Random bits of my so-called life.

Chocolate chip cookies with a tongue lashing (but no oven mitt) and an annoying writer’s block

October 24th, 2016 by kayak woman

furnitureSo, Louie-Louiiiii came in this morning and announced that a friend of his had died early Friday morning. The short version is that a woman suffering from a chronic suite of diseases had a medical emergency and her husband/EMTs were unable to revive her. I will spare you the long version, which I heard/overheard in excruciating detail at least five times today. I am sorry for the woman, her husband, and L-L, who is tasked with doing her eulogy. But. Oh. My. Gawd. One thing I will say is that I think L-L was mixing up his acronyms. I’m sure that it is possible to die of OCD (I mean somebody could get totally fed up with your behavior(s) and KILL you!) but I think a different acronym applies to the condition that led to this person’s unfortunate death. I refrained from correcting him. (I HATE to correct people when they are making innocent mistakes.) I heard another person try to correct him but the next time he talked about it, he reverted to the original acronym.

I wish I could blame this distracting little story for my massive writer’s block today but I can’t. It was just a garden variety block. I eventually forced myself to step back and focus on a bit of analysis and create some pictures. I never did get that particular bit of writing done today but I bet after a night’s sleep, it’ll flow tomorrow.

In the meantime, we lost a lot of weight here at The Landfill today. I’m not sure that the light at the end of the flinging tunnel is visible yet but maybe a small ray has broken through?

Today, The GG took his parents’ living room furniture to one of our nieces. I mean all of the various tables and things. We still have the Green Couch. This stuff is quality furniture and when his beautiful, stylish mom (Grandma Sally) picked it out (it was a set), I’m sure it worked well in the big old house where they raised their family over in Royal Oak. Alas, it is not only not MY style, it doesn’t really work well in the Landfill, which, despite its small size and ticky-tacky 1950s/60s ranch-type format, is a beautiful house that lends itself well to mid-century modern. I like mid-century modern and so does Certified Kitchen Lady, which is probably why I like HER! This furniture is NOT mid-century modern.

Anyway, all those years ago, I felt overwhelmed when all of that furniture landed in my new house. When we moved in to this place, we didn’t have enough furniture to fill it up and I was hoping to take it slow and curate what came in the door. Alas, that strategy flew out the window big time when we “rescued” all of this stuff.

Without going into too much detail, The Pensioner somehow (recently) came to the same kind of conclusion or at least a parallel one. He posted the furniture on our Cfam facebook group and one of Grandma Sally’s grandchildren has graciously decided to adopt it so the GG trailered it up to her house today. Bonus for him? Lunch with the three nieces from that branch of the family and an appearance by our eldest nephew.

Oh yeah, now we have no end table type thingies so the table lamps (that I also want to get rid of but we’ll get there) are sitting on the floor, etc., so yes, we will have to buy some new furniture. My plan is to go slow about that and only buy what we *want* and will *fit* into our space, both in terms of physical dimensions and decor. I have reason to believe that the GG is with me on this but still, let the hunger furniture games begin.

Love y’all,

Making the sausage

October 23rd, 2016 by kayak woman

lasagneI basked here at The Landfill ALONE on this gorgeous late October Sunday. The Pensioner was off watching the Lions lose and I did two grokkery trips, a big box thing and my usual walk to the Plum. I put together a loverly veggie lasagne (spinach and summer squash and carrot, oh, and mushrooms in the sauce) and picked away at some bits of decluttering.

And so, my Amazon Women started texting me and one of them said she was “shuffling sh*t” around and I was laughing to myself because it isn’t the kind of phrase I am accustomed to hearing from that particular AW. So I was gonna reply to it but I didn’t notice that my grokkery list app was still open on my phone (eggs and English muffins, thank you very much) so I found myself typing “shuffling sh*t” into my grocery list. And then things got even funnier when AW posted a screenshot where EB had tried to make a grocery list via voice recognition: “small intestine bags” or “small cancel” anyone?

Anyway, I am hardly ever in my house alone any more and although I wouldn’t want to be alone ALL the time, I basked in it this morning.

Eventually, the AW came over here to The Planet and we walked downtown to the Jolly Pumpkin and npJane met us there and drove us home in her cute li’l Blue Car and we all ate lasagne and played new and old records on the turntable. It was a birthday celebration albeit a small one and the GG asked if I had actually bought gifts for our birthday woman. Well… I did buy her a scarf from the Chicago Museum of Art catalog. Aside from that? Records at the store down on Liberty that she was gonna buy anyway but I slipped my plastic card in there and said “happy birthday”. And a bit of cash. In general, you can’t buy stuff for adult children who have pretty much everything they need. And that’s a good thing.

Plow Illinois…. [carriage return] [carriage return] yyyyyyy

October 22nd, 2016 by kayak woman

cabbageMy cute li’l time hop thingy brought up a wee nasty-gram from a few years ago that I screenshotted because I doooo that. It was just a wee bit of passive-aggressive nasty that someone I once thought was my friend posted on facebook about people who post blahg entries every day whether or not they have something to say. Okay. If you do not want to read my stoopid blahg, just don’t read it, fer kee-reist sake! I am not writing it for you, I am writing it for me. meeeee. meeeee….. Onward.

No I do not always have something to say. I am scraping the bottom of the barrel today. Good stuff? Farmers market. Grizzly Peak for lunch. Moosejaw, where the absolutely fabulous cashier told me that she could have a BLACK version of the Patagonia polar-tech zip-up jacket that I wanted sent to my HOUSE! Who knew? Olive green is a wonderful color but I needed a new black jacket. The one I have is so old that the zipper is falling apart and the label is so faded that I couldn’t tell what size I wear, so I had to try one on in the store. Large, so I can wear it over a whole bunch of other stuff. After that, we managed to sneak into a sorta bar seat at the Griz. It wasn’t easy today. UMich played Illinois today and that meant that tons of people were in town for the game. Yeah, let’s go over to The Planet Ann Arbor. It’ll be so much fun. And it was fun, both for the Illini and us Planet A-squared denizens. And then “we” beat the crap outta plowed Illinois but whatever.

The best fun was some flinging activity that happened around here at The Landfill. Nothing actually left the house today but destinations have been defined and plans have been made.

Love y’all, KW aka Nasty Girl

He’s a groper, he’s a grouper, he’s a midnight pooper

October 21st, 2016 by kayak woman

orangeOh, don’t pay any attention to the title. We were riffing off on various things down at the Oscar Tango tonight and I can’t even remember exactly what we were thinking when we concocted this or even how “pooper” got attached to it. Please don’t take it seriously.

Anyway, it was a regular morning. Dark, like late October mornings are here in the Great Lake State. I was hanging out eating a wee brekkie scrolling through all of the polly-tickle posts on facebook and the Pensioner was sleeping in a bit, which I wanted him to do because I was gearing up for a final visit to primp (or whatever you want to call it), etc., in the Blue and Only Bathroom before launching for work.

And then, suddenly The Pensioner materialized in the living room panicking about the leaf pickup. Leaf Pickup? Say what? The city hasn’t done a leaf pick-up in years! Okay, it turns out that he had done some leaf work this week and our yard waste compost carts were full and one of them was HEAVY and they needed to go out to the curb. Who knew? He could’ve taken them down to the curb yesterday OR he could’ve been a little more direct about saying something like, “I FILLED UP THE COMPOST CARTS THIS WEEK.” Because I am Garbage Woman around here and I usually deal with the garbage and recycling and compost and whatever. But I have been checking the compost bins every week for I can’t even count how many months now and they ARE ALWAYS EMPTY! So, when I wheeled the garbage and recycle carts down last night, I didn’t even look in the dern compost carts.

The GG was not really dressed for outside chores. We won’t say what he was not wearing. So I ordered him back to bed, did a quick-change into my White Pantsuit and, over his ongoing protests that “One of those carts is REALLY HEAVY”, I hauled both of them down to the curb. I could not figger out which of the bins was REALLY HEAVY. One of them was a wee bit heavier than the other but neither of them were unmanageable in any way, shape, or form. Jeebus. Getting them over that big concrete upheaval in the driveway was the biggest problem and now that we routinely have two cars (plus a trailer or two) parked in the driveway, maybe it’s finally time to re-do the dern driveway.

Fun beginning to the weekend and looking forward to the rest of it, as fast as it will go. Love y’all, KW.

Slayin’ dragons

October 20th, 2016 by kayak woman

amsunThe Tall Boss is trying to come up with a name for my new persona. The one I used today when I had to lead a record THIRD presentation on a particularly stinky (no, that is not a misspelling) prodject (that *is* a misspelling but an intentional one).

So she asked me what my middle name was. I didn’t exactly answer that. It wasn’t because I am ashamed of my middle name. It’s Emily and I was named after my maternal grandmother, The Commander’s mother, who died in a traffic accident when The Comm was almost 15 (December 1935). The story I’ve always been told is that she was hit by a drunk driver and that may have been true but an old newspaper clipping that I found in the Landfill Dungeon a while back indicated that she was speeding so it sounds like there was more to the story than I grew up knowing although make no mistake, I am NOT in any way in favor of people driving drunk. I do have to wonder what the traffic was like 81 years ago even down here. I’m sure that it was *nothing* like it is now. For example, there are folks in Ann Arbor who are still alive who remember when 13-14-year-olds could drive tractors and things down Miller to attend 8th grade at Mack School. That would be many years fewer than 81 years ago and, while Miller may not be one of our major arteries, it gets a lot of traffic during certain hours of the day.

So Emily the grandmother I never knew sounds like she was a Force of Nature and I am honored to be named after her. But “Anne”? That name (for me anyway) has never lent my shy personality any measure of self confidence. I won’t say what name I “lusted” after as a child but it is a name that people have sometimes mistakenly called me as an adult. Even before I named a child that name. That child has rejected her birth name and I long ago gave her my blessing. I of all people understand that parents sometimes mis-name their children.

So, I told the Tall Boss that I go by Kayak Woman on the internet. And I also told her about how we started calling my mother The Commander late in her life. I don’t really need a persona for these meetings but I suspect I might get one because the Tall Boss kind of rocks in general.

One more thing I have to say. I remember when I was a kid and My Dear Uncle Harry always called me Anne Emily. I wasn’t always happy about that as a nasty little kid but I share the Anne name with his daughter (my cousin) and I know that he was trying to distinguish us as different people. As an adult I have grown to love whatever the heck Harry calls me and so whenever I have had an occasion to call him I have always said, “This is Anne Emily”. Last summer, I loved that he yelled out from his back porch something like, “Hey, Kayak Woman!” I am outta words at this point but here’s the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love and you will understand how I feel about my uncle and all of the other members of my extended family, both Fin and Mac. And I will forever love being called Anne Emily (or Kayak Woman) by my Dear Uncle Harry.

strrrrrreeessss city

October 19th, 2016 by kayak woman

mothieComin’ at me from multiple directions this week. None of it is internet-able for various reasons. Oh, don’t worry. Nothing life-threatening is going on. Some of it is just work “stuff” that I will handle. And by work “stuff”, I do NOT mean office polly-ticks because WE DO NOT DOOOO THAT! It is DIRECTLY related to solving the usual kind of issues involved in adding new functionality to our massive many-tentacled product, which requires navigating a myriad of languages, versions of English spoken by folks of various first languages and also the different languages (aka vocabularies) spoken by folks on various “teams”. When the developers start babbling about table structures and methods for making changes, I kind of zone out even though I know a few programming languages and have Done Database before albeit not at this job. We all want to do it right and, as I am one of the people tasked with specifying how that should be done, it’s sometimes a challenge to sort it all out.

As for one of the other stressors, can I just say I am sick to death of how cruel people can be and we won’t even talk about incompetency. And where along the wayside did we leave good old common sense?


I got home this afternoon and it is *still* warm out so I didn’t have to suit up to take a wee walk through the woods and around the Haisley garden. And I found this wee mothy sucking whatever it could get out of a sorta past-the-prime looking zinnia. Somehow, trying to get his photooo completely calmed me down. I also watched a bee burrow all the way down into a morning glory flower, do its business and climb, then fly out again. I did not get a good pic of that operation. Those facebook memes you *may* sometimes see in between all of the polly-tickle crapola that I scroll past that tell people to go outside? They are right. Go outside. Watch insects. They will calm you down. Oh, not the ones that bite people, those will just raise your stress level. [insert moe-skee-toe emoji here.]

Butters and vst*ck and bup-bup-bupConvert

October 18th, 2016 by kayak woman

froggyFinally got a chance to hang out with W1.5 to talk about butters this AM. Tried to do that last week but got wrenched back over to the vst*ck side. I’ve got more vst*ck in my near future but I thought I might be able to squeeeeze a weeeee bit of butters in and then… bup-bup-bupConvert came swinging off the dust pile we relegated it to six weeks ago or so and slammed me in the face with a whole bunch of “hard questions”. Who whuuuu? I tried to commiserate with the Benevolent Despot who was in there on a holiday fixing the heat (or lack thereof). He was unimpressed. And the beat goes on. BTW bup-bup-bupConvert’s real name is equally as unpronounceable as the fake moniker I gave it.

We are having unseasonably warm weather as I think I have mentioned two or 10 or 1,000 times but Cubelandia is ice cold. I am dealing with that by wearing a polartech jacket to work and I am plenty warm enough. It’s kind of funny because after many years of being a business casual outfit – except for casual Fridays and casual weeks and casual summer (great big guys in cargo shorts anyone?), we were given notice recently that jeans are acceptable at our facility EVERY day. Except for client meetings, which are exceedingly rare for anyone on my team. So if it’s cold in the building, bring a ratty old polartech or blanket or whatever. Da boss (or more likely KennyP, who is a Force of Nature) will eventually figger out how to fix it. And heck, you can always go outside to warm up.

So I got home and all of the vee-hickles were here but The Pensioner was missing. That was okay. I like to be spacified when I get home from work. But I was kinda puzzled. Where was he? Walking? Likely. Napping in the Lyme T. Lounge? Possibly but probably not as likely. I texted him. He didn’t respond. At least not for a very long time. Eventually he replied that he was indeed walking. One never knows what TP is going to be doing at any given moment these days. I’m trying to roll with it. Most days I’m pretty successful. I have the hardest time when I have to deal with Another Person in the House when I’m getting ready to launch over to Cubelandia.

Can I just say a word about Dark Walk? This morning I was returning from my 0-skunk-30 walk and it was dark and very warm and there was Becquet and her whole family (mom, Bob, and Java) walking toward me in the dark. Becquet walking along big as life! She will grow up fast. Although it wasn’t exactly the same thing, it reminded me of all the times I did Dark Walk with one of my beach urchins when she was small. She was older than Becquet when we started that and it happened at night instead of early in the AM. We did it on nights when it can sometimes be hard to settle down. Lots of stuff to “process” and not necessarily the calmest place to process it. So I would pick up my child and slowly carry her down to the corner and back home. The transformation was always just about instant. And now that she is a grown up Amazon Woman, she loves to hike out in the forest.

People need to be outside more. It was morning when I ran into Becquet and her fam so they weren’t probably trying to calm her down. I think they were just including her on their early morning dog walk. They were all having a good time. I was thinking about them walking in the early morning dark and my own habits of doing that and I was wondering for a moment why we didn’t do that with the beach urchins. The answer is complicated but it had to do with work schedules and uncertainty about the neighborhood safety. I long ago figured out that our neighborhood was safe enough to walk in the dark, at least in the morning, and I hope that my neighbors have been encouraged at least in part by encountering meeeee walking through the woods in the dark.

G’night and love y’all,

Let the seagulls in

October 17th, 2016 by kayak woman

solariumSo I have a facebook/childhood friend whose mom has reached the unbelievable age of 102 and is still in pretty darn good health. After a bout with pneumonia or whatever a while back, she decided she could no longer live alone in her house and is now living happily at the long term care unit that The Commander stayed at when she was rehabbing after a small stroke. The Comm did not live there all that happily but she was “only” 91 and didn’t exactly make the decision to move out of her house voluntarily but that’s not what this story is about.

It is also not a story about my friend’s mom. She has her own story and it’s one that I (appropriately) get occasional details about on facebook. But when my friend showed a pic of her mom in the solarium picking out books to read, it brought back a flood of memories about my adventures in telecommuting from the solarium while The Comm was there.

There was the time that “Mumma” (one of The Comm’s roommates) came down and washed her baby in a trash can. When I wrapped up my work that day, I remember fishing the baby out of the trash can and also one of Mumma’s sneakers, which was I fergit where. I deposited them on her bed and skedaddled. There were pics of Mumma and her children and grandchildren above her bed with Mumma smiling a huge smile.

And then there was a woman who walked around constantly with the upper half of her body bent waaaaay over. I think she was around my age at the time… She tipped over in the solarium one day when she and I were the only ones in there. Oh dear, I think I need to press the button for help. Us Fins are pretty reluctant to do that kind of thing. I can’t explain why but we are always like, “I REALLY have to press the button?” Oh yes. But when I went for the button, it turned out that I didn’t have to press it because a staff member was right outside the door and I used words to alert them. The woman who tipped over was fine and me and The Comm learned how to push buttons before her time was over.

Then there was the young-ish man who used a wheelchair and couldn’t speak intelligibly but boy oh boy did he know how to get the seagulls going outside the solarium. You do it by throwing popcorn out the window. The Comm and I were kind of cracking up about this. I think it annoyed the long term care staff though because someone came along and put an end to it.

Eerie to dreary and another cute li’l rhyming couplet

October 16th, 2016 by kayak woman

eerie1Okay, this pic of the full moon heading down toward the horizon at 0-skunk-30 does not represent eerie. The moon was gorgeous! What *was* eerie was the hint of a flash I saw to the north as I was walking through the schoolyard. Hmmm… I checked the weather and there were no storms anywhere near here although I knew there would be rain later on. I didn’t even bother to look up the nearest recent lightning strike. I forced myself down off that ledge and kept walking. It wasn’t until I had finished almost my entire loop when I saw another hint of a flash to the north. This time I checked the lightning and, yes, there were thunderstorms 40 miles north of here, a little bit south of Flint. Nothing to worry about and I was almost home anyway but it was interesting (and eerie) that I could see lightning from that far away.

I was feeling more melancholy than usual this morning. Bad dreams and some stoopid crapola that is supposedly over but lingers in weird ways that defy description. I have good and bad days and you’re welcome. Fortunately the GG had a pretty perfect solution. Let’s go for a drive “out in the county”. Before the rain arrives.

Our own Washtenaw County is so beautiful, with everything from farmland to glacial moraine. Forests and rivers and hills and big corn fields. We headed in a different direction than usual today and screeched to a stop when we stumbled upon a county nature preserve that we didn’t know existed since we don’t often hang around in the Milan (My’-lən, not mə-lon’) area. There are 2.25 miles of trail in this preserve but we only managed about 1.5 of them because we were not prepared for a rain hike and wanted to get back to the Frog Hopper without getting wet. It was a beautiful spot and we will return and we did stay dry and there was even enough time for a bit of mushroom/frog Instagram competition with folks hiking a lot further north.

dumptrumpAll in all, I didn’t get much of anything constructive done today. On top of this morning’s melancholy, and the dreary (by then) weather, I was feeling gloomy about that. The GG tried to bolster my spirits by suggesting that maybe I *needed* a down kind of day. I suppose he’s right. I don’t have to go full-tilt boogie *every* day and I *did* get most of the basic everyday chores done at least and food ready for the hopper tonight. *He* took a nap this afternoon. Maybe he is onto something.

So one of the good things about today was that I noticed the Lyme T. Lounge has lost its middle initial. I was flabbergasted when that loverly vee-hickle came home a couple weeks ago with a Trump sticker on it. Who what? I mean, this is the Planet Ann Arbor. Not that there aren’t Trumpers in town. There was a guy at the Plum just yesterday wearing a 2016 Hillary in Prison t-shirt. But that was an exception. Much more likely to see pro-Hillary signs and paraphernalia around here. At any rate, I did not want it in my driveway. The only time I have ever posted a polly-tickle thingy, it was a Shifrin yard sign and she’s one of my long-time coffee buddies and she was running for school board and of COURSE I supported her. Hans was still kicking around back then and he thought it was a real estate sign! No, buddy, we are not selling our house.

After thinking about it for a while, I guessed that the Trump sticker was a prank played by, well, we won’t say who but he lives up north where pro-Trump stuff is more plentiful and the Lyme Lounge was sitting in his driveway for a while. I know some of the GG’s polly-tickle opinions but they are complex enough that I don’t have a clue whose oval he’ll fill in when he gets to the polling place. I do know that he isn’t likely to display polly-tickle stickers or wear badges or t-shirts or anything of the sort and my hunch turned out to be right. It was indeed a prank and he removed Mr. T. from the LL before taking it north again last week. “I was gonna be traveling.” Yes. And now that the sticker is gone, here’s evidence that it once existed.

It may be dreary here but it is also unseasonably warm and that made it pleasant to sit in the back yard reading and blathering away on my boring blahg. Oh, and the Prank Perpetrator (hmmm, the GG and the PP? Or how ’bout TP and PP?) is forgiven, mostly because I love him *anyway* but also because I actually thought the whole thing was sorta funny once I figgered it out.

Early Bird Special

October 15th, 2016 by kayak woman

bigdogSo, on the way home from lunch downtown at the Grizzly, we were walking past our fave neighborhood pub/restaurant Knight’s Steakhouse and the GG observed that there were quite a few vee-hickles in the parking lot. It was around three o’clock, which is way too early for the Early Bird Special. Heck, even four o’clock is too early for that because I have been there at that time and it is *not* crowded. My guess was that a bunch of the Saturday lunch bunch were lingering.

That got me to thinking about what people do with their Saturdays. Mind you, I work “bankers” hours, meaning Monday through Friday from whenever I float in (8-ish) until whenever I leave (5-ish). I know that there are plenty of people who work totally different schedules than I do, including weekend days. Been there, done that. And I sometimes do work on weekend days now but I work from home when I do that and it’s usually just me and my Windows laptop.

My typical Saturday, at least here at home on The Planet Ann Arbor is that I launch outta bed at 5:30 AM or thereabouts and take a shower and walk down to the farmers market and then do a whole bunch of routine chores and errands and that’s what I/we did today (the GG works in tandem with me on a lot of this stuff). By about noon we are ready for lunch and so our off-and-on habit for about the last year has been to walk downtown to the Griz for a small lunch with beer/whine.

bearshitI have to wonder what other people do with their Saturdays. Whether you work corporate aka bankers hours, retail hours, or you are a pensioner, whatever. Well, The Pensioner pretty much follows my weekend plan or whatever but that’s partly because he doesn’t mind getting up ultra-early and like I said, we sorta work in tandem in some ways. But I think a lot of folks sleep in on weekend mornings. I don’t have a problem with that but I am curious about what it’s like to not wake up until the sun is high in the sky. So, do you sleep in on Saturdays or are you up and at it? And do you kick back and not do anything constructive (which is okay!) or do you dig in and work on prodjects?

The top pic is of a Big Dog sitting with his owners outside the Griz today. He was a pretty sweet guy who seemed to have been carefully trained to not notice any members of the homo sapiens species who might be walking by and therefore not jump up on them.

And then there was a loverly photooo sent from a beach urchin of, well, can you guess? If not, it is bear scat. My personal beach urchins are currently camping in the north country in a place where you can see the stars if there aren’t any clouds. This pic, if I have it correctly, came from a trip to the biffy. Look at all of those bee-you-ty-ful berries and seeds in that poop. Isn’t it loverly?

As I think I have said before, I am so glad that my children love each other as much as they do and spend hiking/camping time together now that they are Amazon Women. Not sure that I had anything to do with this parenting outcome but I’ll take what I can get.

Love you all. KW

Verving and Piping downtown on the Planet

October 14th, 2016 by kayak woman

fleetwoodWe didn’t eat at the Fleetwood. I haven’t actually eaten at the Fleetwood in many years. The GG goes there frequently. A man has to have his hippie hash, after all. Seriously, the Fleetwood is a wonderful restaurant and Planet Ann Arbor institution and apparently there is one over in Lansing too. Who knew? I suspect that one is a little fancier than the one over here in A2. At any rate, we ate at the Oscar Tango tonight. We ate alone. We heard that Cozz’s (The Cozy for those who know Brimley) was porterized tonight.

I wanted to hoof it home immediately but the GG shamed me into a short bit of walk-about, including West Side Books, where we found some potential acquisitions for our very small collection of “antique” books. And of course we had to walk by The Ark. The Verve Pipe was playing tonight. Or was it the Verve… The GG kinda wanted to go to the show but I didn’t wanta walk home that late in the evening although I suppose we could take a cab or even an Uber. But anyway, I saw that the show was SOLD OUT. Oh well. KW does a happy dance. She doesn’t like to sit and has to steel herself for the sitting required to attend concerts.

I left the Ark a bit confused. Verve Pipe? Verve? Whaaa… Those band names float up to 2016 from the late 1990s when Wee Sing Dinosaurs had long been abandoned and the alternative rock station ruled my bee-yoo-ty-ful 1996 Island Teal POC (aka Chrysler minivan). Those were the years that I drove the beach urchins and all of their friends all over the Planet Ann Arbor all the time. Gone were the days when I navigated southeast Michigan with 60s/70s rock blaring in the background of my life. Yet to come were the days when the beach urchins had fledged and my elders were starting to die and I somehow couldn’t listen to music any more and NPR talk radio became (and still is [usually]) my car radio music of choice.

Those years in the late 1990s? I loved driving teenagers, etc., around town [mostly ;-)]. I loved the music they listened to and I was happy to keep the radio in the POC tuned in to the alternative rock station, even when I was alone in the car when everybody was at school and Holly opened her stoopid [sorry] little lunch box. Dog med syringe? Really? I loved the Verve or was it the Verve Pipe or what? Was it one or two bands? I couldn’t remember. Did I ever really know?

I did the research tonight. And yes, there are two separate bands. The Verve (Bittersweet Symphony) and The Verve Pipe (Freshmen). Two of my favorite songs from that whole era. I loved both of these songs so much. Do I have the band names straight now? Naw, probably not. Pop quiz: Who was at The Ark tonight? Verve or Verve Pipe? You can probably answer this correctly. KW probably can’t 🐸

And the beat goes on.

In which Mother Nature trumps all of the other stuff

October 13th, 2016 by kayak woman

dramaskyI engaged in a couple of polly-tickle facebook posts over the last few days. I *try* to stay out of polly-ticks for the most part. I *will* stay out of this stuff from this day forward. The issues are waaaaay more complicated than my systems analyst type brain can sort out without some sort of five-dimensional matrix and Excel can’t really do that kind of thing. I could write a program but…

I will say that I like to hear what our young people have to say. They are the folks who will be living with whatever decisions we all are making NOW for a much longer time than us baggy old folks will have to live with them. I kind of know about this first hand albeit in a small way. I remember when the elder generation in my family donated some land to an organization I won’t name (not going there now) and our land ended up in the hands of a developer. I had (sometimes) loud arguments with my parents about that decision before they finalized it. They tried to talk me down squelched me. I never believed that it would turn out well and guess what? A developer bought that land and there are now houses on some of it (it’s a very long story and not going there tonight). I will always believe that my parents generation made a mistake but I think they were trying to protect their [baggy old] children and I loved them *anyway* and I was fortunate to be able to spend many more years with those wonderful folks.

I don’t think that the 19th amendment will be repealed any time soon but I think we always need to be vigilant regarding every citizen’s right to vote and access to exercise that right. Men and women of whatever skin color, young and old.

The ponds at Cubelandia were gorgeous today, don’tcha think?

And here is John Lennon…. Imagine a better world if you will or can. Love you all. KW

Pink Pumps and Butgers and the Crocodile Eye and other random stuff

October 12th, 2016 by kayak woman

crocodileeyeAnd by “pumps” I mean high heels, a style of shoes I have not worn in more years than I care to count. I used to rock high heels but we’ll talk about that some other day. I wear sandals now. Chacos or Keens depending on the occasion and the rest of my outfit. We won’t talk about boots or YakTrax today. It’s in the 70s here on The Planet today and I’m not quiiiite ready to go there.

Somebody at work had a dream that somebody else at work bought them a pair of pink high heels and the recipient felt like he had to wear them to work. This brings up a very interesting image, not unlike envisioning this person jumping over garbage cans or flying to Texas. And by flying to Texas, I mean flapping his arms to get there, not taking a plane. Video games, of course.

And so The King of Cryptic Text Messages, after hiking 20 miles (yes, really) on the North Country Trail or somewhere found himself in a town without a bar. Or so he said. I was skeptical. I mean, we once had some dry counties in the Great Lake State but not so much these days and we have found some wonderful bar/restaurants in places that you wouldn’t normally expect to find a comfortable place to go for a beer or cab with your lunch, like the bowling alley in Roscommon. I Googled his location and I found a bar where he was at that time. Alas, the streetview pics of that bar made me wonder if it was one of those “Up North” bars where you are not welcome if you aren’t, well, a Trumper.

He did manage to get a butger. I think he meant burger. He is the King of Cryptic Text Messages after all.

And I am loving the warm rain here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

Give me a break Apple

October 11th, 2016 by kayak woman

We won’t even talk about what I went through trying to upgrade my loverly old MacBook Pro to the Sierra OS this afternoon. It took forever and then it took forever to update the Photos app (which I hate anyway) and now I’m waiting for Java to install which will hopefully allow my old friend photoshop to work again. And I have no lettuce around here because someone took it up north in the Lyme T. Lounge. Without even telling me. Jeebus. Alas, Photoshop is only sorta working. Good night. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Grrrrr.

At Looooong last, after much monkeying around, I got photoshop (CS3) to work again and here is my friend Gretchen. Isn’t she cute?


Ceramic aminals through the ages

October 10th, 2016 by kayak woman

ceramic1So, for the most part the desk in the Library of Sewage does not contain beach urchin artifacts but I did find a mini-trove of ceramic creatures. No, I did not throw them out. For one thing they don’t belong to me (although I have no problem donating little plastic dinosaurs and things). But also, the person who made them now has a serious hobby making pottery. She doesn’t make aminals (that I know of) but I thought she might enjoy looking at (or even re-owning) some of her earlier creations. (No rush on the re-owning. They aren’t going anywhere here.)

I’m not exactly sure what this white aminal with the flat back is but I like her enough that I brought her upstairs to display in my kitchen. Not that some of the other artifacts are not worthy of display although I will have to find a special place for the *massive* dinosaur. I have not included a picture and I can’t exactly tell what kind of dinosaur it is. It is purple but it is not Barney. Barney came along a few years after my beach urchins were into toddler TV. And some of them were not *ever* truly into toddler TV. “Oh, those silly guys.” That would be Bert and Ernie. I have to admit that I rather agreed with her. Like how stupid does this get and when does it stop? On the other hand? I loved to make fun of Mr. Rogers when I was a stupid young college student but I *loved* him after I had my kids. What a sweet, gentle man. May he rest in peace.

ceramic2End sappy-ness. Somehow a much earlier ceramic aminal artifact got included in this little stash. It is my own childhood dog Tigger. I have vague memories of creating this little beastie. She had to be yellow and that big tail is sorta spot on for Tig’s big swishy tail. The one that got skunked one time and a lot of the hair had to be cut and it was matted and the whole thing was pretty traumatic for Tig. I think that’s partly because of all of the hair cutting but I also think that she loved having that big swishy tail.

Back in the day, we didn’t groom dogs at all. I’m not saying that dog-grooming is a bad thing. It’s definitely good in terms of not having dog hair blanketing the living quarters you share with your dog. But I kind of wonder what a lot of dogs feel like after a serious grooming. I am pretty sure that Tigger liked her beautiful swishy tail and didn’t like it to be cut. Of course it did grow back and as an baggy old dog, she learned to use it to mosey up to beachwalkers to get them to pat her. Swish swish. I don’t smell like skunk any more.

I think I also made a ceramic Twinkle (cat) artifact. Who knows what happened to that. It may have disintegrated or maybe The Comm just made a decision to pitch it. Which is okay. I’m glad I still have Tiggie after all these years. I loved my cat but Tigger was My Dog.

Don’t overload the barrel

October 9th, 2016 by kayak woman

Our “pick me up on Arborview” Sunday hiking adventure happened at Our Hiking Lake (aka the West Lake Preserve, near Chelsea). We first encountered this preserve by accident during a rambling road trip into western Washtenaw County. The kind of trip where you turn onto whatever road whenever you feel like it. We love that kind of Sunday Driving but we struggled just a bit to find the preserve the next time we wanted to hike there. We’ve been there enough times to kind of get it (and it’s in the GPS, at least in the Frog Hopper) and this morning I realized it is kind of a straight shot west from our little landfill on the west side of the Planet Ann Arbor. Not sure how many miles but likely 20 or fewer.

We arrived there maybe 20 minutes before dawn and we reached the actual lake *at* dawn. I was thinking maybe we were a little crazy getting there that early but we heard sandhill cranes EVERYWHERE as we were walking the field part of the trail *before* we got to the lake and then when the sun rose, we heard all of the “other” birds wake up. Yes! This is why I like to get up early and go outside! In the photo below, we are facing west and the sun is rising behind us.


Home to, well, what. Yeek. More flinging. It isn’t easy. An exploration into the Library of Sewage yielded an unopened package from, well, when? I do not know. Evidence points to meeeee as the wrapper. Who knows. The GG doesn’t want me to open it until both of the beach urchins are here to watch. I’m not all that enthused about that plan. I’m gonna guess it’s something very boring. But I will wait.


I’m not going any further with this tonight. I think I will sit in the back yard while the GG cooks his chicken.

Happy Plaidurday

October 8th, 2016 by kayak woman

Or not. Turns out Plaidurday is the first *Friday* in October. So I missed it. But I wore my red plaid skirt today!

It was a pretty good work day although I wish I could just twinkle my nose like B-Witch used to do and make the mess all disappear. Still, a good haul from the farmers market, various cleaning chores (washed the WINDOWS in the back!), 4-5 boxes of stuff to Kiwanis and a couple old windows to the re-use. One beach urchin’s monstrous old desk almost totally cleaned out and ready for donation. The other desk? The one in the basement? It is full of stuff. Whose stuff? I’ll let you guess. Hint: it is not me or said beach urchin 🐽

Then. Dooya want to walk down to the Griz for mac’n’cheese? Sure thing. We had not seen Jenel since something like April or May and she said something like, “I’m not sure whether I’m happy to see you guys or not!” when we walked in. Yes, it had been a while but she easily remembered what we always order. On the way downtown the GG (can you see his red plaid?) made a new buggly-eyed friend.


After lunch, we headed over to see what was new at DH&G and there was a pickle tasting thingy and the GG enthusiastically joined in (now you can see his red plaid). I like pickles all right but, oh well, it’s complicated. Or not.


After a bit of chainsaw massacre, here is our faaarrrrr. It’s really nice except when the wind kicks up.


Last but not least, it is that season and here is Lucky Jack hanging out with *his* new friend aka Mouse’s jade plant, which lives here nowadays (does it have a name? it needs a name). I can remember The Commander that last fall at FV asking for (or more like “demanding”) her “electric jack-o’-lantern”. I had no clue what she was talking about but fortunately The Beautiful Connie knew exactly what/where he was. And now he lives with me.


All in all, not the most exciting day but we did manage to plod our way through a few more things. More to do… to do do do, to do do do… dah dah dah dah da dah dah dah

Let there be light for yertle the turtle

October 7th, 2016 by kayak woman

turtle1So, when I set off upon my 0-skunk-30 this morning, there was something that looked a little strange between the woods. It looked like a bit like a turtle but I couldn’t exactly tell what it was at first. I got right up close and personal enough to see that it was indeed a turtle. A sandbox turtle, that is. And then… I realized… That I could *see* the dern turtle because… The streetlight was on! LET THERE BE LIGHT! HALLELUJAH! The turtle pic was taken much later than this morning.

This is the streetlight that went out way back on December 28, 2015 when a huge tree fell down outta the north section of woods. A couple weeks ago, after talking to neighbors who were a wee bit nervous about walking their dogs in the pitch black that happens between the woods without the streetlight, I kind of woke up a bit and realized that I could probably report a streetlight issue to the city without having to make an actual, uh, phone call. And yes, I was able to report the outage via an app. I wrote about this a while back…

turtle2I had kind of forgotten about all of that. I went back to the app to see what updates had been made. Just one. The city said that it seemed to be a DTE issue and they had opened a ticket on my behalf. This morning it was fixed. We had power issues earlier in the week (temporary generators throughout the neighborhood, etc.) so I was initially wondering if this light was fixed as part of that effort. But no. I’m sure that this is the first morning that the light was back on, so I think it was an independent fix.

The fun part of all this was connecting with the young neighbor whose house is adjacent to the woods, where the turtle sandbox now resides. She had posted the turtle on the nextdoor neighbor app and I had seen that post (but didn’t reply to it). She had received notified about my streetlight report on the city’s fix-it app.

We are expecting our continuing summer-type weather conditions to take a downward trajectory tomorrow but we have enjoyed the 70s of today. Just before we left the Oscar Tango, I happened to take a look at the weather and lo and behold, the lightning thingy was giving a yellow warning. Hmmm. It didn’t look like major storms were heading in but we bagged walking home in favor of a porterized vee-hickle. We are now hearing thunder and seeing some flashes of lightning in the distance and is that some rain? Yes.

And so, we hung outside under the eaves during the storm. Some heavy rain but not a whole lot of electrical activity. Didn’t really expect rain or lightning tonight but since it happened, I am glad we were able to take a portercab home tonight. Thanks you guys!

I hope that Yertle finds a good home. Alas, I do not need a turtle sandbox around here.

Luuuuucy! I’m hooooome!

October 6th, 2016 by kayak woman

luuuucyOr maybe Gladys Cravats Kravitz would be more appropriate because he is sitting out there in part because he can spy on the neighbors. A certain household at any rate. I won’t go into detail other than to say the “matriarch” over there is something like seven years younger than yer fav-o-rite blahgger and she is a great-grandmother. Yes, you read that right. So I guess the spying can get pretty interesting. Or not, because 50-something great-grandmother implies various small children running around. In 14 years or so, maybe things will get interesting and she’ll become a great-great-grandmother? Let’s not go there.

Me? What did I do today? Well, besides the usual wrangling of old-skool table-based html and the truly nasty old-skool javascript that “drives” the navigation menus, I had the pleasure of beating up on a massive MS Word doc with totally screwed up section numbering courtesy of the corporate bean counting department. In this case, I am referring to project managers, not accountants when I say “bean counters”. Project management is important but not at the expense of getting actual *work* done. There is a balance there. I have taken classes in project management and it actually isn’t a bad fit for me but [delete long rant here] I decided I was better off being a regular old systems analyst. I won’t even try to define what the heck that is. You are either a systems analyst or you are not. No matter what else you happen to be doing in life.

Anyway, I am now sitting out here and the sideshow down the street has gone inside and I should go inside and put the leftovers in the oven but it is so nice out here it’s just hard to go in. Because you know what’s coming, don’t you? Alas, all good things come to an end and someone is making an appointment at the Genius Bar because an iPhone hit the bricks and that did not turn out well. It wasn’t mine. This time. Been there, done that.

I was gonna end there but then I remembered back when I lived down on N. Seventh St. in a rattly old upstairs apartment, the first one I lived in alone. Except that the GG (now TP) was there a lot. The TP has worked for more years than I am strong enough to count, beginning his career as a paperboy when he was something like 10. He did not deliver papers like the kids do now where mom stops the minivan and they deliver the papers together. He was out by himself, maybe with a brother sometimes but mostly alone. And he had to do collections too.

At any rate, the GG was actually unemployed for a few months the summer I lived in that apartment. He had an apartment over in, where the heck was that? Clawson or Troy? I dunno. We were sometimes over there but mostly here on The Planet (because I was working). There was a beautiful porch on N. Seventh St. and the GG spent a lot of time there watching what was going on in the neighborhood, kinda like what he was doing today. The GG snagged a decent job after only a few months of being unemployed and, although that was definitely not the job he retired from, he has worked his you-know-what off ever since and retiring from a federal government career is not the worst thing.

So I totally understand why he has taken that retirement step. And we can afford it and so it is all okay. (And my job is really just gravy at this point but it does keep me off the streets.)

Ducks trump all

October 5th, 2016 by kayak woman

publicartFirst, a [beautiful hot October] day in the life of The Pensioner… Started walking downtown. Got a call from Mr. Faaarwod (Aussie guy). Turned around toward home. Got ($220) outta the bank (I knew about that via text message. It was okay, I just figure I’ll get some cash from him if I need it). Got home, moved Lyme T. Lounge outta the driveway, made breakfast, received wood from Mr. Faaarwood, stacked wood, and and… Kayaked for “a few hours” (probably mostly floating around reading a book but that is a good thing). Finally, he took a walk over to Maple Village to check out the new stores there.

Maple Village has been under construction all summer but is continuing its evolution from a rather sad-looking plaza anchored by a KMart to an “upscale” shopping center. I have to say that the Plum Market was the first “upscale” tenant there. It replaced the old “Fox” (?) movie theatre. When it first opened up, a “business” reporter at the Ann Arbor Snooze wondered how well it would do, being that the surrounding neighborhood was not particularly “upscale”. Well. That neighborhood is MY neighborhood. The Plum is my go-to market for anything I can carry in my backpack. Yes, it’s expensive but I can afford it. Plus, I think that the reporter missed the fact that the Plum is close to a lot of “upscale” (McMansions anyone?) neighborhoods, often one stoplight away instead of three or five or seven.

Anyway, the Plum has been a going concern for more years than I am strong enough to count (2008?) and the now deserted KMart building is being replaced by Home Goods (eclectic cheap(?) knick knacks), Stein Mart (clothing?), and Sierra Trading Post. Sadly, Value World (an upscale thrift shop if you can imagine that) has been a casualty of the upscaling of Maple Village. If I ran the circus, I would’ve kept that store around, knowing how many “rich” folks shop there. But who am I? I have to say that I am glad that old-skool shopping center is being updated a bit although I’m not sure how many of those stores I will actively shop at. I mean, I am de-acquistioning “home stuff” and I buy my clothing exclusively on the internet and, well, maybe Sierra Trading Post? But I can get sun hats from there online…

I think that there will always be people who love to shop until they drop and so I think that bricks and mortar stores will be around for a while. I hope that these new “upscale” stores are successful. I’m not sure they will be in the long run but I won’t go there tonight.

So, way back when, I was a kid from the Yooperland and whenever we visited our cousins down here on the Planet Ann Arbor we drove up N. Maple (like I do *every* goddamn day now coming home from work or wherever) to get back to the freeway and we drove past, well, not KMart, it was the A&P then.

At the end of a “difficult” meeting today, the LSCHP (who was sitting next to me in a demon drop chair) suggested that I might have some marijuana somewhere in my cube. It was hilarious (of course I don’t) but it was that kind of meeting and he was thinking a long-time Planet Ann Arborite might have some ‘o that stuff. I was like WHAT? I reminded everyone that I was a Yooper and grew up with an outhouse (in the summer) and then I conceded that I have been living on the Planet Ann Arbor for a long time now and I raised my kids in this wonderful city and I do not mind when the LSCHP says stuff like that to me. Actually, it just totally cracks me up! But I don’t have any marijuana and he (and everyone else I work with) know that.

Love you all. KW