Random bits of my so-called life.

I married you for better or worse but not for lunch

May 5th, 2021 by kayak woman

Yeah. Somebody asked me if I was ready to retaaaaar today [again]. I’ve been getting asked this since well before I was even close to the “traditional” retaaaarment age.

First, my career trajectory was, well it was MY career trajectory. A couple low-paying jobs before and during college. Then. Music degree? What do I do now? This is NOT to discourage anyone from getting a creative degree. For one thing, there are more resources available to flute performance majors today than there were back then. Also those creative degrees may not translate into a high-paying job right out of college but I strongly believe creative areas of study are an important tool in our society’s efforts to move forward in many areas. Including technology…

So I did not know what to really do with myself but I fell into what I now call my Childhood Career as an entry level IT person. And when I say entry level, I

ALERT ALERT ALERT! Somebody is sliding my back screen door back and forth! Are they trying to get in? Oh. It’s just a shirrel cirker shriek squirrel. All clear. Was NOT able to get a pic. Damn.

mean I was taking printouts off the Data 100 printer and handing them out to the people who had printed them. Boring? Yes. But I worked my way up just a weeee bit and during a particular boring period, I taught myself Old Skool FORTRAN and then I worked my way up a weeee bit more and it was a good place to work while raising babies because my boss Byron let me cut back to part time.

It was a good job but I decided to take some time off to be a SAHM. Fast forward through a bunch of fun years doing PTO treasury work and middle school science fair organization and youth theatre guild administration. Those were all fun things for me because spreadsheets and later on websites.

And then I went back to [community] college to put formal training around my web skills. It was not easy but I aced it, and one day I got assigned to an internship with a big online banking company and, well, here I am 14 (!) years later.

I could retaaaar any time I want but I love my job. I will note as I always do that I work for an at-will corporation and although we are all treated very well, it could end at any time. I will feel very sad if that happens but I will not have to look for a new job.

I’m sorry but I have to get this outta my system

May 4th, 2021 by kayak woman

I dunno if I can articulate this well or not but I am at the end of my rope with the trope about how employers are crying out for employees and no one is applying because they would rather sit on their ass collecting unemployment benefits / stimulus money because its MORE than what they might earn working.

Yes, there are people out there who always choose to live on the dole instead of working for a living. I have known some in my time.

I don’t think what’s going on now is as simple as that. We are living through a pandemic and yes, it’s still going on, vaccines or not. If I were unemployed during this debacle, I wonder if I would be looking for a job. On the one hand, people need to feed themselves and their kids. But what if the jobs they are qualified for involve dealing with the public? What is the risk? Is it worth it? Plus, what if taking the stimulus allows someone to exist via a side business? I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Yes we have vaccines now but we are still getting conflicting information about the “rules” because *science* is still trying to figure them out. I can parse some of that information because my somehow naturally analytical mind (and my education) have given me a few random tools to do that. What the f*ck is up with the folks on facebook who randomly share memes and articles that they haven’t read about this subject. Sorry but f*ck those folks. Please please please please READ whatever articles you are posting before you post or share them.

Also, I think most people want to work for a living. They also want to be paid a wage that provides them a safe home, food, and a reliable vee-hickle, y’know to get them to work. If you are complaining about not finding employees in this ongoing pandemic, ask yourself if you are PAYING THEM ENOUGH TO LIVE.

A book I just started is “A Garden of Earthly Delights” by Joyce Carol Oates. She’s an author I’ve had to warm up to but this book starts with a family in extreme poverty traveling around the USA picking fruit. Not immigrants. We have to take care of our own, not that we shouldn’t also welcome immigrants. We don’t have to turn into “socialists” to do any of this. We simply have to be kind to others and help them out if we can.

Good night. KW

Black Thumb Banana

May 3rd, 2021 by kayak woman

<garden-rant>I have been asked a couple of times something like, “Wouldn’t you like to work in the garden?” Well. No. No, I wouldn’t. I would like to pay someone to do it.

This is our front yard. In the foreground we have a Mess of mixed up ground cover and grass with a narrow little bit of lawn between the Mess and the sidewalk, which I am standing on and you can’t see the lawn very well. We call the ground cover vinca or myrtle although I’m not sure if we know its proper name even after all these years. It’s quite pretty and at this time of year little purple flowers bloom (embiggen a couple times). There is a “border” between the Mess and the lawn made of round rocks we scavenged from the cFam’s old rock seawall at Hoton Lake after it was replaced by a cee-ment wall. You can’t see most of the rocks because the mess is growing over it.

There are also those tall scraggly bushes which we can’t bear to pull out because they provide bird habitat but I’ll save that sad song for some other time.

So the problem with the Mess is that grass (TONS of it) grows right smack in the middle of the ground cover. And then the ground cover tries to grow “down” into the lawn, covering the stones.

Okay. I like the *idea* of gardening but I don’t really like *doing* gardening. One of the reasons I don’t like doing gardening is because I HAVE A BLACK THUMB! Almost nothing I have ever tried to do in the area of gardening has been successful. Take the Mess. I have spent a gazillion hours trying to weed the grass out of the middle of it and about all I have ever gotten for my efforts is poison ivy. Yes, it grows back by the bushes if we don’t police it.

I am no doubt not taking the right approach (because I don’t know any better). Also we have crappy clay-ey soil although you may be able to see that plenty of things do grow in our yard. Just not necessarily things we WANT to be growing.

So. I gave up many years ago. I would LOVE to hire a nice, natural landscape/garden business to help me/us clean things up, design some new features, and then maintain them. I am stymied in this because my other half is a penny pincher when it comes to anything they believe is DIY-able. But gardening really isn’t, at least not here at the Landfill, because no one has a Green Thumb. I am NOT Warren Buffett but I can afford to pay someone to help me with my fugly yard.</garden-rant>

Orange ya glad I didn’t blahg about the help wanted situation? That may (or may not) be coming in a future entry. I am so sick of all the memes…

jitp, finally

May 2nd, 2021 by kayak woman

jitp is what BFF and I call jack-in-the-pulpit. I have been watching for it without much luck. We usually have quite a lot in “our” woods although it isn’t like a *blanket* of plants but I dunno if jitp even “blankets”. I do know that I usually don’t have to look too far to find a few specimens in “my” woods.

I finally found one yesterday. I don’t know if the scarcity is due to lack of water or what. Other wildflowers have been plentiful, except for trillium, which we usually have at least a few of and I know they are plentiful in other woodsy areas. I find jitp notoriously difficult to photograph. Getting the right angle in the right light? This is the best I could do with this one. My mouse has a better one of a different jitp in a different woods. But, for the umpteen gazillionth time, I am a simple iPhoneographer and don’t usually try tooooo hard to get top-quality photos.

I had a kind of a Work Day. I took things out of chitchen drawers, vacced the drawers and washed them. And washed the baseboards around the perimeter of the chitchen, avoiding a few harmless spiders. And spent a lot of time s-l-o-w mending my Black Skirt, a prodject I intended to start A YEAR AGO! Procrastination anyone? It is a cheaply made maxi skirt with about a bazillion tiers and is not the easiest thing to mend for reasons too complicated to get into but one of them is something like “I get lost in it!” I came up with a new strategy today and I have convinced myself to take my time. I did NOT work in the “garden”. More on that some other day.

Baby steps

May 1st, 2021 by kayak woman

Guess what I did today? I. Went. Inside. A. Grokkery. Store.

I did not go SHOPPING in a grocery store. I’m not quiiiiite ready for that. What happened is I had a scheduled curbside pickup this morning at my fave Plum Market and all was well with that. Or so I thought. One of my fave curbside folks put it in my trunk. When I got home, the first bag I started to unpack had a HUGE jar of mayonnaise in it! I don’t dislike mayo but I use it sparingly. I like it spread thinly on BLTs. I don’t like big gloppy vats of potato salad or whatever. A lighter touch please. So when I buy mayo it is the smallest jar I can find. Plus I knew I hadn’t ordered it. There were a few other items I never buy. So yes, I got an extra bag in my order.

Anyway, what do I do? Of course they want this back, right? It belongs to someone else and I didn’t pay for it. I could go over and park in the curbside area and text them to come and get it. Then I thought, what the heck? I have been fully vaxxed for over a month now. I am still being careful and following the “rules” and will continue to do so. But this required me to enter the store for maybe two minutes. So that is what I did! Masked of course.

Aaaannddd… More Cygnus fun. Today I was reminded that she has a feature that stops the engine when you are at a stoplight or whatever. I knew that would drive me NUTSO so when Jalen was showing me that feature, I immediately turned it off. I meant it humorously and I think he took it that way. What I didn’t know (or remember) is that it turns itself back on whenever you put the car in park and turn it off. Guess what? It DOES drive me nutso. Like, why is my brand new vee-hickle stalling? Oh yeah. It’s not, it just has a mind of its own. I parked for a moment and pulled out the quick start guide to refresh my memory about how to TURN IT OFF.

I may not be ready for prime-time shopping yet and I like curbside so much I may continue to do it when all this is over. I think I MAY be ready to shop at some of my fave “little” markets, the meat and seafood markets at Kerrytown, for example. If I go down there early in the morning on non-farmers market days, Kerrytown will probably be empty. And I LOVE deliveries from the Argus Farm Stop. It’s almost like xmas opening up those boxes of produce and so much more.

Mechanical klutz

April 30th, 2021 by kayak woman

I was so focused on satty-lite radio in my new vee-hickle that I forgot to figure out if I was getting Pop-the-Trunk in this pandemic age. No, my brand new top-dollah vee-hickle does NOT have Pop-the-Trunk. I have had Pop-the-Trunk in every vee-hickle since the Exxon Tanker Valdez (1987), although I didn’t KNOW it had that until we sold it. Well probably the Indefatigable didn’t have it but it didn’t have much. The GG has always described it as a drivetrain. I sorta know what that is.

Cygnus does have a CD player (along with all the new tech music/radio stuff). That was a surprise. My latest laptop doesn’t even have that kind of a drive although our older repurposed computers do.

This is okay. I can easily jump out and hit the button on the trunk/hatch/gate gate gate. And the curbside folks can close it.

What do they call the rear door anyway? I needed to know that when I was out trying to figger out how the whole thing worked this afternoon. I have a curbside grock pickup tomorrow morning and I don’t wanta be fumbling around. Before I figgered out that I didn’t have Pop-the-Trunk, I managed to pop the hood! Oh great. I could not find the catch, so I couldn’t get it open far enough that I could CLOSE it again.

The internet wasn’t much good. The GG is out in the woods somewhere. I considered texting Mouse, who has a somewhat older Crosstrek. Naw. I have to bash through this stuff myself. I got the quickstart guide out and managed to find the catch and get the hood closed.

I still hadn’t figgered out the trunk/hatch/gate gate gate. I couldn’t find it in the quickstart guide so I dredged out the full-fledged owner’s manual. But. What do they call it? It isn’t really a trunk but I tried that and it didn’t turn up anything. Hatch as in hatchback like my rusty old Pinto wagon? No luck. It is a GATE! So now I am an expert at opening and closing both the hood and GATE on my new vee-hickle. And there are no embarrassing things like rifles or chainsaws or empty Budweiser cans in the back, so I’m good.

These little issues sound like no-brainers but I am not very mechanical in a physical sense, although I can beat up on computers pretty darn well. I’ll never forget how proud of myself I was the time the GG was somewhere else and I actually managed to fix my garbage disposal by looking at YouTube videos. I doubt if that would work if I had (say) a terlet problem although I do know how to lift up a ballcock to stop a running terlet (something like that). You can’t be part of the cFam without learning that lesson.

This is an old pic from 2018 when I was walking home from the neighborhood pub, Knight’s Steakhouse. We’ll eat there again someday… They are thriving I think. They are open for inside dining (within the capacity rules) and have managed outside seating throughout the WINTER and they also run a couple of small, well-stocked grocery markets. Both the restaurant and the stores provide curbside. I am not ready to eat out even being fully vaxxed. What’s going on in India is scary. I hear it first hand from my colleagues over there and my Indian-American colleagues who have relatives in India.

Stay safe. Don’t be hesitant about getting vaxxed. We’re not done with this.

Keeping up with India (this is not [mostly] about COVID)

April 29th, 2021 by kayak woman

Our India QA guys just crack me up sometimes. First, they are VERY VERY good at what they do. Second, although English is not their first language, they know it as well as any of us who know ONLY English and probably better than a lot of Americans.

We have a defect meeting every morning and there are times it’s all so technical that I multi-task or doze off or whatever. This morning? We nit-picked the English language. It was so much fun!

So first up, we have an error message that uses the words “2 3-digit whatsit codes”. One of the “rules” of English writing is that numbers under 10 are spelled out. How did this error horribilis happen? I do not know and I WROTE it (in 2011). I can only guess it’s because that particular prodject was HUGE and I probably gave pause but forgot to circle back. This is at least the second time this issue has been brought up and each time I say something like, “I know it isn’t correct but I think it’s okay given that blah blah blah…” This time I threw my hands up in the air and said (cracking up), “Obviously this is bothering people so let’s correct it.” So we are going to change “2” to “two”. I think a numeral is fine in “3-digit” and others agreed.

And then we questioned the Oxford Comma. I tend to use it (except when I don’t). Our guys spotted it (in another error message). I was not an English major but I know enough about grammar and syntax rules, etc., to know that there are differing opinions about whether or not to use a comma after the second-to-last word in a series. Like “a, b, c, and d” as opposed to “a, b, c and d”. I won’t go any farther into it but we were all madly doing the google and we’re keeping the last comma.

Later today I was doom-scrolling as one does these days. I came across a Supreme Court case that was decided yesterday in part on the use of the word “a” in some rules surrounding deportation. This opinion came from one of the justices the Orange Baboon appointed and I no doubt disagree with him on many things. Nevertheless, I was heartened by this opinion because of his close attention to words and his thoughtful consideration of how this rule, thoughtlessly or maybe nefariously interpreted, could affect a potential deportee’s life. Words do matter. And so do people.

Oh, India. One of our guys is recovering from COVID. He is young (not that that’s any guarantee) and his case was mild. Stay safe. Mask up. Get vaxxed. This isn’t over yet and it isn’t just about YOU.

Old fugly-ugly pic from Mouse’s old computer🐽

P.S. Speaking of words, I recently enjoyed reading “The Dictionary of Lost Words,” a fictional account of the journey to compile the Oxford English Dictionary.

River Ride

April 28th, 2021 by kayak woman

A River Ride is an 8-mile drive along The Planet Ann Arbor’s section of the Huron River. It is a designated scenic drive with a 35 mph speed limit although there are people who try to use it as a raceway.

It is a place of peace for my family. A ride we take when someone dies or someone is practicing driving on their permit or leaving for college or study abroad or whatever or just to get out for a wee bit. Like to drive a vee-hickle that hardly ever gets driven anymore because pandemic.

One of my fave River Rides was once when we were taking our usual slow drive and there was an extremely impatient tailgater behind us (it’s a two lane paved road with mostly no shoulders). We got to one of the few places on the road where wide (paved) shoulders were added on a bridge and our tailgater screamed out around us and… Who was awaiting him on the other side of the bridge? Mr. Policeman! Who NABBED him in a jiffy. Sometimes karma works out.

It is also where we drive new vee-hickles when we first purchase them. For whatever reason, we didn’t take a River Ride Monday night after we bought Cygnus. After all, we had driven it an hour home from its Lansing dealership.

The beach urchins were asking yesterday if we had driven it anywhere yet (besides home). The GG had gone on a little spin but I wasn’t really chompin’ at the bit. Somehow I was content to see it sitting outside. I’ll get plenty of chances to drive it, right? What’s the rush?

But okay, last evening we took a River Ride. This is NOT the most scenic section of Huron River Drive. There’s some kind of big plant or warehouse over to the left. We’ve never been exactly sure what it is but the river isn’t in sight on this particular stretch. But I was just looking for headlights to come toward us for something interesting.

That screen picture? For all the time Jalen spent walking me through how to use that stuff, at that moment I could NOT for the life of me figger out how to change the screen. I’ll figure it out the way I usually do by muddling through. There’s a “Home” button that I think I had temporary amnesia about. I’ll try that.

I mean, I navigated my way through some of the crayzee-est Old Skool javascript crapola today. If I can do that, I can navigate a bunch of car screens, roight? 🐽

Listicle

April 27th, 2021 by kayak woman

Because I have a great big ZERO today, here’s a list:

  • 197? Ford Pinto Wagon, green: not named but Rustbucket wouldda worked. It was my parents’ car and then it was my first car.
  • 197? AMC Gremlin, purple: not named (that I know of, it was the GG’s when I met him and his MOM used to have to drive to his apartment and jump-start it sometimes).
  • 1979 Ford Fiesta, gold: named “Mama’s Little Gold Car” by Lizard Breath, we weren’t naming vee-hickles yet.
  • 1980 Ford Fiesta, blue: named “Daddy’s Little Blue Car” by Lizard Breath.
  • 19?? Ford Fiesta, orange: named “The Orange Car” by Lizard Breath. This was not our car, it lived down the street a bit.
  • 1985 VW Jetta, dark red: no name, still weren’t really naming vee-hickles.
  • 1987 Plymouth Voyager, dark red: named “The Exxon Tanker Valdez.”
  • 1992 Jeep Wrangler, sand: named “The Indefatigable” by our late brother Don, always a fun guy.
  • 1996 Plymouth Voyager, Island Teal (but probably shouldda been lemon yellow🐽): named “The POC,” which amused my late cuz Mac (who used to read my blahg).
  • 2001 Honda Accord, dark [banker] green: named “the Dogha” (dirty old green Honda Accord). “Banker green”? My dad (a banker) had a dark green Buick LeSabre and my late brother came up with that color name which made us both gnoff and gnoff and gnoff. Miss you bro’.
  • 2005 Honda Civic, dark blue: I had some long complicated name for it but my 🐭 renamed it “Daisy” when she took it over and I think that was a better name.
  • 2008 Honda Civic SI, 6-speed manual, black black black: named “The Ninja” after 🐭 and a friend took a River Ride the night we brought it home and her friend said something about feeling like a Ninja when riding inside it. I don’t really know anything about Ninjas but somehow it felt right.
  • 2011 Subaru Outback, green: named The “Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen.” Blahggy friend Margaret came up with Mean Green Musheen but of course “Frog Hoppin'” got added. Because… And the GG wanted to buy BROWN but I said NOOOO because you know what it’ll look like when it has 200K miles on it! Which it did when it was finally sold!
  • 2019 Toyota RAV4, Lunar Rock: named “Mooon Yooonit” because of the color name, deliberately misspelled so as not to google-bomb [the late] Frank’s daughter.
  • 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, black black black: named “Cygnus X-1” after a black hole, by 🐭.

What did I fergit?

Cygnus X-1

April 26th, 2021 by kayak woman

Finally got around to it. New Subie Crosstrek, picked up from a Lansing dealer, an hour away. If you google our salesman Jalen, he comes up as a former MooU football player, if you’re into sports and stuff. I’m not (although I enjoy the ambience of football in the background of my life) but he was a nice, knowledgeable young man and I would recommend him.

We “built” this vee-hickle on the Subaru website. That means we used build-a-car as a tool to decide what we wanted, then called dealers. At least the GG decided what he wanted. I wanted satty-lite radio. Just kidding. I wanted other features too but I know I won’t use most of the stuff it comes with, like cruise control and sensors that make it slow down and stuff. I listened politely to all of it but I couldn’t resist saying, “I’ve been driving a 6-speed manual.”

Boy oh boy, buying a new vee-hickle and jumping IMMEDIATELY onto a crowded freeway? Not to mention a freeway I used to be familiar with but now not so much? I wish I had been thinking because I would’ve suggested we take some back roads until I got used to how it handled, which was fine, just would’ve preferred a slower introduction.

I thought I would be back at TeleCubelandia in time for my weekly with Amazon Woman but I wasn’t but that turned out to be okay because she took the day off and I was EXHAUSTED and also ended up taking the day off. The GG? After a bit of “crowing” about going home and taking a hike, he crashed and burned 🐽

Since I am not going to laundromats these days, there’s little likelihood that I’ll put my laundry into somebody else’s car! 🐽

At one point, as we began to sign and date various pieces of paper, I was going “hmmmm, what is the date?” Then, “Oh yeah, I know the date!” Why do I know the date? Because it is the Twinz of Terror’s birthday! So we bought “me” a car for the GG’s birthday. Technically it belongs to both of us but we expect that I’ll drive it the most (which probably won’t be much because COVID) because it doesn’t have quiiiiite Mooon Yooonit’s towing capacity.

Cygnus is a loverly vee-hickle but I’m still gonna miss the Ninja.

Emotional day in a first world way

April 25th, 2021 by kayak woman

We drove our beloved 2008 Ninja (Honda Civic 6-speed manual) for two last drives today plus a psychedelic car wash.

We took a long slow drive down to the flats of southeast Michigan and then we hit the car wash. After that, I told the GG that he should stop in the street in front of our house because I wanted one more drive ALONE with the Ninja. I did a River Ride. I did not cry but I kinda felt like crying.

The GG posted my/our beloved vee-hickle on Craig’s List this afternoon and within like 30 seconds someone called. And… They BOUGHT it! Today! Like it’s gone now. And then other offers came in and he had to turn them down.

I will so miss the Ninja. I think my fave car ever was the Dogha (2001 top dollah Honda Accord). It had a V6 engine and it was a great snow car. The Ninja was more fun with its 6-speed manual tranny. It was not as good as the Dogha in snow but I loved it. I am so glad we had the chance to drive it today.

We bought the Ninja new in 2008 and my work friend Lewie-lew-iii once asked if he could ask me a “personal” question. Was that 6-speed manual MY car? Yes. It was. I miss Lewis. And I miss my car.

‘nother trip, as the kooool kids say these days

April 24th, 2021 by kayak woman

You can make your own guess at what I was doing more years ago than I am strong enough to count. I will say a couple things. One is that business was over and done with something like 12 hours earlier than the time I am writing this today. Two is that I expected to have another 2-3 weeks but this one wanted out NOW! Frankly, that was okay with me (since she was healthy).

Yet another special day we can’t spend together with some kind of grilled beast for dinner and ‘hattans and then a 90s “alt-rock” sing-along session in the Lyme Lounge loud enough to attract the attention of the next door neighbors. Yes, we really did do that one year (a sing-along). It was spontaneous and the neighbors at that time thought it was hilarious.

The person in the photooo had a GREAT DAY though. Hiking, clobbee covfefe coffee, and food with Lairi the Rake of the notorious Vanilla Sugar Milk days so long ago. Then a nettle orecchiette-making session with the raccoon. (I want some!)

This person was a flamboyant dresser in her youth. She has a very elegant style now, even when she’s schlepping around in the woods. The Commander would approve if she were still around. I never did attain a clothing style elegant enough for The Comm’s taste 🐽

Anyway, this was two and the grandparents were here as well as my brother and his fam. The Commander made the hat. The cute black/neon outfit was from my bro and fam and she literally stripped bare naked out of whatever she was wearing to put this outfit on right out in front of god and everybody. She borrowed the high heels from her older sister. “I’m gonna just put all this stuff on together.”

Oh yeah, and then there’s “Mouse” aka “Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroom-ears”.

🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

Hondas last forever

April 23rd, 2021 by kayak woman

Our family said goodbye to this Honda Civic today. She is a 2005 model named Daisy and she had a good long life but it has come to an end and she was towed away today.

We bought her during a chaotic week in late June 2005. My brother had died rather unexpectedly and my parents were not able to travel from the yooperland unassisted so there was a flurry of travel back and forth as I drove up to pick them up, then drove them back up after the funeral. Five hour drive times four. Fun.

I drove our Dogha, a new-ish top dollah Honda Accord. Our other two vee-hickles were an aging Chrysler mini-van (the POC) and a 13-year-old Jeep Wrangler (the Indefatigable). Neither of them had A/C, the jeep because it didn’t COME with A/C, the POC because it was broken 🐽

I won’t try to describe that week other than that it was a clusterf*ck of people traveling here and there in different vee-hickles on different days. We needed another vee-hickle with A/C. We had ordered Daisy but weren’t expecting to get her for a couple weeks. And then… Our then car guy Kevin called just in the nick of time. Daisy was here and we snagged her and everyone was able to travel in air-conditioned comfort.

Daisy was the first vee-hickle we owned that had an iPod plug-in and I think she was the last that had a CD player.

When our Mouse finished college, she adopted Daisy and drove her for a good many years. I think all of us were a little sad to see her go.

Here is Daisy at the moomincabin in November 2007. Before I looked up the metadata on the photo, I was thinking, “Was this spring or fall?” Well, it HAD to be fall because there is NO SNOW! I mean, not that there can’t be snow in November in the yooperland because there certainly can be. But there is ALWAYS snow in the spring. Sometimes big drifts, sometimes rotting leftover piles. Also, the storm windows are covering the picture windows. When we arrive in the spring, removing those things is the first order of business.

Aloha Daisy, you were a good old girl.

P.S. Today is our brother FlaMan’s birthday. I hope he had a good day. His brother (the GG) visited him and took him to the store for beer, etc. FlaMan has had a looooong hard year in lockdown 🧡

If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes?

April 22nd, 2021 by kayak woman

Yup. That snow we got Tuesday? It was gone by the end of Wednesday as I knew it would be. It isn’t extremely warm but the indoor/outdoor thermometer in the Landfill Chitchen registers 50 degrees right now. I thought I saw 85 sometime next week? We’ll see.

I didn’t bother looking at the indoor/outdoor thermometer in the Blue and Only Bathroom. It gets the morning sun and when Mr. Golden is OUT that means it can read like 80 degrees in the middle of the winter. Like the cake, the thermometer is a lie.

TeleCubelandia is on the sunset side of the Landfill and that means at this time of year, when Mr. Golden is OUT, it is too bright to be able to continue working in the late afternoon. On a warm day I can always move out back where it’s shady in the afternoon. Not warm enough today. This is a FIRST WORLD problem and I’m only blahgging about it because I do NOT have anything else to say today. There’s some fun stuff coming up in the near future but that’ll have to be a surprise. It involves a trigger but not the kind you might be thinking about 🐸

Three recent booooooks. 1) Hummingbird Salamander: I love VanderMeer. I have read his Area X trilogy. I LOVED Borne (funny as hell for a dystopian novel). Dead Astronauts (same setting as Borne, diff characters) was a bit disappointing (not as much humor as Borne). H-S: I was slow to “warm” to the narrator/main character but ultimately liked the book. 2) Becoming Leidah: I’m not sure I understood all of what was going on but I totally enjoyed the characters and the journey. 3) The Mason House: A memoir by a woman who grew up in the yooperland’s Keweenaw Peninsula. I began this after work today and am enjoying it. Caveat: she calls her childhood town Mason so as not to identify it. It’s not its real name but The Great Lake State does have a town called Mason in the Lower Peninsula.

I often glom on to books set in the yooperland in part because I recognize so much of the geography and landscape, even when some of the names are changed. I could add culture to that last sentence but I won’t because like most places in the United Snakes the yooperland consists of a variety of people and their cultures. I soooo used to hate being stereotyped when I met people at college “downstate”. There are similarities (ALL yoopers have to deal with harsh winter conditions). But talking about cultures would be a whole ‘nother entry. Or a memoir. Except that I don’t think my life is interesting enough for a memoir and I don’t think my writing chops are up to it.

Sayonara, KW

Perfectly beautiful

April 21st, 2021 by kayak woman

I love to walk in snow. I don’t like to slip on ice. MMCB asked me in our weekly facetime this morning if I had strapped on my Yax to walk this morning. No no no no. DIDN’T HAVE TO! Sidewalks were dry dry dry! Actually I found ONE foot-sized bit of ice on a sidewalk pane that collects water in a very specific way. But that was easy to avoid.

If I had needed to strap on my Yax, I wouldda prob’ly bagged my walk. I kept some Yax strapped onto one pair of Keen sandals all winter, also a Kahtoola-strapped pair of boots. I HATE having to strap Yax onto anything at 0-skunk-30. But I de-Yaxxed my Keens like maybe a month ago or so. Um, I own two pairs of Sorel boots and I can’t remember how many pairs of Keen sandals. For the record, I think I wore boots ONCE this winter. Farmer’s Almanac predicted cold and snowy for us. Wrong.

Okay, people wonder, “You wear sandals in the snow?” Yes, I do. My Keens are closed toe sandals and I wear them with Smartwool socks and/or tights depending. If the snow is more than a few inches deep or the temps are below zero, I switch to boots. Smartwool socks ROCK! They are warm even when they get wet and you can wear them for days and days and days before they even give a hint of a, y’know, stinky foot smell. So, a little commercial, in the words of a certain once and very annoying “senior advisor” to the Former Guy. She was hawking his daughter’s fashion “lines”. Sheath dresses? Really? I think I sewed a couple when I was like 13…

Enough polly-ticks (or not). We are dealing with our divided house by, among other things, putting on Satty-lite radio at the end of my work day to listen to MUSIC. Throughout the day, NPR rolls along in the background but it isn’t loud enough that I can usually hear the details of the news. I heard the George Floyd verdict(s) yesterday only because it was at the end of the afternoon and I meandered into the chitchen (where the NPR radio is) and realized that I was listening to breaking news. I hadn’t really been listening to the whole trial. My idea of an ideal society is one where I don’t have to pay attention to polly-ticks. Alas, I do have to…

I think my house would be less divided if me and the other inhabitant could find a common vocabulary to talk about the issues that are dividing us and our country these days. I CONSTANTLY harp on this (gently and politely and with humor) when we are solving problems at TeleCubelandia. This works (usually) at TeleCubelandia. It doesn’t really seem to work at home, which is also TeleCubelandia… We’ll get there…

Love y’all, KW

Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my mama said

April 20th, 2021 by kayak woman

Actually what *my* mama aka The Commander used to say was, “No! You can’t go outside without a jacket until the ice is outta the St. Marys.” (And no, there is NOT an apostrophe in Marys.)

She was talking about the St. Marys river that borders the north side of my hometown (Sault Ste. Siberia) as well as the United Snakes of America. Canananada is on the other side with the Soo Locks in between.

And yes, there can certainly be ice in the St. Marys in April and sometimes even in May. More than a few Aprils ago during the Polar Vortex winter (2014), Gitchee Gumee was mostly frozen over. Storm Warrior posted about trying to ram through ice with his bote (lake freighter) and one of our faves Big Butt (aka the Roger Blough) suffered various bits of damage from ice. That particular year people were posting pics of ice floes in Gitchee Gumee as late as July.

Even when the ice is outta the St. Marys, it can be dern cold up there almost any time. A northern FB Gitchee Gumee neighbor posted today that she was kicking herself for putting her long underwear away before April. I commented that last AUGUST there was a day I was wishing I had my Smart Wool leggings with me when I was up there at the moomincabin/beach.

That was a long preamble but yes… It’s April and it’s snowing like crazy here in southeast Michigan. It’s funny how people who have lived in the Great Lake State forget from year to year that yes, it DOES snow in April. And sometimes in May. And sometimes even in June but that’s usually in the yooperland and our main residence is 300 moils* south of the yooperland.

*Moils: When you are 10 years old and you are in a tornado shelter with yer dad and his identical twin and yer “identical” cousin. You are in the after-tornado shelter because you have survived a tornado in a tent, in which a BIG tree has fallen on a small tree, which broke its fall on YOU and your tentmates. You are alive and now you are in a shelter. You are kinda crying a bit [because you are a kid] but then you all meet an Australian woman who is also sheltering and your dad explains, “She misses her mama.” The Australian says, “I miss moi mama too but she’s moils away.” This is my daughter’s story, not mine.

My hangers are gone

April 19th, 2021 by kayak woman

A couple weeks ago I cleaned out the closet in the Purple Room. Including the hangers.

How does one acquire hoard hangers? When I was a young Clothes Horse, I used to own a lot of things that needed dry-cleaning so that was one source of my hoard. Once I went to pick up my cleaned clothes and they COULDN’T FIND THEM! After a bit of discussion where I provided a high-level description of my clothing, the gal suddenly said something like OH THE COLORFUL STUFF! Yes yes yes yes, that would be me…

I can’t remember the last time I sent clothes to a dry-cleaner. My wardrobe for YEARS while still pretty colorful has been completely warshing-musheenable. 99% of the time I use one setting. Occasionally I use the hand wash setting but that’s usually when I want to wash a wool blanket. There are things (including blankets) I don’t put in the dryer and with any luck, if I’m at the laundromat, I don’t put them in somebody else’s car…

The dry-cleaner was only one source of my Hanger Hoard. I also bought plastic hangers from various discount stores to hang teenage children’s clothing and, while I was still schlepping to Cubelandia, hangers that handle multiple skirts. Because I am a skirt gal.

The weather was pretty good over the weekend so I put my box of hangers out on the curb. I didn’t expect much interest in free hangers butchya nevah know what people will pick up. I did not advertise them on Nextdoor neighbor because I didn’t really want to incite any arguments for or against “socialism” or whatever. I just wanted to get rid of some hangers.

The GG got into the rhythm of curbside hanger box and he put them out again today. Sometime in the afternoon, my hyper-local weather app notified me of impending drizzle. I started putting my shoes on to go out and retrieve the box and… It wasn’t there. Yay! Except… Later on I found out that the GG had put the box behind the tree where I couldn’t see it.

People have taken some hangers and we’ll get rid of the rest eventually. I do know that Kiwanis Thrift will take them but they have had difficulties opening up and taking donations because, well you know why. They are being careful like all of us need to be (vax or not) but all of us are not.

Dishcloth diva?

April 18th, 2021 by kayak woman

Yes, it is a knitted dishcloth. I made it yesterday.

I really like to do various kinds of fiber arts. Unfortunately, for the last few years, I haven’t had the right kind of guzzinto to finish (or even start) such prodjects. I got all excited about visible mending a while back. I even bought a couple books and some sashiko thread. After one attempt to patch a hole in one of my fave toad boyfriend skirts, I picked the entire thing out. I was using regular embroidery thread, the kind you can get at the dime store and it wasn’t working for me. But I still haven’t broken out the sashiko.

Dishcloths you ask? Lemme see, a few years ago, a north country trail friend handed out knitted dishcloths at our winter weekend at Tahquamenon [paused this year – you know why]. I got two of them and I put them in my dishcloth drawer but they were too “cute” to use. Finally, a few months ago, I gave them a try. I LOVE them. Then I got to thinking, hmmm, I bet there are a bazillion patterns for these out on them thar inter-tubes. I do know how to knit and this is the kind of bite-sized prodject that IIIII might actually be able to FINISH! Maybe it’ll jump-start me?

I did some googling and of course there are patterns on the internet. In the end I bought a book. I read novels, etc., on my phone but for fiber arts instructions, I like an actual book. I also researched dishcloth yarn (cotton!) and ordered some plus some needles because I donated all of my old knitting needles to the Scrap Box a few years ago. Yes I well know ordering yarn and related supplies on the internet could turn into a dangereuse trend.

This is my first attempt. I could not for the life of me REMEMBER HOW TO CAST ON! I have a venerable old needlework “bible” that solved that problem. Knit and purl are ingrained in me and I picked a pattern that didn’t go beyond that into YO or K2tog, etc., even though I know I can relearn those. Nevertheless, I fumbled at first and after about five rows I had to frog the whole thing and start over. The second time was the charm and here’s the result. It’s not the most elegant item anyone ever knitted but it is FINISHED! The jury is out on whether or not it’ll jump-start me into other kinds of prodjects.

P.S. I am NOT the Dishcloth Diva. But there is such a person. A little like the Yarn Harlot maybe? I bought one of her books but I am NOT trying to usurp her title.

The Landfill Backyard is open for business again

April 17th, 2021 by kayak woman

A tentative plan for today was to tow the Lyme Lounge out to a state park, park it, and read (and drink a wee bit of liquid courage). Last year, the Lyme Lounge came home just in time for the pandemic and it gave us a way to escape our house for a change of scenery in those early, scary days. I mean, I still think the pandemic is scary but we have learned a lot since then and there are vaxxes (and some of us are vaxxed) and it’s a LOT easier to arrange contact-free pickup/delivery grocks and take-out food and, uh, other things…

So we lolly-gagged in our own way throughout the morning. The GG futzed with cleaning the Lyme Lounge (I’m sure it needed it) and figuring out the details of its lucky-shuckial system. I did my Saturday chores and started working on a new little prodject so when he said he didn’t think he was being much fun today, I told him that was okay because I was busy.

It wasn’t too long after that that I received a text message from my cuz npJane inviting herself over to the Landfill Backyard after work. YES YES YES YES! I hadn’t seen npJane since her sister and fam were in town and we met over at my Dear Uncle Harry’s house (npJane’s dad) for pizza. Was it October? We were masked and distanced on Harry’s deck and most people had isolated. But. Uh, THAT WAS SIX MONTHS AGO! We really hadn’t seen each other since then?

Tentative plans for hanging at a state park were immediately abandoned. The weather was nice enough today it probably wouldda been hard to find a suitable parking place for Mooon Yooonit and the Lyme Lounge anyway. The GG suggested a faaaar in the backyard and I enthusiastically agreed.

So much fun. And I learned a new use for face masks! When the smoke from the camp fire comes in your direction, you can put the mask over your eyes. I think I will keep my masks when (and if) we ever move beyond COVID for that purpose if for no other reason except that my mouse made them for us, even though she was busy working at a GROCERY STORE at the time 🧡🧡🧡

Here’s to socializing again even if it still happens in the back yard and it will for a while, at least at the Landfill. Love y’all, KW!

Livin’ on a loop

April 16th, 2021 by kayak woman

News from Our Northern Correspondent arrived this morning (she sent me some pics and videos her husband took and I asked for permission to post a couple). For the second time in my memory somebody veered off the nicely paved Birch Point Loop onto Chickadee, the gravel two-track road that leads down to our cabins on the moominbeach, and crashed into trees.

I do NOT know what happened but I can only guess that the driver was whaling down the hill going north on Birch Point Loop and missed/forgot the fact that it hangs a left at the bottom of the hill. If you go straight, you’re on Chickadee. If you don’t slow down when you enter Chickadee, you are likely to hit something, hopefully trees and not an oncoming vee-hickle. Chickadee looks like a tunnel when the deciduous foliage grows in. The yooperland isn’t there yet.

The last time this happened, the car caught fire and the driver was thrown out and died. My cousin Grinch found the burned car on his way to work the next morning but fortunately did not see the driver. This time the driver escaped and abandoned the car. Drunk? That would be my guess. The state police apparently knew who owned the car but not who was driving it.

UPDATE!!! I was WRONG WRONG WRONG about how yesterday’s accident happened. I shouldda asked for more details. See my cousin Jan’s comment below for an accurate description from some who was THERE!

My grandfather and his friends built the first iteration of Birch Point Loop, at least the part that goes down the hill. This is one of those moments I wish I could ask my parents to verify my memories of what they told me. The road was very primitive in those days. Unlikely for anyone to be able to go fast enough to miss the turn and anyway no turn to miss.

Eventually Birch Point Loop became a county road and my early memories of it were that it was two lane but gravel. My *earliest* memory of it was my first (?) time going to the cabin. I was 5-6 months old lying on the back seat of our old black Ford and I could hear the susurration of the pine trees in the persistent breeze off Gitchee Gumee, aka the northwest wind.

Later on when we had our dog Tigger, there was a little routine. Tigger would be totally freaked out on the first leg of the trip. Why? Because we were on the road that also led to the vet. Once we turned right at Pine Grove Cemetery, she would switch over to excitement because she knew WE WERE GOING TO THE CABIN! When we got to Birch Point Loop, dad would take her collar off and let her out of the car to run the rest of the way. 25 miles per hour!

Eventually Birch Point Loop was paved and although I wouldn’t call it a busy raceway, you can get up to a pretty good speed on the straightaway that goes down the hill. Watch for deer though. And bears. And that turn.

So glad this person was [apparently] not injured, at least not seriously, and didn’t injure or kill anyone else.