Random bits of my so-called life.

Stormy K[Ch]romer

November 26th, 2014 by kayak woman

fargoLike I said a while back, everybody *loves* my black hologram-sequined bomber hat aka my Fargo hat. I think they *especially* like it after our Wake-up Michigan Winter of 2014 but that’d be a whole ‘nother story. Temp-wise, it wasn’t really cold enough for this hat today but I knew that I would feel warmer if I wore it over to The Plum this afternoon. It was pitch black by the time I left and it has been another of those sunless November days despite predictions to the contrary.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I spotted an actual empty cashier line. This line was empty largely because the young dude at the cash register (who I have encountered before) is highly intelligent and able to use the fuzzy logic needed to do the multi-tasking required of a grocery store cashier. I’ve done a similar job. Those people are not paid anywhere near enough. Anyway. My cashier told me he loved my hat! And then he said something like, “Do you know what my friend from up north calls hats like that?” Well, first of all, “up north” caught my attention because if you are one of my nine readers, you know that I grew up in the yooperland. He went on to say that his friend calls it a Stormy Kromer hat! Uh…

I am in full support of Stormy Kromer hats. The GG owns maybe five or six of them. They are great. For him. I love them. Me? I do not want to look like Ida Fudd or whatever Elmer’s wife’s name was. I’ll stick with the Fargo look. I told him all of that and that I grew up in the yooperland and that I usually referred to my hat as a Bomber Hat. The kid agreed with me that my hat was a bomber hat and volunteered that he had lived the yooperland once too, as a kid. And that his band (because you know the Plum is just his day job, roight?) was called Stormy Kromer except that they spell Kromer like the auto industry does. Wouldn’t you know that they are playing at the Blind Pig in December. (I would spell their band’s name like they do but I don’t want them to get Google-bombed to some baggy old kayakwoman’s boring blahg.)

That was my second cool young millennial duuuuude today. The first was the young electrician who came over to do a warranty repair on one of our LED strips (he double-checked the rest of them too). He’s a bit older than the Plum Market kid and I can’t really describe our conversations but we discussed the ebola virus in a way that many folks who share whatever they encounter on facebook don’t quite understand. And then he marveled at how my finished kitchen turned out. The last time he had been here, he hadn’t seen the tile. Throughout the prodject, I didn’t particularly notice which workers came in and out. I was glad to meet this young man again. He was articulate about current events and he had the work ethic that’s required to say that his company had experienced trouble with these lights and they are modifying their procedure for installing them.

If anyone out there is complaining about the millennials, I am here to tell you that they are doing just fine despite whatever their parents have tried to shove down their throats.

All the young dudes.

I could use a wee bit of sun right around now

November 25th, 2014 by kayak woman

pidgeonI think this was about the fourth dark day in a row. Did Mr. Golden Sun show his face for a while on Sunday? I know, it is November and this is Michigan. At least it didn’t snow. Not today.

It is pretty darn dark when I get home from work these days but today I swung into action anyway. Work stuff put away, clothes changed, feet washed (yes, really), load of laundry in, eggplant parm assembled. Then I picked away at prepping our Thanksgiving dinner. I made gravy, mashed potatoes (decadent MPs), and cranberry sauce over the weekend and they are chilling in the freezer until I release them tomorrow evening or thereabouts. Today I processed a bunch of brussel sprouts and cubed some french bread for stuffing. Thought about trying a different kind of bread this year but got lazy about research / shopping. I hit the Plum Market on my way to work this morning — what the heck, it was too cold today for anything to spoil sitting in the Ninja all day but not cold enough for anything to freeze. I will be walking over to The Plum tomorrow afternoon too. And probably on Thursday. Last Thanksgiving, The Plum tweeted something like, “Need more whine? We’re open!” We didn’t but I appreciated the sentiment.

As per usual, we are not doing any kind of big whooptie-do for Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure that the beach urchins will be here but I haven’t actually heard from them (and no, that is NOT a hint!). I will have enough food for about twice as many people *anyway*. That’s okay because there will be leftovers for all! I’m sure that there are family parties we could crash but that would involve driving over to Megalopolis or wherever. I’m working tomorrow and Friday and I’m looking at Thanksgiving as a day of relative relaxation. I just want to be home at The Landfill. I will do my 0-skunk-30 walk and maybe I’ll even be able to drag a couple of likely suspects out for a jaunt over to Miller Woods if they aren’t crashed out on a couch somewhere. (Hey, bring walking clothes / shoes!)

P.S. I love it when one of my kids or anyone else crashes out on a couch somewhere. If they do that, I know they feel at home. I rarely nap but that’s just meeeee.


November 24th, 2014 by kayak woman

freeFirst of all, Little Free Libraries, official or not, seem to be springing up all over the place. Last summer, I learned of one here on The Planet. It was about a mile and a half away, well within walking distance for meeeeee. It was a Sunday afternoon and the GG was somewhere on his way downstate from I fergit where, so I walked over to that Little Free Library and then downtown to bug Mouse at her work, and then home, dah dah dah dah dah dah whatever.

Now Haisley School has a Little Free Library and I have seen two others on my regular walking beats. And then there is the “free” stuff at this uh manor… This “manor” is a teensy-tinesy little house on one of the main roads here. Smaller than mine and kind of shabby looking, not that I am any stranger to shabby-looking dwellings.

Anyway, I *think* this is something like a Little Free Library. I’m sure the intentions are good. But it looks like there is Other Stuff in there too. I’m not sure what. I usually walk by The Manor when it’s too dark to discern the contents of those old newspaper dispensers but Sunday morning I was a little late and so I got this quick pic. Maybe on some dark morning, I will turn on my iPhone flashlight and open the doors on these things to figure out what exactly is in there.

This house occasionally puts a sign out advertising a “neighborhood” potluck. I do not know who lives there (it’s blocks away from The Landfill) but given the appearance of the house and garage, I’m not sure I would be caught dead participating in a potluck there. Am I being a snob? I mean, food poisoning can happen in some of the fanciest, snootiest households. My house is not fancy and I am not snooty (I don’t think) but I do try to keep my house clean, especially the kitchen and bathroom… We do not get food poisoning here.

Man oh man, is it windy here tonight. I was gonna walk to the Plum Market after work but I decided to try to avoid the possibility of falling branches or power lines or traffic signals or whatever. We have power. Many others do not. Fingers crossed.

Rain Ride

November 23rd, 2014 by kayak woman

swingingLet’s go for a Rain Ride. You know you want to!

I make it sound like all the GG and I do is walk. Another thing that we both enjoy doing is driving around out in the tootlies. Slow rides through the countryside. I grew up doing this with my parents. We spent many a Sunday afternoon tooling around the eastern yooperland. If we were really lucky, the old coot might actually pony up the $1.50 fee to cross the International Bridge and our wanderings would take us to an actual foreign country, Cananananada. Signs in French *and* English! I don’t remember ever crossing the Big Mac on these junkets. That was reserved for the business-like travel that took us downstate to visit our beloved relatives.

As a kid, I was often bored on these trips. The fields and forests all looked the same to me back then and when we did encounter a town with *stores* and restaurants and things (and they are few and far between in the eastern yoop), do you think my parents would stop and buy us candy and trinkets or a hamburger and fries? Oh, no. We took utility food with us. PBJ, fruit, cookies, maybe pop if we were lucky. Bathroom stops usually happened behind trees on quiet side roads. I remember once we were out roaming around all afternoon and my dad said, “We’ve driven as long today as a trip to Lansing would take!” That really disappointed me. I would’ve *loved* to drive to Lansing to see my cuzzints down in that area.

Somehow as an adult, I love taking rides like this and so does the GG. I can’t feature his family doing anything quite like it given that there were 10 siblings but he has a huge curiosity and love of the great outdoors and driving. Therefore, our beach urchins were often subjected to junkets like the ones I took as a child.

Today, mid-morning, we kind of wanted to take at least a mini-hike somewhere but it was raining and the GG is minorly under the weather with cold virus-type symptoms. When he asked, “Do you want to take a Rain Ride?”, I jumped at the chance. We went south and west and I think it was when we got to the beautiful little berg of Manchester that a bit of melancholy set in. We crossed the bridge over the Raisin River and I noticed that the Dairy Queen was still there. When we dragged the beach urchins out for long Sunday afternoon rides, did we ever buy them ice cream there? I *think* so. We were more likely to stop and buy things than my parents were and there are more opportunities in southeast Michigan. But… Then we spotted the little cemetery where, just after The Comm died, we saw about a bazillion turkey vultures flying around.

I spent the rest of the day reflecting on my life so far as a daughter and a mother. Missing my parents (back in the day, not their last few months on earth, those were horrible for all of us) and thanking them for subjecting me to those boring old rides in the country when I was a kid. Missing my beach urchins and remembering all of our junkets with them with fondness.

Disclaimer 1: What I am prob’ly blocking is the sibling arguments (“Don’t look out my window”) and carsickness (one of our urchins — Cheerios in a baggy helps) and incidents like Bubble Gum On the Windshield.

Disclaimer 2: If either of my beach urchins is reading this, I am absolutely okay! Just another chapter in the book of Life is Like a River. Some days are … and some days are … We ended up the day walking down by Barton Dam, another suggestion by the GG. Yes, let’s go. Walking around outside always makes me feel better about things.

Who else likes to drive around out in the countryside?

Love y’all,

Topsy Turvy

November 22nd, 2014 by kayak woman

iceninjaSpeaking of livin’ in the moment, another of my Weekend on The Planet moments is my Saturday morning 0-skunk-30 trek down to the farmer’s market. I love walking down there in the dark (at this time of year) and being able to navigate the market without running down old ladies with walkers or babies in strollers. Our current routine is that I walk down, the GG meets me at Roos Roast (look for the yellow sign), we buy a donut-type breakfast, retreat with our coffee et al to a place to sit and eat and surf the internet. We check out Monahan’s seafood and Sparrow meats and then we buy whatever else is on The List and head home, where we do whatever chores we have scheduled, separately or together. The List? Usually it’s a loose mental list. Today, with Thanksgiving coming up, I actually had some specific things on my iPhone in Grocery IQ. I found everything but tomatoes and cukes. I knew I was pushing the season on those but they were available one week ago. I bought brussel sprouts on the stalk for the first time ever.

Hold up! That was sure a runaway train of a paragraph. I did NOT walk down to the farmer’s market at 0-skunk-30 this morning! Why not? Because everything was covered by a sheet of ICE!!! That’s why! Just check out Ninja with her cute li’l ice moustache. Instead, I got up, took a shower, and swung into action! Cleaned the refrigerator, did a couple loads of laundry, changed sheets, vacuumed (okay, Rooooomba vacuumed). I had other non-farmer’s market grokkery shopping to do and I was chomping at the bit to get it done so the GG and I slithered and slid over to the Plum Market shortly after it opened (at 8) to do *some* of that. Well, he slithered and slid. I didn’t even get as far as the next-door neighbors’ house before I returned to get my boots and YakTrax. Kee-reist! YakTrax are consumables. Brains and bones are not.

I still wanted to go to the farmer’s market and we finally did it via the Frog Hopper. By then it was almost lunch time and breakfast was pretty scarce this morning so I ordered us lunches from Panera in the car on the way home from the farmer’s market. The GG dropped me off at home and went to pick them up. I love the internet, don’t you?

I’ll spare you the rest of the details but today was a work day for me that would’ve made The Gumper proud, even though I didn’t wield a shovel or a rake or fix a motor of some sort.

At any rate, it was a pretty dreary Saturday here on The Planet Ann Arbor but the temps eventually rose to the 40s, which meant that I could actually take a walk down to and thru Miller Woods. I rather desperately needed that. I’m happy that I got so much housework done early this morning but my preference is to start my day with a walk.

Hope your day was good or productive or relaxing or whatever you wanted it to be. Love y’all,

Livin’ in the moment (and the past)

November 21st, 2014 by kayak woman

Weekends are precious and they are all too short, especially if you are down to your last few days of paid vacation time for the year. It’s Friday and I untangled many webs today and just about when I was getting ready to leave, Cube Nayber came up with the kind of conundrum that doesn’t belong at the end of a Friday afternoon. I gave it some perfunctory consideration and then I said something like, “Let’s untangle this on Monday morning.” And then I skedaddled.

Minced downtown to meet the GG at the Oscar Tango. Minced? Yes, minced. As I have said, we have nowhere near the piles of snow that others do but the skiff of snow we did get has only intermittently disappeared. About half of the local homeowners have shoveled and about half of those who have shoveled have put salt down. I walked downtown in my red Keens tonight. No YakTrax. It was okay but I was wary, especially on the downward trip, which is *mostly* downhill.

Back home and took a shower even though I was far from needing one. It just felt good.

Facebook can be so weird sometimes. A young woman posted on my class’s facebook page tonight asking if anyone remembered her mother. I didn’t respond but I do remember her. I think most of us do. Sigh. A very awkward young woman, unmercifully teased by others, if I remember correctly, yet always smiling, as one classmate noted. Alas, yes, I do remember correctly. I occasionally participated, acting friendly but not really feeling that way. Teasing. A mean girl. Boy oh boy, do I regret that. Why do we do stuff like that to other kids? I mean, I was hardly Miss Popularity myself. I struggled too. I think we do that stuff because it makes us feel somehow higher in the pecking order.

The major difference between me and my classmate was that I was born to a “prominent” family in town and I had parents who allowed me to at least try to *look* like I was one of the in-crowd. As humble as our lifestyle was back in that shabby old bungalow, they always helped me buy the latest fashions, etc., even if they didn’t necessarily like them. If I am remembering accurately, this woman’s parents were not together and the mother may have had some challenges. I seem to have known that then and understood what a hard life my classmate probably had. I’m sorry. It looks like her daughter has had a much better life, which makes me think her mother’s life probably improved greatly after high school. I’ve occasionally wondered throughout the years and, if that’s the case, I’m glad and I am ashamed of myself for ever doing anything to hurt her.

Friday night is one of my favorite moments of weekends here on The Planet. A walk downtown for a couple of cocktails and dinner and then home by 8:00 or so and hanging out in the Landfill Back Room. May it last forever.

Turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and [insert mumble about some kind of veggies here]…

November 20th, 2014 by kayak woman

franbettySo, maybe today was a difficult day because my coffee buddy couldn’t make it this morning? That is, one of my CBs is outta town and by outta town, I mean China or someplace, I can’t really remember where she is right now. The other one? She travels a bit more locally like I do but she was in town, she just reeeeeallly doesn’t like to drive in any amount of snow. Or on the freeway, even on a dry pavement kind of day. I am a wee bit braver despite my snow-driving kvetching but I understand and I love her anyway but I missed my coffee klatch today. (For the record, in the wee dark morning hours, as I was heading out for my 0-skunk-30 neighborhood prowl, I timidly asked the GG if he would mind switching vee-hickles today. The answer was, “Of course” and so I had AWD. And wouldn’t you know, driving the Ninja would’ve been just fine.)

Anyway, this CB is a quilter (like yer fav-o-rite blahgger is in a rather on-and-off way) and she is currently making fidget quilts. These are small lap-size quilts with many different textures and things like pockets with beanie babies in them and whatever. If you didn’t click over, these little quilts are tools for people who have forms of dementia to keep their hands busy. I think this is a cool idea.

I spent quite a bit of time around people with whatever form of dementia a few years ago when The Commander began having her difficulties. She experienced life in a rehab / long term care facility with several roommates and eventually an assisted living facility where she had her own studio apartment. The Comm, who did not have any mental issues, had compassion for the folks she lived with but I know that she felt incarcerated, no matter what the staff (who *loved* her) did to try to make her intellectual life stimulating enough to meet her needs.

I spent a lot of time telecommuting to work from the rehab facility during her sojourn there. I’m sure that there were people in that facility who could have used a fidget quilt. I know there were people there with gazillions of stuffed aminals but I’m not sure they had memory issues. Believe it or not, some people were living at that facility by choice. The people I was most familiar were the wanderers. Like Mumma. She was one of The Comm’s roommates. She wandered the halls constantly and would often lose the tennis shoes that her family provided her with. She also had baby dolls and took care of them very well, like the time mom and I were in the solarium and Mumma came in and gave one of her babies a “bath”. In the wastebasket. At the end of that afternoon, The Comm and Mumma had both left the room. I shut down my work laptop and packed things up. And then, on my way out of the solarium, I snagged Mumma’s baby from the wastebasket and a shoe that she had left behind. I deposited those items on her bed as I was walking out of the facility. Probably the most interesting end to a work day that I’ve ever had but who was this woman back in her day? At the least, someone who loved babies and loved taking care of them. And probably much more than that.

So, the gorgeous octogenarian women in the photooo did not have dementia. The Commander? Word search issues sometimes but boy oh boy if you (aka meeeee) didn’t quite understand whatever it was that she said the first time, she would sit back and think about her words and eventually *nail* me with whatever it was I missed the first time. I could look up the actual year that this pic was taken but I know that it was a Piedmont party after Grandroobly died and these grand old babes were still totally capable of getting down to the beach and walking on it unassisted. This particular party was interesting in a lot of ways including a water rescue but what I remember the most is that an area had been set up on the bank where the “old folks” could sit. The Comm and Radical Betty? No thank you! We love those folks who are sitting up on the bank and we will visit them but we will spend most of our time on the beach!

Oh yeah, difficult day? Just weird, niggly tech problems at work. Nothing worth writing about.

Not complaining…

November 19th, 2014 by kayak woman

snowsucks…even though the afternoon commute took an eon today. I dunno, 45 minutes to traverse eight miles? The good news? EVERYBODY was going slow. Of course, I took the s-l-o-w route through town. No freeway for me. No telling what kind of mayhem might happen there. If a semi rolled over or jackknifed, I could be stuck for hours. Not worth it for five miles of freeway. Better to slowly slodge my way through town. Anyway, I made it home intact and unscathed and the Ninja’s traction control light only came on a few times.

Really, it is not all that bad here, just that a wave of snow showers came through during the evening rush hour, which is also when it gets dark these days. That decreases visibility and makes the roads accumulate snow faster. I was in third gear (out of six) almost the entire way home, second on the long slodge up State to the Ellsworth roundabout. I did make it up to fourth a couple times. I love the manual tranny for snow driving but I yearn for winter taaarrrrs.

But I cannot complain (too much). Because look at the Yooperland and the Northern Lower and West Michigan and Buffalo NY. Will it ever stop? Not to raise the ire of anyone dealing with those conditions but, when we get *dumped* on with snow, it’s almost better for me in a way because it is totally okay for me to telecommute even to the point that my work ethic doesn’t even tell me “get over to work, get over to work”. This piddly-shit “1-3 inches” stuff? I feel like I would be a wimp if I didn’t drive over to my loverly dog-poopy cube even though nobody would probably care if I was there or not.

Thinking about Buffalo’s five / six feet of snow has me remembering the time that Sault Ste. Siberia got something like five feet of snow at once or possibly over a few days of neverending “snow showers”. This was a pretty long time ago, given that it was Mr. K of Multiplication Blues over at Haisley School who alerted me about it when I dropped a beach urchin off at his classrooom. The grandparents were in their hale and hearty 70s in those days and I had tried to call them fairly recently but the call wouldn’t go through but that was kind of normal since the phones in the Dillon house were always wonky. We were all busy and I didn’t really worry about it.

Anyway, the phone *was* wonky during that snowstorm, so The Commander waded through five feet of snow over to the neighbor’s house to call AT&T. She got somebody from Dee-troit who told her that some service technician had already been down Dillon Street to deal with the problem. “OH NO THEY HAVEN’T!”, boomed The Comm, knowing that NOBODY could get down Dillon Street at that point because there was something like five feet of snow on it! There was no snow down here in southeast Michigan at all.

I thought I had more to say but I guess I am done. You’re welcome!

Love all nine of you,

How ’bout blaaaaaaah?

November 18th, 2014 by kayak woman

Okay, it isn’t really all that bad. For one thing, the Weather Gods were predicting Gloom and Doom for this morning’s commute. Lake Effect Snow, they said. Most winters I would pooh-pooh that kind of prediction. We are near many many many small lakes but the Big Lake they are talking about is Lake Michigan and that is well over 100 miles away and therefore does not usually blow Lake Effect Snow over here to The Planet. Oh, there’s Lake Huron and Lake Erie but we usually don’t get lake effect from them I don’t think. But then there was the last polar vortex winter and I am not sure where all of the snow came from but I can only guess that some of it was related to Lake Effect Snow from Lake Michigan reaching all the way over here or maybe from Huron or Erie reaching back? I do not know.

Anyway, the predictions were kind of weird for today. Lake Effect Snow. Intermittent Whiteout Conditions. But less than one inch accumulation? What? Okay, that does seem possible. Reality? Not one flake that I saw. Colder than a witch’s teat though. (Since “teat” has been an answer in the NYT xword a few times lately, I’m guessing it passes the Breakfast Test.) Anyway, kee-reist. Forecast for tomorrow? Snow flurries. Or was it snow showers?

Whatever it is, I am over it. It is only November and this is January weather. I do not want to move south but Santa please buy me some winter taaarrrrs. Or maybe a new top-dolla Honda Accord because those vee-hickles rock in snow. Well, my 2001 Dogha did at any rate. Loved that vee-hickle sooooo much and drove it to work during the early years of my current career. I love my beauteous Ninja too though. Maybe we could stash it for the winter?

Good night!

@LakeSuperior If I can make snow every day for the rest of eternity, I would.

November 17th, 2014 by kayak woman


This photo is not from Gitchee Gumee. It is from the Houghton Lake webcam. We tried to put a webcam up at the Moomincabin a few years ago but wouldn’t you know the first thing that happened after we closed up the cabin for the winter was that the tree we put the cam in fell down. We really want to have a webcam up there but it isn’t easy all that easy. But this photooo is from the Group Home at Houghton Lake and this is pretty early for ice to form.

This morning was not particularly fun. I took my 0-skunk-30 walk in my purple Keens. They were fine despite the occasional skim of snow on the roads and sidewalks. If the predictions are accurate for tomorrow, I will need boots and YakTrax. And I am not at all looking forward to my commute.

This morning’s commute? I was fine, sorta. Until I got over to Oak Valley. Yucky stuff on that road. And then there was Ellsworth near State. Ice. Yes. There is always ice there. I managed to navigate the ice safely (most people were going very slow). I got to work and somebody on Twitter tweeted that Ellsworth Road near State Street was a sheet of ice. Yes.

Mr. Rank and Mr. Odiferous

November 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

bettyshouseI had a couple of odiferous tasks to do today. I cannot read, type, or think the word “odiferous” without… Wait! WordPress is flagging this perfectly good word as being misspelled! Okay, Google says that the *correct* word is “odoriferous”. “Odiferous” is a variant. Who knew? I have been using “odiferous” since about the Jurassic Age or thereabouts. That’s because back in the Jurassic Age, Radical Betty and Duke were building the gorgeous ski chalet in the pitcher (which is from the Sherman Archives) and at some point, Duke and the Grinchie, who were doing most of the construction, didn’t have a particularly great place to, you know, bathe, so they would come into town and beg to use The Commander’s shower. “Can Mr. Rank and Mr. Odiferous use your shower?” Well, of course they could!

I have a weird little random memory from that era in which *I* was in the shower at my parents house. I had just gotten outta the shower and the frickin’ phone rang. I was home alone. You know this was waaaaay back in the day when there was only a landline. The most reliable phone in *that* house was in the chitchen and I was not about to run to the chitchen in a towel to answer the phone. Except that maybe it was boyfriend du jour… Or some wanna-be BF that I was trying to avoid… Whatever, fortunately, Mr. Rank (or was it Mr. Odiferous? It was definitely Duke, not sure if he was Mr. Rank or Mr. Odiferous) blasted in through the front door at that moment and yelled, “I’ll get it!” Whew! I do not know who called, which means it probably wasn’t somebody calling for me. (Note: When I was growing up, Fin family members always walked inside each other’s homes or cabins without knocking. We didn’t call our elders by titles either. First names. Well, okay, except for Grandma and Grandaddy.)

So today, I had some odoriferous things to do. The least odoriferous of them was to de-hoard the Guest Bedroom. The Guest Bedroom was a guest bedroom many moons ago when my parents would drive down to see their first granddaughter when she was a newborn baby. it became a bedroom for that grandchild and then two of them shared it. And eventually, Liz moved into what had been the Computer Room and our small house was no longer a circle house. These days, Mouse’s old bedroom has become a dumping ground. Sometimes it’s hard to even walk into it. It isn’t Mouse’s fault. Most of the stuff in there these days is mine or the GG’s or The Commander’s.

Today, I got to the point where I could vacuum at least the middle of the room. I hope this lasts five minutes or so. I am taarrred. That is about it. Love y’all, KW.

Chain of Fools

November 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

chainSoooo, I have had a couple banker’s boxes of random stuff plus some other things in my Ninja’s trunk for a couple weeks now. Waiting for the next trip to the Kiwanis drop-off.

Did I tell you about my Flinging Coffee Buddy the other day? I mentioned to her that Kiwanis was on my regular Saturday Beat these days. When she asked me what I was shopping for at Kiwanis, I almost fell outta my seat laughing. No, no, no, no, no! (gnoff gnoff!) I am DROPPING STUFF OFF!!! Did that ever pique her interest! Kiwanis is so cool! You just pull up in front of their garage and all of these cheerful, enthusiastic volunteers are there to help you unload just about whatever you have in your vee-hickle. They were cheerfully disappointed when I told them they couldn’t have Ninja’s taaaarr pump but her taaaars are finicky and I need that thing. At any rate, there is no need to be embarrassed about the junk you are dumping off like some of us (meeeee) sometimes are.

Anyway, like I was saying, I had some stuff in my trunk and I was kind of wishy-washy about making a trip down there, like maybe we should wait until we have more. But then the GG swung into high gear and pretty soon we had a pretty good vee-hickle full. The Ninja is not a terribly large vee-hickle but still. It felt sooooo good to drive away from there with an empty vee-hickle!

We did NOT get rid of The Chain! I was ecstatic when I saw The Chain come up outta The Landfill Dungeon. Yes! It was there when we moved into this place 30 [ulp] years ago. (I just had this weird little memory about our mortgage payoff date being in 2014. We actually paid it off in 1997.) I can’t remember that we have *ever* used The Chain but the GG says he and The Indefatigable occasionally did. Whatever. I was hopeful that we might drop it off at Kiwanis today but the GG thinks maybe he can sell it on the Internet. We’ll see. It has at least progressed to Outside. Yay!

It was nice to have an empty vee-hickle for a few hours but I am already collecting more stuff. A bag of egg cartons to take to work for Chicken Lady. A bag for returnable bottles. A bag for stuff we can recycle at Lowe’s (broken xmas lights, Roooomba batteries and more). A couple bags of books I don’t need any more. The Comm’s old serger (specialized sewing musheen). I made a half-assed attempt to palm that thing off on various relations but I suspect they are not gonna want it and I will feel no guilt about dropping it off next weekend or whenever.

Hello, I am beginning to cull my fabric stash. This is 30 years of collecting quilt-type fabrics. I am working quickly and think that I will end up with about a third of my stash left when I am finished. I do expect to create stuff with fabric again but not at the moment. Maybe I’ll blahg about my haphazard culling process in a later post. Maybe not. I am considering how to off-load this stuff. There are a number of ways I could do it. I looked into selling some of it on Etsy or someplace but I would essentially be running a business if I did that and I do not have time to run a business. I would rather just donate it but the GG gives me pause reminding me how much money went into that stash and futzing around with The Chain. I don’t really give a damn about money. Okay, that was a reckless statement because it is pretty essential but unpacking what I think about money would take a book or two or three. So, we’ll see what I do…

If you’ve made it all the way through all of that random blather, here’s Aretha doing Chain of Fools.

You are not wearing a hat!

November 14th, 2014 by kayak woman

iceFirst of all, I totally stole this photo without permission from Our Northern Correspondent’s facebook feed. I’m gonna guess it’s okay with her. This is what the edge of the moominbeach looks like today after an 18 inch snowfall over several days. Yes, ice is forming on Gitchee Gumee.

I cannot believe that people here in the god-forsaken Great Lake State often do not wear hats when it is 30 or 20 or 10 or 0 or even below zero. Do you really think people care that much about what your hair looks like if you’ve lost half your ear lobes from frostbite? My buddy of Porterization was wearing a hat tonight! A bomber-type hat a lot like my own beloved one. A guy from Cleveland was *not* wearing one. Go figger.

You can bet that I wore my beauteous bomber hat to walk downtown tonight. The black sequined one. The one The Commander bought me at Barish Brothers a few years before she left the earth. The Comm always wished for me to present myself with tasteful understated elegance. Guess what, mom, that is not exactly who I am. Ran around like a wild injun as a kid. Makeup and wild-looking mini-skirt-type clothing as a teenager. Nowadays, I am a wee bit more understated in terms of fashion. I stick to certain colors and styles and COMFORT is my buddy. If it doesn’t fit exactly right or feel exactly right, i.e., I have to keep tugging at it all day, it goes into the donation box. I *will* wear color! Purple tights anyone?

Anyway, The Comm and I saw this beauteous black sequined bomber hat at Barishes and I fell in love with it. Moom, you can buy me *that* for xmas. She was kind of squinting at the hat and then at me and I could tell she was thinking it over. She didn’t really want to contribute to my fashion delinquency but she also didn’t want to buy me stuff that I wouldn’t wear or use. The Comm was *always* very good at putting together boxes of “stuff” for xmas and birthdays but by that time we were both flinging and I didn’t need anything and she knew it and, well, she could’ve sent money but I didn’t really need that either so… I was ecstatic when I opened the box with the black sequined bomber hat that xmas. Thank you mom!!! Really!

Errrr.. The truth is that I didn’t wear it right away. Not that year and maybe not the next. I loved it but I kind of wondered if I had maybe gone a bit over the top. Plus those were not cold winters and my ski band served me well. When I very tentatively started wearing the bomber hat a few years ago, I was overwhelmed by the compliments I received and nowadays I wear it with aplomb. When somebody compliments me about it, I always say, “My mother bought me this hat!”

Dooya think if I buy my Ninja some snow taaarrrrs, it’ll stop snowing?

November 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

Came outta Barry Bagels this morning to guess what? Of course you are right. Great big beeyootyful fluffy snowflakes. I thought about takin’ a pitcher of my poor little Ninja’s veeeendsheeeld but couldn’t quite get up the gumption. It’s okay. It was just a shower. It didn’t stick around and the roads (here) were A-OK. Today’s Coffee Buddy (looonng time friend) quit her job over the summer and was heading home to fling and I was envious but I headed off to Cubeland. I am heavy into a Flinging Mode right now but I have scant little time to do much about it. But I like my little job and, after being underemployed most of my adult life, that paycheck kind of rocks. How did I get here? I do not know. People sometimes ask me how I found this job and I have to be honest and tell them it was a total accident, a crash landing in a way. Oh, I’m not like Marissa or Sheryl or The Donald or whoever. Not anywhere near. So don’t be envious. Just know that if you are a young Creative Type wondering if you will ever be appreciated enough to get paid for what you do, do not despair. I was once there and I am doing okay.

I guess I got off on a couple of tangents there. High school chemistry memory: Mr. T to Miles, my lab partner, “Miles, don’t get off on a tangent.” I ran into Miles at some point later on and he “remembered” spilling acid on my leg. Uh, I do not remember that. Miles was a cool kid and cute enough to be potential boyfriend material except that he was my age and I tended to date older boys back then. Go figger.

So, it isn’t really snowing around here at least not significantly but I am kind of freaked out about how much snow the yooperland is getting. Western lower peninsula too. I was freaked out this morning when NPR was reporting road closures all over the western lower peninsula due to accidents. It’s the driving that freaks me out. PLEASE SLOW DOWN WHEN IT SNOWS! But the yooperland? I grew up in the yooperland and have spent my adult life visiting Sault Ste. Siberia with quite some frequency. It is not unusual to have a significant snowstorm in November or even October but the photooos that people are posting from up there? Those snowbanks look like mid-March.

Stoves? Heating stoves? Cooking stoves? Yesterday, two of my cuzzints commented about stoves in the Old Cabin. Yes, there was a stove on the hearth in the Old Cabin when we were young. My parents had bought it and when they built the moomincabin next door (when I was six) they moved it over there and I can still remember going out to collect kindling to start faaarrs in it. I can also remember the time some of us kids were warming up in our beach towels in front of it after swimming on one of those loverly days when the wind was howling outta the northwest and I reached my hand back behind me and got a pretty dern good burn. And then there was the time that the ‘rents put the charcoal grill under that stove for the night and, in the middle of the night, it re-ignited. All was well but there was a wee bit of scrambling there. Oh, and, my one and only dog Tigger used to sleep under the cabin next to the chimney because it was warm there. Eventually the parents got rid of that stove (not sure what they did with it) and replaced it with a gas thingy that I’m not crazy about but it does do the job and you can turn it off on those days that start out frosty and warm up quickly. The old wood stove would keep the place hot all day, whether you needed heat or not. Hmmm, maybe that’s one reason they got rid of it. Nowadays, if I am really cold after a swim, I can take a nice hot shower. Back in those days, the lake was where we bathed, rain, wind, or whatever. It could be fun and the beach urchins and I would sometimes wash our hair in the lake even though we had long had a shower in the cabin by the time they were old enough to wash their own hair.

The old wood cooking stove? I was very young so I don’t have very accurate memories of that thing but I *think* I can remember our grandma (Margaret) baking pies in it. I’m sure The Comm and all of the G2 aunts could do that too. I’m sure that Bubs remembers this!

I wish I had photos of those old stoves and I may have but there’s no way I’m gonna look for them tonight!

Find my iPhone

November 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

I did not sleep all that well last night. I only very occasionally suffer from insomnia although I do frequently wake up at That Batscope Hour when your brain works overtime and you confront the fact that you are gonna diiiiiiie. Someday. I think that a lot of people do that. Once upon a time I read various articles on The Google or somewhere that our ancestors often woke up in the middle of the night. They would eat, have you-know-what, even visit with neighbors. As this was as recent as the 1800s and my grandparents were born in the late 1800s, I was intrigued with this idea. I don’t know how true it is (I mean, it *was* on the internet) but I tend to not get panicky these days when I wake up in the wee Batscope Hours and cannot immediately get back to sleep.

But there was wind last night and that unsettles me in general. So I woke up multiple times during the night and then… Of course… I fell into REM sleep maybe an hour before I normally launch myself out of bed. 4:30 or so? What the heck? I had lost my iPhone. In my dream. And my mother but I won’t get into that except that the last time I saw her (in my dream), she was sitting at a table in the Old/Moomincabin parking lot checking people in to a Piedy 4th of July party. What?

We have had a couple of interesting Find My iPhone incidents recently. In the most recent one, the phone was found in the person’s pocket. I laughed but I have done that kind of thing too. In my dream I never did find my mother but my iPhone was found UNDER WATER in a strange little keyhole-type-thing in a rock. But then my alarm woke me up and I knew exactly where my iPhone was, which was on the dresser next to my bed, plugged in and everything. And I *dragged* myself outta bed, took a shower, and set off on my normal 0-skunk-30 neighborhood prowl.

I am envious of my BFF, who is hanging out in the Green Cabin making pasties from scratch. I won’t disclose her location but it is on a large inland lake in the yooperland and they are heating with wood in the gorgeous Green Cabin. Long before I was born, my parents spent a fall at my grandparents’ Old Cabin. They heated the place with a huge stone fireplace and a wood cooking stove in the kitchen. I think they actually managed to make a Thanksgiving dinner in the old stove there and I think my aunt Roberta may have been there for that but I could be wrong. At some point snow started to fall and my old coot said to his bride, we need to move to town. And so they did. To his parents’ house at first and then to an apartment downtown.

I can see Alaska from my house

November 11th, 2014 by kayak woman


Okay, how about I can see the Haisley parking lot from my roof. That’s not me up there on the roof [shudder]. It is a pic I received via text message this afternoon at work. It’s only a one-story house but still.

Some people did not have to work today. They went out gallivanting around hiking at the Geology Center. Seven miles there, some yardwork, then they hiked downtown to the Grizzly Peak, where we all met up for dinner. I walked down too. Those two slackers ate out no fewer than THREE times today. Breakfast at Bell’s Diner, some sort of snacky-type beer lunch at a pub in Chelsea, then the GP. Me? English muffin / OJ breakfast, leftover lunch.

It was pretty warm today but the wind started picking up this afternoon and the skies looked like Armageddon when I drove home from work and then the temperature started dropping. Some people are calling this thing another polar vortex, Winter Storm Astro? A more ominous name for it has also emerged: Omega Block. I am not looking forward to winter much this year. Yes, snow is pretty and fun. I can dress for it and I like to walk and ski in it and I don’t mind shoveling it as long as there’s a place to put it. Driving? No think you. Friends, we had the barest minimum of snowfall in Roscommon County last weekend. Two, count ‘em, TWO traffic fatalities. That I know of. Sault Ste. Siberia is apparently a sheet of ice this evening. From what I can gather, they got a few inches of snow (hey, Marquette got a foot or two!), then freezing rain started falling. What a mess! Glad I am not there but we’ll get it soon enough, I fear.

I’m taaaarrred and babbling incoherently. G’night!

Roota-beggy take two

November 10th, 2014 by kayak woman

Multiple choice: a) An authentic pasty contains carrot. b) An authentic pasty contains rutabaga. c) What the heck is rutabaga? d) Aren’t pasties those things women in strip clubs wear on their, oh, you know where e) All of the above. f) None of the above. g) b and d.

Even though I was born and raised in the yooperland, I do not remember having anything to do with a pasty until I was well into my teenage years and The Commander decided to learn to make them. The Commander possessed some wonderful culinary skills but she did *not* originally come from the yooperland and her main experience with the word pasty up until that point had to do with meeting her dad for lunch down in Detroit in its heyday and seeing women dance around wearing them. Google pasties if you are not at work.

I’m sure there were places to buy perfectly good pasties in Sault Ste. Siberia in those days (even pasties with rutabaga in them) but The Comm wanted to make her own. I have vague memories about this. I was probably practicing the flute or the puano and going out with either Good or Bad Boyfriend. But I know that she did a lot of research and her pasties had rutabaga in them. It’s funny that I remember eating them but I don’t remember if I liked them or not. I don’t remember ever eating them again at home but that might be because my old coot probably didn’t like them. But he didn’t like a lot of things. Or maybe they were just too fussy to make.

Anyway, I love pasties now and we buy them from Uncle Peter at the Planet Ann Arbor farmer’s market or occasionally from TBJ, who helps make them for a church fundraiser but that is only if the stars are aligned such that we are at the moominbeach when they are available. We know about the rutabaga thing and have probably asked Uncle Peter numerous times if he uses it in his pasties. I know that he does.

So, the other night, I posted about eating pasties and wouldn’t you know, my semi-yooper BFF Sam had MADE THEM FROM SCRATCH that day. The rutabaga conversation ensued and now we are on to beef stew. With bacon! Who wants to come for dinner this weekend? I think I’m making beef stew. With bacon!

Terribly beautiful

November 9th, 2014 by kayak woman


This photo is apped via Instagram filters but it’s actually pretty close to reality. The Iceman Cometh or at least he made an attempt. There was some snow on the point road when I walked it this morning but nothing slippery. Our fave waitress over at Little Boots diner reported slick spots when she drove in to work, which was probably much earlier than when I walked. Little Boots was interesting today for other reasons that I will not detail on the internet. Fun stuff though.

Old Man Winter seemed to be gearing up for the duration this weekend. Almost all of the time we were in the north country, something was coming down outta the sky. The form factor varied and the ground is not frozen yet so the snow didn’t totally take everything over but here we go into whatever polar vortex gets thrown our way. We’ll see.

At any rate, our trip back down south to the Planet Ann Arbor today was pretty smooth.

Love y’all,

We won’t talk about intersections

November 8th, 2014 by kayak woman

After pitching a big hissy last night about not lollygagging around the Group Home all morning before getting out hiking, I awoke bright and early to the looooooverly sound of rain sleet and wind. Ugh.


Whyyyyy was I in such a full-tilt-boogie rush to get up and outta here? It was fugly outside and something was flapping against the side of the cabin in the wind but I couldn’t tell what it was because it was so blasted dark out! As challenging as it was, I put breakfast materials out on the stove for the GG to cook up and FORCED myself out the door for a quick walk down to the point and back (mile or so round trip). It wasn’t particularly nice out but it really wasn’t all that bad either. It wasn’t all that cold and I didn’t get too wet and I was heartened by the sounds of duck hunters shooting out in the lake. If they could get up and go out on the LAKE, I could certainly go hiking.

I will not begin to try to coherently describe our trip over to the chosen trailhead today. Ever-changing types of precipitation, a stop in Kalkaska to meet up with the UU. 5000 beeceeclettists racing from Kalkaska to Traverse city in The Iceman Cometh (and the Iceman *does* cometh to these parts, make no mistake, and it seems he is coming soon this year). An intersection that we won’t talk about and areas of no phone service. Eventually, a beauteous if somewhat wet hike on the North Country Trail. Here are the Twinz of Terror doing their usual schtick of figuring out where under the sun we are and not (thank you Zeus) eating pistachio nuts.


In truth, we all knew exactly where we were. This section of the NCT is particularly well groomed and marked and we *mostly* had good cell service and there was no issue about being lost at any time today.

Sometimes I can be sooooo stoooopid. When we arrived at the shallow but fast running little river below I actually thought that we would have to *cross* the river on this tree. I was having a bit of a hissy about that. “I am NOT going over that log”, etc. and the Twinz (who probably thought I was nuts plus they were getting me back for the whole intersection thing) egged me on with, “Yeah, and *you* get to go *first*.”


EVENTUALLY I swung my bird brain left and saw trail blazes. The trail DID NOT CROSS THE RIVER at all. Instead, it hugged the riverbank and that is how I randomly pointed my loverly iPhone down and got this almost kind of watercolor like photoooo. I have to add that I posted this on facebook and quite a few people really liked it. I do too but really, it was random iPhoneography. I was standing there in the rain juggling my phone, glubs, an umbrella and a hiking pole. I took plenty of other photooos today that I did not post and will delete.


When I found a telephone booth got back to the Frog Hopper, I switched from leggings and wet socks into a skirt, tights and dry socks and then we cruised on up to Traverse City where, after some fumbling, we found the Bum Steer (long story there) where we split a steer burger for lunch and then headed back to the Group Home via our fave Best Choice market and a gasoline station. Taaaarrrred in a good way. Fuzzy around the edges and my face feels hot but in an outdoorsy kind of way rather than feverish and it felt sooooo good to wash my feet this afternoon!

Love you all and good night,


November 7th, 2014 by kayak woman

So, we are here at the Group Home at Houghton Lake and we are thinking about places to hike tomorrow. The sun set at somewhere around 5:23 this afternoon. We were on the freeway. By the time we got up here, it felt like about midnight even though it was only around 6:30. We have some frozen pasties from Uncle Peter at the farmer’s market to put in the oven and some salad. We’ll eat eventually, I guess. Since we got here, the GG has been working on installing a new cable modem. It’s prob’ly about time. I remember when we got the first one installed, when the place was new. I drove up here with The Lady of Linden to wait for the cable guy. Believe it or not, that was something like 10 years ago. It was a beautiful day and I didn’t have a career then and it was just so much fun.

That modem was pretty good for a long time but we needed a new one. Back in those old days, there were maybe one or two laptop computers using the modem at a time. Nowadays on a high summer weekend, there are any number of folks hitting that modem with their laptops and smartphones. I’m one of those folks. In fact, I am probably a pioneer in that respect. I remember back in the old days of the Moldy Old [but beloved] Cabin when we schlepped various computers up and used a telephone modem to dial up to the Internet.

This is a group home and we want to accommodate as many folks as we can on our wifi so today, the GG installed a new one. It actually works.

Tomorrow. North Country Trail in the Traverse City area? Yes, let’s do it. But let’s not lollygag around tooooo long for breakfast tomorrow. Lunch in / around TC tomorrow? Yes!