Random bits of my so-called life.

Old State Line Road

January 15th, 2017 by kayak woman

I think every schoolchild in Michigan and Ohio has been taught about the Toledo War. You can follow the link to Wikipee if you are interested in the specifics. I am too taaaaaared to report them don’t remember them. I do know that the Great Lake State got the grand prize [wink] because, in an exchange for a rather narrow strip of land (in the grand scheme of things), it got the whole darn Yooperland.

So, today dawned gorgeously.

I didn’t want to do a Death March today but I was kind of hoping that the GG would want to do some kind of junket and I was actually hoping it would be a southward back-highway junket so I was ecstatic when he said, “Wanna go down to O-haaaa-o? Yes! Yes I do. We’re only about an hour above the Ohio border here so it’s a pretty easy trip.

We visited the Blissfield Penguins along the way. I have not seen these penguins before, although the GG thought that I had. There is a short VERY BORING story behind that. Now I have seen them in person and I will not forget that they are in Blissfield (BTW, on our return trip, all five were on the bench.)

The destination I was told about was Berkey, Ohio, but the true destination was Oak Openings Metropark. The North Country Trail goes through Oak Openings and the GG is hot to get his 100 miles on the NCT for 2017. We had a devil of a time finding the actual NCT in that metropark and the pic below is the *only* clear indication that we were anywhere near it. I think we did about three miles today. On or near the NCT. I hope that is acceptable to whoever counts those miles.

I’m not complaining about the lack of adequate signage. There were plenty of well-beaten trails (including horse trails and we even encountered a couple of horses and their riders) but I missed the well-groomed sections of the eastern yooperland NCT with all of those rectangular blue blazes. There are complicated issues surrounding national trails like the NCT and they are not always able to use standard signage and blazes, etc.

After a bit more exploring in the area (Wabash Cannonball rail trail anyone?), we headed back north. We wanted to make sure we found Old State Line Road (the original border between Michigan and Ohio) and here we are. We drove east on it for a couple of miles, then we beamed up to the Planet Ann Arbor. We have so much fun!

Mellow yellow and Stormy Kromer hats galore

January 14th, 2017 by kayak woman

Oh don’t worry, I am not going to yammer on and on about golden showers. I didn’t even know what a golden shower was until this week. At least it wasn’t in the forefront of my conscious. Alas, whether or not the “dossier” is true, now I cannot un-think it.

Anyway, I do not think I have been over to DayTwa since September and since then Lizard Breath has moved into a new place. Which I hadn’t seen. It was time and it was a gooooood day for driving. New place? Four-flat building owned by friends who occupy one of the other flats. The folks across the street were happy to see xmas lights up on the building for the first time in something like 50 years. Yes.

I went over there partly to see her new space but also to explore the kind of shopping that’s available in Detroit in its “renaissance”. I put that word in quotes because I think that whatever is happening in Detroit means different things to different people and some may not agree with that term or may even feel displaced by it. Words are tricky…

But what I really kind of wanted to do was shop. I know. I am always ranting and railing against shopping. But I shopped at the downtown Hudson’s with The Commander when I was a kid and I was thinking I wanted to check out what kind of shopping was available in Detroit nowadays. I didn’t want to look at clothing. I order that stuff online. I was thinking houseware-type boutiques and other interesting stuff.

We found some of that stuff (and I bought a couple things) and then there was a FILSON store! Who do we know who is a Filson fan? We didn’t buy anything in there (today) but The Pensioner talked the ears off of a wonderful young female salesperson about the North Country Trail and gave her a sticker for her (dad’s?) vee-hickle and THEN ordered Lizard (who was driving us in our Outback) to go around the block so he could drop off a bunch of North Country Trail brochures. Who knows what they’ll do with those…

Next door to that was a record store. I mean vinyl, don’tcha know that all the Cool Kids are into vinyl now? KW is well beyond the years when she played records on her cheap little record player in her Superior St. bedroom and danced to the music. But, oh, I didn’t wanna go into a record store… Except this wasn’t just a record store. There were all kinds of things in there and they are in the process of setting up a vinyl record pressing musheen back in the back somewhere. And there was this Wax-o-matic musheen in there and the GG kept talking about a Wax-o-matic musheen that made gorillas in the drug store back in his youth in Royal Joke. So I asked him to make the truck or whatever it is.

This whole shopping center is in the Cass Corridor (as near as I can figure), which not too many years ago did not attract, well what do I say about that… I would not have parked my vee-hickle there and walked around. From there we went to John King books. Four floors of used books. We had some fun there but I think I will write about it during the the Hardland of the Winter. And then we tried to go to the Green Dot for a late lunch but it was an hour wait so we tried out the Huron Room. It was wonderful and then we went back to Lizard’s place and we all sat down and I knew that was a bad idea because we were all on the verge of a Sinking Spell, so I mobilized us to schlep back to The Planet Ann Arbor and and and… We have a loverly faaaar in the back room and I think we are FINALLY hungry enough to eat after the lunch we had today.

P.S. There were Stormy Kromer hats everywhere!

Fool moon

January 13th, 2017 by kayak woman

Blllrrrrrrgggggg. I spent my *entire* workday (almost, a couple meetings in there somewhere) working on my annual performance evaluation. What did I accomplish this year? I’m not sure. There is no way in the world that the work I do can be quantified in any way, shape, or form. Each prodject is vastly different from all of the others with its own unique set of challenges. I learn something from each prodject but that experience doesn’t *necessarily* translate into anything valuable later on. Overall, it’s an upward trajectory but not without some little dips and loops and things along the way. I get better at what I do with each prodject but that doesn’t mean I am never surprised by little snags and gotchas and things.

It kind of reminds me of my theatre guild administrator years. Every play we produced provided a different set of challenges. Various venues, costume needs (or not), props, a different set of cast members and, uh, their parents, weather challenges. Did I say weather? I am thinking of the December we produced a version of Merlin and it snowed every damn day of tech week. It snowed so much the Monday of that week that we had to CANCEL a rehearsal. We were all totally freaked out about that. School was also canceled that day and, as it turned out, the next TWO days, almost unheard of, and so the silver lining to canceling an important rehearsal is that our actors were well rested for the next two important rehearsals. I am rambling but what I wanted to say was, it’s an upward trajectory but not without some little dips and loops and things along the way. We all got better at producing plays but that didn’t mean we were never surprised by little (or more likely big) snags and gotchas and things.

Which job did I like better? I LOVED working for YAG. Bopping around all over the place doing whatever. Hanging out at office supply stores (but I don’t much miss them now). Working on stuff (database, communications, whatever) on my computer. Hanging out at rehearsals. Being The Glue. And when the summer academy was done, so was I, and I could head up to the beach and hang out for as long as I wanted to. Money? Not so much. Still, I love my systems analyst career too. I wish I had more paid time off (or even the ability to realistically take leave without pay) but I’ll take the money! And run!

I dunno how I’ll do on my performance evaluation. I hate these things with a passion but so does everyone else. They were due today and I think EVERYONE including a few managers were working on theirs today. I have a long weekend ahead of me because MLK Day. I don’t always take MLK Day off because I often would rather work that day and take a different day off later in the winter. I’m taking this MLK Day off because.

G’night, KW

Armageddon (or is it Apocalypse?)

January 12th, 2017 by kayak woman

This photo has been apped. The photo that my iPhone took of this loverly little scene was MUCH lighter than the dark ugly scene in front of my vee-hickle looked to me (at 9:00 AM!) so I turned it all kind of green like we were underwater, like we kind of were.

In the photoooo, I am parked in the Westgate lot outside Barry Bagels. I walked out to the parking lot with MMCB but I declined to help them with today’s parking lot task. That was to transfer a sewing musheen from MMCB1‘s [new Honda CRV] vee-hickle to MMCB2‘s vee-hickle [old enough Toyota to have an Obama sticker on it]. I was surprised that MMCB2 even *owned* a sewing musheen. I guess she bought it a long time ago, intending to learn to sew (I’d bet dollars that her mom knew how to sew). MMCB2, on the other hand is an accomplished quilter. I noticed the new CRV as soon as I parked and knew exactly who it belonged to. If you grow up with automotive engineers, you notice new vee-hickles.

As we walked out of Barry Bagels MMCB were “arguing” (as in “I can carry it” / “no it’s too heavy”) about how heavy the sewing musheen was and whether MMCB2 needed to drive her car around to MMCB1‘s car. I[e-I-e-I] could’ve carried the damn thing without a problem but, as much as I love MMCBboth, I got outta dodge instead.

Because of a certain comment that I don’t really understand (“Anne!” aka KW) I feel the need to remind people that it has been common knowledge since the beginning that I do not support Trump (and I am *not* a Democrat but that is a whole ‘nother story), I love all of my friends and family members who did vote for Trump. I just don’t understand…

Word Salad (and cooking in the dark)

January 11th, 2017 by kayak woman

Thank you very much. It’s very familiar territory, news conferences, because we used to give them on an almost daily basis. I think we probably maybe won the nomination because of news conferences and it’s good to be with you.

We stopped giving them because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news, but I do have to say that — and I must say that I want to thank a lot of the news organizations here today because they looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies? Who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that. A tremendous blot, because a thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had and it should certainly never been released.

And on and on and on. I was trying to figure out what the heck our president-elect was saying. I read the transcript at work, where I do NOT play videos. I played the video when I got home. He may have sounded marginally better in the actual speech but it was still word salad and I am not impressed.

So, we were not without power tonight so that’s not why I was cooking in the dark. I was cooking in the dark because we had a rare January thunderstorm this evening and I wanted to see the lightning. I walked over to the Plum after work today and I had no inkling that there was lightning anywhere near the Planet Ann Arbor but then I got home and looked at the weather on my phone and there was the little lightning bolt indicator.

I did not take the Mackinac Bridge photo. I stole it from Lizard Breath, who was up there with the Twinz of Terror last weekend. They all hiked with our beloved North Country Trail buddies. I miss those folks but I am in vacay-saving mode at this time of year. I’m glad one of my children was up there to represent me.

I’ll leave you with an old Radical Betty story. Once back in the day, RB went to the Sault library to return/borrow books. As she was heading out, she encountered a rather frazzled woman frantically making copies of political or religious tracts or whatever on the copy musheen. That woman collared Betty and asked, “Are you the f*cker or the f*cked?” Radical Betty gently grabbed the woman’s shoulder, looked her in the eye, and said, “Well, my friend, I guess I am the f*cked.” As in, I have two children.

Our thunderstorm is long gone now. Good night! KW!

At least we didn’t have thundersnow today

January 10th, 2017 by kayak woman

According to my cute li’l timehop app, we had thundersnow last January 10th. I apparently also cleaned a drywall bucket. (By the way, if you ever need a drywall bucket, I have an inside connection to The Drywall Emporium. I just have to manage to get across the Mackinac Bridge and back, sometimes a challenge in the winter months. Falling ice anyone?)

Today? No thundersnow. I actually love thundersnow and would’ve preferred it to this cute little bit of arithmetic from this morning, not to mention a very slodgy 0-skunk-30 walk:

   Snow/freezing rain/whatever
+ Jackknifed semi at the Jackson entrance to the I94 18-wheel Slogway
= Working from home for the duration

I actually did not work from home all day. I went over to Cubelandia in the late morning after the temperatures rose well above freezing and the crap coming out of the sky turned into rain of the non-freezing sort. I dispatched The Pensioner to fill up the Frog Hopper with gas and check out the roads for me. Not only did he fill up the Frog Hopper, he also took my Ninja out and topped it off. Kudos to TP! Thanks!

Roads were A-okay (although I did drive the Frog Hopper just in case because AWD). Biggest problem was huge mud-puddles on the roads from rain and big-time snow melt. Some other colleagues didn’t make it in to the office at all and that was okay. I was okay with telecommuting this morning but I knew I would get Cabin Fever if I did it all day. And it was nice to be @Cubelandia this afternoon, over the wall from FZ and bantering with the Benevolent Despot about how many steps we had logged on our fitbits by that time, and no, I am not fitbit friends with my boss. Jeebus!

It is now 40 degrees or thereabouts. It is raining and the wind is screaming. I hope no trees fall down tonight… Or we lose power… But we have a generator now… But we haven’t actually given that thing a trial run yet… Fingers crossed.

BDay celebrations

January 9th, 2017 by kayak woman

I am not the best at remembering when people’s birthdays are but I always manage to remember my friend Diane’s birthday because it is the same day as The Commander’s (and Richard Nixon’s). So here is an old pic of The Commander and her kids. The girl with the blonde hair and the kind of rabbity-looking face is meeeee at probably about six and the cute li’l guy is The Engineer. The Commander made my outfit and I remember it well.

I have to slip in this pic of Mr. Golden Sun rising behind a cloud bank this morning when I got over to Cubelandia. I did not really expect to see him today at all. The weather forecast is all gloom and doom. Yet, there he was, shining down on across the pond at me. I particularly liked the cloud formations. It was a beautiful drive to work but I didn’t expect to get such a good pic once I got there. I don’t take pics while I’m driving because I focus on DRIVING when I am DRIVING!

Sunset was at 5:21 today but it was pitch black when we arrived at Weber’s Inn to celebrate our friend’s birthday. This was our view while waiting for them to arrive.

We are under a winter weather watch of sorts. It is a typical SE Michigan winter weather watch. Will we get snow or sleet or freezing rain or what? When (exactly) will it happen? If it does happen, the temperatures are supposed to soar into the 40s tomorrow, which will likely mitigate any kind of frozen crap that falls earlier in the day. We parked my Ninja in the street tonight so that I can drive the Frog Hopper to work tomorrow if worse comes to worst. Or I could just do a “late start” and work from home until the worst of it is over. I prefer to drive over to Cubelandia though, so we’ll see…

Bouncy Bow Pink Bow Purple Bow BLANKET Mousey Mushroom Ears

January 8th, 2017 by kayak woman

First, again I apologize for getting off the rails and subtweeting yesterday. Most of my life is good. There’s this one corner where things are kind of off the rails and I don’t know how they got that way or how to fix it. I have tried (and tried and tried and tried (and tried…)) to communicate but there is just no reasoning with some people… … … (Thanks to one of my blahggy buddies for support. You know who you are.)

Today started out with gorgeous sunshine albeit frigid temps. It was a kind of a slodgy day for me. I was looking forward to a Moom Alone weekend to get things done. I didn’t really rise to that occasion. I did do a lot of reading. I don’t really think that’s a bad thing, do you? Today I finished “To the Bright Edge of the World”, a recommendation from my Alaskan daughter. Actually she is my Detroit daughter but she has been to Alaska and loves it there. I hope I don’t lose her to Alaska someday but you never know (and, ugh, planes fly there nowadays). The book? Book hangover? I cried when Tillman died. That is all I can say.

I was cold this morning, sitting on the green couch watching all the dogs go by. I grabbed the blanket in the photoooo. It is a blanket that Mouse has given me for xmas two times. The first time was a long time ago and it wasn’t quiiiiiite finished. This year I received it again, finished! I’m not sure exactly when she began the blanket but it may have been when she was still working at the yarn store. A lot of stuff has happened since then, like college and study abroad and jobs (me and Mouse) and I had kinda forgotten about the blanket. I used it today to keep warm in my seat by the front window.

I am glad that this unfinished prodject was finally finished (because it is beautiful and it kept me warm today!) but not every prodject has to be finished. I have a few UFPs hanging around and I know the guilt involved in starting a prodject and not getting around to finishing it. So, if I had never received this blanket in a finished format, it would be okay. But I did and I love you so much, my beautiful talented Mouse.

When brains get too close together…

January 7th, 2017 by kayak woman

First of all, it is so nice when you have adult children who actually text you (or call!) when they know you are Moom Alone and are just a wee bit worried about how you are doing. I mean, occasionally I have to remind people that I am not 90 and that I have a lucrative career, etc. Anyway, my Mouse texted me today to ask how I was doing and when I didn’t pick up the text immediately, she actually *called* me! Knowing that I would probably be worried about an actual *call* from one of my children, since we usually text about stuff, i.e. phone call may indicate trouble…

At any rate, my mouse came over here and we walked over to Knight’s for dinner. We hung out at the bar waiting for our table but we ended up eating at the bar, which was our sorta plan anyway.

I am kinda done with social media unfriending/blocking, etc. I know that a lot of folks have experienced this because of their political views. That’s not why folks unfriend me. Unfortunately, the folks who are alienating me are doing it for personal reasons. Reasons that are not valid by any stretch of the imagination. I do not really care whether or not you or I can see each others posts on facebook. I just think this is all middle school crap. Yes, this is a “subtweet” and if you recognize yourself here, please man up and TALK to me DIRECTLY about whatever your “issue” is because I do not have a clue. Facebook unfriending/blocking? Whut? Don’t show off how stupid you are.

That aside, my Mouse and I are sitting comfortably in the COLD back room here at the Landfill having a small bit of whine while her laundry processes itself. I engaged in chores and an uncharacteristic bit of retail therapy today, online, sitting on the Green Couch. 2017 will begin with a turquoise/rainbow theme and that is about all I’ve got for tonight. Sorry about the subtweet but I am just about at the end of my rope!

“Critical thinking: the other national deficit”

January 6th, 2017 by kayak woman

According to my cousin/commenter, this is a thing. I don’t know who thought this up but yay! I don’t really want a bumper sticker. I would rather have a big sparkly button that I could put on my sparkly bomber hat and maybe a second one for my backpack because I don’t wear my bomber hat in the summer. Both of those items came from The Commander, by the way. She bought me the hat from Barish Brothers for xmas on one of her last xmases and the backpack was something she got on some sort of junket to Toronto way back in the day and I kind of inherited it. It is my grocery-getter these days.

A couple of other vocabulary terms to think about are “populist” and “business man”. And after you have defined “business man” (my dad was one, a banker), think about whether a “business man” would be the best person to run our country or not. I believe in applying “best business practices” to government entities but I think that those “businessmen” need to remember that the bottom line is not the number of widgets produced.

A long time ago, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a bunch of bank buddies and their wives out at the moomincabin. Lyndon Johnson was the president at the time and his wife was Lady Bird. I was hanging out on the deck (I think)… Wherever I was, I overheard people talking about Jack (my dad) being the president. They laughed at how all the women would be called things like Fran-Bird and Harriet-Bird, etc. They were all having a good time aka drunk. Yee-hee-heeeeee! 🙂

My dad was what he called a successful failure. I am also a successful failure and I’ll let y’all figger that out. “Business man” or not, I actually think that my dad would have made a wonderful president. I am also pretty damn sure he didn’t want anything to do with that job. I think being a small town bank president was enough for him.

I didn’t vote for him

January 5th, 2017 by kayak woman

Actually, for the last (hmmmm, how many years?), I have been saying that about our own Governor Snyder, of Flint water crisis fame, although I want to make VERY CLEAR that he is one of MANY culprits in that sorry situation and should not be held singularly accountable. Now I can say it about Donald Trump. In fact, although I am not registered in *any* political party, I made my first campaign contribution EVER* this year. Yes, I‘m was with HER. It wasn’t a large contribution and I was somewhat squeamish with the amount of personal info I had to provide but I wanted some swag, you know, to counteract a piece of Trump swag that a prankster affixed to the Lyme Lounge.

I’m not going to go very far with this tonight, partly because I am still sitting around dazed and confused wondering how our country has managed to elect this particular person to the presidency. I’m thinking about vocabulary though. Where I work, we get into the biggest controversies because people are not always using the same words to mean the same things. Fortunately, we work in a closed environment and somebody can always manage to slow things down and say something like, “What does this word mean?” And then we are able to dig down into the actual *issue* and work toward resolving it.

There are a lot of vocabulary words floating around these days (and always) and there some things I don’t understand. Liberal “elites”? I feel like I *am* one o’ them thar folks. But what does it all mean. I’m not even gonna try to tackle “liberal” right now. I could not unpack that term if I tried. Elite? What? Me? Lemme see… We have lived in the same small house for more years than I am strong enough to count. One bathroom. I am driving a beloved 8-year-old vee-hickle. I went to college but I don’t have an advanced degree in anything. But I can read and write and do critical thinking and I have COMMON SENSE. So what does “elite liberal” really mean? Am I elite? If so, this liberal elite person cares greatly about those who don’t even have something like my little house and my old car and are working hard to bootstrap themselves up but cannot quite make it. I do not know what the answer is for those folks but I do not think that coal mines or old-school factories are going to make a comeback. So, what? Does Trump have the answer? I doubt it.

The photo is my living room. The lights are blue, not purple, and the doorway is where the aliens come in. It looks like Chewbacca is asnore on that chair next to the alien door but it’s actually a shambling mound of my winter clothes.

* I think I probably contributed to my friend Sari’s school board campaign umpteen years ago so Hillary is not my first contribution.

I think I warmed up at about 2 PM today…

January 4th, 2017 by kayak woman

…but that was because I went to a [boring] meeting in a warm room and could not keep my eyes open. I hope nobody noticed the time (or was it two times (or three)) that my head started to nod toward my keyboard and I jerked myself up just in time. I tried to cover this by grabbing my phone to check for text messages. I’m not sure that worked but nobody said anything.

If you live in the Great Lake State, you can get a whole string of “unseasonably warm” days in the winter. I think we used to call it the January Thaw when I was a kid in the Yooperland. Those warm days lull you into a fantasy that winter isn’t really all that bad and then, whomp!, Old Man Winter reminds you that THIS IS MICHIGAN AND IT’S WINTER! I woke up at around that Batscope Hour and became aware that there was a wind out there. 0-skunk-30 walk? I was warm for that but I was bundled up. Work? I was bundled up but it was in a sorta bizcaz way. The Ninja warmed up nicely on my way to work but I didn’t recover from my short walk across the parking lot for hours.

Snow? We did not get all that much snow today. (I believe there is much more in the Great White North but I’m almost afraid to look.) Squalls here, increasing in intensity right around the evening commute. Choosing my route home this afternoon, I dithered and dathered. Freeway or not? In the end I chose the freeway. It was fine until I saw brake lights. UBER SNOW SQUALL but fortunately I was just over a mile from my exit and the road was still relatively dry. Can I make it to Jackson Road? Yes, I can make it. And so I am home and for whatever reason, Disco Lock let me in on the first touch today. I was ecstatic because I did NOT want to stand out on the porch fighting with Disco Lock forever. Not today. Not in that frickin’ wind. I did not take my normal Sunset Mini-Walk over to the woods this afternoon. I am sorry. Just wanna be inside.

Hi. Ho. And please check my taaaaars…

January 3rd, 2017 by kayak woman

This pic is not from today. It is from Sunday. New Years Day. Gorgeous weather for New Years Day, the kind of weather that makes one feel optimistic even if they are still reeling from, well, you know what. Or maybe you don’t know. Or don’t care. And the rest is all polly-ticks and I’m not interested in going in that direction on my blahg tonight, only partly because I am still watching in horror and trying to process what the hell is going on.

This is not what the weather was today. Today was one of those early January days when the streetlights do not turn off until something like 9:00 AM. Dark dark dark and ugly. At my work, I tried to find my footing. What was I doing before I was off for ten days? I settled in pretty quickly though and after a much-needed meeting with my supervisor and the other person on our very small team, I was happy to be tasked to spend the rest of the week cleaning up ancillary documents, spreadsheets and things. It’s busy work in a way but there is a huge digital archaeological component to it too. It’s work that has to be done and until we all get our gears going, it will do.

Check my taaaars? The Ninja has been in the driveway for I’m not sure how many days. When I moved cars yesterday so the Ninja would be where I could drive it to work today, everything was okay but the taaaarrrs were kind of stuck to whatever little bits of ice were left under where it has been parked. I drove it today on dry roads without incident but I wanted the GG to double-check the taaaars because I know that when the temperature drops, the taaaaarr light sometimes comes on. The GG is going north and I am not and I just wanted to know that my Ninja’s taaar light wouldn’t come on in the next few days. I dunno. I love love love the Ninja but I am kind of thinking of what my next new vee-hickle might be. We’ll see…


January 2nd, 2017 by kayak woman

I try to throw my nose up in the air when it comes to memes and reposting them. Note that it isn’t hard to throw my nose up in the air because I have an upturned nose to start with. A very small one. No rhinoplasty needed. But memes. I can’t remember how many facebook friends I have but I doubt it is more than 200. I have only hidden posts from a few. If you are reading this, you are NOT one of those few. But I get tired of memes, not to mention reposts/shares in general. Okay, a celebrity dies and you immediately share the news. Do you not think that a whole bunch of other people have also posted this news? Not to mention that it is on the, uh, news media? Whatever the news media is these days…

Quizzes? I occasionally indulge in those. I cleaned up my laptop’s desktop icons today and deleted all of the quiz results I have saved via screenshot over the last few years. My metal is gold. I look Japanese. REALLY? But… Looking Japanese was my goal as a young child, REALLY! But I don’t look any kind of Asian except for what my dad used to affectionately (but not politically correctly) call my kind of slanted eyes “Chinee eyes”. Of course, the aminal I look like is a wolf (ooooh, I kinda like that). I am a clarinet (NOT NOT NOT but I think the quiz was written by a 14-year-old and NOTHING against clarinets or their players, Benny Goodman anyone?). I would totally survive a zombie attack. That zombie quiz absolutely cracked me up. When they asked how long a person could go without a shower, my answer was I take two showers a day (even though I don’t usually but I don’t like to be “unclean”). The quiz result said something about how I lived my life on my own terms and I definitely do that. Of course, I also work for the Benevolent Despot, who is a zombie slayer in his spare time (when he isn’t doing rabbinical stuff), so maybe I have learned a few tricks from him?

So I did this Instagram thing about best nine photos from 2016 and I actually like the result. My Santa collection and the Grand Traverse County Courthouse and a few yooper pics and milkweed from around where I work, and a whole bunch of birdies on an Ann Arbor freeway sign and a frog/fish pic and I cannot remember where I took the horse photo. Oh! Probably the Green Dot! Yay!

I guess we have the Rose Bowl on TV now but none of the home teams are in it this year so I think we are kind of indifferent. I have not driven my loverly old Ninja in a few weeks but it is full of gas and I will drive it to work tomorrow morning, after something like 10 days off. Hi Ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go!!!! I wonder what I do for a living… But I will figure it out 🐸

Smeagol eats mushrooms

January 1st, 2017 by kayak woman

Well, what else would you eat if you live in the underworld. What has it got in its pocketses? What has it got in its pocketses? Did Smeagol/Gollum really say “pocketses” or was that Radical Betty ad libbing when she read The Hobbit out loud to her kids (and any other kid who would listen) in the Old Cabin so many years ago. Radical Betty was good at reading out loud and I think she was my main inspiration for reading books out loud to my kids and my elementary school PIRATES and some WCC classmates (when the teacher asked me to read) and whoever would listen to me read out loud. Including Radical Betty back in the day of Indian in the Cupboard on the beach.

We have leftover mushrooms from our big small intimate family bash last night and we will eat them tonight along with other loverly leftovers.

I did *not* take my usual 0-skunk-30 walk this morning. I wanted to make sure our overnight guests, Pengo Janetto and cBear, were well nourished for their rocket trip back to their home in Florida. So I got up and was rattly-banging stuff in the chitchen by about 7:00 this AM. Unfortunately my beach urchins were sleeping on couches in the back room and were therefore vulnerable to all of the noise I was making in the chitchen to make breakfast for everyone.

The good thing about New Years Day 2017, at least in my little Planet Ann Arbor neighborhood, is that Mr. Golden Sun was out ALL DAY. We needed that. Pengo and cBear headed off to Fla and Mouse eventually went to work and the rest of us slodged around. I took a lot of mini-walks through the woods to see who was out there with what dog. And then a sunset walk down at the damn Dam. 🐸

Love you all and happy new year.


December 31st, 2016 by kayak woman

It’s been a long day and I am taaaared but my number one (by age) Amazon Woman pretty much saved it.

We got outta dodge (aka Hoton Lake) on the early side (for us) and after a few miles of somewhat messy roads on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway, the temperatures climbed precipitously (for this time of year in the Great Lake State) to around 45 and the entity in the picture made his presence known in full force. I can’t remember the last day we saw any more than a few watery glimpses of this entity and I was just about blinded by his brilliance.

I was feeling a little nervous about the New Year’s Eve party (or whatever) that I am “hosting”. I dunno why since it’s just us and our kids, npJane, Pengo Janetto and cBear but still. Amazon Woman 1 started texting me when we hit about Saginaw and she had the hors d’oeuvres already figgered out. Thank you! With that outta the way, my poor little brain MAY be able to focus on the rest.

We arrived at the Landfill just after Pengo and crew and we all walked down to the Griz for a New Year’s afternoon beer/whine and snacks, then home again. Aaaaannnnnd CRASH! The GG with a goat in his little Nap Nook in the back room. cBear with a penguin on the couch in the front room. Here’s the GG. I won’t post cBear 🐸

I don’t have much more to say but I have been feeling happy sitting here in the back room listening to Lizard Breath (AW1) and Pengo talking in the Landfill Chitchen as Lizard puts together our New Year’s Eve dinner. Well, except for the filet mignon. The GG and cBear will deal with that. I love hearing the cousins talk together in my kitchen. That is about all I can say…

Except my Mouse and npJane (*my* cousin) are here and the GG and cBear are awake and here they are grilling all of that filet. The GG is the one in the pink shoes.

The young folks are now downtown and we’re watching @Cmdr_Hadfield playing David Bowie on the space station on Youtube or somewhere. Thinking a bit about 2016, which I can’t describe as good or bad exactly, for us anyway. Weird might be a better word. We motored along through everything we had to deal with and we will continue to do so.

Love y’all and stay strong,
Kayak Woman

Sooper dooper yooper musheen

December 30th, 2016 by kayak woman

Where do I start? I slept all the way until 7:11 AM this morning. I have been slodgy about getting up at my preferred time lately and it has worsened here at Houghton Lake. I will have to get myself back on track because Tuesday morning, I will be dragging my sorry arse to WORK! Yes. Butt in seat and back to it!

So it was around nine when we finally got hooked up with breakfast, at Mikey’s, a new place in the old Big Boy where I once endured a meal with my in-laws who ordered frog legs and then complained because they didn’t look like the picture. I was pregnant at the time and it was not a fun occasion for me although it is quite entertaining after all these years. Mikey’s is notchyer grandpa’s Big Boy. They are focusing on fresh, local foods and I do not think you can get frog legs there. We have actually met one of the folks involved in this venture (on the North Country Trail, where else?) and we have enjoyed a few breakfasts there.

I hope Mikey’s succeeds and I will patronize it whenever I can, without abandoning Little Boots. It seems like all of a sudden, unassuming but good restaurants are popping up all over in the north country. And so we schlepped up for a beer/whine snacky kind of lunch at Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling today.


When I think of paddles these days, I think of kayaking, not canoeing (a canoe is a fight), but it needs to be said that the AuSable River runs through Grayling and there is a looooong tradition of canoeing and canoe outfitters in that little city. Anyway, we had barely sat down at the bar when the couple next to us noticed the GG’s backpack with its North Country Trail badges and things. They were trail aficionados and so an animated conversation ensued and many phone pics were shown. Other than that, it was a wonderful place, food, drink, and our lovely bartender, an upbeat friendly multi-tasker after my own heart. I loved her. Not the best pic but here is a little “nook” that you can sit in at the brewpub assuming you have the right number of people and arrive at the right time.


On the way back down to Hoton Lake, we hit up the Grayling Glen’s Family Fare for a few grokkeries. I had scoped the place out on way up because the Sault Ste. Siberia Family Fare is closing tomorrow (if I have it right), a victim of Walmart and the new Meijer that’s coming into town (and turned my little life upside down by changing the 3-Mile/Radar Road intersection from 3-way to 4-way. Whut?). Could the Grayling store be closing too? There were a lot of cars in the parking lot so we took a chance and I am ECSTATIC to report that THIS Family Fare is alive and thriving and advertising an upcoming in-store STARBUCKS! This is a good thing! (We’ll talk about my mixed feelings about the Soo Family Fare and Meijer some other time.)

Finally, one of our missions today was to get some NEW GAS to get the Hoton Lake snowblower going. I won’t even try to explain the backstory to that. It wouldn’t start earlier in the day and it was EVENTUALLY determined that maybe the gas was bad. I’m glad I’m married to one of the Courtois boyz because I could never figger this kinda stuff out by myself. But New Gas solved the problem as you can see in the next pic.


By the way, I inherited that sooper dooper yooper musheen from my old coot. He decided at about the age of 75 that he was taaaarrred of shoveling the huge dumps of snow that the yooperland often gets by hand and bought a snowblower. The GG and I are sitting here kibbitzing about whether this snowblower was the one he bought way back then. If so, it would be 23 years old now. It probably is. I guess it just needs New Gas to run. It has joined the fleet of motorized tools here at Hoton Lake and it gets used and my old coot would love that!

Snow drivin’ with[out] Miss Daisy

December 29th, 2016 by kayak woman

daisyDinner at the country club in the snow belt tonight and then a loooooverly snow drive home to Houghton Lake. Without Miss Daisy. She sat with me for a while as I watched some sort of hot judge show on TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV and I was fascinated. An interesting way for people with petty complaints against others to resolve them? Whatever. So it was a snow drive home and on the very last leg of the trip, we were following a state cop. He turned down our road and immediately stopped and turned his lights off and after we got home, the GG watched him sneak down the road with his lights off. I don’t guess he was after us but I dunno what he was doing. And now I don’t seem to be able to string two words together to save my life and that may only be partly due to the fact that I am distracted by watching The Princess Diaries on TV.

Oh, BTW, thank you to everyone who didn’t caterwaul to the nth degree about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds today. I recognize how talented they both were. I get the tragedy of a daughter’s early death preceding her mother’s death. Broken heart? Ya think? But. People die all the time. (I’m glad I didn’t die tonight when the big double-trailer semi passed us at a high rate of speed on a snowy freeway with whiteout visibility. Man, that was fun.) This stuff happens to everyone. My parents had to deal with a child’s death. He was 47 when he died. It likely destroyed my dad, who was 86 at the time and died nine months later. My mother The Commander motored on for another six years. The movie is winding down and I am out of words. But the GG is still shooting his blow-dart gun or whatever it is. Life goes on…

If it’s winter in Michigan, it must be gray

December 28th, 2016 by kayak woman

cfamhlI’m feeling like my pictures are getting to be very similar these days. Black and white. Yesterday? Beautiful trees / power lines, etc., at the Marathon Refinery downriver from Detroit. Today? Beautiful trees (no power lines) here at the CFam Group Home at Houghton Lake.

It is not all that cold here at Houghton Lake but the wind was biting when I took a walk down to the end of the point and back this afternoon and I put a pair of leggings on in between my tights and long wool skirt. The GG took a bit of a different walk back into the swamp and managed to break through the ice back there. The water is only about knee deep back there and there are trees everywhere so he was able to drag himself back up onto the ice without a problem. I wish I had a pic of his wet pants that but I was more concerned that he get those wet pants into the dryer here. We have a real dryer here these days. Back in the moldy old cabin days (which I remember fondly but have moved on), if you had wet clothing (and we did sometimes), you hung your clothing up in just a certain place to dry (and it did).

So, we drove up here today and apparently the UU and TBG are “in town”. I puzzled over that for a while but I think it means that they are in their luxurious home in Gaylord and I am thinking we will take them out for dinner tomorrow night. Gaylord is close enough to Houghton Lake to be “in town”.

I so love having relatives up and down the I75 SUV Speedway between the Planet Ann Arbor and the Cfam cabin and the moomincabin. Love you all.

Industrial tourism

December 27th, 2016 by kayak woman

patternsI wanted to go for a ride this morning. I was kind of anticipating the usual kind of ride that we take out into the country but it turned out that the GG had anticipated *meeeee* and had a different kind of plan in mind. “Do you want to take an industrial ride?” After a split second of something like “Whaaaaa?” I said, “Sure.” And off we went EAST for a change to check out some DayTwa suburbs that we don’t normally spend a lot of time in. River Rouge, for the most part.

The pic is from the outskirts of the Marathon Refinery (I *think* it’s in River Rouge) and I was struck by the juxtaposition of Ma Nature’s version of order and symmetry (trees) and mankind’s version of the same (towers), all in a kind of wiry format. It was another ugly gray kind of day, hovering around 30 but with a penetratingly cold wind. Somehow, this little day trip seemed like the right kind of thing to do.

Back to the planet in the early afternoon and I was reading my latest book The Nex Nix. I am enjoying this book greatly and I was greatly entertained to spot an anachronism. When you are taking a home-ec class in 1968 and somebody burns a pan down to the point where it melts onto the stove, it doesn’t set off a smoke alarm. We didn’t have smoke alarms in the schools in 1968. There were fire alarms stationed around the school but a person had to *pull* those. I could also say that the home-ec classes I took didn’t resemble anything in the book (think crappy, green scrambled eggs) but the description of that class and what happened in it was integral to the story and I am loving the book immensely so I am totally happy to excuse the anachronism.

Other than that? It is late and I am taaaared and so g’night.