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Geographically challenged (and ugly as ever 🐽)

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

I wanted to say (but forgot) yesterday that one of the things I enjoyed about reading “American Dirt” (on my phone with GooMaps a swipe or two away) had nothing to do with the story or subject or controversy or whatever. It was that it turns out I have only a vague map of Mexico in my head and I cannot tell you how many times I looked on GooMaps to figure out where this or that city was. Acapulco? Guadalajara? MEXICO CITY? See what I mean by vague?

This particular lack of geographical knowledge became hilariously apparent (and almost bit us in the you-know-what) back in October 2018 when we made a rocket trip to Florida, bumpity-clunking our way into Bradenton with our back wheel bearings on their last legs. Something like that. We were standing in our brother Mr. Ed’s house and he said, “I don’t know if you guys have been watching the weather but there’s something going on in the Yucatan.” Yucatan? Say what? Where the heck is the Yucatan and what does it have to do with us?

Well, I am here to tell you that I quickly figgered out that the Yucatan Peninsula is right across the Gulf of Mexico, pretty much south of good old crazy old Fla and the “something” he was talking about was none other than Hurricane Michael. We had planned to spend the better part of a week down there taking care of bizness. Instead it was a wild scramble getting the Frog Hopper fixed, everybody packed, and various forms of oxygen obtained and set up. We did get outta dodge before Michael made landfall. Although Bradenton was not directly in its path, we were concerned about bad weather in Georgia. I was very relieved to post a pic of blue skies as we crossed the Tennessee River. Made it!

When I was a little kid, I was pretty good at geography, although my knowledge was limited to the United Snakes. This was thanks to a colorful wooden puzzle of the states that I had as a kid and put together about a gazillion times. Below each state’s shape was the state capital so I learned those too. That puzzle now resides somewhere in the Landfill Dungeon and I think it is actually intact except for maybe Connecticut or Rhode Island.

My other memory of learning geography was fifth grade when uber-teacher Mrs. Ward led us through a long prodject of making our own maps of each state (by region with New England first). We drew in major cities/towns, rivers, and maybe some roads and did a little write-up detailing natural resources, industries, and other points of interest. I loved that prodject and sure wish I had it now. It is long gone and I’m sure it was meeeee who deep-sixed it.

Anyway, I am nowhere near an expert on Mexican or Central American geography but I am a bit more educated than I was before reading the book.

Keep outta mah country

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

That is The Commander and Canananada is in be background (to the right of the island) and she is waving her cane at meeee, not Canadian invaders. Canadians have occasionally ended up upon our beach because they were lost or their motor bote was outta gas or broken. The Canadians that typically end up on our beach are NOT migrants. They typically have their own homes/careers across the border. I don’t think most Canucks have any interest in crossing over into our Trumpian Bombasty. Not to mention that The Comm crossed the Canuckian border all the time to have lunch or watch films with her friends.

I finished the book “American Dirt” today. It is about an upper middle class woman born and raised in Acapulco who instantaneously becomes a migrant along with her son.

I loved the book. There is a lot of controversy surrounding it. I *think* most of it has to do with the fact that the author is not an immigrant and did not make the journey of the characters in her book.

Well so what? This is a work of fiction. There is the story of the main character trying to escape a drug cartel “king” that is possibly after her and her young son. And there are the stories of all the people she meets on her journey to el norte aka my own very imperfect country. In some ways, this book could be read as a series of short stories.

At any rate, our loverly country needs to deal with our immigrants as *people*.

Slip ‘n’ slide

Friday, January 24th, 2020

I wore my Yaks for my early morning walk. The temperature was above freezing but the sidewalks are still iffy where people have not adequately cleared and de-iced them. When the temperatures rise and fall, snow melts onto the sidewalks and re-freezes. Intermittently.

All the way to Cubelandia Mooon Yooonit proclaimed a 36 degree temperature and it was raining cats and dogs but it was NOT SLIPPERY! Our parking lot has been salted within an inch of its life and it looked like it was all wet. But as I walked around the back of my car to get my laptop out of the other side, I encountered a slippery spot. Oops. Okay. I picked my way through the lot. It was mostly not slippery but there were bits of black ice here and there and I could not for the life of me determine where the pavement was just plain wet or slippery.

I am loving the fog that materialized after the rain stopped this evening. When I was a kid we called this kind of weather a January Thaw. So far this winter I am more inclined to call this a mild winter. We’ll see what happens in February and March. I can remember a very mild January and February one long ago winter and then the first day of March, the temperature flipped down to about zero and hovered there for a few weeks. I had to report for jury duty that morning and I was not a happy camper. I don’t think I could get the POC’s window open to take the parking ticket.

That’s our sidewalk there and it is NOT slippery because The Pensioner blew the snow and then salted the heck out of it.

G’night, KW

Shifting gears…

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Once upon a time, my My Old Coot was still alive and The Commander was bopping around like nobody’s business, gossiping with her friends (and me) about other people’s business and critiquing their clothing and, uh, appearance, etc. The Engineer (my bro) once referred to her as the Birch Point Telegraph. That was about right.

One of the things I miss about The Comm is getting on the phone with her and gabbing away. I am not a Phone Person in general but we had some good times back in the day. That was before talking to her on the phone emulated scenes from Fellini movies (to borrow from Uber Kayak Woman talking about phone calls with her own moom, my aunt Radical Betty). We’ll talk about the blood phone call some other day.

Anyway, during that period of time, she once told me that she changed the way she did “things” about every three years. I had young children then and often had to change the way I did “things” EVERY GODFORSAKEN DAY. But somehow I grokked that she meant cooking/housekeeping routines.

I’m certainly not a carbon copy of The Comm (heaven forbid) but I do go through these kinds of changes in routine and my new thing is to make casseroles, etc. on the weekend that can be heated up as leftovers and keep various pieces of frozen protein at the ready if the leftovers run out by Thursday. I do NOT want leftovers after Thursday. We typically go out to eat Friday night and I want an empty refrigimatator so I can start again for the next week.

I am still getting the kinks out of this routine. Last night I asked the GG to buy some salmon down at Monahan’s in Kerrytown. He was all into it but he fergot. We have some leftover-y type dregs but no frozen pieces of protein. Edible but not all that much fun. It would be STOOPID to say we are anywhere near starving. The Planet Ann Arbor provides a cornucopia as do most US municipalities, even those in the yooperland. But we did not have enough food in our own refrigimatator to make a decent evening meal that *we* wanted to eat.

So… While I was doing my after-work chores, the GG happily schlepped over to the Plum to get a small piece of salmon and (surprise) a little beef filet. Surf and turf! And he is gonna grill it all. Yay!

And yes, I guess I sound a bit OCD and I am (sorta) but I am also not freaked out about throwing food away if it is old enough that I need to. And I am okay about somebody else helping cook dinner!

I love Jimi Hendrix but…

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

New brain-twisting game today. “Guess what’s in the dropdown?” You do not wanna know the details. I am not all that good at games in general but this one is one that I can play, although I was temporarily stymied at the end of this afternoon.

I was looking forward to a nice quiet evening at home. I got home and the front door was NOT LOCKED! Yesterday I had to use my phone to open disco lock. Or at least I tried to. About the third try “someone” opened the door from the inside. KW: Why (the fook) is the door locked? GG: I dunno. What? Okaaaaayyyy. No place on earth is 100% safe all the time but we have lived in this neighborhood more years than I am strong enough to count and I can count on one hand the number of times I have felt unsafe and one of those was the time Comcast sent out a Serial Killer. But we don’t usually lock the door when we are home except when we are asleep.

Okay then, satty-lite music was on when I got home (which I like). Except it was classic rock-and-roll and it was kinda *loud*. I needed folk music (without talk) and a lower volume. That situation got mitigated and then the BIG LED LIGHTS got turned on in the chitchen. The ceiling lights. Noooooo! I much prefer as low lighting as possible, which means under-cabinet LED strings. Except that when I reminded the BIG LIGHT turner-on-er to TURN THE DERN LIGHTS OFF, that person started flicking them on and off AT SEIZURE SPEED and I finally had to yell something like “Just turn them off goddammit!”

I have a hilarious video of the GG flicking a fluorescent light at the moomincabin on and off a few years ago after a “relative” had made complaints about it malfunctioning. “We” (I mean the GG) fixed it. Tonight’s episode was not very funny but at least I didn’t feel the heavy breathing of incompetent lawyers in the background. 🐽🐽🐽

Finally, here is The Pensioner climbing out of a refrigerator. I do not know who the kid is.

Rat’s patoot

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

The bad news is that I did the google and found out that the Marsh King’s Daughter was filmed in… drum roll… Georgia? Say what?

This is disappointing but I suppose the Upper Tahquamenon Falls is not the only spectacular waterfall in the country (I mean there’s Niagara for one, for Pete’s sake). Probably they can find one somewhere in Georgia with 94 steps or thereabouts down to a wooden platform. The surrounding flora will be different and I wonder if there’ll be tannin in the water. People who don’t know better sometimes think the Tahquamenon River is hopelessly polluted because of it’s its brown color. Not. It’s tannin that makes it that color and it is a natural, organic substance. Anyway, to be fair, the upper Tahq falls only plays a cameo role in the book although the family lives close enough to it to walk there.

I’m more curious about how they will deal with the winter scenes. Most winters the yooperland basically freezes solid. A marsh is not easy to navigate in warmer seasons because it is *water*. In the book the family uses a canoe a lot of the time. In the winter? All that water freezes and you can walk all over the place. If the snow is deep, you strap some snowshoes on. We have marshes swamps behind the moomincabin and across the road from the Group Home at Hoton Lake. Neither of them have enough water to be able to navigate them by canoe but I have walked/skied/snowshoe-d in them many a time when they were frozen. No skiis skis for the Marsh King family but the king had some old Iverson snowshoes and he made his daughter a home-made pair.

So will they do some sort of CGI thing to make things look wintery? Or will they eliminate the winter scenes? Or just use the kind of “wimpy” (apologies to my Georgian friends 🐽) snow that Georgia gets? I know that Georgia *gets* snow from time to time. I also know that it doesn’t stay around long or pile up into big drifts and, well, I won’t say anything more because well, possible spoiler alert. I don’t think anything else in this post is close to being a spoiler. If they do try to do some winter scenes and choose a wimpy venue for snow, I don’t suppose it’ll matter much to the umpteen-gazillion folks who have never experienced a yooperland winter because they won’t have a clue.

And with that, I need to get cracking because we are going to porterize ourselves at Knight’s tonight. Yes I know it is a Tuesday. Hit Publish, KW! Typos and malapropisms be damned!

King of the Swamp

Monday, January 20th, 2020

I’m always up for a booooook that is set in the yooperland and “The Marsh King’s Daughter” did not disappoint. This is not my *usual* genre. I guess you might call it a “thriller”? So if it had been set somewhere else, it may not have attracted my attention. But. Tahquamenon Falls, Newberry, and Grand Marais with an occasional mention of Sault Ste. Siberia? I know that terrain.

This book contains quite a bit of violence. There is kidnapping and lots of killing, animals for food mostly but people also lose their lives. I was reading Goodreads reader questions after I finished the book and I kind of shook my head at one person who asked about the level of violence. I suppose it was a fair question. I am (usually) able to separate myself from horrific events that happen in fiction, not everyone can. I struggle with rating books but I rated it a 5 (out of 5) and since I am still thinking about it days after I finished it, I guess that’s about right.

I mentioned this book to BFF who also has roots/property in the yooperland and she informed me that there will be (or is?) a mooooovie. Hmmmm… I will be interested in watching that mooooovie. I wonder if they will set it in the actual yooperland. I hope so. The terrain descriptions in the book were beautiful and they totally hit home. But not sure how a mooooovie crew would film in a location where cell service can be spotty at best. And you may have to woodsP.

I was disappointed when the mooooovie version of the book “Bird Box” (dystopian thriller, author from Ferndale) was not set in the Detroit area (like the book was). Where did they get those rapids with all the big boulders? I know of no rivers in the Daytwa area that have rapids like that. So we’ll see what they do with “The Marsh King’s Daughter” (or maybe already have since I do not generally keep track of mooooovies). I have no clue how they might be able to impersonate Tahquamenon Falls without being there.

I am also thinking I might supply the moomincabin “library” with more yooperland books like this one. Cully Gage is okay up to a point but *eight* of his books? Phlegm-cutter please. And no I would never get rid of any of the Cully Gage books. What were *you* thinking? My brother loved those books…

When your kids are better cooks than you…

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

I’ve been wrestling with divergent cooking challenges lately. I love to cook. I want to return to the days when I was more creative about cooking than recently when throwing a hunk of protein into the oven and cooking something white (rice/potatoes/pasta) to go with it plus a salad is my go-to route. But… I do not love to muck around with complicated cooking when I get home from Cubelandia. This *usually* means cooking enough for weekend meals that I can reheat leftovers during the week.

I am making “tamale pie” tonight. Oh don’t get all excited. I googled recipes and the one I chose involves a little box of Jiffy* corn muffin mix and ground beef, etc. It is not some kind of authentic Tex-Mex/whatever thing, more like the kind of thing a WASP-y type person like me can manage. We’ll see how it turns out.

I managed to let the cat outta the bag about the tamale pie this morning during a visit to the Plum Market. The grapevine got going (“moom is making tamale pie”) and the other beach urchin started texting me (“rumor has it…”). We were talking about food and menu planning and before we were finished, she had sent me several links to fantastic looking soups! Making soup is also on my brain. My issue with soup is that a lot of recipes yield a lot more than two light eaters can eat in a couple days. But I’m gonna try to figger that out.

It never fails to crack me up at how creative/savvy my adult children are about food and cooking. I was one of *those* parents who decided my children would learn to eat what was in front of them and not fuss about food. They would eat vegetables, roight? Do all inexperienced parents think that? What the bloody hell?

Lemme see… Fluorescent orange macaroni and cheese by the wheelbarrow? Cheese-it! Cheese-it! Cheese-it! PIZZA ROLLS (getting stuck in the Glen’s Groceries freezer trying to get at them). Then there was the time they cooked spaghettios *by themselves* (they pulled a big stool over to the stove so they could reach it). I was in an adjacent room and had no clue what was going on because I was totally engrossed in balancing the PTO checkbook I had just “inherited” (yes, I am a nerd). Zapping pepperoni on paper towels in the micro – ugh, the smell! Ramen ramen ramen couscous parmesan up the wazoo. Breakfast for dinner. White, orange, and yellow food ruled.

All the while this was going on I was dumbing down my once at least sorta-semi creative cooking skills and now that I can cook whatever the heck I want, I am often sitting around spinning my wheels unable to think of anything beyond the limited go-to repertoire of dishes I can make without engaging my brain. Not that there’s anything wrong with eating a hunk of protein/white side/salad (I’m thinking salmon some day this week) but it’s time to get organized and ramp up the creativity again. And nowadays I have my former fussy eaters to help me.

*Fun fact: Jiffy mix is made in Chelsea, MI, 15-20 miles west of here.

Photo credit: Well, *I* took the photoooo but it is a detail from the Robolights installation we visited Friday night. There were a number of tall cone shaped (hmm, what to call them) “pieces” made of discarded “artifacts”, mostly but not limited to old electronic stuff. Each cone was spray-painted a single color, this one blue. I wish I had gotten a pic of the whole cone so you had some context but I am a haphazard iPhoneographer and all I have is this detail. I dunno if this artist needs any drywall buckets but if he does, I know where he can get some [wink].

Plowing and eating outta the freezer

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Where are we with this? I went out to walk well before sunrise and it was so horrible that I bagged it. No one had shoveled yet and that was fine given that it was early on a Saturday morning and the storm was not over yet. But the snow was wet and heavy and *needles* were coming outta the sky. Okay, I am done.

The GG and others went out and ran their snowblowers mid-morning and I slodged over to the Plum Market to get a few ingredients for tonight’s chicken divan. There has been a bunch of cut up frozen chicken breast in the freezer for a while now and I’m working on getting rid of it.

We don’t usually expect the city to plow our street until after about five days or whatever and usually when they do, they leave a whole bunch of crapola in the middle of the Carbeck/Walter intersection. Today a very small truck with a plow on the front of it made multiple passes up and down the street. We think it was a city truck but not sure. The GG was not impressed and dragged out his blower *again* to clear the street, etc.

We’ve been playing lots of old music tonight. Earlier in the evening it was Fleetwood Mac. That made me remember a time the beach urchins were teenagers and we were driving up to the yooperland in two separate vee-hickles. I was driving the POC and the beach urchins were driving the Indefatigable or maybe the Dogha. We stopped for gas at Indian River. A young couple parked next to my POC were changing their newborn girl’s diaper in their car. My brain did a crazy time warp thing. Here I was tandem driving with a new driver and I was thinking about how these new parents would maybe be doing a similar thing 16 years later. For I dunno what reason I had Fleetwood Mac on repeat that summer.

Terlet carousel or bust

Friday, January 17th, 2020

The terlet carousel is part of an outdoor exhibit at MOCAD, the contemporary art museum in Detroit where one of the beach urchins works. The exhibit is called Robolights and the terlet carousel is supposed to revolve but it was broken again tonight. You can look up the artist. I loved the exhibit and it sounds like he is a force of nature although I’m not sure I want to know what his living space looks like. I don’t think I’ve seen so many old terlets in one place since the time we dropped mattresses off at the Sault Ste. Siberia habitat facility. At a glance the terlets in the carousel looked pretty clean and that is a good thing given my gag reflex.

I have been wanting to visit this exhibit since it opened back in October or whenever. One of the issues is that the best time to see it is after dark. That’s not all that hard to do in the winter in the Great Lakes State. It is just now beginning to not be dark when yer fav-o-rite blahgger gets home from Cubelandia in the afternoon. The flip side of that issue is that yer fav-o-rite blahgger pretty much turns into a pumpkin when she gets home from Cubelandia and doesn’t usually like to go, you know, OUT again. She is an introvert and is NOT a night owl. Not to mention the Man Cold and generally higher level of hustle bustle that accompanied this solstice holiday season.

So we’ve postponed and postponed and postponed. We had yet another tentative plan to visit Robolights this afternoon/evening and we almost postponed AGAIN! Why? Because a big fugly winter storm is scheduled to begin tonight and yer fav-o-rite blahgger got all freaked out about that even though the storm is not scheduled until after 10 PM and we were reasonably sure we would be safely back home on The Planet Ann Arbor well before it arrived. But! She sucked it up and so we picked up 🐭/🦝 at the Ypsi park-and-ride and schlepped on downtown.

So glad we did. Fun time at the exhibit with Lizard accompanying us, a drink at the lovely MOCAD bar to sort out where to eat, dinner at the Cass Cafe a couple blocks away, then home again with DRY ROADS all the way. Whew!

We ran into someone at MOCAD who tried to give me praise for raising my daughter well. I said a version of what her granddaddy said years ago when someone at MY old job said something like that to him: “I didn’t raise her. She raised herself.” And she did but she was also raised by that proverbial “village” that everyone is always trying to shove down our throats. Except that her “village” was real and consisted of large extended families. Grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins of all degrees. The GG and I did not do it alone. Not one little bit.

Now? Sittin’ on the Green Couch watchin’ for the snow to fly.

A bit of spring color on No Politics Day

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

I walked into Cubelandia this morning. It was just about the fugliest in a long string of fugly days and a vase full of TULIPS was sitting in my cube. This was courtesy of my *loverly* boss, Amazon Woman. Somehow or other at some point in time I guess I must’ve ‘fessed up to what date No Politics Day fell on for me.

No Politics Day goes back a long way. Well, in one way it goes back more years than I am strong enough to count. In another way it only goes back to, oh I dunno, maybe about 2007 or so. I don’t feel like looking it up but it was back when the Orange Baboon was a real estate “tycoon”/reality show “star” and so had nothing to do with him.

My family(ies) have widely mixed polly-tickle views and mostly we agree to disagree and talk about our kids or botes whatever. But on the day No Politics Day was established, a bunch of us were draggin’ *ss at the Group Home at Hoton Lake and some people were ranting a bit about polly-ticks. I did not agree with them. I am not exactly Lefty Lulu but I have been called The Family Liberal before, which is a long fun not-particularly-blahggable story.

I decided that I get one day outta the whole year when I can actually kind of play queen-for-a-day and so I played my card and declared, “This is No Politics Day!” The Lord of Linden looked at me like I was nuts. I said it again. This time people kind of shrugged their shoulders and heh-heh-ed a bit. And THEN they stopped talking about polly-ticks.

This No Politics Day I did my chores and went to Cubelandia like I usually do unless the date falls on a weekend or MLK Day and the GG and I are cooking filets et al for 🐭/🦝 tonight. I didn’t ask for gifts but there is one on the dining table and I can’t wait to open up my new cordless vacuum cleaner. Er, at least I *think* that’s what it is. If so, it is for the moomincabin.

Cheers! -KW

The north shall rise again

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

I wonder how many times I’ve used that title… Anyway, this is a loooooonnnnnng stoplight if it turns red as you are coming up to it so there was plenty of time to dredge my iPhone outta my pocket and get this crappy pic. We’ve had a LOT of dreary weather lately but very little of the S-word and what little we did get was laced with ice. Winter isn’t even half over. We’ll get more!

Yesterday’s lunch restaurant was in a shopping plaza that also has TarJay, Office Max, and Joann Fabrics. I haven’t been there in years but I used to go there ALL THE TIME! I have never been much of a TarJay shopper but I was in there fairly frequently back in the day. Joann’s? Yes yes yes, back when I was doing beadwork and quilt-type stuff. Office Max? Sometimes a couple times a day. Oh man, “running” YAG? Constantly making copies of handouts to parents or play programs or play tickets or postcards for the next audition and more. I used to have a color theme for each play. Red Balloon was red of course, Dandelion Wine? You guessed it. But others were more subtle. I am blessed with a low level of synesthesia and colors often match up with “things” for me (letters, numbers, whatever).

Disclaimer: I did not “run” YAG. Sue ran YAG. I tried to make the trains run on time. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not.

I greatly appreciated her artistic GENIUS (yes, really) at theatre and teaching young people in that art. And even adults sometimes. Like meeeee. She pulled me in to play the flute once and I rose to the occasion by beginning with an old French virtuoso solo piece I studied in college and riffing off from there. Yes, I actually improvised, not my usual talent. I have played in the Lydia Mendelssohn theatre as part of a large pit orchestra on a few occasions and being a one-person band was pretty dern cool in that familiar old pit.

Alas, working with/for an artist can also be frustrating and eventually I got to the point that I burned out. It is the only job I have ever burned out on. I was paid but it was a stipend and very very very little money although that was okay for a while. When I quit that “job” I had no idea what would be next. I was taking community college web design/development classes at the time but I did not expect that I would ever be hired at the kind of job I have now. And that first year after I quit YAG was as hard as all getout. My classes had ended and my dad and brother had died and I had no play production to keep me busy. And yet somehow, here I am…

It was kinda funny meeting up with old YAG folks for a while. They would ask what I was doing and when I told them “systems analyst/online banking biz”, they would sometimes take a step back like, really? You have a “real” job? Yes. Yes I do. I love these people ANYWAY! Really. I often feel amazed at myself that I have such a loverly little career. One that didn’t exist when I went to college. Have you ever heard of “Imposter Syndrome”? Then again, it’s an at will company and you never know when the next Black Thursday will come around and yank you.

G’night, KW

Bringing a bit of summer into my wintertime chitchen

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

I don’t like to have toooo much tech around. At least not the personal kind of tech that I have to haul around. My iPhone is my main computer and my camera and my MacBook Pro is my computer for when I want to type something longer than a text message (although I can dooooo that on my phone). I gave my iPad away. It was just tooooo much for me to deal with three devices.

So I was a bit skeptical when I received a pitcher* frame for xmas. Will I use it? It turns out that I enjoy having it on my counter flipping through pics. There’s a whole bunch of moomincabin pics and then there’s Lizard Breath out snowshoeing and Old Weird Mac with his wife also snowshoeing and FlaMan (not snowshoeing) and… Who the heck is that doggy? He looks a lot like my old buddy Ernie except I don’t think he has eyes? Well, no this dog does not have eyes. I don’t know the dog so it took me a few cycles to process that pic. (Ernie was one of my brother’s dogs and he’s been dead of old age crapola for a few years.) I think I would love this eyeless doggie.

*Pitcher is a nod to our old Benevolent Despot aka the LSCHP. He was well educated with a masters in chemistry and whatever it takes to be a rabbi and a few other things and I’m sure he knew perfectly well how to pronounce “picture” but he enjoyed saying “pitcher” anyway.

We had a busy busy day of meetings at Cubelandia punctuated by lunch at Everest Sherpa Restaurant where you can get Indian/Nepalese/Tibetan food along with trekking tours in the Himalayas. There is a mannequin dressed up as a mountain climber in the vestibule and I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince FZ that they had imported a corpse from Everest to Ann Arbor.

Oh yeah, fob folks! FZ has the same model car as Mooon Yooonit except his is a hybrid. He has a fob and until I told him today, he did not know he could lock and unlock his doors by touching the handles. But then, until he bought his RAV4, he had been nursing a Toyota sedan that was old enough to drink until he was told it could no longer be resuscitated. He didn’t buy his RAV4 because I had one even though we bought ours before he bought his. In fact when he bought his, he was surprised that I already had one. I was at the moomincabin when the GG picked ours up and I was pretty exclusively driving the Ninja to work when we got back. And I don’t crow much about new vee-hickles. You need one, you buy one. That’s about it. If you can afford one but that’s a whole nother topic and a difficult one…

Aeroplane pic

Monday, January 13th, 2020

If you take the I94 18-wheel Slogway over to DayTwa, you pass right by Metro and yesterday a Delta plane of some sort was landing DIRECTLY over us and boy oh boy do I wish I’d had the presence of mind to point my iPhone up and get a pic (I was NOT driving). I could have done a burst and somewhere in there would be the perfect pic.

Did I do that? No I did not. I watched agape as it flew toward and over us on the freeway thinking, “I can almost see into the cockpit!” Instead, this is what my iPhone apparently took a picture of when I wasn’t paying attention. Nothing like a good old accidental pic. A bit of my backpack and one of my “fancy” skirts (two lacy overlays, count ’em) and some Mooon Yooonit interior stuff. What is that orange color? I don’t remember it.

I am still learning the ins and outs of Mooon Yooonit. I *finally* (a while back) figured out that if I had the key fob in my pocket, I could unlock her just by touching the door handle. Duh. It was a few WEEKS after that discovery that I figgered out (totally by accident) that I could also LOCK her by touching the door handle (in just the right place). Double Duh. Y’all who have been driving push-button vee-hickles with fobs for years are gnoffing yer you-know-whats off and I’m happy to provide you that kind of entertainment. And no, I have not read the manual. I am a muddle through it kind of gal.

Industrial tourism

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Okay, today was not my blasted birthday but it seemed like a good day to meet up with our Dee-troit beach urchin so we met up with her and a friend for lunch at one our faves down there, Green Dot Stables. They have a huge menu of sliders and other small dishes and you can mix and match to your heart’s content. I usually order three sliders of various sorts and maybe steal a fry or two from somebody else. I didn’t do Mystery Meat today after our server told us it was camel. Hmm… Camel? Really? Hmm… I recently read a book that included camels who served in the USA Army and I just, uh, couldn’t… Our server wasn’t into it either.

I am not big into bday celebrations. There were years and years when the beach urchins didn’t live close enough to even think about coming home to celebrate ours and it was just the GG and meeeee and that was okay. Nowadays we all live within 20-45 minutes of each other and usually try to do *something* to get together somewhere near our birthdays. Mine is the hardest because it’s in January so who knows what Old Man Winter is gonna throw at us on any given day. Scheduling? Nope.

We had our generator ready for an ice storm last night. Well, what did we get? We did not get a full fledged ice storm but we had a light but slippery coating of snow-ice this morning. I was able to walk with YakTraks. Mr. Golden Sun was brilliant throughout the morning and I think we were hoping he would melt all of the snow but, y’know, he is still waaaaay down in the south and doesn’t quite have the strength to melt our ice. So, patches of ice persisted throughout the day. The freeways were pretty okay but a lot of Detroit sidewalks and the Green Dot’s parking lot were slippery as all getout. As were the streets in the downriver Detroit suburbs. Thick ice. Yes.

We like to drive around out in the woodsy wilderness but occasionally an urban industrial tour is in order. We are close to the Detroit River waterfront in the pic but we could not *to* the river because of all the big chain link gates with KEEP OUT signs on them. Ooooookay. There is almost NO traffic on the streets down there on a Sunday but we kept getting stopped at traffic lights when there was NO ONE coming from any direction. I’m not sure what this area is like on a week day but somehow I am guessing that there isn’t a whole lot more traffic than there was today.

Pluviophile premonitions

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

The GG drove up to Flint this morning to take some lamps and things to our brother FlaMan. I was glad to get rid of the lamps. They were my mother’s floor lamps and I don’t really like floor lamps.

I didn’t really think the GG should drive up to Flint this morning because the weather seemed iffy. Actually I had a serious premonition about it. We had heavy rain here on the Planet Ann Arbor but north of here the gods were predicting ice. And so that is what the GG ran into. When he drove into FlaMan’s parking lot, it was slippery. He dropped off the lamps and told FlaMan that he had planned to visit for a bit but the roads were icy and he really needed to get back down to the Planet Ann Arbor.

So the GG was driving back down and the roads were bad and some young punk passed the GG at a high rate of speed and… Spun out… And ping-ponged back and forth across the freeway. SOMEHOW… The GG stopped something like 10 feet away from the crash and SOMEHOW the semi-truck behind him managed to stop too. The GG dialed 911 and then he called meeeee, which totally freaked me out. He was driving Mooon Yoonit, which is a brand new vee-hickle as of last summer and well…

Anyway, all is well. No one was hurt in the accident and the GG recovered via lunch at the Griz with Janel. The Griz was almost empty today, which was fun although we also enjoy it when it’s crazy.

Quicky bday post

Friday, January 10th, 2020

Oh, not my bday although a bit of ridiculous unwanted drama has surrounded that upcoming anniversary 🐽. I somehow managed to start it against my own principles and better judgment 🐽 but it’s okay, we’re sorting it out.

Tonight we celebrated the birthday of one of our dear friends of porterization. Her actual birthday was yesterday (also The Commander’s bday and Richard Nixon’s while we are at it and I fergit who else’s).

We ate at Amadeus, which is a wonderful restaurant that serves Polish food. They have a great whine list but they don’t really specialize in craft cocktails, not that we are all that interested in craft cocktails. Just “Bartender, I’ll have a Manhattan”. Tonight the GG was able to get a top-notch ‘hattan there. I stuck with cabernet and the bottle of claret that Mr. Porter ordered.

I somehow arrived before anyone else and mentioned to our waiter that I had walked to the restaurant. He asked where I walked from and I said I lived near the Plum Market. Turns out that he lives in my neighborhood! The definitive statement was “I vote at Haisley School”. Yes, so do I. I didn’t say anything about all the years I hung out at Haisley schlepping my beach urchins there and doing all kinds of volunteer work. He was kind of surprised that I had walked that far and said he was a “bus guy”. I understood that. I *love* the bus and it is very easy to get downtown and back from our neighborhood.

That’s enough for now. It was a great evening but I am done done done.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman


Thursday, January 9th, 2020

I didn’t exactly forget that The Commander would have been 99 today. It came into focus when her younger cousin’s birthday popped up. I have never met Julie but we connected a while back on facebook. She’s 83 and has lived in the Toronto area for her adult life if I get it. Her birthday is not today (late December I think) but it brought mom’s bday into focus. So here are a few pics. It’s so hard to pick just a few pics. I limited my criteria to pics I took in her later years, ones where she is the only one in the pic, and she is showing some aspects of her personality that I don’t much remember from when I was a bratty little kid and was constantly being told something like, “Remember who you are and act accordingly” 🐽

First up, here is the Thud Club. This club was started by The Goddess Esther and yes it has to do with alcohol. Mom was not a lush but she joined the club one night when my cousins and I were “wayward” 20-somethings. The Comm and Radical Betty had some whine while talking about us kids and then they took a beach walk. The Comm fell into the water and “couldn’t get up”. She was not in danger and they were both laughing their *sses off. At some point in time some enterprising person ordered up some Thud Club raperns* This was waaaaay pre-internet BTW so no Cafepress or whatever. Sorry for being such a wastrel, moom. (BTW, I think we *all* have Thud Club raperns* now.)

Okay, here is The Commander slowly and threateningly walking toward me with a great big chitchen knife! What did I do to deserve that? I think I had been “joshing” her about something.

Oh, bloody hell. The Comm was living at Freighter View assisted living and she tripped over her walker and then fell on it or something, I never figgered out exactly what happened. She was not mortally wounded but they put a red jacket on her and packed her off on the bus ambulance for the two block ride to the hoosegow. She got all bandaged up and before they sent her back “home”, my 90-year-old mother handed Nurse Abby her iPhone and said, “Take a picture of all this blood so I can send it to my daughter.”

Back when both the parents were alive. Okay, I guess in this pic, she’s not alone because grandroobly is photobombing.

And finally, we have The Comm in her glorious golden queen hat. After my dad died, we were at the Sault Ste. Siberia post office and a woman came out the door wearing a hat like this. Both of us dropped our jaws. Yes, I was thinking. You need one o’ those. And so I found one. It is still around but I don’t yet feel entitled to wear it.

*Rapern? I hope that is not a trigger for anyone because it has nothing to do with rape. When we were kids, the Sherman family used to park their VW bus and camper in one of our moomincabin parking spots for a couple weeks in the summer. Willy was the youngest of the five Sherman children and at three or so, he loved to hang out with The Comm and his moom in the moomincabin. At that age, he wanted to grow up to be a mother and wear a rapern. He didn’t grow up to be a mother but he did grow up to be a wonderful father (and for all I know he’s a grandfather by now). I dunno if he wears a rapern or not but I bet if he does, he calls it an apron now.

Not today

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

This is exactly six years ago. It marked the beginning of the 2014 Polar Vortex winter. I had never heard the term “polar vortex” before winter 2014. As a better comedian than I described it, it was like Canada got drunk, staggered down to the US and fell asleep. Something like that. I love Cananananada anyway.

I won’t go through the whole sequence of weather events that led up to this particular pic. Snow and more snow and 13 degrees below zero temps. I took this pic on a Wednesday and I had been working from home since that Monday. I didn’t go to work that Monday because we got something like nine inches of snow overnight on top of whatever was already there. I felt a bit guilty about not schlepping over there. But then I found out that the people who DID schlep over there were met with an unplowed parking lot and when the plow service finally got there, everyone had to go out and push cars around so the lot could be plowed.

The LSCHP was still our Benevolent Despot in those days and he bellowed, “If all we’re gonna do is come over here and push cars around, I think we should all work from home.” I guess back then some of us were still struggling with the kind of work ethic that requires people to put in face time (even though we have ALWAYS had remote workers). Nowadays if it snows at all, I telecommute without even thinking about it. Or sometimes just because no one else is in my house and I want to hang out there alone watching the dogz go by and the Little Brown Birds fight.

Anyway, by that Wednesday, I had been telecommuting for three days and I HAD to get outta the Landfill. So I bundled up and hoofed it over to the Plum Market. And climbed the hill back up to the Maple/Dexter intersection. That snowbank is higher than my head. When I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia, we used snowbanks like that to sled down into our perma-snow neighborhood streets. I think some of the parents even iced them to make them faster. Good old days.

This January 8th is a lot different than the Polar Vortex one. We did get a weeeee bit of snow overnight. Maybe a half inch? I strapped my Yaks onto my Keen sandals for my 0-skunk-30. Walking was fine but unfortunately, that kind of snow slicks up the roads like crazy (AND PEOPLE GO TOOOOOO FAST!!!!) so there were accidents out on the freeways and traffic was hosed in my area when I left to meet MMCB1 at Barry’s. MMCB arrived at Barry’s naked (I mean she forgot her phone) so she was unable to text me as she waited through I dunno how many light cycles at Dexter/Wagner. I told her something like, “It’s okay that you didn’t text me. I KNEW you’d be late.”

I dunno what the weather will be like for the rest of winter but we do not seem to have persistent polar vortex conditions. Chilly today but going up into the 40s/50s the next couple days…

Better or worse but not lunch

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Or breakfast in this case. Oh man, I sooooo miss my SACRED period of morning spacification before schlepping off to Cubelandia. I would go for my 0-skunk-30 (which was SKUNKY as all getout today!), come home for a wee brek and my regular morning chore routine. Mainly make lunch, clean chitchen sink and bathroom fixtures, sometimes laundry stuff and/or empty dishwasher. I could be in and out of the Blue and Only Bathroom at will. Gotta “do” my face, roight? 🙄

I am not feeling it these days. I get home from my 0-skunk-30 and *someone* is hanging out in the Blue and Only Bathroom… And just generally in my quiet space. This cannot be. I hate to say it but after all these years, I am thinking we need a second bathroom? I mean, we raised two children in this loverly little dump, female children no less, and even during their teenage years, I don’t *ever* remember bathroom space being anything more than an occasional issue. As I always tell gals behind me in the line for the one-person Oscar Tango ladies room, I grew up using an outhouse so I am FAST! (Rumor has it that once I apparently said a version of that to Mouse’s then-boss although I had no clue she had any relationship to Mouse at all.)

I doubt that a new bathroom is in the cards for this house. I cannot figger for the life of me where the heck we’d put a second bathroom. I suppose if it is mainly for the use of my morning interloper, we could rig up a rudimentary terlet/shower area in the Landfill Dungeon? The Freakout Chamber maybe? I bet that would not increase the value of our house, not that we care all that much since we don’t plan to sell it.

We did hook up a basement shower for the duration of living in the Landfill while gutting the Blue and Only Bathroom but not a terlet. Fortunately, there was only one night that we had to do without a terlet and the back yard was just fine that particular night. Winter solstice coincided with the new moon so no one could see anything in our yard after dark and it was also 50-something degrees(!) so you didn’t freeze yer you-know-what. Not all that much different than running back to the moomincabin outhouse on a 50-something summertime yooperland day except for no terlet seat.

Okay, I think I have totally lost any train of thought I may have started out with! Am I done? I guess so and you’re welcome. 🐸 Have I accomplished anything? No. 🐽