Random bits of my so-called life.

In which beer puts a damper on Memorial Day weekend before it even begins

May 26th, 2017 by kayak woman

I am a Road Warrior but after my last trip up to Houghton Lake, I felt Great Trepidation about the first 15 miles of my trip today. Launching offa Da Planet Ann Arbor going north is practically impossible these days unless you are doing it oh, maybe Sunday morning or whatever. This morning, when I got back from my Skunk Walk and was puttering around the Landfill getting ready to hit the road and WEMU was rolling along in the background and, say what? An overturned truck just south of North Territorial? Happened at 5:41 this AM. That’s about the time I hit the shower.

I didn’t plan to blast off toooooo early. It’s complicated and involves a camping trip Mouse and the GG were on the last few days. But still. The traffic report got worse and worse. Turns out it was a beer truck and the entire freeway was blocked both ways. Note that the whole freeway was closed at this point, both northbound and southbound. I dithered and dathered a bit and kexted the GG and Mouse and finally I hitched up the Ninja, drove it down to the river and over the Foster bridge and took dirt roads and secondary highways up and around that area.

The rest of my trip was pretty smooth, just one short backup in Flint (yes, *that* Flint) where some sort of truck had overturned on the *southbound* side of the freeway. The backup on the northbound side seemed to be a rubbernecking type of thing. There were multiple emergency vee-hickles all over the place but I had the feeling the southbound would be backed up for a looooong time. It turned out that it was because Mouse was traveling *downstate* today and got routed around Flint on I475.

I’m not sure if any of that made any sense. Suffice it to say that I got here safely and Mouse got home safely and please please please everybody else be careful driving this weekend. Oh, and the pic is my first clematis blossom of the year!

Noodly doodly manatee dreams

May 25th, 2017 by kayak woman

Man oh man, did I wish I was having manatee dreams or noodly-doodly dreams or even shoreline dreams this morning just before I had to drag myself outta REM-type sleep and mobilize for another day of making donuts and bringing home bacon.

None of those, though. First, I had a “driving a car up a hill that becomes virtually verticle at the top” dream. In these dreams, you are wondering whether you are going to: 1) get to the top, 2) get *over* the top, 3) or slide backwards. In these dreams, I always either: 1) get to the top and over it or 2) wake up. This particular dream took place on the International Bridge and had the added wrinkle that emergency vee-hickles were coming over the hill the other direction and everyone but *us* stopped at the bottom of the hill. The GG was driving in this dream and he would not stop… (I *think* I had *two* of those dreams last night/this morning but I can’t quite remember the first one…) The International Bridge has a gentle slope up and down over the locks, etc., and is never anything approaching scary except maybe for one time in the Jurassic Age when The Commander and I went over to shop at the Loon’s Nest in Station Mall in Canananada and we had to drive back through a snowstorm and it was a little slippery.

And then there was the dreaded PACKING DREAM!!! Oh how I HATE those! In this one, I somehow segued from trying to find the bathroom in my high school (the old one that isn’t around any more) to some Borne version of the moomincabin. One where a whole bunch of “valuable” stuff had been left outside all winter and I was scrambling to get it inside except that there was no room “inside” and “inside” wasn’t exactly “inside” and every time I turned around, there were more things and I kept discovering caches of smaller things within the other things. And then I woke up… And dragged myself into the shower and forced myself to take a walk… Fortunately it was a beautiful warm rainy-without-lightning morning and my walk and coffee with MMCB (and work) brought me back to reality.

Did you read this all the way through? I don’t blame you if you didn’t. I really hate when people start telling my me about their dreams. But if you did read, did you see my reference to Borne? If you did or didn’t, if you are into dystopian literature (and I am!), read Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer. I wanted it to end. Except that I didn’t want it to end.

Love y’all, KW

Blick

May 24th, 2017 by kayak woman

I never thought anything about ticks until I was well into adulthood with kids in college et al. I didn’t see one until the day when Radical Betty returned from a hike out at Naomikong and found a strange insect (or arachnid) crawling around on her body. She thought it was a tick. What? We actually put the tick into a plastic container and drove into town to the county health department to get them to identify it. It was a tick but it was a dog tick, which meant (at that time, anyway) that it was unlikely to transmit Lyme Disease. Not to mention that ticks in general can transmit all kinds of other awful stuff.

NPR repeated a story about ticks a few times today. We have encountered a lot more ticks here in the Great Lake State than I ever remember at any time of my life. I am taaaared of the news media telling us all how to avoid ticks. It is almost impossible to avoid ticks. You can slather yourself with [arguably poisonous] insect repellent but I don’t think that necessarily deters ticks and I *hate* being slathered with insect repellent (not to mention sunscreen). You can also cover your entire body with clothing of one sort or another but man oh man it gets got when you are hiking in high temperatures with all of those clothes on.

Whatever the media folks blather on about ticks, I think the best “tick check” is to take a shower after you have been in the woods. And a bath for your children and maybe dogs, although I think dogs need a more thorough check because of fur.

That’s about it. G’night.

Tog’s Great American Probability Musheen

May 23rd, 2017 by kayak woman

Manchester? I am weary. That is bad. But. Let’s talk about Tog’s Great American Probability Musheen instead! I actually remembered this thing as I was thinking about the randomness of terrorist events of all sorts, ISIS, homegrown, alien UFOs, whatever.

Way back in 1979, the GG bought a computer “for his mother”. I know it was 1979 because I *think* we still have the receipt. For his mother is in quotes because, of course, it was really for the GG. We had it hooked up to our fancy (at that time) Sony Trinitron color TV in our bedroom in the Rock and Roll Apartment down on 7th street. (I say Rock and Roll because the floors had “waves” in them.)

One of the “apps” we had on our Apple II+ was Tog’s Great American Probability Musheeen. I put “apps” in quotes because back then, when you wanted to use an application, you usually had to load one of those old-skool floppy disks into an external drive to be able to use it on the computer. And the floppy disk I am talking about was truly floppy, in that it wasn’t rigid, it kind of bent back and forth.

So when we weren’t watching M*A*S*H reruns or whatever other sit-coms we used to watch in the early 1980s, we would have the Probability Musheen on and watch it or not. I used to be freaked out that if we left the computer on when we weren’t home, it might catch faaaaar or something, so I would always make sure that the button indicating the computer was ON would not be lit up when we left the apartment.

The GG did not agree with me.

One day we left the apartment and I glanced over at the computer/TV setup. I didn’t see a red light so we left. When we got back, I realized that he had put Rabbit (a small stuffed aminal from my high school years) on top of the red light button to hide it. It was okay. Nothing caught faaaaar.

How many of you have read this far? If you have, you will learn that I actually agree with one thing that The Orange Oligarch aka Donald Trump has said recently. He has called terrorist bombers “losers”. I agree with that totally. Alas, I do not expect that President Trump has a realistic plan to deal with terrorists of any ilk. A plan? Fancy “presidential” style rhetoric does not equal a plan. I don’t think any serious country (including countries infested with ISIS) have any kind of plan. I dunno. Donald, we are waiting… What is your plan?

Surreality

May 22nd, 2017 by kayak woman

Pop quiz: which great lakes freighter is this? And just so you know, I didn’t take the pic *from* the bote. Actually, it isn’t even the real bote. It is a photo of the bote in the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle. Think PERISCOPE!!!

I follow a couple of great lakes freighters on facebook, the Cason J. Callaway and the Motor Vessel Algolake. The Callaway (Storm Warrior) mainly posts pics of water, weather, and sunsets/sunrises. The Algolake also posts pics of the interior of the bote and the folks who work there. (Hint: the bote in the pic is not the Callaway or the Algolake.)

One day a few summers ago, I was walking the beach on a foggy morning. I looked at the Marine Traffic app and saw that the Algolake was sitting out on the other side of The Pickle Finger somewhere, waiting for the fog to burn off (which it eventually did) so it could go down the channel and through the Soo Locks without hitting Round Island or running up on our beach as freighters do occasionally in every moomincabin child’s dream. I couldn’t see the actual bote from the beach because fog.

For whatever reason, I checked facebook, and just a few moments before, The Algolake had posted pics of life inside the cabin (or whatever you call it), where people were sitting around drinking coffee and enjoying a beautiful morning while waiting for the fog to burn off.

Surreal? Yes. My brain was going booooooiiiiinnnnnnnggggggg. Thinking of the days when I was a *little* kid and remembering one night when the whole Fin Famdamly (including my grandparents) walked down the beach at twilight to see a multitude of boats going up and down the channel.

We needed binoculars then to actually see which bote was navigating the channel and I think we all still have multiple binocs. My Old Coot got technology going back in the day in the form of a scanner from which a person could hear the boats reporting their locations throughout the channel. We would all be down on the beach and the old coot would walk to the top of the bank and report that this or that freighter was on it’s way down. That would be before we could see even a mirage of the bote.

My Old Coot embraced new technology (B29 airplane anyone?) until he couldn’t absorb anything new any more. He did cordless phones and marine scanners but he never quiiiiite got into personal computers and he died maybe not before facebook (but not sure) but a year before the iPhone and apps like Marine Traffic. I know that he would not have been able to navigate the iPhone (but my mother did!). I am wondering what he would have done with that technology had it been available when he was young enough to embrace it. I know he would have enjoyed seeing the Algolake folks sitting in the cabin drinking their coffee out there in the fog waiting to continue down through the Soo Locks.

Women Men Who Work Cook

May 21st, 2017 by kayak woman

I know, I know. I should buy Ivanka’s book and actually read it. She works, right? I’m sure she does. Most *people* do, whether they get paid a commensurate amount of money (or whatever) for what they do or not. That can work in various directions, by the way.

A long time ago I got pounced on over at Bugs and Horsey’s house for saying that my sister-in-law (not *that* one) didn’t work. I was running my mouth and didn’t think know to add “outside the home” to the word “work” (and that branch of the fam parses language a bit differently than my branch does). This particular sister-in-law was raising five children and helping out with I dunno how many other people’s kids and whoever else needed her plus doing stuff for the family business at times. I don’t think she would’ve cared whether I told somebody she didn’t work but ever since then, I have at least tried to think my words through a little more carefully when I talk about whether or not women work, at least partly because I spent a 14-year mid-career stint of not working for a commensurate amount of money during which I felt like I was working my you-know-what off!

Today I (a woman) worked from home and at home. That is, I did the usual domestic kitchen/household maintenance-type stuff that I always do (and LIKE to do). The GG cooked a wee brek and made some coffee. I have come to depend upon him for Sunday / vacay breakfasts. I can do it but he is sooooo good at it. And then I commandeer the sink to do the dishioshios. We are in sync on that.

I also worked on paid prodjects. With permission from Amazon Woman (my supervisor, not Radical Betty), I did some work this weekend. I mean paid work. I am “creatively” scheduling some time so that I can enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend “up north” with my family without having to travel with the usual holiday weekend warriors. Knock on wood, I actually got *caught up* today. And then I washed some dishes and prepped some stuff for dinner.

Men who cook? The Pensioner has always been able to make his way around a kitchen with aplomb. He is *always* ready to cook an egg for a hungry adult child. “Daddy?” In the last couple years he has become a grill master, hence the pineapple chicken thingy that is currently on our gas grill. Other than schlepping a pineapple home from the Plum in my backpack today, I have had nothing to do with this. I think he googled the idea. I think it will work out well. I made a salad and have fingerling potatoes and Farmer John’s asparagus warming in Gertrude’s top oven.

Oh yeah, Women Who Work? Ivanka posts cute pictures of her children and that is fine. I think she is probably a good, loving mother and is doing a fine job with them. Where I get off the train is the part where we all know she can afford nannies and drivers and household help, etc. I am not complaining about my life, the one in which my family and I have never been “rich” but we have always been able to afford whatever we need and a little bit more. I am thinking about folks who are struggling to find jobs that pay well enough to enable them to feed their families. Not sure Ivanka understands those situations. Maybe I don’t either? I certainly won’t be writing a book!

Conflicting trains of thought tonight so I doubt any of that made sense. G’night. KW.

I had the cutest title a while back…

May 20th, 2017 by kayak woman

…but now that I’m sitting down to write this blahg of watching paint dry, I cannot think of it for the life of me.

Actually, I am kinda bushed this afternoon. I mean tired, not “in” or “among” bushes. I blame it on the epic trip I took out to the Jackson Road Meijer to buy grokkeries and other supplies to stock the moomincabin for the summer. I did not buy Toilet Paper. I am pretty sure there were a few rolls or more when we left at the end of last summer, even minus the roll I donated to the Old Cabin outhouse. I hope I have everything else but if not, HEY GUESS WHAT? A new MEIJER store just opened in Sault Ste. Siberia this week. Meijer is moving into the yooperland. I won’t even have to cross the I75 SUV Speedway to get to it!

Needless to say, many of my facebook buddies who live up there are excited about this, especially since our old fave Glen’s/Family Fare closed at the end of 2016. A lot of people up in Sault Ste. Siberia (and other places) have an attitude toward Waldemort and although I don’t want to dis the place it does make me kind of “dizzy”. At least the new store does. I didn’t mind the original store, which had fabric and adjustable underwear (but not grokkeries). I will not abandon the “park store” up by Brimley. It’s a quick trip from the moomincabin if you need something in a jiffy!

Anyway, my grokkery shopping habits have evolved over the years and I rarely have more items than what I can schlep through the express Uscan. Today not so much…

The Pensioner (not to be confused with Toilet Paper) worked on vee-hickles most of the morning, washing rinsing and vacuuming, etc. My cute l’il ninja needed a rinse, can you say big-time pollen drop?

Then we walked down to the Griz, where we met up with npJane! We were trying to figure out if we had seen each other since our Epic New Year’s Eve party. Eventually we figgered out yes, we met np and her sister Jay at the Wolverine Brewery in March. Still, we were overdue for all the usual family gossip, etc., none of which is anywhere near awful at this point (knock on wood) but still not really blahggable. Especially Junior. Sometime I will maybe tell that story on my blahg but not today. (It isn’t awful, it’s just not safe for work.)

Anyway I sensed a nap in the GG’s future and more work (paid and unpaid) for me so I was talking bus but instead we ended up hitching a ride with np to the Plum. As it turned out, that was a good idea because if we had walked home, we would probably have gotten wet. We were not prepared for rain today.

So that’s just about all I have at the moment. Mouse took this year’s obligatory mayapple pic.

I’ve been using a girl grill drill all day

May 19th, 2017 by kayak woman

In the wonderful cacophony of the Oscar Tango early on a Friday night (before people start to turn into jungle aminals) someone at our table was talking about buying a grill, you know, one of those things that you cook food on when your power is out or any time. The GG said, “Oh, I’ve been been using a girl all day.” At least that’s what *I* thought he said. I was pretty sure that wasn’t true but you never know 👀 He texted me a pic at the end of the day from flat on his back on the couch that it was “desd” around here. I did not see a girl (or a grill or a drill in the pic). What he *actually* said was that he had been using a *drill* all day. Okay, that sounds more like the GG.

And so here is what he built today. It is a cart that will haul a chainsaw along the North Country Trail. I am calling it a Chainsaw Cozy. Maybe he could test it out in the mini-woods behind our house this weekend and *maybe* he could chainsaw a couple of the big old logs that are across the path. We won’t talk about the safety rules that might prohibit him from doing this. It’s okay. I can easily step over the current logs. A number of years ago I had to create a detour around a particularly difficult set of logs. It was fun for a while. I found a “door” leading to a “secret path”. Eventually I got sick of it and I think the GG finally went out there and mitigated the situation with my (late) brother’s malfunctioning chainsaw or maybe it was one he borrowed from Houghton Lake. Nowadays the GG has his own chainsaw.

The school district (which owns the woods) is lackadaisical about maintaining the woods. Trees fall down in there frequently enough that I sometimes wonder why I feel safe walking through there. Sometimes somebody comes out and moves them off the path, mostly not. I am all for leaving trees that fall in a forest alone. It’s part of the forest life cycle. But this is a *very* small woods where people walk (and walk their dogs), I mean it is probably a five minute walk at the most and I think the trail should at least remain clear. Occasionally the school PTO organizes a “work crew” to come out and put wood chips down on the trails. This is wonderful but it would be more wonderful if they would prioritize putting wood chips on the parts of the trail that flood when it’s wet.

On the other hand, the school district has a hissy fit about dog poop and once upon a time they PADLOCKED the woods shut. I was only a year or two past being the PTO treasurer at the school so I still knew some folks over there and I emailed them to ask WTF? I was forwarded a response from the [new] principal saying that we couldn’t have dog poop in the woods because there was “science” going on in there. I called b*llsh*t on that for a number of reasons but mainly that school kids are almost never in the woods on supervised school missions (science or not) and I don’t *ever* encounter dog poop in there. I’m sure dogs *do* poop in there but they don’t poop on the trail, they poop where all of the *wild* aminals who live there poop. I guess the principal had forgotten about squirrel poop and raccoon poop and opossum poop and rabbit poop and bird poop and deer poop and feral cat poop and the occasional drunk or homeless human poop. And what else? Anyway, my PTO contact wrote the principal a nice polite email reminding her that “our neighbors” like to walk in the woods and the padlocks were soon removed from the woods.

Nowadays, a bunch of responsible dog owners have set up a system where there are always plastic bags available for dog poop and a trash can is at the entrance to dump them in. I love that they are doing that but really, dog poop has never been a problem. Don’t tell the school (or my neighbors) but when Bandit or Ernie and Alfred were visiting and I walked them in the woods, I never picked up their damn poop or even paid attention to whether or not they were doing the deed.

And on that note, g’night!

When kw tfs takes an afternoon nap and other sniggly little annoyances

May 18th, 2017 by kayak woman

tfs is a Microsoft product and don’t bother to google it. It’s just a versioning app that a lot of companies use. I use it all the time. The last few days, it has gotten “tired” in the mid-to-late afternoon. Kind of like I do sometimes. Fortunately I have not fallen out of my chair yet. tfs doesn’t sit in a chair. It just goes somewhere and leaves me with a spinning “I’m working” thingy. Working? Or sleeping?

And then I got home to a letter from FDOT (Florida tollway system) notifying meeeeee (but not the GG, whose name is first on the Frog Hopper’s car title) that I owed them $4.88. They had a pic of my(our) license plate and everything. Whut? We were on tollways exactly *two* days. One was the day we took the Sunshine Skyway bridge down into Bradenton and the second was when we were navigating the area surrounding Mouseland. We stopped for *every* *single* *blasted* toll booth we encountered. We couldn’t get *through* without stopping, fer kee-reist. It’s kind of like crossing the Mackinac Bridge. You have to pay or you don’t get to go through. We eventually figured out it had something to do with the tollway that we took down to the Sunshine Skyway bridge. If I were MMCB1 I might have spent a few hours on the phone contesting this thing. But I am KW and it was $4.88 (fer kee-reist) and so I bludgeoned my way through the difficult FDOT UI and paid the dern thing. (I still like Florida. I still don’t want to live there.)

Last and least, I texted the GG to ask him to buy orange juice today. Unfortunately, I wasn’t specific enough in my request to ask for fresh-squeezed OJ from the Plum Market. So he bought it from Kroger and that would be okay except that he bought the OJ that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. It’s okay. The taste isn’t as bad as it was when “they” first introduced this swill. But, when I want OJ, I want the fresh-squeezed stuff from the Plum. But this will pass, eventually.

Polly-ticks? Whut? I continue to watch in horrified fascination and I hope that the checks of balance between our executive, legislative, and judicial branches of power remain intact throughout the Trump era.

Nothing is ever wrong in the Lyme Lounge

May 17th, 2017 by kayak woman

In which The Pensioner plans a trip across town to Porterland with the Traveling Lyme Lounge and Tiki Bar for a Happy Hour. He arranges every kind of supply anyone might want, various kinds of booze, a few beers, glasses of various sorts, ice, and cocktail making supplies. So here we are backed in to Porterland. You have to know that as we were driving over we were kind of wondering if we were turning on to the right street, and then… Is this the right driveway? What would you think if an outfit like the Frog Hopper and Lyme Lounge backed up into your driveway? Fortunately we were at the right address.

Here is the Mad Scientist himself, shaking up a ‘hattan. We used the 2002 Commie High prom ‘tini glasses tonight. The ones that I kind of wanted to get rid of a couple months ago. I guess they are keepers.

Man oh man, this was a fun thing to do. A long-time Porter neighbor invited herself in (with a six-pack of beer) and we had great fun meeting and talking to her. Fun as it all was, it was only planned to be a happy hour, so the Bartender (aka TP) closed the bar in time for us to get back across town to The Landfill and cook a simple dinner. Closing time [Youtube link]. It wasn’t always my fave song (it’s from driving teenagers around in the 1990s, not from my childhood) but it was appropriate tonight. Except that closing time was something like 7:30 PM, not 2:00 AM (or whatever it is).

And from my morning walk where I saw big dogs deer.

Saying goodbye to Peaceable Kingdom

May 16th, 2017 by kayak woman

On our mother’s day trek downtown, Lizard Breath suddenly veered off the sidewalk and into Peaceable Kingdom. (I am trying to post a pic but WordPress will not let me access my “media”. Click click click. Click click click. Nothing happening. I’ll keep trying. FIXED!!!! When in doubt, switch browsers.) Anyway, I was not really all that interested in going into Peaceable Kingdom, at least not that day. I have been shopping at Peaceable Kingdom since [probably] before I lived on The Planet Ann Arbor. As a young woman and then a young mother, I was enthralled by the eclectic mix of stuff. The trinket table, toys for all ages, and more sophisticated items like art quilts, jewelry, and other esoterica. Now that I have been in and out of an epic multi-generational Flinging Prodject, I am less enthralled by stuff…

But still, we have been shopping there for so many years. All the years Shakey Jake would clear the sidewalk of snow and ice there. All of the birthday party favor bags we filled from the trinket table. The time I had my kids and their cousins Valdemort and Pengo Janetto in there with me and the then two-year-old Pengo spied the Store Dog and PICKED IT UP!!! To the horror of the store owner. And my total embarrassment. My kids NEVER approached dogs. They were afraid of them! Pengo was growing up with Sam (dog, not archaeologist). Or maybe Pengo’s dog at that time was Laker. Whichever, both dogs were BIG DOGS and she had no fear of dogs, especially small ones like the Store Dog. I stuttered and stammered an apology and tried to explain that these were my nieces and I would’ve been way more vigilant if I’d had any clue Pengo might pick up the Store Dog.

I still pop in to Peaceable Kingdom from time to time, usually around xmas time when I am struggling to find gifts for people who don’t need any more *stuff*. One of my last trips in there (a while back), they had cute ice crystal deely-bobbers. Okay, Froooogggy and Green Guy NEEDED those! I bought two pair and as the owner was ringing them up, she instructed a worker to save a couple of them for her young granddaughters. They were from the movie “Frozen”. Of course.

Anyway, we walked into the store and I was thinking it seemed a little sparse and then we got to the trinket table and a whole bunch of bins were EMPTY. And it hit me than then that the store was CLOSING! Alas. Even though I don’t often shop there any more, it is still an interesting and very popular place. I will miss it greatly.

Still can’t post a pic. I’ll keep trying… Okay, there’s a link to the pic now…

Whoof! Did I earn my pay today!

May 15th, 2017 by kayak woman

More than the usual morning chores but that was my bad for not rounding up every single piece of china/glassware after yesterday’s big mother’s day blowout before starting the dishiosio washer, plus there were alien artifacts like empty beer cans from a boondoggle up north. And laundry. The laundry I threw into the washer last evening but never managed to get into the dryer. Fortunately, 90% of it was the GG’s and I don’t have to deal with sorting his stuff out. I just fling it over onto his side of the bed and he puts it away. That’s how it works around here. Growing up in a 10-kid fam, he learned early that if you wanted your laundry to get done and back to you any time in the near future, you were better off doing it yourself.

Work was work. I was dealing with updating the picky little stuff that is *not* all that interesting. Ancillary spreadsheets, etc., plus a morning Skype session with iDeep, who has been picking up little rocks and finding boggarts and things under them.

Home to more chores or maybe continuing chores would be a better word because I was still catching up with dishes and laundry. But I did get my mother’s day impatiens potted! I had two flats to pot into three pots and there I was, laboriously taking each individual plant out of its whatchamacallit, poking a hole in the soil and… The GG: Why aren’t you pulling out all four of them together? Like your *mother* used to do? Say what? Um, because I didn’t know you could do it that way? Suffice it to say the 2nd and 3rd pot went a lot faster than the first one.

Actually my day doesn’t hold a candle to what the The Pensioner did today. I don’t remember all of it. There was a trip to Kroger for fake breakfast sausage and things and something about topsoil. And then there was the part where he put the NEW WHEEL on the Trashmobile and was driving along (with topsoil in the trailer) and heard some kind of THUMPING noises. He stopped immediately and found that the NEW WHEEL was about to fall off the axle or whatever it is. Somehow (this is the GG, roight?) he limped to an auto parts store (?) where he got some bolts (or something) to secure the NEW WHEEL. Anything to avoid a tow truck. BTW, TP is more than welcome to provide his own story about this in the comments. I am sure I have mangled it.

Metamoom Day

May 14th, 2017 by kayak woman

I am not one to get sappy about what has turned into a greeting card / brunch holiday. In fact, I spent part of the morning pre-cooking parts of tonight’s dinner and walking to the Plum for a few basic ingredients that I don’t usually keep around, like milk (don’t ask). And working. I mean faaaaring up my work laptop to get some things done that were nagging at me but I couldn’t quite think through during the week because interruptions.

The beach urchins didn’t forget though. They arrived at 11:30 AM *sharp* to walk me downtown for lunch at the Jolly Pumpkin. I was a wee bit worried that we might have to wait for a seat since downtown seemed slammed with Mother’s Day brunch/lunch folks but the JP was pretty empty when we got there and there were a billion seats at the bar and that’s where we chose to sit, i.e., we are not the usual Mother’s Day crowd…

On our way down Main Street, we stopped at Peaceable Kingdom, which is CLOSING!!!! !!! !!! I’ll blahg about that some other time but we rescued a couple of pigs and a cow. The pigs were a pair. The cow was one of three and there was lots of conversation about whether to get a cow or not or maybe two cows but if we bought two cows, the third cow would be left ALONE. Yes, these are inanimate objects. Yes, we were all thinking these things. We ended up with one cow.

And then we went on to the JP for lunch and here is the photoooo Mouse took of the pigs and cow.

And here is the photo I took of Mouse taking a pic of the pigs and cow.

And here is a pic that Lizard Breath took of me and Mouse instagramming our pig and cow photoooos.

We had a wonderful lunch at the Jolly Pumpkin and I didn’t even manage to pay for it because my second whine got comped by the bartender and Lizard Breath grabbed the check. A wee bit more retail therapy happened at Downtown Home and Garden and then we schlepped up the hill to the Landfill where we are hanging out in the back yard looking forward to grilling some steaks, etc., when the GG wakes up from his nap.

At the end of it all, I thanked everyone for not buying me anything besides lunch but actually Lizard Breath did buy me impatiens from the Eastern Market down in Detroit. She has been doing that ever since she moved back to Detroit from San Francisco.

For me, being happy on Mother’s Day means that I have somehow managed to randomly raise two *30*-something daughters who make their own way through life with minimal help from me. They are good citizens who pay their good fortune forward whenever possible.

Good night and happy Mother’s Day to all, including dog moms, etc.

When the Master of the Universe disappears, moom reads

May 13th, 2017 by kayak woman

I started a new book “Borne” today. It is a palate cleanser from Marlena and a couple of the other books I’ve read lately. Sci-fi novel of the dystopian sort with a giant flying bear and what starts out as a small sea-anenome-like creature that I think needs to live in Mouse’s house. Is the anenome-like creature a good “guy” or a bad “guy”. I am maybe a third of the way through the book and so far he is a good guy but he has grown a lot and we’ll see. I heard about this book on NPR Science Friday last week when I was driving up to Houghton Lake. I’m liking it so far.

I did a lot of stuff today but I think the only picture I took was of a bottle of wool washing soap that I found when doing some random cleaning/organizing chores. I took the pic so I could send it to Mouse because I was thinking that’s who owns it. And yes.

Besides that, I stocked up at the farmer’s market, which is now open at 7 AM and because my market assistant was not around, I had to drive down there. Full parking lot at 7 AM. Chores and a few more errands filled my morning and part of the afternoon. Partly the regular Saturday chores that I do when I’m in town but I did a few other little random chores too.

Somebody on facebook posted a thingy of dogs that have been taught to say “I love you” [it’s a Youtube link]. My brother’s old dog Sam was taught to say a few things, “Mom” and “GrrrrMom” (aka Grandmom) are what I remember the most. I don’t think Sam was taught to say “I love you”. It’s okay. I loved him *anyway* and I think he loved me back, even when I had to make him take aspirin.

Book blahg Life blahg Navel gazing

May 12th, 2017 by kayak woman

I finished Marlena. One wee little chapter left when I finally crashed out last night and I stole a few minutes at lunch to knock it off. Did I like it? Yes. I think I did. Still processing. Sad? Yes but not overwhelmingly so. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Marlena dies, because we are told about that right at the start of the book and it is reiterated many times throughout. I’m not sure why. I remember being told in a high school English class that “it’s not a tragedy unless it’s Shakespeare.” Sorry Mrs. Ewing (who was a great teacher and I loved her) but I beg to differ.

I won’t say much more mainly because I’m not sure I can coherently verbalize my thoughts, at least not yet and anyway, read the book!

I do remember being a young child in a small northern Michigan town and making friends with a few kids that The Commander didn’t really “approve” of (Marlena would definitely have been one of them, living in a barn and sorta taking care of a much younger brother with no mother around and a dad cooking meth in a railroad car out in the back 40). The Comm was a bit of a snob in those days, a college educated Detroit native from when Detroit was in its first heyday, and I was kind of flummoxed when she complained that one of my friends “didn’t even know how to make a J.” Whaaa? And yet I kind of knew what she meant even at age six. We were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but our shabby little bungalow was always warm and clean and there was always enough to eat and I vaguely remember being spanked a few times but never anything approaching a beating. There were books and magazines and atlases and encyclopedias and a record player and when I *needed* a piano (and yes I did), The Comm wrangled a good one and figured out how to shoehorn it into the dining room. And my dad would take us flying in rented planes sometimes. Some of those “J” kids I knew lived in squalor and were probably beaten up regularly. They didn’t have pianos or even books and they definitely did not fly.

As a tween and young teenager, I kind of envied the more popular of those “J” kids. I *wanted* to be friends with them. I wanted to live on the wild side a little bit and not always have to “remember who I was and act accordingly” as The Commander would often remind me to do. Who am I, I wondered? Alas, I was an awkward nerd (or “brain” or whatever it was we were called in those days) and after a disastrous episode in 7th grade when I let a couple of those girls copy my homework and Mrs. Loye caught us, I sort of came to my senses. I sometimes still wonder who I am but I am much further along than I was in 7th grade.

I’m not exactly sure where I am at this point but I cannot close this without reminiscing a bit more about my mother, The Commander. When I was 10, she took a very part time teaching job and in the next few years, she got a masters degree in education and took a job teaching at my high school. She taught home-ec related courses but was a pioneer in that she started a school store and an in-school child care program. She got to know some of the kids who were in that former “can’t make a J” category and developed great compassion for people who were maybe a bit different than her and hadn’t had as many opportunities, etc.

But then… The last few years of her life, she kind of became snobby again. This time it was maybe more toward people who had *had* advantages throughout their lives and didn’t, in The Comm’s estimation, live up to them. But also because they had strange shoes or other clothing or weird hair or their bodies were too fat or skinny or whatever. Sorry but I am laughing my *ss off at this point, being one of the people she was judgemental about. In my case, for wanting to dress more flamboyantly than she would’ve preferred.

Just wait until you see my LED light-up skirt, moom! Love you!

But also, read Marlena because what happened to her is what can happen to any spirited young woman who does not have reasonable parental/community support and even some who do.

Go ask Alice

May 11th, 2017 by kayak woman

So, last night, sometime between the time I got home from Cubelandia and when I later angled out the front door and around the corner to throw some bits of recycle into the cart, a BIG BOX arrived. I did not hear it arrive but that may be because I was in the back yard for a while. Apparently I did not have to sign for it. It was addressed to The Pensioner. The return address was inscrutable to me. It was HEEEEAAAAVVVVYYYY! I am not a weakling but I struggled to get it in the front door. What was in it? Oh yeah. It is a new wheel for the Trash Trailer! The last time TP used the Trash Trailer to transport some piece of trash or other somewhere, one of the wheels disintegrated. This is a *very* old trailer and he had to surf around quite a bit to find a replacement. If I had known what was in the box, I would’ve just left it outside.

I’m still reading Marlena but nearing what I think is going to be a bad ending. Will Pollyanna show her face? Dunno but doesn’t seem so. As NpJane pointed out, there is another somewhat similar novel set in the northern lower – The Lake the River and the Other Lake. It’s been a while since I read that one but I am guessing the setting is actually Charlevoix. I could be wrong though. I liked/didn’t like that book. I liked it because it was a story I could get into and there were a couple of characters that I felt empathetic with.

That said…

<not-safe-for-work-alert>There was more sex than I was comfortable with. I am not a prude in any way, shape, or form. I know that teenagers are, well, you know. I WAS a teenager once. I didn’t just materialize as Old Baggy. Where I got off the train is where the main male protagonist and the female antagonist did the dastardly deed in a crumbling old lighthouse and they did it so vigorously that the lighthouse crumbled. Really?</not-safe-for-work-alert>

Besides that, I wasn’t crazy about how neatly the story wrapped up although I was happy for the *female protagonist*, a young woman who wasn’t all that different from who I was as a teenager, although I didn’t have a parental divorce/mid high-school move to deal with (I *think* I am remembering that correctly from the book).

But read the book and form your own opinions!

If you are a Trump fan, you may not want to look at The New Yorker’s most recent cover but I got a huge laugh out of it and I needed that. If you *do* want to see it and my link takes you to a pay wall, just google it.

And finally… Go Ask Alice. When she’s 10 feet tall. [Youtube link, may or may not be an ad.]

Florida to Michigan by way of Idaho (and Nazi Germany)

May 10th, 2017 by kayak woman

The plan was that I would read novels about Florida while I was in Florida. Simple plan, right? Then, something flew by on my daughter’s Goodreads update (I stalk my daughters on Goodreads) about a novel with a Michigan setting. There aren’t a whole lot of decent novels set in Michigan that I know of (and no, Jim Harrison is not exactly to my taste and yes, I know he is a highly acclaimed writer, yada yada). So I added to my plan to return to Michigan reading Marlena.

Best laid plans? First of all, we did a lot of driving and I am not the best passenger in the world. Just ask the GG how many times I freak out. Or maybe don’t ask. But I do not sleep in the car and I cannot [usually] get engrossed in a book in the car. I can: check the news on Twitter a billion times, check facebook for updates, and do xword puzzles. Those activities allow me to keep one eye on the road. Also, here I was, thinking I would get to the Sea Club and spend my days sitting around *reading*. Uh, yeah. How about walking boardwalks through the mangrove swamps, visiting Floridian Cfam members, an afternoon at the Ringling Art Museum, “shopping” at St. Armand’s Circle. Took us a couple days to settle into a somewhat relaxed (I will not say sedentary) routine but by the time we got to that point, it was time to pack up and leave. Nevertheless, I read two Fla books although I finished the second one literally on the last five miles of the trip (I have written about this before but am too lazy to look it up).

My Michigan book plans got way-laid at BFF’s house in Atlanta by a book called Idaho (by Emily Ruskovich). Did I want to read it? She didn’t exactly understand it but I think it prompted a lengthy discussion at book group so I think she understands it better now. I put off Marlena for a bit and read Idaho, which I enjoyed greatly. Did I understand it? Not exactly sure but yeah I think so but can’t exactly put it into words, especially not after the chaos I had to write about at work today. I guess the best thing I can say is that I like to get *inside* books and their characters and I definitely did that with this one. There is some difficult content to read though, no Pollyanna in this book, but I still liked it. I kind of wish (sometimes) I had a book group but not sure I would fit in very well…

And then somehow I still put Marlena off because I read The Women in the Castle (by Jessica Shattuck), which I heard about on a Sunday morning NPR show. I am still processing this one but in the end, I did get *inside* the book and loved it.

And now. Finally. I am reading Marlena (by Julie Buntin). It is set in the Kewaunee Petoskey area, and most of the characters range from poor to destitute, scraping a living together honestly (cleaning houses) or dishonestly (cooking meth). And how tenuous both those means of earning a living are… … … I am not finished with the book yet but I am liking it even though the characters are teenagers and I want to shake them sometimes. Or probably in part it’s their parents who need the shaking.

I am not sure how I feel about renaming Petoskey and some of it’s surrounding towns and enclaves. I mean Gaylord is Gaylord and the Mackinac Bridge is the Mackinac Bridge, and those are real. But “Coral” for “Bayview”? We don’t have coral in the great lakes that I know of. That’s a Florida thing.

The nitty gritty

May 9th, 2017 by kayak woman

I love the new (?) trend where breakfast restaurants, etc., serve coffee in a random mashup of donated cups. Little Boots Diner at Houghton Lake, which is one of my fave places to get breakfast ever (because they have the gunslinger quesadilla (I always eat two thirds of it and take the rest home in a box)), has all kinds of mugs. I randomly got this “Kiss my Grits” mug when we ate there on Sunday.

After my parents retired, my old coot started collecting souvenir coffee mugs from all of the places they traveled. I mean he *bought* them, not that he was a kleptomaniac. I think this was fun for both of the parents for a while. They named some of the mugs, like Big *ss, which has a rear view of a great big bear on it. They got that at the Columbia Iceberg. Sometimes (but not always) The Comm would serve particular people coffee in that mug at the moomincabin. There was usually a reason for picking out the person and it had nothing to do with the size of their corresponding body part matched the bear on the mug. I have received it quite a few times and nowadays the GG definitely serves me coffee in it. My *ss is not all that big but my attitude is!

In later years, I think The Commander got a little bit overwhelmed by the mugs. Storage was difficult and I think she yearned to fling things. Eventually I ended up with the task of disseminating the mugs. Well, a lot of the mugs. Big *ss and some others are still at the moomincabin. Some family members took some of them. A few of them got donated (I think). I found a Gatlinburg mug in the moomincabin garage last summer and I tried to foist it off on a Gatlinburg resident to no avail. (It’s okay, I figgered he wouldn’t want it and I was just harassing him and we all laughed.)

So, who remembers the TV show that Kiss My Grits comes from? (The phrase probably pre-dates the TV show but that show is the first time I had ever heard of it.) My “childhood” boss Byron used to sometimes call me Alice after the Alice in that show. I was actually flattered.

Harbingers of spring

May 8th, 2017 by kayak woman

The title is a bit of a misnomer because here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we have been having spring for a while now. Really nice weather in April, some of it when we were in Fla of course, but my facebook/timehop “memories” tell me that things were getting going a week or so earlier this year than last. Well, and then there was the Polar Vortex Winter back in 2014… You know the one, when Canada got drunk and fell asleep in the northern midwest and great lake states.

Here is my annual jipt (jack-in-the-pulpit) pic from the woods behind my house.

And here are the birdies in the birdhouse on the north side of my house. I know that the momma bird was freaked out that I was there (the birdhouses are at eye-level). But I took my pic and got outta town so momma could continue to feed her babies.

And here is the Moomincabin.

Just kidding. That big snow drift is gone and this is what is left.

Smoooooth Ninja Ride…

May 7th, 2017 by kayak woman

And so I am back here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I drove my cute little 2008 Honda Civic SI 6-speed manual up to the Group Home at Houghton Lake on Friday and then I drove it back down to the Planet Ann Arbor today. I had a bit of trouble today when four lanes were turned into two for construction issues but that was short-lived and I knew that Flint (yes, that Flint) would be a problem so I took the I475 Flint bypass.

I am happy to be home but I sooooo miss Houghton Lake. This morning, I walked and then we ate breakfast at my fave Little Boots with the GG’s brother Jim. And then we drove over to the Reedsburg Dam area. It was so comfortable to be sitting in the passenger seat of the Ninja with the GG driving us through all of the usual Houghton Lake area dams and things that we have been checking out ever since we were young.

Oh, but… The speed limit in many places on Michigan freeways is now 75 mph. I am not sure how I feel about that entirely but I do think it shortened my trip a bit. Man oh man, I am remembering when our freeway speed limits were 55…