Random bits of my so-called life.


October 25th, 2014 by kayak woman

And I may later on so check back if you are bored enough to watch paint dry again. I could’ve taken photos today. The Farmer’s Market. Another Ninja load of boxes dropped off at Kiwanis. The wood delivery in preparation for the upcoming Polar Vortex. The GG sitting outside in the sun (or napping in front of the feetsball game). Miller Woods. But I am kind of done done done with photoooos for the moment. If you are one of my nine readers, you may remember me saying a while back that I had 8000 photos on my iPhone, roight? Well, I am now down to 7000! When I get down to about a thousand or two, I will back up my iPhone (yeah Sam, I know [wink]), and do an IOS upgrade.

Deleting photos on an iPhone is painful work because, as far as I know, you can only do it one… photo… at… a… time… If I am being a simpleton and there is a way that I do not know about, please let me know. And Simpleton seems to be my main career these days, so there well could be.

Actually, even if there is an easier way, I still feel like I have to go through them one by one. There are an amazing number of duplicates and fuzzies and just plain uglies. Delete. A few where my phone decided to take a pitcher of the ground. Delete. Bad photos of lake freighters. Whey do I bother when I can just look them up on Boatnerd? Delete delete delete. Then there are the pics where I photographed some piece of mail and texted its owner to let her know it had arrived. Or I photographed some long lost item and texted its owner, “Do you still want this?”

But then there are those that I actually want. The first 1000 were pretty painful because they documented the last couple months of The Commander’s life and the ensuing year or thereabouts. That time period was a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other blur to me and today’s pitcher blitz was a nostalgia trip I didn’t exactly ask for. I saved some and quickly deleted others. The lighted up bottle sitting on the commode (that she couldn’t use any more because she was totally bedridden by then) in her hoosegow room? Delete it! Quick! I did save one of about five photos of the TV in her room at FV the night she watched Obama give the State of the Union address. That once staunch Republican voter didn’t live to vote for Obama again.

Partay tonight. Not staying at the casino. Even the GG doesn’t seem all that interested. I was worried that he’d be entranced by the idea. But we’ll be schlepping back tonight. I can’t won’t do my Skunk Walk in downtown Daytwa and there is much to do here at the Landfill tomorrow, culminating in one of those boring family birthday dinners.

If I get a *good* partay pic, I’ll post it. For today, I am kind of done with photos. But I already said that.

I shouldda known that Daisy was hidden

October 24th, 2014 by kayak woman

Especially after seeing that her owner’s mail had been opened. Didn’t really think much about it though. I was struggling more with the question of “did I run the dishwasher last night or not?” Yes. It turned out that I did. And then put a few dirty things in it. This dishwasher is actually sooooo quiet that it’s easy to fergit it’s on. Mid-price-range Bosch ($700-something? I fergit). Love it. The GG had every blasted dishwasher in Big George opened with all the drawers pulled out. I was getting a little queasy, so I left him to play with the dishwashers, took the salesman aside and said, “mid-price dishwasher that’ll clean *all* the dishes, even the ones on the top rack, and won’t break down”. Dishes sparkle and KW is happy.

Moving on. Next week will probably be the last time I will walk through Miller Woods on my way downtown for Friday dinner at the Oscar Tango until maybe sometime in late January. A week from tomorrow, it’ll be getting dark by the time I get home from work and I’ll be taking it to the streets at that point.


And West Park.


I always text the folks at the Oscar Tango from the Drop Acid, Not Bombz! bridge. That’s their cue to order me a ‘hattan. The name comes from some graffiti on the bridge a few years ago. I have a pitcher of it somewhere but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna look for it now. I didn’t think this old bridge ever got used any more but it does. A creaky old freight train comes into town early every morning, crossing a series of old bridges including this one. I like this photooo a lot. It has a creaky old railroad bridge, some lucky-shuckial / phone waaaars, a new building that I find myself liking more than I want to and a tree! I do not like that big pole. Oh well.


It became clear when I entered the Oscar Tango that Daisy was parked around the corner from The Landfill because Mouse was at the OT. And then some minor excitement happened across the street when a car had to be towed out of Bill’s Beer Garden so that esteemed establishment could open for the evening. Mouse’s roommate (who works across the street) was managing the whole thing and the Civic Theatre folk, who were watching it from their round table, alerted us to what was happening so Mouse went over to check things out. This little event provided much entertainment to all of us. Obviously it doesn’t take much, does it?


Mouse stayed downtown to meet up with Lairi the Rake and we scampered along back up to The Landfill, passing the Blind Pig and the Millennium Club or whatever they call it now.


Once way back when, I met my cuzzint The Grinchie at the Blind Pig. I was waiting for him *alone* at the bar, feeling nervous about getting hit on, and sure enough I *did* in fact get hit on. Sigh. I told the nice young men predators I was meeting my cousin and I think they were thinking my “cousin” would be some wimpy little guy or whatever. And then my *cousin* the GRINCH walked in! They walked back all their crap PDQ! Funny that nowadays I do not get nervous about sitting at a bar alone to wait for someone. It’s partly that baggy old kayak women don’t generally attract the attention of random men but it’s also because I have an iPhone to keep me company.

Will you look at this long rambly bunch of blather? Can you believe I didn’t think I had anything to say tonight? Well, maybe I didn’t have much to say but I sure spewed out a lot of words. Good night. I need to get up and schlep down to the farmer’s market early tomorrow morning. And then there are the Saturday chores and a trip to the Kiwanis drop off. And and and… A feetsball game on TV tomorrow afternoon (for the GG, not me) and a birthday party tomorrow night. Should we get a room at the casino or schlep back to The Planet tomorrow? On the fence and time will tell.

Good night,


October 23rd, 2014 by kayak woman

babylizbuttsI think that this photoooo is from about the last summer I wore a bikini. When I was a young whipper-snapper, I owned maybe six bikinis at a time. Maybe one ultra-cute one-piece for good measure. Nowadays, I am kinda between the two Grand Old Dames also in the photo — my dad’s always-skinny Amazon-woman sister Radical Betty and my, well, not-so-skinny (but very active) moom, The Commander. Bikini.

I didn’t post this pitcher to show meeeee in a bikini. I wanted to post a newborn pitcher of my first cute little blonde baby on her birthday. But searching the 30K photos in my iPhoto is a challenge and when I stumbled upon this one early on, I decided I would post it instead, even though that newborn is something like 20 months old here. It’s one of my all-time faves.

Aaaaaannnnnd… Guess what? Today is this cute little blonde baby’s birthday. It is a significant one, if you know what I mean. My parenting job has largely been done for years so I have been reflecting a bit on all those years. Yesterday, I talked about trying (and failing) not to give my neighbor advice about the child he and his spouse are expecting. What would I say if someone actually *asked* me for advice? Well…

The best things I think I did were: 1) Talking to them as if they were human beings (aka, no baby talk). 2) READING READING READING READING to them from the earliest age possible anywhere and any time! Before bed, in bed, at the breakfast table, in the car, on the beach (Indian in the Cupboard, anyone), wherever. 3) Dark Walk. 4) Always lifeguarding kids who swam anywhere, the Moominbeach, Houghton Lake, wherever.

I won’t list all of the bad things that I did. Well I will maybe list a few of them because most of us do them. We raise our voices. We try to direct kids into paths that they are not interested in or suited for. We buy too much crap for them (if we can afford to buy too much crap). We over-explain things. Etc. I’ve lost this train of thought but we do these things because we are not trained to be parents — no one is — and sometimes we encounter situations we don’t know how to handle and we handle them badly. One day at a time…

I regret everything I have ever done wrong as a parent but my significant birthday kid beautiful young woman has put it all in perspective for me by saying that no matter what happened here in The Landfill, she and her younger sister felt safe. Occasionally one of us parents would get angry and yell about something but overall there was an atmosphere of love and tolerance here in the Landfill. Thank you!

Anyway, the cute little blonde baby in the photooo grew up to be a beautiful Amazon-type woman who navigates through life with an aplomb that I can only begin to approximate.

Happy 30th to my beautiful and beloved first-born. I am so proud of you.

How the heck did I do all that in one hour?

October 22nd, 2014 by kayak woman

cranesClosed up my work laptop, drove home, put all my work stuff away, processed the mail, walked over to the Plum Market and back, and talked to my neighbor — baby in March plus phd stuff. I definitely understand the baby stuff but I don’t understand the phd stuff, being a lowly info-tech worker with a dusty old music degree. Anyway. Whew! One hour! It definitely helps that the portion of Jackson that snarled up my commute all summer is largely done done done and they have installed a SECOND LEFT TURN SIGNAL for those of us who exit the I94 18-wheel Slogway, hang a right and then *try* to hang a louie onto N. Maple. Thank you Zeus!

You guys? What the heck am I gonna do about winter tennies this year? Besides stretch another year out of my moth-eaten old LL Beans ones, that is. The ones that they don’t make [correctly] any more. I have very specific requirements. They have to be comfortable. They have to be comfortable. They cannot have laces that you have to tie. I cannot abide laces. They have to be comfortable. They have to be comfortable. They have to be warm. They have to be lightweight. Iyam not climbing mountains around here. They have to be comfortable. They have to be comfortable. I need to be able to strap YakTrax (and sometimes snowshoes) onto them. They have to be comfortable. Did I say that they have to be comfortable. I HATE to shop. I especially hate to shop in person but I may have to. Old Man Winter is showing us glimpses of his grizzled old face. Lows in the upper 20s tonight? I need to be ready. Note to self: order some YakTrax! Now!

I had to laugh. I spent a sniggly little bit of time over the weekend “helping” demo an old storefront in Detroit so that my daughter’s friend could renovate it and move a pie-baking (etc.) business into it. Lots of young folks were helping and a few baggy old kayak women. At one point, there were some inquiries into introductions among the young folks and I wasn’t exactly included. That was okay with me. It isn’t even the nitsy-est nit. I was into the zen of peeling old wallpaper off a wall and I am almost never a social butterfly and these were all really nice people and I was with my daughter and I had a *great* time even though I didn’t feel like I was a whole lot of help. Then my beach urchin asked me the question, “Moom, do you think we’ll have another Polar Vortex this winter?” The only answer I can give to that is, “I don’t know.” But then, somehow we got on to typical winters in the southeastern Great Lake State and I *can* speak to that and, when I mentioned that I had grown up in the Yooperland, I sensed that people took a wee bit of notice. Because last year’s winter was much like the ones we had up there in the Yooperland. The ones where we could walk on top of the snowbanks to get to school.

Oh yeah, the Sandhill Cranes. Ho-hum. Walked outside this afternoon to put something in the Ninja (or take something out of it, I don’t remember). Three of these guys! Sorry about the pixelated photo. You know I only use an iPhone camera and you know that you get what you get.

Oh, did I give the young man next door any advice about having a baby? I don’t think so. I did tell him that I wouldn’t give him any advice but then I think I talked about how it’s easy to take the first baby anywhere you want to go but once you have two (or more) it gets challenging. If I could revisit the conversation, I think I would say something like, “My advice to you is to not listen to any advice from baggy old kayak women like me.”

Paintin’ mah livin’ room purple

October 21st, 2014 by kayak woman

dablI’m not really doing that. It refers to a long ago incident in which a wonderful neighborhood friend of mine painted her living room Royal Purple while her then husband and their sons were off on a weekend boy scout camping trip. Surprise! Alas, that friend divorced her then husband and moved out of the neighborhood and I rarely see her any more but she is remarried and doing very well and her ex-husband hangs around with her and her not-so-new-these-days husband nowadays. They all traveled to Europe together this summer. Go figger.

Actually I do have a Royal Purple Room in my house. It is one of the beach urchins bedrooms. Not all of the walls are Royal Purple. Some of them are dark blue. I am okay with this although eventually I will probably repaint those walls (or more likely, hire someone to repaint them because I hate painting walls or anything). It was kind of fun when my beach urchin was painting them though. The neighbors across the street thought there were Mynah Bird cages in our front living room and I threatened what family was around that we wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving turkey unless the mess in my living room was removed. The answer was, “So, we’ll have ham!” No. And [most of] the mess did get cleaned up.

Where am I? I am kind of taarrrred. I was writing this much earlier and then I got distracted by many things so I kinda fergot where the heck I was. You get what you get.

Ebola Clostridium difficile

October 20th, 2014 by kayak woman

aliensIf you are sick and tired or hearing / reading about the ebola virus, go watch paint dry somewhere else. You have my blessing. I am not an expert about ebola or any other infectious disease. Good-bye. Seeya when I paint the Landfill Living Room purple.

In this post, I am really not writing about the ebola virus specifically. I am writing about my own horrific experiences dealing with a relative who contracted a different infectious disease, Clostridium difficile, commonly referred to around hospitals and nursing homes, etc., as C. diff. C. diff is not ebola. It is contagious but healthy people don’t often catch it and I didn’t, even though I spent many days in a hospital room with a woman who suffered greatly from it, aka my mother.

We had already made several emergency trips to the yooperland during the fall preceding my mother’s contraction of C. diff and her subsequent death. Each of those other times, we would visit with her in the hospital and all of us would joke around with the nursing staff. There were some iffy moments but generally she would recover and take the bus ambulance the several blocks back to her beautiful little assisted living apartment. She lost a little ground each time but she was still totally with it mentally and determined to move forward.

This time? OMG! We got there and had to “suit up”. Gown, mask, booties, glubs. New ones every single time we entered the room. What? I don’t want to dis the staff at that small hoosegow but no one explained to me what C. diff was when we first got there. They just shoved gear at us. I think someone shoved a piece of paper at me at one point. I’m pretty sure I didn’t read it with my deathly ill mother over there moaning in her hospital bed.

After a couple days, the trash was overflowing with used gowns and stuff. When were they gonna pick that stuff up? Then there was the changing protocol for how to secure the room. For most of the duration, the door was open (that would be my preference). One nurse researched C. diff and totally freaked out and I had to endure an entire day of isolation in my mom’s room. With the door shut. Yet they didn’t care if I left, etc. An arrogant doc made a visit and cavalierly said, “I don’t know why they are doing all of this.” Well, for one thing *you* are in here for five minutes a day tops. More “lowly” staff members are in and out all day. *I* am here for hours on end! Geesh!

What I am trying to say here is that I do not think that all hospitals, even in our first-world country, can be relied on to handle infectious diseases appropriately. Every time I read about Mr. Duncan’s horrific sojourn in the Dallas hospital, I think about all of the “protective gear” I threw into an overflowing bin in my mother’s hospital room where she was dying in a way that she didn’t want. I don’t think that anyone caught C. diff from all that stuff but ebola may (or may not) have been a different story.

I am scared about ebola too, make no mistake. I know that my chances of contracting it are practically nil. I think that the symptoms that lead to that death are horrific. I have had a few vomiting / diarrhea viruses in my time but, as horrific as they were, I always knew that I would resurface and I did. Ebola is a scary thing. It seems like we haven’t figured out the contagious period though. Why did so many of Thomas Duncan’s relatives *not* get ebola but two of his nurses did?

I’ll leave that for all of you to think about.

Remember these?

October 19th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love y’all,

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

Moom alone alert! Keep her outta trouble!

October 18th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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


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


…into Sister Pie.


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


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

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


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


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

Don’t look down (but no cleavage tonight)

October 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

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


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


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


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

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

G’night and love y’all!

Toad Hall Saks Fifth Avenue

October 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Just a big ‘hicken here

October 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

sooo taaarrred tonight.

October 14th, 2014 by kayak woman


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

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

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

Please take my yaffa blocks

October 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Do bares bears sh*t in the woods?

October 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Petoskey or bust!

October 11th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

Too many automotive vee-hickles

October 10th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

Leave area when horn sounds

October 9th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

Love y’all and good night,

Everyone’s gone to the moon

October 8th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


October 7th, 2014 by kayak woman


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

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

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

On a street that I don’t usually walk on

October 6th, 2014 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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