Author Archive

Waxing crescent

Saturday, May 15th, 2021

Lemme see… What did I doooo today… 0-skunk-30. Curbside pickup at Plum. Can I just keep doing that? I *love* it and the Plum folks are soooo good and friendly. As I have said (many times 🐽) before, I will probably do a hybrid of curbside/delivery and in person shopping going forward. Maybe I’ll set up curbside at Plum for larger orders and walk over for smaller things. Farm Stop delivery for whatever they have available and farmers market for what they don’t.

Roooomba and refrigerator cleanout. Not that it was that dirty or overfilled but with the GG going in and out of town constantly, the contents of the refrigerator constantly fluctuates and I have to keep on top of it. Not to mention that *I* will start traveling back and forth to the yooperland soon.

I potted my Mother’s Day impatiens today! I disturbed Mooma Robin with going in and out but she seems to be getting used to my presence, which is totally benign.

I also contemplated the meaning of words like “liberal”, “socialist”, and “communist” a lot today. What do these words really mean? In our current political season, I have been called a liberal and a “socialist” MANY times. I don’t get it and won’t try to describe it tonight but I will be continuing to take a break from family members who don’t agree with me and won’t try to talk to me about why in a rational way.

Finished a good book today. “Careers for Women” by Joanna Scott. It is NOT a self-help book or whatever. It is a novel. It has a number of wonderful characters including the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of NY and NJ, and the element AL aka aluminum or aluminium if you are a Canuck.

I’m thinking back to when I subscribed to the Wall St. Journal, the paper version. My 3rd grade beach urchin at that time was eating breakfast and reading the journal and I asked what she was reading about. She was reading a blurb about aluminum production on the front page. Did she understand it? I dunno but prob’ly more than I did.

Yup, this liberal used to subscribe to the Wall St. Journal. I still read it online whwn I can find the damn password.

moomincabin opening 2021

Friday, May 14th, 2021

The moomincabin is open for business! Thanks to the GG!

Mayor Pete has scheduled road work on the cabin road this weekend. It’s a two track road and here is one of the vee-hickles involved.

Here is the GG on the beach at the end of the day. Canananada is to the right of the island.

Status? The trees have leaves? Yes. Early/mid May they don’t always. Even Memorial Day weekend. Snow? No snow. Usually there is at least a bit of a raggedy snow pile on Memorial Day Weekend. Not this year. Refrigimatator? Hmmm. Working for the moment but may be in a failure mode. Twitter play?

GG: Do you remember when your parents bought that refrigimatator?
KW: Nope.

Which means it is OOOOOOLD. We’re on the alert for buying a new fridge but I’m wondering if we can find a new one that’s small enough to fit in that space… If we have to buy a new one, it will DEFINITELY have a light in the damn freezer!


Oh dear…

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

I am referring to the latest mask-wearing updates by the CDC. So, vaxxed people can go without masks just about anywhere? Really? How the f*ck can you tell whether any random un-masked person has been vaxxed or not? In my neighborhood, if I encounter a neighbor on the sidewalk, we still do the COVID Dance but we also provide our vax status. “I’m vaxxed but I’m still following the ‘rules’ and I have a mask in my pocket.” And we still social distance from each other. I rarely encounter anyone outside because I’m usually out there at 0-skunk-30 but it’s the neighborly thing to do, roight?

But we are in one of the bluest of blue pockets of a state that, well, I can’t really call it a blue state because there are waaaaay too many Trumpers throughout but we did THANKFULLY put Big Gretch in as governor and helped with Biden’s presidential VICTORY. (I have relatives who disagree with my opinions and they can just deal with it.)

I could write a “book” about the miscommunications we’ve all received since COVID but I won’t. The highlight would be Trump pontificating about drinking hydroxychloroquine and shining lights inside human bodies and injecting disinfectant up the you-know-what (that last bit is probably not what he said). This latest guideline is only going to cause more confusion. It will give un-vaxxed COVID deniers license to “fearlessly” enter crowded stores and restaurants and potentially spread COVID to others and and and…

When I (soon) enter (small) stores again, I will be wearing a mask, even fully vaxxed. It isn’t because I am fearful although maybe I am and I think I SHOULD be. COVID is only somewhat predictable about who it kills. And it does kill people, even children. I will continue to wear a mask because I CARE about other people and want them to know that I, as a random person who may or may not be vaxxed, don’t want to spread the virus to others. What is so hard to understand about this? And I didn’t get this from anything Biden has said. This has been my stance since the beginning of the Bad Old Trump COVID idiot days.

Happy ending? First local asparagus of the season! I sure miss Farmer John’s Lunchroom produce stand over at Cubelandia. What a work perk that was! 🧡

Frenetic rummaging

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

After the last couple days, which were very stressful even for those of us who were somewhat peripheral to the stress, I was hoping for caaaaaaalm. Oh, it’s okay, it’s some vee-hickular issues that are not currently blahggable. They don’t involve Cygnus and both vee-hickles are fine.

But caaaaalm? Noooo. Mid-morning, just about the time of the daily stand-up, the GG was running frantically throughout the Landfill, rummaging through drawers and cabinets and whatnot everywhere. I kinda did NOT wanna know. All of a sudden he was headed to the hardware store. Now, he is ALWAYS running to the hardware store, sometimes multiple times per day, and all I could think of at that moment was GOOD RIDDANCE!

Alas, as soon as he was out the door, I had a little “twitter play” with my mouse via text messages, something like this:

Mouse: Sorry if I triggered a storm of rummaging 😂😂😂
KW: That was YOU who started all that? 👀

It turned out she and the raccoon wanted to borrow the GG’s old Pentax film cam and it needed batteries so he was rummaging to find the camera and then rushing off to buy batteries. I told her that. She said that the raccoon had batteries. I called the GG and he cut his trip short, meaning my hoped-for peace was curtailed.

I managed to find the GG a couple other little missions. One was to walk down to the farmers market and snag some local asparagus. The second was to organize a garden hose and other supplies for me so I can water my impatiens now and when I pot them. They are about the only plant I don’t seem to kill. This ended up requiring a trip to the hardware store of course because my fave hose watering attachment apparently kicked the bucket last fall and “we” finally remembered that after yet another bout of rummaging.

I had a busy work day that culminated in re-creating some COMPLICATED old Visio diagrams that we only have images of because the originals reside on the long defunct laptop of a mentor/boss/friend who retaaarrred a number of years ago.

Slice o’ life here, nothing more, nothing less 🐸

First world clusterf*ck

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Cygnus? Cygnus is fine. But. I was driving her around Saturday and the TAAAAR LIGHT (or should I say TAAAAR SCREEN) came on! Say what? She has maybe around 250 miles on her. What gives? After MUCH futzing around with taaaar gauges, we determined that her taaars were *overfilled*. After much more futzing around, “we” (aka the GG) got the light to turn off.

We had some help with this via a previously scheduled call with Michelle, a Subie dealer support person who follows up with new car buyers to answer questions. We didn’t have the usual kind of questions for her but certainly asked about the taaaar light. She was VERY knowledgeable and the GG is good at automotive vee-hickles, having worked Hamtramck Assembly as a kid plus general driveway repair experience back in the day. Among other things, we learned that if we get to the right display screen, it tells what the current taaar pressure is for each taaar. I had seen a pic of that in the manual but didn’t drill down to figger out how to actually find it.

I did a bit of my own research via the google. On one Reddit forum, a Subie mechanic divulged that in cold weather, they typically overfill the taaars because if they don’t, they get flooded with calls about the taaaar light. Indeed. My Ninja used to do that all the time but I never called Honda because the GG just pumped them up. Unfortunately, I got a bit complacent about the light. One day it came on halfway to Cubelandia and I kind of ignored it. “Oh that again” and texted a pic to the GG. I made it OVER there just fine but when I came out at the end of the day, one of the taaars was flat flat flat.

But these taaaars were waaaay overfilled and can I also just say, I have lost count of how many taaaar gauges we have? They are kept in the Key Basket and since many of them don’t seem to be accurate, I think we should weed some out. The pic is what’s in my taaars right now. They are still a bit overfilled but they were more like 42 when the light came on. 33 (front) and 32 (rear) is recommended. Something like that, maybe a bit higher in our northern winters. Listen to me talking about taaars like I actually know something!🤣🤣🤣

P.S. The screen in the pic is NOT the warning screen I got the other day. If I could make a user experience criticism I would say, 1) don’t say “TPMS warning” (what the heck is TPMS?), say something like “Check tire pressure”, and 2) if you can provide the current tire pressure, put it right on that screen so I know which tire(s) is involved and if I should stop NOW or if it’s just a little low and I have a little time. Of course, if a taaaar is FLAT, I would KNOW to stop NOW with or without the light. Bumpity clunk.

Rainbow bright

Monday, May 10th, 2021

What a day! Issues with both vee-hickles and the Lyme Lounge. Don’t worry, there is NOTHING wrong with Cygnus but suffice it to say I know a whole lot more about taaars and gauges than I did a few days ago. Nothing is wrong with Mooon Yooonit except some paperwork confusion. And the Lyme Lounge has minor damage from its Big Mac adventure last week, which “we” (aka the GG) are working on getting fixed.

But I’ll save that for I dunno tomorrow? Because see this beauteous play structure over at Haisley? This is the Rainbow. It was old when the beach urchins went to school there and it is one of the few ancient structures that hasn’t been removed over the years and I thought this was a decent photo op with the sunshine and shadows, etc. We’ll talk about the removal of the big ol’ taaar structure some other day.

I was listed as an emergency parent for a few kids throughout my Haisley years, at least my SAHM years. And every once in a while, I got called. I’m not really the best person for that kind of responsibility, at least I am not a particularly warm, fuzzy, motherly type person. I have a personal policy to let children and aminals approach me so as not to overwhelm them. But my emergency kids were good friends of the beach urchins and I of their parents so they knew me and I did my best.

One day I got a call that Shuggy had fallen off the Rainbow and had seriously hurt her arm. Her mom was not available (turns out she was down the street with her elderly grandmother, no cell phones then) and her dad was at work a half hour away. Remembering that I am not the warm, fuzzy, motherly type, I had the brilliant idea to grab Froggy on the way out to the car. Shuggy was very familiar with Froggy and I rightly thought he would be a comforting presence.

The principal met me at the door and had already called the urgent care, which in those days was a few blocks away. Shuggy’s dad arrived just about the time people were getting a little freaked that a PARENT wasn’t there. (Sorry!) I left Froggy there with her (and her dad) and by that time she had actually managed to laugh a bit. I think it ended up that her arm was broken but it wasn’t complicated and she recovered quickly as most kids do.

Shuggy is a life-long friend of both my children and her parents still live in the neighborhood, as we do 🧡

Semi in-person “holiday”

Sunday, May 9th, 2021

The GG arrived home today with a broken tail light on the Lyme Lounge. It happened in a traffic jam mid-span on the Big Mac when somebody two cars behind him didn’t stop and pushed the car *behind* him into the LL. The person who started it all was carted away in an ambulance. The car behind him was damaged but managed to make it off the bridge without being towed. This happened Wednesday evening and a new tail light cover arrived here from Scamp trailers at the Landfill on Saturday.

Oh, he also had a story from someone in the yooperland. It’s an old one and if I had a dime for every time I’ve heard it, I’d be rich. “Your dad delivered me.” Welp. Nope. That wouldn’t be my dad, nooooo way. But. It undoubtedly was his brother, aka my uncle, who delivered “everyone.” In fact, he may have delivered my brother even though another doc was scheduled to. Things apparently happened fast and my uncle was who was around. Not sure if the other doc got there in time or not but I think he did.

Anyway, I remember bits and pieces of that night and the week following it. We were at our house in Siberia and Radical Betty (who was with us) took me out to the cabin for the duration, stopping at the Pink Poodle drive-in to get me and UKW root beer floats on the way. I stayed at my uncle’s cabin (I think) where legend has it my aunt scrubbed behind my ears to an extent that embarrassed The Commander. They didn’t call my aunt the White Tornado for nothing. I spent a lot of time at the Old Cabin because that’s where my 3-year-old cousins were (my age) and I flummoxed everyone by refusing to eat sliced up pickles, demanding “4-year-old STRAIGHT pickles” instead. I actually remember this. I don’t remember the ear-scrubbing. I’m sure it was done efficiently but gently.

So, the “holiday.” I see my mouse fairly frequently because she lives a little closer and works a few blocks away. I have hardly seen my dinosaur since you know when. Three times, I think? She spent some time here this afternoon on her way home from a weekend at the Mouse House. She delivered impatiens (the only plant I don’t seem to kill). She provides me with those every spring. They are inside for the night because of a freeze warning. My mouse made a drop after her work day, including cicada whine for me and Iron Fish sipping bourbon for the GG (late bday gift).

We weren’t quiiiite ready for a prime-time in-person dinner for this “holiday” but maybe by the next although I think most of us will STILL be careful even then. We (the GG and I) are having what we are now calling “Classic FinFam Steak Dinner” tonight. More on that some other day.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who observe it. I guess I do although I don’t expect to be “honored” for being a mother on any particular day. Every day is Mother’s Day.

Neighborhood roulette

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

I figgered out a couple weeks ago that the neighbors were moving. I did this Gladys Kravitz style by noticing that a professional looking photographer was taking photos. They told the GG in person one day when they were walking by while he was working in the “garden” (the one I refuse to work in).

Yesterday (Friday), the dad was out mowing the grass at a relatively early hour. This seemed a bit unusual but I certainly wasn’t bothered by it. My low-grade spying activities are benign. A bit after that a fancy for sale sign was erected and for the rest of the day (and today) all kinds of unfamiliar vee-hickles were pulling up and people were checking the place out.

Will I miss these neighbors? They were fine neighbors. We were friendly and polite but I’m not all that interactive because I am a y’know, introvert and awkward about small talk. But they were nice and no loud parties or other obnoxious behavior. And a very cute two-year-old daughter.

All of our neighbors have been good but who I probably miss the most are the original neighbors, the Drs. Burke. Drs. meaning phds in education. Oh man, they were fun. Party aminals to the max, hanging out in the backyard on Burke’s Erection (their deck) living it up. There were faaarworks waaarrs with the GG and after Burke died, Mrs. Burke discovered dynamite in the basement and the bomb squad came to pick it up and burned it over in Vet’s Park. Me to the bomb squad guys: Um, can I ask what’s going on? Bomb squad guys: We’re just picking something up, ma’am. And what else? Oh yeah, Burke out in the SNOW cleaning off his car in boxers that hung down so low I could see his crack.

So I dunno who’ll move in next but I finally went online to look at photos of their house and WOW did that bum me out. It was gorgeous and EMPTY. I know that these things get staged but I am still so envious of these young folks. My house isn’t a hoarder house but despite intermittent pushes to get rid of stuff, we still have SO MUCH CRAPOLA. And their basement? I wish to heck my basement was so empty. Then again, I doubt that they adopted crappy old in-law furniture and various other family artifacts. Engineering textbooks from the 1940s?

I won’t say what the asking price for this house is. It is something like five times what we paid for the Landfill. But that’s how it goes these days.

Here’s a pic of our fugly old chitchen. We thought it was wonderful when we bought this place. We FINALLY gutted it a few years ago and redid it. Love y’all.


Friday, May 7th, 2021

A surprise! Pengo Janetto (niece) is in town! Well, not exactly in town but close enough to the Great Lake State border on a cross-country drive to nip up to the Mouse House for the night. I knew she was stateside via social media (she lives in Hawaii) but didn’t really know her total plans. I try to keep my nose 99% OUT of the younger generation’s business.

Did I want to drive out to the Mouse House for a visit? Hmmm… I *think* everyone who would be in attendance is vaxxed but I’m still working on coming out of my COVID shell. And there were other barriers, like driving to the Mouse House involves Mountain Roads (Manchester area) and while Cygnus is definitely capable of that kind of driving, KW is a little rusty at it. Don’t worry, she’ll get back into the swing.

But about that COVID shell. I am an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to get together with other people and gossip and yak. But those things take psychological energy and this last year has been reeeaallly nice in the sense that I’ve been able to sit back and conserve that kind of energy big time. And reflect on life although I can’t even put that into words to myself yet. Suffice it to say I wasn’t really chompin’ at the bit to get out and socialize although there are some people and restaurants, etc., that I miss.

So I have mixed emotions about returning to “normalcy” (not that I think COVID is over). I had similar issues with the vaccine. There was never one iota of doubt in my mind that I would GET vaxxed. But boy oh boy, I was kinda petrified to actually get it done. In the end it was my grokkery worker daughter who bird-dogged getting appointments for both of us and we went together. That was a good thing and she empathized with my mixed emotional state, saying she found that to be a pretty typical reaction among her friends and colleagues.

I *will* get out into society. I’m already working on some carefully planned grokkery runs and am thinking through safe space-sharing at the moomincabin this summer. I am going to continue to take a break from people I love but don’t understand their polly-tickle views. I guess that’s one thing I’ve reflected upon during my year of, uh, reflection. I know Pengie will understand if I don’t join the rest of them tonight. If she can make it back to the mainland and up to the yooperland this summer, I hope I’ll see her then. She’s one of the folks I miss.

On keeping outta the younger generation’s business? A twitter play:

Setting: the Landfill
Characters: Mouse (3rd grade) and KW
Background: Mouse has been assigned a joint prodject with “one of those others who is NOT a girl” but KW only knows that because Mr. K (of Multiplication Blues fame) told her.

Act 1:
KW: How’s that school prodject going?
Mouse: *You* KEEP yourself OUT of my BUSINESS!
End (and KW is ducking for cover🐽)

P.S. This is my usual disclaimer that I live a privileged life (albeit in a humble kind of way) that has allowed me to hang out in my house ordering food and supplies via curbside pickup and delivery, earning money the whole time. Not everyone has been able to do that. Our essential workers (including grocery workers) are heroic.

Ringy dingy

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

One of my PACNW blahggy friends Margaret posted a pic of her mom’s old phone. At first I was thinking The Commander had a phone like that at the end of her life but then I realized The Comm’s was probably quite a bit newer. (To be clear, Margaret’s mom is alive and kicking!)

We also helped The Comm buy an iPhone in those years, at her request. I was especially happy that she was able to learn to text because phone convos in the last couple years often felt like we were in the twilight zone.

One of the problems with the iPhone was that the GG thoughtfully, with honorable intentions, set her iPhone ring tone to AN OLD-FASHIONED TELEPHONE RING! Just like the phones in her house. So of course she couldn’t always tell which phone was ringing…

Well, lots of stories about all that but it all got me thinking about those old square black dial phones that a whole lotta people don’t remember these days. We had two of those in our shabby little Superior St. bungalow in Sault Ste. Siberia, one upstairs and one down.

We didn’t have a telephone at all at the moomincabin. That didn’t bother me one bit as a kid. If I wanted to play with my cuzzints and friends, I just ran down the beach or the path behind the cabins and banged through their door. Kids (and adults) were welcome anywhere without knocking in those days (and they are still welcome at the moomincabin without knocking, but not bears).

But then I grew up a bit and Bad Boyfriend came into the picture. He couldn’t call me at the moomincabin because we didn’t have a phone. So… Our routine became that, when he got off work in the afternoon (at the Soo Big Boy restaurant), I would go next door to my aunt and uncle’s cabin and call him. They had a phone — an old square black one — because my unc was a doc and needed to have a phone for when he was on call. He also had his phone connected to an amplifier or whatever so he could hear it if he was on the beach or wherever. We would hear that ring in the middle of the night and shortly after would hear him start up his T-bird. (Often it was to deliver a baby but I’m sure there was plenty of other worse stuff.) I have to say that loud ring was never a problem for me. It was somehow a comforting part of my life.

But calling Bad BF from my uncle’s phone was always stressful for me for a myriad of reasons. I was nervous about asking (every day!) to use their phone even though they were ALWAYS GRACIOUS about it! I was nervous about calling a BOY, even though we were “going steady” and I was wearing his “ring”, a big thing with an Indian head on it, yarn-wrapped so it would fit my small finger like we did in those days. And then I was nervous because it was a party line. Sometimes I couldn’t call because somebody else was on it. I’m not sure if it ever crossed my mind that people might be listening in on US. Not that we were saying anything salacious. I was (and am) a TERRIBLE phone conversationalist.

I won’t go much farther about Bad Boyfriend for now. He isn’t a bad person but we weren’t right for each other and we were very young. He came to his senses first and I came to my senses eventually.

P.S. Here we are umpteen gazillion years later and Jamadots is installing fiber optic at the moomincabin. We don’t even have that here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

I married you for better or worse but not for lunch

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

Yeah. Somebody asked me if I was ready to retaaaaar today [again]. I’ve been getting asked this since well before I was even close to the “traditional” retaaaarment age.

First, my career trajectory was, well it was MY career trajectory. A couple low-paying jobs before and during college. Then. Music degree? What do I do now? This is NOT to discourage anyone from getting a creative degree. For one thing, there are more resources available to flute performance majors today than there were back then. Also those creative degrees may not translate into a high-paying job right out of college but I strongly believe creative areas of study are an important tool in our society’s efforts to move forward in many areas. Including technology…

So I did not know what to really do with myself but I fell into what I now call my Childhood Career as an entry level IT person. And when I say entry level, I

ALERT ALERT ALERT! Somebody is sliding my back screen door back and forth! Are they trying to get in? Oh. It’s just a shirrel cirker shriek squirrel. All clear. Was NOT able to get a pic. Damn.

mean I was taking printouts off the Data 100 printer and handing them out to the people who had printed them. Boring? Yes. But I worked my way up just a weeee bit and during a particularly boring period, I taught myself Old Skool FORTRAN and then I worked my way up a weeee bit more and it was a good place to work while raising babies because my boss Byron let me cut back to part time.

Around the time the kids went to school and all the mothers were going back to work, I did the opposite and became a SAHM. Fast forward through a bunch of fun years doing PTO treasury work and middle school science fair organization and youth theatre guild administration. Those were all fun things for me because spreadsheets and later on websites.

And then I went back to [community] college to put formal training around my web skills. It was not easy but I aced it, and one day I got assigned to an internship with a big online banking company and, well, here I am 14 (!) years later.

I could retaaaar any time I want but I love my job. I will note as I always do that I work for an at-will corporation and although we are all treated very well, it could end at any time. I will feel very sad if that happens but I will not have to look for a new job.

I’m sorry but I have to get this outta my system

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

I dunno if I can articulate this well or not but I am at the end of my rope with the trope about how employers are crying out for employees and no one is applying because they would rather sit on their ass collecting unemployment benefits / stimulus money because its MORE than what they might earn working.

Yes, there are people out there who always choose to live on the dole instead of working for a living. I have known some in my time.

I don’t think what’s going on now is as simple as that. We are living through a pandemic and yes, it’s still going on, vaccines or not. If I were unemployed during this debacle, I wonder if I would be looking for a job. On the one hand, people need to feed themselves and their kids. But what if the jobs they are qualified for involve dealing with the public? What is the risk? Is it worth it? Plus, what if taking the stimulus allows someone to exist via a side business? I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Yes we have vaccines now but we are still getting conflicting information about the “rules” because *science* is still trying to figure them out. I can parse some of that information because my somehow naturally analytical mind (and my education) have given me a few random tools to do that. What the f*ck is up with the folks on facebook who randomly share memes and articles that they haven’t read about this subject. Sorry but f*ck those folks. Please please please please READ whatever articles you are posting before you post or share them.

Also, I think most people want to work for a living. They also want to be paid a wage that provides them a safe home, food, and a reliable vee-hickle, y’know to get them to work. If you are complaining about not finding employees in this ongoing pandemic, ask yourself if you are PAYING THEM ENOUGH TO LIVE.

A book I just started is “A Garden of Earthly Delights” by Joyce Carol Oates. She’s an author I’ve had to warm up to but this book starts with a family in extreme poverty traveling around the USA picking fruit. Not immigrants. We have to take care of our own, not that we shouldn’t also welcome immigrants. We don’t have to turn into “socialists” to do any of this. We simply have to be kind to others and help them out if we can.

Good night. KW

Black Thumb Banana

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

<garden-rant>I have been asked a couple of times something like, “Wouldn’t you like to work in the garden?” Well. No. No, I wouldn’t. I would like to pay someone to do it.

This is our front yard. In the foreground we have a Mess of mixed up ground cover and grass with a narrow little bit of lawn between the Mess and the sidewalk, which I am standing on and you can’t see the lawn very well. We call the ground cover vinca or myrtle although I’m not sure if we know its proper name even after all these years. It’s quite pretty and at this time of year little purple flowers bloom (embiggen a couple times). There is a “border” between the Mess and the lawn made of round rocks we scavenged from the cFam’s old rock seawall at Hoton Lake after it was replaced by a cee-ment wall. You can’t see most of the rocks because the mess is growing over it.

There are also those tall scraggly bushes which we can’t bear to pull out because they provide bird habitat but I’ll save that sad song for some other time.

So the problem with the Mess is that grass (TONS of it) grows right smack in the middle of the ground cover. And then the ground cover tries to grow “down” into the lawn, covering the stones.

Okay. I like the *idea* of gardening but I don’t really like *doing* gardening. One of the reasons I don’t like doing gardening is because I HAVE A BLACK THUMB! Almost nothing I have ever tried to do in the area of gardening has been successful. Take the Mess. I have spent a gazillion hours trying to weed the grass out of the middle of it and about all I have ever gotten for my efforts is poison ivy. Yes, it grows back by the bushes if we don’t police it.

I am no doubt not taking the right approach (because I don’t know any better). Also we have crappy clay-ey soil although you may be able to see that plenty of things do grow in our yard. Just not necessarily things we WANT to be growing.

So. I gave up many years ago. I would LOVE to hire a nice, natural landscape/garden business to help me/us clean things up, design some new features, and then maintain them. I am stymied in this because my other half is a penny pincher when it comes to anything they believe is DIY-able. But gardening really isn’t, at least not here at the Landfill, because no one has a Green Thumb. I am NOT Warren Buffett but I can afford to pay someone to help me with my fugly yard.</garden-rant>

Orange ya glad I didn’t blahg about the help wanted situation? That may (or may not) be coming in a future entry. I am so sick of all the memes…

jitp, finally

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

jitp is what BFF and I call jack-in-the-pulpit. I have been watching for it without much luck. We usually have quite a lot in “our” woods although it isn’t like a *blanket* of plants but I dunno if jitp even “blankets”. I do know that I usually don’t have to look too far to find a few specimens in “my” woods.

I finally found one yesterday. I don’t know if the scarcity is due to lack of water or what. Other wildflowers have been plentiful, except for trillium, which we usually have at least a few of and I know they are plentiful in other woodsy areas. I find jitp notoriously difficult to photograph. Getting the right angle in the right light? This is the best I could do with this one. My mouse has a better one of a different jitp in a different woods. But, for the umpteen gazillionth time, I am a simple iPhoneographer and don’t usually try tooooo hard to get top-quality photos.

I had a kind of a Work Day. I took things out of chitchen drawers, vacced the drawers and washed them. And washed the baseboards around the perimeter of the chitchen, avoiding a few harmless spiders. And spent a lot of time s-l-o-w mending my Black Skirt, a prodject I intended to start A YEAR AGO! Procrastination anyone? It is a cheaply made maxi skirt with about a bazillion tiers and is not the easiest thing to mend for reasons too complicated to get into but one of them is something like “I get lost in it!” I came up with a new strategy today and I have convinced myself to take my time. I did NOT work in the “garden”. More on that some other day.

Baby steps

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

Guess what I did today? I. Went. Inside. A. Grokkery. Store.

I did not go SHOPPING in a grocery store. I’m not quiiiiite ready for that. What happened is I had a scheduled curbside pickup this morning at my fave Plum Market and all was well with that. Or so I thought. One of my fave curbside folks put it in my trunk. When I got home, the first bag I started to unpack had a HUGE jar of mayonnaise in it! I don’t dislike mayo but I use it sparingly. I like it spread thinly on BLTs. I don’t like big gloppy vats of potato salad or whatever. A lighter touch please. So when I buy mayo it is the smallest jar I can find. Plus I knew I hadn’t ordered it. There were a few other items I never buy. So yes, I got an extra bag in my order.

Anyway, what do I do? Of course they want this back, right? It belongs to someone else and I didn’t pay for it. I could go over and park in the curbside area and text them to come and get it. Then I thought, what the heck? I have been fully vaxxed for over a month now. I am still being careful and following the “rules” and will continue to do so. But this required me to enter the store for maybe two minutes. So that is what I did! Masked of course.

Aaaannddd… More Cygnus fun. Today I was reminded that she has a feature that stops the engine when you are at a stoplight or whatever. I knew that would drive me NUTSO so when Jalen was showing me that feature, I immediately turned it off. I meant it humorously and I think he took it that way. What I didn’t know (or remember) is that it turns itself back on whenever you put the car in park and turn it off. Guess what? It DOES drive me nutso. Like, why is my brand new vee-hickle stalling? Oh yeah. It’s not, it just has a mind of its own. I parked for a moment and pulled out the quick start guide to refresh my memory about how to TURN IT OFF.

I may not be ready for prime-time shopping yet and I like curbside so much I may continue to do it when all this is over. I think I MAY be ready to shop at some of my fave “little” markets, the meat and seafood markets at Kerrytown, for example. If I go down there early in the morning on non-farmers market days, Kerrytown will probably be empty. And I LOVE deliveries from the Argus Farm Stop. It’s almost like xmas opening up those boxes of produce and so much more.

Mechanical klutz

Friday, April 30th, 2021

I was so focused on satty-lite radio in my new vee-hickle that I forgot to figure out if I was getting Pop-the-Trunk in this pandemic age. No, my brand new top-dollah vee-hickle does NOT have Pop-the-Trunk. I have had Pop-the-Trunk in every vee-hickle since the Exxon Tanker Valdez (1987), although I didn’t KNOW it had that until we sold it. Well probably the Indefatigable didn’t have it but it didn’t have much. The GG has always described it as a drivetrain. I sorta know what that is.

Cygnus does have a CD player (along with all the new tech music/radio stuff). That was a surprise. My latest laptop doesn’t even have that kind of a drive although our older repurposed computers do.

This is okay. I can easily jump out and hit the button on the trunk/hatch/gate gate gate. And the curbside folks can close it.

What do they call the rear door anyway? I needed to know that when I was out trying to figger out how the whole thing worked this afternoon. I have a curbside grock pickup tomorrow morning and I don’t wanta be fumbling around. Before I figgered out that I didn’t have Pop-the-Trunk, I managed to pop the hood! Oh great. I could not find the catch, so I couldn’t get it open far enough that I could CLOSE it again.

The internet wasn’t much good. The GG is out in the woods somewhere. I considered texting Mouse, who has a somewhat older Crosstrek. Naw. I have to bash through this stuff myself. I got the quickstart guide out and managed to find the catch and get the hood closed.

I still hadn’t figgered out the trunk/hatch/gate gate gate. I couldn’t find it in the quickstart guide so I dredged out the full-fledged owner’s manual. But. What do they call it? It isn’t really a trunk but I tried that and it didn’t turn up anything. Hatch as in hatchback like my rusty old Pinto wagon? No luck. It is a GATE! So now I am an expert at opening and closing both the hood and GATE on my new vee-hickle. And there are no embarrassing things like rifles or chainsaws or empty Budweiser cans in the back, so I’m good.

These little issues sound like no-brainers but I am not very mechanical in a physical sense, although I can beat up on computers pretty darn well. I’ll never forget how proud of myself I was the time the GG was somewhere else and I actually managed to fix my garbage disposal by looking at YouTube videos. I doubt if that would work if I had (say) a terlet problem although I do know how to lift up a ballcock to stop a running terlet (something like that). You can’t be part of the cFam without learning that lesson.

This is an old pic from 2018 when I was walking home from the neighborhood pub, Knight’s Steakhouse. We’ll eat there again someday… They are thriving I think. They are open for inside dining (within the capacity rules) and have managed outside seating throughout the WINTER and they also run a couple of small, well-stocked grocery markets. Both the restaurant and the stores provide curbside. I am not ready to eat out even being fully vaxxed. What’s going on in India is scary. I hear it first hand from my colleagues over there and my Indian-American colleagues who have relatives in India.

Stay safe. Don’t be hesitant about getting vaxxed. We’re not done with this.

Keeping up with India (this is not [mostly] about COVID)

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Our India QA guys just crack me up sometimes. First, they are VERY VERY good at what they do. Second, although English is not their first language, they know it as well as any of us who know ONLY English and probably better than a lot of Americans.

We have a defect meeting every morning and there are times it’s all so technical that I multi-task or doze off or whatever. This morning? We nit-picked the English language. It was so much fun!

So first up, we have an error message that uses the words “2 3-digit whatsit codes”. One of the “rules” of English writing is that numbers under 10 are spelled out. How did this error horribilis happen? I do not know and I WROTE it (in 2011). I can only guess it’s because that particular prodject was HUGE and I probably gave pause but forgot to circle back. This is at least the second time this issue has been brought up and each time I say something like, “I know it isn’t correct but I think it’s okay given that blah blah blah…” This time I threw my hands up in the air and said (cracking up), “Obviously this is bothering people so let’s correct it.” So we are going to change “2” to “two”. I think a numeral is fine in “3-digit” and others agreed.

And then we questioned the Oxford Comma. I tend to use it (except when I don’t). Our guys spotted it (in another error message). I was not an English major but I know enough about grammar and syntax rules, etc., to know that there are differing opinions about whether or not to use a comma after the second-to-last word in a series. Like “a, b, c, and d” as opposed to “a, b, c and d”. I won’t go any farther into it but we were all madly doing the google and we’re keeping the last comma.

Later today I was doom-scrolling as one does these days. I came across a Supreme Court case that was decided yesterday in part on the use of the word “a” in some rules surrounding deportation. This opinion came from one of the justices the Orange Baboon appointed and I no doubt disagree with him on many things. Nevertheless, I was heartened by this opinion because of his close attention to words and his thoughtful consideration of how this rule, thoughtlessly or maybe nefariously interpreted, could affect a potential deportee’s life. Words do matter. And so do people.

Oh, India. One of our guys is recovering from COVID. He is young (not that that’s any guarantee) and his case was mild. Stay safe. Mask up. Get vaxxed. This isn’t over yet and it isn’t just about YOU.

Old fugly-ugly pic from Mouse’s old computer🐽

P.S. Speaking of words, I recently enjoyed reading “The Dictionary of Lost Words,” a fictional account of the journey to compile the Oxford English Dictionary.

River Ride

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

A River Ride is an 8-mile drive along The Planet Ann Arbor’s section of the Huron River. It is a designated scenic drive with a 35 mph speed limit although there are people who try to use it as a raceway.

It is a place of peace for my family. A ride we take when someone dies or someone is practicing driving on their permit or leaving for college or study abroad or whatever or just to get out for a wee bit. Like to drive a vee-hickle that hardly ever gets driven anymore because pandemic.

One of my fave River Rides was once when we were taking our usual slow drive and there was an extremely impatient tailgater behind us (it’s a two lane paved road with mostly no shoulders). We got to one of the few places on the road where wide (paved) shoulders were added on a bridge and our tailgater screamed out around us and… Who was awaiting him on the other side of the bridge? Mr. Policeman! Who NABBED him in a jiffy. Sometimes karma works out.

It is also where we drive new vee-hickles when we first purchase them. For whatever reason, we didn’t take a River Ride Monday night after we bought Cygnus. After all, we had driven it an hour home from its Lansing dealership.

The beach urchins were asking yesterday if we had driven it anywhere yet (besides home). The GG had gone on a little spin but I wasn’t really chompin’ at the bit. Somehow I was content to see it sitting outside. I’ll get plenty of chances to drive it, right? What’s the rush?

But okay, last evening we took a River Ride. This is NOT the most scenic section of Huron River Drive. There’s some kind of big plant or warehouse over to the left. We’ve never been exactly sure what it is but the river isn’t in sight on this particular stretch. But I was just looking for headlights to come toward us for something interesting.

That screen picture? For all the time Jalen spent walking me through how to use that stuff, at that moment I could NOT for the life of me figger out how to change the screen. I’ll figure it out the way I usually do by muddling through. There’s a “Home” button that I think I had temporary amnesia about. I’ll try that.

I mean, I navigated my way through some of the crayzee-est Old Skool javascript crapola today. If I can do that, I can navigate a bunch of car screens, roight? 🐽


Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

Because I have a great big ZERO today, here’s a list:

  • 197? Ford Pinto Wagon, green: not named but Rustbucket wouldda worked. It was my parents’ car and then it was my first car.
  • 197? AMC Gremlin, purple: not named (that I know of, it was the GG’s when I met him and his MOM used to have to drive to his apartment and jump-start it sometimes).
  • 1979 Ford Fiesta, gold: named “Mama’s Little Gold Car” by Lizard Breath, we weren’t naming vee-hickles yet.
  • 1980 Ford Fiesta, blue: named “Daddy’s Little Blue Car” by Lizard Breath.
  • 19?? Ford Fiesta, orange: named “The Orange Car” by Lizard Breath. This was not our car, it lived down the street a bit.
  • 1985 VW Jetta, dark red: no name, still weren’t really naming vee-hickles.
  • 1987 Plymouth Voyager, dark red: named “The Exxon Tanker Valdez.”
  • 1992 Jeep Wrangler, sand: named “The Indefatigable” by our late brother Don, always a fun guy.
  • 1996 Plymouth Voyager, Island Teal (but probably shouldda been lemon yellow🐽): named “The POC,” which amused my late cuz Mac (who used to read my blahg).
  • 2001 Honda Accord, dark [banker] green: named “the Dogha” (dirty old green Honda Accord). “Banker green”? My dad (a banker) had a dark green Buick LeSabre and my late brother came up with that color name which made us both gnoff and gnoff and gnoff. Miss you bro’.
  • 2005 Honda Civic, dark blue: I had some long complicated name for it but my 🐭 renamed it “Daisy” when she took it over and I think that was a better name.
  • 2008 Honda Civic SI, 6-speed manual, black black black: named “The Ninja” after 🐭 and a friend took a River Ride the night we brought it home and her friend said something about feeling like a Ninja when riding inside it. I don’t really know anything about Ninjas but somehow it felt right.
  • 2011 Subaru Outback, green: named The “Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen.” Blahggy friend Margaret came up with Mean Green Musheen but of course “Frog Hoppin'” got added. Because… And the GG wanted to buy BROWN but I said NOOOO because you know what it’ll look like when it has 200K miles on it! Which it did when it was finally sold!
  • 2019 Toyota RAV4, Lunar Rock: named “Mooon Yooonit” because of the color name, deliberately misspelled so as not to google-bomb [the late] Frank’s daughter.
  • 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, black black black: named “Cygnus X-1” after a black hole, by 🐭.

What did I fergit?

Cygnus X-1

Monday, April 26th, 2021

Finally got around to it. New Subie Crosstrek, picked up from a Lansing dealer, an hour away. If you google our salesman Jalen, he comes up as a former MooU football player, if you’re into sports and stuff. I’m not (although I enjoy the ambience of football in the background of my life) but he was a nice, knowledgeable young man and I would recommend him.

We “built” this vee-hickle on the Subaru website. That means we used build-a-car as a tool to decide what we wanted, then called dealers. At least the GG decided what he wanted. I wanted satty-lite radio. Just kidding. I wanted other features too but I know I won’t use most of the stuff it comes with, like cruise control and sensors that make it slow down and stuff. I listened politely to all of it but I couldn’t resist saying, “I’ve been driving a 6-speed manual.”

Boy oh boy, buying a new vee-hickle and jumping IMMEDIATELY onto a crowded freeway? Not to mention a freeway I used to be familiar with but now not so much? I wish I had been thinking because I would’ve suggested we take some back roads until I got used to how it handled, which was fine, just would’ve preferred a slower introduction.

I thought I would be back at TeleCubelandia in time for my weekly with Amazon Woman but I wasn’t but that turned out to be okay because she took the day off and I was EXHAUSTED and also ended up taking the day off. The GG? After a bit of “crowing” about going home and taking a hike, he crashed and burned 🐽

Since I am not going to laundromats these days, there’s little likelihood that I’ll put my laundry into somebody else’s car! 🐽

At one point, as we began to sign and date various pieces of paper, I was going “hmmmm, what is the date?” Then, “Oh yeah, I know the date!” Why do I know the date? Because it is the Twinz of Terror’s birthday! So we bought “me” a car for the GG’s birthday. Technically it belongs to both of us but we expect that I’ll drive it the most (which probably won’t be much because COVID) because it doesn’t have quiiiiite Mooon Yooonit’s towing capacity.

Cygnus is a loverly vee-hickle but I’m still gonna miss the Ninja.