Random bits of my so-called life.


February 24th, 2020 by kayak woman

Yes I have posted these pics before. Multiple times. Why am I posting them today? Well, because I don’t have much else to say I was partway home on a looooooonnnnnng slodge of a commute (1/2 hour or so to get the mile from Cubelandia to the notorious State/Ellsworth roundabout). I fergit when my pocket vibrated a text message but I was at a dead stop at a loooooonnnng light so I looked around for cops and then I snuck a look. I had already snuck my phone out to check what the you-know-what was going on with the traffic. I think Mooon Yooonit’s GPS thingy probably tells me that but I have not gotten used to that interface yet. Oh wait! I wasn’t even driving Mooon Yooonit! I was driving the Ninja. Jeebus. Just an old plug-in GPS in that vee-hickle. No traffic.

Anyway, this time it was a pic of a person dozing off in Fla and a request to find the old sleeping-on-the-bote pic. And so I did (note to self: MUST organize pics!) and sent it along. This li’l old putt putt bote was one of the Gumper’s “50” feet of bote (“some men have 50 foot botes, I have 50 feet of bote”). It was a nice comfortable little bote to putt putt up and down the shore at Hoton Lake for a cocktail cruise on a calm evening. Once when the GG was taking one of these little botes out, the Gumper was yelling “PUT THE PLUG IN!” over and over again. The GG could not hear him and kept waving goodbye over and over. Aloha. Apparently the Gumper KNEW that the plug was not in but the GG did not bother to look. Aloha. Aloha. Fortunately all was well in the end.

So the child in the top pic was so comfortable she dozed off. Not so the child in the bottom pic.

Oh man, snow tonight maybe? I mean, it *is* February and this is *Michigan*. But I am on the hot seat at two meetings tomorrow and I reeeeealllly want to be AT Cubelandia for those but I have to drive the Ninja, which is not a snow vee-hickle. But maybe it’ll be rain? We’ll have to see what happens.

Bouncing around

February 23rd, 2020 by kayak woman

Booooook blahg because y’all don’t want me to rant incoherently about polly-ticks every day. I have read a WIDE variety of books over the last few weeks…

“The Dispossessed”. Ursula Le Guin, Hainish “series”. Which isn’t really a series according to Ursula. I read this book back in the Jurassic Age. I’m not sure I understood it at the time. All I could *remember* is something about an arid moon and some political stuff I didn’t understand. This time I got to the point where I could. Not. Put. It. Down. I had a wee bit of trouble in the beginning but that was because I was getting reacquainted with it in the DNR lodge at Tahquamenon Falls and simultaneously dealing with a number of other folks, old friends and new. Ursula’s writing is beautiful but it can be dense. I wonder if I’d had an iPhone to read books on waaaaay back then, I’d’ve made more sense of it when I first read it. On the iPhone I can look up *anything*. Words I don’t quiiiiite know. Fancy maps of the moons (Urras and Anarres) of the double-planet system made by a super-fan. Etc. Ursula writes of the different political systems on each moon but stops short of promoting either one as being better than the other.

“The Water Dancer”. Ta-Nehisi Coates. I have read articles by this author but not his acclaimed non-fictional works. I am a WASPy type person from the yooperland. My only experience with the deep south is to occasionally drive by it on the I75 Snowbird Geezerway to Fla. I grew up with a small smattering of black folk, none of whom I had a personal relationship with. And I certainly don’t have any experience with slavery. But if you want to understand history from a non-WASP perspective you gotta start somewhere, right? I read some lukewarm reviews but I loved this book, magical realism and all. I loved that a beloved Black History Month character often used for prodjects in our fam was featured in the story. Wanna guess who it is?

“Into the Drowning Deep”. Mira Grant, pseudonym for I fergit who (or why a pseudonym…). This was a fun fun fun sci-fi thriller set over (and in) the Mariana Trench. I gave this 4 out of 5 Goodreads stars but only because I felt like there were some loose ends that didn’t get tied up. References to climate change were made but ultimately didn’t have much to do with the story. Other issues might be spoilers. But I’m now kinda wondering if this might be the first book in a series. If so, I think I’ll be on board for the next one…

“Arundel”. Kenneth Roberts. This is also a re-read for me and, as with “The Dispossessed”, I don’t remember much about it except for people wandering around in the woods. I am loving it this time around. Some of the WASPy type folks that I know are concerned that they believe libraries are pulling Kenneth Roberts books from their shelves because they are not PC. I am about a sixth of the way through the book and I do NOT see anything unPC about this book so far. In fact, maybe the opposite. But we’ll see and my thoughts about that may be a future blahg entry.

Love y’all, even those of you who disagree with me,

P.S. WASP is not exactly correct when referring to some of my people because a lot of my people are/were Catholic. But. WASC? No. One of my lots in life is engineers. Another is large Catholic families. I grew up next door to one and I married into another one. 🧡🧡🧡 to both.

Blissfully unaware

February 22nd, 2020 by kayak woman

Aaaarrrgh. I did not look at or listen to news media all day. A text late in the afternoon informed me (gleefully? 🐽) That Bernie had “won” the Nevada caucus. I have been listening to folk music on some satty-lite radio channel most of the day and I *still* have not checked Twitter (news sources) to find out what is going on in Nevada.

I did chores and errands in between reading a really fun book (Into the Drowning Deep). Sci-fi sorta stuff on Planet Earth (Mariana Trench) with blood-thirsty Mermaids and climate change issues and a smattering of pot-boiler stuff thrown in. (“Pot-boiler” being one of The Commander’s words for certain books.) In this particular book, the pot-boiler stuff involves a couple of characters who are resisting falling in love with each other and one of them says something like, “This isn’t the Love Boat”. Flashback for me to when the GG and I used to go to Hoton Lake before we were married and one night we were settling down for the night in the fold-out bed in the front room and Love Boat came on the TV and I was like, “Love Boat!” I enjoyed that show at the time and he learned something about me that night. At any rate, this book is a good read.

Oh yeah, Nevada. So Bernie won or so I’m told. I will vote for anyone (including Bernie) who is nominated to run against Trump. I STILL don’t understand why anyone believes that the Orange Baboon cares about anyone or anything except himself (and maybe Ivanka). I just don’t get it.

That said, I am underwhelmed by the roster of candidates that the Democratic party is putting up. I agree with Bernie’s policies, at least some of them. Who doesn’t? But in reality, they are not going to fly, at least not in the short term. If he ends up running against tRump and actually wins, not a whole lot will change. But I do not think he will beat the Orange Baboon because I don’t think a lot of people who might be on the fence will vote for his platform even if his policies could benefit them. I’m not sure being “not Trump” will make Bernie win but also not sure the other democratic candidates could win either. But I WILL vote for whoever runs against the Orange Baboon.

Okay, so here is this loverly xmas ball display down on Chapin Street that I saw on my way to The Griz last night. Color and light!

P.S. I STILL have not looked at NV caucus results.

Late winter artifacts

February 21st, 2020 by kayak woman

I dunno if “late” applies to our winter just yet. There is another month of “official” winter before the vernal equinox but around here you never know when Old Man Winter is gonna stop throwing snowballs.

For whatever reason the usual collection of artifacts at our little woods gained a shopping cart. The garbage cart and can are there so people can put their dog poop somewhere. There are plastic bags stuck here and there into the chainlink fence surrounding the woods in case you fergit to bring yer own doggy bag. I personally don’t get too close to the garbage cart/can because stinkyyyyy. I dunno what the deal is with the shopping cart.

We went to the Griz for dinner tonight. We expected porterization but that did not happen until a phone call connected us. We were sitting at a table in Jenel’s bar but that apparently wasn’t successfully communicated so our friends were sitting at a table in the restaurant proper. Eventually we got connected and that is about all except that this election season is shaping up to be very difficult here in this divided house. I mean really. Am I for “open borders”?

It isn’t a yes/no question for me. For one thing, define “open borders”. I am for responsible, well thought out, HUMANE immigration policy. What are the REQUIREMENTS? How do we build out a reasonable policy using those requirements? I’m not sure how we proceed at this point but ripping children away from their parents and putting them in cages is NOT right in my opinion. And YES, the pics I saw represented cages. And maybe it was a policy that began under Obama’s administration but he did NOT implement it in a wide spread manner. Not like the Orange Baboon and the “lock ’em up” philosophy he applies via sledgehammer to people who he deems lesser than he. Hoo boy.

G’night, KW

Inundated with ocean pics from both coasts

February 20th, 2020 by kayak woman

And that’s a good thing. “Everybody” is traveling right now. PacNW, Crazy Old Fla (keys), and MMCB1 is Down Under [again🐸🐽]. Not sure if MMCB is close to a coast and she typically doesn’t send pics while traveling. I get to see ’em when she gets back. This pic is Fla, the Atlantic side of the keys. I didn’t take it (I am not there) but I’m guessing it’s okay to post it. A small shark was caught on this bote trip but it was thrown back.

Me? I had the wonkiest commute this morning. Couldn’t get outta my neighborhood to save my life (left turn onto a street recently put on a “diet”). School bus going by so s-l-o-w-l-y that by the time it got past, traffic was coming from both directions in spades. Finally a saintly Subaru lady let me in. Another school bus *sitting* *forever* with no visible kiddos waiting to board. Construction guy making me stop so he could maneuver some sort of big doodly into position. Oh heck, I’m not waitin’ fer this. I *can* hang a louie here so I’ll just jump down to Stadium by the post office and back up at Pauline. It’s two right turns, roight? Yeah, both of them with “No right turn on red” so I w-a-i-t-e-d. How much time did I save? Probably not much if any. The last straw was somebody on Oak Valley going 10 miles BELOW the speed limit… On bone dry pavement with sunshine… I am NOT [usually] a fast driver. I tend to hang out around the speed limit unless it’s a snow drive. But jeebus!

Green Acres re-runs are easing me into sleep on school nights these days. It’s a hilarious show in general but two nights ago we hit absolute gold. There is an episode where Lisa (who is NOT a good cook) made a “hot cake” in the shape of the head gasket that they needed to fix a decrepit truck they were driving that had just blown the head gasket. This was coincidental. What I remember about this episode is The Commander (a GOOD cook) laughing her *ss off just about to the point of tears. You can find clips from it on YouTube by searching something like “green acres head gasket”.

Then last night at one point the Douglases (not sure if the plural is correct) were in bed. Oh, don’t take that the wrong way, this was 1965-1971 prime time TV. They were settling in for the night. Oliver had goose-hunting style pajamas on and Lisa had what I think is properly called a negligee (accents omitted). I fergit what led to this but the GG referred to her outfit as “women’s bedclothes”. Say what? Myself, I wear a Land’s End nightshirt so I guess that is “women’s bedclothes” too. Roight?

P.S. It’s weird that when I remember The Comm laughing about the head gasket, I picture the Dillon Street living room. But they didn’t move there until 1973 so we must’ve been watching that episode in our shabby little Superior Street bungalow. She did have a similar laughing fit up on Dillon though. It was the gong show and there was a “contortionist” with spangles all over her crotch. Crotch. The Comm’s word. Oh mooma. LOL.

Point of view

February 19th, 2020 by kayak woman

This particular view is ingrained in my brain. I have been looking at it for more years than I am strong enough to count. I don’t remember the first time I saw it. I was something like five months old. What I *do* remember about the moominbeach from when I was five months old is that I was lying in the back of my family’s old black ford whatever-it-was and hearing the susurration of the pine trees surrounding the moominbeach. For the first time. Yes. I really do remember that. No car seats then.

The land form sticking out on the left is Iroquois Point. It is on American soil. There is a lighthouse there and when I was a kid we could see the light at night. That lighthouse (like many others) is no longer in service for navigation although you can still climb it. Nowadays the ships use more sophisticated navigation technology, GPS and whatever, to navigate the St. Marys River.

Then there is Guano Round Island in the middle. It is close enough to our beach for a quick kayak ride out and back and many people have swum back from there (with an accompanying bote of course).

To the right of Guano Round Island is Gros Cap. It is on the Canadian side.

When we were at Tahq, a lovely Canadian woman sat at our table. I wouldn’t have known she was a Canuck except that I detected a wee bit of an accent. I grew up hearing Canadian accents both from going to Canada and because my paternal grandparents were both born in Canada. Some people insist that ending a sentence with “eh?” is a yooper thing. I contend that it is more Canadian. Disclaimer: I’m sure that most Canadians think that however I speak is some kind of an American accent. I do add “eh?” to the ends of my sentences sometimes but that’s just an affectation.

Our Canadian friend lives (I think she said) in the Gros Cap area and so I had to show her this pic of my lifelong view of Gros Cap. I was probably more “emotional” about this than she was but she was very graciously polite to this baggy old bag. Oh, I wasn’t public about my emotions. It was just like here is my beloved view of your neighborhood that I’ve been looking at since I was born.

High school musical (not)

February 18th, 2020 by kayak woman

A blahggy friend of mine ‘fessed up that she was not crazy about musical theatre. I am not crazy about it either. But in my case it’s a bit complicated.

Lemme see, how do I count the ways… 1) I do not like to *sit* in a theatre through *anything*. 2) Musical comedies are weird! People are talking and all of a sudden they are singing and dancing. 3) I *usually* do not like the music although sometimes rock operas are okay. I have only seen two live performances of those (Jesus Christ Superstar and Forbidden Planet).

Planet Ann Arbor BIG high schools (we have three of them) do at least one musical a year. I attended *one* a long time ago because our own Goose was the stage manager. My experience with that show is legendary. At half-time, the teenage girl next to me asked her friend, “Do you have any deodorant?”. The friend did and the next thing I heard was, “Lalala, I’m putting deodorant on in a crowded theater.” At the end of the show, the GG (who had not heard this convo) piped up with “Smells like a locker room in here.”

I get why high school theatre groups do musicals but I won’t go there tonight except to document my own kinda weird but wonderful experience when my own high school produced a musical back in the Jurassic Age. It was Hello Dolly. Did I audition for a role? NO WAY!!! But I did play in the pit orchestra. And boy oh boy, did I play. I was a flute/piccolo player. I played first flute and piccolo AND… I also played first violin. I did not play an actual violin. I played the violin part on my flute, switching back to my regular flute/picc part when I needed to, like if there was a solo or something. Once a multi-tasker, always a multi-tasker.

We did not have an orchestra when I was in high school. We had a new freshman student who played the violin and thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread and even plucked all of her eyelashes out to prove that point… Our band director dissented and enlisted meeee to play the violin part (on my flute) in addition to flute/picc parts. I think he assuaged her ego by putting her on the bass fiddle, which couldn’t really be heard under the cacophony of our amateur pit band.

I played in pit orchestras a number of times years ago. In college and a few times here on The Planet Ann Arbor with the Cosmic Opera Guild and a few other groups. Musicals and operas have always been more fun to me when I am involved. Playing in pit orchestras is FUN. There is usually NO SPACE and if you play the flute (like I do), that means you have to compromise your posture so as not to hit someone else in the face with your instrument.

But I am not all that crazy about most musicals.

A tour through our Polar Vortex winter on the Ice Road Asteroid (Ann Arbor 2014)

February 17th, 2020 by kayak woman

First, this is the sidewalk in front of The Landfill. It looked like this most of the winter. That is NOT usual for the Planet Ann Arbor. It looks exactly like the sidewalk in front of my shabby little childhood bungalow in Sault Ste. Siberia. Us kids used to walk on TOP of the snowbanks.

We used to dig caves in our snowbanks too. This was on Washington Street and I wonder whose parent grew up in the yooperland or somewhere similar and helped their kids do this. Or maybe some enterprising kiddo figgered it out all on his/her own.

This is Cubelandia on a day when the forecast was 45 degrees. We were all ecstatic about that. Instead we got a blizzard and thundersnow.

It was sunny this day but at the front of this loooooong line of vee-hickles heading out of Cubelandia is a stoplight at the top of a very slight incline. Many folks could not get through the light when it turned green. Spinning taaaars? Apparently our own Farmer John helped push a number of vee-hickles through the intersection. I had the Frog Hopper (AWD Outback) and some rusty yooperland driving instincts so when I *finally* got to the light, I did not have a problem.

And here is a road NOT traveled, even with the Frog Hopper. It’s a back road out in the county somewhere. I can’t even remember where. There is a steep downhill, then a steep uphill on the other side. We encountered a person walking toward us whose vee-hickle slid off the road somewhere down there and he couldn’t get up either side. I am so glad we turned around at this point. I was freaked out just looking at the “edge”.

Here is the ice just outside my door. I wish Keen still sold that particular red color of sandals.

We managed to get to Hoton Lake one weekend and the GG lost his iPhone in the process of hauling all of our crapola into the cabin. Thanks to Find my iPhone, we recovered it A COUPLE HOURS LATER under the snow. IT STILL WORKED!

Here is yer fav-o-rite blahgger looking forward to summer and kayaking and pontoon bote rides to the tiki bar.

Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules

February 16th, 2020 by kayak woman

Well, at least the Twinz of Terror have never exactly followed rules. There was the time that a nun confiscated one of the GG’s possessions and he subsequently scouted out the school the next morning, evaded the janitor, and recovered his possession. I am probably not telling this story accurately. He can certainly correct it *if* he bothers to read it. He doesn’t always read my blahg and that is fine with me. I don’t think he can keep up with it.

So Valentine’s Day in the Jurassic Age… I would buy fine chocolates from Kilwin’s for everyone (the GG, the kids, and my parents). I would also often make fiber arts creations for the beach urchins. Mini-quilts and little beaded bags, etc. Once when the GG and I were doing the work time-sharing thing, I got my wee girlies into the car and then I said, “Oh I fergot something”. I ducked back into the Landfill and put out little Valentine gifts on the table. When the GG brought the beach urchins home, he pointed to them and asked, “Are those presents for little girls?”. Yes they were.

Fast forward. Kids grow up and they aren’t always home even for major holidays like Thanksgiving and xmas (which is okay!). Valentine’s Day? What? The GG still loves to commemorate the day. I think it is partly because it is his mom’s birthday, the beautiful Grandma Sally.

So on Friday he surprised the older beach urchin down at her work in DayTwa. Her museum was more or less closed that day because a new installation or whatever was underway. The GG walked right through the door and all of it and people were kinda going “Whaaaa? Who is that?”. Lizard Breath: It’s okay, it’s just my dad. Rules? I don’t need no stinkin’ rules.

The GG always makes me a handmade Valentine’s Day card and so I always try to give him something. This year it was a small box of Sees candies from their installation at the Plum Market. The bourbon in the pic is from our older beach urchin. We picked it up at the Plum yesterday. And then the Bucky Beaver T-shirt arrived so I added that to the stuff on the reading chair. It is not in the pic.

Old dog, new trick

February 15th, 2020 by kayak woman

I have transferred a whole lot of the chores of my life to my iPhone. I’m not gonna list them all but, like a lot of other folks, I use the internet for all kinds of things I used to have to do by hand. Today for the first time, I took a Lyft.

The GG was off hiking in O-haaa-o with his girlfriends today and the older beach urchin came over to visit her taaaarrred old mooma. We walked down to the Griz for lunch and then hoofed it up to Literati. The beach urchin bought some boooooks and yer fav-o-rite blahgger wandered around reading the staff reviews of books that she’s already read or are on her TBR list. I *almost* exclusively read books on my phone. I know all of the pros and cons surrounding this issue and I say, ifya wanna read physical books, GO FOR IT! If not, read ’em on yer kindle or your iPhone.

Anyway, after that? “We” ordered a Lyft! We rode with Pamela and it was an exciting first Lyft ride because something was going on down at the homeless shelter that involved multiple emergency vee-hickles (like 4-5 plus another faaaar enjin comin’ down Huron behind us). I dunno what was happening but we got past that and we helped point out to Pamela (who is a new Lyft driver as of a week ago) that Dexter is a more direct route to the Plum than Jackson. It was a great ride and I haven’t downloaded the app yet but it’s on my list.

I’m not sure if even now you can get Uber/Lyft in Sault Ste. Siberia but I can’t help thinking that a similar kind of service geared toward people like the Comm might’ve helped her get around after I had to lock her car up in the moomincabin garage. (I have to note that I let her keep car keys, garage door openers, and helped her replace her driver’s license the day she/we lost it during a visit to her house. Dignity!!!!)

Anyway, we dropped off a special mouse mug at the Plum and then we walked home. Er, home for me anyway and I suppose home for the beach urchins, given that they were born and raised in this house.

We ended the afternoon sitting on the Green Couch, talking and sharing pics and videos of cute aminals and whatever. The Green Couch is in approximately the same location as where the Reading Chair was when the beach urchins were small enough to sit in my lap there. I couldn’t find a pic of meeeee reading to a beach urchin in the Reading Chair but I did find this one of the older one feeding the younger (newborn) one a bottle and “softing” the newborn baby’s head.

Ding ding ding ding dingdingdingding dinnnnnnnnggggg

February 14th, 2020 by kayak woman

Apparently Mooon Yooonit goes waaaaay beyond a polite little reminder to buckle your seat belt into a long continuous dinging sound if you do not buckle up. I won’t go into detail about how I know this. I will just say that if you want to defy the law and stay unbuckled in yer own vee-hickle, that’s fine with me but if you are a passenger in MY vee-hickle, you WILL wear your seat belt because if we get stopped and you are not buckled in, I will get the ticket.

I am dead taaaaarrrred tonight. It was a long day of meetings, one of which ended up lasting three hours. And a performance review. Which was fine and I wouldn’t even mention it except that it marks the second time in my life that someone has used the word “glue” to describe one of my strengths at my job. What that means is that I have an odd, un-quantifiable little talent for remembering little bits and pieces of things and if I don’t remember them off the top of my head, I am good at dredging them up PDQ. I do this kind of thing almost to a fault, especially when it overflows into my personal life. Like it can drive me to distraction when people go back and forth speculating forever about something that either has no answer or is easy to look up. Like, is Soupy Sales dead? For instance.

We are not sappy romantic people (or at least I am not) but we did a different thing and drove to a neighboring town to porterize ourselves at a Valentine’s Day dinner at a refurbished old hotel. It was great but it was a bit long for me and more food than I needed, especially since the 3-hour meeting pushed the normal time I eat lunch out an hour and a half so I was not really hungry to start with. I took half my prime rib home in a box and it’ll be a great little lunch sometime this weekend but prob’ly not tomorrow because I think I am doing the Griz.

And with that? G’night!


February 13th, 2020 by kayak woman

Beware, breast feeding stuff ahead. Do not read if you are squeamish about that stuff

Another weird interaction I had this weekend that has to go onto the blahg because WTF? I was sitting at the Den of Iniquity Tahquamenon Falls Brewery with friends and there were some women across the table that I did not know. My ears pricked up when one of them stumbled over the term “lactation consultant”. Being meeeee, I couldn’t help but enthusiastically and warmly (I thought) point out the correct term. I was puzzled about this because I couldn’t exactly tell how old these women were but they were definitely of an age where they could well have grown children and possibly grandchildren. So I was surprised when one of them immediately shot back with, “How would you know that term?” This was a person I didn’t know from Adam Eve, so I was totally dumbfounded and responded something like, “bdah bdah bdah, I am a MOTHER???”

I mean… … … I fed babies more years ago than I am strong enough to count but lactation consultants were around even back in those dark ages and I knew what they were so I struggled to figger out why these women couldn’t come up with the title. Fortunately the conversation veered off quickly, leaving me in the dust of whaaaaa? I didn’t ask any of these women if they had children.

I was very fortunate in that I did not need to consult a lactation consultant when I had my children but it is and has been an honorable profession because people who want to breast feed do sometimes struggle with it for various reasons.

I am here to say that *I* was squeamish about breast feeding in my youth and even when I became pregnant with my first daughter. I was formula fed myself and even given cow’s milk at something like three weeks old. I wish I could ask The Comm to confirm that but obviously I can’t. But that’s what she told me many times.

I got over my squeamish breast feeding feelings PDQ. I was very successful with breast feeding and have been a strong advocate for it ever since. With the CAVEAT that it does not work for everyone, even with the services of a lactation consultant. I don’t think anyone should ever feel stress or shame about how they are feeding their babies. What’s important is that the baby is fed adequately and the mother is not stressed out by folks who try to tell her what to do, etc.

Speaking of long johns base layers

February 12th, 2020 by kayak woman

I got “in trouble” over the weekend for taking my smartwool “base layer” off in the Tahq DNR lodge living room right in front of a whole bunch of (mostly old) people of different sexes and I dunno who else, god and some of his cronies maybe. I was told I should have done that deed in the bathroom.

Well, okay, I was wearing a long wool skirt over my base layer and I tugged the base layer down without “hiking up” my skirt and then grabbed at the lower end of it when the waistband got far enough below my knees that I could pull the whole thing off. AND I had tights on underneath everything, so NO ONE saw even the teensiest tinesiest bit of skin, not even my well-turned ankle. I would’ve *dived* for the bathroom if I’d had any inkling that a wardrobe malfunction was imminent.

I had actually figgered that no one was watching me do my minor bit of stripping. Our group is (mostly) past a certain age and we really do NOT CARE and I don’t think most of those folks noticed. The younger folks (who we are HAPPY to have) were busy gabbling away, which was WONDERFUL. They certainly weren’t paying attention to me pulling my base layer off under my skirt at the other end of the living room.

You’ve come a long way, baby!

February 11th, 2020 by kayak woman

So, I think I was about eight when the first photoooo was taken. It’s at Tahq in the winter with The Commander and The Engineer. I remember that jacket and *maybe* the boots and *maybe* the skirt. Red mittens? I’m sure I had a few pairs of those and I think The Comm made them. I also had store-bought mitts and glubs. This was not Little House on the Prairie.

I can’t see/don’t remember what pants I had on under my skirt. I don’t remember having any particular aversion to wearing pants back then (I even sorta remember a fave pair) except that I did NOT like to wear them under skirts. If I wanted to wear a skirt to school in the winter, there were arguments! Long underwear? I never had any. My parents had these fugly padded satiny-looking outfits that they wore IN THE HOUSE sometimes, embarrassing me to no end.

And yes, when I was a kid up in the yooperland, girls could wear pants to elementary school! But not junior high or high school. I can only guess “they” had concerns about “little chickies” getting their knees frostbitten. Not sure why “they” didn’t worry about us *teenage* girls. I can clearly remember walking to high school in minus 32 degree weather, wearing a mini-skirt and nylons. Oh, not that I would’ve changed my planned outfit just because of the weather.

That all changed when I went to high school. The student council spent my whole freshman year trying to change the dress code. I think some of the main issues were whether boys could wear shirts that weren’t tucked into their pants and how high above the knee was too short for a skirt. Girls only, of course and I got in “trouble” for violating a few male teachers’ inability to measure an inch by eye.

I can’t imagine any of my male classmates wearing a skirt to school back in those days. In my kids’ day, a male student showed up in an anatomically correct clitoris vulva costume on Halloween (I think see comments). He got into the news media but I can’t remember if he got in “trouble”. But that was a totally different high school than the one I went to.

Anyway, I can’t remember all the details of the dress code that got hammered out that year but sophomore year, girls were allowed to wear “pantsuits”. That didn’t necessarily mean Hillary-style pantsuits although I kinda almost wish I had a white one. It meant *nice* non-jean pants with matching tops. I promptly sewed myself some.

The kicker was that the NEXT year (my junior year), we moved into a long-awaited new school building. Dress code? Out the window. Jeans? Fine. Hot pants? No problem.

Fast forward. The second pic is pretty much what I wear for winter walking nowadays. It looks kinda the same except a bit less colorful. It is DEFINITELY more hi-tech than the stuff I wore when I was eight. Nowadays? On the top? Feather-weight jacket over polartech vest with turtleneck underneath. Bottom? Tights, smartwool leggings, and that long gray wool skirt. Dressed like this plus a balaclava, I am WARM!

Snowshoeing at Tahq this weekend, I encountered a couple people who were kinda wondering if I was warm enough, y’know, wearing a skirt and all. I reassured them that I was well layered. Over the weekend, I heard a lot of folks jawboning away about clothing and how to layer up. I don’t need to talk about it, I just do it 🐽

Back on them thar tubes and rest of story

February 10th, 2020 by kayak woman

Because I am sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath to hear whether Kayak Woman was successful in her mission to find tights, I am here to tell you that she DID and she found them at the Gaylord Woldemort. Nowadays it is hard for KW to buy tights under duress in an actual bricks-and-mortar store.

The only form factor Woldemort had that looked like it would be OPAQUE enough to actually provide a layer of warmth was also labeled “shape wear”, which is not her fave. Nevertheless, she persisted and, after carefully studying the size chart, bought four pair in black, the only color, crossing her fingers as she inserted her card into the self check-out musheen. The tights fit just fine and KW did not feel like she was being squeezed by a vise (whew).

Of course our final destination was Tahquamenon Falls for our annual meetup with our North Country Trail buddies – folks from two (count ’em) chapters of that organization showed up this year and we rented both lodges to accommodate everyone.

My first experience on my new snowshoes (Friday afternoon) was not very successful and I ended it when I fell. Oh don’t worry, it was not a spectacular or catastrophic fall, just kind of a slow collapse into deep snow. I was on new (unfamiliar) snowshoes and NOT on any kind of trail and the snow was kind of icy/slippery (not my fave), and there was a snuffleupagus RIGHT ON MY TAIL! And I think I stepped into a “hole”. I decided to bag it and headed back to the lodge to put my lasagnas and garlic bread together. I ENJOYED being space-ified for a couple hours.

I felt discouraged after Friday’s aborted hike but Saturday was much better and I did four good fast miles. Although I was with a large group of people, I was able to separate myself from everyone (including the snuffleupagus, who was off with one of his girlfriends 🐸) and managed to regain my “snowfeet”. We had lunch at the falls brewery that afternoon, then everyone met up for chili, etc., at our lodge (the larger one). I bagged the lantern trail that night by proclaiming introvertia. I knew that I would want to return to the lodge before the Twinz of Terror did and they would be all “Oh, just a few more minutes”, and then proceed to talk up prospective hikers/trailer maintainers for the next half hour. Nope. It was okay, a few others stayed “home” too.

People were all over the map about what to do yesterday and I wasn’t crazy about either plan. I mean, one of them was to hike the trail between the lower and upper falls, which is difficult even in the summer nowadays and I won’t even begin to try to describe what it’s probably like during the winter. Rumor was that the steep uphills had to be more or less climbed and “ice” was mentioned. Nope. I ended up totally doing my own thing, which included walking down the 94 steps to the upper falls (in the pic). I have been there umpteen gazillion times in my life but yesterday I enjoyed that it was almost deserted. That is rare in this day and age. And no one ended up doing the dangerous hike between the falls with the ice climbing, etc.

A lot of people left yesterday (Sunday) and the tentative plan was for the remaining seven to meet in our lodge to eat leftovers for dinner last night. Around mid-afternoon Pat and I looked at each other and one of us said “brewery” and the other said “Yes!”. That’s what we ended up doing and that was a GOOD idea because it allowed us to empty and clean the kitchen last night, making it MUCH EASIER to get outta dodge this morning.

It was snowing to beat the band during dinner last night and I was my usual Nervous Nelly about what our drive would be like today. I hadn’t looked at any kind of weather forecast since something like Friday morning. Snow in the UP? Kinda okay. Snow all the way down to The Planet Ann Arbor? Nope. When I went to bed last night, I looked out the window and there was the BRILLIANT waning gibbous moon. A good omen in a clear sky.

Indeed the driving was decent today. I endured Patriot Radio almost the entire time (except I did some squeaking when somebody put Kellyanne Conway on, jeebus). This was juxtaposed with the current re-read I am doing of Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed. More on that whole Patriot Radio thing some other day. Maybe.

Back home. Cubelandia tomorrow. Hi Ho!

Quick trip onto the grid, then back off again

February 8th, 2020 by kayak woman

Off grid (EOM)

February 7th, 2020 by kayak woman

Remembered to pack olive oil and red wine vinegar and even… NUTMEG!

February 6th, 2020 by kayak woman

But forgot to pack tights! Tights are an integral layer in my winter wardrobe so this just plain sucks! I have one pair of tights. The one I’m wearing. Can I actually wear the same pair of tights for four days without washing them? No I cannot. So. I can either hit up a Woldemort somewhere to see if they have some tights I can tolerate (I order mine from Snag Tights in the UK and this is not a commercial but they are GREAT tights) or I can wash them by hand every night and hope they dry by the time I need them the next morning. (I am at Hoton Lake tonight so I have the luxury of washing them in a *washing musheen*, a ridiculously small but necessary load.)

But maybe you are wondering about NUTMEG? Why do I need nutmeg? (Which I keep typing as “nutmet”…) Because it is an integral ingredient in “my” lasagna and I am putting together two lasagnas up at Tahquamenon tomorrow night. I made (and froze) the sauces last weekend and have all the rest of the ingredients packed and ready to put the whole shebang together. As I was swinging around the Landfill Chitchen after work today collecting lasagna ingredients and other things we can’t live without, NUTMEG flashed into my head. We need only the teensiest tinesiest little smidge for lasagna but it wouldn’t be the same (at least not to me) without nutmet nutmeg (see?). (I put it in the filling, which is a couple eggs, ricotta, pepper and the teensiest smidge of nutmeg.)

I did NOT forget to pack the new snowshoes that arrived from REI on Tuesday. Actually I didn’t even have to think about packing them because the GG was so excited about that REI box that I let him open it and he whisked them away and packed them right then. 🐭 had already guessed the contents of the box. But hey KW, you already have snowshoes. The truth is I have not found a pair of snowshoes I’ve been totally satisfied with yet. I do NOT get along with the old fashioned wooden ones. They are terrible on slippery hill terrain and the leather bindings would always expand as I walked to the point where they got loose and I would walk OUT of the bindings. And the modern pair I bought a couple years ago are, I dunno, a larger “footprint” than I’m comfortable with. So we’ll see how these new kinda fancy ones work out.

And that is more than you want to know about tights, nutmet nutmeg, and snowshoes.

G’night, KW

We have exceeded our celery quota by unpresidented numbers of sticks this year. Some people say The Landfill refrigimatator contains more celery than anyone has ever seen in Landfill refrigimatator history.

February 5th, 2020 by kayak woman

Twitter play:

Setting: The Landfill (west side Planet Ann Arbor)

Characters: KW and TP

[TP rummages the refrigimatator.]

KW: WHAT are you doing?

TP: Looking for how much celery we have. I wanna make gumbo this weekend.

[Exit TP to walk to @PlumMarket to get gumbo ingredients.]

[KW peruses the refrigimatator and finds celery but she is not sure if there is enough celery for gumbo so she performs wild iPhone gyrations trying to contact TP to send him a pic of the celery, which was less than she thought and some of it a bit wilty. Of course, he has his earbuds in. Listening to Patriot Radio or 1960s acid rock or who knows what.]

TP: Luuuuuucy, I’m home (he really didn’t say that, just barged on in).

KW: Did you get celery?

TP: No, I didn’t need it.

KW: But aren’t you gonna make gumbo?

TP: I don’t need it for gumbo.

KW: [bangs head on quartz countertop]


I *was* gonna do the twitter play where FZ (over the wall from me) was apparently fighting with a bunch of papers and I *had* to ask him if he was ripping up a speech 🐽 but I think this play is a bit more politically correct, if that even matters any more. Make no mistake, I am NOT a Trump fan.

And yes, some of that celery looks a little I dunno, brownish? I think it won’t be long before the Landfill Chief Cook and Bottle Washer (meeee) will have to make an Executive Decision.

And the winner is…

February 4th, 2020 by kayak woman

Who *is* the winner? I do not know. I spent the entire day doing the kinds of things the Iowa Democratic caucus shouldda been doing when they created that app. When I was driving home from Cubelandia, there was still no winner although a couple people were trying to claim victory.

So, if you are going to build an app, you need a few things. Here’s a high-level overview. 1) A good business analyst (like meeee) or two or three to gather requirements and design your app. And BAs are NOT lone rangers. They work with everyone on the team. 2) Crackerjack developers to build out the app according to carefully crafted specification from the BA. I’m betting developers were the party’s strong point. There are a gazillion code monkeys (said affectionately) out there who are good at what they do but they are not designers or… dun dun dun 3) QA folks!!! What do QA folks do? TEST TEST TEST TEST TEST TEST. And TEST and TEST some more. Good QA testers beat the heck out of an *unreleased* version of the app. They find holes in the app. They run tests for what happens if the app gets flooded with users or whatever, which is one of the things that apparently happened with the caucus app.

Speaking of users, one more IMPORTANT group of people is 4) the support team. Hire an adequate number of people, pay them WELL, train them well, and provide enough phone lines that users can get to a support person.

I still don’t know who won the Iowa caucus. The GG has satty-lite radio folk music on to keep me from talking to the radio…

I may or may not check news for the caucus results. I am trying to decide whether or not to watch the State of the Union. I am NOT a Trump supporter and have difficulty watching/listening to him and his spurios spurious claims of grandeur. I’m sorry to my Trump supporters but I don’t think he cares about anything but himself and I’d much rather watch re-runs of Gomer Pyle and Green Acres than listen to him blather about all the things he has done that are the greatest ever or so he says.

Love y’all and hope we can keep Trump from sorta-winning the next election. G’night. KW.