Random bits of my so-called life.

Three by land, one by sea aka terlet…

May 22nd, 2015 by kayak woman

Exit here or you’ll end up in da Yooperland.

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The yooperland is becoming springlike by now but the leaves are just beginning to appear in the woods along the cabin road.

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I have not seen any snow in the woods this year but there is this loverly snowpile at the Glen’s Family Fare supermarket in town. Gratuitous shot of the Froghopper with the Purple Kayak on top.

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The usual boring shot of our Lake Superior Beach. Dreaming of Bradenton Beach at this point. Love my beach but missing Florida. Suz & Cap’n Ed, Pengo et al, and all the alligators and manatees. But no, I will never move to Fla.

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A UFO aka Unidentified Floating Object. I was walking the beach and texting with Our Northern Correspondent Paulette when I encountered this thing. I love when we text while one of us is walking the beach. Why (again) is technology a bad thing? Just askin’.

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It is not warm here and so I have had to suspend my childhood rule of Swimming Every Day. You can see my tights and Smartwool socks in this photo. What you can’t see is my ski-band and glubs.

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Thank you, my Dear Uncle Harry for keeping the old outhouse going. I used it today before we got our water going. I even contributed a roll of terlet paper to the cause. Love you Bubs and Harry!

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We had a wonderful afternoon visitor today, first cuzzint twice removed to both npJane and I. She texted with her friend / second cuzzint once removed Lizard Breath about fave bands and Liz’s work and I’m not sure what else. I did not obtain permission from her mom or grandma to post this and I will happily remove it if it isn’t okay. (I was careful not to include her face.) BTW: She *has* swum in the lake already this year (yay!) and I have received information that her older brother was observed paddle-boarding an ice floe. Been there, done that [sorta]. Love it.

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And then, as we finally got around to eating, the sun was heading toward the horizon.

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We watched Gitchee Gumee swallow up the sun, then npJane went home to start a faaaar in the kitchen stove and I finished washing the dishes and we are setting up to sleep downstairs tonight. Tomorrow includes cleaning and lunch at Clydes and purchasing and potting impatiens and I dunno what else.

Crepuscular Rays and Grab Ass Enchiladas

May 21st, 2015 by kayak woman

crepuscularDon’t you love the word “crepuscular”? It is one of my fave words ever. Maybe that’s because it is a “big” word that I can actually use in a sentence without wondering if I know what the heck I’m talking about or whether I’m using it correctly. The Commander did not shy away from using “big” words around young children and my neighborhood buddy Laurie would actually tease me about that. Of course Laurie teased me about a lot of things, like “Sunday School is baby school”, she being Catholic and therefore attending Catechism (on Saturdays) and having to sit through a Latin (?) mass on Sundays. I didn’t care. I wasn’t all that crazy about Sunday School all on my own without any teasing and we were best friends anyway. At least through grade school, even though she went to St. Joe’s and I went to Stinkin’ Lincoln. We drifted apart when we hit junior high. She got into “kissin’ and stuff”. I wanted to be into “kissin’ and stuff” too but didn’t quite know how to accomplish that. TMI, roight? I’m sure the Beach Urchins think it is… 🐗

This pitcher doesn’t really do justice to the crepuscular rays the sun was throwing out on our drive up the I75 SUV Speedway from The Planet Ann Arbor to the Group Home @ Houghton Lake. As we were coming down the home stretch to the Group Home, we were carefully watching for the GPS to switch from day to night mode. We arrived at 9:01 and it had not switched yet but I’m sure it happened shortly thereafter. I don’t like to arrive that late at night these days. I am missing the years when I was “retired” (aka, between IT careers (by choice)) and the GG had a lot of time off and so we could travel at convenient times. Now that I have a full-tilt boogie career and the GG still has a lot of time off, traveling is just a pain in the *ss. Today the Queen Bee released me early. The GG did not leave early but it was okay, I got a few things done while waiting for him. I walked over to pick up prepared Enchiladas from the Plum and even had time to sip a wee bit of whine before we got on the road. It’s okay. We’re pulling the Lyme Lounge this weekend, therefore I was not driving (although I can pull a trailer if I have to, just don’t ask me to back up).

Tomorrow? Birch Point Beach or bust, although I don’t think we will blast outta here quite at 0-Skunk-30. We’re opening up the moomincabin tomorrow. Just for the record, we are doing that tomorrow because common sense: 1) Mother Nature says it’s okay (aka the pipes will no longer be in danger of freezing (although it doesn’t look like it’ll be a particularly WARM weekend)), 2) no one else seems to be available to open up the cabin any time soon, and 3) we *are* available and have time to open it up. The bulk of the work takes a couple hours most years. I sincerely hope that more family members are able to get up there and use it this summer. Alas, it sits empty most of the season, which I do not view as a good thing… (And no, it is not a suitable place to rent out. Please don’t go there.)

I guess I should eat. I get the Grab Ass Enchiladas. Don’t ask. You don’t wanna know. G’night. KW

Think that’s enough toilet paper?

May 20th, 2015 by kayak woman

packingOnce upon a time, school would end for the year at Stinkin’ Lincoln and the kid who Red-Queened to school from 1304 Superior Street and her little bro’ would actively lobby to move out to the cabin the NEXT DAY. This was not a hard sell, since Grandroobly could easily drive to work every day, so The Commander would give each of us a bushel basket and we would pack all of our clothing and worldly belongings into it. I remember packing color-by-number books and the colored pencils that went with them, a Jon Gnagy drawing book, and whatever five biographies I currently had checked out from the library (crushing on Dan’l Boone & Kit Carson, what can I say…). And I fergit what else. Oh yeah, my origami stuff and whatever musical instrument I was currently working on: recorder in the early years and later on, flute. Puano? Sorry, it didn’t move for the summer. I could always go next door to Don & Katie’s and make horrible sounds on their pump organ though. (I knew better than to do that very often 🐗)

It didn’t matter to us if the outside temperatures dropped to 39 degrees overnight and the wind was blowing a gale. The Commander would build a big faarrrr in the old wood stove and we would do our thing. And of COURSE, our daily schedule included a swim in Gitchee Gumee. You could not go one single day without swimming. As I have said umpteen bazillion times before, we were required to find a parent to watch us and I don’t remember anyone *ever* saying no, even if they had to wear a ski jacket to sit on the beach. There was a rule for no swimming an hour after a meal. I actually think that, given the kind of shallow-water swimming we were doing, that was unnecessary and instituted to give our parents a little bit of down time. Kind of like the Three O’clock Snack rule the Comm instituted many years later when her four young granddaughters made nearly constant requests for food.

Anyway, Moving Out to the Cabin was never all that big a production. We just kind of packed up and went. These days, it’s a whole different ballgame and that mess in the Landfill Front Room is what we are taking up there with us this weekend. Cleaning supplies, toiletries, *some* non-perishable food items, stuff that *I* use and will want to take home at the end of the season if they aren’t used up by anyone else. And some stuff that the GG will use in the Lyme Lounge for its 2015 Shakedown Cruise.

This will be a relatively complicated trip with various connections to make. NpJane will be there! That means we don’t have to drive two vee-hickles up there. We’ll drive up with the Frog Hopper and Lyme Lounge and I’ll catch a ride back to Megalopolis on Monday with NpJane! The GG will mosey off with the Lyme Lounge to meet up with our NCT buddies for spring trail maintenance next week. I wish I could hang out with that crew too but I’m not ready for the “R” word yet.

Anyway, I am in the pre-travel freakout stage. It’ll be fun, roight? Think through it, KW. You can provide updates on NpJanes rodent count!

P.S. Last year, that was more than enough toilet paper.

In which every light in the house is on and Sam (kid next door, not dog or archaeologist) is yelling his head off 🐸

May 19th, 2015 by kayak woman

reflectionsI realize that I never followed up on The Shakespeare Play from Saturday night. As we were leaving to head downtown for Dinnah and a Play, the neighbors were outside and I said to them, “It’s Shakespeare so it’ll be a miracle if I stay awake”. They loved it!

I did stay awake. There were a few moments of being on the verge. It was a small venue, which meant that we were right up close and personal with the actors. I do better in that kind of venue. My Mouse was on stage a lot and that also helps me pay attention. Make no mistake, it is not because I am worried that she’ll forget her lines, etc., because I don’t think she ever does and IF she ever does, I would never know it. That would be particularly true in this play because her character’s lines were in French. Lemme tell you. I took three years of Latin in high school and it was of great help to me in learning the doggamn *English* language but… Other than that, I mainly know computer languages. Not exactly the same although my uneducated opinion is that there are some similarities. Anyway, I didn’t always understand what Mouse was saying but I did “get” the play, more or less. Good actors!

Danger Will Robinson! A little bug is scuttling up my laptop screen.

Can you see the Easter Egg in the photooo? (Hint: it is red and black.) The GG took this pic during intermission and I walked outside after him [and caught him drinkin’ a wee bitsy of some substance from a flask]. I did not partake in the substance from the flask. I wanted to stay awake for the rest of the play.

I don’t really know much about Henry V (except that my daughter married him this weekend) but I sure do know about Henry VIII. I wouldn’t take a Willy or a Sam.

Common sense, please

May 18th, 2015 by kayak woman

mayapples

Common sense. That is all I ask. I am sooooo taaaarrrred. But aren’t these Mayapples in my back yard beautiful? Don’t they kind of make up for all of the snow and ice that we dealt with throughout the winter. Mouse took the pic and I stole it from facebook. I doubt she cares.

94 and 75’ll get you back to Novi

May 17th, 2015 by kayak woman

riveraThat was [one of] the Money Quote[s] today. I didn’t end up with a Money Photo (at least not one that I want to post on the internet). This hastily taken one will have to do. It’s a portion of one of the Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA).

An exhibit of Rivera’s and his wife Frida Kahlo’s work was our reason for heading over to Daytwa today. A bit of bungling was involved in our outing today. Without giving you the whole gory details, we have had a long-standing (since a January visit to the DIA) but loose plan to meet up with Liz (who works a few blocks away from the DIA) for this exhibit. It’s halfway through May now and I got panicky about us getting to it at *all* because once we hit Memorial Day, life kind of gets away from us somehow in a way I can’t even describe because living through it, it sure seems like I am mostly going to work and doing chores and errands every day. Like usual… Somehow we figgered if we didn’t get there today, we might not get there at all. We also wanted the earliest tickets possible (in the day, that is) and Liz was helping put a party on last night and didn’t want to have to scramble at some ungodly KW-type hour, so [mumble mumble mumble] we bought tickets and didn’t tell her…

I regret that but I love her because she totally understood my long explanation and many mea culpas for not communicating clearly.

Our tickets for the exhibit were for the museum’s opening time, which is 10 AM on Sunday. We got there 20 minutes early and were just about the first in the door. I loved the exhibit but I won’t try to tell you about it because I am really not all that knowledgeable about art or art history. What was probably the coolest thing was exiting the exhibit and heading over to the Rivera murals to look at them with new eyes.

After that, we met our Detroit beach urchin over at MOCAD, her workplace. We parked the Frog Hopper there and hopped into Ruby and from there we went all over the place. Sister Pie, where we bought savory hand pies and cookies. The Green Dot for lunch. It has a wonderfully accessible menu of sliders and some sides. I always get three sliders when I eat there. Today, mine were quinoa with chimichurri, black bean, and bacon BBQ. The GG got (among other things) the Mystery Meat of the day, which was llama. [He is not dead yet.] After that, we hit up the Two James Spirits distillery, for a little snort to toast Grandroobly. Y’know, since we have been on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we are experts [snort].

Home and walked to the Plum for a few supplies and just guessing that Mouse will be over here for dinner. I have a [small] gift for her 🐸💜🐭.

Just remember, we have to watch Shakespeare tonight…

May 16th, 2015 by kayak woman

hoophousesquashYes, our Mousket beach urchin is acting in Henry V with the Brass Tacks Ensemble tonight. This is the last performance. We will be there. I have no idea what role she’s playing. In fact, I do not even know what roles are *in* Henry V. (If you clicked the link, Mouse is currently the Brass Tacks profile pic, looks like they’re rotating cast members.) Anyway. I love to watch my Mouse on stage (I feel a bit of deja vu, I must’ve said that in the recent past but too lazy to look…) but I am not the best at understanding Shakespearean plays. Especially not the historical plays, well plus, I do not SIT!

When I was in 10th grade, our lovely English teacher, Mrs. Ewing, enthusiastically led us through A Midsummer Night’s Dream because it was going to be on TV. She did a bang-up job and I understood the play when I did watch it on TV! Can’t remember much about it now — fairies and things, roight? YAG did it in the summer academy but I was too busy with making the “trains run on time” (programs and tickets and informational crap for families, and taking out the garbage, etc., etc., ad nauseam) to spend time re-learning the play.

Historical Shakespeare? Zzzzzz… Once back in the Jurassic Age, I went to one of the Richard plays. It was at the Power Center and I *think* it was the Royal Shakespeare Company in town. They do come here sometimes. All my Planet Ann Arbor Fin relatives were excited and I think Radical Betty (and Duke!) came down from the Yooperland to attend. Of course I went. But I didn’t understand it and I was, you know, *sitting*… So… I started to nod off… Until… A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!” Oooohhhhh… That’s where that came from.

My Mouse has been crazy about Shakespeare since about middle school and I can remember her spending much of a summer reading through The Commander’s copy of the complete works. If I remember right, The Comm ended up gifting Mouse with her own personal copy. The other beach urchin takes after KW a bit more although that beach urchin has acted in a few Shakespearean plays herself. That was back in high school. Although she has a BA with a theatre arts major and knows her way around a stage, her career is more in the administrative side of the arts. (And BTW I hope no one out there is inclined to dis people with theatre arts degrees. Most of them have a heckuva lot more going on than the stereotypical starstruck actress waitress “I wanna be in the Hollywood pitchers” type thing.)

She has already seen her sister’s play. She saw it last Sunday while her wayward parents were slogging along various goat tracks trying to get back to the freeway and skedaddle home. Our whole family is so busy this month that we can’t seem to do much of anything together but that’s not a bad thing and we did all meet up for a Mother’s Garbage Woman’s Day dinner! I asked her how the play was and she said something like, “Oh it was fine but it was Shakespeare.” I started reminiscing about how hard it was sitting in the audience watching her play Hermione in The Winter’s Tale back in high school and my successful adult child matter-of-factly reminded me, “that’s because it was pretty bad, Moom.” Bad? I dunno about bad but quite ambitious for our group maybe. Even with all the 22-year-old college theatre-major guys acting in it but we’ll talk about that some other time (or prob’ly not). 🐸

I worked hard at one thing or another all day today. I hope I don’t nod off during Henry V… Wish me luck!

The photoooo? Boy oh boy, I got to the farmer’s market at 0-skunk-30 as usual and it was in Full Tilt Boogie mode! Flowers and starter plants everywhere and all kinds of veggies and eggs and meat and fish and kimchee 🐗 (but Wan Oo also has gorgeous little packs of bean sprouts!) We couldn’t find Uncle Peter and his pasties. Oh well, he’ll be back. Did I say veggies? You might be thinking it is early for the squashes in the pic here in the southern Great Lake State and you would be right. But. Hoop Houses! Yes. No tomatoes or cukes or eggplant or sweet corn yet. Not until mid-summer. That’s okay. We’re happy with our haul today. I hope we can eat it all!

Paper Jails

May 15th, 2015 by kayak woman

I did not take the pic of the red-tailed hawk. I did not want to listen to its story. Eight brand-new ducklings [minus one] and this guy spent MUCH time hanging out waiting for the ducklings to reappear. I know that this kind of thing is life but I still didn’t really want to hear about what the GG witnessed this morning. A couple years ago, a red-tailed hawk spent MUCH time sitting on a stump in the Landfill backyard. I wonder what he was waiting to eat. But y’know, I eat meat. All the time. Somebody has to kill it. Probably another member of my species… … … I’m not gonna stop eating meat [especially bacon].

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Speaking of life, shelf fungus is out in full force here on this tree in Miller Woods.

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A few years ago, we were at the Oscar Tango and I envied a long kind of oh-I-dunno foofy / spangly red skirt that a young woman was wearing. I coveted that skirt to no end. I have acquired a couple of shorter bizcaz-type red skirts since then and I LOVE them but they aren’t quite the same. And then. Earlier this month, the latest Soft Surroundings catalog arrived. Soft Surroundings is a catalog that I *occasionally* buy stuff from so I thumbed through it quickly. But all of a sudden, there was a bright red “cha cha” skirt. Just what I was looking for. Clickety-clickety-click, add to cart. The pic below is a wee bit fuzzy but whatever. A few pages later, there was the “knit layers” skirt. It’s shown in a zebra print but there’s also “cerise” aka red. Clickety-clickety-click, add to cart! [Hee, “addtocart” was a recent xword answer.]

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Paper Jails on the way home (only one in this pic (and you’ll have to click once or twice to embiggen) but later there were more like three). Paper Jails? My childhood friend Kathie got confused when she was small and people on the beach looked up and exclaimed about the vapor trails from jets passing high over head. Paper Jails.

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Busy weekend in the works. Farmer’s market, thrift shop dropoff, shopping for Moomincabin supplies for the summer, and a Shakespeare play tomorrow and I fergit what else (besides the usual chores and errands), oh yeah, I have to pot my impatiens!!!! Sunday? Rivera/Kahlo exhibit down at the DIA. Costs a few dollars more than visiting Snooty the manatee. Lunch at the Green Dot afterwards? And then more chores and errands. And I have to fit a day’s worth of work (the paid kind) in there somewhere so I can take next Friday off without having to eat up a doggamn vacation day.

Crab, whitefish, and kimchee (and some TMI so enter at your own risk 🐸)

May 14th, 2015 by kayak woman

redmiteI like the crab salad and the whitefish spread from our fave Best Choice Market up at Houghton Lake. I love Wan Oo’s [phonetic spelling] kimchee. But, kimchee? I’m just not crazy about the smell. I think I said something about “morning sickness” yesterday. At the risk of TMI, I never had the kind of morning sickness that makes you throw up. Not even close. With the first child, smells could put me off various things. I don’t remember anything in particular at this point. Just that there were things I didn’t really want to eat. That faded (as it usually does) when the second trimester arrived. With the second child, nothing ever bothered me at all. It was to the point that I happened to read an article that said something to the effect that if you didn’t feel “funny” during the first trimester, your pregnancy probably wasn’t viable. Well, I am here to say, NOT TRUE! At least not in my case, because that would be Mouse and she is definitely viable! Sorry both for the TMI and also for anyone who happens to randomly land here and has lost a pregnancy.

I feel truly lucky about my child-bearing experiences. I know not everyone has that kind of luck and one of those was my moom, who tried to have children for the better part of the 11 years of their marriage before I was born. She lost someone between me and my brother and then expected she would lose my brother shortly after birth (Rh-negative crap). I have vivid memories of those days. He ended up living a vibrant life but she/we lost him at 47 and that’s a long story for another day.

Anyway, tonight, somebody finished off what was left of of the crab salad, whitefish spread and kimchee and dumped the remains in the kitchen sink right next to where I was on KP (really, I was peeling potatoes). Not only was the smell AWFUL, there was kimchee juice mixed in with the dishwater and, well, you are happy that I didn’t take a pic. I kicked the GG outta the chitchen and cleaned up the mess. For the record, Wan Oo makes excellent kimchee. I’m just not crazy about kimchee. She also sells some other wonderful little delicacies that I AM crazy about. And she’s one of the GG’s farmer’s market girlfriends so she is A-OK in my book.

Oh yeah, that red insect arachnid in the photooo? We found that little beastie while hiking the ski ranch trails last weekend. We had never seen a totally red insect arachnid before. It looked like a tick. We hate ticks. The Google told us that it was a mite and that mites are Good Citizens. I suppose ticks are also Good Citizens too in some way but my encounters with ticks have not been all that friendly.

[mumble mumble] years ago today

May 13th, 2015 by kayak woman

goldfiestaoriginalYes, I have posted this photoooo before (and I’ll prob’ly post it again). It is my 1979 Ford Fiesta aka Mama’s Little Gold Car. It is the second vee-hickle I have owned, after the piece of sh*t Ford Pinto Wagon I bought from my parents. The Pinto rusted to pieces and when the body shop guy gave us something like an $800 quote, the ‘rents gave a little boost to my not-very-good financial situation so that I could buy a *new* vee-hickle. Funny that $800 doesn’t seem like all that much money for extensive body work but I don’t *think* I’m mis-remembering.

The Engineer helped with my vee-hickle search. We were buying in Sault Ste. Siberia, so our choices (in those days) were limited to Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Given my “budget”, we were looking at teensy tinesy Econoboxes and quickly decided against the Shovette Chevette. We looked at a Dodge Omni that had been used as a demo but it smelled like cigarettes. Nope.

I ended up with this cute little vee-hickle. It matched my hair! (💩) Seriously, I was so proud of myself for owning this humble vee-hickle. This photooo was taken five years later (go ahead, do the math). In that time, I had moved to The Planet Ann Arbor, gotten a job at CSC, married a guy who bought his own Ford Fiesta aka Daddy’s Little Blue Car aannndddddd… when we took the pitcher, Lizard Breath was on the way. (And the car was long-ago paid off because KW does NOT like to owe money!)

We had been at Houghton Lake that weekend. It was cold and rainy the whole weekend, then on Sunday (the 13th), the clouds started spitting snow at us. Unusual? Naw, not for the Great Lake State. Unpleasant? You betcha. Lemme see. I was just past the “morning sickness” stage and, although I never had a lick of trouble with either pregnancy, I was a little moody and so, “Let’s get outta here!” So we did and we took M18 down and got caught in a pretty good snowstorm, as you can see. About 20 miles south of where we took this pic, the precipitation changed to a liquid form and the rest of the drive home was as smooth as it ever is.

The next weekend? We closed on The Landfill (which has also been paid off for umpteen billion years (because KW does NOT like to owe money)) and drove up to Houghton Lake again. It was hot and sunny. Go figger…

Cookie crumbs in the printer…

May 12th, 2015 by kayak woman

So, we have been having trouble printing things for a while now. Turns out there are cookie crumbs in the printer. Which is really strange since no one around here makes cookies, at least not frequently…

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Fortunately, Staples is a half mile (or so) away.

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And then there was this beautiful gift from my Mouse. From Treasure Mart.

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Red glass. The tall skinny one. The other red glass item was an xmas gift a couple years ago. I don’t like to collect a whole lot of *stuff* but I do like some decent glass, especially colored glass, and my Mouse understands this very well. Love you, my beautiful daughter.

🐸🐸🐸🐸🐸🐸🐸

May 11th, 2015 by kayak woman

Disclaimer: if you see a bunch of garbage characters in this post, it is because I am inserting some of my fave emojis and your browser *may* not support them [Internet Explorer, I’m looking at you].

Do you emoji? I certainly do! Backing up a bit, I remember when text messaging became a way to communicate with family and friends without the whole small-talk thing that happens on the phone. You know the drill:

Caller [with (apparently) nothing better to do]: “How are you?”

You [breaking your neck to get yourself, your two young children, and a bunch of related paraphernalia out the doggamn door when, “Moooom! A lizard is out of the cage!”]: “Do you have five hours?”

I HATE phone calls. I can still remember The Commander* saying that one of my brother’s friends used the telephone like a weapon. She merely meant that Donny Marble called umpteen billion times a day. But. And then there’s email, which is fine for some situations but you never know when [if?] the receiver is going to read your message, not to mention how wildly they might misinterpret it and boy oh boy have I had that happen to me. And then there is the whole issue of how easy it is to forward an email message to everyone on the earth plus a few gods and other entities.

Text messages? They work! They are not perfect. Sometimes if conversations get too complicated, we have to switch over to phone or email but that is a CHOICE! Somewhere along the line, everybody ended up with an iPhone and I started using emojis. I tend to use a rather small vocabulary of emojis. Like:

🐸 (me)

🐣🐭🐧 (a few people I text with some regularity). There’s a new emoji person but that’s not for public consumption 🐸.

Then there is the Error Aminal 🐗. Poor guy. He really isn’t such a bad aminal. Just that once he accidently got included on a text message with errors in it. Although he is permanently relegated to Bad Aminal status, we actually love him dearly.

I can’t really describe when I use the smiley poop 💩. Usually it’s when I have done or said a really stupid thing — too stupid for our beloved Error Aminal — or whatever is going on is so ridiculous that I have no words.

I use hearts! Usually these hearts 💜💛💚 but I’ve been branching out a bit recently with some of the fancier hearts [wink]. The hearts allow me to make sentences, like: 🐸💜[insert object emoji here]. And that allows me to tell people how much I love them without getting right up in their face and saying, “I love you”, over and over again ad infinitum ad nauseam, which the objects of my affection would HATE, as I did when my moom was still alive and told me over and over what a “wanted” child I was. I knew that and I did absolutely love her. But… Oh those last couple years were soooo hard…

I love to use other emojis sometimes. Usually on party occasions: 🍸🎂🎏👑, etc. And then there was the day I was eating pho for the first time (in Atlanta on a beautiful rainy grokkery-store Apple-store parking-lot-tour day) and I got to put the pho emoji on instagram 🍜. That was sooooo much fun! I know. It doesn’t take much.

We NEED a manatee emoji. Somebody please make a Snooty emoji!

I could go on and on about all of this but… Do you use emoji? And, if you do, which emojis do you use and how / why?

*The Commander, as I have blahgged about before, had an iPhone in her later years and was a champ about texting. In the last year or so, it was easier to text with her than to try to talk to her on the phone…

Bob Miles…

May 10th, 2015 by kayak woman

impatiensI really wanted to get home at around 4:00 or thereabouts today but that didn’t happen due to various adventures and misadventures. Nothing truly horribilis, just a wee LOT more Frogger Hopper Goat Tracking than I would’ve preferred. And so, I am Toadily Roto and if you do not know what that means, read Road Fever by Tim Cahill (I *think* that’s the book and you can do the googling because I am, y’know, Toadily Roto). Actually, the book never talks about being “Toadily” Roto. That’s my own embellishment.

So I said something like, “I want to leave HL by 1:00.” The GG said something like, “Let’s leave a bit earlier and take M18 and take a “little” hike at this one spot [I fergit the name] along the way.”

Alert Alert Alert! Danger Will Robinson Kayak Woman! Incoming Desktop Trebuchet missiles! I knew the Desktop Trebuchet was a bad birthday gift idea…

Anyway, a short hike along the way? Sure, that sounds like fun. I fergot to take the concept of Bob Miles into consideration… If Bob (or his evil twin) says, “It’s only another mile”, it’s probably more like three. Get the idea?

So, getting to the hiking trailhead was easy enough even though (as it turns out) it was NOT off M18, it was off Reserve Road. M18 is a paved two-lane state highway. Reserve Road is paved for quite a distance, then it turns into gravel, etc. It was still okay when we got to the trailhead. The trail? Perfect! A gorgeous 3.1 mile (not Bob Miles) loop deep in the woods with a fair amount of up and down but nothing extremely challenging. The perfect little side-trip on the way back south to Megalopolis, roight?

Not. When I exited the trailhead parking lot, we had traveled 20.5 miles. The next eight took… Well, I didn’t even keep track of how long it took but I did NOT like the goat-tracking we had to do get back to a paved highway or even something wide enough that the bushes weren’t scraping the sides of the Frog Hopper. I wish I had taken pictures but I was too freaked out. (I wasn’t driving by that time. I stopped the FH and said, “I’m done”.) I don’t really mind goat-tracks. I just like to know that they come out somewhere, not peter out into a swamp or something where there’s no place to turn around.

Eventually, we did get back to a nice paved highway and I took over the driving for the rest of the trip (after a side-of-the-road Pstop for the GG [sticks tongue out]). It was all okay except for intermittent heavy rain storms. The kind we experienced a couple weeks ago in Kentucky and Ohaaaao.

It seems we are observing Mother’s Day here. I don’t EVER expect my kids to honor me in this way but, since Lizard Breath moved back to megalopolis from Cali a few years ago, she has always gifted me with Impatiens flowers from the Eastern Market. She has a taaaar with a slow leak so she was a wee bit nervous about driving over here today (and I was also nervous (because I am her mooom)) but, in the end, she did and all was fine and she’ll prob’ly get it fixed over here tomorrow morning before heading back to work. And Mouse will be over after making an appearance at a cast party.

And don’tcha know that life is pretty good (KNOCK ON WOOD BIGTIME AS ALWAYS). I have two independent, responsible adult daughters that 1) don’t want to live with me (or off me) but 2) like to come visit me. What did I do right? Actually, probably nothing. I think they raised themselves in the typical sneaky kind of way that Fin / Cfam children kind of do.

Klister wax

May 9th, 2015 by kayak woman

It is pretty warm here in the Great White North this weekend and the folks who live and work here are kicking up their heels with joy cautiously optimistic about that! Waitress at Little Boots Diner this morning and butcher at Best Choice grocery in particular. The last couple of winters have been harsh and last summer? Summer? Huh?

What a wonderful weekend here with the GG and his sister Liz. Liz was not yet astir when we went to breakfast but we knew that she wouldn’t be upset if we didn’t invite her and also that she is more than capable of feeding herself, so off we went. After brefkast, we toured the Muskegon River/Reedsburg Dam area. These two photos are taken in that general area. If you click and click again on the second one (with the geese), you will see raindrops on the water. Beautiful.

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We slodged around at the cabin for a while after this. The GG wanted to take a nap and Liz was doing her own thing. I mobilized a little KW-alone trip to our fave Best Choice grokkery store where I picked up various dinner/lunch/snack provisions. When I returned, all three of us scrambled a little hiking trip up to the Ski Ranch. None of us were interested in a Death March today and this little hike was just the ticket. Pics below.

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Beautiful early spring terrain. A few moe-skee-toes but nothing terribly obnoxious yet. Returned to the Group Home for a mixed grill and lots of veggies. So much fun. I’ll blahg about the bright red tick mite another day.

Road Warrior Season

May 8th, 2015 by kayak woman

hlEven though it was less than two weeks ago that we crash-landed back on The Planet Ann Arbor after our wondrous Road Trip to Fla and back, here we are at the Houghton Lake Group Home. We had a smooth trip up today. I wish I had been ready with my iPhone to post some of the major construction prodjects we passed along the way. US23 / I96 interchange anyone? That interchange, with its WWII-style cloverleaf entrance / exit ramps, needs it!

For whatever reason, lots of folks in the fam seem to be road-tripping during this in-between season. It is after the big spring break crowds in Fla and before the big crowds up here in the Great No-Longer-White North. There was our trip to Fla and back via Knoxville, Atlanta, two locales in Fla, and Chattanooga. We currently have relatives road-tripping to Seattle and Virginia and Fla albeit via a different route with different (but no less beautiful) stops along the way.

Even though our big beautiful Road Warrior Trip is well over, I am a bit envious of those who are still journeying and I am loving the photooos they post. BTW, driving the 180 miles to get from The Planet Ann Arbor to the Group Home is a piece of cake compared to the 500-600 mile slogs we did going to Fla and back. Except we’ve droven this stretch of the I75 SUV Speedway so many times for so many years that it is so doggamn boring that I was glad the GG was driving and I could read and do the xword on my phone after a long week at work.

We are here with The Beautiful Liz (s-i-l, not daughter). Fish are jumpin’ and the the cotton weather is high fine. And the peepers are peeping back in the swamp.

Danger, Will Robinson!

May 7th, 2015 by kayak woman

errortruckA day of minor mishaps. I began by meeting MMCB2 for coffee so it wasn’t all that bad and I did survive it albeit with the jangly nerves of a KW coffee buzz amplified by all the little mishaps.

First, for the first time in 7.5 years, I arrived over at Cubeland WITHOUT MY BADGE! If I don’t have my badge, I cannot get into the building without calling someone already inside and begging them to let me in. Or waiting around and piggy-backing. I was looking up Cube Nayber’s number on my phone when I spied Mr.Luv (not [exactly] his real name) heading to the building so I piggy-backed in with him. Piggy-backing is a no-no. It is a no-no for good reason although the folks at The Mother Ship of our huge global corporation who create the security (etc.) on-line training “classes” don’t quiiiiite get that most of the folks who work in our backwater location have worked together FOREVER and we would KNOW when that person following closely behind us doesn’t belong in the building. It has NEVER happened at our location as far as I know. Occasionally a confused duck rushes the door but that’s about it.

But. Oh dear. I KNOW my badge is at home. Roight? What if it’s not? If it’s not, when I get to Cubeland tomorrow, nobody will be there and I will have to wait for someone to piggy-back in on. Not cool. Plus, if I have truly lost my badge, I need to get a new one. So. I. Drove. Home. For. Lunch. All. Eight. Miles. And. Back. And yes, when I got home, after a moment (or two or ten) of panic, I spied my badge on the floor between the bench by the front door and the basket next to it. Whew! And yet? Annoyed as all getout. At myself…

Traffic has been squirrely all day. Not all that much slower than usual, just weird. A near miss in the infamous State / Ellsworth roundabout — I saw oncoming traffic and [wisely] stopped but the person in the lane left of me did not. For a split second, I thought they would collide and possibly slide over and crunch me and the Ninja too but all ended well.

And then there was the situation in the photooo… I wish my timing had been better and I had gotten a photo of this truck with its taaaars UP ON THAT BIG TRAFFIC ISLAND (or whatever it is) as it crossed over it into the other lane but I got what I got. I do NOT know what this truck driver was trying to do. I THINK he was trying to get to the Westgate Kroger and took a wrong turn. You would have to have an intimate familiarity with the geography of the streets and parking lots to understand what happened here. I was thinking something like, “Whaaaaa?” This was all in very slow motion, which you might guess by the fact that I have a photo of it because make no mistake, I cannot drive stick and use my phone at the same time unless I am at a dead stop.

Relentless Positive Action

May 6th, 2015 by kayak woman

Prop 1? Lost by a landslide. 4 to 1 anyone? This was not a surprise to most of the more rational voters around here and even the governor made some concessionary noises about it but that doesn’t mean he and the legislature won’t come up with something WORSE if it’s possible to do that. There is a history there. But rather than rant and rave about polly-ticks and roads and Governor @onetoughnerd and whatnot, here are some of the spring flowers that dot the little woods behind The Landfill. JITP, Trillium, Trout Lily, and I dunno the last beauteous blue one. Bubs prob’ly does and maybe she’ll comment if/when she gets around to reading blahgs this Friday. If not, that’s okay, we love Bubs anyway! (One of the nicknames my mother earned in her later years was The Trillium Bandit. I’ve told that story before. Maybe one of these days I’ll get bored enough with my blahg to tell it again.)

We seem to be having a bit of “summer” this May. We needed that and boy are we enjoying it. G’night, KW

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Enter your Apple password… … …

May 5th, 2015 by kayak woman

votehere

Oh you dern betcha I voted. Prop 1? Huh? Man oh man are our roads awful. They need to be fixed! Raise the sales tax 1% to fix the roads? Maybe, although it wouldn’t be my preferred solution. Add in a whole bunch of voodoo shell game crapola? No thank you. I am not even gonna begin to try to ‘splain it to y’all. Why? Because I-E-I-E-I do not UNDERSTAND it. If a college educated person with a successful career as a systems analyst (a person who sorts out bits and pieces of information and synthesizes it all into a design, in my case anyway) cannot understand a ballot proposal, it is because it is TOO COMPLICATED. I have to wonder whether all of the legislators that voted for it understand it. Prob’ly not, but I’m gonna guess that a lot of those folks have law degrees, not necessarily the most direct path to simplicity and transparency, not to mention common sense! Anyway, if nobody can understand the damn proposal, that most likely means that it is not a good thing.

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of our current governor, the @onetoughnerd. He is a good argument for term limits (imnsho), although if term limits mean he has his eyes on the USA presidency, voters beware! (I think he is a long shot for the presidency but in these days and times, you never know.)

ipadairInstead of ranting and raving incoherently about polly-ticks, I will report my voting experience. I was voter number 7. I always vote first thing in the morning. Once (!) I beat Mr. Mxyzptlk who is always first (the poll workers were a bit worried about him that one day that I beat him. I have to guess he was off climbing Mt. Everest or something). It’s a May election and there were two things on the ballot. Prop 1 and a local school thingie. I arrived at Haisley after taking my regular Skunk Walk a few minutes before the polls opened at 7:00. I leaned in on a garbage container and started checking facebook. An election official came out and [jovially] asked me if I was texting him. Naaawwww, I’m checking facebook. We kibbitzed for a minute or two and then he checked the time and yelled out, “THE POLLS ARE OPEN!”. My iPhone still said 6:59 but whatever. I went inside and discovered that there were six people ahead of me, including Mr. Mxyzptlk, who was first as usual. My experience was smooth. A young guy found me on the computer, The Beautiful Jackie handed me my ballot, I had two measly ovals to fill, and the ballot-eater cheerfully sucked my ballot in without any issues.

And then. I went to work and when I came home there was a package on my porch. It was from Central Michigan University public radio. I have been listening to that radio station since forever and, even though we live on the Planet Ann Arbor, we listen to it whenever we are up in the Great White North and I actually know most of the frequencies *by heart* so as we are driving up or down, I can find the station on our dial.

So here is my new iPad Air 2 64 GB musheen. I set it up. It is beautiful! Will I use it?

Curb Appeal

May 4th, 2015 by kayak woman

frontyardI didn’t post the before pic because I didn’t take one. If I had, it would’ve showed grass and weeds partially obscuring the lovely rocks I hauled a few at a time down from the Group Home to line the front “garden”. It was scraggly as all getout.

I didn’t take a before pic because this was a prodject that kind of evolved. While the GG was building some new steps in the back yard, I put on my hat and sunglasses and headed out into the front yard with my pick-up-stick tools: rake, old recycle tub, garden glubs, and kneeling pad (a must if you are bare-kneed). My method? I rake up a bunch of sticks (and leaves and acorns and whatever other debris is out there), then I kneel on my pad and gather up all the stuff and dump it into the recycle tub (we don’t use tubs for recycling any more). When my tub gets full, I dump it into one of the big Recycle Ann Arbor compost carts. Lather, rinse, repeat. I am a terrible gardener but I am pretty good at cleaning things up.

Hmmm… The GG planted a bunch of fancy tulip bulbs last fall and they look gorgeous. At least those that have produced flowers this year do, there are some other ones (see the gap?) that are growing but no flowers. But there was all this scraggly grass and weedy stuff… That I didn’t take a pitcher of. Because I moved my tools over there and just dived in. I pulled every one of those rocks out of its spot, weeded all of the crap out from around it and put it back. (Note that I did not work anywhere NEAR as hard as the GG with his 70-pound blocks.)

Better? Yes. Curb appeal. Not so fast, KW. What about those scraggly bushes up there closer to the house? I hate those bushes. I want to get rid of them. But. They provide bird habitat. We have *birds* here. I remember The Commander staying here one April back in the Jurassic Age and saying in wonder, “It’s like being in an aviary.” Yes, it is. Well except for the woodpecker but that’s a whole ‘nother story. But birds use those bushes throughout the year, even in the deepest, darkest depths of Mordor aka our Great Lake State Polar Vortex Winter.

So, how do we rip out the ugly bushes without displacing some of our bird population? The GG is thinking of putting new bushes in front of the old (I am okay with having some bushes out there, just not the ones we have now) and then removing the old. Not sure what we’ll do but I am cautiously optimistic about that plan…

Oh yeah. Curb appeal? We are NOT selling this house. It may not be the biggest, fanciest house on earth but it is not bad and there is a woods behind it and I can walk to the grokkery store and Westgate and Knight’s and downtown, etc. And it is a safe neighborhood (knock on wood because all safe neighborhoods are safe until they are not). But. Location, location, location.

Drop beets, not bombz!

May 3rd, 2015 by kayak woman

Man oh man, got home from Fla and took a gander at the May “social” calendar and oof, there are a lot of things to fit in. This weekend? Oscar Tango on Friday night. Farmer’s market early Saturday and Kentucky Derby later on (plus a whole bunch of chores and prodjects). Today? More chores and prodjects and then the Waterhill Music Fest. This fest is my preferred way to go to concerts. We walk down to the Waterhill neighborhood and walk around, stopping wherever somebody is playing music. The “rules” are that if you are a musician and you live in the Waterhill neighborhood, you can perform on your front porch or your driveway or lawn or wherever. We have a lot of fantastic musicians on The Planet Ann Arbor and many of them live in the Waterhill neighborhood.

That said, this music fest is not limited to highly acclaimed musicians. We passed one sign advertising Mrs. Kafoulie’s [not her real name] piano students. That’s one of the things I like about this music fest — that *everyone* can participate no matter what skill level they have achieved. Another thing I like is that we can hit up a concert for a song or two and then move on. It was hot today here on The Planet Ann Arbor (80) and so by the end of our slodge back up the hill to our far northwest side home, I felt like I had done a bit of a death march. But those death marches feel good after you wash your feet and fling garments that you really don’t want to wear in the first place.

So, a bunch of photooos lightly annotated and a bit more at the end if you get that far. Here’s Mr. B’s Joybox Express. He was playing in bars when we first lived here. At some point, he went on the road with his piano. On a bicycle. Today, he had this fancy setup with him and his puano and a drummer and double beeceeclettes in the back and, well, I can’t really even describe it and not sure this pitcher does the job either.

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This photo has little to do with the music fest. It shows the GG photobombing one of our beautiful spring trees.

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We particularly loved this band. I could not tell you why if I tried.

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This band was Dr. Unk and they were good but I was starting to fade a bit by then. This is a good example of a front porch band though.

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And here’s the GG sitting on the step of the Roos Roast van. Our fave coffee vendor and I’m pretty sure the owner didn’t much care to have “an old hippie” sitting on his step. If I get it right, the Roos Roast owner drove this vee-hickle back from Portland or Seattle or somewhere out there…

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Lots of kids everywhere. Mostly happy. Sometimes dancing like these kids were.

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That band (pretty good) wanted to go on but they were warned by a volunteer that it was 5:00 and they couldn’t keep going. Why? Because our fav-o-rite Waterhill band ever was scheduled to start at 5:00 and there was no way the Fumblin’ Tumbleweeds could compete with a rock and roll band with serious amplification. Here are the tumbleweeds. Best Waterhill venue!

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I wanted to see the Tumbleweeds but I was kind of at the end of my rope after that. While we were watching them, my mouse texted me asking what we were doing for dinner. Well, we are grilling a big cornish hen and I have asparagus and noodles with pesto and a big salad and a washing musheen. So come on over! We miss you! And we will go to see your play but probably not until the last night.