Random bits of my so-called life.

Flocking

October 30th, 2014 by kayak woman

Oh dear. It’s the day before Halloween. Do you know what that means? That means that the LSCHP recruits a little gaggle of his minions to flock somebody’s cube. Of course, he recruits the minions that sit closest to his office and that includes yer fav-o-rite blahgger. I am not the best at holiday decorations so I accepted the invitation with a wee bit of trepidation but y’know, when the LSCHP invites you to a flocking operation, you *go* to the flocking operation. At least we weren’t sent on any missions to Woldemort this year. He schlepped all of the paraphernalia in himself and obviously had a great time picking it all out including some Harlequin-type romance paperbacks. I do *not* understand what those were about so I guess it’s an inside joke. Probably one I don’t want to know about [grin].

Last year, we flocked the Queen Bee’s office. We did it on the morning of Halloween and I was late because it was my Coffee Day and they joshed me about being late, then handed me a bunch of stuff to blow up. Inflatable stuff, I mean. A black cat and a witch’s hat and I fergit what else. I do have the lungs for that kind of task and that stuff is still hanging around the Queen Bee’s office. Nothing like working with a witch over your head.

This year our flocking operation involved skeletons and what I can only call “wraiths”. I *love* the “wraiths” and if I weren’t into a flinging stage of life, I would buy some for the Landfill but I am flinging, so there won’t be any “wraiths” anytime soon. We hung the “wraiths” from the ceiling. Fortunately, FZ is right across the “street” from the LSCHP, because he is the only one of us tall enough to stand on a desk and hang things from the ceiling. Of course, there is also a big stepladder around somewhere. I know because they did a wee bit of flocking in my office when I *finally* returned full-tilt boogie to my cube after The Comm died and they left the ladder in my cube. Here I was wondering something like, “Do I still have a job or not?” I knew as soon as I saw the ladder (and then the welcome back sign) that I did. Whew! Not everyone has that kind of employment situation and I appreciated that my superiors had the confidence that I would return and become productive again. But I digress. We didn’t commandeer the stepladder today and FZ got up on the desk to hang the “wraiths”.

So tonight is Devil’s Night or Angel’s Night or whatever you want to call it. Given that last year we had something like *seven* trick-or-treaters, my vote went for bagging Halloween and walking down to the Oscar Tango. The GG still wants to do Halloween, it turns out, so I made him at least put up some orange lights, etc. I guess we are committed now since last night we ran onto our neighbor upon returning from Knight’s and she assured us that her sons would be out. As usual, I have a big bag of quality snack-size candy bars. I will liberally hand it out to any kid who comes by and hope that buses minivans drop off kids from neighborhoods where trick-or-treat isn’t as lucrative. Maybe my neighbor will adopt whatever is left? Otherwise it’ll sit around here until xmas and my beach urchins will taunt me about it [wink].

I had nothing in mind to blahg about so this is all random blather and there is no photoooo because I am on a photography “diet”. I am down to 5030 photos (from 8000 or thereabouts) on my iPhone. And counting. Yeah, I posted a photo last night. Like I have always said, I have “rules” for my blahg but I break them if I damn well want to and y’all should too!

It might be cool to put our outdoor faaarplace in the driveway and sit out there with our candy tomorrow night. It’s supposed to be chilly tomorrow but we can dress for that and maybe if the parents who almost always accompany their kids around here could see that we are just baggy old parents of grown-up trick-or-treaters, they might be more comfortable with letting their kids trick-or-treat at our house.

Love y’all and please come and trick-or-treat at my house,
Kayak Woman

Jane was a dancer, she never said the answer…

October 29th, 2014 by kayak woman

knightswitch

My cuzzint Sally wanted me to send this photooo to her sister, saying that it was her. Sally, that is. Sorry, I can’t do that. I mean I can send the pitcher but Sally does not look like an ugly Halloween-style witch at all. She is a beautiful woman and one that I have loved and looked up to since I was a small child.

So we met Sally and her husband over at our neighborhood steakhouse / pub tonight and had so much fun we just about had to drag ourselves out of there. Every time I talk to Sally it seems we uncover more little tidbits about the shared parts of our lives. Things that I didn’t know or sorta knew but wasn’t sure about the details. Things that she didn’t know or sorta knew but wasn’t sure about the details. I won’t say any more about that. I will say that I have the best cousins (and cousins once and twice removed et al ad infinitum). So glad to have such a wonderful bunch of family members on both parents’ sides.

And then there was the moment we got home. We walked, of course, because that’s what we always do. And… The GG couldn’t find his iPhone. He quickly ascertained that it was back at the restaurant. I was grumbling and grumping about how stoopid he could be to leave his iPhone in a restaurant. He took off in the Frog Hopper to [hopefully] retrieve his iPhone. When he returned maybe 15 minutes later, not only did he have his iPhone, he had my wondrous Maple Leaf Backpack!!! Which I had LEFT AT KNIGHT’S!!! There was nothing of value in that backpack but it is my all time fave backpack. And yes I am eating crow right now for being snarky to the GG about leaving his iPhone over there. Pride *always* goes before a fall. Never fergit that! I know my nine reglears [sic] don’t.

And just for fun, here’s Eileen from the early days of MTV. Too-ra-loo-ra-too-ra-loo-rye-ay.

Whiiiiiine

October 28th, 2014 by kayak woman

Oh not me, not that there aren’t things I could whine about if I so choose. I’m talking about the Leaf Blower Season, which is in full force around these parts. I think the GG cleaned up the leaves *twice* over the weekend. He uses a lawnmower and rake, not a leaf blower, even though we have one. Today it doesn’t look like he did one thing. ’tis the season. I used to do a lot of the raking but, although I enjoy it, it’s one household chore I haven’t been sorry to give up since I embarked on my third career or whatever it is.

We used to have an annual city leaf pickup, where we would rake all of the leaves into the street and the city would come around and scoop them up into dump trucks and haul them off to a compost facility. We don’t do that any more. It wasn’t the most efficiently run system I’ve ever encountered. I can still remember the time they scheduled our second pickup in December and it ended up snowing a foot that day. Those leaves were there until spring. Fortunately the first pickup got the bulk. I still miss the leaf pickup.

Nowadays we are supposed to figure out how to dispose of our leaves ourselves. We have to compost them since burning things in your backyard is largely prohibited, which is a good thing given that if everyone in the Tree City burned all of their leaves, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to breathe. But, as one local wag said, if you have a yard that is knee-deep in leaves and one handy-dandy compost cart that gets picked up once a week, you have a problem. In full disclosure, we somehow have *two* handy-dandy compost carts and a couple of compost heaps in our yard but it’s still a lot of leaves.

A lot of people complain about the whine of leaf-blowers during the fall. They don’t bother me all that much really. I am up and out walking before most people are up and thinking about leaf-blowing and then I am busy and then I am at work all day so I don’t really hear a lot of it. After work today, I noticed the whine. The memory it brought back? The time our cable modem crapped out and Com[pick-yer-expletive] sent a Serial Killer out to replace it. I’m not going to repeat that story [again] tonight. It was creepy at the time but after the SK left, it very quickly turned into black comedy. What I remember most is that one of the times the SK was in the Landfill Dungeon, I was looking out the back door hoping that my neighbor Hans would appear in his back yard. I love the folks who bought his house but I miss that old guy. We share a fairly significant history with him and his wife, children and grandchildren and there were many good times when the kids were young.

Anyway, ’tis the season. Yesterday it was warmer outside than in when we got home from work. Fortunately the GG agreed with that assessment and opened doors instead of jacking up the thermostat. This morning? My lightning app (and then a couple flashes off in the distance) curtailed my 0-skunk-30 prowl. A little cooler this afternoon but still pretty nice out. The S-word is in our future. This Friday. Halloween. Halloween here in the armpit of the GLS is a mixed bag weather-wise. I have stood in the driveway in bare feet on Halloween. I have sent the beach urchins out with winter jackets over their costumes on Halloween. We’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of Polar Vortex scare-mongering floating around these parts.

Photoshoot

October 27th, 2014 by kayak woman

My older beach urchin spent the night here last night. She had to sleep on one of the couches in the Back Room because the bed in the Guest Bedroom is [again] full of crap despite multiple trips to Kiwanis. My goal is to have it clear by Thanksgiving. Think I’ll make it?

So we tiptoed around this morning even though I knew that Lizard Breath would probably not sleep very late since she has a responsible job and had to drive back to DayTwa. But still, being suddenly awakened by bright lights and noise, etc…. Well, we tried but I did have to empty the dishwasher…

She did indeed get up before the sun came up and I think she hit Zingerman’s @plummarket before hitting the I94 18-wheel Slogway. I certainly didn’t provide breakfast but I know that she didn’t expect me to. I had to get to work too. But I worked from home for a bit this morning. While Liz was still here, she caught me rummaging in the Monster Closet. “Whatcha doing mom?” “Deciding what to wear today.”

I was just trying to find a Work Outfit for the day. Not that hard, given my job and wardrobe. But. Why did I work from home for a bit this morning? Because DreamMaker Kitchens is putting MY kitchen up for a design award. All I had to do this morning was sign my life away but I didn’t clearly explain that to my Lizard and so I think she thought that they would take photos of my chitchen (and maybe meeeee). No…. They already have pitchers of my chitchen. I’m sure that they have asked other folks to sign off on this award thing who have declined. Me? YOLO.

BTW I loved that the young woman who came to get my signature had kind of dark pink dyed hair. Once back in the dark ages, I let some teenagers make a purple “streak” in my hair. They did a good job but my hair isn’t conducive to having a “streak” so it was more like a Random Blotch. My current (loverly) little slot in Corporate America bends over backwards to allow casual dress. That results in some pretty weird outfits but I am not sure they would tolerate purple hair blotches and that’s okay with me, especially given my last experience with purple dye [grin].

When I was a young high-school type whippersnapper, people probably dyed their hair but only natural colors. I didn’t except for Sun In (google it) but wigs were another fad and I wore them! I had a short blonde one, a dark brown bob (which did NOT fit my coloring at all) and a “dishwater blonde” shag — which was probably the most appropriate. I do not have photos of any of those in my iPhone or anywhere. Sorry.

I wanted to say how much I loved this young woman’s hair but I didn’t quite get there. But y’know, We were meeting for a business purpose and, as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t really care what her hair looked like and that’s how it should be!

No boots today

October 26th, 2014 by kayak woman

The college students are all buying them up. LL Bean Maine hunting shoes in particular. Why? I do not know. Are they suddenly fashionable or whatever? Could be. An anti-Imelda Marcos thing? I do not know. I actually own an ancient pair. Or maybe not. An exhaustive rummage through the front closet via the GG doesn’t seem to be turning them up. Maybe I got rid of them? I think I probably did. This is what passes for breaking news around here.

“We’ve” given up looking for my old Maine hunting boots now. I am sure that I did get rid of them. I just don’t remember when. I’ve been flinging for something like eight years now. Which fling was it? They weren’t my faves and I didn’t think either one of the beach urchins would *ever* want them. Why? Of course I had fergotten that kids grow up and… well I am outta words. But still, my feet are a size larger than my childrens’ feet so those boots would be too big and, having taken a hike in an ANCIENT (think 1940s) pair of The Comm’s old boots, I wouldn’t wish the misery of taking a hike in your mother’s long-unused and ill-fitting shoes on anyone.

LL Bean’s shtick is that college students are buying up all the Main Hunting Shoes but I can’t help wondering if the dearth is also due to fears of another Polar Vortex type winter.

Yesterday we tried to order a face cord of wood. At least I think it was a face cord of wood. I am not exactly “up” on woodpile measurement terms. I can stack it though. Except that I always seem to do “something” wrong. We did find some wood but it took a while. All of the usual suspects were sold out. Why? I think everyone expects another Polar Vortex type winter. I have stacked many face cords of wood back in the day when the GG was the main bread-winner and I schlepped kids around and did not contribute cash to the household economy. I could’ve helped yesterday but the GG seemed to be having his own fun and I was glad not to have to help.

We’ll close this with the GG and I responding simultaneously to a music question with “Mellow Yellow“. In jeopardy fashion, does anyone know what the question was?

Text when you get to Colleen’s house

October 25th, 2014 by kayak woman

bffAnd so we did. Parents are home safe.

Getting around in Daytwa continues to be a bit like a canoe, aka a fight. The GPS says to do one thing. The GG wants to do something different. What the hey? He grew up at 12 Mile and Woodward and he and his ugly twin brother were known to hop the bus downtown and over into Windsor, which is in Cananananada. I think that country generally sent them home. Another activity, once they got their drivers licenses was to see if they could drive down into Detroit and back during their high school lunch hour.

You would think that the GG would know exactly where he was going in the Detroit area. I guess he does, sorta. But Detroit is confusing and the freeways intersect in odd places and it’s easy to get off track. But we did get where we were going and wouldn’t you know, we had a good time at our 30-year-old’s birthday. We were the *only* people there who were of the “older” generation. Which was to be expected because why would anyone else drive an hour away to attend their child’s friend’s birthday party. Our daughter hasn’t had a birthday party attended by *us* since she was 17. But what a great time!

It was a slow start for yer fav-o-rite not-very-social blahgger but after she used the bathroom and someone tried to walk in on her (because the door didn’t lock), there was an opportunity for her to talk about outhouses, especially outhouses without doors, like the one yer fave grew up with, her parental units being too cheap to build a door. Oh shoot, I fergot to tell about the vampires and werewolves that hung around out there. Oh well.

Not saying that I was ever the life of the party tonight but that seemed to turn the tide for me to be at least a bit social (or maybe it was the 3rd glass of whine?) and I had such a great time! Hey, just look at these beautiful young women! Lemme see. My two daughters there on the left. And then. A surprise visitor from Cali (yes, really) aka a friend from middle school. And the kid from around the corner, who we first met when she was a two-month-old in a stroller (and Liz was five months). Who knew that these kids would form such long-term friendships, except for those who are sisters and have no choice.

Life can be good if you want it to be!

Love you all,
KW

Add-a-pic

October 25th, 2014 by kayak woman

And I may later on so check back if you are bored enough to watch paint dry again. I could’ve taken photos today. The Farmer’s Market. Another Ninja load of boxes dropped off at Kiwanis. The wood delivery in preparation for the upcoming Polar Vortex. The GG sitting outside in the sun (or napping in front of the feetsball game). Miller Woods. But I am kind of done done done with photoooos for the moment. If you are one of my nine readers, you may remember me saying a while back that I had 8000 photos on my iPhone, roight? Well, I am now down to 7000! When I get down to about a thousand or two, I will back up my iPhone (yeah Sam, I know [wink]), and do an IOS upgrade.

Deleting photos on an iPhone is painful work because, as far as I know, you can only do it one… photo… at… a… time… If I am being a simpleton and there is a way that I do not know about, please let me know. And Simpleton seems to be my main career these days, so there well could be.

Actually, even if there is an easier way, I still feel like I have to go through them one by one. There are an amazing number of duplicates and fuzzies and just plain uglies. Delete. A few where my phone decided to take a pitcher of the ground. Delete. Bad photos of lake freighters. Whey do I bother when I can just look them up on Boatnerd? Delete delete delete. Then there are the pics where I photographed some piece of mail and texted its owner to let her know it had arrived. Or I photographed some long lost item and texted its owner, “Do you still want this?”

But then there are those that I actually want. The first 1000 were pretty painful because they documented the last couple months of The Commander’s life and the ensuing year or thereabouts. That time period was a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other blur to me and today’s pitcher blitz was a nostalgia trip I didn’t exactly ask for. I saved some and quickly deleted others. The lighted up bottle sitting on the commode (that she couldn’t use any more because she was totally bedridden by then) in her hoosegow room? Delete it! Quick! I did save one of about five photos of the TV in her room at FV the night she watched Obama give the State of the Union address. That once staunch Republican voter didn’t live to vote for Obama again.

Partay tonight. Not staying at the casino. Even the GG doesn’t seem all that interested. I was worried that he’d be entranced by the idea. But we’ll be schlepping back tonight. I can’t won’t do my Skunk Walk in downtown Daytwa and there is much to do here at the Landfill tomorrow, culminating in one of those boring family birthday dinners.

If I get a *good* partay pic, I’ll post it. For today, I am kind of done with photos. But I already said that.

I shouldda known that Daisy was hidden

October 24th, 2014 by kayak woman

Especially after seeing that her owner’s mail had been opened. Didn’t really think much about it though. I was struggling more with the question of “did I run the dishwasher last night or not?” Yes. It turned out that I did. And then put a few dirty things in it. This dishwasher is actually sooooo quiet that it’s easy to fergit it’s on. Mid-price-range Bosch ($700-something? I fergit). Love it. The GG had every blasted dishwasher in Big George opened with all the drawers pulled out. I was getting a little queasy, so I left him to play with the dishwashers, took the salesman aside and said, “mid-price dishwasher that’ll clean *all* the dishes, even the ones on the top rack, and won’t break down”. Dishes sparkle and KW is happy.

Moving on. Next week will probably be the last time I will walk through Miller Woods on my way downtown for Friday dinner at the Oscar Tango until maybe sometime in late January. A week from tomorrow, it’ll be getting dark by the time I get home from work and I’ll be taking it to the streets at that point.

downtown1

And West Park.

downtown2

I always text the folks at the Oscar Tango from the Drop Acid, Not Bombz! bridge. That’s their cue to order me a ‘hattan. The name comes from some graffiti on the bridge a few years ago. I have a pitcher of it somewhere but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna look for it now. I didn’t think this old bridge ever got used any more but it does. A creaky old freight train comes into town early every morning, crossing a series of old bridges including this one. I like this photooo a lot. It has a creaky old railroad bridge, some lucky-shuckial / phone waaaars, a new building that I find myself liking more than I want to and a tree! I do not like that big pole. Oh well.

downtown3

It became clear when I entered the Oscar Tango that Daisy was parked around the corner from The Landfill because Mouse was at the OT. And then some minor excitement happened across the street when a car had to be towed out of Bill’s Beer Garden so that esteemed establishment could open for the evening. Mouse’s roommate (who works across the street) was managing the whole thing and the Civic Theatre folk, who were watching it from their round table, alerted us to what was happening so Mouse went over to check things out. This little event provided much entertainment to all of us. Obviously it doesn’t take much, does it?

downtown4

Mouse stayed downtown to meet up with Lairi the Rake and we scampered along back up to The Landfill, passing the Blind Pig and the Millennium Club or whatever they call it now.

downtown5

Once way back when, I met my cuzzint The Grinchie at the Blind Pig. I was waiting for him *alone* at the bar, feeling nervous about getting hit on, and sure enough I *did* in fact get hit on. Sigh. I told the nice young men predators I was meeting my cousin and I think they were thinking my “cousin” would be some wimpy little guy or whatever. And then my *cousin* the GRINCH walked in! They walked back all their crap PDQ! Funny that nowadays I do not get nervous about sitting at a bar alone to wait for someone. It’s partly that baggy old kayak women don’t generally attract the attention of random men but it’s also because I have an iPhone to keep me company.

Will you look at this long rambly bunch of blather? Can you believe I didn’t think I had anything to say tonight? Well, maybe I didn’t have much to say but I sure spewed out a lot of words. Good night. I need to get up and schlep down to the farmer’s market early tomorrow morning. And then there are the Saturday chores and a trip to the Kiwanis drop off. And and and… A feetsball game on TV tomorrow afternoon (for the GG, not me) and a birthday party tomorrow night. Should we get a room at the casino or schlep back to The Planet tomorrow? On the fence and time will tell.

Good night,
KW

Moooooo

October 23rd, 2014 by kayak woman

babylizbuttsI think that this photoooo is from about the last summer I wore a bikini. When I was a young whipper-snapper, I owned maybe six bikinis at a time. Maybe one ultra-cute one-piece for good measure. Nowadays, I am kinda between the two Grand Old Dames also in the photo — my dad’s always-skinny Amazon-woman sister Radical Betty and my, well, not-so-skinny (but very active) moom, The Commander. Bikini.

I didn’t post this pitcher to show meeeee in a bikini. I wanted to post a newborn pitcher of my first cute little blonde baby on her birthday. But searching the 30K photos in my iPhoto is a challenge and when I stumbled upon this one early on, I decided I would post it instead, even though that newborn is something like 20 months old here. It’s one of my all-time faves.

Aaaaaannnnnd… Guess what? Today is this cute little blonde baby’s birthday. It is a significant one, if you know what I mean. My parenting job has largely been done for years so I have been reflecting a bit on all those years. Yesterday, I talked about trying (and failing) not to give my neighbor advice about the child he and his spouse are expecting. What would I say if someone actually *asked* me for advice? Well…

The best things I think I did were: 1) Talking to them as if they were human beings (aka, no baby talk). 2) READING READING READING READING to them from the earliest age possible anywhere and any time! Before bed, in bed, at the breakfast table, in the car, on the beach (Indian in the Cupboard, anyone), wherever. 3) Dark Walk. 4) Always lifeguarding kids who swam anywhere, the Moominbeach, Houghton Lake, wherever.

I won’t list all of the bad things that I did. Well I will maybe list a few of them because most of us do them. We raise our voices. We try to direct kids into paths that they are not interested in or suited for. We buy too much crap for them (if we can afford to buy too much crap). We over-explain things. Etc. I’ve lost this train of thought but we do these things because we are not trained to be parents — no one is — and sometimes we encounter situations we don’t know how to handle and we handle them badly. One day at a time…

I regret everything I have ever done wrong as a parent but my significant birthday kid beautiful young woman has put it all in perspective for me by saying that no matter what happened here in The Landfill, she and her younger sister felt safe. Occasionally one of us parents would get angry and yell about something but overall there was an atmosphere of love and tolerance here in the Landfill. Thank you!

Anyway, the cute little blonde baby in the photooo grew up to be a beautiful Amazon-type woman who navigates through life with an aplomb that I can only begin to approximate.

Happy 30th to my beautiful and beloved first-born. I am so proud of you.

How the heck did I do all that in one hour?

October 22nd, 2014 by kayak woman

cranesClosed up my work laptop, drove home, put all my work stuff away, processed the mail, walked over to the Plum Market and back, and talked to my neighbor — baby in March plus phd stuff. I definitely understand the baby stuff but I don’t understand the phd stuff, being a lowly info-tech worker with a dusty old music degree. Anyway. Whew! One hour! It definitely helps that the portion of Jackson that snarled up my commute all summer is largely done done done and they have installed a SECOND LEFT TURN SIGNAL for those of us who exit the I94 18-wheel Slogway, hang a right and then *try* to hang a louie onto N. Maple. Thank you Zeus!

You guys? What the heck am I gonna do about winter tennies this year? Besides stretch another year out of my moth-eaten old LL Beans ones, that is. The ones that they don’t make [correctly] any more. I have very specific requirements. They have to be comfortable. They have to be comfortable. They cannot have laces that you have to tie. I cannot abide laces. They have to be comfortable. They have to be comfortable. They have to be warm. They have to be lightweight. Iyam not climbing mountains around here. They have to be comfortable. They have to be comfortable. I need to be able to strap YakTrax (and sometimes snowshoes) onto them. They have to be comfortable. Did I say that they have to be comfortable. I HATE to shop. I especially hate to shop in person but I may have to. Old Man Winter is showing us glimpses of his grizzled old face. Lows in the upper 20s tonight? I need to be ready. Note to self: order some YakTrax! Now!

I had to laugh. I spent a sniggly little bit of time over the weekend “helping” demo an old storefront in Detroit so that my daughter’s friend could renovate it and move a pie-baking (etc.) business into it. Lots of young folks were helping and a few baggy old kayak women. At one point, there were some inquiries into introductions among the young folks and I wasn’t exactly included. That was okay with me. It isn’t even the nitsy-est nit. I was into the zen of peeling old wallpaper off a wall and I am almost never a social butterfly and these were all really nice people and I was with my daughter and I had a *great* time even though I didn’t feel like I was a whole lot of help. Then my beach urchin asked me the question, “Moom, do you think we’ll have another Polar Vortex this winter?” The only answer I can give to that is, “I don’t know.” But then, somehow we got on to typical winters in the southeastern Great Lake State and I *can* speak to that and, when I mentioned that I had grown up in the Yooperland, I sensed that people took a wee bit of notice. Because last year’s winter was much like the ones we had up there in the Yooperland. The ones where we could walk on top of the snowbanks to get to school.

Oh yeah, the Sandhill Cranes. Ho-hum. Walked outside this afternoon to put something in the Ninja (or take something out of it, I don’t remember). Three of these guys! Sorry about the pixelated photo. You know I only use an iPhone camera and you know that you get what you get.

Oh, did I give the young man next door any advice about having a baby? I don’t think so. I did tell him that I wouldn’t give him any advice but then I think I talked about how it’s easy to take the first baby anywhere you want to go but once you have two (or more) it gets challenging. If I could revisit the conversation, I think I would say something like, “My advice to you is to not listen to any advice from baggy old kayak women like me.”

Paintin’ mah livin’ room purple

October 21st, 2014 by kayak woman

dablI’m not really doing that. It refers to a long ago incident in which a wonderful neighborhood friend of mine painted her living room Royal Purple while her then husband and their sons were off on a weekend boy scout camping trip. Surprise! Alas, that friend divorced her then husband and moved out of the neighborhood and I rarely see her any more but she is remarried and doing very well and her ex-husband hangs around with her and her not-so-new-these-days husband nowadays. They all traveled to Europe together this summer. Go figger.

Actually I do have a Royal Purple Room in my house. It is one of the beach urchins bedrooms. Not all of the walls are Royal Purple. Some of them are dark blue. I am okay with this although eventually I will probably repaint those walls (or more likely, hire someone to repaint them because I hate painting walls or anything). It was kind of fun when my beach urchin was painting them though. The neighbors across the street thought there were Mynah Bird cages in our front living room and I threatened what family was around that we wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving turkey unless the mess in my living room was removed. The answer was, “So, we’ll have ham!” No. And [most of] the mess did get cleaned up.

Where am I? I am kind of taarrrred. I was writing this much earlier and then I got distracted by many things so I kinda fergot where the heck I was. You get what you get.

Ebola Clostridium difficile

October 20th, 2014 by kayak woman

aliensIf you are sick and tired or hearing / reading about the ebola virus, go watch paint dry somewhere else. You have my blessing. I am not an expert about ebola or any other infectious disease. Good-bye. Seeya when I paint the Landfill Living Room purple.

In this post, I am really not writing about the ebola virus specifically. I am writing about my own horrific experiences dealing with a relative who contracted a different infectious disease, Clostridium difficile, commonly referred to around hospitals and nursing homes, etc., as C. diff. C. diff is not ebola. It is contagious but healthy people don’t often catch it and I didn’t, even though I spent many days in a hospital room with a woman who suffered greatly from it, aka my mother.

We had already made several emergency trips to the yooperland during the fall preceding my mother’s contraction of C. diff and her subsequent death. Each of those other times, we would visit with her in the hospital and all of us would joke around with the nursing staff. There were some iffy moments but generally she would recover and take the bus ambulance the several blocks back to her beautiful little assisted living apartment. She lost a little ground each time but she was still totally with it mentally and determined to move forward.

This time? OMG! We got there and had to “suit up”. Gown, mask, booties, glubs. New ones every single time we entered the room. What? I don’t want to dis the staff at that small hoosegow but no one explained to me what C. diff was when we first got there. They just shoved gear at us. I think someone shoved a piece of paper at me at one point. I’m pretty sure I didn’t read it with my deathly ill mother over there moaning in her hospital bed.

After a couple days, the trash was overflowing with used gowns and stuff. When were they gonna pick that stuff up? Then there was the changing protocol for how to secure the room. For most of the duration, the door was open (that would be my preference). One nurse researched C. diff and totally freaked out and I had to endure an entire day of isolation in my mom’s room. With the door shut. Yet they didn’t care if I left, etc. An arrogant doc made a visit and cavalierly said, “I don’t know why they are doing all of this.” Well, for one thing *you* are in here for five minutes a day tops. More “lowly” staff members are in and out all day. *I* am here for hours on end! Geesh!

What I am trying to say here is that I do not think that all hospitals, even in our first-world country, can be relied on to handle infectious diseases appropriately. Every time I read about Mr. Duncan’s horrific sojourn in the Dallas hospital, I think about all of the “protective gear” I threw into an overflowing bin in my mother’s hospital room where she was dying in a way that she didn’t want. I don’t think that anyone caught C. diff from all that stuff but ebola may (or may not) have been a different story.

I am scared about ebola too, make no mistake. I know that my chances of contracting it are practically nil. I think that the symptoms that lead to that death are horrific. I have had a few vomiting / diarrhea viruses in my time but, as horrific as they were, I always knew that I would resurface and I did. Ebola is a scary thing. It seems like we haven’t figured out the contagious period though. Why did so many of Thomas Duncan’s relatives *not* get ebola but two of his nurses did?

I’ll leave that for all of you to think about.

Remember these?

October 19th, 2014 by kayak woman

imacMine was a loverly strawberry iMac. I remember the day it arrived. It was January 1999. I fergit exactly what happened to our previous Apple computer but it was always kind of a doggy thing and a power surge crippled it further. When it finally died, we did NOT incorporate it into an art prodject.

I had just accepted a new “job” as the administrator of a local youth theatre organization, the one the beach urchins hung around with. We had just finished a huge December production of Peter Pan with Flying by Foy and the whole works. Lizard Breath was one of three Wendys and a few other things too. I don’t remember exactly what role Mouse had but I think it was one of the lost boys (and probably a few other things too). I remember that there was a big to-do about the role of Nana but it didn’t involve my kids and I don’t remember the details.

No sooner than I accepted my new “job”, which was offered to me partly because of my rather extensive skills at bullying computers into doing useful things, did my computer crap out. We are not anywhere near the 1% nowadays and back in *those* days, we were way down buried in the 47% or whatever. New computer? Ouch! But this was back in the day of one ‘puter per family and we needed one, so we bit the bullet and ordered the strawberry iMac.

Since I “worked” wherever I was in those days, home, rehearsal or theatre venue (the pay was crap but the job wasn’t all bad!), I was home the day the Strawberry iMac was scheduled to arrive. I was waiting… And then, wouldn’t you know that my 9th grade Commie High student called me. Mom, I’m sick, please come get me. I left a note for Fedex to leave the pkg on the porch, I’d be right back and I scooted downtown to pick up my kid. When we arrived home, the Fedex guy was leaving the pkg on the porch. I explained to him what I’d been doing and he told me that, with the note I wrote, he would’ve left the pkg on the porch. It’s a pretty safe neighborhood here. Nobody even stole the newspaper this morning. [grin]

I loved the strawberry iMac. It wasn’t a laptop but it was small enough that I was able to schlep it places. YAG stuff and Forsythe Science Fair stuff (where a kid thought I was a teacher because I had a “cool” computer. No, kiddo, teachers do not normally get “cool” computers… … …) I have a photoooo somewhere of the GG dropping off my beloved strawberry iMac at the Planet Ann Arbor reeeecycle center. It was sad but it was long dead and we really couldn’t keep it around any more.

Nanosaur was on the strawberry iMac. Anybody else remember that?

Love y’all,
KW

P.S. I finally remembered to switch the radio station over to WKAR and folk music and wouldn’t you know they were playing a folksy cover of You Were on My Mind, one of my all time fave songs. Will have to look up who did that cover.

Moom alone alert! Keep her outta trouble!

October 18th, 2014 by kayak woman

I bagged my Saturday morning hike to the farmer’s market today but not after much dithering and dathering. Can I walk down there and back and still get over to Daytwa in time for breakfast? The answer was probably yes but my brain wasn’t doing the math very well, so I did my regular 0-skunk-30 neighborhood prowl and then futzed around at the Landfill until it was time to drive.

What a fun day! I got to Lizard Breath’s place in Daytwa and, after a visit to her Water Closet, she commandeered my cute little Ninja and drove us via a rather circuitous route to Rose’s Fine Food. As you can see in the pitcher below, it doesn’t look like much but my Detroit beach urchin knows where to go for food and whine, etc., so I was not the least bit worried about the food or the experience. And both were fantastic. An ever-changing menu according to what is available. As usual, there was more food than either of us could eat, so I have a nice little zap-able breakfast for tomorrow morning. (“These potatoes would be good for breakfast.” — our beloved Grandpa Garth.)

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We went from there to a demolition site. One of Liz’s college buddies has a pie-baking biz and she is moving it into an abandoned store front and today was a Work Day so we spent an hour or so “helping” with that (the quotes being because I’m not sure that yer fav-o-rite blahgger was really all that much help). These young folks are taking a building previously owned / leased by a business called Xtreme Lashes…

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…into Sister Pie.

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We wore masks. I kind of pooh-poohed that idea at first but there WAS dust and we did need them. I doubt that my beach urchin needs a new social media profile pic but here is one if she wants it.

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And here on Instagram are two mother-daughter teams ready to get to work. You know I am the baggy old kayak woman-looking one (in the blue skirt).

We ended up scraping off old wallpaper for an hour or so and then we left. It was a lot of fun, especially talking to some of the young folks who have decided to move to Detroit. After another stop at Liz’s Water Closet, we hit up the MBAD African Bead Gallery. Oh how much fun was that? Long story short, the museum is outside (we could hear announcements from a Wayne State University football game as we were walking through it) but it was soooo much fun and we will be back.

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After the museum, we were kind of wondering what to do and it was a wee bit early for afternoon whine but we went to St. Cece’s pub and had some anyway.

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I wanted to sit there and drink whine all afternoon but I had to drive back to the Planet Ann Arbor and so I did. So much fun to spend the day in Detroit with my Detroit beach urchin. Love Love Love. That is about all.

Don’t look down (but no cleavage tonight)

October 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

All of the usual Oscar Tango suspects are up in the yooperland this weekend so I coerced my Mouse to walk downtown for dinner with me at the Jolly Pumpkin. Not that it took all that much coercing. Our neighborhood trees are gorgeous with fall color at the moment (but not for long) and Mouse and I both took a picture of this tree and posted it to Instagram (cropped and filtered).

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We are so funny. We both spent our first 15 minutes at the Jolly Pumpkin sitting at the bar looking at all the photos we took on the walk downtown and posting the good ones various places. Well except for the part where a lovely woman notified me that I was wearing my tank top inside out and I decamped to the water closet to switch it ’round. Sheeeesh. I don’t have a pitcher of me changing my tank top but here’s this guy, the Miller Woods sentinel, who seems to have a sekint hed o’ hare. At least his hair is different than it was the last time I walked through Miller Woods, which was two weeks ago. But the wood elves are always doing something down there in Miller Woods, so who knows.

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We were seated for dinner at a table that challenged us just a wee bit. When you sit on the balcony at Knight’s, there is a railing next to you that gives you at least a false sense of security that you are not going to swipe anything off the edge of your table (wine glass? phone?) and hit somebody below. The top of our table at the JP tonight was flush with the top of the railing. Eeeeeeeeeee! Both of us were a little freaked out. Mouse carefully moved my wine glass away from that side of the table and I hung on to my phone for dear life as I took the photo below.

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We did not see anything resembling cleavage down there, as the GG and I have seen from the balcony at Knight’s. I suggested to Mouse that the Jolly might attract a different crowd and she countered that there might be more cleavage a bit later in the evening and she’s probably correct. Actually, I may have shown a bit of cleavage with my inside out and then right-side out tank top but I doubt if anyone was much interested and that is just fine and dandy with me. [snort]

We love the Jolly Pumpkin and guess what? They have a new text-messaging system to tell you when your table is ready! I love technology when it works and this worked like a charm!

G’night and love y’all!

Toad Hall Saks Fifth Avenue

October 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

toadhallAll roight. First of all I keep hearing this strange “eeeeeeeeee” noise. Not “eek”, not “eep”, “eeeeeeeeee”. It seems to have stopped now. I hope it was coming from the radio.

On my most recent pilgrimage to Petoskey, I took a nostalgic little walk while the Twinz of Terror were in the Boot Store. I walked past Toad Hall and found it to be empty! Except for a desk with a real estate agent behind it. For lease. If you walk down the street a couple blocks in the direction those vee-hickles are pointing, you will be looking out over the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan.

I remember *before* this building was Toad Hall. Before this building was Toad Hall, it was called Saks Fifth Avenue. Sound familiar? Petoskey is an odd little city compared to many of the other small cities in the northern reaches of the Great Lakes State (although there are a few other similar cities). It is a gorgeous town and an easy drive for many of Those Folks to come and shop whenever they need Pappagallo shoes (google that). Those Folks? Oh, you know the ones. Those who have second homes in beeyootful spots in the Great White North and probably were born with more money than you will make in your entire life.

When I was a teenager and young adult, my family made annual summer pilgrimages to Petoskey. The Commander and Radical Betty were the main organizers of these trips and we had SO MUCH FUN! Back in the day, Petoskey had many stores that catered to a much wealthier bunch of folks than the bunch of folks I grew up with. Saks Fifth Avenue was one of those stores and I once managed to buy one article of clothing there — ON SALE — in my entire life. It was a longish off-white cardigan sweater. I wore it to death. I loved that I owned an article of clothing from Saks. It’s long gone and it was ugly by the time I got rid of it and I do NOT wear anything off-white nowadays because that color is ugly on me nowadays. Saks closed a long time ago and the building became Toad Hall, a big junk emporium full of the kind of tchotchkes we are all flinging these days.

I still love to go to Petoskey and I made the Twinz of Terror go there with me last weekend. One of our fave places to shop nowadays is actually the Ace Hardware Store. It’s right across the street from the Mitchell Street Pub, which is our nowadays goto place for lunch. I’m trying to remember the name of the hippy-type store down the street from the pub. We had one of those stores in downtown Planet Ann Arbor too back in the day. I bought all kinds of clothes and stuff from that store for the beach urchins. It is GONE NOW! What was its name? I do not remember!

Just a big ‘hicken here

October 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

mousehickenI mean, me, not my Mouse or ‘hicken the garden sentinel.

Why am I a big ‘hicken? Because I still have not upgraded to the latest iPhone operating system. IOS8.2? Yes. Why not? Because I know that it will be prudent to back up my iPhone before I upgrade to this particular version of the OS. And yeah, I know I should be backing up my iPhone anyway. But… Rewind to last spring, just after the Landfill Kitchen reno. I was at a meeting at work and one of our lovely managers wanted to see photos. I located them and handed her the phone and the first thing she said was, “You have 6000 photos on your phone?” Yes I do. Actually, that is an untruth. I have close to 8000 photos on my phone now. Really.

Why under the sun do I have 8000 pitchers on my phone? Pick an answer: 1) I am too lazy to delete all the duplicates and duds. 2) I dunno. I am overwhelmed by photos in every possible way. Photos on my phone. Photos in iPhoto. Old photographs / negatives / slides of members of the Fin and Mac families. Photos galore. It feels like being attacked by a deck of cards, Alice style.

So… What to do. If I back up my iPhone, ALL of my phone pitchers will end up in iPhoto and I don’t even want to begin to guess how many photos are in there but it is more than 8000. If I *don’t* back up my iPhone, all of my photooos will be lost (and some other things too, like my NYT xwords maybe) and I *want* some of those photos. I will figger this out one of these days. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

By the way, every time I use the phrase “why under the sun”, I think of The Commander. It was a phrase she used frequently and I will never fergit the time we were sitting in her sunlit living room and I told her about yet another sex scandal, this one involving an elected official who had been caught engaging in lurid behavior with teenaged boys in his service. The esteemed then octogenarian sat up straight in her chair and said, “Why under the sun do we have somebody like *that* in the *government*?” Indeed. I miss that old Grande Dame and I will have to remember to use that phrase more often.

sooo taaarrred tonight.

October 14th, 2014 by kayak woman

elky

Yes, I “yam”. Taaarrred, that is. My Work Ethic hit me over the head this morning. I replied to the first email message I received, even though I only partially knew what people were talking about. Note to KW: wait a bit, somebody else might reply and they might actually know what the heck is going on!

This is Elky. He is hanging out at the bottom of a tree on the road I always walk at Houghton Lake. I did a double-take or two when I first saw Elky this weekend. Sunday morning? I think so. The GG says to take a break if I want to. Glahgging break, that is. Tonight, that is. I didn’t take a break but I get so taarrred of talking about my workaday paint-dryingly boring life.

I’ll still try to do it though because I love all [nine] of you.

Please take my yaffa blocks

October 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

wigmansThis photooo is from yesterday morning when the sun was rising. The cabin is next door to our beautiful group home. I think that the folks who own this place can open it up for weekends in the winter, like we used to do with the moldy old Courtois Cabin.

Speaking of yaffa blocks, I spent a lot of time collecting those things back in the day. I still have a bunch of them. They hold my fabric. I’m not quiiite ready to get rid of that stuff yet but I’m getting there. I do know that every time I put yaffa blocks out on the curb, they get picked up within the next few hours. The Commander also collected a few yaffa blocks. I have replaced some of those yaffa blocks with shelving units that The Comm actually made and we brought the yaffas down here to the Landfill. They hung out in the driveway for a while. I was too lazy to put them out on the curb.

Tonight there was a knock on the door. I told the GG that I wouldn’t answer it if it wasn’t Luke of P-net. It *was*, so I joined the conversation. The GG had notified him that his beautiful young teacher-daughter was welcome to take them and she did. The Commander would be happy to know that 1) we got rid of some things that we no longer needed and 2) a young teacher took possession of them.

So this morning at Houghton Lake, our beautiful niece asked if we were going to hike today. Alas, not so much. I walked around the point in the rain this morning and then I walked to the point a bit later. I love walking on the road at Houghton Lake but it is definitely not the same as hiking beautiful trails in the woods like we did this weekend. We took the old highways down today until we got on the I75 SUV Speedway by Bay City. Both of us had coffee highs this morning but I managed the drive down until the Shell station at Bridgeport without freaking out too much. I made the GG drive from there to the Planet Ann Arbor while I made a grokkery list and checked email, etc.

Back to work / reality tomorrow. Love y’all, KW!

Do bares bears sh*t in the woods?

October 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

ausableWe took a loooonnnng hike along the South Branch of the Ausable River today. This has always been a fave hiking / skiing / kayaking spot for us but it has been a while since we’ve been there. I marveled that my phone was showing the 4G network even though there weren’t enough bars (circles?) for it to be of much use, although the GG did receive a couple of phone calls.

Whenever it was that we last hiked this trail I don’t think I had cell service at all. It may have even been before I had an iPhone. Anyway, we didn’t launch early this morning. That was by design. We wanted to have a leisurely breakfast at the cabin / Group Home. We did that but then the GG hung out in the closet all morning and we didn’t end up leaving the Group Home until something like 11:30 AM.

That was a bit of a later start than I had envisioned and we ended up hiking farther than I originally wanted to. The hike we did was what the GG wanted to do (I think) and actually it was also what *I* wanted to do. Chase Bridge Road up and around the Thayer Loop and back. I dunno how many miles but I was taaarred at the end! Bears? We did not see any bears (dead or alive) but we did see a few dumps of bear scat and one huge dump that was probably horse manure. I am not a scat expert but I do not think that horses eat a lot of berries. I know that bears do. Oh, and then there was the woman who freaked out a bit when she and her daughter met us on the trail. She had thought I was a bear… … … Okay. I was dressed in black. Not necessarily the best choice given that there are hunters out and about. But. I look like a bear? Sheesh! I did not tell that woman about our bare bear experience at Tahquamenon a couple weeks ago.

I fergit what time we finally stumbled out of the woods but I know that I felt fantastic, like I always do when I hike the heck out of myself. We stopped at the Glens Family Fare in Roscommon to pick up a tomato and a box of rice and then schlepped back down to the Group Home, where was a mini-van parked in the yard and we were pleasantly surprised to find that one of our nieces and her children were here! We love spending time with our nieces and nephews and are so glad when they show up!

Back down to The Planet Ann Arbor tomorrow. I have this blasted earworm in my head today. It didn’t help that I confessed to the GG about the earworm and he SANG THE WHOLE BLASTED SONG!