Archive for the 'gitchee-gumee' Category

Going to See Green Guy

Monday, June 12th, 2006

GrokgrokgrokGROK!! I don’ wanna go with you! grok grok I wanna go back to kzoo! grokgrok grook bagrawk! I’ll jest go saddle up buoy 22 now ‘n’ head over there. grok grok. Smokie! Get the frog juice ‘n’ listerine! grok grok.

Froggy!!! That is just about enough! Don’t you want to go see The Commander? And Radical Betty? And your owner is going to meet us up there! And what about Grinch? And your buddy Green Guy?

Squee-grawk! Squee-grawk! GREEN GUY!!! Sproing! Sproing! We’re gonna go see Green Guy? Squee-grawk! Squee-grawk! You didn’t tell me that, you old bag! Squee-grawk! Yeah, lemme hop right into th’ car here! Sproing! Squee-grawk!

Uh, Smokie, will you sedate him or something? Quick!

Grok grok. Yeah, Frog juice, with a little chaser of Listerine. grok grok hic grok. hic-zzzzzzzzzzz grokka

And, with that, I guess we are off to the Great White North.

Black Thumb Banana

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Location: The Planet Ann Arbor. Weather: actually pretty nice. Bank: three trips, number two was because I forgot my debit card on number one :-/ Post office: two trips. Westgate Kroger uscan: one trip, yes, only one. Laundry: two loads. Mood: actually pretty okay. What next: gardening, I guess. Or whatever you call gardening when it’s me that’s doing it. I am a terrible gardener who kills plants by merely looking at them. grok grok. Just call her Black Thumb Banana. grok grok. I always try to blame this on the fact that I grew up spending my summers in the woods, where there are plenty of plants around that grow all on their own without any human intervention. But the truth is that lots of people have beautiful gardens on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. I was just more interested in other pursuits, such as running around with my cousins and other beach urchins, acting like a wild Indian. Yeah, I know that’s not politically correct but when I was a kid I was fascinated with Native American culture and I wanted to *be* an Indian! Preferably as wild an Indian as possible! So 😛

Anyway, it has always been a challenge for me to deal with my yard here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I don’t know the first thing about gardening and this is typically what happens:

  • In March or April, we get an isolated warm, sunny day or two, so I go out there and ramble around randomly, pick up a few stray sticks, rake some leaves. I think to myself, “if I just came out here for an hour or so a day, I could get this place cleaned up. Maybe not filled with beautiful flowering plants, but cleaned up.”
  • It proceeds to snow for a week or so.
  • The YAG spring play comes along and I have NO time to do anything but hang around at rehearsals or on the computer or deal with some disgruntled parent.
  • The play is over, it is now mid-May and I am just about flat on the ground. I inch my head up far enough to look out in the back yard and it is totally overgrown, so I lie back down again.
  • It gets to be Memorial Day and we leave town.
  • When I get back, I have to go hucklety-buck to organize the summer theatre academy.
  • Then it gets to be the 4th of July and we leave again.
  • Ad infinitum ad nauseam.

I do not have YAG this year. It is early May and I have been traveling rather frenetically in and out of town since January. I do not know what to do with my life next or where to start. The yard is not totally overgrown yet. It seems possible to actually make some headway. So today, I put on my nice new sloggin’ around shoes and headed out back to tackle this year’s crop of weeds. I pulled up dandelions and things. I picked up leaves and sticks. I almost stepped on a cute toadie. grokgrokgrokgrok!!! A toadie?!? Can me and Smokie have the toadie? grokgrokgrok frgok! ooh ooh ooh ah ah! There’s a lot more to be done. And then there is the basement. And the shed. And all my fiber art crap. And. And. And. I was alone today and I didn’t have anything but random chores and errands on my schedule so I *forced* myself do something constructive and actually made some minor progress and I think I feel kind of okay. Like even though I can’t quite figure out where I’m going next in life, life *is* gonna go on and it’s gonna take me with it and someday there will again be days when I am so happy and crazy that nobody can stand me. And maybe there’ll even be days when I will make a difference in the world. At least maybe I’ll get the yard cleaned up. Put on yer purple sloggin’ shoes, Black Thumb Banana, and slog on. grokgrokgrokGROK!!

The 2-year-old Summer

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Anyone who remembers the infamous 2-Year-Old Summer at the Finlayson Family Old Cabin will probably laugh a little hysterically when I say that it can be a challenge to share a family cabin with, well, a family. An extended one, that is. I do not really remember the 2-Year-Old Summer. I am told that the shores of Gitchee Gumee were persistently dark, chilly, and rainy that summer. I have a few vague little bits of memories, one of which is of me and two other little girls (you know who you are) standing in ankle-deep water wearing little blue Keds tennis shoes. No adult in sight. A flagrant violation of The Rules. Maybe I’ll get The Commander and Radical Betty and Bubs to guest-blahg about the 2-Year-Old Summer some time. I bet they remember it clearly, in big, bright, primary colors. Either that or they’ve blocked it!

We have been alone here at the Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake for a couple of days. I love it here and it is nice to have the place to ourselves. But the weekend was filled with in-laws and I miss them. It is not always easy to share a living space with extended family members, adult siblings and whatnot, even for a few days. We all run our own lives and have our own opinions and do things our own way. People need varying degrees of space and, even in a place as big as this, it isn’t always easy to get away from all the lively discussion and exuberant activity that is typical of the Courtois family in general. And I know how hard it can be to live with me! But it is worth it to try to make things work out and it is pretty fun with a bunch of people here. As my own family experiences a period of dwindling numbers, spending the weekend with a big bunch of Courtoises reminds me that I am not as alone as I sometimes feel these days. You guys are the best and I’m happy to be a part of this family.

We are heading back to the Planet Ann Arbor in a little while and I am happy to report that the garbage truck came by this morning and the new garbage contraption worked out very well indeed. Tangentially yours, Garbage Woman.

Fire, Skunk Cabbage & Other Crazy UP Adventures

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

A beautiful day of serendipity in which:

  • The Grinch, yeah, that’s the same one who stole Christmas, banishes the Easter Bunny to an ice berg in Lake Superior and raucously insinuates himself into our Easter brunch.
  • grok grok grok. Do NOT forget about the Easter Frog! frok grook
  • Jane, Radical Betty, and I discover a grass fire between the Curley Lewis Highway and the adjacent beach near Salt Point. Lacking drywall buckets, we quickly alert the folks at the nearby fish hatchery who tell us that help is on the way and various emergency vee-hickles soon arrive to put it out. You guys, putcher cigarettes out in your vee-hickle ashtrays please.
  • The rule of thumb is that if the water and air temperature do not add up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a wet suit is necessary for kayaking. We do not have wet suits.
  • We discover that it is a good season for Skunk Cabbage in the swampier areas of the North Country Trail near Naomikong Point.
  • With *much* discussion and the help of bird field guides old and new, we ascertain (we think) that the big white bird we saw out in the lake at Naomikong was a Tundra Swan. Known in the 1947 field guide as a Whistling Swan.
  • We discover with great glee that there is now an outhouse at Naomikong Point and use it five times between the three of us.
  • We discover the means by which Harry locks his shed.
  • Jane, Grinch, Radical Betty and I ring in the summer season with G & Ts while watching ice floes in the bay and lake freighters inch their way up into Whitefish Bay.

The Rules

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

The only important rules in life:

  1. Do not go swimming without getting an adult to watch you.
  2. Do NOT throw sand!!!

Skiing the 8 Mile at Algonquin

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Whoosh! I am tired tonight. I have been up here in The Great White North for the last week for a pretty serious reason but life here has not been without a few little guilty pleasures. One of them has been lunches at Penny’s Kitchen. And seeing the new Coast Guard ice breaker Mackinaw. But the best is skiing! When we get enough snow in A2 to actually make the local hiking trails skiable, usually by the time we can drive there, it all melts. Houghton Lake is a great jumping off point for skiing but it’s a three hour drive *to* Houghton Lake from A2 and then 15 minutes to the closest trail.

Here, it is three and a half *minutes* to a ski trail. There is a lot of snow here. It is heaven. I have skied every afternoon since I got here. It gives The Commander a little break from me and a chance to nap or work on her own projects without any of my smart-alecky commentary. I can do any number of different distances at the Algonquin ski trail. Usually I just do the five mile loop. Today I did the eight mile loop, the longest loop. It was fabulously perfect today. Not a cloud in the sky, cold but not bitter, just a little bit of breeze, plenty of snow, fast but not slippery or icy. After six days of skiing in a row, my skiing endurance has built up to the point that I felt like I could go on forever. And now I am feeling that nice, fuzzy kind of tired like I got some good exercise today. And my face feels just a leeeeetle bit sunburned.

Of course, I am here for a serious reason. Grandroobly is doing okay at Tendercare but it certainly isn’t all wine and roses. We have settled into a routine of visiting him twice a day, after breakfast and before dinner. We are never quite sure where he’ll be or what he’ll be doing when we get there. They do keep him pretty busy and physical therapy can be very hard. There are encouraging moments, especially watching him interact with the staff and the other residents. A bamboozler from way back for sure. But he is also nice and friendly to everyone, including those who, well, are just not all there any more. He’s particularly empathetic with those who are having difficulty, especially with physical therapy. But then there are the times when we know he is tired and thinking about how much he hates being in a place where he has no control over his life. I am heading back south tomorrow. Onward and hopefully upward but there are some definite bumps in the road ahead…

Me, Popular? Say What?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Confusion? Say what? For about five minutes around noon today, I was actually popular for once in my life 😉 First Lizard Breath called me. As I was talking to her, there were some little beepity noises in the connection and I thought it was because my troll phone often does strange things up here in The Great White North. But it turned out that Mouse was trying to call, so I called her back and while I was talking to her, The Commander’s land line rang and *that* was the GG. For me. All the while, Radical Betty was banging on the door trying to get in. Besides that, I did manage to successfully put out the garbage last night with minimal supervision and no blue language. But blue language was definitely in order during a Waste Management/National City confuddlement, proving for the umpteen millionth time that garbage processing is never boring. And we won’t talk about why my debit card was declined at The Mole Hole but it had nothing to do with Waste Management. That is about all, I guess. It could be worse. The Commander has just read me an obituary about a 44-year-old woman who died in Hessel. Her husband died in 1994. They had some children and as sad as it is, my first thought is that at least those kids will not have to deal with wheeling their old decrepit parents around Tendercare. But, really, Tendercare is a pretty good place and there were definitely a few moments today when I was beginning to wonder if maybe they had a couple more beds over there, either for The Commander or me! Grok Grok. No, you can’t go to Tendercare! grok grok. You need to help me grok grok catch flies and spiders grok grok and keep my flying machine going grokGROK!!! Kee-reist!