came home for chores (but no flinging, alas). And yes, I bought lettuce. I seem to be suddenly eating salads again. My current go-to is lettuce, tomatoes, cooked chicken breast (when I have extra and I do right now), feta, and greek olives with balsamic vinaigrette. Maybe chocolate chip cookies are next? I have some dried apricots to use up. I know that sounds like a non sequitur but it really isn’t.


October 1st, 2021 by kayak woman

Another photo credit to my mouse (click and click again to embiggen this elegant amphibian). My mouse has been trying to finish her 100 miles on the North Country Trail for the year and she’s now almost there with only 18 miles to go. That’s one long day or two short. (I hope it’s okay to report that. I usually try to keep my children’s lives off of here but this is pretty innocuous.)

I don’t have much of my own today. Just continued to get my work environment on my resuscitated laptop back to how I wanted it. One of the perks of all this is that some of my applications got upgraded in the process. All in all it was pretty painless, knock on wood that it is indeed over. I do have to note that I had this (Dell) laptop only two years before the hard drive failed. I replaced my 2013 MacBook Pro last winter. Was it broken? No it was not. It was just time since it was too old to run the latest operating system. It still works and has been repurposed to play music on our home pod or whatever you call it.

I can’t say we’ve never had an Apple product go into a failure mode but when one does it’s usually because it has taken a bath courtesy of yer fav-o-rite blahgger🐽 I have learned a few preventative strategies the hard way. One of them is to NOT use stemmed wine glasses. Another is when I am using my laptop on a kitchen counter to keep a dry tea towel underneath it, folded in half. I have not had a moisture catastrophe in a long time. Knock on wood!

End of September

September 30th, 2021 by kayak woman

I stole this pic from a beach urchin who is on a camping/hiking trip for a couple days during this BEAUTIFUL week. Make no mistake, late September is NOT too early for the S word in these parts.

Me… My formerly dead work laptop arrived yesterday complete with a brand spanking new hard drive. I opened it with much trepidation (and the GG’s help troubleshooting the BOX, thank you very much).

Things went much more smoothly than I had braced myself for. In fact it was a LOT easier to restore all of my stuff than it was when I first got this laptop new a couple years ago. That’s because we have automatic cloud storage now. I don’t really understand all the ins and outs of how that works and I suspect I did not have it set up completely correctly before the crash because I did lose some files. Fortunately that represented maybe 1% of my stuff and it’s all files I can recreate easily. IF I NEED TO! And I probably won’t need to.

I had to interact with R, my Super Duper Super Friendly support guy one more time so he could install Visio. It’s a Microsoft app but it’s a speshul app and doesn’t come with the usual suite (word/excel/outlook/etc.). He had already installed Snagit, a screenshotting app I use all the time that isn’t related to Microsoft at all.

R always asks me questions about the moomincabin and today he asked me again about how much time I spent in that “mountainous” location. That got me laughing as I explained that it isn’t at all mountainous. Instead it is set in a big forested area nestled up to a beach on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. Then I explained about its semi-rustic state and why it’s now closed for the winter and that I love it how it is and replacing it with a cheesy McMansion will happen over my dead body.

I don’t usually tell people I work with too much about the moomin. I had to tell R because of the difficulties involved in shipping laptops to and from a semi-remote location. It happened to pique his interest. But I know that there are plenty of people outside the Great Lake State (and even IN the GLS) that only have a tenuous grasp on where, say, Lake Superior is located. They know it’s “Up North” somewhere and it’s a long drive and most people know you have to cross a large suspension bridge to get there. But not everyone🤣

I work with people from India and I don’t EXPECT them to know anything about Lake Superior. I love my Indian colleagues but I only have a vague idea of their country’s geography. It isn’t because I don’t care. It’s because I am not a geographer. Vice versa, I don’t expect them to know much about the Great Lake State or maybe even the US. That said, I am gonna guess they know more about my country than I do about theirs.

But I was home setting up my refurbished laptop like I wanted it while my beach urchin was out in the gorgeous countryside. It’s okay. I’m not really that envious because she has been a grockery worker throughout the pandemic and therefore has endured dangerous working conditions for a year and a half. Meanwhile, I have spent a lot of time sitting on my posterior telecommuting from the crappy Green Couch in my shabby but comfortable living room. She deserves to spend time out in the country on this beautiful day🧡