Random bits of my so-called life.

Remember these?

October 19th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love y’all,

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

Moom alone alert! Keep her outta trouble!

October 18th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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


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


…into Sister Pie.


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


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

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


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


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

Don’t look down (but no cleavage tonight)

October 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

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


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


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


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

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

G’night and love y’all!

Toad Hall Saks Fifth Avenue

October 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Just a big ‘hicken here

October 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

sooo taaarrred tonight.

October 14th, 2014 by kayak woman


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

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

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

Please take my yaffa blocks

October 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Do bares bears sh*t in the woods?

October 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Petoskey or bust!

October 11th, 2014 by kayak woman

Hey, it’s a three-day weekend! Let’s go Up North. Let’s go to Houghton Lake! Hey, as long as we’re at Houghton Lake and it’s a three-day weekend, let’s go to Petoskey! We’ll pick up the Uncly Uncle on the way! And what the heck, let’s hike 18 miles in the Jordan River Valley on the way. We’ll still get to Petoskey for lunch!

Okay, we didn’t hike anywhere near 18 miles in the Jordan River Valley. I’m just kidding the UU, who dragooned his son-in-law into an 18-mile hike in the Jordan River Valley sometime during the summer. If I get it right (and I may be wrong), they ended this odyssey with the half-mile trek up to Deadman’s Hill. In the photooo below, the Twinz of Terror are heading up that hill and shortly into that ascent, the UU told the GG to get into a lower gear. Good advice. It was a long haul.


Here are the Twinz of Terror signing in at the North Country Trail kiosk at the bottom of the half-mile ascent to Deadman’s Hill.


I reeeaaallly wanted to go to Petoskey today and I was reeeaaallly annoying about it. I think that the Twinz would’ve been happy spending the whole day galumphing around the Jordan River Valley. But they humored me and we had lunch at our long-time fave Mitchell Street Pub. I remember so well going there with my parents and Radical Betty. Seems like it was just yesterday. Sigh. But I love going there with my Cfam relatives too even though we approach Petoskey from a different direction nowadays. Life goes on…


On the way home, we took a late afternoon mini-hike back into the Jordan River Valley — about a mile in and back out — to see a newly built bridge / system to try to foil a beaver dam. It was a loverly bridge but we are all a bit skeptical about how well the system will work to foil the beaver dam. The GG can comment about the yooperland beavers who incorporated a whole North Country Trail boardwalk into their dam if he wants. The photoooo below is the silhouette of three happy hikers standing on a boardwalk looking out at a device that is supposed to let water through a beaver dam. We’ll see how well that works but it was a beautiful way to end the afternoon.


We reluctantly dropped the Uncly Uncle off at his house in Gaylord. It would’ve been fun to hang around there for the evening but we have spent so little time at the Houghton Lake Group Home recently, we wanted to get back down there. The sun was setting as we were driving down the freeway and, as we were driving along the north shore of Houghton Lake, our GPS flipped from light to dark. The sun had set.

Class A day up here in the “northern lower” and glad we were able to share it with the Uncly Uncle and thanks for humoring me about Petoskey!

Too many automotive vee-hickles

October 10th, 2014 by kayak woman

fungusRemember yesterday when I got confused about what day it was? Well then there was today where I actually did all that stuff I was panicking about yesterday. Even though I left work a couple hours early, the trip up here was not the best. Can somebody tell me why they don’t let the northbound I75 SUV Speedway traffic go over the goddamn Zilwaukee Bridge on Friday afternoon / evening? Because routing it all around Saginaw on crumbling I675 is not working. Jaffic tram? Massive! We bagged it and snaked around on 84 and 13 and I dunno what else. What did we do before Google Maps on the iPhone?

I wonder when the age of the automobile will be largely dead. I’m mainly talking about regional travel here. Once upon a time, long before I was born, people traveled all over the Great Lakes area by ship! My grandparents and great-grandparents did. And they took trains. People didn’t have automotive vee-hickles when my grandparents were kids.

Nowadays, I challenge anyone to figure out how to take a boat to get around the Great Lakes area. I know that there are a few cruise ships that ply the Great Lakes but you book a berth on one of those to sight-see, not to get from Point A to Point B. Not to mention that getting from The Planet Ann Arbor to Houghton Lake would be impossible by boat. Train? Yes, you can pretty reliably travel various places around the region by train. I challenge you to try to travel from The Planet Ann Arbor to Houghton Lake by train.

I read an article not tooooo long ago that suggested that the age of the auto may be on the wane. I understood what the writer was trying to say but I have a hard time believing it when I am creeping along State Street heading north to the Ellsworth traffic circle and eventually the I94 18-wheel Clogway toward home at the end of my work day. I have a hard time believing it when I am trapped in a huge jaffic tram on one of the god-forsaken Great Lake State’s crumbling freeways heading north on a Friday night with all the other Weekend Warriors.

Anyway, here we are at the Houghton Lake Group Home and there is probably fungus amongus but the fungus in the photoooo is from our fave urban hike by Barton Dam last weekend.

Leave area when horn sounds

October 9th, 2014 by kayak woman

bartondamWoke up this morning in a sort of a minor panic. It’s Friday! I have so much to do. Get up, take a walk, pack for the Great Not-So-White-[Yet] North, go to work, get home, scramble around like a chicken with its head cut off, drive to the Great Not-So-White-[Yet] North. Oh wait! It’s not Friday! It’s Thursday. Aaahhhh… The day that I meet my Thursday Coffee Buddies at Barry Bagels before work. Such a relief. Well, except for the part when I got to work and figgered out that I told an untruth (or two or three) yesterday and had to walk all of that crap back. At least *I* proactively caught the untruth(s) but still, crow doesn’t really taste that good. Onward!

I had bluegill (and borscht (note to self to buy some beets and make some at home soon!)) tonight though. We bagged our usual habit of eating in and schlepped over to Knight’s Steakhouse, our own neighborhood pub, the one we can stagger home from on foot (although we were too sober to stagger tonight). So much fun. We were happy that there was a 20 minute wait because that meant we could hang out at the bar and talk to the always friendly random strangers seated there. Back when I co-chaired our huge middle school science fair with my old friend V (of purple living room fame), it became part of the agenda for the co-chairs to hang out at Knight’s after Saturday’s judging so I always remember those grand old days. Tonight? We had hardly begun our Yulhattans when they seated us. We were over in the back by the windows, which is one of my fave places to sit. We like the balcony too, especially in the summer when people are showing their cleavage in the waiting area below. Well, that is, some of us like looking at cleavage. Grok grok! Frooooggggy you know better!

I have a few little gauntlets to run tomorrow and then we’re off on another three-day weekend for some hiking, shopping, fall color, and (with luck) spending time with relatives up in the northern lower.

Love y’all and good night,

Everyone’s gone to the moon

October 8th, 2014 by kayak woman

riversunYes, this is the obligatory eclipse of the moon post. Minus photoooo. If you are one of my nine readers, you may remember that my one and only camera is an iPhone 5S. I travel as lightly as possible these days. I’m sure y’all can find plenty of loverly pitchers of the eclipse elsewhere online. A couple of my fb friends posted some glorious ones.

I had actually forgotten about the eclipse this morning. Actually I didn’t really forget about it. I had it in my head that it was *tonight*. So, I got up this morning and went through my usual pre-0-skunk-30 routine, which consists mainly of taking a shower and layering for whatever the weather is. Mild-ish today so leggings, smartwool socks, Keens, turtleneck sweater, and polartech jacket. No glubs or scarf or headgear of any sort.

I galumphed out the front door and THERE WAS THE MOON IN NEARLY FULL ECLIPSE! I galumphed straight back into the house to make sure the GG didn’t miss it. I don’t know exactly why but I *loved* that there were all kinds of extra people out during my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning. People were out there in their pajamas or robes with nighties underneath them. Everyone was so friendly! “Did you see the moon!” Oh yes, I did. I did not see the selenelion (google it and use it in a sentence for extra credit). By the time that happened, the moon was very close to the horizon and there are too many houses and trees on my side of the Planet Ann Arbor to be able to see the moonrise, or the sunrise for that matter.

I couldn’t help but think about the old song from my wallflower days at junior high dances — Everyone’s Gone to the Moon. Such a good slow-dancing song. Whatever crushes I had back in those days certainly didn’t fill my sniggly little dance card. I actually fergit who my crushes were, so they must have been *very* serious, roight? Er, actually I am conveniently fergitting some of the ones who were fergittable enough that if I had actually spent any time alone with them, I would have probably been totally skeeved out.

It’s odd though that I was remembering that song as a Herman’s Hermits song. I do not think I have ever heard of Jonathan King. He kinda looks like a hipster, doesn’t he? He’s kind of cute but I probably would’ve thought he was nerdy back then. The cute guys all had tons of hair. Some of them looked almost like Cousin Itt. Of course, *I* was one of the biggest nerds around. I just hid it well. Or not. All that said, I was singing that song (inside my head) walking around my loverly little skunk-ridden neighborhood this morning seeing all of those loverly people out there looking at the moon.

Herman’s Hermits? Oim ‘enery the 8th oi-yam. ‘enery the 8th oi-yam oi-yam. … … Second verse. Same as the first. A little bit louder and a little bit worse!

Quit while you are ahead, KW! G’night all!


October 7th, 2014 by kayak woman


Does this photooo freak you out or not? I do not know what these bugs are but they were there a week ago and I kind of shied away at that time. Today I took a closer look. They are beautiful but kind of creepy too. Not creepy enough that I couldn’t make myself take a pitcher though.

I walk a lot but I was walking today (in a chilly October wind) because I had to present some stuff at a meeting this afternoon. I have done this kind of thing about a gazillion times before. I always get nervous about it, even though I interact with everyone in the room every day. I dunno why I was nervous about today because I was scheduled to present for an hour and after 25 minutes, I said something like, “I don’t really have anything else to say”. FZ and a couple other folks came up with some sniggly little questions. Other than that, we ended early. I did stick my foot into my mouth BIG TIME at one point. I *think* everyone (including the LSCHP) took it as a joke.

I’m taarrred and this is all you’re gonna get tonight. Love y’all.

On a street that I don’t usually walk on

October 6th, 2014 by kayak woman

horseyWe walked by this sorta yard jockey on Friday night. I grew up being droven down to a beautiful little art deco type house on Mark Twain Street down there in DayTwa. That was my Mac grandaddy and his wonderful second wife Bolette. I never called Bolette grandmother but she was a good grandmother for me. (My biological maternal grandma was killed in a car accident when my mom was 15). I was always so excited about our trips to visit Grandaddy and Bolette down in Detroit. It was only a couple of years ago that I found out that Bolette and her first husband originally owned that house. And that other people in her family lived on the same street. Her brother Joe and his family. I never met them. When we traveled to Detroit, all of the Macs gathered at Grandaddy and Bolette’s and Bolette focused on the Mac fam, especially meeeee.

When I was a little kid before the infamous riots, it was safe to walk up and down the sidewalk on Mark Twain. There was a lawn jockey a couple doors down. That lawn jockey had a black face for many years. After the riots it got painted white and we were told to stick close to the house when we visited. A little while after that, Grandaddy and Bolette moved out of that loverly art deco house to Beverly Hills in the northern suburbs. Growing up in the yooperland, I didn’t really have a full understanding about racial issues. We had a very small smattering of black kids in our school system then and, as far as I know, they were not treated any differently than I was but maybe that’s not true… My parents always made it a point to us that all people were equal no matter what they looked like. I guess I still don’t understand much about racial issues. We are all human beings.

I loved all of our trips to Detroit and our adventures going in Grandaddy’s Caddy-lac (with automatic windows — I didn’t have a vee-hickle with those until I bought the damn POC in 1996!) to the Henry Ford Museum and downtown to look at all of the skyscrapers. And trips to the downtown Hudson’s and Northland and the auto show at Cobo. So much fun. And yet growing up in Siberia, I could *walk* to visit the grandparents who lived there. They were maybe eight or nine blocks away and, when I stayed there with them, I walked to school from their house, usually with my buddy Helen who lived close to them.

Good night. WKAR is playing a recording of a flutist playing Mozart’s Concerto in G. My first assigned piece of classical music back when I was in 8th grade and had an actual flute teacher (not the damn band director) for the first time in my life. She was married to an airman and moved on but she helped me get enough decent music to keep me going for a couple more years. Thankfully, The Comm was always willing to spring money for important things like flute music for someone as voracious about playing as me.

Sorry, off on a damn tangent. Good night! Love y’all, KW!

Put the dry bags away and get the YakTrax out

October 5th, 2014 by kayak woman

dhgI’m not sure that we are finished with kayaks this year and I do not think I’ll be needing the YakTrax all that soon but it seemed like a good day to check out what’s inside the bench. I found the dry bag that fit my old iPhone 4GS and two pairs of unused YakTrax. I put that dry bag into the donate pile. I do not know what this winter will be like around here and how many polar vortices we’ll have to endure. Do I proactively buy a couple more pairs of YakTrax or not? Haven’t decided yet. I did order some Smart Wool socks yesterday.

Anyway… A really odd event this morning. Somebody stole our newspaper. The two-day a week paper version of the Ann Arbor Snooze that I probably should cancel because I don’t EVER read the paper version any more. I read news on my iPhone.

This morning. I was a little late launching for my 0-skunk-30 walk but not all that late because it was still dark when I left. Our newspaper was glistening in its plastic bag wrappers at the end of the driveway. I did not pick it up. Ho-hum, I will grab it when I get back home from my walk. Like I always do. Hmmm. On my return trip, I was walking by the Deep Dark Scary Woods and there was a newspaper section sitting on the wooden fence outside the woods. I did not look to see which section and I didn’t think much about it besides something like “hmmmmm, why is there a newspaper there?”. I walked around the corner and squinted at a couple of empty plastic bags on the sidewalk two doors down. The kind of plastic bags that keep newspapers dry (or pick up dog poop). And then. NO NEWSPAPER AT THE END OF MY DRIVEWAY! Say what?

We walked downtown mid-morning and the GG solved one part of the mystery. We found most of our newspaper around the corner. Why I didn’t see it before, I do not know. It was the SPORTS section on the fence. Okaaayyyy. So someone walked past our house IN THE DARK and had such a need to see who won some stupid sporting event that they stole our newspaper. Say what? Somebody else picked up the plastic bags, probably one of the neighborhood dog walkers. We picked up our newspaper, took it home, and eventually threw it in the recycling cart.

Other than that? Both my beach urchins made an appearance today. The DayTwa beach urchin had made noises about coming over today. We didn’t have a firm plan but I had a hunch that chicken pot pie would be a good thing to serve if my lizard did end up coming over here. She is very busy at work and she has a cold – possibly that enterovirus thingy that I think the rest of us had in the summer but who knows. Turns out the lizard did show up today and wouldn’t you know, our Mouse managed to leave work a bit early to join us. Chicken pot pie (and salad) for all.

Gratewalking in alien shoes

October 4th, 2014 by kayak woman

gratewalkingSlow but steady progress today. Flinging, that is. We only flung a Ninja load but, as my Pardner in Flinging says, “As long as we make slow but steady progress, we’re doing okay.” We did pretty okay today. More stuff went out the door than came in. After today I have more stuff ready to go. Bags and boxes for Kiwanis / Habitat / Easter Seals / whatever. We’ll get there. The [dun dun dun] stuffed aminals will be the most difficult… Partly because I don’t think various agencies want used stuffties. I “get” why ["ebola", etc.] but in a different phase of life, I once “rescued” a very small stuffed “baby sicken” from the Haisley lost and found and nobody got sick or died from having that forgotten, woebegone little chick in the Landfill. Maybe I will end up sitting in the driveway with an “adoption” table at some point.

You do not want to know the boring details of my day. Farmer’s Market, Plum Market, Kiwanis and chores in the morning. Organizing and flinging throughout the afternoon. The GG did not walk to the market this morning (but probably wanted to… eek…) and he napped in the afternoon, so I dragged him out for a late afternoon loop around the trail at Barton Dam. Not that it took much dragging, mind you. The GG is almost always up for a hike and I knew that he didn’t get enough of that today.

Most of the trails in the Barton Dam area are field / woodland trails but we usually walk up and across the dam itself. You have to walk across metal grates there. It isn’t scary at all because there are chainlink fences everywhere but I always get a little freaked out that if I dropped my camera iPhone, it might slip right through the grate into the oblivion of the water below.

Good night. Maybe we will buy some bulbs tomorrow. And plant them. Our tentative plan is to walk downtown to Downtown Home and Garden. It opens at 10! Let’s do it!

No blahg blahg

October 3rd, 2014 by kayak woman

tikihairIt was chilly and windy when I schlepped out to the Ninja after work today and it’s supposed to get down to 40 or so overnight. So, this is the first day of the season that I thought I might need to wear a pair of tights to walk downtown. I was ready for this. I’ve been dying to wear my blue petal skirt and, for reasons I cannot begin to describe, I only wear that skirt with tights. And my red Keens. And I wore my black wool / silk turtleneck and a polartech vest and I stuffed a polartech jacket in my backpack (and my umbrella). I was overdressed. Oh well. I made it, schlepping along down through Miller Woods and West Park.

I wasn’t surprised to see Mouse down there with the GG at the Oscar Tango. Daisy was parked in front of the Landfill when I got home and I had figgered out earlier that Mouse wasn’t working today via an appropriately cryptic post on facebook so I guessed that she had walked down with the GG. We expected to be porterized so the GG snagged the big round table that the Civic Theatre folks usually inhabit. Not sure where those good folks were tonight but glad we got their table.

Walked around downtown for a bit, past Octoberfest and into Literati, then back over to the Landfill, trekking through Wildwood Park to urbanP in the dark on the way. My chosen outfit was probably a bit more appropriate on the way home. I never did use the umbrella even though someone suggested at some point that I may need to get it out. Uh, I will get my goddamn umbrella out if I decide I need to get my goddamn umbrella out.

Home. Second shower and then a wee bit of a nightcap with Mouse, who is still here looking at pitchers on the GG’s iPad with its newly shattered screen.

I’m low on content tonight but sometimes a boring day is a GOOD THING! Jazz is on WEMU and ISS Above is going nuts and I can’t concentrate on writing because there are people here talking to each other (and me) and I am happy about that!

Good night,

Poop floats

October 2nd, 2014 by kayak woman

fogTower of Babel, Star of David diagram, puttin’ lipstick on a pig, Poop Floats. I think my fave is the last. Poop floats. Yes. Actually, I am trying to think about whether or not poop floats. I want to say that it does, thinking about all the times us kids adventurously pointed our flashlights down the outhouse hole. But I have not researched this topic. I have not taken any samples and I do not have any data.

Sit in a room for an hour and a half with folks who speak everything from old mainframe computer languages to web application languages to try to dredge out requirements for moving old stuff that runs on old technology to… Well, I have said enough about my job. Let’s just say that nobody is talking about off-shoring my job or anyone else’s on my “team” to India or wherever. I know how silly this is but we are part of the “brain trust”. Not that those Indian (or whatever) folks are not pretty damn good. Because they are fantastic! Actually I think India is going to take over the world, aminals (big ones) [and humans] peeing in the street notwithstanding. But whaddoo I know? But start learning the languages of India because they may well be the next lingua franca [francae?]. They already know all of the computer languages.

All that said and I am not sure where I am going with this but why do we have to compete all the time. Why can’t we collaborate more often?

Oh yes, I am driving on the “grate” here on our southward trip outta the yooperland.

Last day of summer

October 1st, 2014 by kayak woman

Actually, it was September 28th, a week or so after the autumnal equinox. We reluctantly launched early from the Tahquamenon River Mouth campground that day and swung down around Whitefish Bay past Naomikong Point (where I used the restroom, thank you very much) and Pendill’s Creek fishery and the old Mission Hill ski hill and Iroquois Lighthouse and the res, through Brimley and on down Birch Point Loop past the range light and down the cabin road. After a morning surveying what’s left of The Commander’s stuff in the garage, I spent the afternoon slugging around on the beach. Because it was a BEACH DAY!!! One of the best of the summer. The kids and dogs next door were having a wonderful time down there and when I took off for a little kayak ride, it sent the dogs into a frenzy. I tipped my paddle and yelled, “I’m a floating head!” and got a pretty good laugh. I’m not totally sure they know what a “floating head” is in this kind of context but I’m not totally sure *I* know what it is either!


In the late afternoon, the GG woke up from his long winter’s nap and joined me down on the bank for a cocktail. As you can see, the sun is not setting over the water any more. Heading south.


And then there was this loverly event. I was thinking something like, “Where is the goddamn Grinch?” We had more than enough food and needed someone to help us eat it and finally I just threw on my Keens and headed down the back road to see if the Grinchie was home. Two automotive vee-hickles were there, so indeed he was home. I trundled around to his front deck and there he was, sitting right inside the big picture window. And so, here are the boyz on the back deck.


Good night and love y’all (all nine of you!)

Hiking between the falls at Tahq

September 30th, 2014 by kayak woman

I think the first photo is the money shot, at least on our hike between the falls at Tahquamenon State Park last Saturday. This was below and around the bend from the upper falls, hence all of the foam on the tannin-laced water. The river slows down considerably on the four-mile stretch between the upper and lower falls.


Fall is arguably just about the best time for hiking at Tahq. Why? Because there are NO INSECTS! Oh, that’s not totally true. There are insects. It’s just that the pesky biting ones are not prevalent. There is some color, although at the end of September, we still see a lot of green leaves.


The trail never strays far from the Tahquamenon River and, since the river is at the bottom of a valley, there is quite a lot of up and down and you will see phenomena like this tree.


We love to check out the fungus amongus.


And yes there are waterfalls! The lower falls is below. I didn’t bother to photograph the upper. The upper is bigger, i.e., there is a larger distance for the water to drop (think Niagara but much smaller). The lower is a series of smaller drops. Lots of water this year but not as dizzying as it was when we were there during the Memorial Day weekend. There were “no” insects there then either but that was relatively unusual. And we didn’t hike between the falls that day partly because we didn’t plan to but also because there was so dern much water in the river last spring that parts of the trail were underwater and therefore it was closed.


The last time I hiked between the falls, I was totally dead at the end of it all. We hiked from the lower to the upper falls, ate at the brewery, then hiked back. It was early July, it was 90 degrees, and, as much as I love my Chaco sandals, my Keens are better for hiking the relatively rugged (for Michigan) trail at Tahq because they have a closed toe form factor, which helps with all of the tree roots across the trail, etc. And there were insects of the biting sort although the extreme temps kept the mo-skee-toes at bay for the most part. I was taaaarred at the end of that hike and a bit trepidatious about this one. Not to worry. I had a blast! I felt fantastic and I could’ve easily hiked it both ways. Big uphill section? Bring it on!