Random bits of my so-called life.

Not quite the Big Mac

August 31st, 2014 by kayak woman

suspensionbridgeA quick little North Country Trail hike over at Naomikong Point this morning. Well, quick. It takes at least a half hour to get there and we hiked close to four miles. I love this stretch of the NCT. It parallels the Lake Superior beach for quite a while — past this loverly little suspension bridge, may she stand forever.

We got back to the moomincabin close to noon. There was an “official” NCT hike down at the Niagara Escarpment this afternoon. A little “warm-up” for tomorrow’s Mackinac Bridge Walk. The GG headed down to hike the Niagara Escarpment. I did not. I struggled mightily with this decision. I love the Niagara Escarpment section too. But, you know? It is Labor Day weekend. It is Sunday. We have to blast off for the Planet Ann Arbor again tomorrow. We will be here one more time this season and that will be to close this place.

I ended up staying at the cabin. I hoped to get some de-cluttering work done in the garage. I had some trepidation about this. This summer has not been a good season for de-cluttering. When I was here for two weeks a while back, I got almost *nothing* done. In retrospect, that may have been because I was incubating a monster cold and probably didn’t *feel* all that well.

Today? I didn’t get a *lot* done this afternoon but I did make some slow progress. I got into a strange little rhythm of walking back and forth from the cabin to the garage with a few items at a time. Where should this go? Might someone want it? Do *I* want it? I moved some items into the cabin. I collected a couple banker’s boxes of stuff to take to A2. There are a few things I want. There are a few things to be donated. I think I will just put my old high school copy of Moby Dick into the recycle. It is a paperback and it is falling apart. And I didn’t like that book but that’s probably because I tried to read the FULL version and not the abridged version (as the teacher suggested). Sheesh!

What the heck do I do with ancient yearbooks? The Wolverine? My dad didn’t even graduate from the University of Michigan. We have a spotty history of that school in our family and that’s all I will say. Except that I absolutely love living on The Planet Ann Arbor.

At the end of the day, the GG drove the Motor Bote over to the state park bote launch and I (eventually) met him with the Frog Hopper and Bote Trailer. Oh man, can we really be at the end of summer already? Right now it is sunny and warm, so I’m gonna go out on the deck!

Love y’all,
KW

Winkers and Green Drinkles

August 30th, 2014 by kayak woman

It is officially a Rainy Weekend but it is also a pretty calm weekend although, hmmm, how can I ‘splain this? There was a *lot* of seiche-like behavior here on the Shores of Gitchee Gumee today (water levels going up and down). Mostly I think this was related to storms elsewhere, like the tornado warnings down there in the northern lower.

Anyway, the GG dragged me out for a ride in the Motor Bote this morning. He asked me where I wanted to go and I told him that I wanted to putt-putt slowly up and down the shore. We did that and it was very calm and I was happy (except when the propeller scraped a rock!) and here is the Birch Point Range light. We went past this thing on up to the Land of Porterization and after a bunch of loop-de-loops in front of Porterland, we headed back. Rain was scheduled in 20 minutes.

sat1

After that, we headed out to Guano Round Island and I panicked just a wee bit. We had an offshore breeze today — a light breeze — and there was just a wee bit of chop out there. It was okay. But I have been haunted by a water incident that occurred earlier this summer that required an ambulance. It ended as well as something like that does (no one died, thank you god or whoever) but we have never had something like this happen before on our beach and it has served as a reminder of how carefully we all need to observe the rules of boating safety because these folks were experienced boaters but a bunch of small things went wrong and it only takes an instant. So I have been nervous and I’m thinking I should replace some of our ancient life jackets but today? We were okay and here we are down at the Doelle end of the beach in the Motor Bote.

sat2

After this, we took a little Frog Hopper ride down south to the Dafter area. Growing up, I had some relatives who had a farm somewhere down there. I wish I could remember the name of the road they were on but I can’t and I don’t remember being anywhere near that place more than once or twice. I didn’t see anything that I recognized today but we did see wild turkeys and gazillions of sandhill cranes. The lazy photo below is from the Forrest Side Road between M28 and Dafter Road. One of my fave roads but the photo doesn’t capture the beauty of this eastern yooperland field adequately.

sat3

After a scrabbled-together foraging-leftover-type lunch back at the moomincabin, I came back from a beach walk to a guy with a beer. A very special beer for us to split.

sat4

The plan was to sit on the beach to drink the beer but just enough rain began to fall that we decamped up to the deck.

sat5

I think both of us felt like sitting on the deck drinking beer for the whole afternoon but we came to our senses. The GG took the Motor Bote out to meet I fergit what lake freighter was coming down and I prepped dinner. He took a nap and I walked the beach which resulted in hanging out with my cuzzint The Beautiful Jan and a friend of hers in the Bug House. I needed that!

South of the border

August 29th, 2014 by kayak woman

I was going for a bit of the Tacoma Narrows look here. Er, close but no cigar. Anyway, I posted this on facebook and one of my high school buddies commented something like, “Get off the grate!” In the inner lanes of the suspension section of the Big Mac, a steel grate replaces the pavement. When I was a kid and my dad would drive on the grate, I used to like to look out the window and down because you could see the water waaaaayyy down there. A little freaky for some people and I understood the comment but the outside (paved) lane was closed for construction. Don’t look down!

friday1

An unusual view from the path to the beach. Same app as the bridge pitcher: Hipstamatic, Dali lens (one of my faves), Big Up film.

friday2

I unpacked everything I was responsible for and put all of the rugs and furniture back in place in the living room (we had rolled up the rugs and moved them up off the floor to keep them from getting damp in our absence). And took a beach walk. We actually have some beach down at the Doelle end this weekend.

friday3

This is what that stretch of beach looked like earlier in the summer. Much of the time, we were walking in water.

friday4

It is a rainy day and we had an errand in town and nothing much to scrabble up for lunch, so we went to the Palace Saloon. I love the Palace and it is the perfect spot for a rainy day lunch. It’s been around for a long time but The Commander re-introduced us to it a couple years before she died. I was kind of flabbergasted at the time. I seem to remember her sort of turning up her nose at it many years ago. It’s a barrrooooom, don’tcha know! But she took us there and picked exactly where she wanted to sit and knew exactly what she wanted to order. The Comm could be a pretty good piece of work.

In the last year of her life when she became a frequent flyer on the bus ambulance, the Palace became one of our go-to restaurants. The food is good, the service is uber-friendly, and when you order a glass of whine, you get a *glass* of whine, not a couple of ounces in the bottom of a big glass. It’s been over a year since I’ve eaten there and I was surprised to see that they had done some redecorating. It looks beautiful. We sat in a booth and this is what the wall looks like.

friday5

Later on, after I had prepped a bunch of stuff for dinner and someone located the long lost keys to the Motor Bote engine, I took another beach walk. This time I took an umbrella.

friday6

Speaking of driving on the grate over the Big Mac, NPR is just now running a story about a guy who makes a living driving people with gephyrophobia over I forget which bridge.

Starting the Labor Day weekend early (with all the Pettifoggers, Wheeler-dealers, & Injun Chiefs)

August 28th, 2014 by kayak woman

michayweAlthough if I had my druthers, I’d pick Injun Chief. But only if I could wear a feather headdress and a jingle dress and about a billion beads. I used to think I would be a good warrior but I really wasn’t. I ran like hell past the rock-throwing Waisenen boys down the alley (I bet they’re lawyers now) and I was always glad to arrive home to a nice hot dinner and a little TV afterwards. Beverly Hillbillies anyone? Anyway, I always wanted to be Native American as I was growing up. Alas, WASPy old Scot here.

Pheeee-oof. Bumpity-clunk up the I75 SUV Speedway landing softly at Chloe Belle’s house where I could not believe the chaos. I am only reporting this because I have NEVER seen The Beautiful Gay’s place this messy EVER and I do not think I will EVER see it like this again. The issue? Something died in one of the closets. Been there done that. We have been debating the size and species of rodent all evening. We do not know. But believe me, every blasted thing in that closet got dragged out and washed and is waiting for the smell to go away to be put back. To add insult to injury, someone peeeeeed the rug. I will not name names but it is the same entity that ran around in excited circles when I walked in.

This may all sound snarky but do *not* get me wrong. The UU and TBG provide some of the best hospitality around and I always feel honored to be a guest at their house. The conversation is lively and there is always plenty of food and whine and whatever. It is comfortable here. They are family.

No, I did not drink all of the whine in that glass tonight and if there are typos in this damn blahg entry, just sue me.

What the heck did I just do?

August 27th, 2014 by kayak woman

haisleyOh, nothing much. Just helped load a crusty old gas grill into the back of the Frog Hopper. It’s a red grill. They all seem to be Steel-colored now. Just like the new one the GG bought last week. We are taking our old red gas grill to the moomincabin this weekend. A long time ago, The Comm gave the GG some birthday money or something and he bought that grill.

We have always had a charcoal grill up at the moomincabin. When I was a kid, it was a teensy little rudimentary kind of thing. I can remember my old coot sitting out there with a drink and a sprinkler bottle to put out flames. I can remember my childhood dog Tigger stealing a STEAK off of that grill. I can remember once when the parents stashed the charcoal grill underneath the old wood stove we used to have in that cabin and it re-ignited in the middle of the night. “Jack, something is burning!” Yes it was. Fun times. We have had a fancier charcoal grill in recent times but the GG likes the immediacy of gas and so we are moving our old Landfill grill up there. We are not getting rid of the charcoal grill.

So. KW, I need your help! Oh dear. I immediately guessed that he wanted me to help him heft the grill into the back of the Frog Hopper. Okay. First, I grabbed my gardening glubs off of one of the yard waste compost bins. I know better than to risk losing my Flute Fingers via some silly accident. Glubs on, he tells me where to put my hands to lift the grill into the back of the Frog Hopper. I do that but whoooooaaaaah! The grill is tipping! He didn’t tell me that we were going to put it into the back of the Frog Hopper on its side! Okay, we regrouped and managed to get it in there without incident. I hope we can fit everything else that we need to take up north into the back of the Frog Hopper.

Here’s the thing. The GG is an identical twin. I am sure that I have talked about this before. I don’t really know if identical twins communicate telepathically but I do know that when the GG and the UU are working on any kind of a prodject together, they seem to be “in sync” somehow. The UU would probably have figured out what he and the GG wanted to do about getting the grill into the Frog Hopper and the whole thing would be done quick-like without any swearing (like KW did).

So, long weekend coming up but it’ll go quickly and I’ll be butt-in-seat at Cubeland on Tuesday.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

I take it all back!

August 26th, 2014 by kayak woman

mousegardenOkay, not all of it. But I was rolling on the floor laughing as I watched the lake freighter Algolake crew do the ALS ice bucket challenge this afternoon. Pauline in a shower cap and all the guys. Here’s a link but it’s on facebook so I apologize to those who can’t view it. I will stop kvetching about the ice bucket challenge now. Chill out, KW.

What else? Just a reglear day over at the Cube Farm today. Working on a quick little prodject that I could do standing on my head with my hands tied behind my back. It’s okay. Not very interesting but it’s on the roadmap so the challenge will be to see how fast I can knock it out. Plus, I am knocking on wood bigtime because the smallest of prodjects have a way of ballooning in some weird way. But I’m accustomed to that after all these years.

Severe storms in the late afternoon hosed traffic throughout town. By the time I got off work, the storms were moving on but the traffic wasn’t and I traversed all manner of “back” roads trying to get home. Guess what? Everyone else had the same idea as I did. Makes you wonder what would happen in a true disaster. This was just an average-sized thunderstorm, no tornadoes or bow echoes or anything. Still, it took me forever to get home and put the kibosh on a tentatively planned walk to the Plum Market to stock up on stuff for the upcoming weekend in the yooperland.

When I got home, it smelled (again) like something had died but this time, I quickly ascertained that it was something in the garbage. That improved my mood a bit and then I saw that Mouse had left me some little gifts from her garden (in the crappy photooo). That improved my mood exponentially.

And there’s Sam’s high-pitched voice outside (my childhood dog Tigger would probably not have liked Sam). He’s riding scooters and bikes around and I love that there are kids in the neighborhood having fun but it is a bit nerve-racking when he is looping around (sometimes up my driveway) when I am backing out the Ninja to go to work in the morning.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

This is not a polly-tickal post

August 25th, 2014 by kayak woman

succulentIt’s a systems analyst post. As in, gather the facts and data and make your own analysis.

I get really annoyed by a lot of what people post on facebook. Caterwauling about Robin Williams’s death — unless you KNEW him — is about *you*, not about Robin Williams or even suicide. I was over the whole ice bucket thing almost before it started. I know it is for an excellent cause but, oh no, another meme and this one actually wants me to watch videos. Ho-hum. Clicking share on everything that moves (or doesn’t move)? Why? Most of us have seen it all something like five times and some folks would be amazed at who else has shared their article because it isn’t always who they might think it is (tee-hee). Quizzes? A bit of a guilty pleasure on a slow day. I know from quizzes throughout the years that “my” instrument is the clarinet (oh, so not), that my fave color is teal (true-ish, although I like *all* colors), that I would completely survive the Zombie Apocalypse (I think it’s because I told the quiz I take two showers a day), and most recently that the actress I am most like is Meryl Streep, which is very flattering because I am a fan, although I have no interest in drinking her bath water (or anyone else’s). But SHEESH! Hey, baggy old kayak woman here.

I value all of my [sorta] carefully curated group of facebook friends, even when our polly-ticks don’t exactly match up. If they want to call Obama “Obummer”, I try to just ignore it. I am not enamored of either side of our two-party system at the moment but the man does have a name and the American people elected him. Alas, I’m pretty sure that if Mitt had been elected, I would’ve had to sit on my hands to not call him something derogatory. Mittens? RMoney? Whatever…

When we start counting up vacation days? What the heck? Who took more vacay days, Obummer or Dubya? And how do you *define* vacation days for the president of the United Snakes of America anyway? Do you think that the president actually just bugs out and doesn’t answer the phone for the duration? Really? No matter what his polly-tickal persuasion (or ahem “racial makeup”), I doubt it.

So now we’re counting up vacation days and people are sharing and re-posting a whole bunch of sh*t about how many days Obummer is taking off. Here’s what PolitiFact has to say about that. If you decide to click over, you can draw your own conclusions. Mine is that the job of President of the United Snakes is one of the most difficult jobs on earth. The president, no matter what his polly-tickal persuasion, deserves some time off to recharge so that he/she can deal with the next crisis. And that, any time that president is on that blasted golf course, he/she could have to cut the game short due to a phone call. This doesn’t change no matter what party the President of the United States is affiliated with.

I don’t play golf. I have never played golf. Every five years or so, the GG tells me that he thinks I would like golf. I don’t think so. I like to walk but I like to walk on the beach or in the woods. I don’t like games with balls. So I don’t understand the whole damn thing about golfing. But that’s me.

Sorry, it seems that I am a bit snarky tonight. Love y’all anyway. –KW

Minimalism

August 24th, 2014 by kayak woman

nationalbohemianTwo steps forward, one step back. In addition to de-hoarding activities, I’ve been working on traveling lightly the last few years. We used to travel with everything but the kitchen sink. Once back in the Jurassic Age I remember schlepping our big-ass Sony TV up to Houghton Lake in the middle of the winter (among many other things including an Apple II+ and a calculus textbook) in one of our Ford Fiestas. The wind was blowing a gale when we got there and there was a foot of snow or so, so we couldn’t drive into the yard until we shoveled, so I carried the damn thing through the snow from the road to the cabin.

Then came the beach urchins and all of the junk that babies need (or so we thought). And about a billion boooooooks because one of the beach urchins couldn’t even ride a mile over to the Westgate Kroger without a stack of books and probably some paper and crayons or markers or whatever (and once, an “ebaborant abainment of purses”). I don’t know why it seemed like we needed soooooo much. I remember one of the beach urchins piping up in the back of the Exxon Tanker Valdez one time on the way home from nursery school with something like, “I wish we could just take our whole house with us when we go to Houghton Lake.” I had this picture in my head of The Landfill floating along in the sky behind the ETV, attached to it by a string. And I sort of understood what she was saying.

Nowadays I pack only what seems absolutely necessary. A small carry-on-style bag for clothing, my Maple Leaf Backpack for my laptop and cables and a few other miscellaneous items that I *keep* in my Maple Leaf Backpack, a couple bags of food, etc. Oh, and sleeping bags. Because part of traveling light is getting as few linens dirty as possible at your destination so as not to have to wash them at The Group Home or schlep them home from (and back to) the Moomincabin. I did good this weekend. I didn’t even have a whole lot of food to pack away when we got home because I think that ALL of the chicken I schlepped up there got eaten last night! YAAAYYYY! [insert big grin here!]

Fun fun fun weekend and decent trip home. We took the old highway down from Alger. Alger to Sterling to Standish, then Pinconning, Linwood, and Kawkawlin and back to the I75 SUV Speedway just north of Bay City. I love this route. It was once one of the main routes north on the east side of the state but fell a bit out of favor when I75 finally went all the way through from the tri-city area to Grayling.

This road is a mix of businesses, tourist oriented or not, local or not. Wilson’s Cheese, Judy’s Pies, The Turkey Roost (I think we went there once with The Gumper back in the Jurassic Age), Iva’s Chicken Dinners, Rosie’s Pies, John’s Hubcaps. The shabbly little closed-and-for-sale Algonac County Baby Pantry, which for some unfathomable reason makes me sad every time I drive by it, even though I know that it has merely moved a few miles down the road from Sterling to Standish. Someday, when I am not driving, I will make a more comprehensive (and accurate) list of businesses on this route. For myself, not necessarily for you guys. Or maybe if it’s a *leisurely* trip — one where I am not breaking my neck to get back down (up?) to The Planet Ann Arbor, maybe I’ll even stop and take crappy iPhone photos of some of my favorite businesses. Or… Maybe I could make one or two stops each trip. Eventually I’ll get enough photos for a coffee table book, roight?

So, only a couple of slowdowns on this trip, one north of and *on* the Zilwaukee Bridge (we took the I675 bypass thru Saginaw and, well, bypassed it) and then tail lights on and off through Flint. We knew about those, or at least the first one, via Google maps. How did we ever get along without all of the technology we have in our lives these days? I was sleepy enough for about three minutes that I almost asked the GG to take over the driving. That is unusual for me and I can’t remember what snapped me out of it — probably stopping for gas. Anyway we are home safe and I schlepped over to my fave Plum Market and dinner and laundry are in the hopper. The GG gets to play with his new gas grill tonight. That’ll be fun.

G’night. Love y’all,

KW

Three bottles of worchestershire sauce but no butter

August 23rd, 2014 by kayak woman

So we went to the grokkery store. To get butter (but not Worchestershire sauce). We took the Flote Bote. I was gonna drive the Frog Hopper over to the Best Choice grokkery store but the Twinz of Terror suggested that we could take the bote and, okay yes, let’s take the bote. And we’ll get some faaarrrworks too. So here we are heading into the canal behind the Best Choice grokkery store.

flotebote

I don’t have a whole lot to say tonight except that this was one of the most gorgeous days of the summer. We took a second bote ride in the afternoon. The goal was to get bloody marys at Liz’s Lounge but as we approached the lounge, we figured out that a wedding was in progress and the restaurant was closed. So, off to the Limberlost, where we experienced the usual spotty service. But there were ducks.

duck

As you can see.

Not much else to say except that we eventually got back to the cabin and cooked dinner and, lemme see, with nine people here, it’s all good.

It’s too early to go to bed on a Friday night

August 22nd, 2014 by kayak woman

garishBut I am pretty exhausted and not in that loverly way where my muscles are saying, “Thank you for using me.” Loooonnnng day of work, chores, packing, and driving. Ended up with dinner at one of my least fave places to eat. I want to like this place. We’ve been patronizing it off and on for many years. But 1) they serve Bar Food, which I am not crazy about and 2) the service is “spotty” (sometimes good, other times reeeeallly sloooooow). Oh, and then there’s 3) in which a recent remodel opened the space up quite a bit but now the acoustics are so awful you can’t hear yourself think. After a long day ending with a long drive, I need a wee bit less stimulation. My coping strategy involved engaging in antisocial behavior by reading a booooook on my phone.

Haven’t been to the Group Home since sometime in June, I don’t think. That’s a loooong time. At the moment, it’s just the GG and I, although the UU will be here after he watches them thar Lions on TV. It’s odd with just the two of us here and I find myself wishing for more company, exhausted as I am at the moment. Shared spaces are tricky but the CFam, despite its *large* size does pretty well. I’m accustomed to having quite a bit of space, so spending several whole days and nights with a bunch of other people can be challenging. (I’m sure that *others* feel the same way!) I cope with the parts of the day in which I’d appreciate a little more space by going out to breakfast or hiking / skiing / kayaking / whatever or taking road trips (even to the hardware store or Woldemort) or just by keeping busy processing the dishes or garbage or whatever. Of course the evenings are great fun with a whole bunch of people around: cocktails / dinner and bonfires. And then there are Pontoon Bote trips to the grokkery store and the tiki bar or just out and about around the lake.

It’s too early to hit the rack tonight but by staying awake, I run the risk of getting a second wind and that would be even worse. Whatever happens, I think I’ll sign off for the evening. Beautiful soft warm rain moving through right now.

Good night, –KW

P.S. The UU is now here and so are (surprise) The Lord and Lady of Linden. Good times!

Back and thanks to all (nine) of you

August 21st, 2014 by kayak woman

barkNew cable modem, back on line and blathering on. And on and on and on. And on…

So easy these days. Just take your old dysfunctional cable modem over to Com[insert-expletive-here], get a new one, plug it in and all’s well that ends well. No serial killers or anything. Except for when they email you a BILL a couple hours later! A New Customer kind of bill. $140 was it? I couldn’t hear the exact amount because the GG’s voice was drowned out by National Petroleum Radio.

New customers? Hmmm… I can’t even remember the exact year we first had service with Com[insert-expletive-here]. Was it 1999? Or was that when we first tried to get Com[insert-expletive-here] and they told us they didn’t service Apple computers[!] Or was it 2001? Whenever it was, I had My Loverly Strawberry iMac and an “older” guy came out with an installation disk and some other stuff and every time he put the disk into My Loverly Strawberry iMac, My Loverly Strawberry iMac would crash. So I would climb down under the computer and power off / power on. This action totally FREAKED OUT the “older” guy (older than me anyway). He seemed to think My Loverly Strawberry iMac would blow up or something. People, the only time in more years than I care to count in all the years I’ve been in the computer bizness that I ever saw a piece of computer equipment come even close to exploding was back in the 1980s or thereabouts. It was at That Darn EPA and one of our “terminals” puffed out a wee whiff of smoke. We unplugged it and the problem was solved.

Okay. A call to Com[insert-expletive-here] revealed that this was in fact our monthly bill. Yes, $140. We have cable TV too. I had to talk to the poor customer service rep to add the GG’s name to the bill (haven’t we done that before?) and I’m sure my irritation at her questions about my name and address was clear. Before I handed the phone back to the GG, I told her, “He’s much nicer than I am.” (I could hear her laughing as he took back the phone.)

This whole thing about having your name on the bill is new since about 2010 or so. The GG has always been the one to call Com[insert-expletive-here] because he *is* nicer (and also he is more knowledgeable about hubs and waaaars and things) and it seems like always before they handled things without asking me for a whole bunch of information. Before The Commander got sick, some sales snake from Charter (in the Yooperland) convinced her that she needed a new TV control box. The damn thing took something like SEVEN SECONDS to change from one channel to another. It was totally unusable. The GG went over to Charter with the damn box and asked them to change it back to whatever she had before. The Commander was waiting outside in the car. Charter said that they couldn’t do anything without permission from the person whose name was on the service. Well guess what? The person whose name was on the service was My Old Coot and by that time (2011), he had been dead for five years. Immediately and without questions, the Charter person made the change.

Ah well. We wanted to walk over to Zingerman’s Roadhouse tonight but it’s raining and there is LIGHTNING and I guess we will just drive instead. It is so beautiful here at The Landfill that I want to stay here but there isn’t any food so I guess we will go out.

Sayonara, KW

ababsurdo is up but my cable modem is not

August 20th, 2014 by kayak woman

Maybe I’ll be back. Maybe I’ll just take the night off. You’re welcome [insert error aminal here].

Just in time

August 19th, 2014 by kayak woman

reflectionsMade it home and *inside* with all of my work stuff and the mail and the tomatoes I bought from Farmer John today and oh heck, I even did a couple small chores. And then the clouds burst. Driving home, it looked really threatening and I had to quell a wee bit of panic when I was stuck on top of an overpass s-i-t-t-i-n-g behind a long line of traffic waiting for something like four traffic light cycles.

Hey, they are talking about K College on NPR tonight. Actually, it’s one of those pre-college news stories about how to prepare your kid for college. Sex, in this case. Unless K College has changed its schedule from terms to semesters, those parents will not be dropping their daughter off until mid-September or so. I know because both of my beach urchins graduated from K.

Was I nervous about dropping off my first child at college? Of course I was. I wasn’t nervous about sex. Fer kee-reist! It was a more generalized worry. My worries were unfounded because Lizard Breath and then Mouse both thrived at K college.

I remember when we drove home after dropping Lizard off at K. I was still working for YAG and had auditions to manage, so I made a ‘hattan for the GG and delivered it to him in his baby’s bedroom, and then I took off.

Dropping Mouse off? I was in an advanced class at WCC. It was group work and I had told the teacher that I would be the project manager for our group but that I had to miss part of the first group meeting because I was dropping my kid off at college and there was this whole convocation where folks walked down the green in their academic regalia, blah-de-blah.

That was okay but… I returned to chaos within our group — with my future friend S freaking out in the hallway with the teacher. I walked out of the stairwell and reiterated that I intended to handle project management. Everyone settled down immediately. I became better friends with S. Her daughter eventually went to K, of all things. She was a high school senior at that time and K was one of her top picks.

I miss driving over to Kalamazoo. Maybe we can still drive over there and meet up with our niece 1st-cuzzint-once-removed who will be a freshman at Western Michigan U this fall. Right next door to K!

Smells like something died in here!

August 18th, 2014 by kayak woman

chokecherriesIt isn’t the garbage! There’s NOTHING in the garbage. Okay, one used Kleenex. My snot does not smell like something dead. I can only guess that some specimen of Mus musculus got stuck somewhere and couldn’t get out. I suppose I will have to wait this out. It’s one of those things where you get used to it after a while. Kind of like living next to a farm, maybe? The Commander never got tired of telling people (including meeee) about the time they took me to a sheep farm when I was a very small child. Of *course* I wrinkled up my nose. What were you thinking?

At least I got IN the door this afternoon. Via the Disco Lock, that is. It has been intermittently ignoring me (and sometimes the GG but mostly meeeee) for a week now. He put a new battery in it yesterday and it seemed to be working better. Until this morning when it wouldn’t talk to me at all… I went out to the app to try [again] to figger out what was going on. I was not logged in. How did I get logged out? I do not know. Maybe changing the battery triggered it. I do not know. Don’t ask. YOU do not want to know. It works now. I got in this afternoon without a problem. Knock on wood.

From the “does anyone else ever do that?” category: National Petroleum Radio was talking tonight about folding atoms. Not atoms exactly, thin sheets of something. The idea is to create wearable computers and I do not mean watches or Google Glass. I’m talking about shirts and jackets, etc. I lost track though because it took me right back to when I was a very small child and used to sit around and ruminate about how many times I could fold a piece of paper in half until it was impossible to fold it any more. I suspect these thoughts came from my own experiments in actually *folding* pieces of paper. Possibly origami, which was one of my consuming passions as a child. Sitting in my bedroom in our shabby little bungalow down on Superior Street reading, drawing, counting and organizing various items of cosmic debris into notebook paper data bases, folding, thinking. Folding to infinity. Calculus.

I am not looking forward to wearable computers in the kind of form factor they were talking about on NPR tonight but I guess I’ll talk about that some other time. I’m not quite ready tonight.

A museum of Passeriformes Bombycillidae Bombycilla cedrorum

August 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

rainOr is it an ear-full?

Good morning Ann Arbor. What a good walk I had this morning! Rained like cats and dogs most of the entire loop. Came home, washed my feet (and my shoes), put a dry tie-dyed t-shirt on and left my umbrella on the porch fully opened to dry out. What was good about it? It was warm and there was NO LIGHTNING! I walk in rain but I do not do lightning.

Alas, the rain slowed waaaayyy down after I took this photo, so the people of The Planet Ann Arbor could not take to the streets in their kayaks.

You do not want to know about my boring day of chores, errands, and flinging / reorganizing. My eyes were normal (aka not itching, watering, crusting, reddish) today for the first time in a week. The GG is a few days behind me so he had a rather slow day (which is OKAY!). Eventually, we went out for a hike. I whined at first about where he wanted to hike. I really wanted to be in the woods and his hike would take us through the nearby village of Dexter. I got a grip and decided to go with the flow and boy oh boy was I glad I did that. Why?

First, we discovered that the Border-to-Border Trail has now been completed from Dexter to Hudson Mills Metropark. That introduces the possibility of us doing a death biathlon trip, dropping off kayaks in one metropark, driving down to another one, walking up to the drop-off park, then kayaking back down to the Frog Hopper. To me, the issue here is how to secure the kayaks…

We also discovered the Beer Grotto in Dexter. If I get it right, the grotto serves about a billion beers and wines curated from various craft outfits, mostly here in the Great Lake State.

Seemed like the perfect place to have a beer or whine after a hike. Alas, I didn’t link to the place because although I LOVED it, I can’t quiiiite recommend it. The people were wonderful but they were very overwhelmed and therefore very slow and the whine servings were extremely small. I could only order whine by one or two ounces (!) or by the litre or whatever. So I got a HUGE glass with a teensy tinesy wee little bit of whine in the bottom of it. What I wanted was a half-glass of whine to snuggle up to in the mid-afternoon before we walked the 1.5 miles or whatever it was back to our vee-hickle in the Dexter-Huron Metropark. I’d’ve probably gotten closer to that good old post-hike comfort whine over at our old fave Dexter’s Pub. It wouldn’t have been fancy whine but I wouldn’t have cared. Actually, I wasn’t even planning on whine this afternoon. I was thinking “woods”. No whine in the woods.

Nevertheless, I think the Beer Grotto is great and I want it to succeed.

Zoom Schwartz Profigliano (but mostly Zoom (KNOCK ON WOOD))

August 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

goosexstitchNote to self. Next time you take a whole (sorta) 2-week vacay, do NOT try to hit the ground running when you get back, exspecially [grin] if you are sick! All week I have been beating myself up about not running around being nuclear powered like a chicken with its head cut off. Chores and errands and work. I can do it all, roight? NOOOOOOO. You were SICK, KW! No passing it off as, “It’s just a cold”, even though it was. With cold viruses, your mileage may vary.

I am still coughing a bit but I was pretty much back to normal today, beginning with an early morning hike down to the farmer’s market, which is in high season at this time of the summer! Sweet corn? Yes. Except that I already got mine from Farmer John at work. It’s okay. I got plenty of other stuff, including kimchee, but not pasties. The pasty guys weren’t there today.

Back to flinging? I hesitate to write about that on-line, fearing I might jinx myself. I’ve been struggling for many moons now about how to sort out all of the random stuff that’s been left in this house by my earlier collecting habits, my mother’s death and my children’s exodus. I certainly helped my kids collect things but I think we’re all over that now, although I don’t dump their stuff without permission. Today I consigned a few items of mine to various donation destination boxes and trashed some things that were truly trash. Mostly I chipped away on getting Things That Are Like Other Things TOGETHER! So ZOOM! But also, KNOCK ON WOOD!

Zoom Schwartz Profigliano? Ever play it? It’s a drinking game. I played it one night back in the day with The Engineer and our friends, [the now] Doc W., Joel, and I cannot remember the 4th person but I bet it was Kev. We didn’t play it as a drinking game (like these people are) although we did drink that night. We had been at the Alpha Bar and I remember us driving over the Ashmun Street bridge (I think my bro’ was driving his VW bug that night) and we were doing something totally geeky by assigning each person a number, so it was Zoom 1, Schwartz 3, and Profigliano 4 or whatever. Look up the rules if you want. I did and I don’t totally recognize them. The rules probably vary, like cold viruses.

P.S. Doc W.? He is a Music Doc. Expert percussionist waaaayyy back in high school and also at MooU (I was there when he was). Unlike yer fav-o-rite blahgger, he went on into a music career, became a conductor and, from what I see on facebook (because we are friends), he is beloved by all of his students and a whole bunch of other folks in and out of the music world.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid

August 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

purpleDone any o’ that stuff lately? Oh, I know, it’s too expensive these days. (Snort snort snort…)

Friday night raucousness at the Oscar Tango tonight. Legal stuff abounds. A co-worker recently finished her tenure as the jury foreman on a high profile case in the Daytwa area. It’s none of my business to provide the details. I’ll just say that when the local news stations played the audio of her reading the jury’s verdict, everyone at work knew exactly who it was. I didn’t hear it. I was in the yooperland, where there’s no TV except in the Lockview Laundromat and Woldemort. I listen to National Petroleum Radio at the moomincabin and they didn’t play the audio. All I have to say is that this jury had a horrendous decision to make and I do NOT envy them.

Then there was the 30-something guy who ran away with his 13-year-old female “friend”. It’s complicated. He was a “family friend” and therefore her mother didn’t discourage the relationship. Did mom know how “serious” the relationship was? Who knows. If one of my beeyootiffel beach urchins had been hanging out with an icky 30-something guy at 13, family friend or not, I think I would have gone into big-time Mama Bear mode. Fortunately, my daughters seem to have inherited their baggy old mother’s sniff test. Yuck yuck yuck. The young woman is now 16 and has his baby. The guy is sentenced to a good long term in prison. I’m not sure if I agree with how long. As icky as this all was, it is far from black and white, at least in my mind.

Which gets me back to deoxyribonucleic acid. I am sick to death of the word “race”. What? We are the HOMO SAPIENS SPECIES. The homo sapiens species comes in all different shapes, sizes, and COLORS! Kind of like dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, you name it. Who knows who the heck we all share DNA with. Any one of us WASPy-type folks could have a scrap of DNA straight out of “deepest darkest” Africa. How the hell would we know?

Now. Do I ever get a little nervous when I see a black male in a hoodie or a do rag sauntering along toward me on the sidewalk? I will NOT deny that I do. But you have to know that 98% of the time, when I make eye contact with a person of that description, we end up SMILING at each other and maybe even interacting a bit: “Hello!” or “Howya doin’”. Another 1% of the time, he’s a person having a bad day and doesn’t want to interact with a baggy old kayak woman (or vice versa!). The other 1%? ONCE in the last eight years or so, I encountered a black kid in a hoodie who made me a little nervous. Afterward, I observed him walking down my street peering into every car parked in the street (including mine). Was he up to no good? Probably. Guess what? I have encountered people who look like me (aka, they have “white” skin) who make me nervous too.

Maybe you’ve guessed I’m now talking about #FERGUSON. I dunno what’s really going on over there in Ferguson. Although I’ve been to St. Louis a few times, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of Ferguson before. I don’t think any of us have anywhere near a full set of details about what happened there but it sounds like serious overkill to me. We have somehow *got* to put “race” aside, not to mention “terrorism”, and pull together because the po-leese should not be treating ANYONE like that anywhere and weeeeee should not put up with it whatever color our skin presents to the world.

G’night, KW

Sundogs

August 14th, 2014 by kayak woman

knightsA few years ago, we were at our fave neighborhood pub / steakhouse and the GG spied my MacMu cuzzint Salwa. I didn’t see her so I was thinking something like, “Say what?” Salwa and D live 20 minutes to the east by freeway. But in addition to being a popular neighborhood steakhouse / pub, Knight’s is also a destination spot and a subsequent conversation with Salwa indicated that we had very likely spotted her there.

After all these years, tonight, drum roll…, we met up with Salwa and D (and our own lovely Lizard Breath) at Knight’s tonight. Oh my gosh, so much fun! Salwa and I gabbled and gabbled about our lives and family stuff from back when we were kids all the way up until now. The GG and D were gabbling on and on about the R word, that is, when D wasn’t gabbling with people that he knows from previous visits to Knight’s or wherever. I hope Lizard Breath had fun. I think she did. She can certainly hold her own in terms of conversation but I was so busy gabbling away with Salwa that I’m not sure. But maybe she was just sitting there listening to all of us and grinning to herself about all of our silliness.

The occasion for us to finally meet here in southeast Michigan (for something other than a dern funeral) is the delivery of a painting that Salwa bought when she visited us up in Sault Ste. Siberia a few weeks ago. An Anny Hubbard, one of my all-time fave artists, an indescribable Native American artist that The Commander and Radical Betty knew. Can I just say that she is sparkly? Anyway, the painting was too big for Salwa’s vee-hickle, especially with three other people and all of their luggage, so we offered to schlep it down for her. The idea was that we would meet at Knight’s to hand it off. And so we did.

We had so much fun! I hope we do this again soon and often. I know that not everyone knows all of their cousins (or even have any). I am glad that I grew up knowing all of my cousins in both families. Not only are they some of the best friends I will ever have, we have some shared memories that most of my other friends could never understand.

I’m about done. Lizard Breath is spending the night and she and the GG are figuring out via Spotify what kind of music yer fav-o-rite blahgger likes. A former aspiring classical flute virtuoso who also loved rock and roll from the top 40 to esoteric stuff. And then there’s Celtic fusion. Throw a little Iris Dement[ed] and some jazz into the mix (and a couple toads and bats and things) and you’ve about got it.

Love y’all and here’s to cousins especially. I love mine so much!

Don’t bother reading this, just look at the bunchberries

August 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

I mean, can I just rewind this whole week? I have not been a happy camper. I have grumped and growled and screamed and cried and sent an angry text message or two. I did not do any of this at work but I *did* get extremely annoyed at a co-worker today. Why? I do not know. She did a *good* thing! But it required meeeeeee to be temporarily inconvenienced — in a MINOR way. I got ahold of myself right quick (for about the 10th time this week minus a few times when I didn’t) and, telling myself “Count to 10, KW” as I walked out of the building, TOOK A WALK! When I came back, I was okay. Note to self…

bunchberries1

I have blown up at various people throughout my life. Almost *always* close family members. I don’t know how else to say it except that I have thunderstorms sometimes. They aren’t any fun for anyone (including meeeee, believe me!) but they do blow through and I am okay again. I think things through and figure out how I will handle that conflict the next time it occurs but sometimes I get blindsided by something I can’t immediately think through. Kind of like play productions in a way but since plays only [arguably] imitate life, it is [sometimes] *fun* to handle the problem or solve the conflict or whatever. Not always so much in real life.

bunchberries2

ONCE in my life I got angry enough on the job to yell at someone and storm out (I did NOT yell at anyone today). It was during my childhood IT career over at That Darn EPA and after I stormed out, I drove all the way home! I remember the person who set me off but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what he said or did that made me so angry. We were friends so much of the time. Fortunately, I didn’t do anything too stoopid and my good old boss Byron did not faaaar me (or even talk to me about it, the other guy was truly out of line). Nevertheless, I learned from that experience (and many others) that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I went on to be a well-respected SME at that job and was treated very well.

bunchberries3

I am happily recovering from the not-Ebola virus. I [vigorously] went through my usual morning skunk walk today and was butt-in-seat at work around the usual time that I wander in to work. When the Queen Bee came in she said, “You look so much better today. You were so pale on Monday.” Yes. The GG is a bit behind me in his recovery but this is not Ebola and we will all survive.

I cannot rewind the week but I hope tomorrow is a better day.

It’s okay, it’s not Ebola

August 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

thelastnightThe title is not meant to be disrespectful in any way. The illness that results from the Ebola virus is horrific. I don’t wish it on anyone and I am horrified at the idea that there may be drugs that are helping (?) American health care workers that are not being distributed to those who are suffering over in Africa.

But here’s the truth. I don’t have Ebola. I have whatever blasted cold virus is going around The Planet Ann Arbor this summer. This virus has a weird trajectory. You feel just a hint of congestion in your throat, then there are about 5-6 days of just a wee bit of coughing and nose-blowing. Then. Ka-wham! I took a sick day today. I actually felt quite a bit better today than I did yesterday. I guess that says something about the kind of denial I was in yesterday. Today, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I bagged my walk. I got out to the couch and felt like I needed a nap. I emailed in sick. I dozed and then read a book (on my phone (Snow Child)). Mouse came over in the afternoon and told me my face looked congested. She knew. She had the same cold virus earlier in the summer.

I am irritated by a few things today but most of my irritation is directed at all of the folks who insist upon posting and reposting and reposting stuff about Robin Williams and his death ad infinitum. I’m sorry. This is very sad. I think he was a talented, wonderful person with a dark side. Aren’t we all like that? I do not understand why anyone would commit suicide. I won’t because I love my life and I am still afraid of death. I have been with people who were ready to die and I was with my brother when he died. I don’t think any of those folks feared death and, in some cases wanted to hasten it. But those folks were old and/or ill. Who am I to judge someone else for taking their life? Let us mourn Robin Williams but let us also understand how complex each and every one of us is. And that successful folks like Robin have some of the same problems as the rest of us and maybe have fewer tools for handling them, as rich and/or famous as they are.

Good night. Love you all. Read Snow Child.