Random bits of my so-called life.

Multi-tasking Running around like a chicken with its head cut off

May 25th, 2016 by kayak woman

bourboncakeI won’t provide the details, mainly it’s food related. Cooking prodjects for this week, buying food for the weekend with only a hint of a clue of who will be where when and what they will want to eat at any given moment. Life at a group home, even a weekend group home, is never dull and there are *plenty* of darn good chief cook and bottle washers at the Cfam group home! I am taking a minimalist approach both in terms of purchasing food and planning. Enough food to feed me and the GG and a plan to try to Go With The Flow. And that is what you *have to do* when you share property with others! The point of it all is to spend time with the *people*! We’ll have the Lyme Lounge with us in case yer fav-o-rite introvert needs a Freak Out Chill Out Chamber for a bit.

Work is a whole ‘nother story and Louie-Louiiii runs a tight ship on his Friday Food schedule. There is a sign-up sheet and everything and some people chatter away all week about what they are going to bring in yada yada. I missed out on hummingbird cake, made by the inimitable KennyP, because I was up in Iggy slodging through a couple feet of heavy wet snow that weekend. I did not miss out on this bourbon cake, which L-L brought in yesterday instead of Friday because Cubeland will be largely empty that day.

biscuitcutterThis is a totally voluntary effort and I am a non-contributor (although I could bring in bagels and fruit and people would be happy). But I am not really much of a baker these days. It’s not that I don’t know how. The Commander baked cakes and things and I loved baking stuff when I was a beach urchin. Starlight Cake anyone? As a mooom, though, it always seemed like when I would make cakes, people would get all excited at first and then the cake would kind of sit around until it started to develop mold. I am not complaining. I pretty much felt the same way about cake. A little bit of sweet goes a looooooong way.

I do occasionally make biscuits though. I bought some fresh *local* strawberries at the farmers market a couple weekends ago and the beach urchins came over for dinner and I wanted to make strawberry shortcake with REAL biscuits. I use the Joy of Cooking recipe. My biscuits are okay but maybe I will have to practice or do some research. Anyway, the recipe for shortcake biscuits requires that I knead the dough (a bit and that’s within my limited skill set). Then I have to kind of roll/pat it out and cut it into *shapes* (as opposed to blobs) so it will look “pretty” under the strawberries. So I need a biscuit cutter.

I know that there are biscuit cutters in The Commander’s stuff. A variety of nice, 1950s and 60s biscuit cutters from before “they” started to put plastic handles on them. (BTW What?) They were here for a while back when I was still sorting stuff out. But I could not find any last weekend. I KNOW that I took them up to the moomincabin. I can remember hanging them up on the wall behind the sink. I think those should stay there and so I went on to eBay and this one arrived in the mail today. It doesn’t replicate her collection but it is a start.

Oh yes, I know that you can use a glass to cut biscuits into a round shape and that is what I have been doing 🐽 but now I have this.

Green with a bit of purple about the edges

May 24th, 2016 by kayak woman

The day started innocently enough with this loverly purple fleur on my morning walk.

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And the Purple House on Duncan.

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And this purple fleur in my front yard and one of these days I am gonna bore y’all with a whole series of pics of this thing.

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I went inside after taking this pic and there was oddness in the form of an empty glass of cranberry juice by the kitchen sink. (Cranberry juice is not purple, it is dark red or, uh, Cranberry. Grape juice is purple. Just ask The Commander [wink].) Lo and behold, The Pensioner was up and outta there and it wasn’t even 7:00 yet. He was walking downtown as it turned out but later I received this photoooo by text message.

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We’re gonna veer away from the green/purple theme for the next two pics. Mid-afternoon, TP texted me something about did I want to walk downtown to eat tonight. Well, no I didn’t, not really, I had plans to walk to the grokkery store and cook leftovers and yada yada. We did anyway. We ate at a new place (to us) with organic pizza and cocktails. It was good but just a weeeeee bit slow and portlandia for me. I like slow but not tooooo slow or floaty. Also it was almost empty. I like a wee bit more activity. We may well be back but it probably won’t be a “go-to”.

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Fortunately I got a pic of the hydroponic wall before they turned out the lights.

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Things took a turn for the weird when I went to pull out my debit card to pay the bill and… Hmmm… It didn’t take too long to remember that the last time I used it was when we stopped for a beer at Arbor Brewing Sunday afternoon, so we stopped there to retrieve it on the way home. Yes they did have it. I wasn’t really all that worried because I knew it hadn’t been used for anything but I was annoyed at myself because it takes something like 10 days to get a new one. Anyway, we trudged up the hill into the sun and here are some doggy bags for your convenience. We’re way past purple now (but still lots of green).

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Last and saddest… As we cut over to Dexter and headed toward the Plum Market, I looked to the left on a cross street and WHAT THE HECK?

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Two cement trucks were pouring cement and at least three waited in the wings across Dexter. As we goggled at the mess (Gogol was goggle-eyed!) neighbors came out to commiserate. An old farmhouse (probably the original) had been demolished along with I can’t remember how many trees (17?) and they were building a duplex, $500K each unit. This in a neighborhood where the homes are typically humble bungalows and small ranches (like mine) worth $200-$300K in the [inflated] Planet Ann Arbor housing market. Over a dioxane plume but that’s a whole ‘nother story, at least for tonight.

Anyway, got a few grokkeries and came home to a second shower after 28K steps today. Hot today. Doors are open, whole-house fan is on and I’m feeling staged for the next few busy days.

G’night and love y’all, especially you green and purple folks! 💚💜

I dunno exactly but I do like the tea towel

May 23rd, 2016 by kayak woman

tinkerbellSo last week I was Moom Alone ALL WEEK while The Pensioner was hanging around various places in The Great White North. That means that every single morning, I was able to get up and do my own zen little chores and errands and whatever. NO ONE ELSE WAS HOME! Evenings were a bit lonely. I like to have some Alone Time in the late afternoon but there was no one to watch Shameless with all week. And, er, I admitted to Lizard Breath yesterday as we were walking downtown that, uh, I don’t really know how to operate the TV. MOOM! You are a computer programmer. It’s a bit more complicated than that but yes, writing computer programs is one of the tools in my bag of tricks. But. She’s right. I should bite the bullet and figger out how to operate the dern TV.

I’m not exactly sure what The Pensioner did all day today (and I don’t necessarily care). I know that he was on the phone with car repair shops (and Mouse) during my ZEN TIME this morning but that didn’t sound like it was going all that well. Note: If you want to make any kind of arrangements *for* Mouse, you need to keep her in the loop. Just sayin’. Anyway, that gave me the opportunity to sneak out the door without the “Seeya Later Honey kiss or whatever”. Switched-up gender Beaver Cleaver family ritual anyone? Do I need to start yelling “Luuuuuuucy I’m home!!!” loud enough that the whole neighborhood can hear it when I come in the door? Hmmm, maybe I’ll try that… 🐽

What was VERY COOL was that… Well, let’s see. We were low on orange juice this morning and I NEED orange juice on work mornings. My plan was to walk over to the Plum after work (like I do ALL THE TIME) to get some orange juice. Problem. Epically awful commute. I won’t give you the specifics but it took me 45 minutes to do my usually easy little eight mile commute. Plum Market? Do I have it in me to walk over there after this crap? Maybe the GG will be willing to go and snag orange juice. He is usually game for a grokkery trip.

Wouldn’t you know that when I FINALLY drove up The Landfill street, The Pensioner was walking DOWN the street, earbuds in place. Whoa! I stopped and rolled down the window!

KW: Where are you going?

TP: Plum Market. What do you need?

KW: ORANGE JUICE!

And so we have orange juice. Along with probably a few other random things. You know the kind of things that “guys” (and kids) put into shopping carts when mooom is not looking.

Hiking amid kames with perverts birders

May 22nd, 2016 by kayak woman

Actually we encountered exactly one other person during our little hike at South Lyndon Park this morning (pics randomly included). He was a cheerful soul and with all of his gear, we pegged him as a birder, not a pervert.

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Maybe I should back up a bit. I am not a birder but I have long subscribed to a birding email listserve (like since the late 1990s). The bird list is friendly but very specifically focused on messages about birds. Messages that stray to oh, I dunno, amphibians or insects or ecological issues, etc., are considered OFF TOPIC and a friendly moderator shuts down message threads that veer off topic PDQ. So it was a little surprising a couple weeks ago when the list came alive with posts about perverts!

Why? Well, a (male) birder was birding on Embury Road and encountered someone “creepy” who, if I interpreted the story accurately, exposed himself. This was followed by several pervert reports by other people in the general area of western Washtenaw County. No one in any of these situations was injured in any way and the perverts didn’t sound particularly dangerous. That said, I know that as a female, if I encountered someone like that while walking alone, I would be pretty freaked out.

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Nevertheless, I became intrigued by Embury Road. I knew I had seen the road sign many times but I couldn’t remember where it was. Yesterday, a couple weeks after the pervert incident, people were talking about the trail system available via Embury Road and of course I had to check it out (the trail, not the pervert) and so that’s what we did this morning. Early this morning! (The poor old decrepit Pensioner – I dragged him up and out during an inconvenient sleep cycle and he crashed in the Lyme Lounge about noon.)

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Of course we found Embury Road. We have The Google after all. Just as reported, there *was* indeed a trailhead. Lo and behold, it was part of the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail. Who knew and how do you like that boardwalk work?

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We did not intend to do a death march this morning, just a few miles, but when you are on a “thru” trail like this one, it can be a bit of a challenge to decide when to turn around beyond just setting a time or distance limit. “We” do not do well with either of those strategies. After a mile or so of hiking, I looked at The Google and determined that we were walking straight toward North Lyndon Park, which we are well familiar with although we have always hiked in *South* Lyndon Park, just across North Territorial Road. At any rate, that provided a good place to turn around and so we did. Beautiful little hike up down and around kames (google it) and across long boardwalks through the wetlands between them. It was just a weeeeee bit chilly for the moe-skee-toes to be out and I was only harassed by one the entire trip but they are on the way.

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As we began to drive back up Embury Road, a white minivan approached us from the other direction. Of course, we had to speculate on whether it contained birders or perverts. It stopped and we were able to see that the occupants were pretty obviously birders — a mixed group of baggy old people smiling and waving. People a lot like us. And they had probably stopped because somebody had spotted a yellow-bellied sapsucker or some such thing. I gnoffed and gnoffed. We are so silly 💩. I don’t think I’ll bother to speculate on whether a person could be *both* a birder and a pervert. Polly-tickle correctness be damned.

And I think I will go ahead and just post this thing, early in the day as it is. The day may not be done but this story seems complete. Of course I often come back and tweak things later so who knows.

Emulating Burke

May 21st, 2016 by kayak woman

millerwoodsI have a more interesting pic than this but it is of The Pensioner mowing the lawn and I can’t post it because, let’s just say, “In my underwear!” I didn’t even text it to the beach urchins.

But (butt?) yes, Burke used to live next door and lemme see… There were the times he could be spotted on his deck (Burke’s Erection) in the middle of the night in his birthday suit. Grilling. Or setting off faaaarworks. And then there were the snowy mornings I would observe him cleaning off his loverly old-skool Caddylac in his low-ridin’ boxers with the crack in the back clearly visible. Note that this was all visible from the Landfill chitchen window.

Burke is long dead now and well before The GG became The Pensioner, we have had a few Burke Episodes, mainly the birthday suit kind. I dunno if today’s incident was “better” or “worse” than Burke in his low-slung drawers. Because tighty gray-eys. Oh, don’t worry, I don’t mean the Great Gray-green Greasy Limpopo type of under-drawers that haven’t been washed in a few months. These undies came in that color. The GG is *usually* a daily shower-er and if you know me, you know that laundry gets DONE around here. Plus he is perfectly capable of doing his own laundry because he has been doing it since he was 10 or thereabouts.

We mixed up our reglear nucular Saturday routine a bit today. We did the farmers market when it opened at seven this morning. We had no real choice. The refrigimatator was largely empty. We are usually direct about our shopping but we were more direct than usual today. I did almost all of the veggie shopping while the GG went inside to get some meat and fish. I dunno where Uncle Peter was with his pasties today. We came up empty on that one. But can I just say CUCUMBERS! Hoop house but YES!

Anyway, We Got It Done because we were meeting up with the RegenHarms fam from Seattle and npJane for brekkie at Bell’s Diner at 7:30. We are all cousins within two generations or by marriage and my cousin Jay came out here watch her son get his masters in Library Science (in Tennessee), visit her parents (Planet Ann Arbor), and do battle with powderpost beetles (moominbeach). And go to major league baseball games wherever/whenever they can manage to fit one in. Are you tired yet? I certainly am. But 💜

After that, we made a rocket trip over to Ypsilanti and back for purposes I am not at liberty to disclose (good purposes, no worries) with a side trip to drop a symbolic box of crap off at Kiwanis on the way. Why symbolic? Because it has been a while since I’ve actually *flung* anything and I am hoping that this half-baked one box attempt will re-a-start me!

We did not do the Griz for lunch today. We decided that walking down to the Griz for lunch on Saturday is a nice thing to do on nasty cold Saturdays but that we’d be better off leveraging a decent day to get things done at home. So we didn’t do lunch. I am thinking I still want a little more of a taste of downtown Planet Ann Arbor this weekend so now I am thinking of walking down there tomorrow 3:00-ish to get a beer/whine somewhere. We’ll see what we do though.

G’night, KW 💜

Breathing into the future

May 20th, 2016 by kayak woman

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If this post disappears (except for the beautiful mayapple pic from my back yard), you will know I had second thoughts about posting it. If I do take it down, it will be my decision. I’m a wee bit taaaared of being told to be quiet and stay in my “place”, etc. I’m also not going to be specific about the situation. If you know me in real life, you may have at least a whiff of an idea what I’m talking about. If not, let’s leave it at that.

The thing is that several years ago, after my mother died, I was falsely accused of various acts of wrongdoing. Since then I have endured a long ugly siege of bullying, lies, slander, name-calling, hate mail, and gaslighting. Gaslighting is a psychological term. Google it if you care to.

At long last, a recent small and rather indefinable event has brought me a wee bit of relief. I am breathing a little easier today and thinking about how to move on into the future. Life is like a river and today was a good day. I needed one of those.

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest and now back to your regularly scheduled boring blahg of blather. Don’t you love my mayapple(s)?

Love you all, KW

Under attack!

May 19th, 2016 by kayak woman

errorMainly by my house. First up? Eco Terlet! Eco Terlet, I hardly know ya. You are a new beastie. Why do you gurgle after I flush? No I am not throwing you-know-what down there. That train left the station a while back.

Eco Terlet has been gurgling for a while. I am not sure that TP (The Pensioner? The Plumber?) notices gurgling or trickling or hissing noises in terlets. When you grow up in a family with 10 children and a mechanical engineer dad whose mantra is “Don’t fergit to jiggle the handle!”, I think you don’t pay that much attention. I, on the other hand, grew up with the other extreme, that is, looooooong awaited (11 years) oldest of two kids and parents who absolutely freaked out whenever the terlet did anything besides what it was designed to do. I was as terrified of overflowing terlets as I was of faaaaar and I was plenty terrified of faaaar. I don’t know which scenario was worse for me as a kid.

But I grew up and after probably 10 years of living with the GG, I relaxed a bit. I am no longer terrified of overflowing terlets. If I see the terlet water rising, I grab the plumber’s helper and start plunging. I am pretty dern good! Still, when terlets start to make little noises, I get on the alert that we are in for some sort of repair job, with luck just a ballcock replacement 🐽. I am a trained musician and my ears are more sensitive than most people’s. (Apostrophe in the right place?)

lymeloungehlAnd then there was my LOVERLY Bosch dishioshio washer. Dum de dum. Ran it Sunday night. No problem. Being the only person around for most of the week, there weren’t a lot of dishes but I had just enough to want to run a half-load last night. Not. H:01? The number changes but the H stays. Yes, I have looked this up online. I am not capable of fixing it myself. It’s okay. I am no stranger to washing dishioshios by hand. I did it all the time when I was a kid. I do it at the moomincabin. I did it for I dunno, seven? 10? years here at The Landfill because the dishioshio washer I used to have wasn’t getting the dishioshios clean and I took an attitude about it and just did them by hand. Now I have this Bosch thingy and it CLEANS things and it is QUIET and I LOVE it. And so I use it. But I couldn’t use it last night. Bah humbug.

Some people are obviously having more fun than I am at the moment but when they get home tomorrow, they will have their work cut out for them 💩. I know they will figger it all out. But isn’t that why people retaaaaar? So they can begin new careers as handymen?

Chicken and egg problems

May 18th, 2016 by kayak woman

My most recent work prodject (one of them, I have three) involves a chicken and egg problem. I understand the problem but it wasn’t until the late afternoon today that I managed to figure out how to clearly describe the issue to others. Of course, Louie-Louiiiii overheard the chicken and egg thing and made the announcement that he was now hungry. Love L-L. Oh, and The Queen Bee said, “GO HOME!” 💜 her.

I am also thinking about karma today and wondering when it will finally take the turn I want and expect it to. I have taken my turn in the doghouse and I am just about done done done with that. Of course, my doghouse has a Van Gogh in it.

Anyway, because I can’t in a bazillion years describe this week, we’ll do one of those timehop thingies. So here is 2010 when the GG was painting North Country Trail blazes down on the Castle Rock section that we hiked last weekend.

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And then there was 2011 when The Commander finally needed actual help and I was camping at the Moomincabin and working remotely and visiting her at the Long Term Care facility where she was doing stroke rehab and HATED being there. I took this picture on the beach.

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The next year (2012), the Comm was dead. I didn’t expect that she would die that soon but Cdiff took her down. And so, here are all of the Courtois folks putting boat hoists into the water at Houghton Lake. After the boat hoist got into the water, the Pontoon Boat came home and we all went for a ride over to the tiki bar.

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And then there was 2013, when the Benevolent Despot said something like, “Nothing is going on here this afternoon so GO HOME. I didn’t go home. I went to Mouse’s apartment and we walked the adjacent woods and it was filled with Trillium. And after that we ate dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse.

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And 2014, after I gutted and renovated the Landfill Chitchen and finally got around to putting a wee bit of carefully curated clutter back into it.

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And so last year (2015), we went to see our Mouse act in a play at the Civic Theatre. It was a Shakespeare play and I remember telling our neighbor that I would be lucky to stay awake. He laughed but I did stay awake during that play, as I did when Mouse played various parts in a version of Macbeth back in January. But here is a photo from the theatre that night.

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2016? Alas, it is a frickin’ tick photo.

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Ain’t no haints in Detroit

May 17th, 2016 by kayak woman

I wanted to post a pitcher last night. I even had one. It’s just a lilac flower. Are lilacs flowers or are they compound flowers? Is there such a thing as a compound flower or am I making this up? A quick and dirty google tells me that there is such a thing as a compound flower but a lilac probably doesn’t qualify. Plant people, speak up and set this computer nerd straight! But my software update took so long yesterday, I didn’t want to take any more time to process and upload the pic. Anyway, here’s yesterday’s pic. More or less the same lilac pic as the last umpteen years’ worth of lilac pics. (Edited to add an apostrophe after “years” in the last sentence. I think that’s correct. Grammar folks? Mom?)

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Beep beep beepity beepity beep! We interrupt this boring blahg of blather to bring you the news that the Silver Maples retirement “community” of Chelsea just boasted in an NPR ad that three out of five (or was it 10) residents are… drum roll… Men! Okay, then, if The Pensioner starts to drive me nuts, I guess I’ll be moving… Or… Not… Or maybe he should move there. You know, to improve the ratio even more. Sorry, I know this is snarky and that someday, we/I/him may well be [ulp] facing such a move. Onward for now, with blinders on!

So, what is The Pensioner doing these days? Actually, he is spacifying me this week. One of the first things TP did when he retaaaarrrred was to paint a North Country Trail blaze on one of his shirts. (Hmmm… The Pensioner and Titanium Pinky have the same initials. Also Toilet Paper 🐽) Here he is, getting ready to paint. (This was a couple weeks ago.)

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North Country Trail blazes are a very particular color and they need to be applied to trees (or whatever but mostly trees on our section) in quite specific rectangular shapes. I am not sure what all of the requaaaarrrments are but if you see a guy with this on his shirt out in the woods, follow him. He may actually know where he’s going. Although I would trust our friends Stan and Tom W more. Or Marilyn/Joan if you want to find bear skulls, etc.

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I think I’m done for today. I finished a book this morning (The Turner House). I loved it (although I would give it four out of five Goodreads stars) but I can’t write about it today or maybe ever. Read it though. It is fun. Especially if you are from (or have married into) a large wonderful fambly.

Good night,
KW

Three (count ’em) THREE re-a-starts!

May 16th, 2016 by kayak woman

My Macbook Pro has been reminding me about updates for the last week or so. I was halfway through writing an email tonight when it reminded me again. How long can this take? I did not know. I clicked the go-ahead button. Over a half hour later and no fewer than THREE re-a-starts, I am back. This experience felt a lot like when The Mothership takes over my work laptop (windows) and does whatever. But when I am at work, I can sit in my cube and play with my iPhone while the update or whatever it is happens and get paid for it! Plus I can hang out with my cube neighbors who I generally love talking to but today we spent waaaay more time than I would’ve wanted to speculating upon how the woman on the cruise ship fell into the water and is lost forever. We all think this is awful but I got done with the speculation early on. I am a systems analyst. I need data, numbers, and information.

Speaking of vacation and work and Monday morning (not that we were), I was hoping to roll over to Cubeland today and sit around figuring out what I do for a living for a while. It’s kind of what us creative types do. And actually, I have a new prodject that I have been noodling on in the back of my mind throughout my mini-vacay and I was ready to pick up on that today. Flowcharts and html demo pages and all of that. Oh no. I got to work and iDeep (in India) I/M’d me with billions of questions and it was waaaay fun but I felt like I was in the twilight zone for a while there. In the last hour of the day, I was able to spend a small amount of time on my next prodject. This is how it goes for a systems analyst in my particular place of work.

I have learned by the grapevine that the third (and last) dog my brother The Engineer adopted has been euthanized today. I don’t really have any words for this. I spent a lot of time with Alfred back before things got weird but I have not seen him for three years. I was part of his pack back before that and he was a loverly albeit sometimes obnoxious dog. I loved him *anyway*. Godspeed Alfred and may you meet my brother on the Rainbow Bridge. I know he will be waiting for you.

It ain’t over until it’s over!

May 15th, 2016 by kayak woman

Don’t let the beauteous star fool you. It was “frickin'” cold down there on the beach this morning. All I will say about my Beachwalking Uniform is that it was the same as yesterday’s. We were comfortable in the cabin overnight and I had no trouble dragging myself out of my sleeping bag and into the shower this morning.

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I didn’t see any evidence of snow until I was well into my walk and saw this little skiff next to this stick or board or whatever (piece of wood?). I puzzled at it for a while. Was it somehow wave-related? I couldn’t find evidence that any waves had made it quite that far up the beach.

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I posted the photo on facebook and soon after, Jeep and Pan posted a comment that there was snow on their vee-hickles and deck. (Can I just digress for a minute here and say that I *love* communicating with my cousins and other members of our beach community via text message and facebook? I feel like this brings us closer together and is a positive consequence of the technology in our lives. But that might be a whole ‘nother post.) Anyway, that comment prompted me to walk up the road to look for more snow and yes, there was snow on J&P’s vee-hickles and there was a dusting all over the woods up at the top of our road by Our Northern Correspondent’s house.

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I hit the road to Troll Land at 9-something and I had a decent drive with nice dry pavement until I got to Gaylord. I wrote about Gaylord a wee bit back. What I didn’t mention about Gaylord is that its location is right smack in the middle of a lake effect snow belt. It is also located at the northern 45th parallel but that’s only tangential to this story. The point is that, if there is a possibility of snow in northern lower Michigan, it is almost certain that it will happen at Gaylord. And usually in spades. We won’t go any further into snow in Michigan because I am kind of done done done with snow for the year but let’s just say that when I got to Gaylord today, there was a serious blizzard going on. There was “stuff” on the road. Most people were still driving 70-80 mph and that wouldda been okay except… Visibility was just about zero. This stuff started at Vanderbilt and I white-knuckled it the next few miles down to mile marker 282. At that point, I bailed off the I75 SUV Speedway and hung a left into Gaylord. This pic does not show the mayhem on the freeway. There was no way I was going to take my hands off the wheel to take a pic of that. I did take my right hand off to downshift onto the exit ramp that I could barely see. BTW, Titanium Pinky works just fine nowadays and I don’t even think about her when I shift the Ninja’s gears. It was weeks and weeks after I broke her before she could help me drive the Ninja but she is now a fully functional member of the hand that operates the Ninja’s clutch.

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So I drove through Gaylord on the old road. I could see pretty well most of the time. By the time I was passing Michaywe on old 27, the sun was coming out again and by the time I got to Waters, the roads were dry as a bone. I grabbed onto the freeway again and, although Old Man Winter threw a few more snowballs at me, my trip from there was pretty smooth. Except for Orange Barrel Season… (I thought about visiting Chloe Belle and Daisy in Michaywe to wait out the storm but wasn’t sure if they were home and I kind of wanted to barrel through the crap and get home to Troll Land. So I sent a 💜 from the road.)

So I am back here in Troll Land. I saw Mr. K of Plutification Blues at the grokkery store. I’m feeling pretty good about this visit to the moomincabin. I feel like we left it in pretty good shape for the summer although there is always work to do when you own vacation-type property. The last two years, I have left the place at the end of the summer in a diminished form (the cabin and me!). I had a terrible cold virus in 2014 (eyes encrusted shut when I woke up, I love you but don’t hug me because I don’t want you to get what I have) and a broken pinky in 2015. We were busy with fun and business things this weekend but we had enough down time in the cold weather that I sort of got vacuum cleaner zen energy. And so I did a lot of that and cleaned some of the floor and pulled a few more boxes of stuff out of the garage to process and and and…

Love y’all and good night, ‘speshully to those in Gaylord and at Brevort/Brevoort Lake.

Warning: animal skull pics in this post 🐗

May 14th, 2016 by kayak woman

The skull pics are relatively tame in my not-necessarily-humble opinion but I wanted to warn y’all (all five of you) so they didn’t surprise you. I know that people have varying reactions to these kinds of pics.

So, the other day when I posted beautiful pictures with blue skies (and hot temperatures)? We do not have (and didn’t expect) any accumulations of the s-word but man oh man, it has been spotted in the air (a few flakes blowing sideways past my black skirt were noted by a fellow North Country Trail hiker today). When I took my beach walk this morning, I was wearing a wool/silk turtleneck, polartech vest, polartech jacket, scarf, skirt, tights, smartwool socks, keen sandals, glubs, and balaclava. There was a pretty good north west wind getting started up and it wasn’t cold enough to snow yet. But. I was able to safely jump the stream at the east end of the beach but I bagged the one at the west end because I knew I would end up in “quicksand”. Too cold for that today.

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A while later, we all put all our clothes on and went on a wee skull-hunting expotition in front of the Old Cabin. Here’s npJane and The Pensioner (hey, he came up with that term🐽). Oh yeah, if you embiggen the next pic, you might notice that npJane is NOT wearing any socks! I noticed this (I am a mom) but held my tongue.

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We found two bird skulls. We do not know what they are. Here is one of them with some feathers attached.

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Hard as it was to leave the beach, I tore myself out of here for most of the day. The Pensioner and I were scheduled to hike the Castle Rock section of the North Country Trail with our usual buddies and whoever else showed up. As you can see via the next pic, a whole bunch of people showed up.

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This bridge was a whole lot less scary today than it was a couple years ago when it was covered with a couple feet of snow and I had to traverse it wearing old-school snow shoes. I remember hanging on to that rail for dear life. I have newfangled snowshoes now. We did puzzle about those steep ramps up to the bridge…

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We hiked with Tinkerbell. I *love* this backpack and this gentleman’s wife knew my uncle Don and my mom and went to the same church as me growing up but not my high school because she lived in a neighboring town and anyway I think she is a wee bit younger than I am although she also has grown children. By the way, she was one brave woman today because the eight mile hike that our group advertised was actually *11* miles (I kind of knew that but there is always so much cat-herding that I bit my tongue). But she was *not* a regular hiker and this is a relatively strenuous hike for The Great Lake State with a lot of up and down and I was impressed at what a trouper this woman was. I hope this adventure didn’t scare her off hiking!

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Toward the end of our eight 11 mile hike today, a couple of the more hardy members of our group needed to go Off Trail. One of our rules is something like, “We don’t care (or need to know) why you go off trail, just let someone know and/or leave something on the trail.” Anyway these gals were Off Trail and they found a *bear skull*.

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After our eight 11 mile hike (and a wee detour to the Driftwood Barrroooom because the introvert KW needed 15 minutes to restore her minimal social skills) we met for our annual dinner at the Village Inn in St. Ignace. I have to admit I was kind of reluctant about going to this dinner. I would’ve rather come back to the moomincabin to spend the evening freeze with npJane. We sat with a couple of people that I didn’t know, except that I have heard the man’s name about a billion times from The Pensioner. Wouldn’t you know that the man’s wife and I have about 10 billion connections going on plus we are close enough in age that our kids (and ourselves) are in similar stages of life. I won’t bore you with the gory details but it was kind of like we were finishing each others sentences and we are now facebook friends.

It is cold enough tonight for snow to happen but we’ll see if it does. It’s pretty darn cozy here in the moomincabin with the gas stove going full blast, probably warm enough that I won’t have to sleep in my leggings like I did many nights five years ago when The Commander was incarcerated in the long term care rehab facility and I was camping here.

How did I start this and where was I going with this? I do not know. Good night and love y’all, KW!

Quoth the Raven “nevermind” “nevermore”

May 13th, 2016 by kayak woman

newstreet2This was a day of rather mundane Big City errands. We took the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen in to get new shoes at UP Taaaar. Why did we drive all the way to Sault Ste. Siberia to buy new taaars? The best answer I have is that The Commander always said to go to UP Tire if you needed tires. Four years after her death, we are still going to UP Tire. There is (or maybe was, I dunno) a shirt-tail relative story here but it is also a great business and we have bought taaars there before. Alas, they could not get taaarrrs for my finicky little poor-woman’s sports car Ninja in time to re-shoe it, so we’ll have to do that down on The Planet.

We walked around downtown Siberia and snagged lunch at our fave Palace Saloon while the Frog Hopper was being shod and then we picked it up and headed back out to the moomincabin. We took the I75 SUV Speedway out to 3-mile road and we turned right and I wasn’t really paying much attention because I was reading a book on my phone. But then we got to the intersection between 3-mile and Radar Road and I looked up and there was a STOP SIGN where there wasn’t one before. And then my NEW STREET alarm went off big time. Do you have a NEW STREET alarm? I didn’t think I did either. But there it was. A NEW STREET. We could turn right at that intersection if we wanted to. For the first time ever. And we did turn right because I told the GG, “TURN RIGHT!!!!!”

newstreet1It took a long time for the GG to understand that something MAJOR had changed in my life. He kept trying to gaslight me, saying that he had driven 14th Street many times. Yes, I know dear but you were never able to turn onto 14th Street from the intersection of 3-mile and Radar Road before.

When I was a beach urchin and my family would drive to our house in town after an afternoon at the moomincabin and we were all in the right mood, we would often take The Long Cut. That meant that when we got on to 3-mile Road, we had to go past the intersection with Radar Road and make a sharp left turn to get onto 14th Street. That particular aspect of Sault Ste. Siberia has been imprinted on my brain forever and it wasn’t until I sent a screenshot of that whole area to the GG that he finally got it.

The old road has been almost completely destroyed. The reason? One of our fave grokkery stores from the southern parts of the Great Lake State is moving in. Meijer. I love Glen’s Family Fare but Meijer is opening in a good place. But just saying that I was totally freaked out when I saw the new road today.

It is cold here but we are keeping ourselves warm. I was just about to bundle up and take a beach walk when npJane texted from the Old Cabin (next door) that she had whine and cheese (and Scotch). I went next door instead. Good times.

P.S. I realize that this post probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to someone who hasn’t hung around Sault Ste. Siberia their entire life. I’m not sure it even makes sense to me and I wrote it. Just that when an intersection that you have been negotiating for eons suddenly changes, um… I am out of words…

It’s gonna rain, so let’s go now!

May 12th, 2016 by kayak woman

And so we did. And where did we go? We moseyed up to Naomikong Point to walk a section of the North Country Trail that we are well familiar with. When I work as a Booth Babe at the Quiet Water Symposium, sometimes people ask me what my favorite section of the North Country Trail is. I [buhda-buhda-buhda] cannot come up with a ready answer. I love them all, all of the sections our eastern yooperland chapter maintains plus some of the others I have hiked. This is probably one of the ones I have hiked the most and the longest. It’s an easily accessible section of the trail and you can make a quick little three-mile hike out of it, then get back to whatever business you have planned for the day. It is also the first place I ever in my life encountered a TICK (YICK!) and it can be Black-Flyey when those nasty little beasties are in season. Because those nasty little beasties’ bites give me flu-like fever/achy-type symptoms, I avoid the Naomikong section at that time but we’re not quite there yet and I was wearing tights, which ticks (yick!) cannot penetrate.

Anyway, so here is our fave tree ever I think. We have photos floating around of all of the beach urchins sitting up on this thing. Alas, it was only me and The Pensioner hiking today and neither of us can lift the other onto the “seat” (and make no mistake, I missed having those kiddos on that little hike today although I really don’t miss the arguments in the car on the way home… except that I almost do…💜 Usually people were just hungry and/or thirsty and at the end of their ropes. Like I probably was too.)

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You can walk the beach on this section of the trail if you want to but we took the trail and you can see (I think) the actual Naomikong Point in the distance over the water.

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The suspension bridge is one of the highlights of this section of trail. I’m going to guess this section gets more traffic than many of the others if nothing else because a lot of people can at least walk the half mile it takes to get to this bridge. A half mile is better than nothing and I will just say something like “You Go!”

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I had a half-*ssed plan last weekend to go out and look for skunk cabbage on The Planet Ann Arbor. It was (uh) Mothers Day and it was really really nice on the planet and Lizard Breath and I were sitting in the back yard and she said something like, “It’s okay to slug around the back yard today.” Indeed. I know that there are skunk cabbages on this part of the trail and I snagged this pic.

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Back to the moomincabin after a side trip of porterization, the GG engaged in an new profile picture type of activity. He is taking all of the fun away from npJane doing this but the roof was dry at this time and it is not now, oh boy oh boy, and we thought it would be best to do the job before the precipitation.

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And then there was lunch… We didn’t really have any good lunch materials here and we were kind of arguing about that (don’t ask) so we finally decided to descend upon Pickles, which opened a couple years ago. The whitefish dip was to die for, that is about all I will say. Oh, and I got a boring old cab.

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Finally, this sunset is last night. I don’t think we will have this kind of sunset tonight but you never know. I took a bit of a beach walk late this afternoon. I had my rain jacket on but my skirt and tights were soaked at the end of it all and are now haaaaannging in the shower [hopefully] drying out.

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Sayonara, KW

The North shall rise again

May 11th, 2016 by kayak woman

Where do I start with this post and where do I end? I do not know. If I start going on and on and you decide that watching paint dry would be more interesting, feel free to bail out. Trust me that there are plenty of cat videos that are more interesting than this.

I am kind of a boots-on-the-ground person in a lot of ways and one of those is traveling. I was up this morning at 5:45 and I was on the road just before 7:00. I would’ve preferred a slightly earlier departure time but I FORCED myself to take a wee walk through the woods before I hit the road. I didn’t text anyone when I was leaving (my bad) so when I got to about West Branch, I saw that there were about a billion messages from the GG. I texted back “Wb”. My phone sound was off and he had been texting me and calling me wondering where I was and worrying. Sorry old boy. I shouldda texted you as I was leaving. When I looked at my phone again when I finally stopped (for gas) in *Mackinaw City*, I found a text from Mouse. I told her where I was and then I texted the GG with something like: “Getting gas in Mack City, will call from Glen’s in Iggy”. Which meant that I was about to cross the Mackinac Bridge (yes, there are two spellings) and was gonna get grokkeries at Glen’s Family Fare in St. Ignace.

I called from Iggy and we went from there to figger out where to do lunch, which ended up being to meet in Brimley, and so we did, at Jack’s Pub and Grub, the new restaurant in the former Lazy Bob’s Willabee’s space. Very good and I got a nice glass of cab and we’ll be back.

And so, here I am driving down the one-lane Cabin Road that leads to Finfam land and cabins. The leaves are not out yet here next to the beach and it is VERY dry around here.

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It is a beautiful day here with temperatures in the 70s and after I put the perishable food items away, I headed down to the beach.

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We seem to have a big beach this year. The last couple years not so much. I’m not sure whether the big beach I saw today can predict what this summer’s beach will be like. I do know that the Amethyst Rock is totally out of the sand this summer. Two years ago, we could not find it.

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I have lived here on this beach my entire life. I can remember lying down in the back seat of a 1950-something old black Ford as a five or six month old child and hearing the pines susurrating as we turned down the road to the cabin. The beach changes constantly. That is all.

The S-word

May 10th, 2016 by kayak woman

I mentioned the S word today at work and KennyP happened to hear me and she banished me to the corner. The time-out corner that is. She ordered me to sit and reflect upon my use of the S-word. KennyP is my mother even though she is, um, 40 years younger than me, and I really didn’t want to sit in the time-out corner, so I quickly explained that no SNOW is in the long range weather forecast for The Planet Ann Arbor this weekend (where KennyP will be) but it is definitely in the forecast for God’s Country The Yooperland this weekend (where I will be and I have packed my ski jacket and balaclava but not my damn boots or snowshoes or YakTrax. Jeebus!!!). KennyP will definitely not be with me. It might be fun to have her there some time but I suspect that situation would require more social energy than I possess. I love her anyway. She’s my mom, after all and I think she’d rather go to Chicago or New Orleans for a vacay than the dern Yooperland and that’s okay.

I need to decompress after a rather long day so how about some simple mid-May Great Lake State flower pics? Some from my yard, some from other yards, some from the woods behind my house, some from Barton Dam.

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Mercury is not in retrograde (but KW may be)

May 9th, 2016 by kayak woman

Living with a Pensioner 🐽 when you are a hard-working Salarywoman can be an adjustment. Like, no I do NOT drink coffee before I go to work so please don’t come at me with a cup of coffee. I love that on a weekend day but on a weekday? I drink orange juice and eat some sort of a wee brekky, often leftovers, today the shortcake I made yesterday to serve with the fresh strawdaddies I got at the market Saturday. I do my chores — taking out the compost, cleaning the kitchen sink and bathroom fixtures, laundry and dishwasher work as needed. I do not need to make the bed because the GG long ago usurped that chore from me. I put my makeup on (yes) and I’m out. This is all zen-type stuff to me. I’m not sure if I can offer an accurate definition of zen but it just feels like when I focus on my boring little routine, I can leave the Landfill feeling calm and in control, i.e., not forgetting my work badge or laptop or lunch or whatever, not breaking my neck to get out the blasted door.

So, I do not do coffee. Until a couple years ago, we did not even have a coffee maker here. I do coffee at work or at Barry’s (if it’s Thursday) or Zingerman’s@PlumMarket. Or not. By the time I have taken a shower and hiked 8-8.5K steps, I don’t really need coffee but sometimes I indulge myself anyway. I love you Mr. Pensioner but please don’t assume I want coffee.

So, this morning, I added plant-watering to my chores. Oh don’t worry Mouse, I’m talking about the basil and impatiens that I potted over the weekend, not your plants. It was a gorgeous morning and The Pensioner was hanging around the back yard with his telescope. I finished my chores and put my makeup on and yelled, “I’m out!” and then realized that he was nowhere in sight! Okay. Whatever. I got into the Ninja and, as I started to back out into the street, I looked to my left and I looked to my right… A guy with a telescope was standing on the corner watching all the girls go by Mercury transit across the sun. I got this pic as I droven by.

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I knew that Mercury would transit the sun today and I even *saw* part of that (in the morning in the back yard) albeit I’m not sure, given the trees that got in the way of the sun and The Pensioner’s instructions whether I really saw Mercury or a sunspot. It’s always cool looking at the sun in a safe way though and I am glad that the Celestron telescope is active again. It allowed us to see Haley’s Comet back when it was visible. So here is one of The Pensioner’s pics of Mercury crossing the sun.

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And then I spent the entire day at work but the GG ended up going to Northville Downs to collect his Kentucky Derby winnings with our friends of Porterization, who brought a beautiful little brekkie with coffee from Zingermans over to share with the GG in the Lyme Lounge. So much fun!

I am not sure how The Pensioner fit my new compost structure into his busy day but here it is. 💜

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Every day is mothers day

May 8th, 2016 by kayak woman

We began our day with our New Sunday Thing, which is that I take my usual morning walk and the GG picks me up on Arborview and we head Somewhere Else to hike. This works well. I don’t have to wait for him to get up and futz around and I get a good number of steps in early, which is what I like to do. He got fancy today and brought coffee and heated up little Lamb’s Quarter quiches that I bought from Wan Oo Sun at the market yesterday. We kept it simple this morning and “just” went down to hike at the dam. I didn’t get many good photo ops but you can see that we are getting very green around here.

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I do not take Mothers Day seriously hence the title but somehow or other, we seem to have built up a few little traditions, especially since both of the Beach Urchins are now living within an easy driving distance. Building a new Compost Heap Structure was not really a Mothers Day thing (I don’t think). It is something that I wanted done though. The old Compost Heap Structure was disintegrating. It was erected using wood from a deck replacement prodject at the moomincabin about a billion years ago. Like maybe when Mouse and her cousin Val were two or so and insisted on swimming in Gitchee Gumee on a cold October day (one of them went in fully dressed, the other stripped, I will not say who did what, actually, I’m not sure I remember accurately). Anyway… Can this wood be salvaged?

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The answer turned out to be “no”, but the GG is committed to re-using old wood (which is OKAY WITH ME!) and so here he is strategizing how to possibly use the rickety, crappy old step thingies that used to reside outside our doorwalls.

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That prodject did not get finished today and that is A-okay. In general, since the GG retaaarrrred (a week ago), the Landfill yard is in beautiful shape compared to what it usually is. And then, Lizard Breath arrived mid-afternoon with laundry (which is an excuse to visit meeeee 💜) and homemade avocado salsa verde and IMPATIENS from the Eastern Market. The GG had prepared my Impatiens pots with soil and I went to work and here is the result. This is one of our New Traditions, one that I believe that The Commander has a hand in directing. As a bonus, the basil I potted yesterday is in the little blue pot. It looks good but it’s only been a day. Fingers crossed.

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Do I miss my mom? Of course I do but, being a spirited person, my relationship with her could be complicated and the last few years were difficult. I don’t mean that we didn’t love each other, just that I am still working on recovering from the challenges we both faced during the last year (or more) of her life and some aspects of the aftermath that probably have her ashes churning. So I am still decompressing from her death but most of the time I just roll along and think about her or not. But I guess probably anyone who has lost a mother does that kind of thing forever.

Here is a collection of The Commander’s sewing artifacts. This collection has been hanging out in a plastic box on my sewing musheen table aka childhood desk forever. Yesterday, when I unearthed my sewing musheen, I took a cursory look and my initial thought was that there were a lot of things to fling. But then I schlepped the box upstairs and loosely organized its contents. I doubt there’s anything valuable in there (in a monetary sense) but there some really interesting things, like the old tracing wheels, and other things that I have no clue about. And then there are things like the plastic tape measure and some seam rippers and I have multiples of those.

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Anyway, I am gonna take the box up to the moomincabin this week and work to incorporate useful items into the Sewing Stuff that is already at the moomincabin so we have a fully stocked repair kit there and reunite the buttonhole templates with their ancient Singer sewing musheen. Some of the other things, I want to mount as a display in a shadow box. We’ll see when I get around to that…

Love y’all, –KW. Happy Mothers Day to everyone who is a mother, including dog and cat moms. Sounds like the GG is using his new chainsaw out in the back. Wonder what the heck he is doing…

Eating the rainbow after an orgy

May 7th, 2016 by kayak woman

Your morning Great Lake State flowering tree pic, taken by meeee on my walking trip down to the farmer’s market.

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I met the GG at Our Breakfast Nook and did the NYT Saturday mini and cracked up when I saw this clue and answer.

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I texted this screenshot to Mouse and she pointed out that she did indeed work. Yes.

So here is the rainbow I bought at the farmers market this morning. The farmers market here is taking off and I could’ve easily bought more than we could eat in the next week so I was very careful. I still ended up with a rainbow. You’ll have to accept that my blue subway tile backsplash provides the blue in my rainbow.

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The Landfill Dungeon is kind of a mess right now but I unearthed my sewing musheen and plugged it into an outlet that actually worked and somehow, I managed to fix my backpack straps and then two pairs of beloved Keen sandals. Need to clean up that area of the dungeon though… … …

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Of course we walked down to the Griz for lunch today. Here is the GG taking pics of what we think is nascent shelf fungus in Miller Woods.

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And the orgy? You have to know that yer fav-o-rite blahgger does not go to orgys. Except when a whole bunch of toads stage an orgy down in the pond at West Park.

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This toad orgy was actually a pretty fun event. A nice young biologist was set up on the boardwalk there picking toads out of the water and forcing them to vomit so she could figure out what they had eaten. And our neighbors were down at the park having a pic-a-nic with their baby daughter and a bunch of friends. We told them about the toad orgy and I will bet that they took their kids up to the pond to witness it. The GG kept talking to people about being at an orgy, which I don’t think was the best idea.

Our day is not finished yet so maybe more tomorrow. Heading over to Knight’s now. Love y’all. KW

Don’t smell the ostrich jerky

May 6th, 2016 by kayak woman

redbudWhere was I? I guess it starts with this redbud photo. I have been trying for years to get a somewhat decent photo of our beautiful redbud trees when they bloom in the spring. The problem is that many years ago, I swore off carrying around anything but an iPhone camera. I got taaaared of carrying around anything more than one device and decided I would do my best with my simple digital phone camera. When I started out with digital photgraphy, it was with a Sony Mavica that used floppy disks (yes, really) and lots of batteries so lots of stuff to schlep around. I have gotten some randomly good photos out of my iPhones over the years but I could never get redbud before. I am on my fifth iPhone (the 6S) now and this one is apparently the charm, at least for redbud.

There was alligator jerky on my counter when I got home today. I’m not sure why since the GG only went to Ohio. Last I knew, alligators did not inhabit Lake Erie. Years ago, the Twinz of Terror and I took a drive over to Manistee and Irons from Houghton Lake and stopped at the Jerky Emporium in Dublin on the way back. Lion and Tiger and Bear Jerky Oh My! And ostrich jerky. They bought ostrich jerky. It stunk up the UU’s Caddylac all the way back over to Houghton Lake. The alligator jerky doesn’t stink but I think I’ll take into work if nobody around here is gonna eat it…

So the GG took the Lyme Lounge down to Ohio for an overnight shakedown cruise and caught the warbler migration at Magee Marsh this morning. I love going to Magee Marsh but it has been years since I have been there. The last time I made it down there was a frigid (23 degrees to start) Sunday morning in May. A bunch of trucks came in to pump out and clean the porta potties and the smell of human excrement mixed with whatever cleaner they used was enough to put my gag reflex into overdrive. There aren’t a whole lot of places to urbanP at Magee, especially when every birder on earth is there, but there is an old fashioned outhouse type thing that wasn’t subject to the porta potty pumpout and eventually I was able to use that without gagging.

Oh man, maybe I am done? Well except that last night I was alone here in the Landfill sitting in the back room watching Shameless looking at facebook and a beach urchin facebook-messaged me asking me if I was ignoring my phone. Yipe! No, or maybe yes? Or sort of. Really, it was just charging in the chitchen. I’m fine and I love the pics of Louis (pronounced Louie) the dog you are sitting! Reminded me though of all the times I worried when I couldn’t immediately get The Commander on the phone in her later years. And then there are those moom moments when I haven’t heard from one or the other of my beach urchins in a few days and haven’t seen her pop up on social media for a while and I kind of freak out. They handle their own business and I do my best to stay out of it and keep my interactions with them on social media to a mimimum but it is good to connect in some way. I was comfortable here alone in the Landfill last night but hearing from Mouse made me happy. (None of this is a hint or shoutout to either of my daughters, it is just me thinking through and processing my own life.)

First Saturday in May tomorrow means the Farmers Market opens at 7:00. Be there or be square! Love y’all, KW.