Random bits of my so-called life.

Hey, I’m thinking in five dimensions here. I do not have any words!

April 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

bloughIn my particular little corner of the systems analyst world, the job varies greatly from day to day. I might spend a week or two making mindless changes to our very hi-fi prototype, a huge trove of html web pages augmented by some old-skool javascript. Then there are times when it might take me a few days or even weeks (yes) to flowchart or matrix some extremely complicated piece of functionality. Yes, they really pay me for this stuff.

A meeting was scheduled this morning to talk the CRD off the ledge. He had six questions. We hashed out all of them. I believe number five was actually answered via some of the previous questions. This morning was my coffee morning. The morning I meet MMCB and today TBS, who has the week off for Passover, so I was jazzed up on coffee when I got to work. It doesn’t take much coffee to jazz me up and that became a running joke (KW has a coffee high so watch out) throughout the meeting. That wasn’t as funny as W1.5 finding out that he was in the Electric Chair though.

When you get designers and developers and legacy folks into the same room, it often sounds like you are in the Tower of Babel and although I was on my game this morning (coffee, maybe? hmmm…), the Cube Farm hallways reverberated all afternoon with follow-up questions. At one point, I threw up my hands and said something like today’s title. But then somehow, a few minutes later, I had a simple answer. I was mentally exhausted by the last half hour of my day. Fortunately I have some mindless html / javascript coding to do for one of my other prodjects. Exciting or not, it needs to be done and it was a relief to switch to mindless coding for a bit.

And then I came home and I am thinking in five dimensions with this gorgeous new kitchen too. What do I put where? What do I even *want* back in? Pot racks? Dish drainer? Paper towels? Cupboard / drawer organizers? I have some huge drawers here. They are gorgeous but I’m still not sure how I will want to use them. And CKL is coming tomorrow morning to take pictures and collect DreamMaker’s storage bins (and also whatever dollars we still owe) so I need to make sure it isn’t cluttered with dish drainers and lunch bags and things.

I hope you are thinking in fewer than five dimensions tonight, unless that’s the kind of thing that turns you on of course. If so, GO FOR IT! (It does turn me on but I also need downtime.)

Okay, so this was largely a work blahg. Deal with it! [grin]

Chitchen Sicken

April 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

chitchensickenI won’t tell you which of the beach urchins called chickens “sickens” as an early talker. If you know anything about the beach urchins, you know which one it *wasn’t*.

I *think* that this cute rooster belongs to the one it *wasn’t* but I’m not sure. It has been bubble-wrapped in a milk carton in the Landfill Dungeon along with some other bubble-wrapped things that belong to that urchin (I think). I have been eye-balling it throughout this whole renovation and thinking it would be a good artifact for the new chitchen. I hope that urchin doesn’t care if I UN-bubble-wrapped it and put it on my new shelf. Alas, some of the stuff I had in the Old Chitchen will probably be bubble-wrapped. Unless somebody in the family or a friend wants it. Meaning that there are a few things I’m not ready to part with. Yet.

Guess what is on my grokkery list? Dishwasher detergent! Guess what? I am USING MY NEW DISHWASHER! And I am loving it! A few little detergent pods came with it but I have used them up. I looked for dishwasher detergent today on a lunchtime Whole Foods expotition. I was not successful, at least not in the form factor I was looking for. I kind of knew that would happen. BTW, I am not all that happy about the Whole Foods checkout experience these days. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes not. The hipster cashier today rhapsodized about my single serving tetra-packs of chocolate coconut milk. I couldn’t understand him at first. You work here and you do not know about these non-dairy milk packs? What? That was okay. At least he didn’t ask me if I wanted to donate to the cause of the day. A few weeks ago, I was asked that and I said, “Okay, I’ll donate $5.” Next thing, the clerk set off a bunch of noise-makers. Yay, somebody donated. KW is a very shy, private person who likes to make donations anonymously and that was not a good thing. Next time somebody asks me something like that I will say, “Only if you don’t broadcast my meager donation.” Way to get customers, Whole Foods…

I am still “moving in” slowly. I have some shopping trips ahead of me. Wall-mounted pot racks. Possibly a few of those newfangled drawer / cupboard organizer thingies. A new dish drainer because I will still hand wash some things but I need something I can stash if I want to. What else? There are some other things. I need to make a list, I guess. Requirements anyone? Oh yeah, a storage system for a subset of my cookbooks. Although looking through them, I could do some flinging. And a new small microwave? I could probably live without one but they can be handy and I think that the GG wants one. And that’s okay. We’ll find a small one.

Haisley Mafia

April 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

taxdaysnowWe used to be the Haisley Mafia. The volunteer moms who kept the trains running on time at the neighborhood elementary school. And yes of *course* there were volunteer dads too! But today, I met up with two of my best friends from those days and they are both female. Make no mistake! It is not parent volunteers who make the school trains run on time. I think we have a role in the schools but it is the teachers and their support staff who do the dirty work.

I met up with The Beautiful Jane when Lizard Breath went to kindergarten. Actually, the GG met her first, the summer before kindergarten. I worked evenings in those days and the GG took the beach urchins to West Park for a band concert. Four-year-old Lizard Breath made a plan to Make a Friend! And so she did. It was TBJ’s daughter and they ended up in the same kindergarten class. I think they are still friends although during their years on The Planet Ann Arbor, they went on to different schools and social circles. I do not see TBJ a whole lot any more and I will see her even less when she moves out to the left coast in a month or so. But she is still my friend.

The Beautiful Vicki? Sheesh! Before I got to know her I always figured she was waaayyyy outta my league. One of those over-the-top people that just had to have been a cheerleader in high school. Not, but we won’t go into that. I forget exactly when we started being friends. Her children are others-who-are-not-girls, so it wasn’t our kids who got us together. Oh, no. There have been a few people in my life who have seen something in me that I do not see and have kept after me to be friends. She is one of them and so we are still friends. I remember the days when we dropped our kids off at school and walked all over town. We ran the HUGE middle school science fair together for a few years. I remember the weekend she painted her living room royal purple while her husband and kids were off on a boy scout camping trip. Yes, really.

Moving s-l-o-w-l-y back into the Landfill Chitchen. I have been without Gertrude for approximately three weeks. You’d think I might still know how to use her. Not exactly but at least I didn’t burn the damn house down. Trying to figger out how to use the new space. What should I put where? What should I get rid of? I am reeeallly not wanting to put my old microwave back in. Today the digital display is doing a funky kind of flickering. I think it’s a sign. I only use that microwave to heat small containers of things up anymore. Maybe it’s time to choose a smaller one. Maybe a white one. To go with the new chitchen, of course.

The photooo? That was what was out there this morning. I wavered a bit about footwear. Boots with Yaktrax? Or Keen sandals. I went with the Keens and it was okay. There were intermittently slippery spots but the ground has warmed up enough that glare ice didn’t form. But still. F-word anybody about the weather? Even though this is not really abnormal for the Great Lake State… Really, it’s not.

Done done done!

April 14th, 2014 by kayak woman

I am cooking in here tonight! I cannot find anything! Big-time Box Diving Expotitions!


I have not moved anything in yet. Well, except for a bottle of bourbon and a roll of aluminum foil. And my phone and laptop and their chargers.


Thanks to Kami the Certified Kitchen Lady and Gerry the Genius (the GG’s words) and the young man who installed the tile backsplash and all of the folks on the crew. (And no, they don’t know I have a glahg.)


In case anyone has forgotten, here’s the old kitchen.


My plan is to move back in slowly. I don’t want to jump ahead. If something somehow doesn’t “fit”, I will donate it. The GG is already asking me where I want the microwave. I’m not sure. I kind of want a new microwave but I kind of don’t because this one (that he and Lizard Breath gave me for xmas in 1984) is loverly.

Oh well, bdah bdah bdah. I do not want to blather on about the new Landfill Chitchen. I want to *bask* in it!

Where are the po-leese when you want them? And why am I slappin’ Mo-skee-toes?

April 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

backsplashThe po-leese are down at the Carbide dock, watching the Roger Blough, roight? You thought I was gonna say they were at the donut shoppe, roight? No.

We did not get stopped by any of the men in blue this weekend (we rarely do) but we had some interesting encounters / discussions about them. On Friday we were taking a slow trip from Gaylord to Sault Ste. Siberia via The I75 SUV Speedway and some old highways. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and we were enjoying life. A cop car came up behind me (I was going about 67, it was a SLOW trip, roight?), then cut over to the Indian River exit, where some big double trailer semi was SLOWLY getting off. Was the cop gonna stop that semi? Naw. A few minutes later, he was behind me again, uncomfortably so. I was still going about 67. I wasn’t doing anything weird and whatever antics Froggy and his buddies were engaging in was going on below window level. So we were cool, roight? The last thing I ever want to do is get stopped by the po-leese.

And we didn’t get stopped. We got off the Speedway at Topinabee that morning. And so did the cop. I have a cop behind me… I moseyed along at five *under* (the speed limit) and he finally got taaarrred of that so he passed me. We watched him follow some others in more or less the same way. The discussion veered off into something like, “He’s scanning license plates and running them to figger out who’s done what…” Well, maybe. I think that we need police in this country but I think sometimes they get a bit out of control and over-step our constitution’s limits. I do not want someone scanning my license plate (even though I have nothing to hide). But I’m still not sure that’s what was going on. I have to wonder if it wasn’t just a slow day in the northern lower (of Michigan) and this guy was just driving along…

And then, the Roger Blough finally got done plowing through the ice and ensconced itself at the old carbide dock. We had nothing to do for an hour or two so we drove down by the carbide dock to watch the fun and, whaddya know, a city cop car drove up next to us. Did they bug us? No. I honestly think that cop was just looking at the Blough. We may have attracted his attention but it was pretty obvious we weren’t terrorists.

Anyway, watching the Blough pull into its ultimate position was like watching paint dry, so we drove down the river and back to the park next to the carbide dock to see what progress had been made. When we got back, the Blough was parked where *tourists* (like us, roight?) could see it. And there were two (count ‘em) cop cars there. We got out of the Frog Hopper to take pictures. I tried to put some Frog Hopper trash into the trash receptacles but they were all locked up for the winter. Thanks to the Ojibway Hotel for taking that stuff.

countertopI dunno why there were local cop cars down there where the Blough was parked. I think that most of the folks who may have been down there were just boat nerds trying to get close-up photos of the boat. I think the local po-leese know that. So, I dunno why those po-leese were tasked to hang out down there. Or maybe they were just hanging out watching the Blough like all of the rest of us. I think they may actually have been tasked to “watch” the Blough but c’mon, this was a sleepy Saturday morning in Sault Ste. Siberia. I walked the riverfront from our berth at the Hotel Ojibway early in the morning and there was NOTHING going on anywhere. I grew up in Sault Ste. Siberia and I know that there are bar fights and things at night but I have walked around that town early in the morning so many times that I know that one rarely sees anything nefarious going on at that time. Dooya think maybe those coppers were partly tasked to hang out down there by the Blough because there was nothing else going on? I think so and I do not totally think that’s a bad thing.

Today, after the second small vee-hickle tried to cut me off on the I75 SUV Speedway, I wondered where the dern cops were. Nowhere to be seen. I did not see one dern copper all day today. I somehow managed to survive those two horrific encounters. The second one was just outside The Planet Ann Arbor when somebody in the lane to the right of me suddenly decided they needed to take the left exit. Kee-reist. And then. Jupiter or whoever decided to rub my damn nose into this whole thing and so I was trying to back the Frog Hopper into the driveway and I hit the back of the Ninja. YES, I HIT THE BACK OF THE NINJA! How did I do that? I do not know. I was absolutely looking at the backup cam. Still.

P.S. It got over 70 degrees here today. I do not know how to dress for that without feeling like I am naked but also, MO-SKEE-TOES? Yes. MO-SKEE-TOES! NOOOOOO! It is too early for those. Where are they coming from? I was thinking we could leave the doors to the Landfill open because it’s so early in the spring. No. Mo-skee-toes. No. I was just post-holing through deep snow yesterday. No bugs. No.

C’mon, let’s do the Blough Plow

April 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

postholingI keep talking about post-holing but have I ever explained exactly what it is? It is when you are walking on snow and you take a step and all of a sudden your foot goes down through the snow so that it is up to your knee or hip or even your waist. I did some post-holing yesterday but only from the road behind the moomincabin to the bank overlooking the beach. I didn’t even try to go down on the beach.

Today? I post-holed all afternoon. We hiked a section of the North Country Trail near Brevort Lake. I’m not sure how many miles we hiked. My trusty old iPhone pedometer kicked the bucket with the upgrade to I dunno what, IOS7, was it? Somebody said he thought we walked six miles. I think it was more like three unless you count the seasonal road snowmo trail at the end (more about that later). I think it just felt like six miles because you didn’t know from step to step how deep into the snow you were going to end up. It was a long, slow slodge with some people on snowshoes and others (including yer fav-o-rite blahgger) in boots. Boots people did the most post-holing but snowshoers had their own problems mainly that when they post-holed (and they did), they had to pull a long, snow-laden piece of footwear out from under the snow. We made kind of a train, plowing through the snow, taking turns breaking trail. A human version of the Blough Plow? The first photooo does not really show what we were actually doing and don’t let that bare ground up ahead fool you. That was the 1%!

Were we wet at the end of all this? Did I mention it was also raining throughout this hike? Yer fav-o-rite blahgger is still drying out hours later. And she changed out of the wettest of her clothing (in the Frog Hopper) after the hike. Ever try to put on tights in the back seat of an automotive vee-hickle?

backingupOh yeah, the seasonal road snowmo trail? The one where we stuffed eight people into a Subaru Forester and BACKED ALL THE WAY UP IT because there wasn’t any way to turn around without sinking into the soft snow on the shoulders. It was Marilyn’s vee-hickle but the GG was driving and she kept telling him to CREEP or the taaarrrrs would spin and finally we made it outta there. I think we probably drove in reverse for maybe about a mile but it seemed more like 10. And now we have a new meaning to the term “Creeper”. And the second photooo doesn’t really show you exactly what we were actually doing but yes, there were people sitting in the “way back” of the Forester (but no dogs (this time)) and I don’t think anyone was wearing a seatbelt. So arrest us!

Annual HSS NCT dinner in St. Ignace, then a nasty drive down to Gaylord through intermittently heavy rain and wind but NO ICE — although we are ALL skittish about any kind of precipitation after our loverly polar vortex winter.

Can I just say that it is totally surreal to be post-holing along in the back woods and receive a text message asking, “Do you guys have a copy of Microsoft Office that is newer than 2004?” Well. Yes. But. I don’t have a disk. And I can’t really stop to write a text because we are all chained up doing the Blough Plow and, well, I can’t really describe what it is like out here today.

P.S. I love you Mousey and I love the surreal-ness of texts like that when I get them in the back woods, so keep ‘em coming.

The Blough Plows and The North Shall Rise Again

April 11th, 2014 by kayak woman

Nice slow *dry* trip from Gaylord to the yooperland this morning, no ice anywhere, well not on the roads anyway, thank you Zeus! Veered off the I75 SUV Speedway at Topinabee, taking the old highway up along Mullett Lake to the beautiful metropolis of Cheboygan, where we took care of a wee bit of business, then on up to cross the Big Mac.


Made a beeline for Clyde’s Drive-in down by the Sugar Island ferry dock. First Clyde’s (for us) of the season – hamburg on a bun with everything but. There’s the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen facing in the *proper* direction toward the river.


Just for good measure, here is the ferry herself! The water is open enough here that she can do her job without interference but boats are stuck everywhere and I have a loverly little video on facebook of the Roger Blough plowing its way slowly down to the locks. The Blough aka Big Butt was on its way up to Marquette with a convoy of other ships and an icebreaker but it sustained some hull damage and had to return to the Sault. The convoy, as of this morning, was stuck near Whitefish Point.


We had a couple hours between check-in time at the Ojibway, so we headed out to the moominbeach to see what we could see. Good thing we didn’t entertain thoughts of staying in the moomincabin this weekend.


The obligatory photo of the huge drift that typically forms between the moomincabin and the Old Cabin every winter.


It took quite a bit of post-holing through soft, sometimes deceptively deep snow but we finally made it to the top of the bank. Did not even try to navigate the beach. Note that it is 50 degrees today with brilliant sunlight and no wind. A beach day under other circumstances.


The Blough has locked down. An Algo (forget which one) is locking up. We’re settled in to our room at the Ojibway and are meeting Jeep and Pan at Karl’s for dinner in a little while. It was a long fun day and it feels like an early night tonight.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

Already establishing a junk drawer, are we?

April 10th, 2014 by kayak woman

I was just taking a picture. I didn’t notice him eyeballing a possible junk drawer until one of my sisters-in-law pointed it out on facebook.


Major scramble getting offa the Planet Ann Arbor today. Last-minute stuff at work, Panera takeouts at the lunch rush hour, Jackson / N. Maple left turn during rush hour complete with temporarily stalled vee-hickle. What’s that noise? What’s that noise? What’s that noise? Oh, it is my phone vibrating. Phone call? I am sandwiched in between trucks at the Dexter / N. Maple intersection with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the gear shift. I cannot drive stick and answer the damn phone at the same time. Turned out it was the GG, who was walking over to pick up the Frog Hopper from scheduled maintenance. Could I make a left turn? No, I could not. I did eventually pick him up but not after stopping off at The Landfill to drop off my work laptop. And there, after a quiet week, was a big truck in the driveway and some sort of cutting musheen or whatever and the *countertops* were in (but they are covered up (but yes, they are (largely) white)) and somebody was putting up our loverly turquoise backsplash (which looks a little darker here than in reality but I was not shy about color).


As much fun as it would be to hang out at The Landfill for the weekend, because they are pretty darn close to being DONE — I mean really, this outfit is FAST — we are not at The Landfill. Can you guess where we are? Here’s Chloe Belle. That’s a big hint.


Also, there is snow here. Not as much snow as the trip we took here a year ago and drove the last 100 miles or so through an ice storm. But still. Snow. Maybe more tomorrow? On the ground, I mean. *Probably* not coming outta the sky.


“Be prepared for tremendous melting”

April 9th, 2014 by kayak woman

ninja81degreesWe’re planning a little trip to the yooperland this weekend. I have not been there since mid-October when we closed down the moomincabin for the season and then hiked and camped with our North Country Trail buddies up at Tahquamenon. I have taken exactly half a day off since January 1st. I even worked on MLK Day, which is a paid company holiday. I am taking a day and a half off this week. I am overdue for a little R & R and we don’t even have any Commander-type chores to do this weekend. So we will watch whatever lake freighters manage to make it to the locks and hike post-hole out in the woods and catch up with Jeep and Pan and a certain other entity — if he isn’t hiding — and I don’t blame him if he is because I was kind of hiding last summer too. And maybe we’ll hit Clyde’s for a nice greasy hamburg on a bun. I’m ready.

The loverly photo of the Ninja’s dashboard displaying an 81 degree temperature is not from today. It is from April 10, 2011. Today, Our Northern Correspondent posted “Be prepared for tremendous melting” on my facebook wall and I remembered driving down from the yooperland that day. We had dense fog for much of that trip as the snow, still deep across the north, melted in above-freezing temperatures.

I remember that day for other reasons. When we left The Commander that day, she was pretty much her normal self. I didn’t feel a compelling need to call or text her when we got home that night. I figured she’d see my blahg and know we got home safely. Turned out my mom-dar was off but the next couple days were busy (we bought the Frog Hopper on April 11th), so I didn’t know it until I finally called her on Wednesday and it was obvious that things were not exactly normal. And that is when my life changed forever. I won’t go into detail about that today. You can go back and read if you want. I will say that I was much funnier in those days than I am now even though my life was pretty much turned upside down for the duration.

Or maybe that’s why I was funnier. Thinking back remembering all those days telecommuting from the long term care rehab facility and how I ended one of my work days by pulling Mumma’s baby doll out of the bathtub wastebasket in the solarium and depositing it on her bed. BTW: Mumma is not *my* mother, she was a long term care resident with advanced dementia. My ever-loving mother was horrified at having to live under those circumstances and with those people, even for a temporary period and even though the staff absolutely adored her. She had compassion for those who were less fortunate than she but it was hard for her to live amongst them. And I can’t blame her.

Just take me outside and shoot me. Or maybe death by pterodactyl would be more appropriate

April 8th, 2014 by kayak woman

fools2Oh, okay, it wasn’t that bad a day, although it had its moments. I had a really fun spec review today. There was only one time when the LSCHP boomed out, “No!” but that was an instance where I had not been in the room to ask questions and was led astray by folks who were but didn’t have me around to ask specific questions. This review was friendly and full of positive forward progress, not to mention a lot of laughter.

No photooos of our chitchen reno yet this week? Because no progress has been made yet. A lucky-shuckial issue got resolved today but we are waiting for the countertops to come in. Apparently they are “laser measured” (not sure exactly what that means) and ordered after the cabinets are installed. Sounds like interesting stuff will be happening later in the week and we may not be around to see it because we are traveling to the Yooperland for the weekend. Maybe Mouse will come by and drag all of our bins up the driveway and take photoos of the chitchen if progress has been made by then? (Hint hint, Mouse?)

I was channeling The Commander last night, I guess. I was MacMullan Blindsiding the GG like crazy. I can’t remember what we were talking about but I managed somehow to switch the subject without the GG noticing. The Commander did that constantly in her later years. You would be going along talking about something and all of a sudden, she would be talking about something else and you would be left in the twilight zone. I couldn’t always catch the shift when she was talking to me but I could *always* catch it when she was talking to someone else and I was largely a bystander. Missing that old gal tonight, as well as Radical Betty.


April 7th, 2014 by kayak woman

kwfoolYou saw how the GG was dressed up for Festifools yesterday but you didn’t see how *I* was dressed up. Actually, this is pretty much what I wear to work every day. Of course this isn’t me but I loved this costume. I didn’t see the person’s face. It seemed like a grandparent-type person. Male or female, I dunno. Whatever.

At my work, business casual is nominally decreed but every Friday is Jeans Day and very frequently there are Jeans Weeks. In general, people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to what other people are wearing unless it involves something like color, like “all of the BAs are wearing red today”, or all of QA is wearing purple (but they all look alike other than that). Other than that, if you are not showing a bunch of skin, you are probably good to go. It works because so many of us are old and baggy enough that our main goal in getting dressed is to cover up skin. Well, unless you are talking about Summer Casual. In which it’s okay for people to wear long-ish shorts. Picture cargo shorts, if you will. A recent topic of hallway conversation involved something like, “Who would want to see my knees?” We were not being judgmental. We were all giggling. I think people should be able to wear whatever is comfortable for them to work. Bunny Slippers are one of the few things that are kind of banned at my work. Don’t ask.

Me, I don’t do jeans. My carefully cultivated wardrobe of biz-caz clothing is much more comfortable than jeans! And it is filled with cute little skirts not unlike the one in the pic.

It’s daylight in the swamp!

April 6th, 2014 by kayak woman

Yesterday when we went over to Lowe’s, I could swear I heard some spring peepers in the parking lot. So we made a Grand Plan to head out to the Geology Center early this morning and walk down to the floating bog. Surely there would be some peepers. Problem. It was 24 degrees when I got up this morning. We went *anyway*. Of course there weren’t any peepers but there was birdsong galore, including a couple of sandhill cranes hanging out on the ice over on Little Cedar Lake. And frost everywhere, particularly on the floating bog (below).


I’m not sure how many miles we got walking the “lower” trails at the Geology Center but not all that many. But that was okay because our plan for the afternoon was to walk downtown to the annual Festifools parade. And so we did. Me and the Swamp Monster.


I was skeptical about the GG wearing this costume around downtown but I was also kind of forgetting that a lot of folks dress up like nuts for Festifools. He got a lot of attention in that suit. As he was getting dressed up in it – on the street, I watched a guy video the entire process. He wasn’t using an iPhone and when he was finished, he asked the GG for his name and also how to spell it so we’re wondering where that video will get posted. Other encounters of note included several requests to take selfies with people, high fives with people wearing camouflage, and a drunk guy that babbled on about marijuana. Women seemed particularly drawn to the Swamp Monster, often reaching out to touch his, uh, fur. Babies were a mixed bag. Frightened or entranced.

Festifools lasts an hour and we bagged it about halfway through to get to the Oscar Tango before it filled up. It was empty when we got there, so we were able to grab one of the two window booths. We had a ‘hattan and then launched for The Landfill just as the OT was indeed filling up.

P. S. I will never forget Grampa Garth, my father-in-law, booming out “It’s daylight in the swamp!” mornings at Houghton Lake. I have audio of him saying that somewhere but the GG is bugging me to get going on cooking rice out in the Lyme Lounge, so I have to quit now. The Swamp Monster is hungry!

Polar Vortex survivors in Mouse’s Garden

April 5th, 2014 by kayak woman

pvsurvivorsGarlic, shallots, and carrots. Can you believe these little green sprouty things were under a glacier until a couple days ago? We walked down to the farmer’s market to meet Mouse there at 8:00 AM. All I bought was a couple hunks o’ protein from the Sparrow Market and some lunches kimchee for the GG (thank you very much iPhone autocorrect). It was hard not buying greens and little potatoes and parsnips (yes, really!), etc., but there is no point in buying a bunch of food until I have a functional kitchen again. It’s the awkward dishwashing situation that’s the issue. I’m doing fine but the fewer dishes, the better. Good thing we are doing this prodject in the early spring when only a few hardy souls are out selling produce in our still winter-like temperatures and not at high harvest season when the market is overflowing.

Mouse wanted to check in on her garden (which is in our back yard) so we caught a ride home with her. I didn’t intend to do any yard work today. After all, until a few days ago, we had a glacier in the back yard. But then, Mouse went out and pulled a few old dead leaves off of the raised bed and voila! Green things! She started raking leaves out of there and that got me looking around at all of the dead sticks and things and pretty soon we had both compost carts out in the back yard. We maybe only worked for 20 minutes or so but those carts are both half full. The photoooo doesn’t show how *many* little green things are poking up out of that raised bed.

Productive day in general. Several loads of laundry, a family excursion to the Plum Market, a GG/KW excursion to Lowe’s to research three inch spice drawers, a small paperwork purge, and a long overdue laptop OS upgrade (not to mention looooooooong). And then. Yiiiy! Photoshop would not launch. Geeesh, what do I do? I use Photoshop every single blasted day. Although I am pretty well trained to do Photoshop editing, nowadays I usually use it only to adjust light levels and crop photos and optimize them to post on the web. The iPhone 5S takes HUGE photos and even nowadays when disk space is “cheap” and broadband is widespread, it’s polite to downsize photos for posting on the web. I own Photoshop CS3, which I bought a quazillion years ago on an educational discount. I did NOT want to pay a couple thousand dollars or whatever for an upgrade. I’m sure there are alternatives but that would take a bunch of research I don’t have time for. I kvetched to the GG and he googled a solution and it WORKED! YAY! (Yes, I could’ve done that too.)

The GG tried to take a nap this afternoon but the Lyme Lounge was calling him, so he got up and began the process for opening it up for the season. And then we had surprise visitors! The Lord and Lady of Linden, on their way home from a work trip to Tennessee (right?). First family members to see the new chitchen besides the beach urchins who grew up here. So much fun!

Fool Moon

April 4th, 2014 by kayak woman

foolmoonThe Soo Locks was open something like nine days ago and the first ship locked through today. It took the Cason Calloway (and the John Munson) NINE DAYS to traverse Lake Superior, normally about a 20-hour trip. The Calloway posts on facebook as Storm Warrior and a couple days ago, when they were ramming their way down through the ice off the eastern shore below Michipicoten Island, Storm Warrior posted something like, “Stuck in the Ice on Lake Superior, starring the Cason Calloway, the John Munson, and the icebreaker Mackinaw.” After another couple days they were finally all in the upper St. Mary’s River, in front of the moominbeach out by the Pickle Finger. The Calloway earned a plaque for being the first ship through the locks for the year. A hard-earned honor this year.

A few years ago, we were up in the yooperland visiting The Commander when the shipping season began. That year there was no ice to speak of and I walked down to the locks at 7:30 AM the morning the first boats were locking through. As I walked into the deserted park, the security guard on duty came out to inspect me and I greeted him with, “Good morning! I’m your first tourist!” Was he befuddled? Yes. I’m sure he knew I wasn’t a terrorist (they get soooooo many terrorists up there at the Soo Locks) but he didn’t seem to know what to say to me so he started telling me about the locks. He didn’t know that I had been hanging around the locks since well before he was born. When I was a toddler, I would demand “Down boat!” whenever I thought we needed to take a riverfront ride. I did talk him down off that ledge.

So, here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we have the Ann Arbor Cougar, the Dexter Bare Bear, and the 20 Pound Carp. They all have Twitter handles and I follow them all. This next is probably not safe for work but I am here to tell you that we now have the Mystery Pooper. Apparently someone has been pooping on the slides at a playground in Ypsilanti. Who would want to drop their pants to poop on a slide during our loverly polar vortex winter? I do not know. Of course, @Mystery_Pooper is now a twitter handle. I am not following it. I cannot quite go there. Also, our own local @Mystery_Pooper is not the only mystery pooper on Twitter. Go figger.

Tonight was Fool Moon. We love Fool Moon but we bagged it tonight. We walked down to the Oscar Tango for dinner and wandered over to Fool Moon afterwards but the festivities hadn’t started yet and it was frickin’ cold and windy and kind of rainy and we didn’t really want to hang out in the beer tent at that point in the evening. I am not complaining. I did not have to think about ice ONCE tonight. But we bagged Fool Moon this time around. We’ll try for the Festifools parade on Sunday. Which will be a zoo. Maybe the idea is to get a barroom seat this year.

Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. My own personal backyard glacier is gone. Mostly. Summertime? Bring it!

Oh, *there’s* the refrigerator!

April 3rd, 2014 by kayak woman

Walked in the front door. Spazzed around for a bit, dropping what was left of my meager little leftover lunch on the FLOOR, which necessitated a nasty little carpet cleanup followed by a bunch of the kind of dishwashing monkey business I’m getting all too used to. 1) Find the dish detergent (keeping it in the bathroom). 2) Find a dishcloth and towel (“Mouse’s” room). 3) Grab dish pan (by front door for easy flinging). 4) Get water (from bathtub). All of this seemed to take five times as many trips back and forth across the living room as it should have. FINALLY got done with that ugly little chore and reached for the refrigerator to check the ice supply… Where was the refrigerator?


Oh. Yes. Back in the chitchen! Paint! Cabinet hardware attached! Floor trim (is that the right word?) installed and floor uncovered — again. I suspect that means they’re finished until Tuesday when the countertops go in. Anyway, that was an westward view. Here’s looking toward the east. (Er, I have the file names switched between east and west. I keep doing that. I dunno why. I’m not gonna fix ‘em.)


Look Ma, no snow, and no, we are not selling our house!


Another loss for the Veteran Greenhorns

April 2nd, 2014 by kayak woman

The Goddess Esther, 1927-2014. She died two years and two days after The Commander. I found this out this morning when I received an email from her son, my childhood friend Dan[ny]. With so many of that generation dead and all of us scattered around, the regular channels of communication aren’t as operational as they once were. So, here’s Esther and her husband Pete (who is still alive at 91 or thereabouts). He and his brother Jim were Veteran Greenhorns along with my old coot.


For a number of years, the Shermans and their five kids drove their VW Bus over to the Great Lake State from their home near Niagara Falls to spend a couple summer weeks camping in the moomincabin back yard. Those were the days of big impromptu community dinners. The moms would run up to the little meat market on Six Mile (Aunt Jane’s, What a Pickle) and grandaddy would often arrive with a bushel of corn on the cob from some farmer somewhere and a couple gallons of A&W root beer. The Sherman fam parked this little tent camper in our back yard and shared our outhouse for the duration. Yes, that would be 11 people using one outhouse.


I have lots of good memories of Esther and one kind of scary one when I got into a friendly little scuffle with her son and managed to pick a hole in his handmade (by Esther) sweater. She was angry and let me know it (and I was a brat who deserved her angry words). But in the grand scheme of life, we were friends and I will never forget her phone calls during the days The Commander was sick and dying and I was camping in the Dillon House wondering if I would ever regain some sort of normalcy to my life. Anyway, here’s a pic of my brother and three of the four Sherman boys having good old-fashioned burying fun on the beach. The Soccery Blue Sacre Bleu sailboat is in the background…


Finally, here is my friend Dan, my dog Tigger, and me. Yes, I’ve posted this one before. And I will post it again. Godspeed Esther.


P.S. All of these photos are from the Sherman Archives, no doubt taken by Pete. I did not ask permission to post them so I hope it’s okay with the Sherman fam. I haven’t told Dan I am a blahgger. I figure he has enough to do without feeling any sort of nebulous obligation to watch paint dry every day.

Let there be light!

April 1st, 2014 by kayak woman

lights1I said yesterday that not enough visible progress occurred on our renovation to bother posting a picture. They built a shelf with puck lights between the cabinets on either side of where the sink will go and put in some outlets. I am thrilled with all of that but it doesn’t make for an exciting visual. But then, the GG flipped a light switch that I didn’t notice and voila! Let there be light! Under-cabinet LED light strips anyone?

I think I have blathered on about this before but I don’t like bright overhead lights. I mean, we *have* them and they *will* be used. But when I am hanging out cooking (or blahgging) in the chitchen, I like a lower level of lighting. In the crappy old Landfill Chitchen, that meant that I had, lemme see, count ‘em up KW, no fewer than FOUR fluorescent light sticks under the cabinets. Usually, I would turn on the one above the stove and the regular light fixture above the sink. I don’t think we’ll get rid of those things, they’ll just get repurposed for use in other areas of the Landfill or possibly the Group Home or the Moomincabin. Whatever.

An adjustment to make? When you turn on the new light strips, they *all* go on. That may take some getting used to. It wasn’t something I thought to ask about but I think I will get along with it in the long run. I could turn on my light tubes one at a time. I will definitely NOT miss those stupid curly light bulbs. We were using one of those in the ceiling light fixture and I hated the color of the light, not to mention the fact that it took a goodly amount of time for the light to get to “full” strength. And I don’t think those things last any longer than the incandescent light bulbs we all grew up with. Bah.

What else? I worked from home this afternoon so I could be here when Big George delivered my new dishwasher. Ho hum. A new dishwasher. I’m sure Albert (still trying that out) will be a loverly addition to the New Landfill Chitchen but he isn’t exactly a good visual sitting over there next to Gertrude, still in his protective wrappings. Nobody was here working this afternoon (except me but my work is almost 100% do-able on a laptop) so I guess they are at the point where we are waiting for the countertops. I know that the backsplash tile has been delivered. CKL and I are excited about it! The countertops needed a final measurement. They are quartz and I can understand that.

Anyway, ho-hum. Y’all can go back to watching paint dry now. I’m sure it’s more exciting.

My own personal glacier

March 31st, 2014 by kayak woman

glacierProgress was made on the Landfill Chitchen today but nothing dramatic enough to post a photo so you get this glacier photo instead. This is what my back yard looked like last evening, March 30, 2014. Crappy old rotting piles of snow. We were grilling out because that’s what you do when you can’t use your gertrude. Note to self: cooking a hunk of protein in a PAN on the grill is a bad idea when you do not have access to full-service dishwashing equipment. It was a small roasting chicken and I filled the pan with hot water and dish detergent and let it sit over night. Let us just say, I was NOT a happy camper this morning. Live and learn.

Jerry [the Genius] covered up my beauteous new hardwood floor today. He must’ve known that I christened it last night by dripping the teensiest tinesiest little drop o’ ‘hattan juice on it. Our new dishwasher arrives tomorrow. I think his name will be Bertie. Or maybe Albert? I may change my mind. Our countertops arrive a week later. It seems unlikely that any dramatic visible progress will happen until next week and that’s okay. It’s supposed to be a three-week job and I have been amazed at how fast it has progressed so far.

That glacier? It has receded quite a bit today under sunny skies and 50-something temperatures. Do you know how long we have been waiting for this? Yes, you do, if you are one of my five regulars. Today at work, I experienced a short period of higher than usual anxiety. I calmed myself down by taking a walk. It has been a while since I have taken a walk at work. I will remember this polar vortex winter as challenging and I will remember the treacherous ice during the beginning of the thaw / freeze cycle. But I will also remember the weeks upon weeks that I got up in the morning, layered myself up to the max, and galumphed along in my boots and YakTrax upon packed snow in the dark, looking up at the stars.

That is about all I can muster for today. It’s not much but it’ll have to do. Good night,

Bold as Love

March 30th, 2014 by kayak woman

snowpathIf you are one of my five regulars, you have probably heard me kvetch about facebook memes before. My own personal rules are that I don’t repost other people’s content and I don’t take quizzes. Well, except when I do. Because I have another rule and that one says I can break my own rules if I want to. I took two facebook quizzes yesterday. That’s how slodgy and bored I was.

I took the color quiz. I got blue. No surprise there. Although I actually like all the colors of the rainbow, preferably in jewel tones, I gravitate toward blue, particularly turquoise / teal. I took the band quiz. What the heck, The Beautiful Sari took it, why not me? She got The Beatles, which was totally appropriate. I got Jimi Hendrix, which cracked me up enormously and was also pretty appropriate because I have always LOVED Jimi Hendrix. I did not take the “mental age” quiz. I could not care less what some random quiz thinks my mental age is. The truth is, my mental age varies constantly. I did not post any of these quiz results on facebook (except that getting Jimi Hendrix cracked me up so much that I had to comment on TBS’s post). I don’t think anybody really gives a damn what color I am or what band I am or whatever.

I did once post the results of a facebook quiz on facebook. It was a “What Band Instrument Are You?” quiz. I had to take that quiz. I got the clarinet. THE CLARINET!!! SAY WHAT!!! I am a flute player. I am good at the flute. I am out of practice now but I was once good enough at the flute to major in it in college. I learned how to play ALL kinds of other band / orchestra instruments along the way. You know, so if somebody else’s kids were unlucky enough to get me for a school music teacher, I would know how to play them. I rocked ALL those instruments!!! Well, almost all. I could do brass and strings and percussion with aplomb. The clarinet? Not so much. Took me a couple weeks to even get a sound outta the damn thing. When I finally did get a sound out of it, our nice, encouraging professor just about cheered. And, you know, once I finally got that initial sound out of the clarinet, I kind of rocked it. Actually, the questions in that band instrument quiz kind of sounded like a 13-year-old girl had written them so it was suspect from the beginning.

Here’s a youtube link to one of my fav-o-rite Jimi Hendrix songs. It’s all about color. Every color in the rainbow and then some, including turquoise. Although maybe turquoise SHOULD be its own color of the rainbow…

P. S. A whole generation of children are lucky that I grew up to be a systems analyst in the online banking biz and NOT a music teacher.

Where drywall buckets go to die

March 29th, 2014 by kayak woman

gertrudeToday was a pretty darn slow day. I am coping with the mess of the chitchen reno pretty well. And by “mess”, I mean all of our displaced cosmic debris. We haven’t had a lot of dirt and dust to cope with, at least not so far. Our carpenter cleans things up.

I was disappointed in myself that I got the bare minimum of Saturday-type chores done today. Laundry including sheets, shower curtains, and bathmat and clean the Blue and Only. We did do some window shopping but didn’t really come up with much and attempts at flinging were not very successful. But I think my slodginess was related to the weather. The temperatures were over 30 but it felt chilly and it was gray all day. The sun is finally making a weak appearance. Oh darn, it went away again.

I was walking by Maria’s house this morning and I suddenly thought something like, “Where the heck has Maria been all winter?” Maria is an early morning runner / dog-walker. We don’t know each other well but she’s an old Haisley mom and a regular on my skunk walk. But then I walked through the schoolyard and there was Maria! Big as Life! Where was she all winter? Can you guess? Alas, a couple of falls on ice took her out for the duration. I didn’t ask for specifics, just commiserated with her about our rough winter. We discussed YakTrax (she did *not* have them but will get them for next year!) and I told her how glad I was to see her.

As you can see, Gertrude has been temporarily repurposed as serving station. She holds a few plates and condiment-type stuff and whatnot and she has been known to serve as a bar. You can’t see the dishwashing pan off to the left. We are coping with cooking mostly by grilling a hunk of protein of some sort and schlepping prepared green and other salads home from The Plum. My quick green lizard gets credit for this strategy. I was wringing my hands (oh not really) last Sunday about how I was going to handle dinner that night. My smart cookie suggested, uh, grilling something and buying prepared salads. Duh. That’s what we did that night and I’ve been doing various versions of that ever since. A bonus has been that I have hardly any dishes to wash.

KBomb and his weather crew are teasing us with sunshine and a high of 50 tomorrow. Will it happen? If it does, I am going to throw my whole damn shambling mound of winter layers into the washing musheen (except for the bomber hat, which probably wouldn’t do well in a washing musheen). Honestly, this stuff has been piled on a chair in the living room all winter. I grab whatever I need for the current weather conditions. It isn’t dirty or stinky but it’s time to clean all of that stuff, even though I’m sure I will need most of it again.

Oh yeah, you Porterization folks, there are NO martini glasses in those new white cupboards yet. Emphasis on the word “yet”.