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Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my mama said

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

Actually what *my* mama aka The Commander used to say was, “No! You can’t go outside without a jacket until the ice is outta the St. Marys.” (And no, there is NOT an apostrophe in Marys.)

She was talking about the St. Marys river that borders the north side of my hometown (Sault Ste. Siberia) as well as the United Snakes of America. Canananada is on the other side with the Soo Locks in between.

And yes, there can certainly be ice in the St. Marys in April and sometimes even in May. More than a few Aprils ago during the Polar Vortex winter (2014), Gitchee Gumee was mostly frozen over. Storm Warrior posted about trying to ram through ice with his bote (lake freighter) and one of our faves Big Butt (aka the Roger Blough) suffered various bits of damage from ice. That particular year people were posting pics of ice floes in Gitchee Gumee as late as July.

Even when the ice is outta the St. Marys, it can be dern cold up there almost any time. A northern FB Gitchee Gumee neighbor posted today that she was kicking herself for putting her long underwear away before April. I commented that last AUGUST there was a day I was wishing I had my Smart Wool leggings with me when I was up there at the moomincabin/beach.

That was a long preamble but yes… It’s April and it’s snowing like crazy here in southeast Michigan. It’s funny how people who have lived in the Great Lake State forget from year to year that yes, it DOES snow in April. And sometimes in May. And sometimes even in June but that’s usually in the yooperland and our main residence is 300 moils* south of the yooperland.

*Moils: When you are 10 years old and you are in a tornado shelter with yer dad and his identical twin and yer “identical” cousin. You are in the after-tornado shelter because you have survived a tornado in a tent, in which a BIG tree has fallen on a small tree, which broke its fall on YOU and your tentmates. You are alive and now you are in a shelter. You are kinda crying a bit [because you are a kid] but then you all meet an Australian woman who is also sheltering and your dad explains, “She misses her mama.” The Australian says, “I miss my mama too but she’s moils away.” This is my daughter’s story, not mine.

My hangers are gone

Monday, April 19th, 2021

A couple weeks ago I cleaned out the closet in the Purple Room. Including the hangers.

How does one acquire hoard hangers? When I was a young Clothes Horse, I used to own a lot of things that needed dry-cleaning so that was one source of my hoard. Once I went to pick up my cleaned clothes and they COULDN’T FIND THEM! After a bit of discussion where I provided a high-level description of my clothing, the gal suddenly said something like OH THE COLORFUL STUFF! Yes yes yes yes, that would be me…

I can’t remember the last time I sent clothes to a dry-cleaner. My wardrobe for YEARS while still pretty colorful has been completely warshing-musheenable. 99% of the time I use one setting. Occasionally I use the hand wash setting but that’s usually when I want to wash a wool blanket. There are things (including blankets) I don’t put in the dryer and with any luck, if I’m at the laundromat, I don’t put them in somebody else’s car…

The dry-cleaner was only one source of my Hanger Hoard. I also bought plastic hangers from various discount stores to hang teenage children’s clothing and, while I was still schlepping to Cubelandia, hangers that handle multiple skirts. Because I am a skirt gal.

The weather was pretty good over the weekend so I put my box of hangers out on the curb. I didn’t expect much interest in free hangers butchya nevah know what people will pick up. I did not advertise them on Nextdoor neighbor because I didn’t really want to incite any arguments for or against “socialism” or whatever. I just wanted to get rid of some hangers.

The GG got into the rhythm of curbside hanger box and he put them out again today. Sometime in the afternoon, my hyper-local weather app notified me of impending drizzle. I started putting my shoes on to go out and retrieve the box and… It wasn’t there. Yay! Except… Later on I found out that the GG had put the box behind the tree where I couldn’t see it.

People have taken some hangers and we’ll get rid of the rest eventually. I do know that Kiwanis Thrift will take them but they have had difficulties opening up and taking donations because, well you know why. They are being careful like all of us need to be (vax or not) but all of us are not.

Dishcloth diva?

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Yes, it is a knitted dishcloth. I made it yesterday.

I really like to do various kinds of fiber arts. Unfortunately, for the last few years, I haven’t had the right kind of guzzinto to finish (or even start) such prodjects. I got all excited about visible mending a while back. I even bought a couple books and some sashiko thread. After one attempt to patch a hole in one of my fave toad boyfriend skirts, I picked the entire thing out. I was using regular embroidery thread, the kind you can get at the dime store and it wasn’t working for me. But I still haven’t broken out the sashiko.

Dishcloths you ask? Lemme see, a few years ago, a north country trail friend handed out knitted dishcloths at our winter weekend at Tahquamenon [paused this year – you know why]. I got two of them and I put them in my dishcloth drawer but they were too “cute” to use. Finally, a few months ago, I gave them a try. I LOVE them. Then I got to thinking, hmmm, I bet there are a bazillion patterns for these out on them thar inter-tubes. I do know how to knit and this is the kind of bite-sized prodject that IIIII might actually be able to FINISH! Maybe it’ll jump-start me?

I did some googling and of course there are patterns on the internet. In the end I bought a book. I read novels, etc., on my phone but for fiber arts instructions, I like an actual book. I also researched dishcloth yarn (cotton!) and ordered some plus some needles because I donated all of my old knitting needles to the Scrap Box a few years ago. Yes I well know ordering yarn and related supplies on the internet could turn into a dangereuse trend.

This is my first attempt. I could not for the life of me REMEMBER HOW TO CAST ON! I have a venerable old needlework “bible” that solved that problem. Knit and purl are ingrained in me and I picked a pattern that didn’t go beyond that into YO or K2tog, etc., even though I know I can relearn those. Nevertheless, I fumbled at first and after about five rows I had to frog the whole thing and start over. The second time was the charm and here’s the result. It’s not the most elegant item anyone ever knitted but it is FINISHED! The jury is out on whether or not it’ll jump-start me into other kinds of prodjects.

P.S. I am NOT the Dishcloth Diva. But there is such a person. A little like the Yarn Harlot maybe? I bought one of her books but I am NOT trying to usurp her title.

The Landfill Backyard is open for business again

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

A tentative plan for today was to tow the Lyme Lounge out to a state park, park it, and read (and drink a wee bit of liquid courage). Last year, the Lyme Lounge came home just in time for the pandemic and it gave us a way to escape our house for a change of scenery in those early, scary days. I mean, I still think the pandemic is scary but we have learned a lot since then and there are vaxxes (and some of us are vaxxed) and it’s a LOT easier to arrange contact-free pickup/delivery grocks and take-out food and, uh, other things…

So we lolly-gagged in our own way throughout the morning. The GG futzed with cleaning the Lyme Lounge (I’m sure it needed it) and figuring out the details of its lucky-shuckial system. I did my Saturday chores and started working on a new little prodject so when he said he didn’t think he was being much fun today, I told him that was okay because I was busy.

It wasn’t too long after that that I received a text message from my cuz npJane inviting herself over to the Landfill Backyard after work. YES YES YES YES! I hadn’t seen npJane since her sister and fam were in town and we met over at my Dear Uncle Harry’s house (npJane’s dad) for pizza. Was it October? We were masked and distanced on Harry’s deck and most people had isolated. But. Uh, THAT WAS SIX MONTHS AGO! We really hadn’t seen each other since then?

Tentative plans for hanging at a state park were immediately abandoned. The weather was nice enough today it probably wouldda been hard to find a suitable parking place for Mooon Yooonit and the Lyme Lounge anyway. The GG suggested a faaaar in the backyard and I enthusiastically agreed.

So much fun. And I learned a new use for face masks! When the smoke from the camp fire comes in your direction, you can put the mask over your eyes. I think I will keep my masks when (and if) we ever move beyond COVID for that purpose if for no other reason except that my mouse made them for us, even though she was busy working at a GROCERY STORE at the time 🧡🧡🧡

Here’s to socializing again even if it still happens in the back yard and it will for a while, at least at the Landfill. Love y’all, KW!

Livin’ on a loop

Friday, April 16th, 2021

News from Our Northern Correspondent arrived this morning (she sent me some pics and videos her husband took and I asked for permission to post a couple). For the second time in my memory somebody veered off the nicely paved Birch Point Loop onto Chickadee, the gravel two-track road that leads down to our cabins on the moominbeach, and crashed into trees.

I do NOT know what happened but I can only guess that the driver was whaling down the hill going north on Birch Point Loop and missed/forgot the fact that it hangs a left at the bottom of the hill. If you go straight, you’re on Chickadee. If you don’t slow down when you enter Chickadee, you are likely to hit something, hopefully trees and not an oncoming vee-hickle. Chickadee looks like a tunnel when the deciduous foliage grows in. The yooperland isn’t there yet.

The last time this happened, the car caught fire and the driver was thrown out and died. My cousin Grinch found the burned car on his way to work the next morning but fortunately did not see the driver. This time the driver escaped and abandoned the car. Drunk? That would be my guess. The state police apparently knew who owned the car but not who was driving it.

UPDATE!!! I was WRONG WRONG WRONG about how yesterday’s accident happened. I shouldda asked for more details. See my cousin Jan’s comment below for an accurate description from some who was THERE!

My grandfather and his friends built the first iteration of Birch Point Loop, at least the part that goes down the hill. This is one of those moments I wish I could ask my parents to verify my memories of what they told me. The road was very primitive in those days. Unlikely for anyone to be able to go fast enough to miss the turn and anyway no turn to miss.

Eventually Birch Point Loop became a county road and my early memories of it were that it was two lane but gravel. My *earliest* memory of it was my first (?) time going to the cabin. I was 5-6 months old lying on the back seat of our old black Ford and I could hear the susurration of the pine trees in the persistent breeze off Gitchee Gumee, aka the northwest wind.

Later on when we had our dog Tigger, there was a little routine. Tigger would be totally freaked out on the first leg of the trip. Why? Because we were on the road that also led to the vet. Once we turned right at Pine Grove Cemetery, she would switch over to excitement because she knew WE WERE GOING TO THE CABIN! When we got to Birch Point Loop, dad would take her collar off and let her out of the car to run the rest of the way. 25 miles per hour!

Eventually Birch Point Loop was paved and although I wouldn’t call it a busy raceway, you can get up to a pretty good speed on the straightaway that goes down the hill. Watch for deer though. And bears. And that turn.

So glad this person was [apparently] not injured, at least not seriously, and didn’t injure or kill anyone else.

Driving is soooo weird

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

I ventured out for a drive to Cubelandia today. Yes it’s still there and a very small number of people are actually working there at least part of the time. Building Mom arranged for one last annual recycling event and I took advantage of it to get rid of an old sewing musheen. Oh, don’t worry, kiddos, it was NOT The Commander’s vintage Singer.

So I did my old Zen Commute one last time. I had planned to go early in the morning but I got sucked into stuff at TeleCubelandia plus it was SNOWING! I mean, at 36 degrees, it wasn’t slippery at all just… By the time I did get out it was after noon, traffic clogged the streets, and I think I hit every blasted red light all the way over there and back.

And then I got there… Building Mom was out today and the instructions were to drop stuff off by the BACK door, which I’m not sure I’ve ever even used. Guess who was standing between the Ninja and the door? Daddy Goose! Oh dear, I think I will wait a couple minutes until he ambles off. I made it there and back without incident and even navigated the notorious State/Ellsworth roundabout successfully. I did that thing twice a day for years and used to pooh-pooh roundabout chickens. ONCE in all those years I was rear-ended. It was at a VERY slow speed (like under 5 mph) and I basically let it go. I wasn’t at fault but it was certainly not my most elegant trip through the roundabout and I’m sure the [mortified] young man who hit me was confused by my actions.

Anyway, I have always LOVED to drive but it seems so weird now. I feel like I am ultra-cautious and while I don’t exactly creeeeep along, I tend to stay at or a bit below the limit and am quick to slow down in potentially iffy situations. I have always been a defensive driver but this feels like… more… Subconsciously applying social distancing rules to vehicular interactions maybe?

In other news, the entity known as the Lyme Lounge returned last night and my work days are no longer peaceful as there are rummaging activities and today an NCT zoom meeting in the Upstairs Lair (during my daily standup) and other inscrutable activities. Snow or not, summer is a-comin’. Eventually. This *is* the Great Lake State.

Cheers, KW

Where was I?

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

Oh yeah. So I walked out the door at 0-skunk-30 and the presence of a neon-green vested person in the street along with an “ashphalt” truck and some little black and orange doodlies promised an interesting day in TeleCubelandia. And yes, repaving some sections of the street that were dug up to get at the gas infrastructure went on throughout the day. Along with all the regular walkers and runners and dog-walkers and the guy with the scooter.

Although I was able to watch a lot of it, work was nutso today, as it has been all week. I swear I logged on Monday morning and aside from a very small task, I wasn’t sure what I did for a living. I finished the small task and was immediately beset by a barrage of questions. One very simple thing (or so I thought) blew up into so many complications that we had to schedule a MEETING to deal with it. Then yesterday… Was it Tuesday? Yes it was… It was one of those days when you fergit what day it is. Except throughout the day, I was back and forth between thinking it was Monday and thinking it was Wednesday.

At the end of today (Wednesday, roight?), Amazon Woman and I met yet again to try to talk through some sticky issues. After a meeting of minds about the history surrounding how one particular issue got as far out to lunch as it has, she scheduled a MEETING to try to deal with it. Me? We need to slow way down and take baby steps through the necessary functionality to understand it…

I don’t really want to talk about COVID today but as a friend has reported an additional COVID death among friends, I am just shaking my head. If you aren’t afraid of getting sick yourself, at least think about some other side effects of your choice for “freedom”. Like those who are more vulnerable than you may be, noting that COVID seemingly randomly takes victims in populations that are not “at risk” and more severe cases are rising in younger people as variants spread. That may be YOOOOUUU. Also, please think of our health care workers who continue to be overwhelmed. I think I am mainly preaching to the choir but still.

At the end of the day, I schlepped outta the Landfill and over to the woods to check out the Trout Lilies. I had seen the leaves a few days ago. They are now blooming and they blanket many parts of our little woods. I did not find jitp today. Will be monitoring.

Office view

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

This could be my office view but it isn’t really because this is out my backyard and I have commandeered the Green Couch, which provides a wonderful view of all neighborhood activity.

This activity has not much changed over the last yyyyyeeeeeaaaaaarrrrr but some of the characters have. I see the neighbors on both sides every day. Those to the south have recently introduced a beeceeclette for their *six* year old. She doesn’t seem to pedal yet but she is a force of nature and will get there. Neighbors to the north began the pandemic with a one-year-old and, at two, she is not always content to ride in the stroller. I have seen her mom and/or dad carry her home crying like all getout a couple times but that’s how it goes, roight?

For months and months, there was a kid who walked by solo every day. A skinny little kid who looked 9-10 to me with some sorta Peter Frampton hair, I mean the kind of hair Frampton had back in the day, I think he has less now. Frampton, not the kid. I dunno where this kid was walking from or to but once I saw him way the heck down on Miller, so it seemed he was walking a long way. I haven’t seen him since like September so who knows. On the other hand, there’s a gay couple (I’m guessing) who have been walking by the whole time, sometimes masked, sometimes not.

Yesterday I saw my long time neighbors from around the corner pushing a baby stroller. Say what? So, Gladys Kravitz here. They don’t have grandchildren do they? I didn’t think so. I know their kids and my kids are FRIENDS with their kids. Something that momentous would have been communicated to me. Best guess is they were baby-sitting for a relative.

So, Gladys Kravitz? If you are my age, you probably know the name. I was texting with my older beach urchin tonight and I asked if she remembered Gladys Kravitz. Yes, she did but she wasn’t sure about which TV show Gladys was on. Well, it was Bewitched, which she called B-witch. She knows that show because… When she was in kindergarten, she would frequently lolly-gag about getting dressed for school. Bewitched re-runs at that time ran in the morning and I would put the TV on in my bedroom and somehow that helped her focus on getting dressed. The dreaded “screens” are not always all that bad.

Being an introvert turns out to be not all that bad, at least during a pandemic

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Yeah, introvert. That’s me. Shy kid. Kindergarten. When it was “free choice” time (or whatever it was), I stood frozen in the middle of the circle until the teacher said, “KW, go to a table.”

First grade. I arrive at school before the bell rings. A giggling gaggle of girls goes inside the school *anyway*. I am not disliked by them, I’m just not “part” of them. I enter the school a bit after them. I am alone. The janitor is walking by. “You. Out!”, he says. I slink back out. For all I know, he had found the gaggle and kicked them out some other door but still.

Always nervous about speaking in front of groups. And talking to boyz I was attracted to. Paralyzed about job interviews. Well, I’m sure I am STILL paralyzed about job interviews but it’s now a moot point because I don’t have to do them any more. Somehow I could play my flute in front of people. Not sure why that was different. I was nervous but not anywhere near paralyzed.

So the definition of “introvert” has been shifting in the last few years. What? Introverts actually LIKE people? Who knew? I know. I do like people. I love to cackle away with my friends. I just don’t do well in big groups of them. So interacting with lots of people tires introverts? Yes yes yes yes!

I hate the pandemic and I am horrified that my own state of Michigan is struggling with yet another spike. Our governor tried to shut things down early on and a bunch of nincompoops actually tried to kidnap her. She (aka the state health department) should be shutting things down again. I support her and know why she is reticent about this.

All that said, the pandemic has not been terrible for us introverts. I get to interact with work folks and friends from my computer. Presentations are still hard but we manage them well. We may someday meet in conference rooms but for now, a year into this pandemic crapola, we are doing fine.

Gaggle or not, I have had good friends throughout my life, probably even some of the gaggle girls. I do very well at “safe” parties, like family parties, etc.

DISCLAIMER: Again, I know that I can enjoy working from home during the pandemic because my employer has encouraged this and because they pay me enough that I can afford to get groceries and other supplies delivered or curbside. This is not easy for anyone who has to work in person or who can’t afford to buy food.

Suddenly greeeeeeen

Sunday, April 11th, 2021

When I walked yesterday things were not green. This morning I took off and look at the green leaves everywhere. And yes there is forsythia. It is everywhere. Except there is only a bitsy little sprig in my yard. But we had a bit of rain yesterday and look at all the green.

The GG did a bunch of trail maintenance today on the North Country Trail. 20 trees down on whatever section he was working? Yeah maybe. I did a small amount of trail maintenance here at the Landfill. That is, I cleared a path to the back door. Moved faaaarwood and kindling outside and put newspaper and non-metallic xmas wrapping paper into the recycle.

Other than that, I dumped off a couple garbage bags of old clothing into a drop box. Yes, really. Man oh man. Back in like September 2019, I put together a garbage bag of crappy old clothes. I put it in the Ninja’s trunk. I had every intention of dropping it off somewhere. It didn’t happen. I dunno why. Then the pandemic happened. The bag stayed in the Ninja’s trunk forever. At some point I think the GG took that bag and a couple others, including a lot of my bizcaz clothing to the Salvation Army once they kind of opened again. But then a lot of those places kind of closed up again. This was a different bag but still one that I had a hard time dropping off. But I did it!

I’m kind of taaared in general tonight. I don’t get depressed in general but some days are “happier” than others and parts of today I felt kind of down. But things that helped with that low-level depression were that 1) I was able to quickly fix an issue with the Hoton Lake webcams and 2) fun flute convo with a daughter and 3) connecting on FB with my late cousin’s husband.

Life is like a river and this last year has not been all that fun. Love y’all, KW.

Haaaaaanging around

Saturday, April 10th, 2021

Worked on Deep Purple today. I have been sporadically working on decluttering Deep Purple for a while.

Deep Purple is a bedroom. During our tenure at the Landfill, it spent a short period as a spare bedroom, mainly one where The Grandparents stayed when they visited. I slept with my infants the first year and a half or so. And no, no one EVER rolled over on them. As a new mother, I was a very light sleeper.

By the time the second beach urchin came along, we had pretty successfully moved the first one into Deep Purple, which was NOT purple in those days. Green green green. Grass green.

When it was time for the second beach urchin to join the first (they shared Deep Purple for quite a few years), the first was NOT particularly happy until I suggested it might be nice to have a “little warm breather” in the same room. I dunno why but that seemed to make it okay.

Eventually we converted the third bedroom-like space into an actual bedroom for the older beach urchin. Maybe 6th grade? And Deep Purple turned into the younger’s bedroom. Which she painted deep purple in high school. With permission. I had to laugh though. This prodject took a looonnng time and she moved stuff outta that room into our front living room for the duration. LofPNet across the street came over cracking up one day. HIS daughter, a middle-schooler, had been viewing our living room through a telescope and was convinced that one artifact was a cage for a MYNA BIRD! If you know me, you know I was rolling on the floor laughing.

So Deep Purple goes in and out of various phases of clutter and today I finished emptying the closet of abandoned clothing and HANGERS! The abandoned clothing is in five grocery bags awaiting perusal by its owner. If it isn’t raining tomorrow morning, this box of haaaaangers is going out to the curb. We’ll see if anyone picks any of them up. Do people want old hangers? Note that most of these hangers were not, uh, hanging anything.

TOMORROW so I don’t forget… I am gonna… 1) UNBLOCK that back sliding door in the back room. It is blocked with faaaaarwood, which we aren’t gonna use any more this year and I HATE BLOCKED DOORS, even though that door is probably the last exit we would use in case of emergency. It’s more a feng shui kinda thing, not that I know anything about feng shui, just that blocked doors drive me BANANANANANAS. 2) BUILD MY BLASTED DAFF ALREADY!


Friday, April 9th, 2021

I’m pretty dern taarrred tonight but here is our first robin’s nest. I’m not sure mooma and daddy robin have finished yet. The GG is helping them by putting up a platform.

I was startled this morning here on TeleCublandia aka the Green Couch when a couple of robins were fighting or whatever and one of them slammed into my window. Yikes! I watched it ricochet off into a bush and I think it was okay. But yeesh.

Zippity zap bang bang bang

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Hail to the victors valiant! Hail to the conquering heros! Er, the conquering heroine, that is. Conquering tech issues left and right. Wham bam thank you ma’am.

Zip file issue? READ THE ERROR MESSAGE and fix what it’s telling you to fix, fer kee-reist. If it is telling you the file name has invalid characters, RENAME IT, even if you can’t SEE any invalid characters. (I hate the use of the underscore character in file names but it IS valid so that wasn’t the problem.) Worked like a charm. I still don’t trust zipped folders as secure long-term storage. Thinking about that (within the infrastructure of our digital environment at work). Not really my job but I use all these old files frequently for archaeological digging so I don’t want them to go away.

The corrupted excel address file? Duh… We PAY for wi-fi here at the Landfill. That means that any device that CAN connect to the internet via wi-fi can connect to the internet here at the Landfill. The old laptop WORKS just fine, it’s just slodgy and doesn’t have any sound and a couple other things. But. IT STILL CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET! And AIRDROP? Remember airdrop, KW? Hear that banging noise? That’s the sound of The Guru banging his head against whatever screen he’s using.

So I faaarrred up the old laptop AGAIN and YES! it was connected to the internet. So yer fav-o-rite blahgger airdropped her addresses excel file from the old laptop to the new one and then, this time when she opened it up (and it DID load into excel), she SAVED it in what she thinks is an appropriate format. Instead of 1997-2004 [something-something]. Hopefully this will solve the issue. But crapola. It should be easier for users.

Build price daff

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

A semi-frustrational day in terms of technology. Work? Zipping folders full of bajillions of files so as to store them in a different place than where they are right now, which is on a Jurassic Age “drive” somewhere. I’m not sure I totally trust file zipping. I mean, it’s fine for short term things like sending big “things” to people. Long-term storage, I am iffy about. I tried to open a zipped file from 2008 (the year I bought the Ninja) and it took something like four hours and I dunno if the files were extract-able after all that. I suggested we just trash all the zip files, at least the old ones. I have the *real* files on my hard drive and can zip them from there. Yes, I know that’s a dangerous place to keep important files and yes, we sometimes DO look at stuff from 2008, at least IIIIII do.

So I spent some time zipping up folders on my hard drive and posting them to, well, wherever. Until I hit a folder that wouldn’t zip because some file name had an invalid character in it. Nope… I won’t try to describe this but it was EOD and I was dun dun dun. I’ll troubleshoot it tomorrow. And maybe advocate for saving all this stuff in a non-zipped format. Somewhere besides my hard drive. Oh don’t worry. The loss of any of these files/folders doesn’t pose a threat to the on-line banking biz. It just provides a place for meeee to do archaeological digs when we’re trying to figure out why we decided to design something the way we did and if we want to change that or not. Some “Young Turk” could come in and cut my head off.

I decided not to try to figger this out tonight but I’ll be dogging it tomorrow.

And then there was family where us remaining MacMu cousins (six now, originally nine, three families have one child left, the fourth has all three, which is a great thing!) are trying to update our contact info in a collective way. This is not the first time we’ve done this but it might be the first time since a lot of us have ditched our landlines.

In the midst of trying to update my billion years old addresses excel spreadsheet, I could 1) not load Excel without setting a new password and 2) my addresses file wouldn’t load, even though I loaded it within the last month, on my NEW laptop, AFTER I bought the new Microsoft subscription and have edited the file since then. Well plus I had to update my frickin’ password today… 💩

My address file is backed up and it’s still on my OLD Macbook pro so maybe I can eventually get it onto my new laptop. The problem is that it doesn’t have a USB port.

I decided not to try to figger this out tonight but I’ll be dogging it tomorrow. Or maybe this weekend, since I have to yaknow, WORK tomorrow,

Nesting season

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

People on the bird watching email list I lurk on have been saying nesting activity is slow to start up. I enjoy watching nature in general but don’t have an avid enough interest in anything to learn, oh say, habits or Latin species names, etc.

During my 12-13 years down at Cubelandia, I was pretty familiar with the annual cycle of the Canada Goose although I was always a bit surprised (pleasantly) when the first goslings of the season appeared. Oh, it’s THAT time of year. We got sent home to telecommute before that started last year and of course we are not there this year and never going back. The closest I get to geese nowadays is when they honk their way across the sky during my 0-skunk-30.

Fortunately the yard at TeleCubelandia is popular with quite a few bird species, some I know and others are just Little Brown Birds. Wrens or sparrows or something. The GG calls them junk birds and has made the birdhouse openings too small for them.

Speculation on the birder list is that nesting activity is slow this year because of drought. Although I have noticed we aren’t getting a lot of precipitation, it doesn’t really look much like drought around here. That’s because at this time of year, there is NEVER a whole lot of lush greenery in the Great Lake State. Pretty darn gray and only a few things are beginning to bud. I have a few daffs and NO CROCUS! (note to self to plant some bulbs next fall!). Forsythia. One of our scrappy little flowering bushes has pink buds on it today. It’ll be a while before the oaks and things in “our” woods grow leaves.

The robins are probably the most fun. Mooma (or maybe daddy) Robin has been inspecting the usual locations and seems to be settling on the drain pipe. As of today, the GG saw her putting grass on it. Last year we had THREE robin families so maybe others will show up on our other popular locations. But here we go! Need rain!

Looooong day. Reconnected with a MacMu cousin I haven’t seen in a while. No particular reason for the lack of communication, just we’re both busy but I guessed correctly that he may not have heard our family’s bad news. I had bad [old] phone contact info for him but he was easy to find on the internet via his law firm. Emailed him and he almost immediately replied, “What’s your phone number?” A great convo ensued along with updated contact info. And then a DEEEEEP dive into a rabbit hole of some old-skool javascript that my old boss the LSCHP wrote back in the Jurassic Age and some new things on my plate or more like some old things on my plate that dropped off my radar screen🐽

And then, PS, a facetime convo with a couple other MacMu cousins, these on the west coast. 🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

Waning crescent and then raaaiiiinnnn

Monday, April 5th, 2021

Finally. It wasn’t huge storms but there was thunder and a couple of good soakings. Boy oh boy did we need it. For weeks and weeks we keep getting these forecasts for days with 100% rain and then… Nothing… The sun rises and beats down on us every day all day. I can’t really complain. I’ve lived through many a month of March with days and days on end of zero or below temperatures and/or never ending snow. We did have some little bitsy snow flurries on April Fool’s Day. Guess what? I bet we aren’t done with snow.

The good thing about snow in April, even significant snow, is that you don’t really need to shovel it. If you do, you are basically shoveling water — water that’ll melt by the next day, if not within hours.

Easter Sunday? What a beautiful day! I knew it was gonna be nice and I had entertained the idea of getting the Purple Kayak (the only one here at the moment) down into the river early in the morning. At 30-something, it was a wee bit cold for my taste. Photo memories showed me that the last time Easter fell on April 4th, we were in the middle of a spell of 80-90 degree weather (yes, really) and we did actually hit the river early in the morning. Baggies of Cheerios and little cans of V8 for breakfast. Yesterday, I was content with an early morning walk, layered and accessorized by balaclava and glubs. And a wee bit of bacon to enhance a humble do-it-yourself breakfast.

When we “do” Easter, it’s in a very secular way. I was brought up and confirmed Methodist (the mainstream flavor) but have been agnostic since about the age of three and my kids basically share beliefs similar to mine (I think). I didn’t (I don’t think) try to indoctrinate them in anything. The GG is Catholic and whether or not he shares my beliefs exactly, organized religion doesn’t seem to be a big thing for him and it’s never been an issue. You can live by the Golden Rule (or try to) without being churched.

When the beach urchins were young, we did the Easter basket, egg, and candy routine with a few gifts thrown in for good measure. It was also the time I usually trashed whatever Halloween candy was still left over, usually the stuff they didn’t really like, untouched for months. I dunno what we did when they got older, probably gifts and chocolate still and maybe egg-dyeing. Then they went off to college and study abroad and one worked in SanFran for a number of years. We gave Easter a nod with a steak dinner for two or whatever.

And then, one year, the younger was living nearby and all of a sudden we were doing a (sort of) Easter dinner again. Her idea. I mean, why not celebrate any holiday you can.

So nowadays Easter dinner is the smallest ham I can find, mashed potatoes, asparagus even though it isn’t in season yet and whatever. This year because COVID it was just the two of us and I ordered some lovely sliced ham from Plum catering. It was just the right amount for us with a day’s worth of leftovers.

Cheerio[s]! Kayak Woman

P.S. Me and my brother in my bedroom with an Easter aminal back in the day. I think I had that skirt in 1st grade.


Sunday, April 4th, 2021

I’m not sure how to write any of this so I guess I’ll just jump in. I’ve written before that I have quite a number of cousins and that we all get along really well. I was also lucky enough to be blessed with a couple of female cousins on both sides that are my age or close to it. I lost one of them yesterday. She was a year younger than me.

The shared trajectories of our lives… We knew each other well as children as our families traveled to visit each other a few times a year and we also saw them at our grandparents’ house in Detroit. Her parents (The Comm’s older brother and wife) died when she was in her late teens/early 20s, which is a horrible time to be orphaned and although she was a Force of Nature, I think she struggled a bit. We didn’t see or hear much from her for quite a few years. DISCLAIMERS: This was NOT a feud and when I say “struggles”, I don’t mean lifestyle issues or anything like that. Like so many of us, it was more “what do I want to do when I grow up” stuff. Eventually she found her calling as a teacher and counselor and ROCKED IT!

My mom carefully reached out over those hard years, wanting to make sure Teri knew she still had family who cared about her without overwhelming her. Over the years, Teri married and had a daughter and one summer she accepted The Comm’s invitation to visit the moomincabin, bringing her young daughter and older sister (my beloved cousin Sally) with her. Both my parents were still healthy and my daughters were teenagers and the GG is always fun. We all had sooooo much fun that they came back for more year after year.

Man oh man, I will miss her boundless energy and all of our rapid-fire conversations (she talks even faster than I do) where we were just about finishing each other’s sentences and laughing our you-know-whats off. Talking about our lives and families and all the things we remembered (or misremembered) from when we were kids. It went on and on.

One of my favorite sessions ever was after our eccentric aunt Roberta died. She was the oldest sibling of the five in our parents’ family and outlasted all but one of them, dying at 98. The convo was something like:

Teri: So, did you know that Roberta died?
KW: Nooooo.
Teri: It was a year and a half ago.
KW: [speechless]
Teri: If it makes you feel any better, I only found out a few months ago
KW and Teri: [simultaneously explode into hysterical laughter]

Roberta did not have children so it fell to our remaining uncle to notify the family about her death and he was just kinda beyond it by then.

The last time I saw Teri was summer of 2019 and we were sitting on the moomincabin deck when she told me she was ill. At that time, I wouldn’t have guessed and, sensing she didn’t want this information widely spread, I kept it quiet.

Although we don’t didn’t communicate online all that often, I’m guessing she was well enough last summer to get to the moomincabin but, well, f*ck COVID.

That last time I saw her, during our 2019 deck convo, I did tell her very sincerely that I loved her. She looked at me like I was being a little maudlin. I said, no, I really do and I just wanted to say that. We went back to cackling away about our lives, etc., but I sure am glad I said it.

Unidentified Non Flying Objects

Saturday, April 3rd, 2021

Oh, not the lucky-shuckyal beeceeclette. I mean I’m sure it CAN fly but I hope it doesn’t!

Yes, so THIS was what was in the BIG BOX (not a Ferrari). it took some doing to unbox it and then even more doing to break up the box and accompanying styrofoam. Both our garbage and recycle carts are gonna be FULL this week. I don’t think styrofoam is recyclable, at least not at the moment and it doesn’t go in the cart EVER. There are places that take bubble wrap (there was some of that too).

The idea is that he’ll be able to “spot” this bike when he takes long (like 25 mile) trail hikes so he can go one way and then ‘lectro-bike back to the car. Yes, some of us have some reservations about this plan but he’s an adult and he does have a helmet. Anyway, this is his bday month so I guess this is his bday present. I suppose it’s better than the TWO identical coffee grinders he got last year (it was a pandemic shopping error on the part of the company, not meeee (for once)). But probably not better than the empty peanut butter jar he salvaged out at the geology center.

Alas, Lectro Bike did not arrive in perfect condition. A small plastic part that has something to do with the battery broke immediately and he spent all day getting it to run via a “work-around”, as we say in the web dev world. Fortunately it has a warranty and the company has been responsive so a fix is in the works. But he did ride it down to the river and back today.

The UNFOs? I cleaned out my junk drawer today! Yay! What a mess. I wish I had before/after pics. Some things (non-working pens, etc.) were unceremoniously thrown out and others were returned to their “proper” homes (like how many spools of thread do you have in YOUR junk drawer?). Mine is mainly an office supply drawer at this point. Except that I don’t really need office supplies much any more. Somehow I can’t seem to get rid of old 1st National Bank of Sault Ste. Siberia rulers… And then there were items I couldn’t identify…

I interrupted this for a while to do porterzoomation. At the end of the zoom call, I received bad news from my beloved cousin Teri’s daughter that she passed away this morning. She had been fighting a long-term illness for a couple years but one she hoped to beat. That’s about all for now. I’m okay but processing so maybe I’ll be able to put my thoughts into words tomorrow.

What’s in the box?

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

It’s a cheap and dirty photoooo but that’s what was needed. At first I couldn’t resist the urge to photoshop affinity it and cropped the Green Couch out. I undid that when I realized without the Green Couch, there was no frame of reference for the scale of this BIG BOX, which I had a GREAT TIME manhandling into the Landfill when it was delivered this morning. Turnstyle the seal doesn’t really provide scale. I’ll let y’all guess what’s in it but it is definitely not something I wanted to be porch pirated. Even though my “office” is ON the Green Couch, meaning I see EVERYTHING that gets delivered.

Arriving coincidentally at the same time as THE BOX was my Argus Farm Stop delivery for today. It was filled with goodies including farm-frozen broccoli and asparagus, Zingerman’s pizza dough, apricot-chardonnay jam, and I fergit what else.

Most of the rest of my day was boring. Hardly anybody was working today and we got “early release” for Easter, which feels kinda weird since we are all remote workers now. It wasn’t the most productive day I ever had and I spent HOURS agonizing about re-designing a simple diagram that I didn’t like.

But then. In the afternoon, I had visitors! A mouse and a raccoon. They wanted to use my driveway to change Orange Betty Oriole’s oil but there were some difficulties that I couldn’t describe if I tried because I have NEVER changed the oil in any car. BUT. We’d had a kind of a plan to have whine in the back yard. Problem. It was sunny today but I don’t think we got over 44 degrees or so.

So… We… All fully vaxxed… Had whine in the back room. The “kids” are not really worried about COVID at this point. I mean, they have both worked in grocery stores for the duration of the pandemic. I am still nervous and I think they respect that. But. The Landfill isn’t a huge house but the back room is big enough that we can socially distance there, whether or not we really need to. We are only nine days past full vax so technically we are not “there” yet but it was a risk I could accept. I haven’t processed my feelings about this enough to write about it, as I’m guessing many others have not.

So, whaddya think is in the box? 👀👀👀

Back to school

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

I think it was a week ago last Monday (that’d be March 22, THAT Monday) that I got home from my walk and saw headlights shining through the woods. And there was this sign but the signs on the front of the school were inscrutable. One day I noticed a guy walking a little girl with a backpack to down the sidewalk at about the school starting time. Was school in session or not? The district website did not provide much information. Amazon Woman has a daughter in the public schools here but she’s in middle school and those kids were still totally virtual at the time. The website was updated when I checked it today. It’s spring break this week but it turns out that yes, the schools are phasing in a “hybrid” version of classes.

As Michigan COVID cases rise, I am not a fan but I don’t envy anyone connected to education their jobs right now. Teachers, parents, students, administrators, whoever.

In general, I was *happy* when my kids left for school each day. Whether I was walking them or they were walking themselves, middle school bus or carpool, and eventually driving the Indefatigable down Miller to “Commie” High. (That’s what us parents *affectionately* called it. I’m sure our high schoolers were rolling their eyes.)

I did a lot of volunteer work throughout and met up with my then walking buddies at Haisley every morning. I was in and out of that office constantly and therefore overheard a lot of “stuff”. I usually kept my mouth shut but once, the principal and secretary were kind of kvetching about people calling their kids in sick all the time, when the kids were probably not sick. I mentioned that if my kids were not sick, school is where I wanted them to be, as much for my sanity as their education.

Public school is not perfect. Lemme see… My kids are pretty intelligent but as small quiet girls they didn’t always get “noticed”. There was the one kid who took off into the reading stratosphere halfway through first grade but it didn’t get noticed until second grade. There was the first grade class (different kid) in which there were so many kids with serious special needs that my kid kind of got ignored. There was a hugely different middle school experience for my kids based on the fact that one went to an alternative “open” school and the other had to deal with a large bureaucratic middle school. She once told me (as an adult) that she thought middle school kids would learn more if they worked on a farm and I cannot disagree. And then… One of the kids, at our beloved alternative high school, went through three years of weird “forum” (kinda like home room but more) experiences before finally finding a decent forum home.

But! Overall, the public schools do a good job. It can be difficult to endure a year with a less than satisfactory teacher. But it’s important for kids to learn that life is not perfect and you are going to encounter less than perfect people/teachers/bosses/partners/whatever. In my case, when my kids encountered imperfect teachers, I think I was able to support them until they were old enough to handle their own interpersonal relations.

My adult daughers? They aren’t rocket scientists but they could be if they were interested. They pretty much rock the world these days. And I am kinda done here. I have more to say but not necessarily the words to say it.