Random bits of my so-called life.

Pick me up on Arborview and we’ll wing it from there

May 1st, 2016 by kayak woman

So there I was walking up Arborview and no fewer than *two* Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheens were coming toward me. Fortunately I managed to pick the right one. The one the Grumpy Growler was driving rather than the one the Serial Killer was driving. Or more likely a Soccer Mom.

From there we headed out to Our Hiking Lake, aka West Lake Preserve, for a small morning hike in beautiful misty, drizzly type weather. Beautiful and I figured out that I like that particular preserve so much because it contains a wide variety of terrain in a small number of acres: fields, marshes, forest, lakeshore. I think I will hold my pics from that back today though and post them later this week when I am head down over at Cubeland and don’t have anything much to talk about.

Instead I will try to show you what we did this afternoon, which was the Waterhill music festival down (and up) in the neighborhood of the same name. We love this festival and associated neighborhood so here are less than wonderful pics that might give you an idea of what this festival is all about. Our first stop was at this beautiful green and purple house. This is the GG’s pic. I tried to do a similar thing but mine was half-*ssed 🐗

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We loved this band enough to actually sit down and listen to it for more than one or two songs. We were getting up to move on to whatever next caught our fancy when someone yelled, “Kayak Woman!” It took me a minute to process that it was FZ, who I have seen almost literally every day for the last going-on-nine years over at Cubeland. I got to meet his beautiful wife and then. And then. And then. Some other people saw us talking to FZ and his wife and recognized us and galumphed over to figure out how *we* knew FZ. The galumphers turned out to be a couple of card-carrying members of the old Haisley Mafia that we have known forever. And and and… The Haisley Mafia dad and FZ’s wife are SIBLINGS! WHO KNEW? They were at Waterhill to have fun but also to listen to FZ’s son’s band. He is the percussionist, on the left in the [bad] photo. 💜 That is all.

We eventually moved on. We declined to sign a Snyder recall (governor) petition. I always decline those but I *always* clarify that I do not like Snyder. I just don’t think a recall is a good use of resources at this time. Our next stop was Khalid Hanifi, at this house.

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I generally like to wander Waterhill kind of randomly but I always make it a point to see the Fumblin’ Tumbleweeds. They will probably never play at Carnegie Hall but I think they don’t give a you-know-what about that. They are wonderful in that you can tell they are all having a great time doing what they are doing whether or not they are totally in tune. I have to tell you, as a person who once spent toooooooooooo much time worrying about whether I was in tune or not, I kind of LOVE when people who are playing music are NOT always in tune. Also, they always play the Tumbling Tumbleweed song that I remember from when I was a kid and my parents played western swing-type records. I didn’t tear up hearing them do that song today but it did take me back. Here’s a link to one of the songs my parents loved. Beware that there may be and an ad…

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And then we saw Dick Siegel of “We’ll eat at Angelo’s” fame at his own house (I think it’s his house, I could be wrong, maybe Snopes knows). I didn’t even try to take a pic of that group because with all of the people around, it was almost impossible. BTW, there was a rolling lemonade/homemade snack wagon staffed by children at this event. I didn’t buy anything but I love that Waterhill is all about families. We walked over to Corndaddy. I loved Corndaddy. Ruby (the child) danced the entire time and a couple of adult women joined her. I was rocking back and forth with them in the street.

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We walked up the hill to see Kathy and Bill and they were good and look at that beautiful house (although I like my own little Landfill).

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And there was this wonderful young film crew wandering around. It was hard to get a good picture of them and this was the best I could do. They were *very* careful about noticing what few automotive vee-hickles were driving through.

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The Bach Bengals were not the last group we listened to but I have to include them because they show that this festival welcomes musicians of all levels. Were they in tune? Not necessarily. Did they all play the right notes? Probably not. Will all of them grow up to be professional musicians? Doubtfully. Were they good? Yes yes yes yes! They were absolutely fabulous!

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After the music fest, we toddled back up the hill to home. And so good night and an end to another wonderful weekend. Love you all, KW.

Good times.

April 30th, 2016 by kayak woman

It’s late and we didn’t really do anything much more than the usual Saturday stuff. Like the farmers market early in the morning and the Griz for lunch and Argus for tomatoes and to see friends there. I asked the GG if he wanted to walk home via woods or coins. He chose coins and so I left a couple of quarters there. We were lucky enough to get home before it started raining and then we drove out to Larry’s mower shop to buy a chainsaw but Larry closed at 3:00 so we were outta luck with that.

Oh my gosh, what a wonderful evening we spent with so many old friends. It was Goose Mom’s significant birthday. She used to live around two corners from me but she moved down to Austin Texas a while back. But wait! Her daughter (and husband) now live here on the beautiful Garden Planet Ann Arbor and so a surprise party was planned here at The Beautiful Wendy’s house, which is only a few blocks from here but it was raining cats and dogs, so we drove over there.

What can I say? I couldn’t even get to the whine without being waylaid by old friends. What are you doing? What are your kids doing? Etc., etc., etc. I did find some whine but I didn’t drink very much of it because I kept running into more old friends to talk to and we just kept going on and on and on into the happy lives we have grown into. So much fun.

Love you all, KW

TGIF at the end of a Very Heavy Week

April 29th, 2016 by kayak woman

But not one without lots of laughter. We did our usual thing this Friday and I noticed that one of my fave urbanP spots is starting to grow some cover again. UrbanP in this spot is always a bit dicey. I don’t even think about it in the winter.

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The GG received a retaaaarment gift of powterization in this Digital Voice Recorder box which did *not* contain a digital voice recorder. A discussion of gift packaging ensued. The Commander was well known for rather benignly and unthinkingly packaging gifts in unrelated boxes. Apparently this kind of thing is an *art* in npJane’s branch of the Fin fambly. That does not surprise me at all. Last week our friends of powterization surprised us with a pile of ancient junk mail. You know where that went, roight? Interestingly enough, our friends took this box home with them. You know where I wouldda put it, roight? 🐸

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npJane was a surprise participant in our Oscar Tango fun fun fun tonight, albeit a welcome one. We accepted a ride home from her in return for a wee nightcap in the Lyme Lounge and it *was* wee because 130 proof. There’s the GG holding up his 130 proof retaaaarment gift (from somebody at his work) bourbon there (with mixing water on the table because 130) and npJane’s red pants on the right. Come to think of it, I had red tights on tonight so we were kinda matchy matchy in a way.

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Despite the fact that the Lyme Lounge is connected to them thar intertubes (at least when it is parked next to the Landfill) and can charge various devices, I was having too much fun to do my blahg earlier so I’m cobbling it together now.

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Love y’all, KW

We have got to stop meeting like this but at least this time we have not met by the bacon 🐽

April 28th, 2016 by kayak woman

epaSo, I was going through the Plum Market checkout for about the umpteenth time this week and the person behind me, after I had already paid and was moving on, was making sure the cashier knew that she was the mother of the bagging person so she could get the employee discount. I was about to reply to that with I-dunno-what because I have a relative working at the Plum but I don’t ever ask for the discount even when I am with that person but then somebody was hailing me down at the end of the checkout counter.

It was one of my fave Haisley Mafia moms ever, Lairi the Rake’s mom. We commiserated about the things in our lives that are the same. Like we’ve had childhood jobs and adult jobs with a space in between where we did a lot of volunteer work. And then we both went back to work. She went first, as a teacher and I went later as a systems analyst. Now our husbands, who have worked their butts off forever, want to retire and we are kind of not ready. And we both have property on beaches in the yooperland and I dunno, we just think alike. We are soul mates in so many ways.

Man oh man, was I glad to meet my old friend today. I needed that today. It has been a brutal week around these parts and in some ways I am looking for a solid place to put my foot. I think the last time I wrote that kind of post was the day after my brother died and I was faced with driving to the yooperland to pick up my *absolutely destroyed* elderly parents to take them down here to his funeral. Not fun in any way shape or form and I will never forget my dad saying that he was *not* going to go into that funeral home.

So, the EPA. Today was the GG’s last day at the EPA. 37 years. Computer Scientist and nationally infamous expert on automotive emissions testing. He would kill me if I said anything more about his [pretty darn illustrious] career there. My “childhood” career was also at the EPA and I miss the folks I worked with there then. Love all of the folks who are still there plus the many who have retired.

Switching from bad nitsy stuff to good nitsy stuff

April 27th, 2016 by kayak woman

rootsystemFirst of all, if you are driving, please turn off your phrickin’ phone! Last week it was tailgaters. This week I keep getting behind people going 10-15 miles BELOW the speed limit. What is up with that? I am not [usually] a speed demon. I enjoy a nice calm drive to work in the morning and I do the speed limit or close to it when I can. When you are ahead of me and going significantly slower than the limit and randomly stepping on the brake, you are annoying. When I finally get to a place where I can see what you are doing and you are looking down at your hand rather than at the road, I see red. Driving is (most of the time) enjoyable! Put the phrickin’ phone down and enjoy it already.

This morning, after getting stuck behind a couple of slowpokes, I got to the S. Maple/Scio Church 3-way intersection where I ALWAYS turn right on red — when it is safe to do so of course. I was behind two vee-hickles and the light was red but the traffic was favorable for turning right so why wasn’t the person in front turning right? I did not know. I was annoyed. I honked. A couple of times. And then… NO TURN ON RED. A new sign with an orange flag on it. Whaaaa? I do not know why that intersection needs a NO TURN ON RED sign. I was/am annoyed about that. I think it’s going to hose that normally smooth intersection. I also felt like an *SS for honking at the poor person at the head of the line who SAW the sign and obeyed the law. Jeebus, KW. Get a grip. (I wanted to be able to “ping” that vee-hickle and say I was sorry. When will we be able to do that? Will it make life better or worse, as in will people ping other people saying [hostilely], “get off yer phrickin’ phone”.)

You wouldn’t understand my work but suffice it to say that we have a wonderful new QA “resource” in India (Inderdeep, which, in my opinion, is the coolest name ever and I hope he doesn’t google himself and find this paint-drying blahg) who ROCKS! I am finishing up a prodject in which I had to make minor changes on about a billion pages throughout our huge, sprawling, high-fidelity proto-type. I knew I had missed some pages. This new QA person filed a defect listing *every* page that had issues and stated what they were. I hate when our prototype is inconsistent and I LOVE when someone politely points out problems with it. As I have said before, India is going to take over the world.

Eek! What’s for dinner? With some trepidation, I bought baby bok choy at the farmers market last weekend, willing myself to make a stir-fry soon. I knew that I would have trouble scheduling it in because when I get home from work, I don’t really feel like doing a whole lot of food-prep. It seems as though after work is when I write my blahg these days and so… I won’t try to articulate my big stir-fry problem. It involved chicken breast or lack thereof, frozen or not but you do NOT want to traverse KW’s brain. I did not want to mess with defrosting frozen chicken breasts or cut them up. What to do. I walked to the Plum to get a couple of other ingredients that I wanted and when I went up to the meat counter to look at the chicken, they had chicken already cut up for stir-fry, which I should’ve known.

Oh yeah, and then I fergot that this is the first day that I managed to obtain asparagus from Farmer John. That was a good thing and it’s in my stir-fry tonight.

That is about it. As you can tell, not a lot happened today but that can be a good thing.

KW in Wonderland doin’ a bit o’ gubmint work

April 26th, 2016 by kayak woman

24hours3I touched base with the Queen Bee yesterday (she is a short-timer and I am gonna miss her oh boy oh boy) about where I was in my current work. I said that I would be looking for new things to do soon but that I had enough “clean-up” work that I wasn’t quiiiite into the thumb-twiddling stage yet. She relayed this to the LSCHP at a manager’s meeting, the result being that I received a little warning (from the Queen Bee) when she got in this morning that the LSCHP might need help with some gubmint-type work.

Sure enough, he soon sidled around the corner into my cube with a little “heh heh, I heard you needed something to do.” That means that he needs a “non-union” type person to help with “union” pay-scale type work. In this case it turned out to be boxing up a few old dead routers to mail back to the mother ship. Really, I don’t get asked to do gubmint-type work very often and *most* of the time, when I do, it involves helping decorate sabotage someone’s cube. And yes, I can hang ghosties up via ectoplasm or blow up plastic cats, etc.

This work was interesting mainly because I got to go over to Wonderland, which is a locked room in a part of the building that we long ago chunked off to another tenant and only a few people have *ever* been in Wonderland. It is a Snake Pit and I really wanted to sneak a pic but I wasn’t sure that would be cool given the required security of our industry even though everything in Wonderland is obsolete and we are getting rid of it. The rest of this little prodject was not all that fun, boxing up heavy pieces of crap into boxes that they don’t really fit into and trying to pad them with random materials. I was overdressed for this kind of activity but I did get my default 10K steps in a lot earlier than usual.

I asked KennyP for mailing tape and she launched into one of her righteous tirades: “Why did he ask *you* to do that? Why didn’t he ask me?” She was only taking care of me as one of her baby chicks, even though her grandmother is likely younger than me. I told her that I had made the mistake of telling someone I was low on things to do and also that I had no clue about what the Master Plan was as it was in the LSCHP’s head and changed every two seconds. I’ve been working for him for going on nine years now and this is not new territory for me 🐽

After that little adventure, the LSCHP was back over in Wonderland, where he didn’t seem to need me any more so I migrated back to my cube and found questions from dev and QA in my email. That plus a meeting with TQB and Cube Nayber netted me a bunch of the kind of work that they actually pay me for. I was busy with that (and meetings) the rest of the day and last I knew, the LSCHP was dragging Rocks over to Wonderland but that may be because she is handy with tools and routers and computer hardware junk in general and is probably a much better choice to help with this prodject and it may even fit into her job description somehow. It certainly doesn’t fit into mine but that is okay!

I need to end this NOW so we can walk over to our fave Knight’s to celebrate the GG’s birthday. I think I originally had a loose plan to cook tonight but this weekend was disrupted in many ways, small and large, and it was all good but whatever loosely laid plan I may have originally had went down the Eco-terlet. I posted today’s photoooo of the GG and his identical twin, the UU, aka the Twinz of Terror on Sunday. I am posting it again because I do not have the gazinto to cobble together a whole bunch of pics of them, like I did last year. So here is a link to last year’s post in which I *did* do that.

I can assure you that we will NOT be hanging out in the Lyme Lounge singing old 60s tunes after Knight’s tonight.

Partying like it’s 1999

April 25th, 2016 by kayak woman

splashI was taking out the compost this morning and my neighbor was having a smoke and watching Hank poop or whatever Hank was doing. She said, “Good morning!” and then, “I heard you guys singing last night.” Yes. We were. Singing, that is. And BTW, I really like my neighbors. I’m not being snarky here. I was just kind of like, “Oh yeah, we were singing.”

I laughed. Yes, we were singing. Probably obnoxiously. When you celebrate your still-20-something-but-not-for-long child’s birthday and you don’t have a whole buncha gifts to give her because guess what? She doesn’t want or need any kind of material things, you need to have things to do. Dinner and cocktails and a wee nightcap in the Lyme Lounge. With singing. Don’t worry. We curtailed our little party early enough that people drove home sober and all of us were happy as larks for the proverbial Monday Morning Slodge, which I don’t actually mind but that would be a whole ‘nother story.

We were reminiscing last night as you may be able to tell by the ancient photos of me actually wearing a bikini. I do not wear those any more. Anyway, I spent the latter part of the 1990s and early 2000s driving kids around the Planet Ann Arbor in my loverly old Island Teal POC, a beauteous top-dollah Plymouth Voyager that nickel-and-dimed us to death although I will admit that it never left us on the side of the road, at least not for very long.

11021161_10204929655255950_8626731365934445303_n copyThe “alternative” rock station (?) got tuned in when I bought that vee-hickle in 1996, the end of Lizard Breath’s 6th grade year, and I think it stayed on that station forever, except when people played CDs. Hee hee hee. I *liked* that music. Well, most of it. I did get tired of Ani sometimes but I would just ask that we didn’t play Ani and that was always okay. My own parents tolerated rock music in the car some of the time but I don’t think they ever liked it. At least I know that The Commander didn’t like it (except for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon once, go figger).

I’ve posted this Baby Elizabeth and butts pic about a gazillion times. The baby is bravely and excitedly walking out into Lake Superior, confident in her safety by hanging on to her moom’s finger. Her great aunt Radical Betty (left) and her grandmother, The Commander (right) are there to help keep her safe.

I look tan at least in the second pic. I am blonde but I do tan (except for my face). I used to pursue a golden tan when I was a beach urchin and even beyond and I always got one. Nowadays I do not pursue a tan. I don’t really care any more. If I get a wee bit of a tan by accident, I am okay with that. I think we all need some sun, especially those of us who live in the northern reaches. I always shield my face nowadays.

These are my latest facebook profile and cover photos, which you know if you are friends with me there 🐽.

Good night, KW.

24 hours

April 24th, 2016 by kayak woman

We were trundling along through a typical Planet Ann Arbor weekend when we got a text message or two or three and finally a phone call. In another few hours we had overnight guests (with dogz!) and our plans to walk at Our Hiking Lake early this morning were dashed. It’s okay, it was for a good reason and we had so much fun with our guests (and dogz!) and it is not my place to say anything more but here are our cute little overnight doggies, Chloe Belle and Daisy. Make no mistake, they are cute but they are dogz and it was probably good that there is a fence between our yard and Hank’s yard because they did interact with each other.

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Daisy thought she had found a good place to sleep (my bed). She slept in her comfy cage. Chloe Belle is trustworthy about not running off or pulling terlet paper off the roll, etc. Daisy, not so much.

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We (Twinz, Dogz, and KW) walked down at the dam this morning. The UU is making kind of a weird face but I think he was just talking or something. In reality, he is just as handsome as his Ugly Brother.

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The Encampment had been changed… since last Sunday. The Art Installation was kind of cleaned up and minimized.

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But there was this Tree Rock Art that was NOT there last week. We never see anyone at The Encampment, so not sure who maintains it or why but I’ll save that speculation for some other day.

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After that, breakfast at the Village Kitchen and then a Plum Market shopping trip with the UU and The Beautiful Gay. And then they left us and we regrouped a bit and headed over to Plymouth to watch Mouse play Laura A Girl in Laura. Loved it along with the Twin Peaks music that often accompanied the play. I do not have a photo of Mouse in the play today so I will leave you with the photo below. The Quintessential Mouse.

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Life goes on (and on and on). Sunrise, sunset. Ad infinitum. Love y’all. KW!

Horse toilets? Huh?

April 23rd, 2016 by kayak woman

It’s Saturday and you know what KW does on Saturday mornings when she is home on the Planet Ann Arbor. She walks down to the farmers market, roight? And so I did and man oh man, I stopped at the first stand I came to and felt like I had been dumped into an episode of Portlandia. It wasn’t the vendors. It was the young baby-wearing couple ahead of me. Doi de doi de doi… What is the difference between all of these potatoes and where did you grow them and how did you grow them? Etc., etc., ad nauseam. I was tapping my foot (in my mind) thinking, “I could get in and outta here in two minutes and most of that time would be taken up by me fumbling around with my money/backpack/bags because I do not have six hands”. In the end it was all good and I was annoyed with myself for being annoyed but sometimes you just have to wonder how some people are gonna make it through life… But they do… And some trees are flowering…

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…and some not so much (but maybe they aren’t supposed to, at least not in a spectacular way) but look at that blue sky!

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And here’s the pasta lady and I don’t think I’ll ever buy pasta at the grocery store again, well, except when I do because of course I will. Anyway, I bought a bag of butternut squash ravioli today. I already have a bag of asparagus ravioli in the freezer. I stocked up *anyway*. I love the lobster ravioli but tend to save that for speshul occasions.

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These bikes are available for people to rent and it’s interesting that apparently there are certain low points in town where most of the rental bikes end their trips. People apparently like to ride bicycles downhill but uphill not so much. Who knew?

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After a morning of chores and errands, etc., I walked down to the Griz for lunch with the GG. We love “our” bartender Janell. She’s an A student. Like I always have been. The difference is that she dropped out of high school and is on her first journey through college. I won’t tell her age. I always thought she was younger than my beach urchins but I dunno why I thought that because not quiiiite so much. Anyway, we have similar opinions about group prodjects and dealing with people who don’t (or can’t) contribute.

And then there is the NEW FENCE they put up on the north side of “my woods”. I have mixed feelings about this. For YEARS, the fence has been broken down further and further as trees fall or explode or whatever. I would prefer no fence at all but I don’t think anyone cares what I think about the fence. At any rate, does anyone want to place any bets on when the next tree will fall over and destroy the new fence?

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Finally, here I am walking down through my fave Miller Woods and it is sooooo much greener than yesterday!

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Love you all! KW.

“Oh, deer”

April 22nd, 2016 by kayak woman

deerI was walking along my normal morning route solving the problems of the universe or at least the more raggedy parts of my shambling fambly in my mind [or not, alas, O brother where art thou?]. And then I looked up and… Oh, deer. [I am borrowing the title from two people, one a facebook friend and one an Instagram friend. Both are real-life friends.]

I was transfixed by this pair and posted it on facebook (and Instagram) as I was walking this AM. If you are friends with me on facebook [chortle-snicker-snort-wink] you might have seen that post and the interesting comments that followed it. We have a LOT of deer here on the Garden Planet Ann Arbor. Our city is a huge garden with large wooded parks, etc., and that makes a wonderful habitat for deer. Alas, deer can be problematic for people who hit them with automotive vee-hickles or grow large gardens full of food and so the City Council in their Infinite Wisdom held a deer cull over the winter with sharpshooters and the whole works. They closed some of our favorite parks every weeknight from 4PM to 7AM for several months. I am not against hunting, especially when it feeds people (read the book Station Eleven), but I was not in favor of the deer cull. It was a highly contentious issue in our city, I will say that.

Walking downtown to the Oscar Tango tonight, I met Gracie in Miller Woods. A beautiful big brown and black nine-year-old doggy looking for love. And then there were the babiest of baby ducklings swimming around at West Park. I do not know when they hatched but they were not around last Saturday.

I probably bored Diane talking about the bosses of my childhood career, mostly Byron. Byron was kind of a Mr. Milquetoast in a lot of ways but for whatever reason, the child Lizard Breath was afraid of him. Like once when we pulled up in front of the building waiting for the GG to come out and take the car (and kids) home for the day while I went in to work, Liz suddenly dived down onto the floor in the back seat yelling “Mom! Byron’s coming!” Byron was the last person I was afraid of and it was all I could do to keep from laughing, or maybe I did laugh. Sorry kiddo 💜

When I first worked for Byron I was 25 years old. He was around 10 years older than me and maybe because he had thinning hair, I thought he was older than you-know-what. But we got along and I cannot count how many years he more or less left me to run the place while he was hanging out in the parking lot or wherever doing whatever. He has been dead for quite a few years now so I feel somewhat free to post stuff like this but this is as far as I will go tonight or maybe ever. Miss you my old friend, my childhood boss.

Retirement Rule #1

April 21st, 2016 by kayak woman

hickenIf you leave the house before your Un-Retired Pardner gets home, please text her to let her know if you have locked the doggamn door or not.

We are still in Dress Rehearsal for Real Retirement this week but it’s happening soon. Yes, really. But not for me.

So, I got home today and no one was home and [miraculously] my phone unlocked Disco Lock. Or so I thought. I didn’t think to look at what color disco lock turned when it did its thing. I tried to open the door. No luck. I did not process this problem correctly. My brain said something like, “Why did he lock the bottom lock?” That one needs a key. I did not have a house key on the set of car keys I was carrying*. I gyrated around to find the hidden-outside key and and and… When I put it in the bottom lock… … … I couldn’t open the damn door because the deadbolt (which I open and close with my fricking phone) was LOCKED! By this time, my phone was too far away from Bluetooth to open the door so I was galumphing around all over the place dealing with laptop bag, lunchbag, and purse/phone case. I managed to get the doggamn door open again… … …

So, the Almost-Retired Person had thoughtfully left the door unlocked for me. The problem was that I am so accustomed to being the first person home at the end of the day, that I am the first person (at that time of day) to open the door since I locked it in the morning. Oh, sometimes Mouse rolls through for mail/garden/whatever but usually I leave in the morning and come home in the afternoon and nothing has changed.

*I have long thought that each set of car keys needs to have a key to *every* house this family owns. That’s three, Landfill, Long Point, and moomincabin. At one point, not too many years ago, I think we sort of managed that. That has eroded a bit and the set of Frog Hopper keys that I was using today did not have a key to The Landfill on it. I hope that one of the first things the GG does next week is to make sure that all sets of car keys also include keys to our properties.

Annoyed

April 20th, 2016 by kayak woman

fenceThis the entrance to “my” woods at the moment. It is representative of most of the Planet Ann Arbor. It is not spring here. It is Construction Season. That is all I will say about that. Actually, a bunch of Haisley parents improved the woods last weekend by spreading some new wood chips on the very beaten down path. I appreciate their efforts. I just hope they put enough wood chips down on the wet parts of the path. But whatever, I know that wee little woods well enough that I can bypass the puddles when I have to.

Have I mentioned Levi? He is the new and very good doggy across the street. He is a golden retriever who has been “rescued” from a home with a large family. He was loved and taken care of there but that family was too busy to spend as much time with him as he needed. My neighbors can and he is a wonderful dog.

So now I am getting spam email messages from “Finn”. I’m not sure why (actually I do know why) but it got me thinking about how many times in my life people have pegged me as a “Finn” as in “of Finnish heritage”. I get annoyed when someone lumps me in with people of Finnish heritage, because I don’t share that wonderful heritage, as far as I know. I certainly don’t celebrate St. Urho’s Day except when my Finnish facebook/childhood friends post about it. As far as I know, I am Scottish, Irish, English, Welsh, and German. A mixed bag of British stuff plus a bit of German. I would fit in perfectly with Shameless. Now, did the Vikings rape and pillage Scotland? And do I have some Scandihoovian blood in me? Maybe. But I’m not quiiiite ready to do Ancestry.com yet. Do I want to know? I am not sure.

People sometimes lump me in with the Finnish folks (or Scandinavian in general) for a couple of reasons. One is that the first syllable of my simple three-syllable name is “Fin”. Add “lay” and “son”. What a simple [long] name for a kindergarten kid to learn and I do remember learning my name and noting that it was actually three words. Another is that I have blonde hair. Or did when I was a kid, which is how a lot of facebook friends remember me. I love that they think that I am Finnish (and maybe I am) but the first three letters of my name don’t [necessarily] connect me to the modern country of Finland.

It is only Wednesday but it has been such a brutal week already that I feel like it is Friday except that I am not walking downtown to the blasted Oscar Tango.

Love you all,
Kayak Woman

Bag Snagger needed?

April 19th, 2016 by kayak woman

bagsnaggerI am not sure what this artifact is. I encountered it in the Haisley schoolyard on my return trip this morning when it was light out. Maybe someone can figure it out and enlighten me? It does not (exactly) look like a plastic shopping bag plus there is that bottle(?) attached to it and the thing at the top looks like an eye or something. Kite? I dunno. I was kind of wishing I had a Bag Snagger. Maybe I should buy one. Ya think? If I ever decide to execute the R Word, this could be a new career. I could write interesting blahg posts and maybe even a book (but I think the book has already been written). Maybe I’ll put Bag Snagger on my Mother’s Day List. (Disclaimer: I do not have a Mother’s Day List although a flat or two of impatiens usually get conjured up for me to pot. And no that is not a hint.)

I have subscribed to the New Yorker magazine for many years. For a long time it was the dead tree version but now it is (I think) the online version. I have had some difficulties with my subscription so I’m not exactly sure what my status is at this point. Like I was positive that I had changed it all over to online but then I had trouble getting to it online and then I started getting the dead tree version, which goes straight into the recycle because by then I had figured out the online subscription. I’m not sure that sentence made any sense, at least I could not track it and I *wrote* it.

So, back in the day, I always seemed to have a stack of New Yorkers to read. I have loved the New Yorker since I used to read it at Radical Betty’s house when I was a “kid”. I subscribed to it as an “adult” as soon as I could “afford” it. How many of y’all have ever had a stack of New Yorkers hanging around? It’s easier to let the unread digital version stack up somehow. I’m not sure I find the words to say why because I do also get stressed out with digital clutter. Just delete it, KW. It’s the equivalent of 50 years worth of stacks of newspapers in a hoarder house. Although I doubt that my iPhone will ever kill me if it falls over on me, like a big stack of newspapers might.

One of my fave New Yorker articles *ever* was the Bag Snagger article. It turns out I read it in 2004 in the Dead Tree version of the magazine. I apologize if you cannot get to the bag snagger article without a subscription. If you’re interested you can google and maybe find the original Bag Snaggers. These people would find bags up in trees with packages of underwear (new with receipts and everything) and whatever in them. How did they get up there? I was fascinated.

Ever since I read that article, I have noticed plastic bag-like things in trees. During the period of time that my old coot was incarcerated in the Henry Ford Hoosegow (2006) and I was driving over there every day, there was one particularly bizarre “bag” that desperately needed snagging. More likely it was a big plastic tarp that flew off somebody’s trailer and stuck onto a couple of trees, slowly shredding in the weather. Every time I drove by that thing, I would think to myself, “Bag Snagger needed.” I used to know the mile marker. Alas, that was 10 years ago now and it is long gone.

Time traveling

April 18th, 2016 by kayak woman

Using the timehop app (or facebook) to look at old photos/posts from “this day in history” is in turns fascinating, horrifying, and mystifying. Since I have NOTHING to say today (except that it is a beautiful hot sunny April day and I am happier than I have a right to be but not without some trepidation), I cobbled together some stuff from each of the last seven years on April 18th. Approximately April 18th, that is. If there was nothing on April 18th or nothing of consequence on April 18th, I picked a nearby date. (It’s my blahg and I can do what I want to! And so can you!)

So, last year (2015) we arrived in Atlanta on this date. We were taking a much-needed road trip to Crazy Old Florida and we were fortunate enough to stay with our friends for a couple of nights on the way down. The photo below is from Piedmont Park. It certainly doesn’t define Piedmont Park in any way. Just one of those pics that you take and never post because you end up with so many more exotic pics to post. We (I) wanted to go back to Fla this spring but it didn’t work out.

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2014? New Landfill Chitchen! Photo is from April 14th. Done done done. Still gorgeous but with carefully (or not) curated clutter.

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2013: We were at the moomincabin. Definitely NOT a year that Mother Nature would let us open the moomincabin up in April. We had a room at the Hotel Ojibway.

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2012: 90 degree temps (and a tornado) in March. Our North Country Trail April hike that year did not feature any snow whatsoever. The Comm had died a couple months earlier. We visited that same Niagara Escarpment that you may have seen on my snow-covered blahg entry on our hike from two Saturdays ago.

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2011: After much finagling, I had gotten The Commander into the hospital for a small stroke. I walked down from Command Central to Brady Park as the sun was coming up. I’m sure I was trying to think through the fog to the future when I took this pic. I had already cleaned out her refrigerator, knowing in my heart that she was not going home to Command Central (wish it could’ve been different). Although I continued to use the refrigerator intermittently for almost another year, the contents had to be minimized.

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2010: Trout lilies in the woods! And a much older iPhone since this was (I think) the original photo at 1600×1200. We’ve come a long way since then.

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2009 Tada: the earliest year the timehop app throws stuff up to me. Lemme see. No pics from that date but there were a few Twitter convos. @DogMomster had suggested that I could call the poleeese to arrest neighborhood noisemakers. I do not remember what was going on in the neighborhood at that moment but I can only guess it was benign since I replied to her tweet that I was having fun listening to it. @EducareMom was correcting me for saying The Dexter Pub instead of its proper name, Dexter’s Pub. Haven’t been to Dexter’s Pub in a while, come to think of it. Went there a lot when my old coot was incarcerated in the Henry Ford Hoosegow. That mystery adventure? I have no clue…

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Tinkety tinkety flinglet

April 17th, 2016 by kayak woman

A day that starts out with a view like this has got to be a good day, roight?

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A day that began with me taking my usual walk and the GG picking me up with the Ninja on Arborview to head down to Barton Dam to walk the river trails and here’s one of my fave trees lit up by the rising sun.

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It’ll soon be hard to walk through The Encampment because vegetation and insects but we could easily do it today and I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to get an interesting photo of the Public Art installation, partly because it has assumed a three-dimensional aspect.

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It was one of those days when you tink away at small prodjects and try to make yourself think you’ve accomplished something. Okay, I tackled a couple of medium-sized prodjects too. I obtained some Windex and washed the doorwalls in the Back Room and… I… cleaned out the faaarplace. I shoveled most of the ashes out but what remained filled up my ancient Electrolux vacuum cleaner’s bag. I put a new one in and then I tried to order another *two or three* on the Intertubes. Two or three? Try 10. Or 24. or 48. I change the bag in this vac *maybe* twice a year. So vacuum bags are on my grokkery list for the next time I make a Meijer run. I tried to get myself back into flinging today. I didn’t make a whole lot of progress except for a garbage bag full of my own old clothing. I am outta steam on that topic.

Sometime this morning, my Mouse posted a trout lily pic on facebook. That kind of kicked me into high gear. “I wonder if the trout lilies are out in Ritsema Woods (that’s the wee woods behind my house). Yes. Yes, they were. In full force.

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jitp and trillium will be along soon enough. Chicken is on the grill and Gertrude is handling its friends. Cheers!

Living in a garden just about to sprout

April 16th, 2016 by kayak woman

Two weeks ago when we went to the farmer’s market, only the vendors with the hardiest of wares were there. Lettuce and root veggies, Victoria with her painted fish, the ravioli lady, Roost Roast (coffee), Uncle Peter’s Pasties and some others. I still found plenty of stuff to buy. I always do. Today? I didn’t buy as much as usual (we don’t need as much as usual) but I did snag some fresh basil, the first of the season. And there were flowers and living plants everywhere. Look at all that color, not to mention Mr. Golden Sun.

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I love these signs. I think I could *make* signs like this. Maybe when I execute the R word (which will *probably* not be any time soon but who knows), these farmers will hire me to make signs? More than likely, it’s already somebody else’s beloved job.

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After a morning of chores and yard work, we walked down to the Griz for lunch at the bar. The GG insisted upon routing our walk down W1.5’s street and this sidewalk cartoon is in front of W1.5’s house. I do not think W1.5 created it.

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Mr. Turtle lives in West Park with the ducks, goldfish, muskrats and 20 pound carp. Mr. Turtle is quite the celebrity and posed for many people to take his picture.

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After lunch we made the rounds before slodging up the hill home. Skipped Literati today but hit up DHG and Argus Farm Stop, where I bought *more* food including these “salad turnips” and beefsteak tomatoes. I was intrigued by the salad turnips at the market this morning but I passed them up only to regret it later so I was glad to find them at Argus. The tomatoes are a bonus luxury, grown hydroponically in the Grand Rapids area. My backpack was heavy going up that hill.

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I have walked 23.5K steps so far today and made four (count ’em) grocery-type runs: farmers market, Argus, Meijer, and Plum. My main reason for going to Meijer was to get Windex. They had NO WINDEX! There was some kind of sale or something and everybody made a run on Windex. Our doorwalls (new glass!) need cleaning and I need Windex. I have no Windex. I’m sure as soon as I buy Windex, I’ll find five bottles of it somewhere around here.

Anyway, I am taaaarrrred. It is beautiful here (except for the moe-skee-toe that just tried to land on me). Our yard is pretty well cleaned up thanks to the GG. ‘hicken is officially on duty as Garden Sentinel. All of the trees are still bare for now but it won’t be long. I guess the main point of the pic is that I am sitting outside and I am not the slightest bit cold.

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Whiplash

April 15th, 2016 by kayak woman

barefootAll of a sudden it was 70 degrees and I did not know how to dress to walk downtown tonight. Just last weekend we were in the yooperland and it was cold (but beautifully sunny) and I was suited up in all kinds of winter duds. Tonight? Tank top? Yes. I did tie my polartech jacket around my waist and I did wear it home.

There are things I didn’t tell about last week’s North Country Trail hike. I have so much fun on these hikes and I never know who I might meet. A few years ago we hiked with some boy scouts, one of whom was working on an Eagle Scout prodject. It wasn’t until we all met for dinner later and the young man’s father joined us that I found out that they owned my grandparents’ house. That was so much fun.

On our hike last Saturday I was talking to a woman that I hadn’t met before. It’s always a bit difficult to explain why I live down on The Planet Ann Arbor but hike the North Country Trail with the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore group. So I was doing the usual “I grew up in Sault Ste. Siberia and own property in the area”. This woman said she lived on Ashmun Hill. Yes. I said, “My mom lived on Dillon across from Washington School.” “Who was your mom?” “Fran Finlayson”. Well. This woman was the mother of the young man who handled The Commander’s yard work for many years. He was also on the hike with us. He actually remembered my dad too and I told him how much my parents loved him and his work for them. I wrote checks to him the last couple years of mom’s life but hadn’t ever met him before. He was everything my mom ever said about him.

At the other end of the table were some young folks who work for the Sault Tribe, some of them at the Bahweting School. Upon learning that I was a Sault native, one of them asked my maiden name. And then. Finlayson School? Yes, that was my grandfather. Finlayson School was built back in the era when I was in elementary school and the Sault needed more elementary schools. That hasn’t been the case in a long time. Finlayson School was closed and since then has become the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting school. My main memory of Finlayson School was the dedication ceremony in which the Washington School sixth grade band played and various relatives (my dad and aunt) had a pretty darn hard time containing their laughter at how bad the band was. (Actually that’s The Comm’s memory. As a 3rd grader who was dying to play the flute, I was probably envious of the kids playing in the band.)

When I was a kid my family name was well known and respected around Sault Ste. Siberia. The relatives who had that name are all gone from the Sault area now and I don’t expect people to know my name and I have never ever expected people to treat me with any kind of respect because of it. I come from a wonderful family and I appreciate the values that were drilled into my head as a child and I never forget them as I make my own way through life but it is my own life and as hard as I work and as honest as I am, I am meeee and I am not above making mistakes. Although I didn’t change my name when I married, I have used the equally respectable Cfam name informally during those years I felt that it would make things easier for other people to remember which children were attached to me. When people seemed anxious about what name to call me, I would suggest “Mouse’s Mom”, which would usually put everyone at ease pretty quickly. 🐸

So, Oscar Tango was hopping tonight and beautiful waxing gibbous moon with Jupiter below it on the way home.

Love y’all, KW

Red Hash Marks and other Good Things at the end of an otherwise sorta Mercury Retrograde Day

April 14th, 2016 by kayak woman

stumpCan I just rant for a minute? “Are you feeling better?” “I hope you feel better soon!” “Have you tried ginger/OTC-cold-med/whiskey for that cough?” I know that all of these people mean well but… I DO NOT FEEL ILL!!! I AM NOT SICK! I had a cold virus last week and my kick-*ss immune system fought it off. That’s what immune systems are designed to do when they are working properly, which mine seems to do.

I had one day of achy joints. That indicates low-grade fever and it was over a week ago. I did everything I normally do on a weekday that day *anyway* (including walk 8K steps before 7:00 AM) because I didn’t feel ill. The achy joints were gone the next day but I was tired enough that I left work 45 minutes early. After that I felt reeaaalllly good but the congestion set in. If I am not mistaken (and I may well be), doesn’t a lot of the coughing and runny nose stuff indicate that your immune system has kicked the dern virus to Timbuctoo and all of that snotty crapola is involved in getting rid of the virus? Or is that magical thinking?

Anyway, I continue to have intermittent coughing fits but every day is a little better and I was doing pretty well today and then… Dun dun dun… I took a sip of water… And it went down the wrong dern pipe… And I started choking… I was okay, I could breathe and say things like “CRAP”. But the dern choking kicked off a whole ‘nother round of coughing and people were all “are you all right?”, etc., etc. I was definitely all right except for the part where I was embarrassed about the choking and making all that noise and getting people worried. Jeebus. All I have to say is that you do *not* slodge five miles through varying depths of increasingly wet, slushy snow if your lungs are compromised in any way. I did that last Saturday. I coughed the entire time but I was still one of the pace setters. Channeling my old coot there.

Okay, I have had my say. I *love* all of the people who have bugged me about my lingering cough this week. They all mean well. I just wish they would 1) Do some research into cold viruses and symptoms and 2) Walk a mile or 10 in my shoes.

And then, at the end of the day, the people in my “row” at work were all talking and I said that my daughter was coming over to my house for dinner tonight. “Are you gonna cook? Do you cook?” Yadayadayada. I liked these questions much more than the ones about coughing and being “sick”. I told my work friends that 1) I cook most week nights 2) I love when my kids come over so I can cook for them 3) I am not a fancy cook 4) I didn’t know what I was gonna cook tonight (eggplant p and friends). When the conversation devolved (just a bit) into who should pay when parents and children go out to restaurants, I had the answer to that. The Commander and Grandroobly ALWAYS paid at restaurants up until, well, I was over 50 when Grandroobly died. We may have paid a few times in there but mostly that’s what they did. They had more money than we did (through diligent work and some sacrifice throughout their lives) and they loved taking care of their kids. The last couple years of The Commander’s life, we switched it up a bit. She could certainly still afford to pay but sometimes the mechanics of picking up the check were a bit beyond her. I (we) just took over. We could afford it by that time. One of my mantras is “pay it forward” and I do that whenever I get the chance.

I was gathering up my stuff to leave at that point and I gather that I am going to get some more red hash marks on Louie-Louii-ii-ii’s whiteboard (those are the good kind) for cooking dinner for my daughter. I’m not sure that I deserve those hash marks though. I love cooking dinner for my daughters.

Oh yeah, after a whole winter of wondering when the school district was gonna remove the bent-over chainlink fence pole that impeded the entrance to the north side of the woods, yesterday it was gone. And then this morning… Dun dun dun… Something else was different. I couldn’t figure it out at first and then I looked up and they have removed the big frickin’ tree stump, what was left of the tree that fell during the sleet storm last December. I’m not all that happy about the stump removal for various reasons (kids had made a “fort” out of it) but I am glad to have unfettered access to that side of the woods. What’s next? Stay tuned…

four-seven-eight-three-seven-oh-ni-eee-i-ine

April 13th, 2016 by kayak woman

fibreDid anyone else grow up doing Sunday Driving? We were regulars. Sunday School and church and a Noon Dinner at the grandparents’ or our own house, then we got into the car and took off into the wilds of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Sometimes we rented one of Sandy Sanderson’s Cessnas and flew instead but that would be a whole ‘nother story.

The farther back in the woods you could get, the better although it didn’t take too long to get pretty far back in the woods in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The problem with that is, as a kid, it didn’t take too long for me to get bored hanging out in the back seat looking at trees everywhere. All of those books and art supplies that I had packed got boring faster than lickety-split.

What did *I* want to do? I wanted to go to a store and buy candy and trinkets of course. Isn’t that what you would want to do if you were a kid? Okay, so, what is the next town and when do we get there? The answer would be something like, “Fibre” or “Stalwart” or “Raber”. All of these towns are and were very small, much smaller than our own home city of Sault Ste. Siberia. They did not have “downtowns” like the one in our town where you could walk down Ashmun Street and shop at any number of stores. In most of these little burgs there was *one* store where you could get anything you might need until you had the time to make a trip into the Big City (i.e., the one I lived in). But still, these were towns unknown to me and maybe I could get candy and trinkets?

I love Sunday Drives these days, especially when they are combined with Sunday Hikes or Sunday Slodges or whatever. Nowadays I love being out in the tootlies where all you can see are trees. Still, I am curious about the small towns we drove through when I was a child and the stores I may have visited except that my parents rarely stopped to buy us “stuff” at those places.

This pic is in Fibre. I am not sure when this store closed. I am sure that it was open when I was a child. I know that my dad drove us through Fibre more than a few times when I was a kid, so we probably passed this store when it was still viable but I have never been inside it.

Nowadays, whenever we drive to or from Brook Trout Pond via Rudyard, we drive through Fibre. I always love this drive. I do not exactly know why except that it is a beautiful drive.

Red Plaid Nation?

April 12th, 2016 by kayak woman

redplaidThis photo absolutely cracks me up. I also love it! It was undoubtedly taken by my beloved late father-in-law, the entity known as Grandpa Garth, who liked me despite my numerous flaws. I love it more than the Daisy Mae photo (which I would post except that I cannot easily find it tonight). Garth took that one too. I think the Daisy Mae photo was the first time I met my future f-i-l.

Red Plaid? Meeee? Say what? I do not remember that shirt. Was Red Plaid a fad in the early 1980s? Maybe? Note that the GG is not wearing Red Plaid. Can I just say that we have completely reversed wardrobes here in the 2010s? The GG has tons of Red Plaid anything-he-can-get-his-hands-on. I wear basic black with brilliant accents. My typical outfit is perfect for a nasty spider woman like me, don’tcha think? Watch out or I’ll bite you, my little pretties! 🕷 Seriously, Red Plaid seems to be a Thing these days and maybe someday I will snag a nice long Red Plaid skirt (with an elastic waist [snort]). Until then, I’ll stick to my Spidey Woman color palette.

I don’t remember exactly what year this was. It was definitely in the very early 1980s, after I met the GG and before we had our first beach urchin (1984). I miss Grandpa Garth and I miss the moldy old Courtois cabin (although I greatly appreciate the new one, thanks to all of the Courtois siblings for pulling together to build it). I want to say I miss that Red Plaid Me but really, she’s still around, just wearing the colors and styles and new-age fabrics that make her happy and comfortable hanging around in the Great Outdoors that she loves so much.

We won’t talk about lumbersexuals tonight. That subject could quickly veer into difficult territory (grok grok grok).