Author Archive

Expotitions to Birch Point

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

“Didn’t we used to walk over here and eat lunch?” “Is this place only accessible in a kayak?”

Yes, we used to walk to the Birch Point range light. We walked there at all times of the day. Early in the morning or in the evening during the northern sunset that goes on forever. Yes, sometimes we packed a lunch. We would sit on the big cement block to eat.

To get there, we would walk down to the beach and head down past the stream at the Stevens Attie end of the beach. After Morgan’s Piedmont’s, was the first of two rocky little peninsulas with a kind of little cove in between them. This little point was fairly easy to walk around on the rocks but if we wanted a bit more adventure, there was a path through the woods, so we often took that instead. Then we made our way through the little cove, which featured narrow sand and gravel beaches, lots of docks to climb over and places where we had to walk on stone walls that people had built along the front edge of their lawns. For a while, somebody was using an abandoned dredge pipe for a dock and if nobody was home there, we would crawl through it out to the end and back. After the cove, there was a point that we really couldn’t easily walk around but there was a beautiful path through the woods. Then a sand beach and… Birch Point! Our destination!

One time I tried to recreate the whole experience for my kids: Lizard, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, and Mouse and Valdemort, who would have been about 3 or 4. We got down to the end of the beach and around the first point and were making our way through the cove. We got to the Cullis Doelle Armstrong cabin house, where there is a rock wall to walk, and everything was going pretty okay.

Until Zoe came along. I’m not sure if this Zoe was Zoe I or Zoe II, we’re up to Zoe IV these days. All Zoes are friendly St. Bernard dogs with no ill intentions but the kids didn’t give this Zoe any time to prove herself. Mouse and Valdemort climbed straight up either side of me. I could tell that Lizard Breath wanted to climb too but there was no climbing terrain left. Everybody was screaming bloody murder except for me. I was standing there feeling something like stupifaction or whatever. What on earth do I do now? Zoe’s owner called her home and I made an executive decision to scrub the expotition. We headed for home and as we passed one cabin, a terrified elderly woman came outside and asked us if there had been a bear! Well, not that day, thank fate for small favors.

It isn’t that easy to walk over to Birch Point any more. The paths through the woods are gone, filled in by cabins or houses. The water is low enough in recent years that it’s probably pretty easy to walk on the rocks around the points. But the world just isn’t the same. Back in the day, I think the neighbors on our way to Birch Point figured we were just urchins from over on the beach and they probably knew our grandparents. We never bothered anything on anyone’s property, we were more interested in the adventure involved in an expotition to Birch Point! Times have changed though and I’m not sure that the neighbors these days would be all that happy to have people walking along their walls or climbing over their docks.

So, yes, you can walk to Birch Point, but I’m more likely to paddle a kayak over there these days. And then again, maybe I should try to walk over there again…

The Last Last Day

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

A summer of ten days. Ten days on Gitchee Gumee. Ten days on the Planet Ann Arbor. Ten days on Gitchee Gumee. Ten days on the Planet Ann Arbor. And so on. Kind of like a rondo if you want to think in terms of musical forms. This is the last day of the last ten day stint on Gitchee Gumee. It was a gorgeous day, windy and sparkling sun, and this is what we did:

  • Got up, took a shower, walked the beach, ate utility food, checked email and blahgs, all the usual stuff.
  • Took a little kayak ride down to the old sunken dock and back.
  • Took Froggy up the lighthouse at Iroquois. And down the boardwalk. And into the bookstore. grok grok.
  • Penny’s Kitchen with Froggy. grok grok.
  • Glen’s uscan. Not with Froggy. grook grook.
  • Wave kayaked up and down the beach.
  • Beach sitting, knitting, beer, watching people on the beach through binoculars, watching birds through binoculars, watching boats through binoculars, watching planes through binoculars, watching windmills through binoculars.
  • Dinner with all that’s left of Fin G2.

Not very eloquent today. grok grok. When th’ heck areya ever… whatisit? Eloquent? Whadduz that mean? It was a gorgeous day, windy and sparkling sun. I don’t wanna go home. Seeya in the next episode.

That’s What You Get For Leaving Your Sweater On the Beach

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Bug bites! Yeah. I parked my sweater on the back of a beach chair and took a rather windy kayak trip to Guano Round Island with Doug and Charlotte. We actually beached and got out onto the island. “Conquering Poop Island,” is what Doug called our little expotition, I believe. I haven’t been on the island since I was a kid, when there was actually a path out there, and we would walk over to the old ruined stone lighthouse. The lighthouse fell over many years ago and the island is *very* quano-y with abandoned bird nests, bones, and carcasses everywhere. Loverly ;-). We made it back safely despite every effort by the southwest wind to blow us down to Doelle’s. They went to town to visit the locks and I slugged around on the beach. The wind is warm today but it’s pretty strong and I got a little chilly so, of course, I put on my sweater. And my wrist started to itch. There are not a lot of bugs around this summer and I didn’t think much about it at first, just kept scratching at it and finally went up and put some Afterbite on it. Okay. Back down to the beach. Then the middle of my forearm started to itch. Scratch, scratch, scratch, Afterbite. Back down to the beach. *Now* it’s the inside of my elbow. Hmmm. Could there be some kind of biting insect stuck in the sleeve of my sweater? *Finally* I took off my sweater and pulled the sleeve inside out. Lo and behold, a red ant!

Go Ahead, Make My Day!! :-) :-)

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

So, this morning, I was walking the beach and I ran into the colonel. He didn’t have his weather radio with him this time but that’s beside the point. A little later, I met up with his sister-in-law. *She* said that he had not been quite sure of my identity and therefore made an inquiry in which he described me as “about forty,” among other things. Forty?? FORTY??? Bwaaaaa-ha-hahahahaha-ha-ha!!!

Grok grok! Forty?? FORTY??? Grok Grok! He mustaben smokin’ sum’thin’! Grok grok grook! I’m gonna go see if I kin git some o’ that stuff too! Grok Grok. Dum de dum de dum. Hop hop sproing hop hop. Grok grok frookGROK.

Rainy Beach Day

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Knitting on a rainy day at the cabin (Mouse and Terri)

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Freighters blow their horns in the foggy channel. Long-short, long-short: your signal is understood.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Terri takes a solitary beach walk in the calm, warm, misty, early morning. Until she reaches the end of the beach, where she hears a voice squawking along behind her. As she turns back toward the cabin, she encounters a stocky colonel marching along with his weather radio. “Rainstorm coming in from the north,” he says authoritatively and continues marching.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Mouse and Kayak Woman head off to the grokkery store grok grok. As they emerge from the tunnel road, they spy a “garage sale” sign and see Bugs and Horsey eagerly approaching the sale, which turns out to be sponsored by Dave and Gina. We are in a deacquisitional mode, so we continue on to the grokkery store grok grok. On the way home, we see that the old Norlin house, where I sometimes used to go on overnights as a kid, is on fire.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Sally and Anastasia mitigate a situation at the lighthouse bookstore while various other people read, knit, blahg, cook, draw, and eat. Conversations career wildly around, driven by MacMullan blindsides: “Is that a junior frog?” “Say what?” grok grok. “Is it a mammal?” (“it” referring to a snake) “!!??!” We won’t say what the GG is doing, only that it involves driving around in the backwoods with John and Diane, having too much fun.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

No Words Today

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Except to say thank you to the friends and family members who arranged this and to Little Traverse Conservancy:


Quick Berkeley Update

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

I dunno if Isa wants this blahgged, maybe not. But I’m sure people will want to know (i.e., “Is she in Callyforny yet?” “Where’s she gonna live?” etc., etc.). The Lizard got to the bay area a week ago. Yesterday, she found an apartment in Berkeley and is likely moving in as I write this. I don’t think that the decor will feature twelve trombones but I’m sure she’ll come up with something equally, uh, cool. Congratulations, little Lizard! grok grok. Yeah, I can’t wait t’ faaarrrr up m’ flyin’ machine ‘n’ head out there. grok grok grook. Excuse me a minute. (Froggy! Laundry basket! Now!) Sorry about that.

Where’s the Beef?

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Sniff, sniff. What is that *smell*? “Hey, are you guys hiding a cow over there somewhere?” I asked Bugs and Horsey. They aren’t. And we don’t have one either. But a strong cow manure smell is permeating the entire area. I do *not* think it is a dead fish or a septic tank leak or the “sawdust” that collects on parts of the beach. It is most *definitely* cow manure. My nose knows. It has to be coming from some farm out on Six Mile Road or somewhere in that vicinity. Hopefully the wind will change soon.

Grok grok. Where’s th’ beef? I wanna go cow riding! grok grok.

Yarn Store Foray Below the Bridge

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Who: Kayak Woman, Mouse, Commander, Radical Betty

Where: Alanson, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Mackinaw City

The Dutch Oven and Yarn Shop in Alanson has, hands down, the most comprehensive selection of yarns in the north country and the octo-women were blown away by the buttons. Not sure where they got blown to. But. I bought one button for $8.50 for my wire and bead knitted bracelet. Mouse bought buttons and The Commander went wild and bought yarn for a hat. We also got some coffee and a Mouse breakfast and few baked goods to take home. Next we were off to a store of unknown name, purportedly in Harbor Springs. We could not find any yarn shop but Radical Betty asked just the right passer-by, who told us it had moved to Petoskey. Harbor Springs wasn’t a wasted trip though. We found a frog store there. Couldn’t begin to afford anything in it, but. Then we headed over to Petoskey, stopping at the Indian art gallery/store along the way. I won’t say what was purchased there ;-).

Commander and Mouse in Alanson, Frog Gallery, Indian Hills Gallery

We looked for a Chinese wedding basket at the basket store in Petoskey but didn’t find one. Headed up to search for the yarn store and found it right down the street from the Mitchell Street pub. Not as much inventory at that store but lots of spinning wheels and some big looms. A bit of initial age discrimination was dispelled when the youngest of our party was observed answering all of our questions about roving and sock yarn and spinning and whatever. We had lunch at the Mitchell Street Pub and then went next door to Ethnic Creations, thinking maybe there’d be a Chinese basket. No such thing but Mouse emerged with a skirt and two pairs of earrings.

Radical Betty disappears into a Petoskey yarn store, Mitchell St. Pub, frog guards Ethnic Creations

We were tiring out by this time but we still had one more stop to make, in Mackinaw City. This time, we had a name (Cynthia’s) and a vague description (“it’s in a house”) but no address. But Mackinaw City is a small town and we found it. Owned by a Beaumont Hospital nurse, this place is jam-packed with yarn and all kinds of colorful stuff. Eye candy. I think Mouse emerged with some more yarn. I refused to purchase anything more. I want to finish the socks I started yesterday to determine exactly how knitting fits into my life at this time. One more stop (besides paying the bridge toll) was gasoline. We stopped at a British Petroleum and I got out of the car and found myself back in about the seventies! Was this pump self-serve? How did I operate it? Where did you put the credit card?

Cynthia’s in Mackinaw City, and pumping gas in the twilight zone

Well, that’s the nitty gritty. Mouse’s Nest may have some more eloquently expressed opinions. Are the octo-women hooked (again) on knitting? We’ll see…


Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Click on images to enlarge

We seem to be in the midst of a three-day blow here. The water is low enough that the highest waves don’t come anywhere near the bank but I did end up flinging a couple of kayaks up over there anyway. Back in the day, winds like this would sometimes cause rafts to come loose from their anchors and float in to shore. And sometimes people would have to run down to the beach in the middle of the night to secure boats and things. That always provided a bit of excitement.

It was a bit too windy on the beach today to sit down there, so we sat in the little hollow in front of the Old Cabin:

Click on images to enlarge

Knitting Blahgger?

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Yes, I did change the picture

“Did you teach your daughter to knit?” I think I have been asked that about a million times over the years. I usually say something excruciatingly funny, like, “Knitting? I know how!” And I do, but I can’t remember who actually sat down with Mouse and taught her the first stitches. It might’ve been me but it was more likely The Commander, who is infinitely more patient about stuff like that.

I think it’s been about sixteen years since I have actually knit anything but I do enjoy hanging around in yarn stores (and bead stores and fabric stores). One day last week, I was going stir-crazy on The Planet Ann Arbor and, since Mouse is usually interested in a road trip, we headed down into Megalopolis on a little yarn store foray. We knew of stores in Plymouth, Royal Oak, downtown Dee-troit and Grosse Pointe.

We found the store in Plymouth and I purposely left my purse in my vee-hickle, thinking that I have enough unfinished fiber arts projects to last me the rest of my life already. I was not going to let myself be seduced by bright-colored yarns! No sir! Mouse made a modest purchase and we got back in our vee-hickle, critiquing the store and the clerk and whatever.

We didn’t have very good directions to any of the other stores, so I made the executive decision that we’d do Royal Oak and save the other two stores for another day when we were more prepared. If I was going to get lost somewhere, I’d much prefer Royal Oak, where I at least know some of the major streets and landmarks. Down in Dee-troit, I know how to get to the Henry Ford Hoosegow but that’s about it.

After some fiddling around, we found our destination in Royal Oak. Again, I left my purse locked in my vee-hickle. I was doing okay until I stumbled upon wire and bead knitting kits! I am pretty good at resisting yarn. Beads are my nemesis. The next thing I knew I was trucking along at a pretty good clip on a purse retrieval mission.

Folks, the above bracelet is the result of that kit. I made it this afternoon. I think it took me a little over an hour with only a bit of grokking from Mouse, who is now teaching *me* stitches. It isn’t quite finished yet. It needs a big clasp bead. I’ll find one.

Mouse is gonna get me started on a pair of socks next. What is this world coming to?

Large Suspension Bridges

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Say what? I *thought* I just heard on the radio that there was some kind of a threat against the Mackinac Bridge over the weekend. Sheesh, before we left, in the midst of all the talk about the terrorists over in Britain, some people were also arrested somewhere in Michigan for buying a bunch of cell phones. At least that’s what I thought I heard. They were apparently lodged in the Tuscola County jail. I did hear that — over and over. But I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Until this morning, when I heard “Tuscola County jail” and something about blowing up the bridge, apparently in the same news story.

Fortunately, we were blissfully unaware of any threats against the bridge when we drove up here Saturday night :-/

Summer Birthday Envy

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

I always used to envy my brother for having a summer birthday. There were always about a million people around and tons of presents and a big fancy train cake or whatever The Commander dreamed up. I had what I thought was the terrible misfortune to be born in the absolute dead of winter when nobody in their right mind would ever visit the yoop. It was a few weeks after Christmas to boot. It wasn’t until this summer that I learned that the main reason my personable little brother had such big celebrations was because he himself would go up and down the beach and invite everyone to his party. This was more or less unbeknownst to The Commander, who then had to expand whatever plans were in progress.

Here’s a picture from the Sherman archives of, I’m gonna guess, about his 4th birthday:


Lemme see… That’s a bit of Beth’s head on the right left and the back of Danny’s. The Commander is in there doing something with a package and there’s me with my messy blonde hair right up front trying to get in on some of the action. The tall people in the back are Suzie, Sandy (with the white hat) and Mac. Then there’s Paul and Pooh (in glasses) and probably David behind her. And the birthday boy himself, intent on opening up all of his loot. Note the buzzcuts, Grandroobly’s signature haircut, all the rage amongst the male beach urchins, or maybe their mothers.

Long ago I learned to appreciate the merits of having a winter birthday. One of them is cross-country skiing. Another is that since my birthday is one day after Martin Luther King’s (and the Grinch’s), I usually get a four day weekend in the Great White North. Gifts? Puh-lease, I am trying to GET RID OF STUFF! I do not need anything!

Anyway, today would’ve been my brother’s 49th birthday. The next picture is probably not the best one I have of him but he’s on the beach on a windy August-looking day. Looks like a downbound freighter out there a wee bit to the left of the Pickle Finger.


Happy birthday, kiddo, wherever you are! I’m thinking of you today and Mouse and I are gonna celebrate by driving up to the yoop tonight. Seeya on the beach! grok grok! Me too! Green Guy Green Guy! grok grok.

Callyforny (grok grok)

Friday, August 11th, 2006

grok grok. My owner called ol’ Garbage Woman jus’ as she was takin’ out th’ trash yesterdy afternoon t’ say that she was crossin’ th’ state line inta Callyforny. grok grok. Whaddever a state line is. grok grok. I mean my owner was crossin’ th’ line, not ol’ Garbage Woman. Ol’ GW was jest wheelin’ th’ ol’ garbage cart down t’ th’ street. grok grok grook.


Thursday, August 10th, 2006

We haven’t heard much from the Lizard since Sunday, when she was on and off the phone with the GG a whole bunch of times discussing motel reservations in Estes Park so she and her friends could dry out all their camping gear. Mouse saw her on-line from somewhere in Salt Lake City Tuesday night but wasn’t able to catch a conversation with her. This morning, Mouse received an I/M from Nevada, in which the Lizard said she was fine but had no cell service. Here is the only copy of her planned itinerary that I have:


That’s okay, I can’t read it either, at least in not this down-sized photo. I can actually read the original photo, which is five and a third times the size of this one. Y’all do not want to wait for that one to load, not to mention that it would completely break the page layout. Anyway, the planned itinerary was:

  • Day 1: Detroit to Omaha (well really the Planet A2 to Omaha but in the grand scheme of things…)
  • Day 2-3: Omaha to Rocky Mountain National Park (that’s one day to drive to the park and two nights *in* the park)
  • Day 4: Rocky Mountain National Park to Salt Lake City
  • Day 5: Salt Lake City to Winnemucca, Nevada
  • Day 6: Winnemucca to San Francisco
  • Day 7: Day trip to the ocean

I’m not sure if all of these stops happened exactly as planned but it sounds like she’s on schedule and that would mean Winnemucca was last night. I drove to Salt Lake City one time with my cousin Suzie, who lives out there. No, she’s not a Mormon. Everything beyond Salt Lake just falls off the edge of the earth for me so I had never heard of Winnemucca before this trip. But here’s a link to an, uh, interesting Winnemucca site. Do *not* leave without hoooovering your cursor over the horizontal nav buttons at the top. Make sure the sound is on ;-). This site might be a web developer’s nightmare but Grandroobly might’ve actually liked it! He was “shooting” people almost right up until the bitter end. Nurses, other patients, me, you name it.

Crazy Ol’ Bag (grok grok)

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Grok grok grok! I think demencha is settin’ inta th’ ol’ bag’s brain. grok grok. Do ya know how many times she’s wore ‘er clothes inside out lately? grok grook frok. THREE!!! Yeah, tha’s right, I said THREE. Right out ‘n public. grok grok. Lemme see:

  1. Inside out shirt at th’ Lockview Laundry-mat. Although that was prob’ly not as bad as th’ time she got th’ washcloth stuck ‘n th’ door o’ th’ triple-loader ‘n’ had t’ go roust th’ laundry-mat guy ‘n’ HE had t’ take th’ dern thing apart ‘n’ fiddle aroun’ with it t’ fix it. I dunno, maybe they won’t let th’ ol’ bag go back inta that laundry-mat any more. Hee hee. grok grok.
  2. Inside out bathin’ suit kayakin’ down there ‘n th’ Urine River. grok grok. I can’t even believe th’ ol’ bag has th’ guts t’ be seen’n public ‘n a bathin’ suit. grok grok. ‘specially one with see-thru stuff on it. grok grok. What is th’ world comin’ to when they let somebody like her out like that.
  3. Inside out shorts at th’ Westgate Kroger. ‘n y’know what she did? grok grok. She got inta ‘er vee-hickle ‘n’ CHANGED ’em t’ be right side out! grok grok. Right there in th’ parkin’ lot! Canya believe that? She said she hadta hava pocket t’ put ‘er stoopid ol’ phone in.

Grok Grok! It’s gittin’ ta be pretty dern awful livin’ aroun’ here with such a crazy ol’ witch. grook. I s’pose th’ next thing she’ll do is start fergittin’ t’ WEAR clothes when she goes out. grok grok. Whaddami gonna do? She’s really crampin’ my style! grok grfok frook. What is a poor, self-respectin’ amphibious bein’ s’pos’d t’ do? grok grok. I’m embarrassed t’ be seen with such a goofy ol’ bag. grok grok.

Flute RANT, Beeeee-ware!!!!

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Actually, it’s really a child “prodigy” rant or maybe a “parenting” rant but it was prompted by a poster on one of the flute list-serves I subscribe to, known to some as the floot-loop groups. This guy, the father of an 11-year-old flute player, is definitely a floot-loop. (Hey, isn’t that a cereal?) And here’s what he has to say:

11 is no longer considered young in music or flute especially these days. In Violin, there is a saying, if you cannot become a violin-master by the age of 16, then your violin career is over. [snip out some stuff where he quotes a well-known flutist, probably not in context] So my son has got only 5 to 6 years left to become somebody in flute. I have to devote my time, life and money for him to becoming somebody before 17.

Say WHAT? Excuse me. Can I go and PUKE while this character finds a LIFE?

Does your kid WANT to play the flute? Because if he does, he will definitely practice. He’ll do it because he LIKES to practice, not because you FORCE him to practice. Which it sounds like you are doing. Even the “boring” stuff like warm-ups, long notes, scales, tone development studies, and exercises. That’s because he won’t think that stuff IS boring. He will LOVE every minute of it.

Now, listen up! Here are SOME of the things you should be doing for your kid IF he is REALLY serious about becoming “somebody in flute” before he is seventeen:

  • Make sure his flute is in good working condition at all times. Kids get discouraged very quickly when they have to use crappy instruments that won’t make a decent sound. And it is NOT OK if only a few notes don’t sound good! He needs ’em ALL!
  • Buy him as much music as he wants. It’s kinda like food to him and he’s hungry for it.
  • Find him a teacher — a good one — if at all possible. I mean possible in terms of distance, not price. I KNOW what it’s like to not live within a few hundred miles of a flute teacher. Do NOT make him take regular lessons from two different people and then override anything they tell him that you happen to disagree with, whether or not you know anything about playing the flute. Like you are apparently doing.
  • Competitions? Sure, he should enter them if he wants to. But it is your job and responsibility to help him learn to lose gracefully and learn from the experience. He won’t always win the top prize, no matter how good he is. Shit happens. Life can suck. I know. Do NOT harangue the judges or the teacher if shit does happen.
  • Encourage him to pursue some OTHER interests besides the flute, including to MAKE SURE he has enough free time to run around like a hooligan sometimes. Yeah, that’s what I said. Unstructured time!

Will he become “somebody?” KEE-REIST! He already IS somebody! Will he become a successful professional flutist? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s only 11, fer kee-reissake! There are an uncountable number of things to “be” in this world. Maybe he’ll decide he doesn’t WANT to be a flutist. I hope you have something constructive to do with YOUR life so you are not too devastated if he DOESN’T become a flute “somebody” by the age of seventeen or whenever!

Okay, I think I am done for today. I *think* I feel better…. :-/


Monday, August 7th, 2006

If you have some time to waste and a broadband connection might help too, consider *trying* to play Haluz, an “adventure game.” The GG found this thing. I’m not sure what country the “.eu” TLD belongs to and I am too lazy to look it up. Definitely not Tuvalu though. I am EMBARRASSED to admit that I had a HORRIBLE time figuring out this game and had to keep asking the GG for HINTS!!!! As you can probably imagine, I was NOT HAPPY about that. Neither the GG or Mouse seemed to have the same cognitive problems I had. They whipped right through it :-/

The Plastic Cow

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

“We’re staying overnight in Omaha.” Hmmm. Tickety-tickety-tick, my brain started going around and around so fast I couldn’t stop it, in a Pengo Janetto sort of fashion. I’ve driven across the plains and back a handful of times and a few of those trips involved traversing the endless state of Nebraska. Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney, Ugly Lulu Ogalalla. Sorry, that’s what Duke used to call Ogalalla. (Duke was my uncle, Radical Betty’s husband. He died in 1983, shortly before a bunch of us Fin G3ers invented babies and poop and all that good stuff.)

Hmmm. Tickety-tickety-tick. Suddenly my brain stopped, Pengo Janetto style. It stopped on Grand Island. There is a Grand Island in Lake Superior but the city of Grand Island is in Nebraska and I dunno where “island” came from because there isn’t a whole lot of water in Nebraska. Liz might not share that opinion, having camped in a rainstorm somewhere near Omaha all last night. Anyway, on an infamously glorious Fin family ski trip to Colorado, the itinerary was carefully planned so that we could eat at a particular steakhouse type restaurant in Grand Island both going out to CO and coming back.

I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant. My brain was going around and around so fast I couldn’t stop it, Pengo Janetto style. Tickety-tickety-tick. Then it stopped, Pengo Janetto style. It stopped on The Plastic Cow! Or not. I mean that wasn’t the real name. I think the place had a plastic cow sign outside it that prompted another Duke-ism. So I went on the Internet. Some searching around for Grand Island and restaurants turned up nothing much and I soon gave up and went to bed.

The next morning, I was driving around the planet and my brain was going around and around so fast I couldn’t stop it, Pengo Janetto style. Tickety-tickety-tick. Part of Dexter Road was *totally* blocked off by emergency vee-hickles of all sorts as well as tree cutting trucks and I don’t know what was going on there but I actually had to get off Dexter and drive down Linwood past the Burling’s and then get back onto Dexter. I was fiddling around doing that when suddenly my brain stopped, Pengo Janetto style. And, guess what? It stopped on DREISBACH’S!!!

And that was it! More googling turned up a picture on some random person’s (but looks like good folks) blahg. Scroll down a couple/few times to see it. I don’t actually remember it looking quite like that. Where the heck is the plastic cow? Further googling revealed that multiple tornadoes rolled through Grand Island back in about 1980 or so. I couldn’t exactly tell from the articles I found whether or not Dreisbach’s had been damaged or not but it looks like the place got a facelift in any case. Eventually, it seems to have been closed and auctioned off. I’m sure Liz isn’t too upset that she missed out on eating there.

That was a fun trip out to Steamboat Springs and I had really all but forgotten about it but now some random memories are coming back. Eating at The Plastic Cow is one of them. The rest would probably fill a whole ‘nother entry. Fried egg boobs anyone?

California, Here I Come

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

“How do you feel about your daughter moving to California?” “Moom, are you happy that I’m moving to California?” “What if she gets homesick?” “Boy is she ever pretty! You can’t let her go!”

Lizzy Goodwrench?

But of course I did. Let my beautiful older daughter go, that is. It is her life and she left for Berkeley, CA this morning. She’ll be working for a bilingual (Spanish/English) radio program about families and children. Yes, she knows Spanish, she lived in Spain for six months. She likes kids and has an interest in family and child related issues. Here’s a link to the English version of the program’s web site and here’s a link to the Spanish version.

Homesick? I doubt it. She has visited the bay area before and is very excited about living there. She’ll be living with Jess, whom she’s known since middle school. Her “identical” cousin, The Beautiful Renee, is in San Francisco. And Liz is a very friendly, sociable person who makes friends easily wherever she is.

So, how do *I* feel about this? Oh, come on. Do you really think I have any words? Of *course* I miss her. She’s driving out there and I worry about that. In fact, I am totally tangled up inside today. This is different than leaving for college or even study abroad. I don’t know why, but it is. Kee-reist, I am a moom! This is all part of my job!

But. The absolute last thing I would want her to do after college is come *home* and live at the Landfill. That scenario is about dead last on her list too. I am ecstatic that she has a job and an inkling of a life plan. I think it’s great that she has arranged to live in a place of her choice. And I am very, very proud of her for having the courage to pack up and move across the country.

She’ll be back. She said to me earlier this summer, “Moom, you have the best vacation place on earth.” And I do. I wish with all my heart that I was there right now so I could walk out the front door, go down to the beach, fling a kayak into the water, and paddle out into the bay. Alas, I’ll have to settle for the great grey green greasy Urine Huron River. Good luck baby girl. Have a great time and knock ’em dead out there! I love you.