Archive for the 'outlaws' Category

Guest Blahggers Galore

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Bob, the other half of the Twinz of Terror: “May be good blog fodder if you need some.”

Okay, okay, Bob, your point is well taken. The bomb squad doesn’t come here every day and I lead a pretty boring life. So here’s what others are doing:


This is The Beautiful Gay and The Beautiful Renee in San Francisco over the Memorial Day weekend. Click here for more.

And it turns out that Tim is a singer and composer. There’s a link to his livejournal over on the right. He has interesting things to say when he writes in it. Which should be more often :-). Anyway, I was gonna put his latest song out on this but at 5MB it is just too big. I can downsize people’s huge photos but music is another story. Maybe he can make us a clip, hint hint.

Finally, the Marquis writes to tell us that Nuclear Dave is off at explosives camp this week. I didn’t even know there were explosives camps. The GG was once made to cut grass with a scythe for several days to atone for the offense of setting off a smoke bomb at boy scout camp. Maybe explosives camp would’ve been a better “fit” for him, as all the overprotective, self-involved parents say these days. I guess the idea behind explosives camp (besides “boys will be boys”, that is) is “if ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Anyway, nDave graduates from high school this spring. If he hasn’t already, but no one sent me an announcement or pics so I dunno. And he goes off to U of Rochester in the fall. And this is what The Marquis has to say about explosives camp:

Anne & I took Dave to Explosives Camp today. We checked him in & waited around for dinner. During dinner the UMR Professor (a pot belly Aussie, affectionately known as the “Mad Bomber”) leading the camp explained the week’s agenda:

Monday – “We’re going to the school’s test mine & blow some shit up!”

Tuesday – “We’re going underground in a real lead mine, lay a wall of charges, go around the corner & blow some shit up!”

Wednesday – “We’re going to a limestone quarry, lay a much bigger wall of charges, go across the pit & blow some shit up!”

Thursday – “We’re going to a fireworks manufacturer, learn how to make fireworks, make fireworks, design a $2,000 show & blow some shit up!”

In between these activities they will get briefed by a member of the White House’s bomb squad, do a rock & roll pyrotechnics show & have a pool party.

We’ll pick him up Thursday night & watch the fireworks show. Before we left, Anne counted out Dave’s ten digits & told him & the camp administrator that she expected to see ten on Thursday.

GrokgrokgrokGROK!!! I wanna go blow some shit up too!! grokgrok frook grfok! Excuse me a minute. (Froggy! Watch your language or I’ll go get the soap. It is not okay for you to copy the Mad Bomber. Laundry basket. Pronto! I don’t care if Moley is there. Go anyway.) Sorry about that little outburst.

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.

Go Thunderchickens and other Random Stuff

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

A few things, in no particular order:

  • Happy birthday Kathy (my sister-in-law)! Sorry I don’t have a big red, white, and blue tricycle for you but have a wonderful birthday anyway.
  • Yesterday afternoon I did not take my usual walk because I was sitting around on my you-know-what watching a sporting event. grok grok. Yeah, yay for frog jumping!! grok grok. No, Froogy, it was not frog jumping. Sheesh! But it was no ordinary event and all of us here in the Luxurious New Courtois Cabin were totally enthralled as we watched our nephew Jim and his robotics team, the ThunderChickens, win the NASA FIRST Robotics National Competition in Atlanta. Jim used to be a little kid who was constantly plugging and unplugging things and switching lights on and off. He has come a long way from those days and is now a high school sophomore whose role during the robot games was to work in the pit, keeping the team’s robot in top condition. I have to say, watching robots play a basketball-esque game is much more fun than watching big, ugly neanderthals pummel each other on a football field. Go ThunderChickens! World Champions!
  • Thanks to those who sent their own stories about class presentation petrification. It is always good to know that you are not alone.
  • A very special thanks to Bob and Jim for making my dreams come true. Well, nice try, anyway 😉 Sincerely yours, Garbage Woman.

Mission and Adventure

Sunday, April 9th, 2006

A mission accomplished and another adventure at the Mason Tract.

Also: Progress at the New Luxurious Courtois Cabin continues and now the garage is drywalled and has some fancy new windows and doors. It is beautiful! However, being as accustomed as I am to crappy, moldy, dusty old dwellings, I can’t help but get a little nostalgic for the old days.

The last time my brother the engineer visited the Courtois Cabin (it was the moldy old one), he pronounced the garage to be an engineer’s dream. Over the years, it housed boats and snowmobiles and lawnmowers and engines and more engines and gas tanks and tools and all kinds of little valuable pieces of flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris. Grandpa Garth was in his element keeping old motors going and managing all of that stuff, inventing new tools when the need arose. He told me one time that at any given moment, he couldn’t find 10% of his stuff, an everchanging 10%.

Once, we spent a whole weekend tinkering with one of the lawnmowers. We? Some of y’all are thinking, “hey, Evil Blahg Lady, you do not know the first thing about motors!” Well, maybe not, but I had a very important role in that particular project. The weather pattern that weekend was a persistent intermittent drizzle. It would drizzle for a while and then it would stop for a while and then it would drizzle for a while again. And stop. Repeat ad nauseam. My job was to help The Gumper lift the lawnmower up onto the picnic table every time it stopped raining and then help him lift it down when it started again. After about ten rounds of that I got pretty bored and I finally said that a “$100-an-hour guy” like him could just go out and buy a *new* lawnmower and then he’d have time to do something more fun. He thought about that for a minute and finally he said, with a little twinkle in his eye, “I could go fishing.” He enjoyed fishing a lot but I’m not sure it ranked above tinkering with old motors.

Another time, I pulled the POC into the yard at Houghton Lake and The Gumper was waiting for me by the garage. “This is yours!” he said, proudly pointing to a used refrigerator in the garage. Say what? For a fraction of a second I was on the verge of feeling a little insulted. Relegated to using an old refrigerator in the garage? Indeed! But almost immediately, I realized that this was a *good* thing. Visitors to the cabin, including us, had a habit of leaving food behind when they returned home and random leftovers were always hard for Grandpa to deal with. I sort of understood why then and I definitely understand why now that my own beloved children come home and sometimes leave me with food. An additional refrigerator provided more space, helped keep the food separate and, for some odd reason, I kind of enjoyed walking out to the garage to use the refrigerator. I dunno, maybe it reminded me of the *really* old days of outhouses on the shores of Gitchee Gumee.

Ranking up there among the best times I have ever spent at Houghton Lake is the night the GG and I watched the spider. I think Grandpa was dead by then. It was a warm kind of drizzly night and there was a spider spinning a web in the door of the garage. We stood there by the open garage door, with all of the cosmic debris behind us, for hours, listening to Prairie Home Companion and other Saturday night radio, sipping a little bourbon now and then and watching that spider. Yeah, I know, sometimes it doesn’t take much, does it?

Anyway, this is what the garage looks like now. It is beautiful and “my” refrigerator is still there 🙂


Friday, April 7th, 2006

Brrrrrinnnng. I was walking along Long Point Drive on the north shore of Houghton Lake and the number of the caller was a 989 number but it was not the number of the land line at the Luxurious New Courtois Cabin. Hmmmm. “Hello?” I said, a bit tentatively. Like, who *are* you and how did you get my number?

“It’s Liz! I’m calling from a pay phone at Whiteheads! Where are you?” replied the caller. Uh, this was Liz my sister-in-law, not Liz my daughter or Liz my first cousin once removed or Liz my long-dead great aunt or Radical Betty who wouldn’t identify herself as Liz anyway.

Are there really pay phones out there any more? I guess so, since Liz called me from one. I think the last time I used a pay phone was about five years ago. We were in a complicated situation in St. Ignace that I won’t even begin to try to describe and I needed to make a long distance call. I had a cell phone with me but it was one of those old ones and I had never really figured out how to use it except to call local A2 numbers and anyway, it was out of battery. So, we found a pay phone. I had one heckuva time figuring out how to use it. It kept asking me for my calling card number. I could remember the number (I am *good* at remembering numbers) but I couldn’t figure out how or when to punch it in or whatever. Finally, I figured it out and managed to get through, right about the time the situation resolved itself all on its own without any telephones.

Eventually I got a new phone and I learned how to use it to make long distance calls and even receive calls. And then it got old and died, and right after it died, I happened to be driving the POC over to the community college and, hello, the brake light came on. No phone. Hmmm… If the car dies, I can’t call the GG and I can’t let anyone at WCC know why I’m late to class. The car seemed okay so I nervously continued on my way and arrived at WCC without incident. And then I started looking around for a pay phone so I could call the GG and rant at him about the brake light. No pay phone. Anywhere. On a commuter college campus.

After that, I really thought that pay phones were a thing of the past. But if anyone could find one it would be Liz, who has got to be one of the last people on the face of the planet to not have a cell phone. And, although I feel like I couldn’t do without one now, I do have some admiration for anyone who resists having new technology forced upon them. Liz, you go girl!