Random bits of my so-called life.

Garlic bread (or not)

November 22nd, 2017 by kayak woman

This is the one day that I did NOT want to get up late. I had a whole bunch more than the usual number of chores to do before work. Usually I wake up at the same time every single blasted morning. I have my alarm set for 5:58 AM, which is actually something like a half hour earlier. This morning I was awake enough 20 minutes before the time my alarm is set that I was just about to get up and go about business and get some of it done before my walk. But then… Yikes. I somehow fell asleep again. REM sleep with a crazy shoreline dream and and the whole works. Folks on the other side? Yes. There was a whole thing where my dad and I were stopping at some kind of place where we could buy passes to cross the Mackinac Bridge and I had a long incomprehensible conversation with the woman selling them (dad would NOT go inside) about how many axles we had (TWO…) and some sort of Monday night special. I was mustering the guzzinta to tell the woman — politely — to just sell me a pass for *our* vee-hickle for *that* night. And then I woke up. And whoa! My clock said 6:18! 20 minutes after I wanted to get up.

I cut my walk a bit short, mostly that Ano was in the southern woods and I decided to let him roam in there alone today. His owner was wondering where I was and if I wasn’t walking because it was cold. It was 30 but it was windy but I was dressed for it and I assured Ano’s owner that I don’t bag walking unless it’s about zero.

One of the chores I did this morning was to prep a couple small loaves of garlic bread to bake tonight.

And then I got to work and I heard the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person tell someone that he was probably the only person on his team who was at Cubelandia today. I piped up with “How do you define your team?” Oh, ho ho ho. He didn’t expect that I was there. I guess he doesn’t realize that I only have a few more days of paid time off in 2017. As is customary, we are usually released a couple hours early the day before a holiday. The LSCHP got taaaared of working before that hour so he shooed me out the door 20 minutes early, mainly so he could also leave in good conscience, I guess. Maybe that makes up for the 20 minutes I overslept this morning.

Home and a walk to the Plum Market and beach urchins over for the night and the holiday and and and… Hope your Thanksgiving is good. This year I am thankful for good health and relative prosperity and beautiful grown children who have always been and still are tremendous assets to my life.

Wouldn’t you know that I totally forgot to bake the garlic bread I so carefully prepped this morning. I have no words!

Everybody must get trolled

November 21st, 2017 by kayak woman

So troll me if you want but today this rambling bunch o’ blather is gonna talk about traffic. And weather. And… Why? Because that’s about all I have.

That was my original first sentence because I had an ooogly little commute home today. It was raining and the I94 18-Wheel Clogway was red red red in both directions, so I took the “back” roads and those can get pretty dern clogged up too but the upside was that I ended up going along Stadium right by the liqwire store where I stopped and stocked up for the weekend *today* instead of tomorrow when it will probably be slammed.

To go with my oooogly commute theme, I was remembering my commute home 10 years ago today (“today” being the Tuesday before Thanksgiving). There was a long backup (like today) and it was dark and rainy (like today) and I was going slow enough that I was able to actually take a photo (unlike today). I was *probably* driving either the Dogha or Daisy, both of which have automatic transmissions. I can RARELY get a photo from the Ninja while driving. Since I didn’t get a photoooo today, I searched for my 10-year-old photo. I found that and some other oldies but goodies. Here is the 10-year-old traffic photo.

And then I found a whole bunch of photos from a trip to the Yooperland earlier that November featuring people who were vibrant then but are no longer around. This is a HORRIBLE photo of The Commander lunching at the Ojibway Hotel. What was said? I don’t know. I’m sorry mom!

And here’s my beloved friend (and aunt) Radical Betty walking the fin family moomintroll beach.

Another photo from lunch at the Ojibway, this time Cam and Radical Betty. Cam was RB’s lifelong BFF and died only a few months after RB. I have gone on with my life since these women have died (what choice do I have?) but I do miss them.

To lighten it up a bit, the next photo is of the Old Cabin’s renovation, which was also taking place that year. My Dear Uncle Harry organized this and I will never forget him saying something like how a lot of people inherit cabins but he had inherited a museum. He is not wrong.

Mr. Clean (or is it Suzy Homemaker)

November 20th, 2017 by kayak woman

<alert>Okay, so there was just a growling noise behind me. At least I THOUGHT it was behind me! I figgered it was “just” Mr. Clean making a growling noise but when I turned around, no one was there. Then I figgered it out. It was definitely Mr. Clean but he was running water in the bathroom. Okay, whew!</alert>

This is the fourth consecutive day of Man Cleaning. Fortunately I was over at Cubelandia the whole day. When I got home, Suzy Homemaker was swinging around the Man Cave back living room with what I think was The Pretenders on the stereo. I am happy enough about all of the Man Cleaning that I didn’t even care if The Pretenders were precluding me from letting National Petroleum Radio run along in the background. Oh, I like The Pretenders well enough. I remember them from the early days of MTV. I think. We were living in an upper flat over on Jackson back in those days.

I used to always listen to music, mainly when driving, and mainly rock and roll of one variety or another. Classic rock until the beach urchins started paying attention to something besides Wee Sing Dinosaurs and guess what? Unlike my parents’ opinions about *my* teenage music (Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc., if you haven’t been keeping track), I LOVED the stuff on the “alternative” rock station. 89X, was it? I am randomly remembering one time I was driving The Indefatigable and there was an Eminem song on and my then middle school beach urchin (who did NOT like Eminem) wanted to change the station but I said, “Just let me finish listening to this song.” We were picking up one of her friends as this was happening and he asked why she was listening to that stuff. She replied that it was her Mooooooom who wanted it on. I could hear her eyes rolling.

After my dad died, I couldn’t listen to music for quite a long time. I switched over to NPR news and talk. I didn’t grieve in any kind of a “normal” way (and I know that grief is different for every situation). I didn’t sit around and cry and wring my hands. I drove anywhere I could manage to drive — many trips to the Yooperland and Houghton Lake but also quick 100-mile jaunts over to Kalamazoo for breakfast at the Crow’s Nest with random students there — and listened to NPR all of the way. (I also walked but I always do that.)

I am listening to music again nowadays although I still listen to NPR talk in the car. I have to say I am enjoying Mr. Clean’s music selections tonight. It turns out he has gotten the stereo system’s CASSETTE player working and so he’s playing cassette tapes from the early 1980s. We’ve got Falco on now. I only ever remember one Falco tune ever, Der Kommissar, but they are pretty good. Also, I think they sing in German. Which is okay with me and I am loving their music tonight.

I dunno if any of this stuff makes sense or if it is just stream of conscious random writing. You’re welcome and I love you too. Really. 💜💜💜

Dear Cute Little Ninja, we are about to embark upon our 9th winter together. Are we ready? 💜

November 19th, 2017 by kayak woman

What did I do today? Besides not too much, I signed on to Ancestry.com. That is, I signed *back* on to Ancestry. I vaguely remember setting up a login a few years ago, then getting cold feet. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because I would have to pay actual money to actually do much of anything. Oh, not that an Ancestry.com subscription would break my bank any more than not buying the cheap eggs from Kroger but I’m sure I knew that I wouldn’t actively pursue it at that time so why pay for it.

Connecting with a 3rd cousin and some interesting stuff that may come out of that connection have tipped me over the edge. I now have a paid account and am willing to share my family tree with anyone who wants to connect. At the moment my tree is a very small rudimentary one. I spent a good amount of time fumbling around and had to delete several extra instances of my parents as parents (and grandparents) to themselves before I even had a clue to what I was doing 🐽.

I don’t know what I will do with this. One the one hand, I have kind of a natural bent for things like genealogy. I am a systems analyst with database experience and family trees are basically databases. But, like most databases I have encountered in my life (back to when I was 7 or whatever and logged bobby pins and pencils and things from my desk drawer onto lined notebook paper), family trees are messy and I’m not sure I have the persistence to deal with anything extensive at this time.

And I don’t really have time. Another round of Man Cleaning happened today and when I mentioned that I wasn’t really much help, The Pensioner said something like, “It’s your day off!” Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Jeebus! Yes, I bring income into the household via an outside job. It’s so nice to be appreciated for that. I MEAN THAT SINCERELY. So many women in other parts of the world everywhere are prohibited from “working outside the home” even if it would benefit the family finances. We don’t really need my income but it is pretty darn nice to have it and I don’t EVER look gift horses in the mouth and that’s about as far as I will go with that for now.

Sorry to get off on a tangent! At least for now, I am Genealogist Lite. I have no plans to do a saliva test, at least not in the near future. I suspect that test will tell me I’m a Viking in disguise. I have no problem with that at all. Just. I don’t think I have words.

Oh yeah, the Ninja. We had some snow showers today. None of it stuck anywhere. It’s not quiiiiite that cold yet and there wasn’t all that much snow. The Ninja and I are going into our 9th winter together. We gassed her up today and somehow ended up out at Dexter’s Pub for a bowl of chili and…

When a Maaaaaaan cleans the hou-ouse…

November 18th, 2017 by kayak woman

I am pretty good at keeping up with maintenance-type cleaning. I clean the tub, sink, and eco-terlet (and – ahem – the floor surrounding the eco-terlet) *every* day. Well, probably six days a week. I keep up with the chitchen. You will NEVER find shambling mounds of laundry at any stage hanging around here. There *is* a shambling mound of skirts but they are clean and don’t ask.

I have been known to deep clean from time to time but I am more suited to maintenance-type cleaning plus some picking around here and there. The GG? When he gets bitten by a cleaning bug, it is best to just stay out of his way. *Every* piece of furniture gets moved out from the wall, dusted, and vacuumed if needed. Like, how many years do you think this candy wrapper has been down in the bowels of the Green Couch? In the particular iteration that occurred this morning, every single blasted item in the room was dusted, no matter how small. I wanted to help. My help was not particularly appreciated. I am okay with that.

The GG theorized that the Monster Bedroom was the dustiest place in the house and probably always will be. I don’t totally agree. I think that the Freakout Chamber is probably dustier and I KNOW that the Utility Room is awful. Those rooms are in the dungeon though. Otherwise, I think he is right about the Monster Bedroom. Why is it so dusty? Because it contains a closet full of clothing, a lot of which hasn’t been worn since the Jurassic Age. Fabric is a huge dust collector and if you don’t wear it, you don’t wash it…

I greatly appreciate all of the Man Cleaning but I still maintain that it is easier to CLEAN if there is less CLUTTER around. We have been working on Death Cleaning (google it) for more than 10 years now but we have more to do. The Commander spent many years doing that kind of cleaning and was still doing it at the age of 90 and I thank her for not leaving us with the kind of mess that requires a dumpster in the driveway.

It was raining cats and dogs at the time we usually walk downtown to the Griz for Saturday lunch. I figgered out how to take the bus DOWNTOWN today. We could’ve driven down but it was so much more fun to take the bus. I figured out that we could catch it over by Aldi’s. We got there a bit early because I do not have the bus schedule internalized. So we had to wait a bit in a driving rain. Once we got on it, it was totally fun and the guy slouched down looking at his iPhone is the GG. I like to sit a bit higher where I can see what’s going on although, when our bus steamed through the Dexter/Maple intersection as the light was turning red, I had to duck my head. I would have stopped but then I am usually driving the Ninja, not a bus.

Pop Quiz: How many bridges connect the state of Michigan to the province of Ontario?

November 17th, 2017 by kayak woman

This is a Guest Blahg from the Grumpy Growler:

Today, I was listening to the Frank Beckmann show on WJR radio, Detroit. Frank had a little quiz show in progress while I was listening. He presented a question to a contestant. “Name the two bridges between Michigan and Canada.” WHAT!?! (I thought). WADDA YA MEAN TWO BRIDGES? Note: The contestant named the Blue Water Bridge from Port Huron and the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit. Technically, he answered Frank’s question correctly.

I got on the Intertubes and looked up contact information for Frank Beckmann and sent him a message.

I identified that there are THREE bridges between Michigan and Canada. (1) The International Bridge between Sault Sainte Marie and Sault Sainte Marie. (2) The Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia. (3) The Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Say Ya! to da U. P. too!

Within ten minutes, Frank Beckmann alerted his audience to the necessary correction that I identified. He acknowledged that there was a third bridge. The International Bridge at Sault Sainte Marie. He noted that my correction of his question did not change the outcome of the on-air contest.

I sent Frank a thank you message and acknowledged our mutual appreciation of Bison Pasties from the White Tail Restaurant in Brevort Michigan (that is another story).

Don’t look away. The possum isn’t dead!

November 16th, 2017 by kayak woman

“A possum will often act dead when faced with a situation it doesn’t want to deal with.” That’s from the Urban Dictionary and the situation would be yer fav-o-rite blahgger in the case of this poor little terrified guy.

It was a fugly morning and as I was waking up at 0-skunk-30, I could hear the wind a-blowin’ and I was thinking, “Do I reeeeeallly want to go out and walk this morning?” But I had to get up and go to make the donuts and today’s batch was sweeter than the usual because it is Thursday and that means coffee with MMCB2. I was particularly looking forward to coffee this week because I have been through the good, the bad, and the ooogly during the last week, the oooogly happening an hour or so after LAST week’s Thursday coffee. I needed Girlfriends! I mean Life Girlfriends. The ones you hang out with no matter what is going on in the other parts of your life. Work Girlfriends are wonderful but when crap happens at work, we all need Life Girlfriends. I’m glad I have some of those. Most of my Life Girlfriends are women who have not given up on making friends with me despite my introverted personality. Nevertheless, they persisted!

Anyway, I got up and took my walk and it really wasn’t all that bad, at least it wasn’t raining cats and dogs any more.

And so I was walking through the north side of the mini-woods behind the Landfill and I had my iPhone flashlight on and suddenly there was movement near my feet! A TERRIFIED opossum stared me in the face! I stepped away and I heard a little thud. Yes, he played possum. I got the best pic I could get with an iPhone in the dark and then I left the cute little possum alone.

Walking in the south side of the mini-woods behind the Landfill, I encountered my dog friend Ano and his uber-cool owner. Ano ALWAYS barks when he encounters me but he does not jump or try to bite, so he is A-OK with me. I alerted Ano’s owner that I had encountered a possum in the “other” woods and he decided against letting Ano run in that woods this morning. No reason to have to deal with Ano tangling with a possum!

Going agile on a fuuuuuugly day

November 15th, 2017 by kayak woman

I don’t have anything against studying the Russian revolution but I cannot feature reading the dense tomes involved in that field of study. I am struggling to get back into simply reading fiction, fer kee-reist. It’s not that the books I have been reading are boring, for the most part they have been fun! It’s just that when you have a job like mine in which you are constantly thinking through complex pieces of web application functionality and how to choose the right words (and vocabulary) to describe it to other people, you don’t always have a lot of space left in your head to concentrate on any kind of book, including fiction, at the end of the day. The Benevolent Despot and a co-worker were commiserating with me about that the other day. I do enjoy reading and I am forging on. I don’t think I will be tackling books about the history of the Russian revolution any time soon.

I am appreciating my own personal historian’s newly found interest in my family’s history. That is, one branch of my family’s history. The Fin Fam side of dad’s family is relatively well documented and he is delving into it a bit. Other branches are not so much, like the Raeburn branch, even though Grandma’s fam had some interesting people. Part of the Commander’s family is somewhat documented but there are some goofy rumors like we are related to Daniel Boone. The Comm kind of pooh-poohed that even as she told it to me when I was a kid but I was intrigued because I had a huge crush on Daniel Boone. Who knows? We *could* be related to Daniel Boone. Probably a huge number of people who are alive today are related to Daniel Boone. 7th cousin 14 times removed? Still, the GG has been researching some things on these dark, fuuuuugly November days, which is a cool thing. Oh, he got outside too. Walked all over town. Going outside during this dark, fugly time of year is what makes us survive. Trust me!

Companion aminals

November 14th, 2017 by kayak woman

Mouse recently acquired a new couch for her apartment and of course my first question was “Do you want some frogs or other aminals to adorn your couch?” The Green Couch is home to at least two froogs, a grinch on long-term loan from his owner, a seal or two or three, and I fergit what else. Oh yeah, Hisse and Bouncy Bow! Those are mice!

I suspect Mouse’s new couch is already home to various aminals, definitely a few elephants. Monkey here is my chitchen aminal. Monkey has been around as long as I can remember and I don’t remember that he (he has always been a he to me) has ever had a more creative name than “Monkey”. I was not as creative at naming aminals (or toys) when I was a small child as my Mouse was. One of the things The Commander told me about my early childhood was that once I was standing over my toy box moving my head back and forth. What was I doing? Looking for Little Red. I’m not sure what Little Red was. I’m not sure The Commander knew what Little Red was. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a doll or aminal but I could be wrong.

Here is Monkey. He has been around as long as I can remember. He lived at the moomincabin for a number of years but now that my parents are dead and the cabin is empty more of the summer than I want it to be, I decided Monkey needed to come home with me. He lives by the coffee maker. He has acquired a hat! Buried in the swamp of Crappy Beer was one long lost bottle of good cBear beer, bottled in Gainesville, Fla (or maybe in Chico, CA). The GG drank it yesterday and Monkey now has a new hat. Forever, because once an aminal acquires an article of clothing, it stays around forever. Like Froggy’s Harry Potter glasses, which washed up on the moominbeach once upon a time.

At least it’s not pointed at a window this time.

November 13th, 2017 by kayak woman

Update on the “ice” situation. Everything (roads and sidewalks) was bone dry this morning. No ice issues. I had a nice little Zen Commute in the Ninja. Usually when the roads *are* bad I telecommute for part or all of the day. Today, as we are still processing Black Thursday at work, I wanted to be there to commiserate and show solidarity with the other “survivors”.

But then, ugh. We got a Crime Alert this afternoon via the Nextdoor Neighbor app. Ugh. Two incidents, both of them within about a mile of here. #1) Two female joggers grabbed in a “sexually explicit manner” at 6:30 AM! That’s when I am on my 0-skunk-30 walk! #2) Young teenage boy answers the door at 7:45 PM to see an adult male on the porch exposing himself.

I am not an idiot at all, despite what a few people apparently think (you know who you are and you can suck it for all I care). I know that anything can happen at any time (even on the Moominbeach but that was a looooong time ago). I am ALWAYS aware of my surroundings when I am walking at any time but especially in the dark. But these and a couple of recent panhandling incidents make me wonder if I need to take a mini-break, at least for a few days. Even though these incidents did not happen in my neighborhood.

But. Recent incidents? Three of them. Two of them were obvious panhandler things. What bothered me about them is that both people went OUT OF THEIR WAY to try to engage me in conversation and one of them was in an unusual panhandler location. Do they think I am an easy mark? I am not.

The third incident? It was Saturday and I had actually kind of forgotten about it until I saw today’s Crime Alert. I was walking home from the Plum Market, waiting to cross the street at the adjacent intersection, a busy one. It was broad daylight and there were about a gazillion cars at the intersection. A kid with a skateboard was on the other side of the street. And a guy with a bicycle. I guess I didn’t process that they weren’t together or even anywhere near the same age. The biker suddenly steamed across the street and started to say something to me. And then… Freaked out and made a quick change of direction away from me. I was halfway across the street before I realized that… There. Was. A. Police. Car. A low-profile kind of police car. Hahahahahahahaha!

But that police car won’t always be there. They can’t be everywhere at all times.

Brave New World

November 12th, 2017 by kayak woman

I don’t have much to say tonight. It was a nasty fugly November day of rain. We get those. We went for a beautiful Rain Ride in the Frog Hopper this morning and then a little later on had a Lunch of Decadence at The Session Room. I dunno what else to say for the moment. Oh, the GG put gas in the Frog Hopper this afternoon in case there is Ice Driving tomorrow morning and I need to take the Frog Hopper over to work. I hope there is not Ice Driving because I really want to drive my beloved Ninja. But we’ll see. Love you all.

Walking down to downtown Ann Arbor and back by bus

November 11th, 2017 by kayak woman

We haven’t been down to the griz for a few weeks now. We’ve been in and outta town a bit and there was a memorial for our sister Suz in the middle of all that. We miss our Susie greatly and will love her forever.

We walked downtown for lunch at the Griz today and took the “express” bus home, that’s the 31 and it’s the “express” because it is the most direct route to the Plum Market, aka our neighborhood. We got off the bus just after the Dexter/Maple intersection. The GG immediately realized he had left his glubs on the bus. The 31 goes out to a development near Dexter/Wagner and then turns around at that point. The GG stood at the bus stop for the 31 to return and by the time I was leaving the Plum Market with our groceries, the GG was banging on the window showing me that he had found his glubs on the 31 as it returned down to the Blake Transit Center. He bought snacks at the Plum and then returned home and crashed out and that is about it. Boring? Yes. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

Connect and Disconnect

November 10th, 2017 by kayak woman

A sprocket at the end of a week of ups and downs and general weirdness, some of it good and some of it horribly bad. Okay.

Looking for snow-hiking boots that don’t *kill* my feet, I ran into K of Porterland over at REI today. I recognized her first. We had a wonderful time discussing how hard it is for women to find comfortable shoes. And it is. Especially for those of us who like to WALK. I did find some boots that I THINK will work. We’ll go into all of that some other day.

Why was I over at REI instead of working? Because I couldn’t really focus at work today. And that’s because yesterday was Black Thursday. The blackest of the occasional black days I have encountered working for a large, usually wonderful company. I was somehow a survivor. I am not sure how or why I managed to attain that status. I know that excruciatingly difficult decisions were made but can’t fathom the parameters involved in them. All I know is that deep feelings of grief cloud my relief.

And so I got back to work and was struggling with where to find a piece of solid ground to put a foot onto and I was I/Ming with my manager about an upcoming meeting and FZ and I were yelling over the wall about related issues and… PING! You’ve got mail! “Hello, KW. I think we are third cousins.” It was a direct message via FB from a name that I immediately knew was a relative, even though I have never met any of my Canadian cousins. She had my dad’s name and birth year and knew about my great-grandfather’s life (and death) in northern Saskatchewan. I accepted her request immediately and we quickly switched to email and, just WOW! I am not going to blahg about this in detail in order to preserve family privacy but suffice it to say that this was a wonderfully welcome development on the last day of a difficult week.

You just never know what is coming down the pike, do you?

First faaaaar (indoor) of the season

November 9th, 2017 by kayak woman

It is snowing in Sault Ste. Siberia (or was, the last time I looked). It is not snowing here on The Planet Ann Arbor although it is now cold enough for snow. I have dredged out my mini-balaclava and new smartwool jacket for tomorrow morning.

At any rate, I came home from work to find that the GG had built the first faaaar of the season. Thanks, I needed that today. I don’t have much else to say.

Things that go Flap! in the night

November 8th, 2017 by kayak woman

First of all… Dear WordPress, you have been making me enter my long, fugly password every day for like the last four days now. Why why why?!? Disclaimer: This is NOT NOT NOT a subtweet to the Guru, the person who keeps this blahg o’ blather up and running and PATIENTLY responds to my occasional moments of panic, like last Saturday night when Comcast took a temporary hit during a big thunderstorm. Guru: “Did you try the phone/LTE thing?” KW: Duuuuuuhhhhh, noooooooo. [Jeebus, KW.] This wasn’t something the Guru had any control over.

It’s just odd that I can go for weeeeeks without having to enter a password and then all of a sudden I have to do it every dern time I want to get onto ababsurdo. I mean even if I check the box that says remember me. I get that occasionally making someone log in again is a security feature but there is no “pattern” to this behavior. It’s possible that using Safari (instead of Firefox) would yield different behavior but Safari also has its own annoying little blahggity glitches. At any rate, this is all a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM!

<weird-stuff-read-at-your-own-risk>Processing Dreams anyone? Or maybe this was a Packing Dream. Oh boy, also a Dysfunctional Phone Dream. Crapola, I fergot about those! Anyway. I was “kayaking” with a bunch of people in Mosquito Bay. By kayaking, I mean sitting astride some sort of thin little SOMEWHAT floaty board that sat under the water just far enough that I had to WORK to keep my iPhone and breakfast (some kind of weird tortilla/pizza “strip” thingy that the GG had made) above water. All kinds of weird looking “lake freighters” were going by us even though Mosquito bay is never more than a few feet deep and then I guess my brain couldn’t handle that stuff any more so I was suddenly on land… and… I could not find my iPhone. But… I had the UU’s droid (I think he actually has an iPhone now but anyway). So I tried to call… What… I dunno… I was getting nowhere with the phone call and THEN I spied my iPhone on the ground next to me. Except it when I picked it up, it had morphed into an ancient flip phone. This scenario repeated itself until I was juggling something like SIX cell phones, all of them black but different form factors and NONE of them my iPhone, which is NOT black.</weird-stuff-read-at-your-own-risk>

And then I woke up. Whew!

Things that go Flap! in the night? This hat, which was hanging from a tree last week and I almost ran into it three days in a row. It was black as the ace of spades until my phone flash lit it up.

Socks and sandals have ALWAYS been a “look” 🐽

November 7th, 2017 by kayak woman

I’m now getting ads from one of my go-to hiking sandal companies showing some sandals I have worn since the Jurassic Age with fancy *sheer* patterned stockings and telling me it is a “look”. Well, I just have to say that I have been wearing that “look” — or a version of it — since the Jurassic Age. Nix on the fancy *sheer* patterned stockings. Plain tights or smartwool socks for this baggy old kayak woman. Hiking sandals have always looked elegant to me. It’s about time those companies catch up with this so maybe this is a good thing.

Election day stats? My stats, that is, the polls are open another couple hours so we don’t know who/what won yet. I was voter number 3. Actually I was number 4 but they had to process voter number 1 using paper technology. Who was number 1? Well, our friend Mr. Mxyzptlk, who reclaimed his reigning election status as voter #1 in ward 5, precinct 9, Planet Ann Arbor.

I was *amazed* at the number of folks lining up when the polls opened this morning. I counted up to 15 before I gave up. This is one of those off-year elections and there were only three things to vote on. One of the ward 5 city council members and two millage proposals. I voted FOR the school-related millage. I am a strong supporter of public schools, even more so now that the federal government and our own Great Lake State government seem hell-bent to undermine them and disparage teachers. More on that some other time (or maybe never) except to say you’ll have to put up your dukes because my mother was a public school teacher and she *rocked* that job. I voted against the other millage, which used a buzzword (mental health) to draw people in but after that the details were sketchy about where the MONEY was actually going. Nope.

I thought the city council race was a no-brainer, with an incumbent facing an unknown challenger. Turns out it may end up being a close race. I voted for the incumbent but my reasons are embarrassing. First, he is a friend of my neighbors, and second, I DID NOT research the challenger. Would I have preferred the challenger? Maybe. I frequently preach the gospel of following local politics but there is egg on my face this time.

I enjoy being among the first to vote for a few reasons but one of them is because it is always interesting to watch the poll workers struggle to get things running smoothly, hence Mr. Mxyzptlk having to be paper-processed because the Laptop Check-in Person was having trouble logging in. Password anyone? Another issue was a Brand-Spankin’ New Ballot Eater. It sucks your ballot up and when it is successfully accepted, an American flag shows up on the screen. A Trumpian touch? Oh, probably not. This musheen and its associated software have probably been under development since long before the Trumpian Bombasty began (a year ago today, ugh).

Ballot Eaters make me nervous in general after a long-ago issue but despite a poll worker calling the mother ship before the polls opened, the Ballot Eater ate my ballot just fine and the rest of the process was smooth and I am in NO WAY dissing the poll workers, a couple of whom are friends of mine from the old Haisley Mafia days. These folks only do this job every few months or so. If they did it every day or even every week, they would have it all down pat. Just that as a systems analyst/usability design type person, watching the process is interesting to me.

Love my poll workers. May the best man win the city council seat. Whichever one that may be.

Fake (or not) news

November 6th, 2017 by kayak woman

Subtitle: Where the heck am I here in 2017?

I clicked over to an article with a headline something like, the [insert number here] news stories you see after a mass killing. Here are a few that I wish we could just dispense with every dern time I get news about one of these horrific incidents.

1) Breaking news: a shooter (or truck driver) and blood and at least one person has been killed. The death toll is almost ALWAYS more than the initial reported total.

2) The shooter may not be acting alone: The shooter (or truck driver) is almost always acting alone.

3) The community holds a candlelight vigil. Okay, they need to do that.

4) Everybody and his brother, mother, 3rd cousin, alien friend from Zephron III, ELECTED POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVE, provides thoughts and prayers about the the incident.

The article I read (Slate, if you want to google it) went on to talk about gun control issues. I have very mixed feelings about all of that, too complex to write about it tonight or maybe ever.

We’ll leave the gun (truck) control issues aside for now. I do not get the thoughts and prayers thing anymore. Many years ago, it seemed like a reasonable thing to say. But yada yada yada. Are we really all thinking about these people who have lost their lives? I do, in the sense that when I read about people losing their babies, I am able to imagine how I would feel if I had lost one of my own children in such a horrific situation. If that had happened to me, I am pretty sure that random people offering me their thoughts and prayers from afar would NOT help me move forward.

Oh, the pic is just a red light the GG put into our porch light for Halloween. It doesn’t mean anything except fun! Love you all.

Black as the Ace of Spades

November 5th, 2017 by kayak woman

We have made the time switch and sunset happened at 5:23 PM today. I think I took this pic at around 5:30. I don’t really get SAD, so to speak. I think it is because I spend a LOT of time outside, including walking around at 0-dark-30 for most of the year. I have become comfortable with the dark over the years. Also, I bathe the interior of my house in strings of little colored LED lights. Those and my iPhone and Macbook screens make enough light for me. The GG prefers a bit more light and I tolerate that.

So, today was an interesting first day of Eastern Standard Time. It was dark dark dark dark ALL DAY but warm! About the only time Mr. Golden Sun made even a half-hearted attempt to show us that he was present behind the clouds was when I walked over to the Plum Market sometime between nine and ten in the morning. It was a good thing I made that trip when I did because for about four hours today we had heavy rain and some decent, if not severe, thunderstorms. Once, a flash of lightning and huge boom of thunder came out of NOWHERE! It does that sometimes. I managed to sit outside for a while this morning until all of that stuff started up. I watched most of it from the Green Couch.

I kept the interior lights at a low level inside the house today except when I needed to shine a bit of light to dust or whatever. The little colored LEDs don’t help much with that. But I was fascinated by the darkness and the rain and storms and warm temperature (60) and so, after I finished my chores and made my trip to the Plum, I alternated between reading my book and prepping food for the week. My iPhone screen kept switching back and forth between a black background with white type and a white background with black type as the weather conditions shifted.

I have lamb stew on the stove and I used up a bottle of fortified root beer in place of water. We’ll see how this goes. I’m thinking it smells too sweet but I put some other mitigating ingredients in it so it may settle out in the end and so Mother’s March on Crappy Beer continues. (Stealing My Dear Uncle Harry’s meme here – Mother’s March on Leftovers.)

Reading a novel with a numeral numerals in the title and waiting for karma to come around (and lightning!)

November 4th, 2017 by kayak woman

Okay, it’s raining and there is thunder every few seconds so I guess one of the things I am waiting for has happened! The GG sent me the pic from Wolverine this morning. I was at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, where it was chilly but nowhere near cold enough to snow. I was sooooo glad not to be going by Wolverine on the I75 SUV Snow-Way.

For a period of time, my intelligent, well-read, educated beach urchins used to harass the GG for reading cheesy novels with numerals in the title. To be fair, the GG reads some cheesy novels about wars and things that have numerals in the titles but he reads a lot of other novels too. One of the reasons I married the GG is because he could read and write at an educated level. Our children are probably much better educated than us in terms of reading and writing.

At any rate, I am now reading the book 4 3 2 1 (it’s important to put spaces between those numerals if you want to find it online.) I am loving this book. Some people gave it less than stellar reviews on GoodReads because they got confused. I did at first too but then I backtracked and figured out where the four stories started and that untangled my confusion. I’m not finished with the book yet so we’ll see.

Karma? I am waiting for this to happen but it doesn’t seem like it ever will. So far, there’s just suckity-up. I don’t get it. Perhaps I never will. I will always beware the knife in the back, real or figurative.

Fair trade

November 3rd, 2017 by kayak woman

The Great Lake State (among many) is known for fall color, you know, when the leaves on deciduous trees start to change color from green to various shades of red, orange, and yellow. And purple (think color wheel and what is *not* all that close to green). When I was a kid sitting in the back seat of my old coot’s car driving out to the cabin or wherever, I remember looking at all of the colors and thinking it looked like a crayon box. Where was blue? The sky, of course.

I think we have mostly missed the fall color season this year here in the Great Lake State. At least the colors haven’t been as vibrant. My own uninformed opinion is that it’s because we have not had any kind of a freeze yet. Oh, we have seen a very light frost on the tops of tall grasses a couple times.

So I sat outside on the *south* side of my house for a while in the late afternoon today, after work and some chores, etc. I was dressed to the Nines this afternoon! Lemme see… Tie-dyed tshirt, polartech jacket, wool scarf, long skirt, *leggings* underneath the skirt, smartwool socks. If I didn’t mention it, I wasn’t wearing it, negative TMI if you will.

When I realized that it was 46 degrees, I decamped to the inside of the Landfill. Tomorrow will be the last day of EDT time but the weather forecast for tomorrow is dreadful so not sure if I’ll be able to sit outside at any time but we’ll see. Sunday may be warmer but the sun will set earlier…