Random bits of my so-called life.

Howling at the moon

December 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

Typical college party convo at MooU back in the day:

Not very cute guy trying to be cool: Where are you from? What is your major?

Kayak Woman: [oh dear]

What do I tell this person that I have absolutely no interest in? That I am from the Yooperland? That’ll get him into all kinds of stereotypes about Yooperland girls… Except that I was not the typical Yooperland Girl… But who is? Okay. What is your major? Truth? Music. Flute performance to be specific. Silence for a moment. Then, … “Are you into Jethro Tull?” Duh, yeah. By the way, Jethro Tull was the name of a GROUP. The [excellent] flute player’s name and group leader is Ian Anderson. I am pretty good at the flute but I cannot quite match up to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Here’s a back-in-the-day version of Living in the Past.

What are you into? Archaeofacts [back in the day]: Cleaning human toe bones. KW [back in the day]: vibrating columns of air. Were we cool or what?

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

’twas spoooooooky in the Deep Dark Scary Woods this morning [insert ghostie emoticon here]

December 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

frozenIf you are one of my fab nine, you prob’ly know that I walk a three-mile loop through my neighborhood *every* morning that I am down here on The Planet Ann Arbor. Except when there is lightning or a dangerous layer of ice over everything. I also bag it when the temperature gets above about 95 or below minus five or 10. Or I am sick. But I am rarely sick. I *return* to The Landfill about about seven AM so, if you know anything about geography, you might guess that it is still pitch black by the time I get home from my walk at this time of year.

I end my walk by taking the loops through the Deep Dark Scary Teensy Tinesy Wee Little Woods. At this time of year, I use my iPhone flashlight to navigate the woods. Now that the Nice People with the Biting Dog are walking in the woods hours after I take my walk, 99% of the time, the woods are not scary. Well, that is, if I don’t think about the Bludgeoner. The guy who “terrorized” west-side A-squared back in the mid-1990s. His first victim was a 50-something woman taking what I am gonna guess was her regular morning walk through Eberwhite Woods. Not sure if his modus operandi was to kill, exactly. He bludgeoned “middle-aged” women and ran off. Some of them lived, some of them died. Were we scared? Yes. I was more often walking during the late morning or even afternoon in those days (beach urchins to get to school, no paid career). Once, a neighbor asked me if I was afraid to walk knowing this *sshole was at large. Well, yes, but I was more angry! I told her that I thought that the women of Ann Arbor should unite, get gun training and station themselves at the entrance to every woods in town. Was that a rational idea? No, it most certainly was not and I still do not know how to shoot a gun. Eventually this piece of sh*t person was caught. We were at Houghton Lake for New Year’s Eve when TV 9 & 10 (no less) reported it and, yes, there was rejoicing.

So every neighborhood is safe until somebody like that shows up and you don’t ever know when that is. But for the most part, the scariest thing that happens in “my woods” is when I flush a rabbit or trip over a root or a fallen branch. Or encounter a Biting Dog, one that has Nice Owners. Most days I just galumph on into the woods without giving it a second thought. Once in a Blue Moon, I just walk by. Not sure why. I guess The Bludgeoner is haunting me on those days. Then there are eerily beautiful days like today. I don’t think the fog lifted until about noon. The woods were spooky but in a fun Halloweeny kind of way. Once I was startled by a VOICE!!!! It turned out to be a dog barking maybe 30 yards away on the other side of the fence. And then it’s its owner tried to shush it. Mostly it was just dark and foggy and eerie and I loved it!

Note that, when I walk, I am always hyper-aware of whatever is going on around me (with the exception of bicyclists sneaking up silently behind me). If I see someone that sets off my spidey-sense, I go a different direction. There are many other people who have been walking or running or dog-walking in my neighborhood *forever*. We recognize each other even though we don’t always talk to each other.

Let’s switch the subject! Quick! Apparently, Froooggy and Green Guy have been getting into my Netflix account because they now have these loverly snowflake headdresses and I guess they are trying to cross-dress as Elsa and Anna. Do I have those names right? Because I have *never* watched Frozen. I’ve read about it up the wazoo but I am not a Disney kind of gal, not to mention that my beach urchins are long past that stage, if they ever even got there. One of them did memorize the words and songs of the little mermaid but not too many years later The Bard and a bunch of other playwrights bludgeoned all the Disney stuff to the ground.

But aren’t these guys kind of twee? I love them! They also look like they’ve been into the laundry detergent again, maybe with a chaser of Listerine…

That’s what aaah said…

December 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

bunnybreadY’all remember this stuff? I seem to remember that The Commander kind of turned her nose up at it although she certainly did buy plenty of white bread and made plenty of PBJ sandwiches with that bread because, whaddya gonna do. Those kiddos have to eat *something* and *this* kiddo did *not* eat macaroni and cheese out of a blasted BOX, no siree. I’m not sure what they mean by “Soft-Twist”. To me that brings memories of getting bored at the dinner table and pulling pieces off a piece of [white] bread and kneading / twisting it into little “pills” or whatever. TMI? Yeah, prob’ly. I’m sure that’s not what “Soft-Twist” means. I’m TLTG (too lazy to google) though.

So today was our annual work holiday luncheon and we made our way over to a popular barroom in Ypsilanti. If I had thought through the issue of car-pooling, I wouldda droven the Frog Hopper to work today. As it turned out, I ended up driving the carpool. I shouldda known and it was okay. I like to drive. But four people in the Ninja. Not unheard of but I’ve been using the Ninja as a station for all the cosmic debris I’m flinging to reside until I have time to take it to the next stop on its journey. So I had to move a few bags to the trunk before the Ninja was passenger-ready. As luck would have it, it wasn’t totally passenger-ready and the Queen Bee (aka my supervisor) had an altercation with an ice scraper (one of about seven) that I didn’t bother to move to the trunk. Come to think of it, I would’ve prob’ly had to move a bunch of stuff in the Frog Hopper too because that vee-hickle is the go-to camping / hiking vee-hickle and there is stuff that seems to live there…

It was all fun. A recent re-org has dumped a bunch of long-time employees more firmly into our team and they were fun and I pointed one of them to the Ski Ranch as a possible source for snowshoe rental on the way to the Yooperland. That made me feel way cooler than I actually am.

So, we returned to Cubeland and I sucked up my courage and emailed Building Mom for a reality check on how much vacay I have left for the year. For once, my spreadsheet matched hers and I am one hour short of four days. On one hand, I am happy to be able to take a bit of time off over the holidays. On the other hand, I’m kind of wondering what I’m gonna do with *all* that time… I hope that I will use it for, lemme see: 1) time with my family 2) time with my family 3) time with my family 4) cooking stuff for my family 5) hiking with my family (in the goddamn woods if at all possible!) 6) dusting.

I didn’t include Flinging in that list. Why? Because. Today I read an article about an obsessive-compulsive de-hoarder. A mom who threw out almost everything including family members… If you didn’t read the article, her collection of silverware includes something like two forks. I am more afraid of having too many possessions than too few and I will continue to fling until the mass of “stuff” in my life is manageable. It’s getting there and I think I will know when to stop. I would never throw out a family member.

You guys may have had a more scenic hike but I definitely got more moiles in

December 14th, 2014 by kayak woman

“You guys” of course refers to the GG and all the North Country Trail folk and I may have gotten more miles of hiking in this weekend but I definitely did not win! They did a short hike this weekend, three miles or thereabouts, after which was the annual potluck at East Lake. Me? I averaged eight miles a day this weekend. The scenery? It was what it was, houses and shops and highrise “young professional” housing developments and the cranes to build more of those and a wee bit of woods. I cannot feature living in a high-rise apartment building. How in the heck do you schlep your grokkeries up to your apartment? What about your xmas tree? Are xmas trees even allowed in high-rise apartment buildings? What happens if somebody’s xmas tree catches fire? But also, I neeeeeeed to be able to just… walk… outside…

We bought our xmas tree today, after the GG returned home from his boondoggle Up North. We bought it at Downtown Home & Garden this year, not Whole Foods (last year). I made sure of that since Mouse & I stopped by DH&G Friday night and I promised one of the DH&G employees aka Mouse’s Roommate that we would buy our tree there this year (in full disclosure, The GG had also mentioned buying it there).

This is the first xmas tree I think I have *ever* helped select in my entire life. Lemme see… When I was a kid, we got our trees from our next door neighbor, Green Thumb McGinnis. In keeping with the size of our shabby little bungalow, we always had short bushy little trees. When I was small, they were magical *anyway* with colored glass bulb ornaments and bubble lights and garlands and tinsel thrown everywhere. Do they still sell tinsel?

The first year we were married, we were living in a second floor flat on Jackson (NOT a high-rise!) and I didn’t really want to schlep a tree into that space but the GG put one up anyway. I ended up with a gastrointestinal virus that xmas (not the first xmas bug and prob’ly not the last…)

And then we bought The Landfill. It is definitely not a big fancy house. Heck, there is only one bathroom. But the Back Room has a “cathedral ceiling”, which makes it possible to put up a relatively tall xmas tree. So, the first year we owned this place, the GG brought a great big xmas tree home. I was a bit skeptical but I will never forget the huge smile of delight on my then 2-month-old baby’s face when we turned on that tree’s lights!

Anyway, we have a beauteous tree this year. I accompanied the GG to buy it (at DH&G) but he chose it. All the trees were beautiful and there’s no way I could’ve chosen one over the other. It is outside for now. The Back Room is kind of a disaster at the moment. We’ll get there…

Ssshhh!

December 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

worktreesDon’t tell anybody that I am actually starting to feel like I am making some flinging progress around here.

La La La! I didn’t say anything! Today. Well, let’s start with the second Saturday of December last year. Today was nothing like that Saturday except that I walked downtown. This year, I walked downtown twice! An early trip to the farmer’s market that I am lucky to have survived. On the way down, I was walking on the sidewalk when someone RIGHT BEHIND ME said, “excuse me”. A bicycler riding on the sidewalk even though there was a bike lane there and very little traffic! I think I jumped a mile and kind of eeked, which seemed to scare her about as much as she had scared me.

Anyway, I survived that only to FALL during my trek back up the hill to the Landfill. Huh? It was not dark or icy and I was walking on regular old sidewalk pavement. In other words, I tripped over my own feet. I’m not sure *exactly* what happened but I felt my right rubber-soled purple Keen sandal “catch” in an odd way – the antithesis of slipping on ice. All is well, although after I got home and changed clothing, I noticed that some blood had seeped through my purple tights. Yes, I managed to skin my knee. Not the first time and won’t be the last.

Saturday chores and the inevitable trip over to Ace Hardware and then I walked downtown again, this time to the Main & Liberty area*. Xmas shopping with enough success to fill my Maple Leaf Backpack. That second trip was without incident. In fact, I hiked up through Miller Woods on the way home. Then an afternoon of wrapping a paltry few packages, picking through Landfill stuff, organizing Landfill stuff and flinging Landfill stuff. Not MUCH flinging done today though, just little bits but eye-balling the next big push (a lot of my fabric). For now, Ninja has four banker’s boxes in the trunk and we will drop those off at Kiwanis whenever we manage to. Two of those boxes are filled with old binders. I remember when I used to BUY those. Jeebus.

*My two trips downtown and back today amounted to about eight miles of walking and then I walked over to the Plum Market in the late afternoon. At any rate, it was MUUUUUCH easier to get around town today than it was the second Saturday of December 2013.

In which I admit to emulating relatives I never in a million years expected to emulate even though I love them

December 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

lightsAnd also extreeeeeeemely randomly, via a sorta spammy type email message, I came up with a couple of doodlies that I actually want for xmas! That is, I shop on Etsy sometimes and I got a message from Etsy suggesting things for *other* people. There wasn’t anything on the list that I would buy for any of the few people on my list but lo, there were a couple of things *I* liked.

The GG is off gallivanting around with our North Country Trail folks this weekend. I wanted [badly] to go with him but I was feeling a bit behind in putting together our meager xmas festivities and I have very little vacay time left (as you’ve heard me kvetch about before) so I am here at The Landfill. I will do a lot of walking this weekend but most of it will not be in the woods. Alas.

It was a kind of slodgy day over at Cubeland and I was feeling a little blue about life in general, not that I have any reason to feel that way. Mouse and I had plans to eat at the Jolly Pumpkin but we were hanging loose about whether we would meet down there or she would park at The Landfill so we could walk down and back. I was fighting off laziness when I told her it was her decision. My gamble paid off, she decided she wanted to walk down and back. I knew that walking would be the best thing to do and that I would feel happier if we did but I needed someone else to decide that for me. And, you know what? I am sooooo glad we did all that walking!

And what fun! The JP was crowded when we got there and they gave us a 30-45 minute wait. Okay. We walked up to the second floor bar and there were two empty seats there! We grabbed them and ordered some cab and our loverly bartender told us that we could eat our food there if we wanted to. And so we did.

The crowd ebbed for a bit but when we left it was overflowing. It was loud there and so much fun. Still, some of those people were beginning their evening out and I am glad I am well past the end of mine.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

P.S. I did remember to schlep my leftovers home tonight!

Marsala 18-1438

December 11th, 2014 by kayak woman

raccoontracksI’m not all that crazy about the Pantone color of the year this time around. Apparently I’m not the only one. One review I read compared it to the color of dried blood. At any rate, it’s kind of an earth color. I don’t dislike earth colors but they don’t go all that well with the kinds of colors I *do* like. You know, like Island Teal.

Then again, some of the cFam gals got together and repainted part of the cFam cabin living room. I can’t remember exactly what the color is but it is not totally unlike Marsala 18-1438. I didn’t participate in that endeavor. I was burnt out from the Landfill Chitchen reno and my on-going de-hoarding prodject, etc., etc., ad nauseam. I’d’ve probably been rooting for something like Island Teal. Which would *not* have been the right color for that wall. I *like* what they chose, earth color or not.

Oh dear, do I remember music theory 101 well enough to “help” a college student pass the class? I *loved* music theory. I *rocked* music theory. One of the few artifacts from my college career that I cannot bring myself to fling is an A+ paper that I wrote (and typed on an actual *manual* typewriter) in which I deconstructed the Mozart Flute Concerto in G. I think that paper means more to me than my senior recital program. I could’ve probably gone on to a career as a musicologist if it had been on my radar screen. Anyway, the QB (who also played the flute once upon a time) warned me this afternoon that someone over on the other side had a daughter who thought that Music Theory 101 might be a no-brainer class and she had suggested me as a resource. I am here to tell you that Music Theory 101 is not not not a no-brainer. Except for those of us who have nerdy analyst brains. But it’s been a long time. I wish this young person well but I’m not sure I would be much help at this stage of the game. I’m not even all that sure that she’s being taught using the same vocabulary that was used back in my day.

BTW: I had the wonderful experience of actually meeting up with my Music Theory 101 teacher a couple years ago. By a series of coincidences that defy description, she is the best buddy of one of The Comm’s friends. This friend had made The Comm a beautiful afghan and I contacted her after The Comm died to tell her that I thought she should have it back. She and her friend came to The Planet to attend a concert and I met them for breakfast! My long-ago teacher was just as wonderful as I remembered her!

Anyway, I am a nerdy analyst. I once analyzed music and now I am an IT systems analyst. I’m not bragging about my job. It’s a very good job but it is not all that fancy, I literally fell backwards into it, and I am only one of many very good people who keep our many-headed hydra of a product in line. I’m a small cog in the grand scheme of things. I like it that way.

I’m not sure exactly where I started or where I ended up but we are walking over to Knight’s in a minute so seeya tomorrow!

G’night,
Kayak Woman

This is probably not my annual bah-humbug post

December 10th, 2014 by kayak woman

milkweedI’m not quite there yet. I’m not exactly sure what I’m feeling right now. I *want* to be looking forward to the holidays but I am not really. I want packages under the tree Christmas morning. Oh, not for me. I don’t need anything. For others. But nobody else needs anything either. Is an Eggs Benny breakfast and a Duck Dinner enough? I hope so.

The gift thing for successful grown children is difficult. What do they need? Nothing! Like me… Well, we do have a list from one of them. The other? I actually came up with an idea today but it’s not something I can actually put into a package. But we’ll see. The Commander somehow always came up with a small box of beautiful gifts for me well into my adulthood. I’m sure she did that for my brother too. I never gave her a list. Not sure I’ll be able to make that kind of xmas for my adult kids but we’ll see… But they will be here if the weather permits and, gifts or not, I love them so much!

I’m not sure where this link will take you but, I have heard this sound a lot this week taking walks by the ponds near Cubeland and it fascinates me way more than it should! Because I have been throwing rocks out there to determine whether there is ice on the pond or not. It’s not always easy to tell.

I hate when the iCloud takes its own d*mn sweet time moving photooos from my iPhone to my MacBook Pro

December 9th, 2014 by kayak woman

hollandaiseI mean, both the phone and the laptop are on wi-fi and everything else is humming along but I took a pitcher of a packet of Hollandaise sauce mix a half hour or so ago and it is not showing up in iPhoto yet… Oh, there it is. It turns out that if you take a photoooo by “swiping up” the camera and don’t actually open your phone, your photoooos don’t get sent over. Am I supposed to know this kind of thing?

So, whyyyyy did I post this loverly Hollandaise sauce packet today? Well. Before Thanksgiving… 1) I KNEW I had umpteen packets of this stuff around The Landfill. 2) I COULD NOT FIND THEM!!!! 3) I bought two NEW packets. 4) I used one of those to make Thanksgiving Breakfast. 5) I FOUND SIX PACKETS! In a cupboard I hadn’t thought to look in… … …

I think that next year we are gonna have to eat Eggs Benny more than the approximately three times we normally eat Eggs Benny per year. Lemme see… That would be Thanksgiving morning, Christmas morning, New Years morning (depending upon where we are), and sometimes Easter morning. Easter is a mixed bag around here. We both grew up in Christian religions (Catholic & mainstream Methodist) and we observe / celebrate Christmas but Easter is usually more or less a regular Sunday for us now that we don’t have beach urchins to provide egg hunts and Easter Baskets and a few presents and candy up the wazoo for. I remember one morning quite a few years ago that it was HOT here on Easter and we schlepped kayaks down into the Huron River. Our breakfast that day was a baggy of Cheerios and a mini-can of V8 juice. More often than not, Easter is a cold snowy [or just plain yucky] day around here and Eggs Benny is appropriate.

Anyway, I have a lot of these Hollandaise sauce packets to get rid of. One of my nine regulars has requested two of them. I just hope I remember to stash them in my Maple Leaf Backpack the next time we end up down at the Oscar Tango. Other than that, I think that Canadian Bacon will be on my grokkery list more often throughout the next year because we will be eating Eggs Benny a bit more often.

P. S. KW, please remember to schlep your Edmund Fitz mug home from work and run it through the dishwasher.

Sandy Claws Collection

December 8th, 2014 by kayak woman

sandyclawsOkay, I have a Santa collection. This is a terrible photoooo. My GPS switched over to “night” before I even left Cubeland Farms today — right around five — so even though it was a pretty smooth commute, by the time I got to the Landfill, it was pretty much pitch black out. I didn’t feel like futzing around getting a fancy pitcher. You get what you get.

So, I have a Santa collection but I am NOT a Santa *collector*! This is it! It shares half a banker’s box with some gaudy metal xmas tree candle-holders from Pier One or somewhere and it is not going to grow. I “inherited” most of these Santas from The Commander although there are a few specimens that she gave me over the years. And one that Lizard Breath made in nursery school or somewhere. Can you spot that one?

The Comm’s Santa collection was her way of decorating after she and Grandroobly stopped putting up a tree. I don’t actually remember when that was but probably sometime in the beach urchins early teenhood? Maybe? Whenever they made that decision, I’m not sure it had all that much to do with grandchildren. We took Lizard Breath up there for her first xmas when she was two months old. After that, we stayed home. That was hard (for me) those first couple years but as time went on, we grew our own [non-]traditions. Some years we would head up to Siberia *after* xmas. My brother almost always took his family up there for part of the holiday season so the grandparents were not lacking for grandchildren. That said, I think they often felt relief when all of us left and they could get back to their usual routines, etc.*

Anyway, after 1984, I spent exactly two more xmas days with my mother. 2010, when she hitched a ride down to The Planet Ann Arbor with Our Northern Correspondent (and we drove her back on New Year’s Eve). And 2011, when we drove up to Siberia to open gifts with her in her assisted living apartment and cook dinner for her in Command Central. That was the last time I saw her healthy but that would be a whole ‘nother story. A long one.

* Am I turning into my mother? For years I went north with two kids, two vee-hickles, tons of crap that we didn’t need and pets (during a certain period). Oh, and food… Food that my mother didn’t need me to leave. Whenever we were packing up to leave, The Comm would be kind of following me around… “Don’t forget this. Don’t forget that. Did you remember about this?” It drove me absolutely bonkers until one day when I had a couple of epiphanies. One: My mother loves us but she wants to regain control over her own space and she wants to make sure all of our junk is outta here. Two: I am trying to FOCUS on packing all of our stuff but it’s really hard when my mother is following me around asking me to remember various things. I finally said to her something like, “Moom, please let me pack for now and when I think I am finished, I’ll let you know and then you can double-check that I’ve taken all of the things you don’t want me to leave behind.” That actually worked! So… Lizard Breath was over here for a few days around Thanksgiving and she was packing up to leave on Saturday and WHAT WAS I DOING??? Popping around saying things like, “Don’t forget this. Don’t forget that. Did you remember about this?” Liz (being very polite): “Mooom…” Me: [ulp] “Okay, I am being like The Commander.” I actually said something like that. And then I left her alone and washed the dishes.

Moraine Fen (and paint drying)

December 7th, 2014 by kayak woman

morainefenIt was still in the 20s when I took this photoooo this morning. Last weekend we drove by a metropark that was not on our radar screen and, after much difficulty using the metropark website, I finally pulled up a PDF map with a bunch of trails on it. I could not get the Moraine Fen trail out of my head and so we headed up there this morning. Pretty little trail (2.3 miles or something like that). Beaten path but NO BLAZES whatsoever. You’d think that would be okay since the trail was so well worn. Problem? Intersections! There were a few and twice we got off onto spurs that, well, were not part of the trail. It was okay. It looks like wilderness but we were in a pretty contained area bounded by roads, we had a good phone signal, and we could actually hear traffic on US23, so we were not really out in the tootlies like we often are when we hike the North Country Trail. But “our” sections of the NCT are very well blazed and maintained and I kept conjuring up visions of our NCT friends tsking about the lack of blazes and the condition of the trail in general. Still, it was fun and we did not see *anyone* while we were hiking, despite the proximity to the freeway.

The rest of the day was kinda like watching paint dry so go somewhere else! I rather reluctantly put out my Santa Collection (more on that in another post, maybe) and picked away at a bit of flinging. Folks, I am kind of getting to the end of flinging my clothing. If you look at my half of the closet, there really isn’t that much. I got rid of a few more things today. I kept the things that I wear *all* the time and a few nostalgic items. One black/metallic silver sweater I used to wear back in the day. I’m sure it would still fit after a fashion but it doesn’t look the same. A black/metallic silver sweater of Radical Betty’s… In many ways I am not like Radical Betty but we definitely received a few of the same bits of DNA.

We drove down to the river to take a Sunset Walk at our fave Barton Dam Trail in the late afternoon. The sun sets at around five these days. I sure hope the woman with the strong Russian (?) accent found her destination. The one who summoned us to her vee-hickle to ask how to get to a nearby nursing home / rehab facility. We spent some time with her and I hope she made it to her destination but I’m not sure if she did and in the end, I just wanted to get outta there. Why did this woman not have a goddamn GPS in her Caddy-lac veehickle?

Please don’t freeze those scrambled eggs

December 6th, 2014 by kayak woman

farmersmarketIt’s 6:00 AM on Saturday. All roight! Let’s go!

Walked down to the farmer’s market this morning: lettuce, brussel sprouts, parsnips, [small] red cabbage, smoked mackerel, tenderloin roast, pasties. What else? Oh, a bonus. Got to watch that creaky old freight train cross the Drop Acid, Not Bombz railroad bridge in the dark. How cool is that?

Oh yeah, the GG drove down to have coffee and a snacky breakfast with me and visit his girlfriends: Victoria (painted wooden fish and Santas), Wan Oo (not sure of spelling, kimchee), the gals at the Roos Roast coffee stand, Uncle Peter (pasties). Oops, Uncle Peter is not a girl, therefore he is not one of the GG’s girlfriends.

Got a ride home with the GG and swung into my regular Saturday chores of laundry, vacuuming, changing sheets, vacuuming (okay, Rooooomba does most of that), DUSTING! Yes.

Drop-off trip to Kiwanis at 9:00 AM. It’s their annual xmas holiday sale and we were a few minutes early and people were LINED UP!!! Tried to find a parking spot to actually go inside (reconnaissance mission) but bagged it and headed over to Ace Hardware instead. It wouldn’t be Saturday without a trip to Ace.

Home again and continued with chores and took a walk to the Plum Market while the GG installed another skinny little rev-a-shelf in the Beauteous New Landfill Chitchen. Then a solo trip downtown. Driving this time. Three destinations with two planned parking locations. I wasn’t optimistic about finding parking but, wouldn’t you know, I somehow, randomly, found a spot *both* times *right* in front of where I wanted to shop. Yes, I know there is a disconnect there.

I did walk through the big Kiwanis sale on that second trip downtown. It was so crowded and crazy that I could hardly navigate and I was also nervous that I might see some of the stuff that *I* have donated. Certainly none of the stuff I dropped off today. That stuff was surely still in a triage area.

I had an Odd Experience there. A woman stopped me saying, “You are wearing something that I made!” I looked up and yes indeed, it was Carol and she made the beauteous ski band I was wearing. She gave me two postcards for upcoming events she is selling them at. I graciously took the cards and told her how much I loved my ski band (it’s my third). I put those cards in my recycle bin on my way into the Landfill but that was not out of any kind of disrespect. I doubt that I will make it to either of her upcoming events and I do not keep paper stuff around but I do sincerely love her work and I really need to buy a few more of those ski bands. 16 Hands and the Art Center sometimes have them. Or I could just email her.

More chores and the Ninja’s trunk already has a new box of stuff in it since our Kiwanis drop-off this morning. I dragged the GG out for a walk to Westgate in the late afternoon. Man oh man, it was 40 degrees out but there was a bit of a breeze and it was that damn penetrating kind of cold. But we accomplished our main mission plus a few others that we concocted along the way. It was a good thing to do. It is *always* good to get outside and walk, whatever the weather is.

Love y’all and hope your day was as good and productive as mine. If it wasn’t, that’s okay. I have been on a kind of a roll lately but I know all too well that life is like a river and some days, weeks, months, years, are better than others. Onward.

Moonlight Madness

December 5th, 2014 by kayak woman

aminalsT.G.I.F? I was walking down to meet the GG at the Oscar Tango in the dark of a late December afternoon, texting my progress: Duncan, Wellington Park, Maryfield Park, Huron Dexter Jackson, Crest (!!!!), 7th, Drop acid, not bombz! That’s always my last text. After that, I scoot up the hill past that new “No Walking Along Fence” highrise and past Downtown Home and Garden and across the street. I pull my backpack off, swing up the the steps to the OT and enter and there is the GG at his fave table!

Tonight, as I was walking downtown, there was a wee bit more texting going on than usual and I was thinking about npJane, who I haven’t seen since… Well, we couldn’t remember! But then, just about when I was texting “Crest”, which is the street her childhood home is on, she texted me something like, “Going to the OT?” Yes, yes, yes!!! I was! I was on my way. The GG was already there. And so not only were we porterized tonight, I got to see my baby cuzzint. As we always do, we caught up on fambiz and I sincerely hope we weren’t ignoring the others.

It was Moonlight Midnight Madness tonight, which means that downtown is nutso. I was kinda wanting to go to a new store, Bed and Butter but, in the end, we headed across the street to Downtown Home & Garden to look at the cute farm aminals and listen to the choir and then we accepted a ride home via npJane and here we are listening to jazz on EMU public radio and plotting the weekend’s activities.

It was cool that Mouse texted to remind us that Downtown H&G would have farm aminals around for Midnight Madness but it was already on my radar screen. Because… A woman that I do not know in real life (although I think I have *seen* her downtown) tweets about the city council so I follow her on Twitter. Yesterday, she tweeted a picture of my daughter with farm aminals. This was a big disconnect to me because I am almost 100% positive that she and Mouse are not acquainted. After a few split seconds, I realized that she had *re*-tweeted a photo from Downtown H&G (scroll down a bit) from last year. Mouse’s roommate works there so she and the staff are familiar with each other and we love to shop there so it’s all good.

Anyway, we went over there before heading home tonight. The aminals were pretty sleepy by the time we got there. The choir was good except that we couldn’t figger out why they were singing that song about “You’ll never walk alone” but fortunately they segued into the typical holiday fare. By that time, we were all ready to gooooo. I don’t handle Midnight Madness well in general. It isn’t unlike Black Friday except that it is downtown Planet Ann Arbor, not malls and big box stores. Nevertheless, I hate to be in crowded stores and I can’t imagine myself ever fighting with someone over any kind of item. More likely, I would be trying to foist some White Elephant from my house off on someone else.

Good night,
KW

Nutso blowhards

December 4th, 2014 by kayak woman

Oh, not you. I’m talking to the radio. I didn’t listen carefully but it sounds like some nutso legislators over in Lansing are trying to let people bully and discriminate against people if their own “sincerely held” religious beliefs are being violated. That sounds scary to me. Who decides how “sincere” those beliefs are? A lot of blood has been spilled in the name of religion throughout the history of mankind and I do not think this kind of thing is what our country’s “Founding Fathers” intended.

Another issue caught my radar screen today, which is that a bill passed the house (or was it the senate?) that people with Hepatitis C would have to inform sexual partners of their status before, you know, making whoopie. I don’t think these folks have a CLUE about Hep-C. My little brother was infected with it as an infant. He was born with severe Rh-negative complications and would have died soon after birth without a blood transfusion. We didn’t know for many years that his blood was tainted. He had a pretty darn good life but he died of Hep-C at age 47. Google something like Hepatitis C transmission if you want to learn more but it is very rare for it to be transmitted via doing you know what. If you know you have Hep-C or any disease, I think it’s a good thing to tell a sexual partner but all of this seems like more attempts by various blowhards to legislate “morality”, whatever “morality” means. I went on longer than I wanted to about this but I am so annoyed. Our state’s elected leaders should be more concerned with repairing our crumbling infrastructure (and funding education would be a good thing too) than peering into people’s bedrooms. And they have no business practicing medicine.

I wasn’t angry when I started this. It was a pretty calm day. No blasted snow driving or anything and work was like it usually is even though I had to present something today. Please please please please though, we need to stop categorizing ourselves and others. Black, white, Catholic, Muslim, Methodist. We are all people and we need to learn how to put our differences aside and get along together.

I could go on and on and on but…
G’night

Tiny little bugs with stingers

December 3rd, 2014 by kayak woman

homelessOkay, first of all, can I just say, “Much Ado About Nothing?” The trip Up North does not take place until NEXT weekend. I’m not sure that the GG always reads my blahg. I know that he doesn’t always *understand* my blahg when he does read it. (Do you? I don’t always and I write it.) But yesterday he did and he could not figger out why I was in such a big tizzy. I still have a decision to make but I have another week or so to make it. I loved my dear cuzzint Pooh’s suggestion of working four 10-hour days. With my job, not so much. It would take me a whole ‘nother blahg entry (or two or three or 10) to describe why. But it did give me the idea that I could maybe put a few hours into the job on, say, Sunday and take off early on Friday. That *might* do it although I kinda prefer not to travel too much in December. Better to stay home and pick away at prepping our very low-key casual-type xmas.

The title? I went to a meeting this afternoon in which us systems analysts were slated to discuss prodjects in the hopper for our next release and divvy up who would design what. We did somehow manage to do that in between discussing teensy tinesy little moe-skee-toe drones. Here’s a Snopes link on the subject to balance that other one out. You can draw your own conclusions. About all I can think about is that I’m not sure the technology is quite “there” yet but I will probably not ever look at a moe-skee-toe the same way again. I’ll still slap ‘em. And believe me, I have slapped a LOT of moe-skee-toes in my life.

I do not know why searching for moe-skee-toe drones on YouTube prompted Abby and Brittany Hensel on the the sidebar. They are conjoined twins and I am not going to link to these beautiful young ladies but you can google them. I have been fascinated with conjoined twins my whole life (honestly, who isn’t?). I am so glad I don’t have to share any body parts with a conjoined twin and I am glad I don’t have to parent children who are conjoined twins. I applaud mothers who *do* parent those children and raise them into successful adulthood. It cannot be easy.

Our Northern Correspondent Paulette posted this beautiful link today. All I can say is that my own paddling technique is not smooth enough to create this kind of motion. ONCP also posted a pic of ice hummocks forming on the moominbeach already. No kayaking for a while.

Goin’ Commando

December 2nd, 2014 by kayak woman

Yesterday, my cute little Ninja’s taaaaar light was on when I went to work. Text message to you-might-know-who: Tire light on. He came home and fixed it. Or so I thought. This morning, the taaaaar light was still on when I faaaaared up the Ninja. That was okay. Usually after the taaarr(s) get pumped up, the next time I faaaar up the Ninja, the light will still be on for a block or a half-mile or so, then it goes out. Whew! Today it stayed on all the way to work. Turns out *both* back taaaaars were a wee teensy tinesy bit low, now just one of them. We’ll see. I love this vee-hickle but the taaaars drive me nuts. They are not good in snow and they are so blasted finicky. Taaaaar lights are a good thing overall. I want to know if my tires (okay, taaaaared of typing taaaaars the Texas way (and so are you)). As much as I love the Ninja, if I didn’t have a decent auto mechanic around here, I would trade that thing for a top-dolla Honda Accord in a heartbeat because putting air in tires every month or so is definitely not on my bucket list. Not that I have a bucket list. Chore list, maybe?

The GG is a pretty dern good auto mechanic although we mostly take our vee-hickles in for service at the dealer these days. He worked at a gas station back in high school. He pumped gas and stuff and when it was quiet, he was allowed to do his homework. And he was held up at gunpoint. Twice? I can’t remember. He put himself through college (computer science) by working summers at the Hamtramck Assembly plant.

Goin’ Commando? Oh, no. Not in general. Designer underwear? No, not me. Cotton or cotton blend. TMI.

Should I go up to the Great White North this weekend? I want to. I want to hike with our North Country Trail friends. But I don’t have any more vacay and that makes it a really short, busy weekend. I am leaning toward going north. Convince me that I should go north.

I am a bare bear

December 1st, 2014 by kayak woman

snowtracksWhen I am 90, if I can still do the computer generator, can I finally get rid of the old I-can’t-blahg-about-it category? Because I would love to tell you about my work day. It involved designer underwear on eBay and garage hot tub adventures, not your usual systems analyst stuff. An Interloper was hanging about my Loverly Dog-Poopy Cube for a while this afternoon and I love him too much to tell him to get lost. Actually, I *instigated* some of the hanging about by asking if S & S were here yet. Finally his manager caught wind of the convo and staged the usual intervention by calling me on the phone. Oh, she’s got a phone call, gotta leave. Cube Nayber was having so much trouble containing her laughter that she up and left for the ladies room.

What else? Did you shop on Black Friday? I did not, unless you count dinner at the Oscar Tango. I am not sure whether or not I know *anybody* who intentionally shops on Black Friday. I mean besides buying gasoline or groceries or the time we spent Thanksgiving at Houghton Lake and drove up to Petoskey the next morning. But shopping in Petoskey’s Gaslight District and lining up to get the latest deals at WalMart or whatever are kind of different things. I don’t remember what we bought that time we went to Petoskey except for lunch. I don’t usually need the kind of stuff that’s advertised for the big Black Friday sales. New TVs or tech “toys” or designer underwear or whatever. I don’t really need anything. I am trying to get rid of stuff here. If you are one of my nine regulars, you know that.

Small business Saturday? Lemme see… Farmer’s market, Sam’s, Kilwin’s, Ace Hardware, Kosmo’s deli. All small purchases because NOBODY NEEDS ANYTHING! And that’s kind of the whole thing. I ask my kids what they want for xmas and they don’t really want anything. And that’s okay because they don’t need anything much. All of us first-world folks already have more than we need.

Black Sunday

November 30th, 2014 by kayak woman

huntingbootsPickety pickety pick. I am still picking away at my long-term Flinging Operation. A while back, I think I mentioned that I had a mini-goal of getting the “Guest Room” de-cluttered enough that an actual guest could sleep there without feeling like something might fall on them. By Thanksgiving Weekend. Not sure if I ever reported back about that but… I DID! YAY! I was even able to vacuum up the Big Chunks in there!

Not that we had a “real” guest. It was “just” Lizard Breath and that’s the bedroom she and Mouse shared as children until about the time Liz went to middle school. Poor Jay had to sleep in there last summer, one of the times it was a total disaster.

Anyway, I refrained from most flinging activities for most of the Thanksgiving weekend. I refuse to do anything but chitchen-type duties on Thanksgiving Day. I telecommuted to work on Friday. I spent yesterday walking down to the farmer’s market and doing other stuff with Liz.

This morning, I flung leftover Hollandaise sauce by making Eggs Benny for breakfast. After a morning Frog Hopper cruise, I flung a few more leftovers for lunch. And then I got busy picking away at more things that could be donated, etc. The boots in the pic were already gone via Lizard Breath. Her feet are a size smaller than mine but these 30-year-old boots were always snug on me, so we’ll see. She really needs her own NEW pair but all the college students these days are emulating my dad and his veteran greenhorn friends back in the late 1930s and these boots are sold out until I do not know when.

In the late afternoon, I dragged myself out for another walk. One of my mantras is that if you are unhappy with the weather, SUIT UP FOR IT AND GET OUT THERE! Seriously, you will feel better! And I did. Until I walked by The Prosecutor’s Mom’s House. I think her actual name was Joyce. I used to walk by there frequently and Joyce would often be out, impeccably dressed and manically picking up little bits of “stuff” (leaves or whatever) from her perfectly manicured lawn. She always wanted to talk and I had trouble getting away and sometimes I would actually sneak a look down that way and go a different way so I didn’t have to talk to her forever. I am *not* that social a person. I don’t really think she had any form of dementia but not sure… I *think* she was just working to keep up her life-long standard of appearances, although it was obvious that someone else was keeping up her impeccable lawn.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I walked up Miller from Duncan to N. Maple. I walked past a house with lots of lights on inside, no drapes, and NOTHING in it. And a pickup truck in the driveway with garbage bags in it. I did a double-take. I counted houses from the corner — one. It was Joyce’s house and I was kind of gobsmacked even though I have known this kind of day would come… I don’t know if she’s dead or if The Prosecutor and whatever siblings he may have needed to move her into a different living situation. I am sad for her in either case but especially if the latter is true. But I empathize with all of them.

Toldya I’d find Hisse!

November 29th, 2014 by kayak woman

hisseThat’s her, Hisse, second from left, between Bouncy Bow and Chrissy. I did run Bouncy Bow through the washing musheen and I think she looks nice and, uh, fresh now. Her owner was not that impressed. So, when I found Hisse, I resisted the urge to provide her with the same treatment, at least until I have been granted permission, which might end up being something like “over my dead body”. So be it.

Where did I find Hisse? I found her in a big garbage bag in the Landfill Dungeon. How did she get there? The short answer is, “I don’t know.” The real answer is of course complicated. Stuffed aminals in garbage bags in the dungeon? It started with a tornado warning. The sirens blew and the beach urchins (who had both experienced tornadoes up close and personal) threw all of their stuffed aminals down the stairs to the dungeon. We didn’t take anything close to a direct hit by that particular tornado. In fact, it was a surreal experience. Sirens blew as yard-workers calmly (but LOUDLY) chipped up a tree across the street. The GG and Hans very calmly photographed big moths getting it on in the gap between extremely uneven sidewalk panes. (I have a pic of that somewhere.) Inside The Landfill? Screaming and flinging things down the stairs.

I can’t remember how long those aminals *stayed* down there at the bottom of the stairs but it was probably waaaaay longer than most people would tolerate. But those were the vortex years of kids and pets and vee-hickles and jobs and volunteer stuff and tornadoes and generally running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Fun years!

Eventually, I bagged up all of those aminals into big garbage bags just to get them off the floor down there. The beach urchins were not quite done with stuffed aminals yet but it wasn’t long after that they entered high school, college, and the adult world. They were / are busy and I’m not sure how Hisse got into one of those bags but I knew she was in there somewhere and I knew I would find her. I did absolutely utterly refuse to look for her in the late Thanksgiving afternoon. Nope.

The green guy on the right? Y’all are thinking something like, “He’s not a mouse!” No, he is not a mouse. He is a grinch and his real name is Green Guy (if you are one of my nine, you may have seen him before). I am not his owner but, as his owner and I are cousins, I am trusted to keep him for extended visits here on The Planet Ann Arbor. I love him even when he and Frooggy get themselves into trouble.

P. S. Hisse is pronounced “hissy” (like the fit). Hisse’s owner spelled it that way back when she was a very young inventive speller.

The boring straight sh*t ’cause I’m too taaaarrrred for anything else

November 28th, 2014 by kayak woman

bouncybow0-skunk-30 walk.

Faaarrrred up work laptop.

GG rummaging around in basement. What? Yucky old laundry sink is stopped up. Many snaky-type operations later and a trip to the hardware store (I think), it is clear. I did not pay attention. I was telecommuting. On the day after Thanksgiving, I had to work. Okay, I didn’t *have* to work, I just do not have a whole lotta vacay time left and wanna maximize my xmas-type days off. Why do we have those “laundry sinks” anyway? The only thing I have EVER used mine for is to fill buckets with water. It was old and yucky when we bought this place and you know that it is older and yuckier now. What is the point?

Actually [finally] finished up one work prodject this morning while Sittin’ on the Green Couch Watchin’ All the Dogz Go By. Eventually the Beach Urchins surfaced and the GG cooked us all a nice little brekkie, which was wonderful since I did virtually all of the cooking yesterday, except for some coffee, etc. I’m not complaining. I love to cook holiday dinners and if I don’t have stuff to do in the chitchen, I am likely to be off tinkering around looking for Things To Fling, etc. Not a good holiday activity. I can’t explain why, just trust me.

Actually, work was good today. Sometimes I am not very productive when I work from home, so I was actually thinking seriously about heading over to Cubeland at some point. But then everybody vacated the premises and home turned out to be a good, productive place to work, even with all the dern dogz walking by. And then it started snowing and I put my YakTrax on and walked down to the Oscar Tango, where I met up with the GG and Liz and Mouse and then we were porterized and it was all sooooo much fun and Cat Stevens was there but not the Cat Stevens that you know and, in fact, we won’t talk any more about that. At least not tonight. Fortunately she either didn’t see me or didn’t recognize me. I do not care which.

I have many missions in life and one of my current ones involves Bouncy Bow Pink Bow Purple Bow Blanket Mousey Mushroom Ears and Chrissy [the police mouse] and Hisse. I know that Hisse is around here and I WILL find her. I do think that Bouncy Bow could stand a trip through the washing musheen, don’t you? (Prob’ly better than a Wagon Bathtub, at least [wink])

G’night,
KW