Random bits of my so-called life.

Petoskey Pants

April 23rd, 2018 by kayak woman

I approach novels that are set in the North Country with some trepidation because the North Country is my homeland and so often books about it fall short in some way. When I say the North Country, I mean the yooperland and the Northern Lower, that is, not Alaska or Baffin Island or whatever.

I won’t dis any authors by name for a few reasons. For one thing I am not a book reviewer, just a baggy old kayak woman in the midst of jump-starting a reading habit after a few years of hiatus. Also, I have an idea that writing a novel is no easy task and I hate to put down someone else’s hard work. Finally, different strokes for different folks. For example, I could not stand Gone Girl and I am not interested in 50 Shades of Gray but if someone else enjoys them, I say go for it!

I have read some pretty bad books about my homeland. One was about a thinly disguised version of the town of Grand Marais, up on Lake Superior. All of the characters were the same if that makes any sense. Another was by a famous and critically-acclaimed author who had roots in the yooperland. I could not stand his books. The characters and the yooperland culture didn’t “ring true” to me and can I just say Arrogance? In spades.

I read “Sweetgirl” in a day. I could not put it down. It is set in “Cutler” and the surrounding area. Friends, Cutler is Petoskey. The author grew up there. Petoskey is in the Northern Lower, not in the yooperland, but it has been on my beat as often as possible since when I was a teenager and made shopping expotitions down there with The Comm and Radical Betty in the summer. Sak’s Fifth Avenue? Yes, at least there used to be one. I once bought a deeply discounted sweater there and wore it to death. I don’t know Petoskey as well as I know Sault Ste. Siberia but reading this book, I knew where I was, and whenever the Old Cement Plant was mentioned, I gave The Commander a little high five wherever she is, remembering when she expressed support for saving it. Alas, it was torn down and the land became “luxury” waterside condos for rich folks from “downstate” or Chicago or wherever.

At first, I was a weeeee bit annoyed that the author didn’t simply call Petoskey by its real name. But then I had a little moment of clarity, remembering that Cutler’s is a high-end kitchen store in Petoskey. I’m not sure if there’s a connection there or not but I laughed out loud anyway. If the author was making an inside joke, I got it!

It didn’t take me long to decide I loved this book. It portrays the underbelly of life in a beautiful northern lakeside town that caters to rich folks from “downstate” and Chicago. The characters and their lifestyles can be a bit hard to take, meth addicts living in squalor against the backdrop of a huge blizzard. Nevertheless, they felt real to me, right down to the imperfect grammar I grew up hearing in my hometown 90 miles north. Folks like that do exist and struggle in the beautiful Great White North alongside the Petoskey Pants Gals, which is what The Comm and Radical Betty called the rich women in white slacks that were a fixture in the gaslight shopping district during summers in the late 1960s. Summers of Love.

Geezers (or not)

April 22nd, 2018 by kayak woman

Our day did not start out very auspiciously for a Lazy Sunday. I swabbed out the tub like I do almost *every* day and… the water did not go down the drain. It turned out that a pipe somewhere waaaay down in the Landfill Dungeon was clogged with hair and sludge of unknown substance. It was a difficult task to clean it out but nevertheless, He Persisted and two hours later we were back in business. I think he is still trying to get his hands clean.

After that long ordeal, we faaaarred up the Ninja and took it out into the county for a slooooow ride. Trinkle Road out to Chelsea and Jerusalem Road back. And then downtown to Conor O’Neill’s for lunch. We told our fave bartender there about our ride and he asked if the shoulders were okay, which I didn’t process right away. Whut? I figgered he was thinking we were just a couple of old geezers out taking their Sunday drive. Actually, we have been taking “Sunday Drives” forever. We both love nice slow crawls along old gravel roads out in the woods. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve put up with each other for such a long time.

When our man came back with our food and drink, he surprised me by asking if we had been on bicycles earlier. Oh, that explains the question about the shoulders, I guess. And it indicates he didn’t automatically mistake us for geezers. Naw, we were out purring along in our cute little Honda Civic SI. Freshly cleaned inside and out as of yesterday, thanks to The Pensioner.

It is a truly gorgeous day today and I am expecting the trillium, trout lilies, and jitp to start popping up back in the woods any day now. A wee bit of rain would help. I also have to say how nice it is when you have adult children that are better at cooking than their mother is and one of them is over here uh, cooking.

Booooook blaaaaahg

April 21st, 2018 by kayak woman

Not sure what the last book I blahgged about was. I think it was The Great Alone about a dysfunctional family that re-locates to Alaska. I liked that book a lot even though I know very little about Alaskan bush country. Except I do know how to use an outhouse.

What was next? The Shape of Water. I was skeptical about this book but I ended up loving it. I wonder if I would like the movie as well. And then I read The Leavers. I liked this book a lot but I kind of wanted to know what happened to the characters at the end, even though they seemed to be on positive trends in their lives.

This afternoon I finished Artemis. It is by the author of The Martian, which I have not read. I haven’t seen the movie either. I’m a bit afraid to read The Martian because the idea of being stranded in a place with no trees or bodies of water totally freaks me out. But I might try to suck it up. I mean to read the book, not go to Mars. I LOVED Artemis. It is based in a city on our Moon with a protagonist who has lived there since she and her dad moved there from Saudi Arabia when she was six.. I loved all of the scientific/engineering stuff even though I didn’t understand all of the details. I also loved that there were interpersonal relationships. It isn’t all science! I actually think this would be a good YA novel.

Too [damn] quiet on the southern front

April 20th, 2018 by kayak woman

So, in May 2007, I met up with Uber Kayak Woman in the Yooperland. And one of the mornings we were there, I saw the Ryerson [fave family freighter] and then found a piece of purple beach glass underneath the purple kayak. This stuff seemed to me then like a good omen for the summer. It probably was but later on, I conflated that omen with the next phase of my life.

That phase involved working for the LSCHP at Cubelandia. I was taking the “capstone” class in our community college’s excellent web design/dev program and that required me to do an internship. I was matched up with a Corporate America type company. I had to take a drug test and everything. I was a bit flummoxed about this but I forced myself to suck it up and give it a try. I have always been terrible at job interviews and my first experience with the Cubelandia that I now know and love was kind of like WTF?

The LSCHP did offer me an internship and after a few months of working 12 hours a week, he offered me a full-time job. Did I want it? Well… No… but… yes… but… I struggled mightily with this decision but in the end, I accepted it.

It was the right decision. I can’t even begin to describe how much this job has meant to me and how much I care for the person who took a chance on hiring me all those years ago.

Missing that guy but know he will land on his feet.

Thank you for doing the laundry. Thank you for not folding my laundry.

April 19th, 2018 by kayak woman

I mean it! I was thinking that I (somebody) needed to do a load of laundry although I still had plenty of sweaters/skirts/tights/socks/undies. I didn’t get around to it and I guess I slacked off long enough that The Pensioner was in need of clean clothes because while I was at Cubelandia, he apparently put on his Suzie Homemaker cape and goggles and did a load of laundry. I was also happy that he didn’t fold and put my laundry away. I like to do that myself. Not that I am fancy about it, just that I have my baggy old bag OCD type routines.

Of course the GG is perfectly capable of doing laundry. He figured out how to do his own laundry at the age of 10. As the 5th in a family of 10, that was pretty much the best way to make sure you got your laundry done and back in your own dresser drawers instead of Jack’s or Betsy’s or whoever. If I have it right, Jack, the Twinz of Terror (GG and UU), and Betsy, constituted a group of Middle Children in the cFam.

I guess this is not simply a large-family thing because my own beach urchins also started doing their laundry around that age for a similar reason and there are only two of them. Of course, laundry was kind of a fun thing for them because every summer while we were at the moomincabin, The Commander and I took them to the laundromat once a week. It was great fun and sometimes involved lunch at a restaurant. Only one time do I remember the laundromat owner (who was a sorta friend of The Comm’s) sitting the very young beach urchins down and instructing them about proper laundromat behavior.

I *like* to do a certain amount of what used to be called “women’s” work. I like doing the laundry. I am a world class Dish Processor although I have learned to LOVE my Bosch dishwasher. I like to cook and grocery shop and I am good at maintenance cleaning, the everyday stuff like toilets and sinks, etc. So, I still do those things. The Pensioner has pretty much taken over the breakfast shopping for this place and he is also an excellent hopper if I come up with a mini grokkery list while I’m at work. And he is a great Man Cleaner, meaning he can *focus* on washing/dusting *everything*, pulling furniture out from the walls and emptying shelves and surfaces as needed. I try to stay out of his way when he’s on a roll.

He also does a lot of what used to be called “man’s” work like car stuff and lucky-shuckial trouble-shooting, which is what he is doing with the Lyme Lounge this evening. I will never ever ever ever be good at lucky-shuckial stuff. I am petrified about lucky-shucky. I am not good at car stuff either except that my fine-tuned musician ears will detect any off-sounding noise or vibration. Unfortunately, TP cannot always hear that stuff and arguments often ensue. Well, they used to. Since we started buying Hondas, we don’t usually have those issues (knock on wood). Do I want a new car? My Ninja is nine years old. I love my Ninja. I think I will keep it for a while. 6-speed manual transmission. 6-speed manual transmission. 6-speed manual transmission. 🧡🧡🧡

And all I had to talk about yesterday was the weather…

April 18th, 2018 by kayak woman

I will not write anything too specific about this on the Internet but it was a black day as Corporate America once again wielded a knife upon our little backwater braintrust office. We lost our fearless leader today, a person who took a chance on hiring me 10 years ago and has been a beloved mentor ever since. Even though I am older than this person, it feels like I am losing my father. The show must go on but it will be way too quiet over there from now on and somebody has *got* to download the Game of Thrones theme as their ringtone. That is all and I have already said more than is prudent to post, even on an obscure little paint-drying type blahg with nine readers or whatever.

🧡🧡🧡

Lather, rinse, repeat…

April 17th, 2018 by kayak woman

Ugh, ugh, ugh! Even your most stalwart yooperland transplant was grumbling this morning when snow was coming down to beat the band at 6AM and the radio was reporting horrible road conditions and accidents everywhere. Wet roads turning to ice overnight with snow on top? No thank you. We won’t even talk about the actual yooperland or the Northern Lower, both of which have been DUMPED on over the last few days.

I hemmed and hawed. Do I drive over to Cubelandia at my regular time or do I do a late start? Hem. Haw. I know that the Ninja (my preferred vee-hickle) can *make* it there but I know that if there is glare ice, I will be uncomfortable driving on it. Hem. Haw. I *could* do a late start? Start working from home and drive over when it warms up? Hem. Haw. But I have a 9:00 skype meeting that I would really rather be *in* my cube for. Hem. Haw. I *could* drive the Frog Hopper… Hem. Haw.

In the end, I drove the Frog Hopper. The roads turned out to be a mixed bag. Some roads were wet with bits of snow. Other roads were ugly sheets of glare ice. I was glad I had the AWD vee-hickle but even with that, on certain streets, I went well below the speed limit and hoped I didn’t have to hit the brakes or do something crazy with the steering wheel. The good thing? EVERYONE else was driving s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully too. Not one frickin’ Truck Hero Tailgater anywhere, not even on Cublandia’s squiggly icy roads. In the process of all this hemming and hawing, I managed to take my work badge (wear at all times) out of my laptop bag before I left for work and leave it home. Fortunately Building Mom was there to let me in…

What I got totally irritated about was that Old Man Winter told us that the temperature would go up to 40 degrees today. Not not not not. It is 34 now and I betcha it didn’t get any higher than about 36. And there is more snow in our forecast.

By the way, do you lather, rinse, *repeat* when you wash your hair? I do not. I doooooo wash my hair every single blasted day but many years ago, I decided it was ridiculous to wash my hair twice in one shower like the shampoo bottle instructions said to do when I was a kid. Now I’m wondering what kind of instructions my current shampoo bottle has for hair-washing. Hmmm, “lather, rinse, repeat” is gone but it does suggest I follow my shampoo up with conditioner. No thank you. Suave Ocean Breeze, BTW. I can hear Kaitlyn’s silent scream!

Danger Will Robinson!

April 16th, 2018 by kayak woman

Omigosh! There is a reboot of Lost in Space! Dr. Smith is a woman! Dr. Smith is a woman! Dr. Smith is a woman!!! I may need to watch this!

I am dating myself but I watched the original series WHEN IT WAS FIRST ON TV! Look it up if you dare. I fergit what night of the week it was aired or what time but I was young enough that I may have needed special permission from my parents to stay up late enough to watch it, at least the first couple years. Or did they give up by that time…

A few years later, I was a sophomore in high school and we had cable TV at long last and I came home every afternoon and did my homework in front of Lost in Space reruns. I *think* I had a card table set up in our shabby little living room in our shabby little bungalow on Superior Street. Did we take the card table down every night? I can’t remember. I certainly don’t remember it being a permanent fixture. Is a card table still “a thing”? I do not own one…

I was doing [mostly] geometry homework. I had Mr. Smith and he made us do formal proofs AT THE BLACKBOARD IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS, randomly, like KW, come up to the board. I was good at math but I DID NOT LIKE TO DO FORMAL PROOFS IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS. So I worked really really hard in geometry in order to not embarrass myself (but also because I liked it!). (Actually Mr. Smith didn’t call on me to do proofs very often. In hindsight, I think he knew how shy I was and may have been more interested in teaching a math aficionado like me geometry than embarrassing the heck out of me in front of the class.) I remember Mr. Smith’s class as stressful but he was also one of my better teachers.

Yes, I ate snacks while I was doing my homework and watching Lost in Space reruns. Didn’t you? My go-to snacks that year consisted of navel oranges, which I cut in half and sucked the juice and pulp out of, and potato chips (regular unflavored ones). Oranges and potato chips. Every day. What were your high school homework snacks? Or were you in the “My posse don’t do homework” group? 🐲

So, I had heard about the Lost in Space reboot and it sounded a bit intriguing but I wasn’t sure. Dr. Smith is a woman? I’m not sure I can imagine that slimy character played by a woman, except, well, yes, of course I can. But then Mr. Luv was talking about the reboot this morning. He was definitely NOT born until well after the original series ended but he *has* seen it. And he is watching the reboot and I got all excited and asked how he liked it and he does and then he goggled at me and said, “Dr. Smith is a WOMAN!” And then my work buddy FZ shouted out across the wall, “Danger Will Robinson!” I think I will have to check this reboot out.

If there was ever a good day to sit at a bar and read, it was today

April 15th, 2018 by kayak woman

I made it as far as the recycle cart this morning before deciding to bag my walk. The recycle cart is literally a couple of steps from the Landfill front door but it sounded like needles were falling out of the sky and everything was coated with a decent layer of ice. No thanks. Not putting Yaks on in mid-April, no siree.

We huuuuunnnnng around aaaaal morning. I slowly put a lasagne together, in parts and pieces, cleaning dishes and letting them air-dry as I went. Sauce, ricotta filling, sausage, and eventually assembled it around 5:00 PM.

We ventured out for a River Ride and lunch once the temperatures had warmed up enough that we knew the roads would be, well, not dry, but at least not icy. We ended up at The Session Room, where we managed to find bar seats (our preference when it’s just the two of us), despite an alarmingly huge number of vee-hickles in the parking lot. So we had a snacky lunch and an adult beverage and read books on our electronic devices. Finished with lunch, we exited into a deluge and we have a lake (or two or three) in our backyard.

It’s okay. This is the Great Lake State and you never know what the heck you are gonna get from Mother Nature next. And we are getting off easy down here in the Deep South (this time). It’s a lot worse for anyone north of about I96 or thereabouts and various family members are stranded on the west side of the state.

Cracks me up remembering hearing Canadian radio PSAs telling people something like “Don’t go snowmobiling/skiing/whatever. Go to a bar!” That being when the temperatures were waaaay below zero (Fahrenheit), like 25 degrees below. Same but different. I remember this from a time that the GG and I were scheduled to xc-ski in Canada with Radical Betty and Duck and it was 25 degrees below zero and we drove over to Canada in their Toyota(?), FREEZING the whole way and Radical Betty was STILL hot to ski but somehow we (us and Duck) talked her down off the ledge – with great difficulty. We went to Tim Horton’s instead.

Vulture Culture and Man-‘splainin’ out the wazoo (and some blasted woman-‘splainin’ too)

April 14th, 2018 by kayak woman

Well, first thing was the farmers market. In rain and cold and wind and I felt sorry for the guy I bought brand new garlic and the last fingerling potatoes of last year from. He really needed some kind of wind break. What do you buy at the farmers market on a bone-chillingly cold day in April in the Great Lake State. Besides what I already mentioned, lettuce, baby kale, pea shoots, carrots, radishes, spinach plus the usual coffee from Roos Roast and a trip through Monahan’s and Sparrow for fish and meat. As much to get warm as anything, we took a River Ride before going home.

So, lunch at the Griz was loverly today. I kept one ear open to @tmotu and Chris (he probably doesn’t tweet but who knows) man-‘splainin’ the state of the country/world to each other. I didn’t get involved. I did the xword and obsessively checked facebook. I did tweet a couple things. They were having fun and I didn’t try to break in to their convo too often.

A few days ago a Fin cousin sent a picture of our grandmother’s mother. I am not going to post that pic here because I don’t know where she got it and I don’t [usually] post pics unless I have permission to post them. I thought something like, that’s cool, but I was busy busy busy at work and it wasn’t until this afternoon that I looked at the photo again and saw my dad looking back at me. So that’s my dad, when he was a flight instructor in the WWII Army Air Corps. I always think of my dad as having a “traditional” Fin appearance (whatever that means). I never considered that he might also look like his *mother’s* family…

Segue to today when another Fin cousin asked what airplanes my dad flew back in WWII. I couldn’t remember, at least not exactly. We have records around here somewhere. My dad was stationed in various places in the American southwest throughout the war, training other people how to fly (and get sent to the South Pacific). For whatever reason, dad was not sent into battle. Until… Toward the end of the war, he was given orders to report to the South Pacific. As luck (for my dad (and me)) would have it, “we” dropped the bomb before he got flown out and he never left American soil.

Toward the end of my dad’s life, one of the beach urchins interviewed him on the phone about his war experiences. It was a high school project, you know the kind, interview an older person about their life. This interview was pretty hilarious. My dad got rolling about his army air corps career, talking about the planes he had “worked” on. The B29 bomber was one of them. “Biggest bomber in the world.” And he talked about enlisting. Dad said something like, “If you wanted a good job, you volunteered.” He wanted to fly and so he did. Throughout the phone interview, The Commander was rambling along in the background making various editorial comments. She married dad when she was 22 and lived out in the southwest with him during WWII.

My dad didn’t say (I don’t think) that my grandfather was on the draft board in Chippewa County and felt such huge guilt (I’ve been told) about sending other people’s kids to war while his sons were safely in college and medical school that he made them enlist. They both rose to the occasion.

Woman ‘splainin’? We are cooking beef stew tonight and I was questioned something about whether it was supposed to cook sloooowly or not. Yes, yes, yes. Otherwise the loverly stew meat we got from the Sparrow Market will be tough as all getout!

What’s for dinner?

April 13th, 2018 by kayak woman

Gaaah! What to plan? I am omnivorous but it seems like lately I just throw a hunk of protein (i.e., meat) into the oven or onto the stove or the grill or whatever and with a side of something white and salad and/or something green (asparagus is my current fave even though it is not quiiiite in season here), and call it good. It’s good. It’s fine to eat. It probably supplies all of the nutrients we need and then some.

But I am kinda bored. I want to get some of my youthful before-kids cooking mojo back. Not sure how to get there. I need recipes/plans that aren’t picky enough that I need to spend a lot of time reading them before cooking. And I do NOT want to come home after work and do a whole bunch of chopping, etc. I do *not* mind doing stuff like that on the weekend… I have a *lot* of cookbooks and the internet offers limitless possibilities. I am overwhelmed.

I will buy lettuce and micro-greens and radishes and stuff at the farmers market tomorrow. And meat and fish from Kerrytown and various stuff from the Plum Market. I will figure out what to buy but, if you are a Chief Cook and Bottle Washer who also works outside the home, what do you like to cook?

P.S. The Pensioner is a pretty darn good cook. In fact, he has taken over things like breakfast (on the few days we cook a breakfast) and he is a great grill master. But I like to hang out in my own chitchen at the end of the day and I like to cook and/or engineer dinner.

Re-learning how to get the a/c going in the Ninja

April 12th, 2018 by kayak woman

It was around 2:00 this afternoon when I received a text message that the GG and npJane would be meeting at HOMES brewery at 4:00 PM. For a split-second I thought something like, “Oh, that’s nice, my husband and my cousin are gonna go have a beer together.” And then I thought something like, “Wait a minute! This is probably something I-e-I-e-I can dooooo toooo!” So I sneaked over to Amazon Woman’s office and laid out the scenario. Do you care if I bag work early today? No. Git outta here, it’s a beautiful day! (I knew it would be okay 🐸)

HOMES was empty when we got there and it was actually WARM today so we sat outside. By the time we left, the place was totally overflowing with people. So much fun to get together with npJane and talk about life and all of the old stories, some of which npJane wasn’t around for because she wasn’t born yet or was too young to understand exactly what the heck was going on. Like when my family got our dog Tigger because I was terrified of dogs. I’ll tell the whole story about getting Tigger some other day (npJane wasn’t born yet) but I forgot to tell npJane that her moom Bubs was who named my childhood dog Tigger.

I opted out of a road trip to Florida this year as much as I love road-tripping down there. I love driving down through the mountains in Kentucky and Tennessee and hanging out at BFF’s loverly house in Atlanta. Facebook memories served up this pic from last year. We were staying at a beautifully refurbished retro motel on a Gulf of Mexico beach on Long Boat Key. We drove up to a “farmers market” at Coquina Beach, where we obtained this loverly artifact. Somehow we managed to remember to schlep it home to the Landfill and it now resides on a wall in our front room.

I am not using this entrance for the duration

April 11th, 2018 by kayak woman

It isn’t my usual entrance anyway. I usually enter from the Lunch Room because it’s closest to My Cube.

With all of the wildlife habitat available around Cubelandia, a goose couple has laid an egg directly outside one of the windows at Cubelandia. That is, Mr. Luv says there is an egg. I’m not sure if he has actually seen an egg (or eggs) or is just being dramatic. I cannot find any eggs, at least not from inside the window. With Daddy Goose goose-stepping around out there, I am not gonna go poking around in the vegetation looking for eggs.

It’s that time of year again. The geese are back (those that don’t leave for the winter, that is) and they are hanging out with their lifelong partners, laying eggs and protecting them. And so our annual cycle begins, except that no red wing blackbirds have pooped on the Ninja’s mirrors. That’s probably a good thing, as funny as it is to watch birds hanging out on your vee-hickle’s mirrors.

Throughout most of a meeting in a nearby conference room, this goose was fighting with his reflection in the window. I couldn’t easily get a pic from the meeting without messing with the blinds, which I thought might spook the goose. Guess what? The meeting ended and when I went out the inner door into the “airlock”, there was enough noise to spook the goose and it moved away from its reflection so still not a good pic.

Books? I finished “The Great Alone” (remote Alaska) in something like 24 hours. I loved it. And then… With some trepidation, I dived in to “The Shape of Water”. I knooooow. It is a movie. (Did it win an Oscar? I don’t know. Tell me if you know.) I don’t really dooooo movies all that much and I never pay much attention to the Oscars. But. Somewhere or other I read that the book came before the movie? Is that true? Not sure and don’t want to google. But I also read somewhere that it wasn’t the typical monster story and might be something I would like. So I downloaded it onto my phone and yes, yes, yes, I love it. I’m having trouble putting this book down.

Boggling cretin

April 10th, 2018 by kayak woman

Are you getting sick of me posting photos of April snowstorms? I’m not sure I am although I yearn to sit in the back yard in the afternoon without a few layers and a blanket or two. Yes it snowed again overnight but stopped by the time I walked this AM and I think it’s about maybe 42 degrees right now. I kind of didn’t care. Somehow I was transported back to the gentle spring snows of my childhood and this was a gentle snow. My sense of smell was involved in this memory but there was more to it than that and I’m not sure I have words for the rest of it. It had nothing to do with umami.

A lookback to the petty crime and scams happening in our neighborhood. Many people on our next door neighbor app are reporting a woman with or without children knocking on doors at all hours of the night asking for money for “milk for the children” (ours was in daylight and asking for asthma medicine, not milk). Reading these stories, I will not ever give money to anyone who comes to the door ever again, whatever their reason. Some folks may think I am not very “generous”. I would suggest to those folks that they ask restaurant workers who have served me how “generous” I am.

But. We *cannot* have panhandlers lunging at people in grocery store parking lots and we *cannot* have people knocking on doors in the neighborhood asking for money. My mother has been dead for a good while but I know she was nervous about living alone (although *she* never told me that, it was Barb who did). (There was a lot that The Commander didn’t tell me about.) It rattles me when someone rings my doorbell. I know that this isn’t very “neighborly” but 90% of the time it isn’t a *neighbor* at the door. It is someone looking for money in some way or another and I am not gonna give it.

Love y’all, KW

I dunno…

April 9th, 2018 by kayak woman

I have no clue what this is. I kinda think it has something to do with potholes but not sure.

It is April and there have been snow showers off and on all day and now the Twinz of Terror are on the phone talking about Floriduh stuff. I love how much my husband and his siblings and our Cfam inlaws get along so well… I don’t have anything much more to say tonight. Except love y’all.

Festifools

April 8th, 2018 by kayak woman

Okay, in the middle of the night last night, 1:32 AM by my alarm clock that I set ahead somewhere around a half hour (don’t ask), the Frog Hopper started honking like crazy. Whut the #*&@? We don’t know what set it off. I didn’t even know that the alarm was *set* to go off unless someone with a key (which would be meeeee or the GG) hits the PANIC button.

We do know that over the last couple years there have been intermittent reports of people rifling unlocked vee-hickles in the neighborhood. The modus operandi seems to be strewing the contents of the vee-hickle around the neighborhood and (sometimes) taking spare change. So not very threatening in the grand scheme of things.

But. I went out to the nextdoor neighbor app to see if there were any reports of car-rifling. I didn’t find any reports about that but I DID find reports of HOME INVASIONS. Three on Thursday night. No injuries and it sounded like the Home Invader was not very skillful at burglary or rape or whatever he intended to do. Still I am glad I didn’t know about it until now because I was Home Alone most of last week (blissfully spacified) and I’d’ve been FREAKED OUT if I had known there was a Home Invader on the prowl. Of course, the Home Invader entered through UNLOCKED DOORS and I ALWAYS lock the Landfill up *every* night and when I am Home Alone, I keep a car key next to my bed so I can hit the PANIC button if I hear anyone trying to get into the house. Knock on wood, this is as safe as neighborhoods get but any kind of person can be anywhere at any time and, well, knock on wood.

Like I said, we have no clue what made the car alarm go off. As much as I don’t want it to be because someone was trying to get at loose change or whatever, I also don’t want to be that it randomly set itself off. Like The Commander’s Ford Taurus used to do when we were up there luxury camping at Command Central while she was in the long-term care rehab facility. I did apologize to the neighbors, whose bedroom is a couple feet from our driveway. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again.

Oh yeah. This is not a polly-tickle post (well not really). This is the best photo I could get at this afternoon’s Festifool Parade. The parade’s focus is larger than life hand-made puppets. Some are polly-tickle, some are fantastical creatures, some I have absolutely no clue what they are. The Detroit Party Marching Band was in fine form today and folks in costume (or not) join the parade or just hang out. It is a wonderful free-for-all. One year the GG wore his gilly monster costume down there and women were hugging him left and right (to his great delight and my extreme amusement).

I did sign a polly-tickle petition today. It was to put Gretchen Whitmer on the ballot for our next governor. Yes, she’s a Democrat. Bite me!

I have a huuuuuge hangover

April 7th, 2018 by kayak woman

Oh, don’t worry. It is a BOOK hangover. Like when you finish a book you reeeeeally like and want it to go on forever and can’t figure out to do with your reading life next. Multiply that times EIGHT and then all of a sudden you are done (for the time being) and what to read next… … … I have been exclusively reading the Outlander series of books since December, so every time I finished one, I knew what to read next.

So, I was done… … … What do I read next? I have a billion books on my Goodreads wannaread list. I can’t remember why I added a lot of them so I approached my list with much trepidation. Two books stood out. One was “Florida” by Lauren Groff. I like her as an author and I love Florida albeit in small doses so I was intrigued by what she might write about it (more than she already has, check out Fates and Furies). Alas, that book has not been published yet, we’re looking at June. Another book that caught my attention was “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah. It’s about a dysfunctional young family that moves to a remote cabin in Alaska in the hope it will solve their problems. I loved another book by this author (The Nightingale, totally different time, place, and scenario) and had high hopes for this one. So far it is not disappointing me one iota. Disclaimer: I have never been to Alaska, let alone lived out in the “bush” through an Alaskan winter, so I have no clue whether this book portrays an accurate picture but I am enjoying the book *anyway*.

I have to crack up. We were at the Oscar Tango last night and for some reason I announced that I had finished the Outlander series, book 8, that is. The GG looked at me in wonder. Little did I know that *he* has also been reading the Outlander series. Not only that, he was apparently in a bit of a competition with me about who would finish the series first. Well, he is only in book 6. I was a wee bit snarky about that. Did he really think he could beat me in a reading contest? Well, maybe in some cases. He does enjoy reading non-fiction historical stuff (Russian revolution anyone?). I am not all that interested in that stuff but I am a dern good reader. I love that he is reading the Outlander series and that he couldn’t put book 6 down (on his kindle) at the Griz today.

I am not for the most part interested in non-fiction, at least not for now. During the years surrounding The Commander’s death, subsequent harassment from a sleazy lawyer, and my adjustment to my then new-ish job, I had trouble focusing on reading anything much at all. When you are going through all of that kind of crapola, you think you are thinking straight. You cook and clean and do the laundry wherever the heck you are, Planet Ann Arbor or moomincabin. And you drive back and forth from the yooperland to The Planet Ann Arbor umpteen billion times without getting into an accident ANYWHERE. Because that’s what you DO! When you finally get back home to the job you wonder whether you still have, you swipe your entry card in front of the door and you are amazed that your code lets you in the building and then you find that your boss has decorated your cube and has left a *ladder* in it and you know mostly by the fact that there is a damn *ladder* in your cube that you still have a job and people love you. But I know that I was running on autopilot.

Thanks to iBooks I can read on my phone anywhere anytime without schlepping physical books around. Goodreads (where I snag to-read books from my daughters) and a few twitter feeds (@bookriot and @electriclit are a couple) have helped me to get back into reading. A lot. I love it. I am not playing my flute… Sigh… I’ll get there…

It ain’t over ’til it’s over

April 6th, 2018 by kayak woman

I’m not specifically talking about Old Man Winter although as you can see from this early morning Planet Ann Arbor photoooo it certainly applies to him.

I’m talking about the Outlander series. I mean the books. I finished the 8th book last night. It had a happy ending but didn’t exactly wrap things up. Like what happened to [insert character here]. And how did [insert time traveler here] get [insert location and date]. And what about [insert character] that we met in person only in about the last 100 pages of the book. There has to be more…

And yes there is! I started googling around and a ninth book is in progress! And there’s a whole bunch more stuff out there. A series about one of the recurring characters (who I do not think is a time traveler). A couple of “companion” books providing all kinds of information *about* the series. I was intrigued by the companion books, especially that they apparently contain family trees, but in the end, I decided to explore some of the stuff lingering on my Goodreads list instead.

I don’t want to get *stuck* on a single author or genre, like when I was in about the second grade and I read probably every single one of the formulaic “biographies” on the children’s (that apostrophe is bothering me – right or wrong?) shelves of the Sault Ste. Siberia Carnegie Public Library, where big lions guarded the entrance. I was easily embarrassed as a child and I remember feeling that way when the librarian (especially when it was my eccentric great aunt) noted that I was checking out five (the limit) cheesy biographies *again*. Hey, I was *reading*, wasn’t I? I am long over my crush on Kit Carson.

When the ninth Outlander book comes out, I will welcome some old friends back into my life. I don’t *think* this post included any Outlander spoilers. Except maybe that it isn’t finished yet.

All right, suiting up and heading downtown for dinner at the Oscar Tango and maybe Fool Moon if we make it that long.

Persona non grata

April 5th, 2018 by kayak woman

To be sure, I have been persona non grata many times in my life as a wife and mother. It goes with the job. I am not usually persona non grata at work. Today, several times, I heard the LSCHP boom, “KW says it always snows in April!” He went on to opine that what I was thinking about was snow in the yooperland, not The Planet Ann Arbor. Of course it snows in the yooperland in April and EVEN IN MAY 👀. Ask me! Two years ago in mid-May, Old Man Winter lobbed a few snowballs at me on the way home from the yooperland and I encountered whiteout blizzard conditions in Gaylord (not to be confused with Grayling).

First. My statement that it always snows in April is true. If you go to Iqaluit (google it) in JULY, you might wake up to five inches of snow. I’m glad I don’t live in Iqaluit, as beautiful as it is. What I am clumsily trying to say is that snow happens in April. Somewhere on the earth on some of the days. Yes. It does. I didn’t mean to say that it snows EVERY day in April on The Planet Ann Arbor or even the Great Lake State in general. I meant to say that we do often get snow in April, sometimes significant snow. Usually whatever snow we get on the Planet Ann Arbor in April doesn’t stick to the ground or, more importantly for walkers and drivers, the pavement. It almost always melts fast enough that shoveling is not necessary.

At the moment, Canada is apparently drunk and sleeping it off in the Great Lake State (disclaimer: I am not the first person to say something like this). I love Canada dearly but, at the moment, I kinda wish somebody would sober it up and send it home. Because the reason the LSCHP was harassing me today was that the S-word is in the forecast tonight and there is no warm, y’know like 50+ degree weather, in the foreseeable forecast. We were supposed to get to 60 on Tuesday but I think we might have made it to 42.

Snow with a small accumulation is predicted for The Planet Ann Arbor overnight. The good thing about the S-word prediction? Everyone at work has been ordered to telecommute tomorrow. This is not because of the weather, rather because of a planned disaster-preparedness exercise. So if the driving is bad in the morning (and I doubt that it will be…), I won’t have to deal with it.

BTW, that photo is of Houghton Lake, where ice melted and is RE-FORMING now. In April. With luck, six weeks from now, we’ll be taking the pontoon bote over to the Tiki Bar.

Love, KW

Link Rot

April 4th, 2018 by kayak woman

So, The King of Cryptic Text Messages has me in a quandary once again. He is having dinner in GL tonight. Is it GayLord (queer nobleman) or GrayLing (old chinaman)? As we who were driving north through snowstorms from college back in the day used to call Gaylord and Grayling. Oh my, how “clever” we were. And politically incorrect. He is picking up the Lyme Lounge from its winter home in the Uncly Uncle’s garage. When is it coming home? I don’t really care. Actually I HOPE it isn’t tomorrow. But I would like to knooooow, so I can make sure my Ninja is not in the driveway when it does get here.

I went out to ababsurdo aka “watching paint dry” tonight and I kinda wanted to look back through my archives for a picture of [ho-hum] April snow because that is exactly what we are having today. Oh, it’s okay, the roads down here are fine but people keep kvetching about snow in April. I don’t like it either… Except… It almost ALWAYS snows at least once in April. And sometimes in May. Suck it up buttercup. This is the Great Lake State and Old Man Winter *rules* the weather in this state.

My archive links are not showing up. I’m not sure why although I have a clue in that when I went out to write a blahg entry it seems that a wordpress upgrade got interrupted. I am not going to deal with this in any way tonight. Eventually it’ll get fixed.

But then I got to looking at the stuff I am linking to on the right sidebar and… I have not clicked most of those links in a brazillion years. So I am in the process of cleaning them up. I [reluctantly] got rid of the G4 family members’ blahgs. Petrified Lava, Pneumatic Toaster, and Frizzlefry were some of the more interesting blahg names but all of them have been inactive for umpteen brazillion years, therefore I am going to remove a lot of those links. (I know those folks don’t care.) I am slowly going through the other links. I’m deleting all the weather links. We do all o’ that stuff on our smart phones now.

Anyway, goodnight.