Random bits of my so-called life.

Go Alabama! #MAGA #MAGA #MAGA!

December 13th, 2017 by kayak woman

I am sorry. I am not (as some of you wonderful people may believe) Lefty Lulu. I am probably best described as a fiscal conservative (but with great compassion for those who have less than I do) and social progressive. Live and Let Live.

As for God? Last I looked, one of the founding principles of our wonderful country is that people are free to worship any god they want, including no god. If you want to believe in God or Jesus Christ or Allah or Thor or that Spaghetti Monster dude, you are free to do it. It would be real friendly if you didn’t try to impose your object of worship and whatever rules your religion has codified onto other people. I guess Roy Moore believes in the Christian God. That is fine with me but I do not understand why he keeps invoking that god when talking about his failed race for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’s seat. It totally turns me off!

Why? I am a baptized Christian of the Methodist denomination, the mainstream protestant flavor, not the holy roller sort (although the holy roller Methodists are *people* and are free to worship God however they want as far as I am concerned). That said, being an infant at the time of my baptism, I had no choice in the matter and I turned out to be an agnostic. Does God exist? I dunno. Maybe, maybe not. If he does exist, does he give a hoot about our little planet and the people who live here? Maybe, maybe not. Rather than put my fate in the hands of an entity that may or may not exist (or care about “his” supplicants), I choose to live by the principle of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. From my humble view as a Successful Failure, I think a lot of folks who claim to be Christians have lost track of that rule.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. One of the other rules I live by is, “I’m Human, I Err”. Because I do. All the time. And so do you.

Anyway, last night the TV was on as we were getting ready to crash out and the Alabama election returns were still coming in. It looked like “my” candidate was losing and I could not bring myself to watch, so the GG finally turned down the sound and I drifted off into stress-dreamland. I am sorry, even minus the pedophilia accusations against Mr. Moore, he seems like a perfectly horrible candidate for any kind of political office. I’m not going to go into that for now. You can use The Google.

This morning, I groped for my phone to check the weather and right front and center there was a news notification that Doug Jones had won the election. Thank you God, said this baptized Christian agnostic to herself. Silently, so as not to wake up the GG.

Accept your loss, Mr. Moore. Go home and ride your horse. And maybe reflect upon the fact that a huge number of your woulda-been constituents will never be able to afford to own even one horse. Or even an old rusted out automotive vee-hickle that might on a good day get that person to work at a job that would pay a living wage.

Blustery day at Cubelandia

December 12th, 2017 by kayak woman

So, something like 10 days ago or so it was tolerably warm outside and I was contemplating sitting out in the back yard on a Saturday afternoon but I never did because it gets dark at 5:00 PM these days and it wasn’t quiiiiite thaaaaat warm. And now, a couple of Alberta Clippers and a little Polar Vortex later, we have enough snow around that it is kind of beginning to pile up. And maybe more snow tomorrow…

Driving to Cubelandia this morning was not too bad but I probably felt more secure because I took the Frog Hopper, which has AWD, instead of the Ninja, which I miss greatly on my Zen Commute but the commute isn’t all that zen when you have potentially slithery “performance” taaars. I wonder when I will make the jump to a new vee-hickle. I-don’t-want-to I-don’t-want-to I-don’t-want-to but I may do it within the next year. New Outback? Or maybe one of the new Honda CRVs? Or… Another Honda Accord? We’ll see. Yes, those are all “Japanese” vee-hickles. But almost all of them are made in the good ol’ USA (except for the Ninja – Japan). #MAGA #MAGA #MAGA #dumpTrump.

When I do get around to making that jump, I will regret not having The Engineer around any more. Back in 2001 (pre trade center tragedy), I was thinking about getting a new vee-hickle. I was thinking about getting a sedan so I asked him what he thought about the Ford Taurus. We had rented one of those for a while because a tree fell on the POC and it was in the body shop. I didn’t even think about one o’ them thar foreign vee-hickles (aka Japanese). After a career at GM and about a gazillion GM vee-hickles and lots of palaver about buying USA, I thought the Engineer would totally pooh-pooh that idea.

To my extreme surprise, his answer to my question about the Ford Taurus was, “Have you checked out the Honda Accord?” Knock me over! (In case Karen, my brother’s widow, is “eavesdropping”, I am well aware that my brother bought multiple Hondas in the later part of his life and so did Karen. Karen, if you are lurking out there, hello and I sincerely hope you are well.) Anyway… We did check out the Honda Accord and so we bought the Dogha, which was a Top Dollar Accord and, as much as I love the Ninja, my fave vee-hickle EVER.

The particular Honda Accord we were looking for was not available *anywhere* in southeast Michigan, according to my brother. But the GG is the GG and he found one right over there at our own Howard Cooper. After we bought it, I remember emailing a couple of pics of it in our driveway to my brother. His response? “Where the *hell* did you find *that*?”, as only The Engineer could say it. Miss you bro.

My brother died way back in 2005 (long story) and we have all moved on, because that’s all we can do. I buried our parents without him and as he was kind of my mother’s “fave”, it was hard for her to have only meeeeee to deal with at the end of her life. But that’s all a whole ‘nother story too and not as sad a story as you might be thinking.

So, I am thinking about buying a new vee-hickle. But not right away, probably MONTHS from now. I have some vee-hickles in mind (see above). I don’t really need any help. When I get serious, I will dispatch the GG to go out and deal with the specifics (and the sales folks).

I’m not sure why I got off on this whole topic. When I started to write it, I was thinking about snow and onion goggles.

P.S. to the GG. Don’t take my New Vee-hickle Talk tooooooo seriously… Not yet anyway.

Couchstorm Madness

December 11th, 2017 by kayak woman

People keep asking me what I want for xmas and I know that they want to give me presents to open on that morning. I am getting back into the flinging mode. I am more inclined to declare Christmas a Reading Day. With beautiful colored lights and a faaaar in the faaaarplace and Eggs Benny for brek and a Duck Dinner. And davenports to nap on.

Anyway, the GG was bugging me about Christmas gifts and really I don’t want anything but then I remembered that the last couple of xmases he bought beautiful Z-chairs and we have been wanting to replace one of our *three* couches for *years* now.

We almost bought one in 2012 but we were at Art Van and for various reasons, I just bailed out. There is no short explanation to this but I am glad we didn’t buy the couch we were looking at back then because it was NOT the right thing.

I have learned a few things about shopping for Big Ticket Items over my years with the GG. I cannot look at every single available option and make a decision. Like, if he pulls every single drawer out of every single dishwasher, I get overwhelmed quickly. That particular time, I side-eyed the young sales person and said, “I need a mid-price dishwasher that will get the dishes clean.” Guess what I got? Bertie does the job. (We won’t talk about washing musheens today).

Couches are difficult here but we managed to buy one today. It won’t be delivered until Friday. The pic is in the store. I’m not sure if it will match well with the carpet in the back room but the GG loves it so it is a go.

OMG. Shop for a couch (or anything) during a significant snow event? Soooooo much fun! Or not. Meet me at Art Van at 5:00. Okay. Except that the snow started falling at 4:45 and… First I was in a big traffic backup from my work to the roundabout. Big snowflakes. Eventually I got to the roundabout. Alas, an accident happened in front of me. A rear-ender, I think. Big snowflakes. I made it around the accident and up State until I got to Art Van.

I refused to make a decision about the couch while we were there. And then. The GG was trying to direct me (!!!) to drive the rest of the way home on the freeway!!! No no no no no. Not tonight and you shouldn’t use the freeway either. For once, he agreed with me. He got out of the Art Van parking lot before me but I made it home before him because I chose a better route. Like I was probably going north thru the Dexter/Maple intersection while he was headed west waaaaay down on Dexter.

As much as I dislike Art Van, I agreed to the couch (and I like it) so the GG ordered it tonight. I grilled him about who would get the commission for the sale. I hate pushy sales people but if someone’s income involves a commission, I want them to get it.

Lamb steward 👨‍✈️

December 10th, 2017 by kayak woman

Actually it is lamb stew, not lamb steward. I totally cracked up when I typed “stew” and my phone corrected it to “steward” and then the steward emoji came up. I was texting Mouse when this happened.

Anyway, I did make lamb steward tonight. I think we are gonna call it lamb steward from now on, kinda like we call turkey tetrazzini turkey tetrahedron. Because we are just kind of funny in that way.

I dunno. What did I do today? When the GG returned from the north country today, I was sitting on the Green Couch Watching all the dogs go by. I think it looked like I had been sitting there all day. Not really. I took the Ninja out for gas and walked over to the Plum for various provisions. I was sitting on the Green Couch because I was going through the letters and documents that my grandfather and great-grandfather left behind. There is a lot to process with all of that stuff and I am slowly working through it. I have all of that stuff mostly because my parents “inherited” my grandparents’ house when they died. Not sure if The Commander was really all that happy with that house when they moved into it but she rose to the occasion and she totally organized a bunch of family documents.

One of the reasons I did not do one of those estate sales where you take whatever you want out of the house and let the estate sale folks sell the rest lock stock and barrel is because I knew there were important family heirlooms and documents that I did not want to lose track of. At the time my mother died, I was not sure where all of that stuff was or even what was there. We/she were fortunate to be able to keep her house during the last year of her life and beyond.

So, Mouse came over to do some special quilt laundry in my front-loader and we fed her Lamb Steward 👨‍✈️ and salad and garlic bread and a Fran-hattan. And the pic is meeeee back in the day in a grand throne that my old coot built for me in the back yard of our ratty old bungalow on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia. I do not remember this at all.

Love love love y’all!

“Troll” the ancient yuletide carols…

December 9th, 2017 by kayak woman

Of course I know that we do not “troll” the yuletide carols. We “toll” them. I remember that word from my childhood days, belting out xmas carols from the hymnal at the Methodist Church, or playing them on my recorder from a simple xmas song book that I probably still possess… Eventually I belted them out on the puano my parents bought for me.

We didn’t get a lot of snow today but it was our first REAL SNOW. A few people didn’t make to the gosling shower today. Some of those who did had interesting stories to tell. Like hey, there is no traffic AT ALL on northbound US23. I deadpanned “jackknifed semi”, which was exactly correct and I had heard it on the radio. Yes, that was the kind of stuff going on today. My Mouse lives close enough to take surface streets over here but even she had to re-route because there was an accident that closed Huron below the Y intersection.

You grow up (or whatever) and you have your children and all of a sudden they get to be like, uh, 30, and they start having their own babies. A gosling in this case. The gosling moom is one of Mouse’s best childhood friends ever and *her* moom (the gosling grandmoom) is my friend and so many people were at the shower that I have known forever.

I will never forget when Mouse became what I will call fast friends with Goose. They were out riding bikes with Lairi and it was getting toward sunset and I started wondering where they were. I was (and still am) good friends with Lairi’s parents and I kept trying to call them but that was back in the day when the landline was tied up when people were using the internet via a landline modem. Finally, I shoved my introverted personality into the background and called Goose’s moom (from the school directory). I know that I sounded like a total idiot on the phone that time (um, you might not know me but…) but the kids came home safely and we have been friends ever since.

Since Goose lived around two corners from us, there were many sleepovers. Back-to-back sleepovers were common. During one particularly dreary xmas vacation, Mouse and Goose were acting like they were tired of all this. Goose went home for a while (we walked her there) and within a few hours they decided to hang out back over here. Bagawk Bagawk.

Gosling’s moom looks wonderful and gosling’s grandmoom has moved back to The Planet Ann Arbor to be close to her grandchild. Alas, she is not two corners away from us any more but she is a quick walk from the gosling and in the same town as we are.

The Planet Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to live and bring up children. May it live forever.

Speaking of rear-enders and balaclavas

December 8th, 2017 by kayak woman

Were we speaking of balaclavas? Maybe not, at least not recently. So, here is one of my two Shambling Mounds (the other one is my Skirt Mound and we’ll talk about that – or not – some other time). The Green Chair Mound is in Winter Mode at the moment. Various form factors of hats, vests, scarves, jackets, glubs. My backpack and some Chico bags are in the mound year-round. My snowpants aren’t in the mound yet but they’ll probably migrate there sooner or later.

This morning. 6:00 AM. 17 degrees F. Where is my balaclava (the Smartwool form factor, not the Polar Vortex form factor)? Where is my balaclava? It was here yesterday. Where is my balaclava? WHERE IS MY BALACLAVA? WHERE IS MY BALACLAVA? Hmmmmmm… The GG went north yesterday. Could he have… He’s done it before. 6:20 AM: I texted him. He ghosted me. A little later: I texted him. He ghosted me. Finally at around 7:30 AM, I called him. Oh dear, I woke him up. I didn’t really intend to do that. My sequined bomber hat was more than adequate for the job this morning. But, yes. He had absconded with my balaclava. “Oh, sorry. Yeah, I ended up with two”. … … … Note to GG. Please leave my mounds alone!

Rear-ender? Say it ain’t so. Alas…

State/Ellsworth roundabout. Dry pavement. Bright sunlight. I approached the roundabout and — MIRACULOUSLY — there was no one in the circle so I did not do what I ALWAYS DO, which is stop, even though it is not required. Suddenly. A car came WHIPPING AROUND the circle (don’t worry if you can’t follow this, you had to be there). I hit the brakes. The young man behind me did not.

I have been in so few accidents (one that I count) in my life that I didn’t even know what to do. He was extremely apologetic. It WAS his fault but I felt like I didn’t handle the traffic situation as elegantly as I could have. No one was hurt at all — this was at well under 5mph. The police were not involved. I didn’t want the police involved. When it first happened, all I could think was that I was gonna be reeeeealllly late to work, whatever *that* means because no one really pays attention to when I get to work. But not. We pulled off into a parking lot. I got his insurance information. In the process, I dropped one of my glubs on the ground and had to inelegantly drive around (again) to (inelegantly) reach out the door and pick it up. Again, you had to be there and you are happy you weren’t. Even though I was not at fault, I felt horrible about the whole thing. I actually like roundabouts and drive carefully through them but I think I will tweak my approach to entering that one a bit…

You have to know that we have not one but *two* new Smartwool balaclavas now. Snagged them at REI on the way home from work.

And then… I walked over to get porterized at knight’s and wouldn’t you know I got rear-ended again. This time via a loverly senior citizen (a bit more senior than me) accidentally pushing his chair backwards into mine. Hilarity ensued.

Talking with my hands…

December 7th, 2017 by kayak woman

…I did this. Yes, I knocked a full medium-sized cuppa coffee over. MMCB1 and I both JUMPED UP before we got wet. I was soooo apologetic when I asked for help with our “tragedy” but the staff behind the counter just laughed at me. “Do you know how many times that happens every day?” I know it does. I have done it before. I even have a picture of the last time I did it. I am a moom. I hate when people have to clean up after me. But they did and they did it VERY graciously. One of those blurry hands belongs to MMCB1, who is ALSO a moom. And then I got a coffee refill. I tried to give them my debit card again but apparently coffee refills are free whether or not you spill your coffee. MMCB2 aka Bubbie, missed all of this because she was On Grandchild Duty early today!

And then we had frickin’ Snow Squalls for both of my commutes today. Getting *to* work was not terrible. Getting *home* took an HOUR! I usually take the I94 18-wheel Clogway for five miles of that trip. I took the back roads today. It really wasn’t all that slippery (I don’t think) on the “back” roads, which means major surface roads through and orbiting The Planet Ann Arbor but the visibility was absolutely awful with no sun, billions of vee-hickles with their lights on, and heavy snow for most of the trip. I was not a happy camper but I tried to stay in the zen of it all and by the time I got back over to Stadium Blvd., the snow had stopped. Thank you.

Taking the freeways down here on a snow squally day is courting the grim reaper and I would rather spend an hour snaking through town at slow speeds than get rear-ended by a semi that cannot stop in time for a traffic slowdown in a sudden snow squall or some imbecile going 90 in the snow and cart-wheeling around rolling into the ditch, hitting me in the process.

I am not ready for this. I am not ready for this. I am not ready for this. BUT. I do not want to move to, say, Florida. I love Florida. It is a beautiful state (except for all of the real-estate development but we have that everywhere) but I last about a week in Florida and then I am chompin’ at the bit to head back north.

Speaking of real-estate development? I think our new mattress is just fine (but I can sleep anywhere) but what I really want is a mattress that will let me control my REM dreams. Last night, on the new mattress, I had a Real Estate Developer Dream. In this particular incarnation, I was walking down the moominbeach and, oh hello, there is a new McMansion there, just past Jack Mc’s boathouse. I yelled at the owner but then I apologized, realizing that she had just bought some land and built a house… So that was okay (well not really) but as I continued down the beach, there were big buildings of all sorts and a PARKING STRUCTURE and yada yada. In my dream I kept thinking “this is just a dream” but it wasn’t wasn’t wasn’t but then I WOKE UP! And of course it was a dream.

Looking for something else, I found The Indefatigable

December 6th, 2017 by kayak woman

What was I looking for? I was looking for the time we took a tour of the then-new Skyline High School, a bit north of us on Maple Road. When we take the 32A bus home from downtown, we cruise by Skyline High. I didn’t find the pics I was looking for but I found some fun jeep pics, like this one, where the doors were in the Landfill Backroom. I do not know why.

We drove over to Kzoo with the Trashmobile (jeep and Courtois Trailer) to deliver stuff to Mouse’s new apartment after she returned from study abroad in Dakar. We almost ran outta gas on the way over there. The Indefatigable was kind of coughing and I was like, “What the heck is going on” and the GG said, “We’re outta gas”. We somehow made it to the next exit, where there was a gas station. Jeebus.

The Indefatigable was 16 years old by this time. When we bought it, our Mouse was not quiiiiite five years old.

I’m kind of done for tonight. We bought a new mattress today. That is, the GG bought one. I can sleep just about anywhere, including the floor upstairs in the moomincabin smushed up against my mom’s old train traveling trunks because guests need beds. That was the difficult weekend of my dad’s “memorial”. I had fun *anyway* and I so miss the days when anyone in the fam felt welcome to visit whenever. Alas. Warm regards.

New things in Decembers past because you do NOT want to read another of my rants!

December 5th, 2017 by kayak woman

This rant (or rants) does not have anything to do with sex. That is all I will say.

I’m gonna limit this post to new things in December and I am gonna limit it to ONE photo each in the years 2012 to 2016. We’ll start with 2012, the first December after The Commander moved on over to the other side. Following three years of living (pretty happily, actually) with a three-burner stove, we bought Gertrude. The front right burner on the old stove blew out in a spectacular manner. If I have it right, it happened on Mouse’s watch. The stove was old when we bought the house and we had replaced burners on it before but this time we were outta luck. Why did it take us three years to obtain a new stove? I do not know. I mean, no one wants to spend money at the drop of the hat but money was not really the problem. The photo also provides a glimpse into our old fugly chitchen, since we didn’t gut it until spring 2014.

I named Gertrude after a woman in a comic The Commander taped to the inside of the broom closet door in the chitchen in my childhood home, a ratty old bungalow on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia. In the comic, Gertrude is slumped over an ironing board. I forget what the caption was but the idea was that housewives work HARD. I have searched high and low for that comic. I can only guess the original was thrown out when they moved into my grandparents’ house after those folks died. I cannot find it on the internet and maybe don’t even have a clue about how to search for it. Alas.

2013: iPhones. 5-somethings? I think so but I’ve lost track. We bought our first iPhones in 2007. We are using the 6S now. Which version was the one that the GG set an alarm for 3:00 AM to order it online? Was it the 5-? or the 6S. I do not remember.

2014: I have a pic of Bunny Bread loaves, probably from somewhere in the Yooperland, but I didn’t post that because we didn’t buy any Bunny Bread. But my uber-cousin Pooh sent me this beauteous red-plaid “smoke ring”. I don’t remember why I have both my personal and work laptop open as backdrops to the smoke ring. Whatever…

2015: The Blue and Only Terlet is gone and here is the newfangled Eco-Terlet! We gutted and renovated our old Blue and Only Bathroom without moving out of our house, even though we only had/have one bathroom. We (the GG) set up a shower in the basement and our contractors were able to provide us with a toilet every night except one. We survived that night by peeing in the backyard. Yes, really. And the next morning. This is the solstice time of year and it was the new moon that year so it was darker than all getout, plus our yard is quite secluded. We drove north the morning following the no-toilet night and after a weekend in Iggy, we returned home to find this shiny new Eco-terlet. It is wondrous but <TMI-alert>sometimes you have to do more than one flush…</TMI-alert>

2016: We were downtown in 10,000 Villages trying to xmas shop but we were not really feeling it and I am pretty sure we didn’t buy anything. Not sure if I used this as a profile pic or not but it wouldn’t be a bad one.

Magic Bus Whiteboard

December 4th, 2017 by kayak woman

I dunno, I think this might make a good profile pic at some point. On one of *those* days, you know the kind, the ones where you’re tearing your hair out.

There was a Magic Whiteboard at work today and it lives, lemme see, my cube, food cube, (empty cube? or not?), Magic Cube. Two or three cubes away from me. I think three but I can’t remember and there are so many empty cubes in my neighborhood that it kind of hurts to try to count. Let’s just say that the whiteboard I was trying to take a pic of in this photo was NOT terribly magic. I did get what I needed out of it for now but not before I ACCIDENTALLY flipped my phone to facetime and, before I noticed that, ACCIDENTALLY took this LOVERLY pic of, well, what the heck? It is my hair, although it kind looks like somebody flipping an old fur hat around. (I cropped a fuzzy image of Amazon Woman out of this. She is beautiful but I’m sure she is welcome.)

Stop reading if you don’t want to read about (hashtag)MeToo. Of COURSE, I have experienced some of this sexual harassment crap. Do I hate that it happens? YES OF COURSE I DO! Has it happened to meeeeee? Of course it has. Has it ruined my life? Nooooooo. BIG disclaimer: I have NEVER been raped or touched in any kind of violent way and I have been blessed that the male supervisors in my career have not EVER harassed me in any way. In fact, I suspect that the LSCHP would “sit on” (his words) anyone who got after any employee, female or not.

Today, the director of the Metropolitan Opera met the sword. That hit a little closer to home. This happens in the music world, a world I haven’t been involved with since I was in college. My experience(s)? We’ll start (and end) with the first. My college-level piano teacher when I was 19/20 was Mr. Robinson, a 30-something guy who I regarded as a good teacher if sometimes a bit of a snob. But then, he invited me to DINNER at HIS HOUSE. A couple of other sophomore students were also invited but they were a *couple*. I… said… okay… Whyyyyy????? NOOOOOO was the correct answer. This did *not* feel like a casual “a bunch of students are coming over” kind of thing and I was sooooo not attracted to him. Yuck!

I think he actually picked me up at my apartment. I don’t remember what we he served us that night. I remember him saying that he had invited me over there because he thought I looked too thin. Oh, not really, and my parents could easily afford to pay for my education *and* food and whatever. His bedroom, all beautiful with Marimekko stuff was easily visible from the dinner table. Was I freaked out? Yes. At one point, I said that I had a boyfriend (I actually did). He seemed surprised. I have never been an idiot and when he went in to another room, I told the other student and her boyfriend that I felt uncomfortable. They were kind of freaked out and gave me a ride home.

I had been getting A grades from Mr. Robinson but he dropped me down to a C after that incident. The only times I have ever earned C grades in my entire life are when I have not gotten along with a teacher and I can USUALLY figger out how to get along with any teacher, unless he is a sexual predator. But yaknow, not all men do that kind of thing to women. I was able to tell my MALE flute teacher (flute was my major instrument) how uncomfortable Mr. Robinson had made me. He had heard from Mr. Robinson too but he listened to me and supported me. I will never figure out why Mr. Robinson thought that a spirited young girl like me would be interested in a sorta baggy looking person like him.

I was very young then but after a bit more LIFE I was hardened by the next round of that kind of crap. Like when the then new MooU symphony band director touched my [then] long blonde hair and I gave him what my beautiful and beloved daughter now calls the Side Eye. I was first chair flute and I was goooood (and my parents were paying my tuition but he may not have known that) and he left me alone. Period. A few years later, he bugged some other maybe less experienced gals who probably had parents with laywers and he was eventually faaaaared via those parents’ lawyers. Warm regards.

It’s sad because he was a reeeeeallly good director. Male musical directors? Keep your hands away from your flute players and keep your p*nises in your pants. Parents! Teach your daughters well and support them in every way you can.

Bear-like creature in sci-fi

December 3rd, 2017 by kayak woman

That was one of the clues in this morning’s Xword. The answer was four letters and the only thing I could think of was Mord. What does that say about me? That the big bear in Borne has totally usurped (in my mind) Chewbacca the *Ewok* from Star Wars. Ewok was the correct answer.

I am reading a dystopian trilogy with pizzlies and grolars. It is the third book in Margaret Atwood’s Maddadam trilogy, which begins with Oryx and Crake. I had mixed feelings about Oryx and Crake but the second book (The Year of the Flood) resolved a few of my issues. Now that I am in the third book (Maddadam) I am LOVING it. A ‘thopter crash in the MacKenzie Mountains up in northwestern Canada and a survivor meeting (and conquering) a bear and, well, read it. This trilogy isn’t necessarily as good in terms of literary value as “The Handmaid’s Tale” (which I need to read again) but I’ve been having a good time reading it and sometimes that’s all that counts.

Not that I didn’t like Star Wars. I saw the original movie in Sault Ste. Siberia when it first came out and I swear that for a couple of weeks, whenever I drove my cute little Ford Fiesta, every time I shifted into a new gear, I felt like I was taking it into overdrive. And no, it doesn’t take much.

I don’t have any pictures of what today was like but I spent a LOT of time trying to figure out how to keep the low-slung winter solstice sun outta my eyes. We schlepped over to the *new* Argus Farms location for a continental breakfast. Argus has been on Liberty for a few years, now it has opened a second location on Packard. We sat in the back so the GG could look at the ancient schoolroom map of Michigan on the wall and so we ended up blocking a New Big Brother from the toys. Of COURSE we re-situated ourselves but NBB didn’t really get into the toys until us baggy olds left. I sneaked a peek at NBB’s very new sibling, a very new baby brother snoozing in a new-fangled stroller. 💚

From there we took a slooooooow ride out to Our Hiking Lake (West Lake Preserve). We haven’t been there in sooooo long. This particular preserve provides a wide variety of terrain within a small area. Fields and kettle lakes and generally wooded areas and then there’s the actual lake.

We took a slow ride back to the Landfill via Trinkle Road (partly) and we kind of hung out at the Landfill for the afternoon.

Crucial conversations

December 2nd, 2017 by kayak woman

These are the difficult conversations you sometimes have to have with co-workers or relatives or whatever. Books have been written about this stuff and there was once (loooooooong ago) training at my work for this. I wasn’t invited to participate for whatever reason. I didn’t really need it at my work at that time. I was thinking at the time that I needed it with with… Well… We won’t go there tonight.

Today, the GG asked, well, what do you want for xmas. Yeek. He asked me this a while back and I had no answer. I am particularly under the weather about xmas gifts this particular year. Last year I was able to ask for a few wee little items and he provided them. This year? I dunno. I do not need ANYTHING. I finally texted that, hey, let’s replace a couple of couches. We were finishing a mini-lunch at the Griz and I think the GG was in the bathroom when he got my text. But what the heck. He asked, roight?

So, looking for something else, I found today’s photooo. We built this log fort out of pulp logs that escaped log booms and ended up on our beach. We built all kinds of things with them including forts like this. Here’s Jay and Becky Springer in the background, me and Pooh in the front. Somehow we are actually sunbathing on top of that little fort. I cannot believe it could be very comfortable but I remember doing that kind of thing.

I *hated* that short haircut. Short hair did not fit with my personality.

Moooooooonlight Madness

December 1st, 2017 by kayak woman

It is actually Midnight Madness. I actually hate Midnight Madness. It is a night when all of the downtown stores stay open until midnight and have wondrous sales on all kinds of wondrous things that I don’t need. It’s great for the stores and I don’t begrudge them the chance to make some money. I just hate “the humanity”. The Oscar Tango was slammed tonight. The streets were crowded as all getout. It was pretty warm out. I can’t complain about that.

We did stop over at DH&G, where Mr. B was playing his bicycle-mounted puano. That’s the same puano that he hauled up to the Straits of Mackinaw on a bicycle last summer and then swam it over to Mackinac Island. And there were aminals there, a little pony and a young llama (I think, I am idiot enough that I was thinking camel at first), and baby goats and lambs and things. And a young girl who, in her earlier years, was once overheard saying, “Mouse likes to climb trees!” I overheard her mom say something that identified them to me so I introduced myself but I didn’t say anything about the tree-climbing because the child looked tired and a little grumpy like she really needed to go home and snuggle into bed and didn’t need some baggy old bag bugging her about her childhood. Baggy as I am, I remember those days well. Church Ladies and Town Socialites making totally stooooopid conversation with me.

And so, we have been over under sideways down, backwards forwards square and round about whether or not Harry’s intended could ever become the Queen of England. I say no, it has to be someone with “blood”. My best efforts with the Google turned up nothing definitive. But what the heck does it matter anyway? And then… The GG got onto geology. Will someone please give that man a job? I don’t mean in geology necessarily. I just mean that he needs something to do besides talk! And finally, well, delete a bunch of polly-tickal ranting and raving here.

steeeeeeaaaaaaammmmmm

November 30th, 2017 by kayak woman

If I had a pic of The Commander’s vintage black and gold sewing musheen, I would post it but I’m pretty sure I don’t so you get this old Blue Terlet pic instead. Don’t worry. The Blue Terlet is gone but the sewing musheen still exists. It lives at the moomincabin. At one point I floated the idea of moving it out of the moomincabin living room. I wasn’t going to get rid of it. I WOULD NEVER DO THAT! It is the sewing musheen on which I learned to sew. I was just thinking of moving it to a more hospitable climate and freeing up a little space there. That idea was shot down quite handily by the beach urchins. “That’s part of the cabin, yada yada yada.” Okay, I give. I’m still a bit skeptical that spending the winter in a six-month hard freeze is good for a sewing musheen but I suppose the other appliances have survived that for many years so why not a sewing musheen.

That sewing machine (Mrs. Pratt and Mouse are sitting on my shoulder making me switch to properly spelled English words) was one of the first things my parents bought after they got married, down in the southwest, during WWII while my dad was a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps. Comparing that to Radical Betty and Duke’s 1st anniversary purchase, which was a small boat motor, I think The Comm (my mom) made out okay. Although I do have to qualify that Radical Betty was not a seamstress and every time she told the story about the boat motor, she laughed like crazy and so did the rest of us. He gave me a boat motor! He gave me a boat motor! Duke was a career Air Force guy and they were stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi at that time, which probably wouldn’t have been Betty’s first choice to live but she was always game for everything. Oh, how I miss Betty.

My mother was a talented seamstress and I wasn’t too bad at it. I sewed a lot of my own clothing as a teenager but nowadays (yawn) I just order stuff online. Still, I can use a sewing machine if I need/want to.

My mother had a second career as a home-ec teacher. She taught people how to use sewing machines and do some cooking things but she also opened a *store* inside our brand-new high school and instituted a child care class that included a couple weeks of on-site day-care/pre-school. This was in 1970 when I was still in high school. (TMI: it was cool to have my moom there at school because she had aspirin if I needed it. For you probably know what.)

I cannot figure out why sewing skills seem to have been degraded to “womens work” or “not STEM education”. Sewing clothing/quilts/whatever involve HUGE mathematical and engineering components. Not to mention the artistic component that so many of our politicians seem to be missing. I loved this Scottish bar-sewing article that my BFF sent me this morning.

I do think that technical education is important and that kids should learn math and science. I just think that we should not just shluff off the things that women are more likely to do (like sewing) as “art”. Sewing can be art but it also requires a lot of technical expertise.

I think I had more to say about this but the GG came home from the yooperland and we walked over to Knight’s for dinner and I am about done done done at this point.

Love y’all and g’night. KW

FORCE QUIT2 !!!

November 29th, 2017 by kayak woman

Oh man, that last Mac OS upgrade. The one that temporarily hosed The Mothership, requiring us to spend an hour or so at the Apple Store last Sunday. Oh the humanity. I did that upgrade a while back and it did not hose, uhhh, hmmmm, my laptop doesn’t have a name, why not? Anyway, it did not hose my MacBookPro. It took F-O-R-E-V-E-R but it did eventually finished (Mrs. Pratt?) gracefully and I went on with life.

Well, but, not so fast KW. Things are all fine. Except for Photoshop. Every time I hit <command><option><shift><S> aka “Save for Web and Devices”, I can resize my photo and sometimes I can save it “as” (and sometimes I cannot) but whatever I do, I cannot make the “Save for Web and Devices” window go away without force quitting Photoshop. This is getting annoying. Actually, I had to look up the FOUR KEY shortcut sequence for the save-for-web-yada-yada function. I have been doing it for so many years, I just do it without thinking. I do the command, option, and shift keys with my left hand and swing my right pointer over to hit the S. I just tested that out.

I have a Caddylack version of Photoshop but it is ANCIENT, like CS3 maybe? It still runs on my musheen. When I bought this application back in the Dark Ages I paid the student discount price, which was something like $350 instead of $3000. It’s been a long time since I’ve qualified for the student discount and although I could afford to pay the big girl price now, I’m not sure I want to go in that direction. I know there are lots of other apps out there that do the kinds of things Photoshop does for me, including many iPhone apps and I even have a Photoshop app on my phone. Just that I don’t have to THINK to use Photoshop for what I want it to do.

I am not really asking for advice here. I have options. 1) I’ll bite the bullet and buy a new version of Creative Suite (or whatever it is now) that is compatible with my musheen and OS (hmmm, xmas gift? Don’t move too fast buddy, I may not want that!). 2) I’ll decide to use a simpler (and cheaper) laptop app to do the minor tweaks to photos I use Photoshop for (and spend the time to learn it). 3) I’ll spend time learning to use one or more of the photo apps I have on my iPhone already. 4) I’ll continue to use Photoshop and Force Quit whenever.

And there is always the potential of option X, which is that a future upgrade of Apple’s OS will take care of this problem. Backward compatibility…

For now, it is just a pain that I have to force quit Photoshop after each photo edit. It’s a first world problem in any case and other than that, it wasn’t a bad day. It was actually a pretty darn good one. Knock on wood.

Force quit

November 28th, 2017 by kayak woman

Our Guy is dying. He’s been dying for a while but he was at least upright a couple weeks ago so I’m thinking some young hooligans have tipped him over. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I want to be angry but really, he is just an old tree trunk. If young hooligans are pushing the envelope by tipping over a dying old tree trunk (already dead in reality) instead of rifling through unlocked cars (or worse), I guess I’m okay. There are probably some cranky, judgmental old bags around the neighborhood who are tsk-tsking about this but I refuse to be That Neighbor. Move on, Your Nastiness.

Here is Our Guy back in his heyday! In 2014, the sorta summer after the f*****g Polar Vortex Winter. What a badass. Look at that shelf fungus eyelash(es?) (struggling with singular vs. plural here, where is Mrs. Pratt when I need her?). When I posted this pic on facebook a few years ago I gave people permission to “hide” him if he creeped them out. I hope he doesn’t creep y’all out.

Our Guy lost the ability to grow a huge eyelash(es) but he acquired a loverly punk (?) haircut in his later years.

Mrs. Pratt came out of the blue into the front of my consciousness today because the LSCHP came by to introduce his new family member. I asked if it had legs or wheels. It doesn’t and you can’t put it in your brassiere, although some form factors of this entity do actually fit into brassieres. Mrs. Pratt only had Kleenex (or maybe it was a cloth handkerchief) in her brassiere. Some people thought it was funny (including me, alas) to watch her reach down for that but actually she was a wonderful English teacher and I have her (among others!) to thank for being successful in life because man oh man being able to *write* *coherently* is of tantamount importance to succeed in most professional careers.

Disclaimer: I know that I do not always write coherently on my blahg. But I am kinda committed to writing every day. There are good and bad days but the best way to continue to hone writing skills is to keep writing and this is one way I do it. Delete a whole bunch of stuff about writing…

What on earth have I been writing about lately? (Dunking entire head underwater and SHAKING IT VEHEMENTLY!)

November 27th, 2017 by kayak woman

B-b-b-b-b-bbrrrrrr! Whut?

Where am I? Lemme think. So, you know how I kill people with cholesterol-bomb mashed potatoes and you know how often I eat lunch at one brewery or another. But not Sunday, I made turkey-cranberry wraps at home on Sunday. And not today because Cubelandia.

To digress a bit… My cab at the Session Room (that was Friday, after a hike at the Geology Center) arrived in a stemless glass. I told the bartender that I appreciated that because… I made a hand gesture indicating knocking a wine glass over. Lizard Breath (bless her lovely little heart) said something like, “Moom, you don’t usually tip over wine glasses.” I had to reply with something like, “No I don’t, but one of the times I did, I hosed a laptop computer.” Jokes about Adult Sippy/Tippy Cups ensued but lunch continued without incident and man oh man, I recommend the burger I had at the Session Room. It had Pink Lady apples and BACON and probably some lettuce and I can’t remember the cheese but it was a cheese I actually eat like goat something-or-other. And not so big that I had to ask for a doggie bag to go with my to-go sippy cup 🙃

When I listed stores I went to over the weekend, I fergot that I went out to the Jackson Road Meijer Sunday morning. Not exactly a small business but Meijer is a long time Great Lake State business and I love that they have opened a store in Sault Ste. Siberia, my hometown and where I spend time in the summer at the moomincabin. So, not a mom-and-pop store anymore but also provides a lot of jobs in our community.

The Mothership? There were some dicey moments before that whole thing got sorted out but it seems like it’s okay, at least for the time being.

Today? B-b-b-b-b-bbrrrrrr! Whut?

Subfusc grutch and frass

November 26th, 2017 by kayak woman

Lemme see. Thanksgiving weekend shopping:

— Thursday, Thanksgiving Day: One trip to the Plum Market by the GG. Local business? Started in the northern Detroit suburbs and has expanded to the Planet Ann Arbor and Chicago. Located where I can easily walk to it.

— Friday: Lunch at the Session Room (local brewery) and dinner at the Oscar Tango (long-time A2 establishment).

— Saturday: farmers market and Monahan’s Seafood (both local), then lunch at the Griz (local brewery). I cannot believe that someone had some fresh lima beans at the farmers market yesterday. I thought those were done done done in midsummer. I’m cooking some tonight.

— Today: Apple Store. Oh, the humanity! (Including us, of course.)

But wait! We didn’t buy anything. Wednesday night the GG threw all caution to the wind and decided to accept a software update on The Mothership. To digress a minute, I call his behemoth iMac (or whatever it is) The Mothership but that implies that it is related to the other computers in the Landfill. It ain’t necessarily so. I bought my first Apple laptop in 2003 and have never looked back from using a laptop. My laptop is not connected to The Mothership and I have used that beastie only a handfull of times [delete some fugly stuff about scanning hostile albeit incomprehensible letters from unscrupulous lawyers — you’re welcome].

Anyway, the Wednesday night software update hosed The Mothership so the first appointment we could get at the Genius Bar was this afternoon at 1:00. He actually made one for Saturday but I nixed that because it was during the Umich/OSU game. I wanted to be downtown during that and so did the GG and no, Umich/OSU do NOT play football on Thanksgiving Day. It is the Saturday after 🐽

We were prepared for the possibility of buying a new computer today but, as it turned out, it was a complicated issue having to do with file “architecture” (for lack of a possibly more accurate word), disk drive form factors, and what I think I heard Valentine admit was not the smoothest operating system upgrade that Apple has ever rolled out, especially if you have an old-skool “spinning” drive. Which we do.. Because…

It turns out that we bought The Mothership in August 2011! Neither one of us could remember exactly when. Valentine looked it up and also noted that most people don’t remember when they bought old computers and either over or underestimate it. I’m sure he’s right but I neither over or under estimated. I just plain couldn’t remember. As difficult a year as that was with The Commander taking a bit of a turn downward, I do remember getting two new laptops in one month that year. One was the precursor of my current MacBook Pro (it was time) and the other was a Windows Musheen at work (it was time).

Anyway, we didn’t (knock on wood) have to buy a replacement Mothership today and things seem to be going well but he is doing a time musheen restore so we’ll see what happens after that finally finishes. I was sort of excited about getting two new laptops at that earlier time in my life, back in 2011. Nowadays, I could not care less. Oh, I will upgrade my hardware when it fails.

And then after all of that, since we were at Briarwood Mall where our Apple Store is, we took the Ninja for a mini ride south of town, past my work business park, down to and through Saline, and westward to the first northward unpaved road we encountered. Beautiful sunshine drive home today and at this time of year we need whatever we can get.

GrizGoBlue

November 25th, 2017 by kayak woman

I predicted that the home team would lose and I was right. Almost seems like they are jinxed but whaddo I know about team sports? Nevertheless, this morning was beautiful and pretty darn warm for this time of year. 49 degrees when I walked down to the farmers market at 0-skunk-30.

The GG then headed downtown on foot at 10 AM or so to see if it smelled like beer down there. Sometimes it does the morning of the Umich/OSU game. I don’t think it was quite as crazy as that this morning. The GG “blames” a crackdown on fraternities/sororities. I dunno if that’s true. I have never been all that crazy about the “Greek” element of college campuses. Maybe I am just an old grumpus about that, remembering the days when I didn’t exactly fit into the “In Crowd”. I cared then but I do not care now. Still, although I know that you cannot stereotype individual fraternity/sorority members, it has always seemed to me that a social system like that can lead to the perpetuation of a society where people are not valued equally. Call me a librat if you want. You never know what kind of life someone else has had or what kind of intelligence they can contribute. Or what burden they are carrying.

Tangentially, I just finished the book “Beartown”. I was a bit skeptical before I read it. I am not crazy about team sports and don’t care enough to try to understand the rules. I grew up in a “hockey town” of sorts but wasn’t ever connected to that sport or any other sport really, except for marching in the band at football games. I have always had a kind of an attitude toward football/hockey/whatever “stars”. I think that boys who are good at a sport are often placed upon a pedestal before they are old enough to even understand what kind of person they are and the adults they are surrounded by are not always effective at helping them sort that out, including how to appropriately deal with the young girls who idolize them. I didn’t idolize local sports stars as a teenage girl and so I never did quiiiiite understand this stuff.

Can I just say I LOVED this book? It presented all of the players and coaches and others as the complex people that they (and all of us) are. I had to suffer through a few bits of hockey rules that I didn’t totally understand but I did get the skating and slamming against the boards and the injuries and the beatings, etc. I was probably halfway through the book when I figured out that the setting was somewhere in Scandinavia (it couldda been the yooperland or northern Ontario) and that the author also wrote “A Man Called Ove”. I read Ove a while back and although I enjoyed that book, I LOVED “Beartown”.

Anyway… I walked downtown to meet the GG for lunch at the Griz and the pic shows what awaited me when I got there. We were a little earlier than usual, partly because the GG was downtown walking around all morning and definitely because FOOTBALL. The Griz was momentarily quiet when I got there (after a morning of brunch with lines out the doors) but it picked up quickly as the game began. The first quarter was loverly and but I gather things went downhill later on. I didn’t watch. We took the 31 back over to the west side and I read for the rest of the afternoon (except for the 2-second nap I took until my phone fell off the arm of the Green Couch). I’m back into dystopian stuff now — “Oryx and Crake”.

Makin’ mashed potatoes ahead of dinner

November 24th, 2017 by kayak woman

It’s really easy. For starters, you just plain *make* mashed potatoes. How do you make mashed potatoes? I mean how do *you* make mashed potatoes? I usually start by boiling some potatoes in my three quart Revere Ware pan or a bigger one if I need to cook more taters. Up until fairly recently, I peeled the potatoes but after a niece and a couple of daughters said that they were happy eating unpeeled potatoes, I now only peel off anything oogly and remove any eyes or bad spots. But y’all can certainly peel your potatoes however you want to.

I boil my potatoes until they are soft and then I drain them and let them sit back in the cooking pan for a bit with whatever I have hanging around. ALWAYS butter but also yogurt (PLAIN, NOT vanilla), cream cheese, sour cream and milk are all candidates. A little horseradish might be good if your intended audience is game but maybe better to serve that on the side, if at all. Let the whole mess all sit in the pan a bit and then mash it all up like crazy. Lumps? Do your best but who the heck cares! Dump it into a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle some paprika over the top, cover it up and stash it into the refrigerator. When you are ready to use it, bake it at 350 until it’s done. Done? Done is when it is heated through and you are ready to serve dinner! If it’s “done” before the rest pf of (pf?) dinner is ready, just turn the oven down to warm/hold and let it sit there.

This is the kind of strategy I use to get through holiday dinners without stress, even though the ones we have here at the Landfill are not all that stressful, since it is usually only us and the beach urchins these days. Our CFam relatives are dealing with their own extended families and my branch of the Fin Fam is small and (very sadly) not united for the time being. It’s all okay. I miss the friendly relatives of the holiday dinners of my childhood but I am happy to hang out at home with people I love. It is a precious day off for me if nothing else.

This morning, I spent the early dark hours hanging around as my Mouse gathered herself to get to work by 7:00 AM. She didn’t need me to hang around for that but I wanted to. Lizard Breath took the day off and after the GG cooked us a wee brek, we all took a hike at the geology center and then meandered back eastward for lunch at The Session Room. Home for all of us with Lizard returning to Detroit and then a porterized dinner at the Oscar Tango, where Liz (famous OT waitress/manager) situated us in one of the coveted window booths. Tomorrow is the annual Umich/Ohio State game which means that downtown will be crazy tonight and tomorrow. We expect our home team (blue) to lose. Alas.

P. S. After I wrote this, somebody on facebook posted a meme about how much *vodka* to put into mashed potatoes. Yeep. Just no…