Author Archive

Copenhagen Chewers of America

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

When I was in high school back in the Jurassic Age, we had to endure “study halls”. Study hall meant that you sat in a huge old auditorium with a bunch of other kids, most of whom were doing anything but studying. I was always bored as all getout in study hall. I was too shy to interact with kids I didn’t know and I never had much trouble keeping up with homework so I mostly sat there feeling idle and very awkward.

Another thing that was going on at my high school, freshman and sophomore year anyway, was that the school had been built for 600 students and 1300-plus of us were jammed into it. As a clueless freshman, I did not realize that if I had study hall during the first or last period of the day or one of the periods surrounding lunch, I didn’t have to be AT THE SCHOOL. We had an open campus lunch situation, another function of over-crowding. You could eat lunch at the school and I often did but you had to sit in the gym bleachers and there were intramural games going on and having a basketball player wipe out and land in somebody’s tuna fish sandwich was not appetizing. You can be darn sure I rectified the study hall situation for sophomore year and scheduled mine for first period or whatever. Junior year it was a moot point because we moved to a huge new school building and a lot of things including study hall and the dress code went totally out the window.

One of the activities in study hall was chewing tobacco. Oh, not me! A certain contingent of male (I’m gonna guess mostly) folks of the “my posse don’t do homework” sort. We had a lot of those back in those days and nobody seemed to care if they chawed at school. I can’t remember if there were also smokers. I mean I *know* there were smokers. I dated a couple. I also know people smoked in the school building. I can’t remember if there were designated areas or not. For one thing, I’m not sure how safe that building was in terms of faaaar.

Years and years have passed. Smoking became taboo in more and more places and FINALLY in bars and restaurants. I sure hated waking up the next morning from dinner at the Oscar Tango or Knight’s or somewhere with my hair smelling like cigarette smoke. Ten years ago I was visiting The Commander in the Sault Ste. Siberia Hoosegow when I overheard a nurse taking away somebody’s chewing tobacco in the next room. I was kind of astounded. Do people still chew? I guess so.

The GG sent me this pic from Ohaaaao yesterday. Different brand but neat pic. Now, can he answer a couple simple, innocuous yes/no questions via text? Apparently not. (He doesn’t have enough service for a call.)

Winter camping

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

The Lyme Lounge usually gets mothballed up at the UU’s house for the winter. This year it was taken out so the GG could take a hiking trip to Ohio. Although he is doing his own hiking, he is also helping support a North Country Trail thru-hiker acquaintance. She has a very interesting blog with hiking stories along with a lot of historical notes, etc., from her hikes. Much more interesting then yer fav-o-rite blahgger’s bunch o’ blather. The GG is mentioned in one of her recent entries.

He was supposed to travel to Ohio last Thursday or Friday but of course our lives went sideways for a few days so he didn’t leave until Monday, which I thought was even still a little soon but he hiked 17 miles yesterday with no ill effects, so I guess he’s okay. He’s a couple-three days ahead of me COVID wise but I am also fine. I also maybe had a slightly lighter case because I did not have trouble regulating my temperature or feel fatigued. Except for the extreme mental fatigue you feel after spending two years staving off an invisible monster that eventually stomps smack into your life ANYWAY.

He was packed and set to go last week with bags and boxes of crapola all over the living room. Then he couldn’t leave when planned and kept dipping in and out of his packing to get various items and by the time he got down to his Ohio campsite, he was without some of his carefully packed food. This was not a surprise.

This pic he sent of the Lyme Lounge actually looks pretty good. It is a 13 foot trailer with water, lucky-shucky, and heat but no bathroom facilities. I had lobbied for a terlet when we ordered it but am now glad he overruled me. Too small and there’s always black water disposal to have to deal with. In fact, if we weren’t relatively small people (5-1/2 feet or thereabouts), we probably wouldn’t fit in it. In the summer, when I often use it for my office at the moominbeach and sleep in it when we have a crowd, it is usually a pretty cluttered up mess.

Lookin’ good right now though!

Better late than never

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Moon pic, I mean. It’s a waxing gibbous from Saturday night. The little lights at the bottom are associated with the elementary school on the other side of “our” woods.

Back to work today. And couldn’t remember ANYTHING about what I was doing at the end of last week, which was Thursday. And training? What training? This training is something *I* need to lead. I was working diligently on it last week. I had totally forgotten about it. This wasn’t really virus brain fog. It was more that COVID dropped its big old boot into my world last Thursday. It kicked the ball and I had to locate the ball before I could pick it back up. Fortunately Amazon Woman forgot to actually SCHEDULE the training 🤣🤣🤣. Also fortunately, I had FINISHED it last week! This training session is something we do for each of our software releases and it is NOT a threatening event. Plus AW and I have done it so many times now that we are continually improving it, tailoring it for its unique audience, etc.

MMCB DMed me links to those government COVID tests and they both said they had already ordered theirs. MMCB1 said something like, “I want to get them before tomorrow when the web site will crash.” This absolutely cracked me up because I don’t think most governmental entities at any level have a clue about how to build a web site. Not to mention that they can’t really afford to pay for one. I am not *exactly* complaining about this, just that you get what you pay for.

My team approaches even miniscule changes to our web application with great care. We agonize over everything from the design to the testing. We work really well together and get paid well to do our jobs. I remember the 2016 (or was it 2020) Iowa Caucuses where people were supposed to use an app to do I fergit what. Vote or whatever it is that happens at caucuses, which I don’t really understand. When that bombed all I could think of was something like, “Whose nephew got paid to create it?”

I am fine. The GG, who is a couple days ahead of me, did a 17-mile hiking day today. In Ohio. I don’t really approve but I can’t bind and gag him.

It was the 2020 Iowa Caucuses because Buttigieg was a candidate.

The other shoe finally drops

Monday, January 17th, 2022

Yes, a COVID birthday (over the weekend). Gee thanks. I didn’t actually bother to test but the GG tested positive last week so when I started having mild cold symptoms after sharing the monster bedroom with him for a few nights, I knew there was no way I could be negative. Why waste a test? BTW, he tested twice after experiencing symptoms. The first time, the home antigen test didn’t register a positive. A couple days later, he tried again. This time clearly positive, plus the first test had also developed a faint line of positivity.

Where did we get it? We do not know. I did NOT get it from the grocery store. I did GO to the grocery store early last Wednesday. I became symptomatic later that day so potentially *I* was a risk. I hope not. I did not get anywhere near anyone except my own grocery worker and that was a brief encounter. I should not have been there at all given his symptoms despite his negative test.

The GG engages in slightly riskier behavior than I do but he isn’t out hanging around unmasked at bars or basketball games or whatever. More trips into stores and I don’t even want to know if he masks for those or not. If not I do not approve but I’m sure my constant nagging doesn’t change his behavior. Mostly his activities are outdoor and that’s where he was last weekend, hiking the North Country Trail. One person he encountered on the trail said they had a “cold”. I don’t know how close he got to this person or how long he talked to them but I’m sure they were both unmasked so that is a possibility.

Mild cold symptoms for me, mostly an occasional light cough. I’ve experienced much worse common cold viruses. No loss of senses, except maybe my sense of sanity. No brain fog or anything. I was able to read and do my daily word puzzles with no problem.

I took Friday off but that was more a “mental health” day than anything, with my boss’s full support, i.e., I used those exact words when I told her I was taking a day. I am pretty much caught up with my current prodjects and wasn’t in the mood to futz around with back burner stuff. I also had today off for MLK so a nice long weekend.

If someone tells you they have a “cold” do NOT believe them. They almost certainly do NOT have a “cold”. The level of disconnect on this distinction is mind-boggling yet I myself fell for it. If you have symptoms, test intelligently – either do it more than once or obtain a proper PCR test. If you are positive STAY AWAY from others. If you or anyone you live with have “cold” symptoms, quarantine until you are positive that you are negative.

When I have reached negativity again, I will return to my VERY LIMITED grocery shopping activities. I will (for the time being) be a little less nervous about in-person shopping but will continue to MASK, distance, and make quick early-morning mad dashes, out of respect for others. Especially the people who WORK there.

P.S. My grocery worker has very kindly dropped the few grocks we’ve needed over the weekend on the porch and my AWESOME facetime coffee buddies have also offered to shop but I politely declined them.

Milan Dragway on No Politics Day

Sunday, January 16th, 2022

Where do YOU take yer wiffe when she is CRANKY? The GG took MEEEEE to the Milan Dragway 🤣🤣🤣

And no, we didn’t go to a drag race. We actually don’t know if the Dragway is in operation these days. It looked operational but deserted but I know very little about drag racing. I’m guessing it doesn’t happen much in zee veeenter-time here in the Great Lake State although today would probably have been a fine day for it. I also don’t know what COVID has done to the drag racing sport in general. Probably not much given what I am GUESSING the general fan demographic is.

But today, we were gonna take a ride and I said, “Let’s go south,” and that was okay with the GG who apparently had it in his head to go SSE and poke around in areas we don’t often explore. When we were young and worked at the EPA, apparently there were a lot of folks who headed down to the dragway after work on Fridays either to race or spectate. I don’t really remember this as I am not a great fan of car races in general, nothing against people who ARE. So finding the dragway became a bit of a goal for today.

The pic is taken on Saline-Milan Road, which is heading more or less SE at this point and this was what Mr. Golden Sun was doing today. Note that there is only residual snow. We have had a couple bitsy little snowstorms this year but nothing significant. I am not complaining. We’ll get ours at some point. But there’s nothing like driving along a road with dry pavement on a brilliantly sunny winter day. Actually we were almost tooooo hot depending on what direction we were going, enough that we turned down the heat a couple times. (When you remote start Cygnus, she turns the heat up to 85.)

We toodled around the Milan area for a while. I noted that Azalia (correct spelling) was within range and I kinda wanted to hop over there and see if the ancient yellow Fiesta was still around but it was really time to head home and I kept my mouth shut.

No Politics Day ended with a Facetime Piedmont Chorus. Love y’all, KW.

Dirty but happy

Saturday, January 15th, 2022

Mouse stopped by briefly in Oriole and later texted “Cygnus looks happy. Nice and dirty.” Oriole is Cygnus’s older sister and she is dirty a lot of the time because Mouse lives in the Manchester Mountains and those roads are a mess even on a good day. Cygnus is dirty because we had rain on New Year’s Day and I was home alone (happily) so I took her for a drive out on the back roads, which were Mud City that day. Don’t ask about the license plate. I tried to use the iPhone photo editing tools to block it out but I didn’t have the opacity set correctly and after I put it on Instagram, I realized you could see the number without too much difficulty so I fixed it more via Affinity on my laptop. If there is any nefarious entity out there who might use it to locate me, I’m not sure who it is. I do have a couple haters but they already know where I live and they aren’t very scary in the grand scheme of things.

Of all things, I was annoyed by Mr. Golden Sun today. He’s a TERRIBLE thing to be annoyed at this time of year but we were out driving around and he was SOOOO BRIGHT and soooo low in the sky and there are no leaves to block him and he was flickering throughout the bare tree limbs like crazy. If I were prone to headaches, I’d’ve probably had one. Fortunately I very rarely get headaches, last one maybe 10 years ago.

COVIDiots continue to annoy me to no end. My grocery worker texted today to report that maskless customers were coughing their way through the store every which way. Do they not care about their fellow human beings? Then there are all the facebook photos of groups of maskless people scrunched up together INSIDE. And all the snowmobiles parked outside the Cozy while their maskless owners drink beer inside. And a long unintelligible rant about how vaccines are CAUSING the virus. From someone I don’t really remember from my high school class although I have encountered him at reunions. (When I used to go to reunions. They were fun until I remembered I am not good at social stuff. It’s not the others. It’s me.) He’s a good guy and a responsible person but science? I don’t think so. Not that I know it all either. I certainly don’t. I do believe that the virus is “smarter” than us and it’s better to err on the side of caution.

A more minor annoyance is that I am now on plan C for dinner. Plan A was scotched due to a missing ingredient, plan B because it was too late to start it, so plan C it is. Uncle Peter’s pasties. Which are really good even though we don’t have any of his gravy and so will have to make do with ketchup 🤣🤣🤣

P.S. LAMB pasties! The GG will love them.


Friday, January 14th, 2022

Photos, that is. This is the terlet carousel from an outdoor exhibit at MOCAD in Detroit. It was two years ago. It was supposed to revolve but the mechanism or whatever you call it was broken the night we saw it. I got close enough to the terlets to note that they had been scrupulously cleaned. When you grow up using an outhouse, you are tuned in to that kind of detail even if it’s not a working terlet. We had a drink at the MOCAD bar after and then walked a couple blocks to a restaurant. Yes. A restaurant.

I forget how long this exhibit lasted. It was basically a number of different “pavilions” and outdoor displays of all the stuff the rest of us donate to the thrift shop. And yes, I have seen terlets at Habitat. Of course COVID eventually interrupted the exhibit as well as museum operations. By the time people were starting to figure out how to safely resurface (what does “safely” even mean?), the exhibit, if I remember right was a royal rat-infested mess. (I’m sure it eventually got cleaned up.)

It wasn’t the last time I ventured out into a public place. That happened almost a couple months later. A few more Friday night dinners at the Oscar Tango. A couple dinners at Knight’s. A few more Saturday lunches at the Griz. A weekend at Tahq with a bunch of people in a shared house and meals at the Den of Iniquity Tahquamenon Falls Brewery. I remember a lunch where we squeezed in I dunno how many billions of people at our table. It felt like the virus was lurking but we didn’t know how close it was or…

Two years later and we are still not sure what’s going on or what’s next. It is a long slog.


Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Oh nothing specific, just a long fugly day. Mr. Golden Sun did not make even the teensiest tinesiest appearance ALL DAY and even though the temps were in the 30s, a bitter chill snaked its way into the Landfill.

I bagged my walk this morning because I thought the GG was gonna leave for a hiking expotition and I thought I would have some coffee with him before he left. But. He didn’t get up and he didn’t get up and he didn’t get up (this is unusual) and finally he announced that he had decided not to leave until tomorrow. Which was fine except I didn’t get a whooole lot of space-i-fication today. He did take a long walk and then a nap.

And then work was kind of slodgy. We made some great progress in a meeting this morning but then an afternoon meeting got canceled. Why? Because a key participant had to pick up their daughter from school. Why? You know why, right? Half the buses were not running, that’s why. Again, WHY are we doing in-person school right now? And again! I understand the challenges for parents of young children. Once when my kids were in grade school, we had a couple week teacher strike and I was BESIDE myself!

We won’t even talk about the supreme court. How under the sun did we get these people on the court anyway? Oh, don’t answer that. I know.

I haven’t been running the radio most days, at least not until late in the afternoon. Then I turn it on because I listen to National Petroleum Radio and that annoys the GG so he puts satty-lite radio on.

Word puzzles were a bright spot except for Wordle, which I TOTALLY BOMBED! My fault for carelessly reusing rejected letters.

And with that, good night!

Keepin’ my head down

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

And embracing my introverted personality. Will it be enough? I dunno. I did go to the Plum this morning. I bought maybe 10 items and avoided ALL people. Well, except for my grocery worker. I knew she was there because I saw a flash of orange in the parking lot. I did get a hug from her. A quick and careful one. But how careful is careful any more? Ooooold memory. The older beach urchin once came running to me after watching Mr. “Raj” and an electrical warning after his show: Mom! Kids carful lucky-shucky! Yes indeed. Life was so easy then.

The title is how I answered MMCB2 this morning when she asked how I was. Keepin’ my head down TRYNA stay outta the fray. And then I added that I was also embracing my introverted personality. The personality trait that plagued me for so many years has come in handy during the pandemic. Nowadays when I meet new people like neighbors, etc., I label myself as a Friendly Introvert. Like I welcome conversation but I will not be ringing your doorbell asking to borrow a cuppa sugar in order to snoop or spy. Heck, if I need sugar I will BUY it at the STORE a couple blocks away or order it online or whatever.

Of all things we are at this moment in a crazy penny-wise pound-foolish argument although I think I just won. We go through these periodically. I always ask something like what the heck are we spending money on? Food maybe but there are only two of us so it’s not like we buy a whole lot. Automotive vee-hickles? Yeah, we’ve bought two new ones in the last few years. They replaced old vee-hickles, in my case 13 years old. The Ninja was still in top-notch condition but it was time. In both cases, I gulped and wrote the check. Because I could. Because we don’t spend crazy money on crapola we don’t need.

We both remember a time when The Gumper (my father-in-law) had a rebate coupon for something he bought at a Hoton Lake hardware store or wherever. I can’t remember the details but that rebate form was mailed to and from The Gumper’s Florida residence and The Landfill enough times that the postage exceeded the amount of the rebate. I loved The Gumper ANYWAY. What a good grandpa. I’ll never forget the time the GG handed our young toddler to The Gumper and she fussed until he grabbed a bowl of Fritos. Like who is this guy, OH, I guess he’s my (other) grandpa. The Gumper had 10 children and 19 grandchildren and knew how to mollycoddle toddlers. My dad had two children and four granddaughters and he did okay too.

Our Northern Correspondent sent me the pic a few years ago. It’s hummocks out by the second sandbar in the winter on the moominbeach.

What to write about? Hmmm…

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Yeah, it’s one of THOSE days. I mean you don’t care about the GG fumbling an egg carton and breaking a couple eggs. Or me ordering little cartons of dehydrated hash browns from Amazon because Kroger doesn’t have them and Plum NEVER has them. Don’t judge, they are good camping food and work in a pinch when the Chief Cook and Bottlewasher fails to purchase “real” aka frozen hash browns for holiday breakfasts. So how about books?

I have started my fourth book for this year. My first book was Mrs. Dalloway, a re-read and one that I have kind of a strange relationship with. I first read it a gazillion years ago when I was in college or thereabouts and was working through some “classics”. Not sure it “classifies” as a “classic” exactly but anyway. The stream-of-consciousness writing style kind of drives me crazy and I remembered very little from my long-ago experience with it. Actually I wonder if I finished it the first time… I got more out of it this time.

What led me to choose this book was that on NYE, I finished The Hours, which puts the story told in Mrs. Dalloway through a few wringers with an interconnected trio of stories. A shadow story that follows Mrs. Dalloway’s story (with a few twists), plus a story based on the author’s life, plus a third story that, well. I’m outta words to describe. At any rate, after I read The Hours, I had to read Mrs. Dalloway again. I gave both books four stars (Goodreads). I was not an English major but I know enough to know that the writing was pretty dern good even if it isn’t my favorite style. (The Hours is a BIT less stream-of-consciousness than Mrs. D.)

Then I jumped onto a couple books by a Japanese-American author. The Book of Form and Emptiness and A Tale for the Time Being. The latter was also a re-read

Alert! Alert! Our pod thingy just made a big popping noise and the music died!

Okay all clear. We’re back in business.

So… Even though I remember liking the book a lot, I couldn’t remember much about it except a temple high up on a Japanese mountain, a woman living on an often stormy island in the PacNW, and a troubled teenager and her troubled family. I’m glad I re-read this one and think I “got” some things I may have missed the first time. I gave both of these five stars. The last time I read A Tale for the Time Being I only gave it a four.

And now… The ninth Outlander book is finally out and I have been kind of putting it off but I jumped into it! It’s been a few years since the eighth book and I have had to google Outlander fandom a couple times, like WHO is THAT character? But the author also incorporates little mini-refresher courses on what took place in previous books. When I was a grade-schooler at Stinkin’ Linkin’, EVERY fall I would complain to The Commander, “All we do is REVIEW!” Friends, this baggy old kayak woman is grateful for the previous plot reviews provided in this book.

I’m sure the Outlander series is not everyone’s cuppa but I feel like I have rediscovered some old friends.

OMG P.S. HB to my twin sister-in-law. In a lot of ways we are nothing alike but somehow we are also soul mates. I guess when identical twins pick partners, even when they pick them YEARS apart, they pick partners that are alike in some of the ways that count. Love you, TBG.


Monday, January 10th, 2022

Yeah. If there was ever a day for a faaar in the faaarplace, this was it. Actually we get a lot of these days in winter in the Great Lake State. Today featured morning temps of 19 or so, dropping to 12 since then and probably continuing a downward trend. It wasn’t crazy-windy but enough to suck a lot of warmth outside. We try to keep the daytime thermostat temp at 66, lowering it to 60 for overnight. I’m not sure but it’s possible the GG may have raised it a bit. I can deal with 66 and a chilly wind and this is one house that has blankets up the wazoo.

My office is next to the Front Window(s). They are the original windows that the house was built with in 1959, a three-by-three set of panes with a kind of “ledge” below them that I can stand on to snake my neck around to look down the street, not to mention wide enough to put a laptop or two or three on when not in use. And little ledges to put Precious Things on below the top and middle set of panes. I am not strong enough to report how many years we’ve lived in this little “starter” house but I can’t count how many Window Scammers have come along asking me wouldn’t I like to replace my window(s)? Um, no. Jeebus.

Can I just say that all kinds of folks with the same ticky-tacky house plan all over the neighborhood have replaced their beautiful front window(s). I don’t tend to be impressed with whatever windows the neighbors have put in. I know that these people have probably replaced their window(s) in an attempt to get something more energy efficient. I have mixed feelings about this, feelings that I can’t sort out enough to write about for now. I personally prefer a house that’s a bit drafty than an air-tight one. I mean, wouldn’t that potentially court carbon monoxide issues? Of course that’s what my traumatically loud faaar/CO alarm is for, roight? On the other hand, if we are using more gas to heat our drafty house, we are contributing to climate change.

Tonight’s pic is not my front window(s), it is the faaarplace in the back room. Artifacts of interest above it include the caribou antlers my BFF found on a beach at Point Barrow (I may be mis-remembering the location) and hauled them back down south. The first leg of the trip involved her sitting “inside” them in a bush plane. From there they traveled to the lower 48 in an old van and we won’t talk any more about that. Caribou has resided with me for a long time but s/he belongs to BFF.

Below that is a memory controller from an Old Skool computer system at my childhood career. I covered for most people in that office including my [beloved] boss in those days and whenever I subbed for a computer operator’s evening shift, I had to deal with these mini-monsters and I HATED that I had to call a sys-whatever person when there was a problem because I would usually get his WIFE, who hated her husband getting calls from a “girl”. Jeebus woman, I am NOT crushing on your husband. I am MARRIED and trying to do my JOB.

P.S. I’m sure that whoever designed/built my house couldn’t have envisioned laptops sitting on that ledge or meeee doing my job from there.


Sunday, January 9th, 2022

Or would be. We lost The Commander almost 10 years ago. Can’t believe it was that long ago.

The beach urchins texted that today was her birth anniversary. I hadn’t forgotten. I was just feeling kinda well, I dunno, pandemic fatigued or whatever. Cranky at any rate and particularly introverted. I was NOT missing The Commander. I miss her but I don’t miss her last 10 months or so on earth and I’m sure she doesn’t either wherever she is.

Eventually I surfaced a bit and dredged up this pic. The GG replied that it was her last pic. Um no, it was NOT! He took her last pic and although it was actually a fairly decent pic, I don’t think I’ve ever posted it and don’t intend to. She was in a wheelchair at her assisted living facility in that one. She only needed a wheelchair the very last couple months of her life after a bout of c.diff acquired during what should have been a short hospital stay pulled her down. I won’t go into detail about that either.

In this one, she is modeling a new hat in her Dillon House kitchen, probably bopping around cooking dinner or whatever.

I bought her that hat. We were walking into the Sault Ste. Siberia post office one day and a woman was coming out with a gold sequined baseball cap. We were both amazed and the next time I happened to be using the water closet in Freeway Fritz, they had sequined baseball caps in all colors! I HAD to snag a gold one. She wore it regally, an American queen.

It kinda cracks me up that she liked this gaudy baseball cap so much. My mom went to work as a buyer at the downtown Dee-troit Hudson’s store back when she graduated from college and Detroit was a thriving city. Her fashion taste ran to something like understated elegance and I know she struggled with having a daughter (meeee) who was all into gaudy. Fortunately, she knew which battles weren’t worth fighting.

No COVID zone?

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

I don’t mean that I have it (not that I know of). I just wonder if I can manage to avoid COVID as a topic today. Probably not.

What did I do today? Put xmas away once and for all EXCEPT for my two remaining mini Santas. I did not find their companions. Alas. I’m putting the remaining two in a separate place for safety.

Cleaned one of Gertrude’s ovens, the top one, which got a spill in it the other day. She can self-clean her ovens but I have always been nervous about self-cleaning for some reason. In any event, this was an easy clean-up.

Mailed a tax bill. Paid the year’s car insurance bill. I waited until the last minute to do this, long enough that the GG got an email reminding him, which he forwarded to me. Yeah, I know when it’s due and how much and I pay it online and I even have a phone “alarm” set up so I don’t forget. Except. When I tried to pay it online, the “submit” button was grayed out. This seems to have happened before. I tried it on three browsers (phone, Safari, and Firefox). So with much trepidation, I called. Lo and behold, I got to a nifty menu option that allowed me to do it all without talking to a person. Yay!

Now. Again. I have not received a bill for the moomincabin taxes, which are due the end of February. The moomincabin is in a very small (population wise) township and they do not have an online option for paying or even viewing property taxes. Fortunately either Chippewa County, the post office, or I have klutzed the tax bill so many times now that I am well acquainted with the township treasurer, who seems like a wonderful person but probably thinks I am nutso. So I’ll email her and it’ll get done despite a few folks who think I am incompetent. You know who you are 🐽🐽🐽 (P.S. The taxes have ALWAYS been paid in full and on time despite various issues because I know WHEN they are due! Just sayin’.)

Alas, I can’t leave without a couple COVID thoughts. 1) WHY UNDER THE SUN are people going on CRUISE SHIPS? I have never been on one and the idea has never appealed to me but WHY NOW? Petri dish? 2) Here’s a link to a NYC high school student’s Reddit post. I am not a Redditor but I got this from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I have been following her for years but rarely actually read. At first I did but at one point I felt like I was just part of the choir and there are only so many hours in the day. But since I was a kid going to Stinkin’ Linkin’ elementary up in Sault Ste. Siberia, I’ve had strong opinions about schools and education and this one caught my attention.

Mr. Golden Sun has been shining down on us the last couple days. Until mid-afternoon today when ugliness suddenly started coming from the west. Predictions are not dire but we might get something overnight. We’ll see what we get.

Santa Baby

Friday, January 7th, 2022

I love the way Mr. Golden Sun lit up my Santa “collection” late this afternoon. It is not a large collection in the first place and it is a closed collection. It fits on this dresser. This year I only put out a fraction of them. Artisan quality and a few other favorites.

What really took the wind out of my sails though was when I couldn’t find two of my top faves, half of a set of four. I wrote about this a while back. They are teensy-tinesy and the sun is lighting them (the remaining TWO) up on top of that green thing (click and click again), in front of my high-heeled croc. Croc is probably technically a xmas item but he stays out all year. He was a gift for me from the GG from the old John Leidy shop(s). Miss the man and his shops.

I have usually put my Santas away by now but this year I made a special plea to go through the ornaments to reorganize them and search for the two missing mini-Santas. So that’s on the list for this weekend along with cleaning Gertrude’s top oven, which has a SPILL.

Above all of the bric-a-brac, in the frame, is Ike the Fish. I bought him at the annual Sault Ste. Siberia art fair back in the Jurassic Age. Because he had WON FIRST PRIZE, I agreed to leave him with the artist until the end of the day so he could be on display. I drove the POC into town to pick him up and the GG created the frame from paper and other supplies from Hollander’s, which had a storefront and classes and all kinds of stuff but is now only online. Bookbinding and paper crafts have long been interesting to me but I think I will continue to take baby steps back into fiber arts.

And so now that I have stream-of-consciousnessed myself from Santas to Ike the Fish to Hollander’s, I think I will say g’night. At least I am no longer thinking about COVID and the cognitive dissonance of how too many people seem to be approaching omicron. Oh, hahaha! Cyber Ninjas is shutting down. Being in a tech biz, I had my doubts about them from the beginning.

P.S. I HATE that lamp!

Old Skool

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

I spent most of my day doing bulk html updates and in a couple places that led to having to futz with a crappy bunch of old skool javascript. Document.write indeed. Every time I have to delve into this stuff, I think about upgrading it but it would involve a rabbit hole, one that wouldn’t be a productive use of my time. So I slog through what is already there and that’s what I did today. Which means my brain is mush.

Grab and dash grock run this morning. It’ll be all right, won’t it? COVID-wise, I mean. Listening to COVID reports on the radio to the grokkery store and home did not help. I do know that I did NOT see ONE person without a mask and I was able to stay WELL away from anyone else. Yay for 8:00 AM shopping. I still do not understand people who are cavalier about going to indoor restaurants, etc. Maybe you don’t feel you are at risk for serious disease but COVID isn’t broadcasting its rules last I knew so you don’t really know. Plus you are not the only person on earth and if you catch it, you are contagious. If we keep engaging in risky behavior, we put others at risk for THIS variant and we continue to allow the virus to spread and evolve into new variants. I mean, it’s gonna do that anyway. That’s what viruses (and people, etc.) do. And what about our overwhelmed health care workers? Sorry. I’ve encountered multiple people engaging in risky COVID behavior lately and I cannot shaddup.

The undated photo is the GG walking on the ice at Hoton Lake. He went up there today but I doubt he is walking on the ice. I’m not even sure how safe the ice is right now although it may well be. For a while, he wasn’t sure whether he would leave today or tomorrow. My advice was to watch the weather (for driving) but I don’t think it’s all that bad either day. But boy oh boy, until he finally decided when to leave, I was playing my coping cards* left and right to keep from going nutso with all of his rummaging and packing activities. THIS IS MY OFFICE. CHILL OUT!!!

He did leave today and I know he is there because I saw Mooon Yooonit there via the Group Home webcam so he doesn’t really need to call me 🐽.

P.S. Coping cards… I just read a really good book (The Book of Form and Emptiness) in which there was a teenager struggling with mental health issues. I think his coping cards were not physical cardstock-type cards but tools for how to handle certain triggering situations. I have always had decent mental health (garden variety teenage angst excepted) but “coping cards” is a good term for the tools that I have developed by myself for handling those bad days that we all have.

Disco, Disco Duck

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

The lights were a surprise, sort of…

The GG made a run to the Group Home over the weekend and one of his brothers and wife were there. He LEFT Softy Beanbag and Turnstile up there 🐽🐽🐽 but The Beautiful Becky (his brother’s lovely wife) located them and put them in a safe place where DOGZ couldn’t get at them, which I hadn’t even thought about. Yikes! Anyway, when he got home Sunday I heard him on the phone with TBB and I couldn’t figger the whole convo but I heard a few words like “lights” and “Home Depot”, etc. There were no trips to “Home Depot” yesterday but I noticed him kinda haunting the front door during the early evening. And then, voila! Turned out he ordered them online, which I approve of because I don’t really want him wandering around willy-nilly in stores in the Omicron Age. I didn’t notice when the package arrived so I was surprised but not surprised.

So we’ve got xmas-colored oscillating (is that the word?) lights up but we took the xmas tree down today. The GG did most of the work but I exhorted him to please please please leave the ornaments out (in boxes) so I can go through them and sort them out and look for the two mini-Santas that were missing from The Commander’s collection when I got it out this year. I had put the Santas away last year but somehow they subsequently got reorganized, i.e., thrown in with a bunch of other crapola. I don’t care much for “stuff” but this particular little set of four mini-Santas was somehow important, not only to me but to the beach urchins. I have no clue where they came from and certainly can’t ask The Comm. They are artisan quality, not just some junkola from Bronner’s.

It’s dark this time of year and light is good, right? Even Disco Duck type light. Cheers and yay for LEDs!

P.S. We are currently aiming our lights OUTSIDE but this is one display we will definitely turn off well before midnight to avoid a ticket from the city…

Henrietta was here

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Or maybe it was Henry? Or both? And all of their friends and relations?

What is a torii, you ask? Okay maybe you didn’t. It is a word that frequently flies in the spelling bee and people are always complaining that it’s obscure or whatever. It probably is to a lot of folks but it is a word I have known since before I can remember. It is a Japanese gate typically used at the entrances to Shinto shrines.

There is no Shinto shrine at the Soo Locks but there is a big torii, gifted by long ago governor Chase Osborn. He was born in Indiana but later settled in Sault Ste. Siberia. He died before I was born but his family and mine knew each other, not that they socialized or whatever, aka I am not name-dropping in any way shape or form. Some of his descendants own beach property over to the west of ours. He also gifted a set of elephant statues to adorn the steps of the city’s Carnegie Library. The library has moved and changed names but the building and the lions are still there.

Linky linky:

Soo Locks torii

Governor Osborn

Carnegie Public Library lions.

I have a closeup pic of a library lion somewhere in my archive but I can’t find it for now. Searching for “library” brings up pics of my mom sitting by the moomincabin living room bookcase and aisles of John King books in Detroit, etc. 🤣 Here’s to keeping your photographs organized and TAGGED (DEFINITELY NOT!).

After all that, even though torii is a familiar word to me, it often takes me forever to “see” it in the spelling bee 🐽

P.S. The “killer” word for today is an 8-letter ne word. Amazingly I got that one but am struggling to find a 5-letter ha word.


Sun is down, moon is up

Monday, January 3rd, 2022

At the time I made that statement, it was technically correct but I realized a few minutes ago that I had been mis-thinking. The sun WAS down, aka below the horizon. The moon WAS up, aka above the horizon. But my brain had done a sort of somersault, thinking the moon was rising? Uh, no? It was setting, in the west, as it does, just like the sun. It just hadn’t done so yet. It is now DOWN, aka below the horizon. I dunno why I get so twisted up about this kind of stuff but I frequently get things backwards.

So back to work today, yay! I was able to ramp it up slowly with a very boring but still has-to-be-done task (replacing screenshots in user guides). Boring as it was, it was kinda perfect for a slow brain warm-up on the first Monday after 10 days or whatever off. Things got a little more exciting when Amazon Woman and I spent more time during our weekly meetup kvetching about COV-idiots than talking about work. We are on the same wavelength about that and polly-ticks and life in general.

But we did get on to work stuff eventually and I expressed some trepidation about an upcoming prodject that involves some stuff I’ve never worked on and remember a lot of “fun” (contentious) conversations swirling around the co-worker who WAS involved the last time it reared its ugly head. But then. I grabbed my battering ram and after a couple hours, I don’t know it all but I have enough working knowledge that I know I can move forward. If I can pull together enough information to ask questions, I am on my way.

So, early January, the days are getting infinitesimally longer, the moon is waxing, and we won’t utter the word omicron for the moment. Onward? Upgrade your masks if you haven’t already and WEAR THEM! Above your nose.


Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Our spelling bee group was puzzling over the wa8 word that was the last word any of us needed to get to Queen Bee. (wa8 means an 8-letter word beginning with wa and Queen Bee means you’ve found ALL the words.) One of us (not me) got it accidentally and much googling ensued. Wallaroo? Who knew? WallaBY kept getting into my head in general although neither b nor y were valid letters today. So, a word I *hope* I don’t fergit the next time those letters roll around.

So one last xmas gift for the GG. We always have TWO of these glasses around and we managed to break BOTH of the current ones within the last few weeks. They are very cool but very fragile. I set one down, well, weirdly is the only way I can describe it and it fractured. Then the GG emphatically slammed one down and. Again. He didn’t “slam” it in anger, more in exuberance.

So I ordered a couple more. They have them down at the locally owned Ace hardware store and as much as I like to support local businesses, with the omicron cliff, I am only doing in-store shopping for the most essential items. These could wait. Santa paddled by a lot sooner than I expected and I wrapped them up and put a postit note on top of the package: FRAGILE! DO NOT SHAKE or TOSS.

I am even nervous about the limited shopping I do in person. Today a friend reported that two of HER friends got symptomatic breakthrough cases even though they are vaxxed and boostered and wear masks every time they leave the house. Stories like this freak me out but I also don’t always think they are entirely true. I believe the vax status. I believe they wear masks. But. How often are they shopping? When are they shopping? Are the stores jam-packed with people when they shop? Are they mingling with family members? Or friends? Maybe grands too young to be vaxxed? I am not being judgmental. I know people are making excruciating decisions based on constantly shifting data with a heapin’ helpin’ of MISinformation.

P.S. Speaking of misinformation (and whiny tone of voice), I am so glad Twitter de-platformed Marjorie Taylor Greene. What a piece of work! Too bad it’s only her personal account. I can only hope the voters of her Georgia district will also de-platform her. Kee-reist.

Booooks of 2021

Saturday, January 1st, 2022

When you read 100+ books a year, how do you pick just a few favorites? I do not know. And then there’s the whole thing where I sometimes can’t for the life of me remember what a book is about. This happens even to some of the ones I LOVED while reading them. I can’t connect the title to the story… Anyway, I am gonna try to list a few that fit the nebulous category “colorful”. I’m not even quiiite sure what I mean by that, at least I can’t put it into words. Definitely not all of these books evoke a lot of colors. More like big books with lots of stuff going on but also easily readable. Does that make sense? These are not all high-falutin’ classic literature, but mostly not trite either (like Gone Girl, which I HATED or chick-lit in general, which I don’t *think* Gone Girl is…). Here goes, not in any particular order:

Sirens of Titan: This was a re-read. I probably read this in high school. I remembered soooo little of it but loved every bit.

The Firebrand: Also a re-read and a re-telling of the Iliad from Cassandra’s point of view. Not high-class literature but decent writing and thoughtfully done. A GREAT BIG FUN read. I love Cassandra and during a certain period of my life, I identified with her but that is a long story 🐸

Valentine: Not an easy read (rape and violence) but a good one. Set in Texas.

The Echo Wife: Definitely not everyone’s cuppa but I was fascinated by it. I would suggest not reading it without doing some serious googling.

Moloka’i and Daughter of Moloka’i: Not high literature but good writing and *fascinating* portrayal of life in Hawai’i and its leprosy colonies before (and after) leprosy could be controlled by antibiotics.

Firekeeper’s Daughter: Overall a great book and set in and around MY HOMETOWN, Sault Ste. Siberia. The city description didn’t *exactly* match my memories of the town, which I know inside and out, but that was okay with me.

Ivory Shoals: Orphaned boy makes his way across the swamps of Florida to find his father, who doesn’t know he exists.

Hamnet: I don’t think this needs any commentary.

Careers for Women: Included in the cast of characters are the NY Port Authority and the element aluminum among many human characters.

Cloud Cuckoo Land: I don’t have the “chops” tonight to describe this, just loved it. The ending knocked my socks off!

Project Hail Mary: What can I say?

March: A *fictional* imagination of Mr. March, father of the gals in Little Women. I read this a while back but various details continue to pick at me.

Great Circle: WOW! Fictional female pilot. Barnstorming, bootlegging, bush pilot, “ferrying” planes in WWII England, circumnavigating the world through both poles. Did she survive this last adventure? Like Amelia Earhart, her plane was never found.

I had planned to stop at 10 but it seems I have 13 (14 because I liked the Moloka’i sequel enough to include it). I read other VERY good books and almost NO bad ones. I’m pretty careful about my choices and I usually download a “preview” before committing, which weeds out some static.

If you are a reader, what did you read in 2021? What did you like? Or dislike? I set up my 2022 challenge first thing this morning. (This is Goodreads BTW.)