Random bits of my so-called life.

Musical Musings, 2 or whatever out of 10 gazillion

December 18th, 2018 by kayak woman

My childhood/facebook friend The Beautiful Mimi posted a wonderful video on facebook today in which a bunch of Moo-U percussionists performed a piece written by one of their professors. It was The Carol of the Bells and it was performed on a construction site using both standard percussion instruments and various things found around the site. I have to note that their instruments included an mbira, which I am sure they did not find hanging around the construction site but I am also wondering if the mbira is actually something that they *teach* nowadays or if the professor simply wrote a part for it and managed to find someone who knew how to play it. (I know someone but that person is not anywhere near Moo-U.) There are links to this video but they are usability-challenged (think pop-up ads and logins up the wazoo) so I’m not going to try to link to it. You can try The Google if you are interested enough. And it is Michigan State University, not Moo-U.

I didn’t watch the entire video (because of the usability challenges) but I LOVE this composition. I was always fascinated by outta the box stuff like this. I think we used to call it avant garde? When I attended music school there, about the most avant garde thing we did was a yearly music festival for new composers. I loved this festival. As much as I always loved playing music that was based on traditional scales, it was so much fun to play atonal or otherwise esoterically based stuff. One year, I was sitting first seat in the symphonic band and playing our school’s only alto flute on a piece written and directed by a composer named Gunther Schuller. He gave me a quiet “Bravo alto flute” (first flute is directly to the right of the director in symphonic band) at the end of the performance. Another time, Anthony Braxton directed us. All I remember about that was a section where we all more or less noodled around like crazy for a while playing fast, random notes. I wasn’t sure I was personally doing the right thing but he seemed to like the overall effect.

Still, all of the outta the box stuff we did was in the “band room” with a traditionally arranged band and didn’t include instruments like the mbira and definitely not a wheelbarrow or random pipes sticking outta the ground and other things you might find at a construction site. I would have loved participating in that kind of thing, flute or not.

Of course any decent musician needs to be able to play all of the beautiful old standards (Bach/Beethoven, etc. etc. ad infinitum) and I always loved to play those too. But if the construction site composition was more the norm when I was coming up through the ranks, I MAY have been more interested in going on in a musical career. As wonderful as the “traditional” music careers are for the right people, they weren’t really for me. I’m not going there tonight and I am also not unhappy that I didn’t “do” music for a living. My talent for music (and mathematics) has been a basis for eventual success in a career as a systems analyst.

But. Parents, if your kid is obsessed with playing a musical instrument, lug that instrument around if you need to. If you are lucky, your kid will be like me and haul their *flute* everywhere, i.e. easy to haul. But support your kid even when it is a bass fiddle or a tuba that you have to schlep. If your kid is obsessed enough with music that they practice ALL THE TIME, that is not always a bad thing. They may be building the kind of skills that will lead them to successful non-musical jobs later (if they don’t “make it” in music). The discipline of practicing every day will build a work ethic and meticulously analyzing the structure of a musical piece will provide the skills for picking apart difficult issues in a complex web application in order to change or design new functionality.

I’m just sayin’ I got a “useless” music degree way back when. The career I have now didn’t exist at that time but I somehow have the skills to do it now. Just sayin’ to haul that kids musical instrument around and pay for lessons if you can. It could well pay off someday.

Life is just a blur of Republicans and meat

December 17th, 2018 by kayak woman

Honestly, I have no clue if this person is a Republican. His neck is certainly red enough (that’s a JOKE!) but I will fully admit that I don’t really know how red his neck is in real life. It is undoubtedly an effect of the dark lighting at the Green Dot and the Instagram app filter I used. I will also say that when I posted this on Instagrinch, I didn’t tag the Green Dot. I tagged “Detroit, Michigan”. You never know who sees what on Instagrinch and I figger this guy is a lot less likely to see himself in “Detroit, Michigan” than in the “Green Dot Stables”. I did like his “Beer for All” statement and I highly doubt he follows my boring blahg of blather.

So seeing a “redneck” brings back memories of the one trip I took with family members out to downhill ski in Colorado. We went to Steamboat Springs. This would be my extended family (too long a story for this entry) so aunts/uncles and cousins, etc. Eight of us drove out in my uncle’s huge van (license plate BGY747) and others joined us out there.

I had somehow amassed enough money to buy a new ski “outfit”, which turned out to be a LOVERLY white and green affair, overalls with a cute short jacket (I was young and skinny then) and a matching green ski sweater to boot. But then… I had just gotten off the lift at the top of the mountain and was heading downhill when the tip of one of my ANCIENT skis broke (Hart Hornets, if anyone remembers those). I “limped” down the mountain successfully with my broken ski but then GUESS WHAT? I need new skis too! Money? Uh, yeah. This was not a planned expense.

Fortunately for me, my dad was one of the family members who met us out there at Steamboat Springs. He drove with his bank buddy Mr. Quack. Dad never did downhill skiing in the time I knew him but he did do X-C (like me in my adult life). But he was there, so he bought me some new Olin Mark 3s. I got rid of all those old skis a long time ago but they wouldda made good chairs. But who knew?

At Steamboat Springs there were a few of us who would walk from our condo down into town at night and hit the bars. Mostly me and the Grinch. One night me and Grinch were down there and some band was playing a rendition of Up Against the Wall You Redneck Mother. This song absolutely cracked me up! I didn’t really listen to country music in those days, so I hadn’t ever heard it. And then, because the Grinchie and I were young and “cute” (or whatever) somebody bought us a beer or whatever. That cute couple? Nah, we have loved each other since we were 3 (me) and 6 (Grinch) fighting over smoked fish in the back seat of our grandfather’s Studebaker with our dads smoking ceegars in the front. We don’t look a lot alike but we are cousins, not a couple.


December 16th, 2018 by kayak woman

I dunno. It has been one of *those* weekends when it comes to marital communications (or non-communications, if you will). We had a tentative plan for what to do today, involving a 45-mile drive to take a northern relative out to lunch. All of a sudden, in the midst of a bunch of non-communication, the plan did an about-face (“I’m working through something”) and we ended up driving 45 miles to take an eastern relative out to lunch. The GG has spent a lot of time with the northern relative over the last few months, to the extent that he has spent very little time with his own children, independent adults that they are.

So a beautiful drive over to Daytwa via a metropark and then various eastbound surface streets. We weren’t in “south Detroit” because south Detroit is *Canada* but we were below the airport, etc. We drove east until we hit Jefferson Ave., aka the Detroit River, and then headed north through the downriver suburbs, Wyandotte, Ecorse, and gritty old River Rouge.

For a very short period of time in college I had a boyfriend from River Rouge. It was very “romantic” for the short time it lasted but I think in the end it was just a fling for him. But I was intrigued by his stories about his hometown and loved his drive to be successful enough to escape the devastating poverty and broken home that were (purportedly but probably true) his roots in life. If I have it right, I don’t think a lot of kids from River Rouge managed to get to college back in those days. Maybe, hopefully, it’s different these days.

I don’t know what happened to that boyfriend (I do hope he is alive and doing okay!) and the first time I knowingly encountered River Rouge in person was a couple years ago when the GG and I set off on an “industrial expotition” on a dreary December day. I don’t get all sloppy and sentimental about a long-lost short-term fling when we drive through River Rouge. I do like to look around and wonder what it was like when he was a kid and how it may have changed since then. It’s always fun driving around with the GG in the woods or the industrial parts of Detroit or to Fla or wherever.

We were driving through River Rouge again today and I realized via GooMaps that we were very close to Lizard’s house in Mexicantown, so I texted “in River Rouge” and 10 minutes later, she was driving us over to the Green Dot for lunch. There are lots of good restaurants down in Detroit these days but the Green Dot is our go-to. It has a menu of 15-20 different sliders. They come in all varieties, meat and veggie, and there are sides like fries and mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. I always order three sliders. Today it was almond duck, tofu Banh-mi(?), and mystery meat. Did I mention mystery meat? Yes, they do tell you what is in the mystery meat. It was pork/lamb meatballs today.

And did I mention that it was blindingly, brilliantly sunny today? We needed that even though I was totally overdressed for how hot it was in the Ninja and eventually had to take my dern jacket off.

A wee bit of sun *after* the sun set

December 15th, 2018 by kayak woman

The weather forecast was for sun today. We got sun. We got sun after the sun went down. I am not complaining. It was a nice warm, calm, gray day. There was a Black Ice warning when I woke up this morning but it didn’t turn out to be all that slippery, at least not driving, although there was ice on the Ninja’s veeeendsheeeld when I faaaared her up for a farmers market run this morning. But then I was on the city streets. A couple days ago, when there was NOOOOO Black Ice warning for anything, my 0-skunk-30 walk was spent shuffling along on horrible intermittent Black Ice. I am not sure about all of these newfangled weather warnings. What do I believe? Sometimes I think it was better when I simply looked out the window and checked the thermometer here at the Landfill.

A young MacMu cousin (once-removed) graduated from college today. I feel like it was just yesterday that I drove over to her high school graduation. I also remember this beautiful young woman from the time she was a toddler and her mom and aunt brought her up to the moomincabin to visit their Aunt Frances aka The Commander (and all of us hooligans too, Fran’s children and grandchildren). Aaaaahhh, where do I go from here. My moom (Frances) was so happy to re-connect with her nieces and grand-niece after a period of disconnection. Benign disconnection, I have to add, without going into detail. No big family feuds or anything. But my cousin is my mom’s big brother Austin’s daughter and The Commander always talked about Austin and I remember him and his wife Helen very fondly. Alas, they both died young.

I can remember when my cousin was going crazy with toilet training with her then toddler daughter at the moomincabin. My kids (the toddler’s second cousins) were *driving* by then and I think I said something like, “This will pass.” And of course it did. Because this young cousin has been driving for years now* and she also has a wonderful job lined up after she graduates from college. Anastasia, you go girl.

*P.S. Anastasia first drove the Indefatigable, our old Jeep Wrangler, when she was about 10 out on the old forest roads in the Yooperland. She may have been one of the last cousins to learn how to drive a manual tranny with the GG.

Moom Mode

December 14th, 2018 by kayak woman

Once again, I don’t have a lot to say but I want to check in so that certain people know that I am alive. You know who you are and I love you for caring about yer taaarrred ol’ moom.

We got porterized at the Oscar Tango tonight. The GG was out hiking with his southern lower Great Lake State North Country Trail girlfriends all day so he ended up driving downtown. Women seem to be okay about hiking with the GG. And they should be, since he is really not anything approaching creepy. He’s a guy who, 30-something years ago, would take his newborn daughter everywhere, including to the original Border’s book store. One of the gals who worked there at that time found him a quiet place to change her diaper and a while later, it was at Border’s that she learned to crawl up and down stairs. Conversely, I am not really worried about him finding a girlfriend, I mean a real one, like having an affair with someone. Somehow, neither one of us seems to be likely to do that kind of thing. Life is too good for us the way it is, polly-tickle arguments notwithstanding. Why complicate it?

At the end of our time at the OT tonight, I went into Moom Mode, which means that after everyone left the table, I turned on my iPhone flashlight and checked out what we may have left. Oh, a Rock! Yes. I kinda guessed it may have been something the GG had picked up on his hike and I was right! “Oh, there’s my rock!” I wasn’t sure why he brought it into the OT with him. It certainly wasn’t a show-and-tell item since he didn’t show or tell it.

Paper Jails Vapor Trails

December 13th, 2018 by kayak woman

It’s not the best pic but it’s hard to get a good pic when you have stopped your vee-hickle in the middle of the street and are taking the pic kinda sideways while [trying to] watch for any traffic coming up behind you. I was driving out of the Cubelandia parking lot and we are way in the Back Corner of the business park so there is very little traffic but still, I didn’t want to block anyone that might be coming up behind me. I do love the paper jail vapor trail [apparently] climbing vertically above the clouds.

By the time I got home, eight miles later but probably a half hour, it was dark.

I don’t have much today. We are in a [sorta] warming trend here, by warming trend, I mean we are hovering around in the 30s or whatever. It rained a bit last night and then the temps dipped below 30 and that made the walking treacherous at 0-dark-30 with the sidewalks intermittently iced. Cubelandia xmas lunch today at our fave restaurant Mediterrano. We did our best to be festive given that Santa (our sorely missed Rabbi boss) was not there to do his ho-ho-thank-yous. Amazon Woman was there and did a wonderful job and Dana-you-know-Dana remembered that last year a few introverts spent the entire holiday lunch playing with their phones and so today she did some informal seating arrangements so the conversation went on and on and on and it was so fun.

And the drippy thing is a terlet issue. Hopefully it’ll get figgered out soon.

So many Rabbit Holes, so little time

December 12th, 2018 by kayak woman

I spent a good portion of my work day down in a Rabbit Hole that my QA buddy iDeep sent me into. Why he was not around when I posted a backwards picture of the Great Lake State on the internet, I do not know. I want to say that since he lives in India, he may not know the geography of Michigan and its surrounding Great Lakes. But then again, after working with iDeep and other colleagues on the Indian subcontinent, all I can say is that I bet he knows US geography better than I do. Also, based on the Indians I work with, I think India is gonna take over the world. WATCH OUT!

The GG spent the day working on legal paperwork stuff. Among other things (that I won’t document here), he is trying to transfer a small motor bote into his name from his dad’s name. His dad died in 2001. He is jumping through hoops with the DMV, who wants him to provide documentation that all of the people who could possibly inherit the bote have signed off to let the GG own the bote.

At this point in time, nobody wants the bote. Problem. Three-to-five of the “interested parties” are dead. So NOW the DMV needs death certificates. I mean, jeebus. The bote has been at Myyyy fam’s moominbeach for umpteen brazillion years, probably since before the Gumper died and I know that our beloved Gumper wanted us to use it up in the yooperland. It is a Small Open Motor Bote, one that I actually once ROWED back from Round Island to the moominbeach when we, uh, ran out of gas out by the island…. Our young cousin Brendan helped pull us onto the beach!

I dunno if the GG wants this kind of crapola on the internet (he may not) but this DMV stuff is soooo stooopid. It’s a teensy tinesy little tin bote. When my brother unearthed “The Top Drawer”, his yellow bote from down at the pond, you can bet it was never registered with the DMV, Of course, it did not have a motor…

If we didn’t already have enough to talk about, there is now a drip down in the Landfill Dungeon. It doesn’t seem to be catastrophic but this will give the GG something to keep an eye on…

Love y’all, KW

Where are my QA buddies when I need them? 🐽🐽🐽

December 11th, 2018 by kayak woman

Yes, Michigan is BASS-ACKWARDS in the tree (see yesterday’s post pic). Anybody else notice this? I didn’t. Until now. I mean, I futzed and futzed with this pic and I never did get the light the way I wanted it. Who knew I just needed to flip it over? I sure didn’t.

So, we are apparently off to a roaring start. I don’t exactly know when this artifact arrived. I saw it over the weekend when I was finally enough over the December Crud that I ventured out the back door to take the compost out or whatever. So I’m not sure when it arrived. Maybe Thursday or Friday. I wonder if @tmotu got some “grog” along with his tree…

I wasn’t really ready for this artifact to come inside. I was hoping we’d Deep Clean the Back Room before putting up a tree. I wasn’t quiiiiite up to it over the weekend, since I was a North Country Trail Widow lying low with the December Crud. I can move most pieces of furniture by myself but I *hate* pulling the fold-out couch away from the wall.

Anyway, it’s here and I guess I am just gonna have to go with the flow here. Well, I *was* a bit cranky when I came in the door after work and saw it but that may be partly because Patriot Radio seemed to be on. Note to GG! I do like that since we gutted the Landfill Chitchen and put a big “window” into the wall with the Back Room, I can at least see the tree from the chitchen.

Not the best photoooo but it does provide a glimpse into Landfill Life. Can you identify the mother board, lunar lander, and icosahedron (or whatever it is). Oh yeah, and those “horns”. Who knows what aminal those came from?

I’m done for now. My chitchen is full of people and we’re having fun and I can’t concentrate any more. G’night.

bottomless pinocchios

December 10th, 2018 by kayak woman

If you haven’t seen this hashtag yet, use The Google. I remember when GWB was the president and used the term “The Google” and I cracked up. What an idiot, I thought. I know GWB isn’t really an idiot but I wasn’t crazy about him and, as a person who has been hanging around on them thar tubes since even before the WWW (wild wild west) days, my brain kind of exploded.

And yet, I get that I am an earlier adopter of technology than many people on the older end of my generation (like GWB) and even though I am an, AHEM, WOMAN (generally a CIS woman at that), the first time I wrote a computer program, I was HOOKED FOREVER! It was an Apple II+ and of course my first program was to write “Hello World” to the screen.

I went on from there and I won’t bore y’all with my squirrelly career “trajectory” except to say that whether or not I was getting paid to do info tech work, I was out there pushing it on to whatever organization I was currently involved with. If I had any kind of control, I would make email groups and websites. If I didn’t, I would push for internet communications. As a middle school PTO treasurer, I argued (unsuccessfully) with administrators for an EMAIL GROUP to enhance the dreaded backpack mail, fer kee-reist sake. “But what about the people that don’t have internet access”, they asked. Well… “The more people that have the news, the better. Hopefully people who have the internet will spread the word to other parents via their kids.” Wishful thinking, I guess. The public schools were not ready for this at that time but I’m gonna guess most of them now incorporate technology into their communications with parents. In no way can I take credit for that.

Then there was The Commander (my MOTHER). She certainly did not adopt technology earlier than I did but I will never forget the day I received my first EMAIL from her! I almost fell out of my chair! Jeebus, she went out and bought a personal computer all by herself and got somebody to help her set it up. And emailed me. Just to give me hell. Like, I can do this without you. I loved it!!!! (It is entirely possible that my brother helped with this but I kind of think she did it herself.)

Now that we are in the middle of the Orange Baboon’s term, I actually long for GWB. And all of that got me missing my moom for the moment so I’m going to end for now. Don’t worry, I am okay. I’ll talk about the Real Baboon some other day.

Drivin’ to Jackson to get gasoline

December 9th, 2018 by kayak woman

I have been subjected to some Magical Thinking the last couple years. The other night, over dinner at the Red Hawk it was a bunch of stuff about oil, you know, the natural resource that when refined, turns into the gasoline that runs our automotive vee-hickles. Most of them anyway. I know that some folks are driving hybrids. That’s wonderful but if you are living and driving in the Great White North and you frequently pull trailers of various sorts behind your vee-hickle, you really need to have something beefy enough to handle those kinds of conditions.

Anyway, there is apparently some turbulence in the stock market (this does not surprise me at all) and some people think it has to do with oil prices. And maybe it does! Or maybe it doesn’t. Whatever is going on with the stock market, apparently if you are living on the Planet Ann Arbor and you want to put petroleum products into your automotive vee-hickle so you can drive it, the gas prices are much much much cheaper over in Jackson, which, according to the google, is 32 miles away from the Planet Ann Arbor. Ain’t no way I am driving all the way over to Jackson to buy gas. Whut?

However. I will not (for now) buy gas at the Shell station on the corner of Jackson/N. Maple (where I have been buying it forever) until they let me opt out of their request to send me text messages by clicking ONCE, not umpteen bazillion times. And fix their dern gas pumps to dispense gas without making me have to pump the nozzle 10-12 times before it begins to dispense gas. I got gas out at the BP on Zeeb today. That is apparently OKAY to those who follow the stock market and I was going to Meijer out there anyway. It was cool and, hey! what’s this? I downloaded an app that is supposed to let me pay for gas without sticking a plastic card into a slot. We’ll see how that works.

And so, I hung out here at the Landfill again today and I picked away at some more bits of cleaning and wrapping and laundry and I got the Santa “collection” out. Again. I am not actively collecting Santas. This is a merged collection of The Commander’s Santas plus mine, most of which she sent me. They all fit into a small box and that is good enough for me. I do NOT want a hoarder house with walls of Santas staring at me year round! 🎅🎅🎅

Four boxes of xmas

December 8th, 2018 by kayak woman

Oh man, I slept late late late today, like 7:30 or something. I needed to do that. I am fine fine fine. I do not have a fever but I needed some sleep. I am still coughing and blowig by doze but I am surfacing above ground again.

One of my missions today besides chores and errands and finishing a book was to find Froooogggy’s Santa glasses. It took me forever! I found three boxes of xmas stuff in the Landfill Dungeon but I couldn’t find the Santa glasses. I pulled everything out of all three boxes. Nada. Finally I looked across the room and there (lo and behold) was another box of xmas stuff. I wasn’t optimistic about finding the Santa glasses in that box but (lo and behold) there they were.

I read a novel about a hoarder today. (It was a good book, “The House We Grew Up In”, read it if you have any hoarders in your family. We all do, to some extent.) As I was looking for Froggy’s Santa glasses, I was looking around the Landfill Dungeon and thinking I really need to get back into flinging because I was starting to feel a bit encroached upon by the *stuff* down there in the dungeon. Like how many toasters?

Of course we aren’t hoarders like the matriarch of the family in the book was. I have been accused of being a hoarder but that same person also accused me of throwing stuff out with wild abandon. Which is it? I am still scratching my head… Anyway, a person can walk into our house without having to squeeze sideways through a narrow passageway through a wall of crapola. And we only have four boxes of xmas stuff, which isn’t really too bad. Funny that in the book I read, it was Easter that was the important holiday. There was a chocolate egg hunt and the pretty foil egg wrappers were saved (forever) in the craft “box”. xmas was never mentioned. But still, I feel like another round of Landfill flinging is imminent.

Terlet donations

December 7th, 2018 by kayak woman

Yerb. I felt like crapola again this morning. Problem? I needed to get up in time to get the recycle container out to the curb before 7 AM. I dunno why I didn’t just abandon my stoopid anal Garbage Woman rules and put the dern thing out last night.

I *always* put the *garbage* cart out the night before pickup. Whether or not it has anything in it and sometimes it doesn’t. This week, I put a particularly stinky bag of garbage into the garbage cart mid-week.

The morning *of* garbage pickup is when I put the *recycle* cart out. I put whatever various pieces of recycling are hanging out into that cart and wheel it out along with whatever other garbage I can bag up. Those are my rules. I shouldda bagged my rules this week but I didn’t, so I had to drag my sicko self outta the rack and suit up for 20-something degree weather to deal with it.

I am not really all that sick. It’s just a cold virus. Early early this morning, I sensed that the GG was touching my forehead. I thought, “he thinks I have a fever.” I actually may have (I was wondering) but if I did, it was a very low-grade fever. It was certainly gone by the time I dragged myself outta the rack and schlepped the dern garbage down to the curb this morning. He seems to need someone to mollycoddle but it cannot be ME!

I went to the ladies room during the Beach Boys concert intermission. I really kinda wanted to go HOME at that point but I sucked it up and stayed. But man oh man, did I have to wait in a long line to concertP. It was only a few years ago that the Michigan Theatre was totally renovated. The ladies room was beeyootiful. But *three* measly stalls? Say what? 20 people in line? C’mon. Nobody was waiting outside the mens’ room.

So, finally I got to P. I was really fast (’cause when you grow up using an outhouse, you are fast at using terlets because, er, oh well, outhouses would be a whole ‘nother topic) but then I turned around to figure out how to flush this new Michigan Theatre terlet and there on the wall was a little plaque with the name of a friend of mine from the Haisley Mafia days. I guess she donated a terlet? Of course I had to take a pic.

I sent a pic of the donation plaque to the beach urchin who went to grade school with my friend’s daughter and she suggested that maybe *I* would’ve been an appropriate person to donate a terlet to the Michigan Theatre. I could not disagree with that and it TOTALLY cracked me up!

Porterization at Knights tonight. Seems as though the Porters are also in some stages of The Cold That’s Going Around. Good times anyway.

Right before I got busted

December 6th, 2018 by kayak woman

Psst, wanna see the Beach Boys play at the MI Theatre for $12.50? Why did I agree to this without checking it out first? Like, why are the tickets so cheap and why are they playing at the MI Theatre, and (especially) do the Beach Boys even tour any more and, if so, aren’t some of them dead? It turns out it was Mike Love and his son and a bunch of other people but they are allowed to tour as the Beach Boys and apparently the other living members of the original group are a part of the organization even though they don’t tour. So it’s a legit group of sorts if not THE Beach Boys.

It turned out okay (I could’ve done without the xmas music) but when I first got there and realized what was going on, I was pretty annoyed. But you would be too (maybe) if you had the kind of day I had, not to mention that I do not like to sit trapped in seats in crowded venues for hours.

I caught my work buddy FZ’s code id da doze and I woke up feeling like crapola today. Enough like crapola that I bagged my 0-skunk-30 walk in favor of sleeping an extra 45 minutes or so before draaaaaaagggging myself outta the rack. Work was pretty okay and about mid-morning, I was finally warm enough (via an “illegal” space heater) that I started feeling a bit better. Commute home? Absolutely SUCKED! 45 minutes to go eight measly miles, big back-ups everywhere, and where there weren’t backups I was stuck behind some idjit that insisted on going 10-15 miles BELOW the speed limit! We had some icy crapola fall out of the sky this afternoon but the “back” roads were really okay. I knew better than to take the freeway after hearing about the jack-knifed semi, which was probably also why the back roads were all snarled up.

Okay, home. Quite a bit icier on this side of town than at work, at least on the sidewalks. I was going to meet the GG downtown at the Red Hawk and I figgered it was late enough that the bus would be the best way to get down there?!? There are three buses I can take from the general vicinity of the Plum Market and I don’t really know the schedules all that well but I know that if I just walk over to that area and use my phone app, eventually a bus will come along that’ll get me downtown. So I strapped on my YakTrax and took off. I was waiting next to another woman for the 31 and here it came! Or so I thought. Before I knew what was happening, she waved it away. It turned out it was the 60, which would have gotten me (and her too, actually) where I wanted to go. So I was left waiting for the 31 to come along. It gets long and boring from here but basically the 31 was a little late and I had to ride it *out* to its turn-around point and then back *in* to downtown. From the time I left the house to the time I got to the Red Hawk, I could prob’ly have *walked* downtown.

So, busted! Man, I guess this was a “rock” concert so they were serious about security. Or sorta anyway. They had flashlights and wands of some sort at the door (they never do that for Arlo). I had my backpack with me and I tried to proactively explain that the funny looking coils of metal inside it were my YakTrax. For Ice Walking. They didn’t seem to care. Then they “wanded” me (or something), saying something about checking my pockets but then they said, “Oh, you don’t have any pockets”. Well, yes and no. I was wearing a skirt, not jeans, and it does not have pockets. But I have pockets in both my jacket and vest. I’m not sure exactly what they were aiming for but they didn’t seem all that serious in general. But I am such a scary, terrorist-looking person!

Photography though? Boy oh boy! I took this pic of the GG shining his phone flashlight along with all the other folks and the “police” were all over me. I thought at the time that they noticed me doing it because my flash went off. I usually keep my flash turned off but I turned it on last Sunday so I could get a pic of Michigan Basement Bob and forgot to turn it back off again. But then they busted several others nearby, those being young parents mostly taking selfies of themselves and their kids. I’m not sure what they thought we were gonna do, post the concert (or the GG’s nose) on YouTube? Why? You guys, EVERYBODY has a handy cam/videocam nowadays. The genii is not going to go back in the bottle.

This may be just about the most higgledy-piggledy blahg entry ever but I don’t care. I am home (finally) and Mercury’s State of Retrograde apparently ends tonight, or so I’m told. Thank you god!

And I haven’t even talked about the toilet donation!

Crescent moon rising with Venus above

December 5th, 2018 by kayak woman

I actually *stopped* in the schoolyard for a few minutes this morning. The moon is in the late waning crescent stage and I could actually SEE it this morning, along with Venus, quite a bit higher in the sky. This is big news. I am not sure I have seen the moon since it was last full. It has been so frickin’ cloudy and nasty and fugly.

I am not going to even try to wax into any kind of eloquence about George Herbert Walker Bush, although (in my humble and largely uninformed opinion) he was a MUCH better president than the Orange Baboon and his sycophantic circle of enabling old fossils. Whatever GHWB was or wasn’t, he was a contemporary of my dad back in WWII. My dad certainly didn’t meet Bush in the war. Dad was a pilot/flight instructor/flight engineer in the Army Air Corps and Bush was a pilot in the Navy. And my dad was five years older than Bush.

Dad never saw action in that war. He remained a flight instructor for the duration. As I have no doubt said many times before, he was about to be [finally] sent to the South Pacific when “we” dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I have to say I am glad he was not sent over there. If he had died, I would not be here. My parents married during the war but I wasn’t born until almost a decade after it was over so, although I have an idea about what my aunts/uncles and grandparents went through, I didn’t experience it first hand. Not at all. I grew up skipping up and down the south side Sault Ste. Siberia streets and Red Queening over to Lincoln School every morning without thinking about war. Well, except for Bay of Pigs but that’d be a whole ‘nother post.

So, here is a caricature of my dad when he was the flight engineer on a B29 bomber, drawn by someone else on the crew. In life he was much more handsome but I LOVE this caricature. I don’t know who drew it. I hope whoever drew it was was able to incorporate his artistic talent into whatever his career ended up being.

Godspeed to George HW Bush.

Book blaaaahhhhhg

December 4th, 2018 by kayak woman

Just a few of the eclectic selection of books I’ve read recently, not in any particular order…

“Anne”, by Constance Fenimore Woolson, yes, *that* Fenimore, I think she’s his niece but you can do the google if you really wanna know the exact relationship. Set before and during the Civil War, published in 1880. What drew me to this book was the title character’s name, even though I am not crazy about the name on my birth certificate. And the fact that the title character grew up on Mackinac Island and a significant portion of the setting was there. Of course, I had to investigate. Was it good? It was fine if not perfect. I loved reading the bits about life on the island back in those days, long before there were modern ferries transporting tourists to and from the island. If you don’t know anything about Mackinac Island, there are no motorized vee-hickles on the island to this day (except for emergency vee-hickles). Probably my favorite passage is when Anne travels (by steamboat) to the lower lakes and witnesses (in the dark) a huge forest fire in what would have to be our northern lower peninsula. It would’ve burned on its own in those days, unlike how we handle forest fires today when there are towns and dwellings everywhere.

“Freaky Deaky”, by Elmore Leonard, one of the Great Lake State’s own. I have never read any of this acclaimed author’s books before and I picked this one because of the title. Crime is not my usual genre but I enjoy it if the author is talented and this was fun. I love how when he refers to landmarks in the Detroit area (and other areas of the state), he refers to *real* places, not made up ones. Like Jacoby’s Bar, which is apparently still alive and well, according to the Google.

“Everything Under”, by Daisy Johnson. Growing up on a decrepit houseboat anchored on a canal with your kinda crazy moom and not knowing who your dad is. I dunno. This book was really “dark” in some ways and some horrible things happened but somehow I enjoyed it anyway. I don’t know why I was fascinated that the author was “only” 29 years old when she wrote the book. People do all kinds of amazing things at any age. Maybe it’s just that I’m glad to be reminded that civilization and culture are not going to “die out” after my generation (video with an ad). P.S. Watch those two 29-year-old women who have been elected to the house. Yes, there are two. Are they perfect? No. No one is. But you go girls.

“Washington Black”, by Esi Edugyan. What can I say? Young black male slave on a plantation in Barbados is freed in a rather spectacular way and makes his rather extraordinary way through life as a free man. The story itself is interesting but I loved how the characters were portrayed. Good/Bad/Evil/Whatever, they were complicated (like we all are) and I loved how their inner thoughts were portrayed (especially George Washington Black’s but others too) without distracting from the story line.

Michigan Basement

December 3rd, 2018 by kayak woman

We had the occasion to visit a home with a Michigan Basement yesterday. At least that’s what I called it. The GG and I had a difference of opinion. This basement had a concrete floor. The GG thinks that a Michigan Basement has a dirt floor. The definition of a Michigan Basement is probably complicated as so many things are.

What this basement reminded me of was my own childhood basement in our shabby little bungalow on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia. I so wish I had pictures of that basement. Alas, photography was not as simple as clicking a button on an iPhone and why the heck would anyone want to take pictures of a fugly old basement anyway?

Our Superior Street basement did not have a dirt floor. It was a concrete floor. Other than that, it was totally unfinished. I remember the washing musheen and dryer down there and various dusty old shelving units and other crapola. There was a Scary Room that I was afraid to go into. I think it was the room earlier owners kept the coal in. I think there was still some coal hanging around in the Scary Room when my parents bought the house, even though the original coal furnace had been replaced by one of those big old octopussy oil furnaces.

My beautiful tortoiseshell cat Twinkle had kittens somewhere in that basement when I was in about first grade. Four kittens were born. Two of them survived successfully, Spot and Puff. There were two more kittens in the litter. One was what my mom called a “monster”. I didn’t see that kitten. The other was a calico kitten who died with a nosebleed. Not sure what the problem was there. Twinkle had another litter of kittens at the moomincabin and a bunch of us watched them be born but that would be a whole nother story.

I shouldda known Mercury was in retrograde

December 2nd, 2018 by kayak woman

I like to pay for things via PayPal because it doesn’t (I don’t think) text people that I have purchased something. I earn my own money so it doesn’t really matter what I spend, as long as I can afford it without breaking the family budget, it’s just that sometimes I might be buying something for *them*, you know, as a surprise. I eventually solved my PayPal problem by (duuuuuuh) switching browsers.

The shiny bright light in the pic is NOT Mercury and it is NOT Mr. Golden Sun. It is a streetlight. The one between the deep dark scary woods. The one that a tree took out a few years ago and yer fav-o-rite blahgger finally figgered out how to get the city to prod DTE to fix. It was foggy when I took this pic and Mr. Golden Sun had not made his way up above the horizon yet.

The GG did not make his way up above the horizon until close to 9:00 AM. I had bacon and hash browns and COFFEE ready for him. But that is *late* for the GG. I attribute it to the fact that he and a bunch of gals have been taking 10 mile hikes over in Trumplandia (small-town mid-southern Great Lake State) the last couple days. Women love to hike with the GG. Apparently they don’t find him creepy. And actually he isn’t creepy and I don’t mind lending him to accompany female hikers.

Mr. Golden Sun finally triumphed over the fog this morning and we got a good dose of sunshine this morning via humming along over the back roads in the western area of our own little solar system, i.e., between Dexter and Chelsea, in the Ninja. And then we spent a fun and interesting afternoon over in Ypsilanti. One that culminated in beer/whine at the Sidetrack, where we often meet MacMullan cuzzints when they come to town but today we were with Mouse and a tall person.

One of the other times Mercury was in retrograde, there was a surprise appendectomy in the Great White North and that turned out well but I will take browser dis-functionality any day.

Yes, let’s have some thunderstorms, we need those!

December 1st, 2018 by kayak woman

It was a difficult day technologically speaking.

I tried to pay the Planet Ann Arbor property tax bill online and I could not do that because of an “invalid certificate”. I sometimes ignore stuff like that but this time I actually wrote out a paper check to pay my taxes. C’mon, Ann Arbor. We won’t even talk about how we pay the moomincabin tax payments.

And then I tried to pay the propane gas rental fee for the moomincabin and I thought that I was auto-paying all of that stuff but apparently not, so I did pay it and we are okay with that even though I had to switch from my laptop browser to my phone to get the dern thing paid.

And then… I tried to order some stuff on-line and… Oh man, it is usually so easy to order stuff on line. Clickity clickity click. Today. What a pain. No, you cannot complete your order because you haven’t selected a shipping method. But I couldn’t select a shipping method because there was no way to select a shipping method. And then I realized that the site was telling me they didn’t really have a store, i.e., the technology for people to pay for the items they were selling. Jeebus.

Gasoline? Did I want to enroll in a “program” to get text messages about their “specials”? Yes or No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No….. No matter how many times I pushed the “No” button, the question would not go away. No! F-i-n-a-l-l-y. I was just about ready to stomp into the station to ask what the heck was going on when the question went away and I managed to get my gas.

But the gal I bought cabbage rolls from at the farmers market this morning? She had the technology for me to pay for them no problem, even with a debit card that is so old it is peeling.

Joybox Express

November 30th, 2018 by kayak woman

Finally a day without any white-knuckle commuting and even with a bit of Mr. Golden Sun this afternoon before he decided to go down down down. I think it was 5:03 PM today? And we are on the western edge of the Eastern Standard time zone here so I’m sure the sun goes down a lot earlier to the east of us, 4:36 over in Cobourg, Ontario, for example.

The Oscar Tango was slammed tonight. Much more so than last Friday, which was the day after Thanksgiving and the day before the Umich / Ohio State game. But tonight was Midnight Madness. I cannot stand Midnight Madness. I am sorry. I mean I like the *idea* of Midnight Madness but I do not like to shop with a hundred gazillion other people and their entire extended families. Nevertheless, we did make a quick stop at Downtown Home & Garden. We couldn’t get close enough to see the aminals but that was okay. I was happy to let the little kiddos have a chance to get up close and personal with them.

I did get up close and personal enough with Mr. B to get a pic of him and his Joybox Express. He is based on the Planet Ann Arbor but he bikes his “puano” all over the place. One epic trip he took a couple years ago involved biking his puano up to the Yooperland and *swimming* it across to Mackinac Island. Looking it up, I think that means a team of swimmers towed a boat with Mr. B and his puano on it over to the island, not that Mr. B. somehow swam it over all by himself like I was trying to envision. I am an inveterate fact checker and y’all should be too.

And now I am kind of *done* after having a surreal conversation about why a light in the Landfill Dungeon was on. Or off. Or whatever. Turn it off. Yes, there is laundry in the dryer. I may or may not go down to take it out of the dryer tonight. If I do, I will turn the light back on. But I might not deal with the laundry in the dryer tonight. So leave the light off for now.

The cake sun is a lie

November 29th, 2018 by kayak woman

After a looooooong sloooooow slodgy commute home tonight, I was in the Blue and Only Bathroom washing my feet, ’cause I doooo that, and I heard my phone vibrate. It was icy (in places) here today and people wanted to know if “everyone” (parents, mainly) were safely home. When your children reach a certain adult age where they feel well out of your clutches, they start to turn their attention to whether or not you are safe.

Public radio this afternoon was full of gloom and doom about the road conditions around here. Things were iffy. We have hovered around the freezing mark all day with various forms of precipitation coming out of the sky. Light precipitation! Deceptive precipitation. “Oh, there’s just a little skiff of snow so the roads are not slippery.” “Oh, the roads are ‘just wet'”. Until you (if you are a yayhoo who goes too fast or cavalierly takes a turn too fast or doesn’t slow down early enough before an intersection or are tailgating and the tailgate-ee has to stop fast or or or…) spin out or crash or whatever.

There were accidents galore on the freeways this afternoon but I took the Zen Commute home and had no problems. But maybe that’s because *everyone* was going below the speed limit for once and there were plenty of times we were *all* slodging along at 4-10 mph, which may or may not have had anything to do with the weather. The only time I encountered an ice incident the entire way home was when I stopped at the stop sign a half-block down the street from the Landfill, and when I started to go again, the Ninja’s taaaars spun a little bit until they caught. But our street was lightly snow-covered. The main roads were not.

Don’t get me wrong. I am glad the beach urchins care about my whereabouts, especially on an icy day. They could’ve turned out to be the kind of kids who would put strychnine in the well, roight? Turning time back? I was nervous about my children driving solo (as everyone is or should be) and I will never forget one day when they were driving together down Miller to Community High in a snowstorm. As a senior, Liz had a parking place down there. Mouse was a freshman. I asked them to call me when they got to school and I didn’t hear and I didn’t hear and I didn’t hear. So, I went into full tilt boogie moom mode and took off down Miller to see if the Indefatigable was in the Commie High parking lot. Except. When I got down Maple and turned onto Miller, the traffic was totally backed up and I realized that they were undoubtedly okay because the average speed people were going was about 4 mph at the most. I bailed out and went through the neighborhood long before Commie High but it still took me forever to get to Monday Coffee, which was what *I* was scheduled to do that morning.

I learned something that day although I admit I am still nervous when anyone I love has to drive in nasty weather conditions. Please be careful everyone!