Random bits of my so-called life.

I almost don’t have any words

February 18th, 2019 by kayak woman

Oh man, the roads were terrible this morning but I was determined to make it over to Cubelandia so I faaaarrred up the Frog Hopper and (slowly and carefully) slodged my way over there. I would not have missed being at Cubelandia today for anything.

When the LSCHP interviewed me over 11 years ago, he was excited that I actually knew FORTRAN because they were actually still using it over there even though it was pretty much a “dead” language by that time. They were still using it because in order to provide services to our customers, “we” had a developed a labyrinth of customized one-off programs. I quote “we” because I was not involved in any of that. You’d have to ask W1.5, who retaaarrred a couple years ago.

I never did do any FORTRAN programming at Cubelandia nor did I ever log in to the legacy system. A lot of other folks haven’t either, including many who have been there YEARS before I started working there. I came along as a New Kid and I have spent my entire career there working on the effort to get everything over to an internet environment.

We turned off our “legacy” system a few weeks ago. I don’t think it was as sad as Opportunity signing off. Today we celebrated with a catered BBQ lunch, cake, champagne, and some [briefly] noisy stuff that sent The Bear and I into a retreat to the far corners of the room. Confetti Cannon and party poppers. Strange bedfellows, The Bear and I…

I never saw the actual musheen that powered the early days of our online banking system. As far as I know, that musheen was gone by the time I started working there. I did web work and there were “emulators” running the system. I do not know how that worked. I never did totally understand what we call “legacy-speak” and now I do not have to learn it.

So this excellent cake must have been made from photos of the old musheen and I think the baker did a pretty darn good job plus it tasted good!

If anything, it might’ve been nice for people like the LSCHP to have been there because he steered us through our ultimately successful move from legacy to web. But today was also a War Room for our latest release so we really can’t invite anyone from outside into the building during something like that. It’s okay. He landed on his feet. We did drag Farmer John and Mr.Bisco in there since they used to be part of our team and still work in the building.

Cheers!

Blueberries for Sal

February 17th, 2019 by kayak woman

Best 1-year-old birthday ever. Open house. Come between three and five, cake is happening at four. Come and go as you please. Gifts are not required. If you want to bring a gift, a book (gently used or new) is welcome. Adult drinks are in the basement. Uh, the beautifully remodeled basement, remodeled by our own fave Certified Kitchen Lady.

The baby (appropriately) spent most of his birthday party with his parents and grandparents while the rest of us baggy old folks drank whine and yakked away. A 4-year-old friend opened the birthday boy’s gifts.

I liked the idea of birthday books. I bought umpteen gazillion books for the beach urchins when they were young. Nevertheless, I could not think of a book for this beautiful boy. The GG was johnny on the spot with “Blueberries for Sal”. Yes! And so that is what we bought and wouldn’t you know, it was one of the father’s faves and was NOT a book that they owned already.

After all of that we came home and cooked duck breasts for dinner. We have had more damn snow than we expected so the GG is out running the yooper musheen. I will schlep over to Cubelandia tomorrow no matter what the heck happens with the weather. We’ll talk about that tomorrow!

Complicated

February 16th, 2019 by kayak woman

So, last night the walk downtown was not great but it was do-able. This morning I strapped on my Yaks and even those puppies were slipping on the ice. A lot of folks were caught unaware by the idiosyncrasies of the series of storms that rolled through this week. Ice followed by snow followed by rain followed by… The main roads are fine. The sidestreets and SIDEWALKS are a total mess. You can’t even walk on the grass because that is also covered by a bit of snow topped with glare ice. To walk through the schoolyard today, I devised a method of walking on the “grass” and stamping down each time I took a step. Why was I stamping? Because otherwise I was randomly breaking through the ice crust in a rather unsettling way. It’s hard to describe and maybe that’s why Inuits have 50 words for snow. But looking that up, it’s much more complicated than what I just said, starting with the label “Inuit”…

This being the Ice Asteroid Ann Arbor, the Nextdoor app has been lit up with threads about falling on ice, how to clear ice, city rules about clearing ice, dog-paw-friendly ice-melt, and how to report people who haven’t cleared their ice. Fortunately, the last thread has been friendly, with most people suggesting helping neighbors clear their sidewalks if they are unable to do so or at least waiting a bit before reporting the ice. Although I have often raged about icy sidewalks, we are dealing with some unusual conditions here, even for the Great Lake State, and I am content to wait things out a bit. If someone still hasn’t cleared their sidewalk after a few more days, I think it’s okay to make a report (but I will not). Otherwise, light a faaaar and read a book, fer kee-reist! You aren’t gonna drop dead if you miss a few days of your walk or run or whatever. That said, I know that there are people who have to walk to the bus, etc. and I’m not sure what answers there are for this complicated issue.

We haven’t been to the Griz for a few Saturdays so we headed down there for lunch today – in the Ninja because ice. The Pensioner was wearing his new NRA hat and the young couple next to us at Jenel’s bar asked about it. Oh no, we’re on the Ice Road Asteroid Ann Arbor and I hope these folks are not totally anti-gun because if they are, we might have a problem here. But no. It turns out the young man was an Afghanistan/Iraq war veteran and he is not anti-gun at all. But he didn’t seem like one of those “they’re gonna take our guns away” people either. Me, I own guns whether I want to or not because I have inherited them from my WWII flight instructor dad. I have never shot a gun and am not the least bit interested in shooting “my” guns. This couple was really fun to talk to and seemed reasonable about some of the extremely complicated, often divisive issues our country faces these days. I think I made it pretty clear that me and GG disagree with some polly-tickle issues but we remain comfortably married *anyway*.

It was good for both of us to talk to some new and intelligent friends (not that we’ll ever see them again). I have spent an unusually large number of days telecommuting lately. Sometimes TP spacifies me but usually not although he leaves me largely alone when I am working. I am not ready to retaaaaar yet (and I don’t think my boss wants me to retaaar either…).

P.S. Our own personal sidewalk is 95% free of ice. I am not bragging here, just giving thanks to The Pensioner for keeping up with things.

Glare ice

February 15th, 2019 by kayak woman

I knew the walking would be awful this morning so I pulled my YakTrax onto my boots to schlep a bag of garbage and some recycling stuff out to the curb. I intended to walk the neighborhood but the sidewalks were too treacherous even with YakTrax today so I bagged it.

As I left for Cubelandia, this is what my street looked like. MofPerrynet was walking Levi as I was eeeeeeasing toward the stop sign, wondering if my vee-hickle would actually stop at it. It did. MofPerrynet was done done done with her dog walk. She was turning around because ice.

I knew that the main roads would be okay so I iiiiinched down my street and once I got out onto Maple, everything was fine. Except on Oak Valley, which is a bit tilted on various curves so all of the water that melted yesterday froze overnight and some intermittent sheets of ice formed.

I have lost any train of thought I may have had so good night.

Romantical (or not 🐽)

February 14th, 2019 by kayak woman

I am not a very romantic person in general. The GG is maybe more so. So I came home today to an elaborate handmade card. That’s just the front of it, there are multiple pages. Me? The only reason I remembered it was Valentine’s Day was because of all the Stoneman Douglas shooting anniversary coverage in the news today. I had nooooo time (or appetite) for anything so frivolous as making handmade cards or even shopping for anything. Lo and behold, Nikio’s sister (who also works at Cubelandia) had homemade chocolate “cake pops” for sale in the lunchroom. Problem solved, not that there was really a problem but it was nice to present the GG with a gift when I walked in the door after work. And yes, I forgot to take the price tag off 🐽

Midway through the day, an email alert from the bank proclaimed that a purchase had been made with a plastic card at Motor City Brewery. In Detroit. Even though I had no clue TP was heading over to DayTwa today, I knew that the charge was legitimate. I figured maybe he went over to take Lizard Breath out to lunch and spend some time at John King books WITHOUT MEEEE. I have been to JKB. It is a wonderful used book store and I appreciate that but I am totally overwhelmed by shopping these days and get antsy really fast so it isn’t really fun to shop with me around.

It turned out that wasn’t what he did at all, except for the Motor City Brewing lunch part (there musta been garlic in that pizza, just sayin’). Instead, he picked up a mouse and raccoon and they hiked at LeFurge Woods and then picked up a lizard for lunch (I’m guessing the activities were in that order but not sure). The GG had made Valentine cards for the beach urchins too, including a very cute red mouse one.

Me, I was just happy to be back over at Cubelandia today and I will stop right there with that topic because I do NOT want to jinx myself with Old [frickin’] Man Winter.

To end this bunch of blather, I may not be the biggest celebrator of Valentine’s Day but when I do remember what day it is, I also remember that it’s my wonderful, always gracious mother-in-law’s birthday. The Beautiful Sally died way too young, may she rest in peace.

Cubelandia or bust

February 13th, 2019 by kayak woman

I could prob’ly have slodged over to Cubelandia today in the Frog Hopper. But it was nasty this morning (I walked but it was pretty AWFUL, even with YakTrax) so I decided to start my day at home and go over there later. We have a lot of traffic around our small freeway-ringed city and so many people don’t have a clue about how to drive in snow that I figger if I don’t *have* to go in to my office, why not keep my vee-hickle OFF the roads. So many other folks are required to go to their workplaces. In my childhood career, I always wished I could work from home. Now that I can, well, it is WONDERFUL when I want to spend time at the moominbeach or Hoton Lake or on an LSD trip to Fla. When I am here on The Planet, I generally like to be at Cubelandia where I can “yell” at FZ over the wall, etc.

I never made it over there today. It was still snowing at the 10 AM team standup. The weather gods were calling it “lake effect” and “snow squalls”, both of which can easily add up to treacherous conditions. That kind of crapola was still going on into mid-afternoon and even though Cabin Fever was setting in BIG TIME, I ended up hanging out sittin’ on the Green Couch Watching All the Dogz (not) Walk By ALL DAY (except for cleaning Gertrude’s top oven, which was a frickin’ mess). As for dogz, besides Ano, the only dog I saw walk by all day was the next door neighbors’ dog and the new mom was walking it and I’m guessing she was feeling a bit of cabin fever too, being not from The Great White State but having to deal with a newborn here in the winter.

But then there was this guy out there. He keeps coming around with his yooperland snowblower clearing MY snow!! Who could he be? The abominable snowman maybe?

Needles hitting you in the face

February 12th, 2019 by kayak woman

I put my yaktrax on my boots this morning and I tried to walk. The treacherous sidewalks were okay but then I turned into the schoolyard and “needles” were hitting my face. Ice Storm.

I knew that I could telecommute. FZ even telecommuted today. I asked him if he was in Cubelandia and if so, how the roads were. FZ is usually hardcore about driving in but he hunkered down today. And the schools were closed (again) so Amazon Woman was also telecommuting.

I ran a spec review today from my dining room table. I have always been nervous about spec reviews and I think this is the first time I have done a spec review from home. Spec reviews are where we are designing new functionality and I have to write it up and then present it to the entire team. Sometimes it all works out. Sometimes it gets crazy as all getout. I was nervous about handling this review from home but it ended up being okay (I think). The GG was probably not totally listening to it but I do know that he heard The Bear grumbling away (cue the Volga Boat Song).

I am soooo taaaared of telecommuting but I did do it again. I waited until something like 8:00 AM to check in with my children, etc. about how their drives were. Driving from Ypsi to Northville early in the morning was “terrifying”. Driving to the Plum was okay later on but walking into the store was awful. Driving to MOCAD in Detroit was pretty okay, it sounded like.

Our new yooper snowblower does not handle ice. We knew that when we bought it. So the GG went out and chipped ice and shoveled (by hand) slush this afternoon. I wish I had a pic of our driveway when I met the mail person out there today. It was a total mess and I watched him slip and slide all over the place. I met him at the door, where he handed me one piece of spam mail that I immediately threw into the recycle cart.

I wanna go and work at Cubelandia tomorrow. Please Old Man Winter let me do that.

Double Trouble

February 11th, 2019 by kayak woman

Which one is the GG and which one is the UU? Can you tell them apart?

I’ve been haaaannnnnging around with these characters (and their huge family tree plus significant others) for more years than I am strong enough to count tonight.

The GG dealt his relatives out to me a bit slowly. I dunno if it was because he thought all of those siblings might have overwhelmed me or if it was just random. I have a lot of cousins but only had one sibling. Or maybe he was testing me… The first time I went to Houghton Lake with the GG, we were with Ann Arbor folks including my cousin and her boyfriend and a friend of all of us. That was so much fun that we went again a couple weeks later. The GG brought his beautiful little sister Susie 🧡 that time and while we were there, the UU and Jim came to visit. My cousin and her boyfriend were also there as well as a few other Ann Arbor folks.

I liked the GG before this trip but… The GG had shown me a wallet pic of himself his identical twin with a beautiful woman and two young boys. I was pretty sick of men boys lying to me by this time so I was a weeeee bit reluctant to believe this whole twin brother scenario. But then his identical twin walked into the moldy old Hoton Lake cabin. All right. This guy is for real. And he has a great family. I hadn’t met all of them yet but I saw enough to know that this just might work out. And it did, oh boy oh boy.

So, here are the Twinz of Terror at Tahq over the weekend. I did not go to Tahq this time. I already wrote about that.

Non sequitur. I had a particularly good day today. It feels so good to be so greatly appreciated for being an intelligent woman (like so many of us are but that would be a whole ‘nother entry). I wish I could reach back through time and throttle the nerdy unpopular angsty little junior high KW and tell her how “cool” she was and where she might end up someday (with wonderful adult children and a great job). Although learning it all the hard way wasn’t all that bad either. Just a little scary sometimes, reaching out in fog wondering where to put my foot.

Mending…

February 10th, 2019 by kayak woman

I grew up watching The Commander make clothing on her old black Singer sewing musheen. My old coot bought it for her when they were newly married and rattling around the American southwest toward the end of WWII. I learned how to use a sewing musheen with it and it still hangs out at the moomincabin. I kind of wanted to move it out of that place (to make more space, not to get rid of it!) but the beach urchins said NO NO NO.

I made a lot of my own clothes on mom’s musheen beginning in about junior high and ending, oh I dunno when. I guess that would be a story for another day after a whole lot of dredging. But I did make clothes for myself when we lived in our shabby little Sault Siberian bungalow and The Commander bought me a cute little featherweight Singer that lived in my bedroom throughout my teen years and has traveled with me throughout my adult life.

I still have the little Singer but I don’t use it any more because waaaaay back in the day, we bought me a Viking musheen, the one in the pic. It was $400 or so. That wasn’t in our budget at that time but we bought it anyway.

I stopped making clothing for myself at some point. It is so easy to order clothes online from Chicos and JJill and Soft Surroundings and whatever. I did use the Viking for various prodjects. Rainbow sleepers for my first baby and some cute dresses for a young Mouse. And various fiber arts prodjects.

I’m not sure why I stopped sewing (for now). It may be because I got busy enough with my job that I didn’t really have time to continue with it. It may be because the last time I remember sewing something creative, the needle went through my finger.

Today I sewed some of my skirt tiers together. I love these long tiered skirts and this is one of my faves for hanging around the Landfill or Bill’s Birch Point Beach Bank Bench. Lately, I’ve been putting my foot through an opening… I can still operate a sewing musheen so it’s fixed. And my finger is intact! Slow down, KW 🐽

From the land of the ice and snow

February 9th, 2019 by kayak woman

Actually here on the Planet Ann Arbor Mr. Golden Sun shone brilliantly from a cloudless sky ALL DAY today. We have some residual bits of snow around the edges but the pavement is DRYYYYYY and the walking was good. Two days ago (or was it three?) our sidewalks were pretty much unwalkable, a mess of ice and slush. Oh, I am not gloating. We are expected to get something like FOUR winter storms in quick succession beginning on Tuesday. It’s February and summer-like skies or not, it ain’t over yet. We’ll probably have snow tomorrow but probably not all that much.

I have friends and relations in the PACNW area and they are experiencing snow out there and sometime today a post from the police in Puyallup (pew-all-up, I think!) flew by on facebook or wherever. It listed a lot of useful driving information in a humorous way and I loved it. But y’know, they were telling folks to stay home if they had rear-wheel drive vee-hickles. Yes but…

When I was growing up in the yooperland, I learned to drive on rear wheel drive vee-hickles and I drove them in the winter. My first attempt to drive downtown during a snowstorm, I did a 180 trying to stop at the Minneapolis/4th Avenue intersection right next to St. Joe’s church. That sobered me up a bit.

All of us kids learned to drive in snow and we managed it. I remember driving the old coot’s Buick Lesabre (“banker green” as my brother and I used to laugh about) once around a corner through a big bunch of snow. It was a rear wheel drive car. I think that’s what most of our cars were then. It was sort of a big car and it was kinda like driving a boat and I did manage to successfully navigate that corner.

All that said, I know that Seattle has some snow driving challenges that are a lot different than those us Michiganders face. Stay safe!

May-December

February 8th, 2019 by kayak woman

Our long time congressman the now retired John Dingell died yesterday here in the Great Lake State. He was 92. That makes him something like 28 years older than his wife Debbie. They’ve been married several decades and she carries on his legacy as our elected congressional representative.

I am somewhat apolitical (or used to be) so it wasn’t until recently when I figured out that Dingell was on Twitter that I became a fan. John Dingell, at 92, was adept at twitter and was often funny as all getout, especially when tweeting back at Donald J. Trump’s ridiculous crapola. When Trump tweeted “[blah blah blah] I rarely use a cell phone [blah blah blah]” Dingell replied “Oh yeah? You tweet this from your landline?” And so on…

Because his wife Debbie is now a congresswoman, there was talk a while back about whether it was a good idea for John to tweet. She replied that while her team did review his tweets, he was largely free to speak his mind. He was over 90, fer kee-reist! I mean just try to stop a nonagenerian from speaking his/her mind. I certainly didn’t have any control over whatever The Commander felt like saying in her later years and that could definitely get interesting.

I have struggled a bit over the fact that Debbie Dingell married a man so many years older than her. How does that work? When I was in high school, I had boyfriends that were a year or two older than me. I married a guy my age. 28 years older? I’m not sure someone that many years older would have appealed to me. Yet from all accounts it sounds like they had a wonderful marriage. Who am I to question or judge?

Godspeed, Mr. Dingell. I will so miss your tweets.

Deconstructed cabbage

February 7th, 2019 by kayak woman

Okay, yesterday was the SIXTH (count ’em) day in 2019 that I telecommuted because of weather issues. Yesterday it was due to an ice/slush storm. Once again, mgmt didn’t exactly *order* us to stay home yesterday but Amazon Woman came around on Tuesday checking with each of us about what we thought we would do. If I had been able to drive the Frog Hopper to Cubelandia, I prob’ly would have but the GG was taking it to the yooperland and the yooperland is scheduled for a major snow/ice/whatever storm so he needed that vee-hickle.

The last winter I telecommuted that many days was 2014, the Polar Vortex winter. That was a *much* worse winter than this one is. The temperatures tanked in the beginning of January and Old Man Winter spewed snow at us every day. We had yooperland style snowbanks for months (and you’ve heard me kvetch about that winter plenty of times before). This year the weather is just frickin’ crazy. Up and down the temperature dial in a mercurial way and precipitation is all over the map.

People have asked if it is “okay” for me to telecommute so frequently. Yes, yes, yes it is. It functions as a disaster-preparedness exercise of sorts. Can we keep the online banking business afloat with everyone working from home? Yes we can.

I did go in to Cubelandia today. I was soooo happy when a beach urchin texted me that she and her SO wanted to come over and do laundry at The Landfill today. Oh, and cook dinner for me. Homemade pasta? With BACON (and other things)? Yes yes yes! And then she did the dishes!

What did I do to deserve my two wonderful [adult] daughters? I do not know.

Love y’all, KW

Orange Hangover!

February 6th, 2019 by kayak woman

The color orange does not belong in my bedroom. Not on the walls, not on the floor, not covering the windows. Definitely not on the boob toob!

<polly-tickle-rant-beware>I made the conscious decision not to watch the SOTU last night. I figgered the Orange Baboon would not spew his typical unhinged Word Vomit. I did not expect him to declare a national emergency to get his “beaded curtain” or whatever it is he thinks he wants. I figured he’d actually go through the motions of trying to make himself sound like a rational human being capable of great empathy for all people who are Not-Donald-Trump. And from all accounts I guess that’s what he did.

I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word of it. He is (or can be when he actually manages to string an intelligible sentence together) just wonderful at talking in superlatives about all the wonderful things he has done or plans to do. Say what? Yeah, he has done some things that could be described in superlative terms but in my opinion the superlatives are negative. Worst policies ever, indiscriminately wreaking havoc upon innocent human beings, lifelong US citizens and undocumented immigrants alike. And their children. Sad.

What I did do last night? We watched a couple episodes of Russian Doll. It can be a challenge to find a movie or series that the GG and I can enjoy together (that is not a bad thing, it just is…) but this one seems to work. Then I took a short nap on the couch in the back room.

I guess I should’ve slept a little bit longer because when I moved into the bedroom the Orange Baboon was still thundering along at least an hour after whenever it was he started spewing. He was at top volume. IN MY BEDROOM! I wanted him OFF (or at least in another room). An argument ensued. It was pretty ugly and although the OB eventually ended his long-winded crapola, I woke up this morning with a huge Orange Hangover.

Please. Not again. My bedroom is an orange-free zone. And BTW. AGAIN! I do not get my opinions from listening to NPR or Nancy Pelosi (although I have become a Pelosi fan). My opinions have not changed greatly throughout my life, which (again) began in a republican-leaning family. The difference between my childhood family and today’s republicans is that *my* repubs felt compassion for those who had less than us “rich” folks. Not that you could call my family rich by any stretch of the imagination what with our humble life-style within our shabby little yooperland bungalow.

Finally, I am beyond sick of being called stupid! I’m not sure what “stupid” really means as an adjective to describe a human being but it is NOT synonymous with “you don’t agree with me”. I don’t remember anyone EVER calling me stupid, at least not to my face, until the Trumpian Idiocracy.</polly-tickle-rant-beware>

Driveway moments and bear poking

February 5th, 2019 by kayak woman

It was actually a parking lot moment and I was listening in well, maybe morbid fascination would be an appropriate phrase. NPR was interviewing none other than Kelly Anne Conway and I could not stop listening to her light-speed spew of lies, half-truths, and various other gyrations to avoid answering even yes-or-no questions with straight answers. If I talk fast enough will people even understand what I say? So bladladladladl. I know that many other polly-tishuns (and other folks) do variations on this kind of thing but I find KAC particularly annoying.

Once upon a time, Mr Luv’s young son was visiting Cubelandia and he asked, “Dad, how old will you be when I’m 19?” Mr Luv (of course) dodged the question. FZ (considerably older than Mr Luv) jocularly said, “Answer the question dad!” Honestly I thought most reputable news organizations had stopped talking to KAC a long time ago.

So then I waltzed into Cubelandia and answered an email I was copied on with what turned out to be a wrong (or at least incomplete) answer. Whomp! The Bear hit back! (Cue the Volga boat song. [Youtube link and may begin with an ad.]) I sat and licked my wee li’l rabbit paws for a bit and decided not to reply. Except to kibbitz over the wall with FZ (after carefully making sure The Bear was not at Cubelandia today) about how The Bear was probably right and I was wrong. And then I corrected myself because of course The Bear is ALWAYS right and we all know that and…

FZ and I totally cracked up at that but it’s pretty much true. The Bear is a talented software developer/information architect and when I can get him to ‘splain something technical to me in a language other than “Russian”, I can almost always write/make pictures about it for the audiences I need to explain it to. At any rate, I would rather have The Bear on my team than Kelly Anne Conway any day of the week. He is as straightforward as all getout and is totally focused on making our product work well at all times. KAC seems like she is upholding the Orange Baboon’s random word vomit only to bolster her own career, whatever the heck that is. For the moment, it seems to be Lackey.

So do I watch the SOTU tonight or more episodes of Russian Doll? What are y’all gonna watch if anything? Cubelandia mgmt (two AWSOME women) told us all to strongly consider working from home tomorrow due to potential freezing rain. I will probably take them up on that.

Whine book blahg

February 4th, 2019 by kayak woman

Yeah, you do not want me to blather on about html or the weather. (Warm and very rainy today with freezing rain and gawd only knows what else in the week’s forecast. Yer belcome.)

I entered a reading challenge on GoodReads this year. The beach urchins shamed me into it. Oh, not really but they were doing challenges and I copied them. My challenge is 52 books. I have read seven so far. We’ll see what I get up to. A few books at random below.

In the people who kind of want to be “normal” but don’t feel like they fit in but tend to do whatever the heck they want *anyway* category? “Blue Boy”. Indian/American junior high boy. Highly talented, mercilessly teased by peers, chafing at parental attempts to force him to follow their cultural norms. In the United Snakes of America? Really? Good book. Blue is the color.

In the people who know they aren’t normal (no quotes) and don’t really care but try to fit in anyway category? “Convenience Store Woman”. It’s Japanese (because there is more than one book with that title). I won’t say anything more about this except that I enjoyed it and am glad neither of my children turned out like this woman. And that’s *not* because she works in a convenience store and not at a “real job” whatever the heck that is. I’m still trying to figger it out.

In the people who *are* normal but can’t get a break category? “Winter’s Bone”. Dirt poor teenage girl struggles to hold dysfunctional family together in the middle of the winter in the Ozarks. Oh my. I grew up in the yooperland knowing good but dirt poor people with dysfunctional families and I love books like this. Other books in this category (which I read a while ago) are “Marlena” and “Sweet Girl”, both set in the Northern Lower.

In the everybody’s crazy in different ways all over the map category? “Bellweather Rhapsody”. State wide high school music festival for the most talented kids in the state. Haunted hotel. Disappeared student. A Mommy Dearest to beat all. What can I say? I enjoyed the book but struggle with how some loose ends were tied up at the end but not others. At least I couldn’t figure them out.

I read the last book in part because it kind of reminded me of when I was in high school and made it in to the Interlochen All-State camp a couple summers. The book had elements that matched my experience. Little “romances” blossoming on Melody Lane (or whatever it was called). Mean girl crapola that I DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN!!!! Thank you very much. More on that some other day? Maybe…

Oh, and then there’s “The Monsters of Templeton”, which isn’t quiiiite in any of these categories but features a fictional version of Cooperstown, NY, complete with a lochness-style monster. The book is by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Lauren Groff. If you are thinking it’s about baseball, you may be disappointed.

Dizzy with intergalactic travel after running across a green field full of daisies

February 3rd, 2019 by kayak woman

I can make lasagne(s) quick quick quick or I can take the s-l-o-w route. I opted the slow route for the two (meat and veg) that I made this weekend for the GG to take to Tahq next weekend. I’m not going this year. I am saving vacay time and if the GG is not constrained to my schedule, he’ll have more travel flexibility to go to say, Hoton Lake or wherever.

Anyway, I love to make lasagne so I am at least contributing food for the lodge. So yesterday I made two batches of sauce and stuck them into the fridge in great big bowls. Today I chopped up some zucchini and carrots and cooked up (slowly) some Italian sausage. Eventually I got into assembly mode and managed to put both lasagnes together in probably less than a half hour. This method allows me to wash dishes (the ones that don’t go in the dishwasher) and let them dry in between “acts”.

Re-reading the stuff I wrote about groundhog day yesterday, I regret that I referred to my last stage of life with my mom as I did and wish I had described it differently. It might have been the hardest time in our long relationship for me. Maybe it was for her too but I’ll never know. I did whatever I could but I do know that she was ready to go and as the only living member of her little Sault Ste. Siberian Superior Street nuclear family (mom, dad, brother and I) I gave her permission to leave me whenever she was ready.

Green field with daisies? Not exactly what we had today but it was 50 degrees and sunny and that is kinda what it is like to live in the Great Lake State. 22 below on Thursday, 50 above on Sunday. After a couple days of rain, it looks like we will settle into typical winter weather for a while.

On Groundhog Day

February 2nd, 2019 by kayak woman

Y’all have seen the movie, roight? I’ve seen it a few times.

I have probably written about this before but I lived a version of the Groundhog Day movie back in 2012 when The Commander got fed up with living and wanted out. Did I want my mother to die? Of course not! But she was not the mother I grew up with. She was not the mother I struggled with as a teenager (but who also supported me unconditionally). She was not the mother who doted on her grandchildren. She was not the mother who loudly told morbid stories while shopping at Planet Ann Arbor stores (flinging a dead porcupine into the swamp and Radical Betty’s friend dying on a hike in a Canadian national park and having to call the Mounties to get his body out). She was not the mother that I often called (as an adult) to shoot the shit and laugh (and kvetch) with.

End of life is no fun for anyone and mom’s last year was a pretty rough ride. We got her situated at a nice assisted living facility a half mile down the escarpment from her home (which she still owned). We hoped she would flourish at assisted living but various trips to the ER/ICU ensued and each one of those further degraded her well-being. She contracted c. diff during the last of those hoosegow stays and refused meds and food and NO! she did NOT want MEEEE to feed her! Sorry nurse but neither one of us love each other in quiiiite that way. We are independent women… Eventually we arranged for hospice care at her assisted living facility and every morning I hoofed it down there from her house (Squatter’s Paradise) for another day of hanging out with a woman who didn’t really want to live any more but was a bit too healthy to die. So awful but it also reminded me of the Groundhog Day movie.

Today the GG went hiking somewhere over in the west with his girlfriends. I was spacified. I walked, did chores, shopped for grokkeries, and prepped lasagnes for the GG to take up to Tahquamenon next weekend. And then, I found a new groundhog day type movie. Y’all have maybe heard of Russian Doll because it’s been hyped. I have watched two episodes of Russian Doll on my phone. Yes, on my phone. It’s on Netflix. I am enjoying it. I wonder if I can get the GG to watch it with me (on the TV).

It is 38 degrees here today. That is ABOVE zero! And I just saw a guy run by in shorts and a tank top…

Zero degrees and climbing

February 1st, 2019 by kayak woman

We know two of the folks in the pic. The other person is selling Ground Cover newspapers. I have mixed feelings about the Ground Cover newspaper but I am not willing to go there tonight.

We have finally broken through the zero temperature ceiling. It was around zero when I went outside and faaaaared up the Ninja this morning. She was a wee bit hesitant at first but she powered through to a strong start. MMCB and I had postponed our coffee at Barry’s a couple times this week but we finally met today. The young woman who served me always remembers us and asked me if my vee-hickle had trouble starting today. No, although it was a little slow. It lives outside and is 10 years old. But… It is a Honda and Honda vee-hickles ROCK (and last forever). And then I volunteered that I had been telecommuting all week with a dern Pensioner haaaaannnnging around to boot. She asked if I had Cabin Fever. Yes yes yes. She said she had heard a lot of similar stories.

It was wonderful to get back to my work life in Cubelandia today. It was somewhere between 7 and 12 degrees when I got home this afternoon and began my schlep down to Oscar Tangolandia this afternoon. I managed it without either my Smartwool leggings (which ROCK) or YakTrax. In sunlight. In sunlight. In sunlight. Old Man Winter is in no way finished with us but the north shall rise again!

Last night the GG’s feet were like blocks of ice and he was congested. He was resisting putting socks on so I finally dragged a pair of smart wool socks outta the laundry basket and physically pulled them onto his feet. Jeebus! I do think he has socks on tonight.

Frost quakes?

January 31st, 2019 by kayak woman

This seems to be the decade of inventing new weather terms. Frost quake? I can’t remember exactly what it is (you can use The Google) but something like how all of the water in the ground suddenly freezes and makes a big booming noise. But check it out yerself if yer instristed.

I have telecommuted FOUR days this week and I am soooo over working from home with the GG hannnnnging around. You might guess I won’t be retaaaaaring any time soon. I actually wanted to schlep over to Cubelandia today but my phone proclaimed -22 when I woke up so I bagged out and so did *everybody* else.

There was also an alert on my phone about keeping the thermostat set at 65 or lower for anyone who could. It came from Consumers Power, which was *really* confusing because we get our gas from DTE. Turned out that a fire at some kind of Consumers natural gas facility was threatening to impact their ability to deliver natural gas and because (apparently) the grid is all interconnected, it was a statewide issue (or maybe just the lower peninsula). Our gal Gretchen (the governator) made her own plea. Anyone who *can* lower their thermostat without compromising their health *should* for the good of the wider community. I was happy with 65 or lower and definitely complied. One thing the FinFam is not short on is blankets, not that I needed one. In the end, GM and Chrysler agreed to shut down some auto plants for a few days and that will (hopefully) alleviate the issue so those who are fragile can stay warm.

Don’t mind the guy in the hat. It’s only Stormy Kromer in disguise and the hat was probably purchased to bug the heck outta yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Er, a woman who actually owns guns (by inheritance) but has never shot one of them and probably won’t unless Big Bugs from Zephron 3 try to take over the earth.

MoonX at the end of Cabin Fever

January 30th, 2019 by kayak woman

I am not sure why we are so hyped up about minus nine degree temperatures. I remember that the Polar Vortex winter of 2014 had many many days with colder temperatures. I dunno what the wind chill was and I don’t really care. It WAS windy today. I made a quick trip over to the Plum and I pulled my smartwool leggings on over my tights (underneath my long wool skirt). I was warm enough and it was only about minus four at that time anyway.

But hype? Hmmm… So the schools were closed Monday, today, and tomorrow. That’s not unusual. My company told Planet Ann Arbor folks to telecommute Monday, today, and tomorrow. It wasn’t an order exactly, just a strong suggestion. We all have badges that’ll let us in the door so we can get in whenever we want.

Trash/recycling is delayed two days. That means we will put out our trash for an unprecedented *Sunday* pickup this week. I wonder what the neighbors will think when I don’t put my trash out for its usual Friday pickup. I know LofP will be paying attention to what Garbage Woman does. Garbage pickup is not like it used to be when Bad Boyfriend worked for Soo Sanitation and had to jump off the truck to physically pick up garbage cans to throw them into the back of the truck. Nowadays our truck drivers stay in the truck and use a big mechanical arm to pick up the carts. So I’m not sure why the trucks can’t go out. But I am not complaining.

I can better understand why there was no mail delivery today. This wasn’t random like back in the polar vortex winter when sometimes the mail simply didn’t show up. We were *told* that there would be no mail in our zip code. I am okay with this. Postal mail is not how most important documents are dispatched any more and I am happy that postal delivery folks do not have to deliver a bunch of junk mail on foot in subzero temperatures. I do hope they are being PAID.

I was actually hot in my house this afternoon even though the thermostat was set for 67. It got warmer with our Hotlantia/Yooperland friends who stopped by for lasagne and MoonX whine. Black pinot noir. Our lights were pink/magenta when I took the pic. They changed color throughout the night.