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Swatting

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

I’ve been swatting at these things all day with SWAT! various degrees of success. They aren’t swarming by any means, just coming around often enough that I have to be vigilant.

At least we don’t have blackflies on our property. I’m not allergic to much but those things make me actually sick. They bite me in the back of my neck just along my hairline. They swell up and itch SWAT! and I get a low-grade fever. We also do not have ticks on our property, at SWAT! least I have never seen one. They abound up on the nature trail.

We were driving back from Naomikong yesterday SWAT! and we were passing Tower Road and the GG was mentioning SWAT! how we haven’t driven it for a while. That stirred up some childhood memories for me of riding with my parents on Tower Road so we went back over there today and drove it from Dollar Settlement where it starts back to the Spectacle Lake SWAT! overlook and the “Grandma Left Her Purse in the Graveyard” cemetery. As we were driving along, another memory surfaced. The old faaaar tower. We used to drive in to look at the old tower. Tower Road? Get it?

The tower is long gone and today SWAT! I couldn’t have remembered where the turnoff was to save my life. And I couldn’t do the google because NO SERVICE. When we got back to the moomincabin I did do the google and found not only the location but the gruesome story we were always told as kids. The synopsis SWAT! is that the ranger’s 3-year-old daughter was playing on the cabin porch when a bear came along, carried her off and killed her. If you are strong enough to read the whole story, here’s a link. This happened well before I was born but it was still fresh in the minds of the eastern yooperlanders when I was a child.

Hot sticky day but a late afternoon shower has me feeling refreshed. Still haven’t gotten in the lake. SWAT! SWAT! SWAT!

Linear juxtapositions with water

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Last night was the first night we slept in the Lyme Lounge. The last couple summers, the adult beach urchins seemed to be a bit worried about their parents sleeping in the Lyme Lounge. I actually LIKE to sleep in the Lyme Lounge. It’s very comfortable to me.

Anyway, last night was a beautiful night for sleeping in the Lyme Lounge. The TREES were RAINING all night. Like, whaddya mean, the trees were raining, KW? What I mean is a fog bank settled on the Upper St Marys River and the moisture was so thick it gathered on all of the trees here and they dripped down on everything including the Lyme Lounge. I didn’t sleep through the night but it was a comfortable kind of waking up and going back to sleep. At one point during the night, I heard a freighter blowing its foghorn. I could’ve looked it up on my iPhone but I couldn’t quiiiite surface enough to do that.

When I got up this morning, there were spider webs of various sorts everywhere and EVERYTHING was covered with water droplets. I did my best to capture some of this but my iPhone (XS) is not the latest and greatest.

I continue to be concerned about the numbers of folks driving up to the yooperland for the holiday weekend. Are they coming to go to bars? We are here in the yooperland but we are sticking to our own isolated beach property. We took a drive out to Naomikong Point for a short hike this morning. There were very few people there so it was easy to distance from them. I met one man on the trail and he was masked but still jumped out to the beach when I came along. Then a family with a black puppy. I saw a black aminal before I saw people and my reptile-brain thought BEAR! Not. The were all friendly but did distance themselves from me.

Alas, I drove up to the Tahquamenon river mouth and back (long story) and while the road wasn’t jammed bumper to bumper, there were a LOT of cars heading up to the Tahquamenon area.

I struggle with the folks (on facebook mainly) who don’t want COVID in the north country but still complain about our governor #ThatWomanInMichigan when she closes bars, etc. Logic, anyone?

10 degrees cooler near the Great Lakes

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

That’s a familiar addendum to the weather reports in the yooperland. It was 84 in Brimley (a few miles down the road) according to my weather app. Here? With that wind coming in off the lake? Somewhere in the 60s. Sometime in the afternoon a fog bank rolled through and the island and the points at both ends of the beach disappeared. The fog bank rolled out as quickly as it advanced and the island/points reappeared.

This was a slug day for me except for a couple of morning beach walks and some lightweight chores. Hey, I needed that! This week was two sweltering work days, stressful pandemic packing, a driving day, and an errand day. So today was a reading day. I spent most of it outside, polartech jacket to fend off the wind chill and big sunhat to shield my face. I STILL feel overexposed this afternoon. My face feels hot like it’s been sunburned but I think it’s just the wind. So even though it’s pleasant on the deck right now, I am inside.

My Rodent Delivery Team made a little reconnaissance mission inside The Landfill today. They found that I did *not* leave a baggy of chicken thighs on the stovetop or the counter or anywhere else. I must’ve unthinkingly shoved them back in the freezer. They did find the half gogi burrito that I couldn’t finish on Tuesday and forgot to pack. And they FINISHED it for me, which made me happy. I don’t know about the orange juice but they did send me a detailed list of everything they touched inside the house so I knew what to disinfect when I got back, although I maaaay not return as soon as I had originally planned if Meijer curbside works out. If I stay longer, I’ll be telecommuting. I did have the foresight to schlep my work laptop.

Oh yeah, it’s one more trip around the sun for our partnership. More years than I am strong enough to count. We haven’t done much to celebrate, just grilling rib-eyes from Best Choice at Hoton Lake. Last year we took a bunch of relations out to lunch at Wicked Sister. Can’t do that this year and one of that particular group is no longer with us. Thinking of her today.

To any folks who may have doubted we would last (and I suspect there were a few because, well, I am a “spirited” person, and that’s about as far as I’m gonna go with that!), we get along better than you might think. We do have our moments but doesn’t every long married couple? What the heck, we’re having a bit of a moment as I write this🐽 And he didn’t just marry meeee, he had the fortune (good or bad?) to marry the moomincabin. For many years he has been the main caretaker here. I sure could’ve done worse. How many young men would want to spend most of their vacation time in an rustic, isolated cabin with their in-laws.

Wear your mask if you are going to the yooperland.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Both MMCB1 and MMCB2 were available to facetime this morning. I was ready for them too. When the call came in, I commandeered it immediately with, “Do you want to walk down to the beach with me?” Well, yes. I showed them our little rustic cabin. I pivoted to show them the log cabin my grandparents built in 1924, then I walked down the path through the woods to the beach. I pointed out Canananada to them before I turned the camera back to my fugly old face. I talk about my homeland a lot but I think it’s hard to visualize, even from photos. They were impressed.

Gorgeous calm morning. The GG drove the Motor Bote over to Round Island Point to check out the eagle’s nest and I was able to show MMCBs his return.

We made a trip through town today. Took the back roads over to Clyde’s for a pickup of our annual grease quota and ate it in Goose Poop Park. Masks were worn by us (well, me🐽) and the server. Clyde’s is a drive-in restaurant on the lower St. Marys River and I have been going there all my life and I remember going there with my grandmother and I remember going there on “senior skip day” and the day I picked up my parents right after my brother died and all the times in the POC with the kids/nieces/second cousins…

After Clyde’s, we took several trips to hardware stores to try to replace the fluorescent light over the moomincabin stove and that involved the GG going INSIDE stores. He did mask and so did store employees (I stayed in the car) but no luck on replacing the light. Gas at Meijer and some scouting about where the curbside pickup spaces were located. I don’t need grock yet but I am building an order and will “pull the trigger” on my cart when we get to the point where we actually NEED something.

Nanny car

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Oooof. Pandemic road trips. It was a stressful morning. I THOUGHT I was pretty well PRE-packed. Somehow rummaging the freezer proved very stressful*, pulling everything off every shelf in order to find things. In the end I forgot the orange juice (not in the freezer). And maaayyybeeee some chicken thighs. I don’t THINK I left them on the stovetop, which was my staging area.

I was tasked to pick up yeast for the young cousins staying next door. I don’t have yeast in my house (usually) but Mouse overheard the phone call (from the GG) asking about it and was more than willing to pick some up at work this morning and hand it off to me in the parking lot. If I were a crying type person, I would’ve probably cried saying sayonara to her as I left the Plum parking lot today.

Although I soooo miss being together with my kids and their friends at the moomincabin this summer, at that moment, it was just general low-level anxiety. I was driving alone (like I have done umpteen bazillion times before) from The Planet Ann Arbor to the moomincabin. I was driving Mooon Yooonit and I have not droven that beeyootiful vee-hickle all that much, mostly over to Cubelandia and back when the weather was iffy. For this trip I had to deal with the possibility of roadP and maybe I would have to fill up the tank.

I told my mouse that I was okay and I was. She asked me if I had a roadP strategy and I did. I have learned to deal with low-level anxiety and I did calm down considerably once I got headed north.

It was a decent drive although I think there are WAAAAY too many people heading north. I can only hope they aren’t planning to fill up the bars and restaurants. I am certainly not. I have my own property and we are far apart from neighbors. I did NOT need to roadP. There were a couple short slowdowns on the Big Mac and then I parked in the rest area just above the bridge long enough to text a pic from crossing the bridge. I did not turn off the engine at any time.

Just south of the Rudyard exit, a coffee cup appeared on my dashboard with the message shown in the pic. Um no… And how the heck do I get this message to go away. It was blocking the data telling me how many miles I had left before I needed gas. Which was plenty but I was still watching it.

I guess this coffee cup “feature” showed up based on the amount of time I had been driving. The GG surmised that it had detected me “weaving”. Um, noooo. Unless changing lanes to pass someone counts as weaving. But I was NOT weaving and that was pretty insulting. I can’t say I haven’t ever gotten a little sleepy on a long road trip but coffee always helps with that and I would rather risk death by COVID getting coffee at McD’s than risk death by falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a tree. Anyway. Rudyard was my exit and at that point in the trip, I am always more than awake, excited about my impending arrival.

*At least my home freezer has a light. The moomincabin freezer does not. I was kvetching about that tonight and the GG was trying to say I was blaming it on whatever feelings he thinks I have about white males. Ohhhhh nooooo. It’s my MOTHER I’m grumpy at. She’s the one who bought the dern refrigerator!

Flutter flutter flutter flutter [teensy tinesy] ka-whomp

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

I was sitting having a ‘hattan after work yesterday when I heard a lot of fluttering and a very lightweight little ka-whomp. Three feet away from me sat a newly fledged baby robin. Quick quick get a pic! And somehow I managed to do so before this little guy hopped and flittered away.

That’s our second set of robins this year and a third is just around the corner of the house where I can’t see it from this vantage point. I have learned a LOT about robin nesting habits. Oh, please don’t quiz me. I have NOT done a scientific study. One thing that’s going on TODAY that I do NOT understand is that a couple of other birds have been spending a lot of time in and around the abandoned nest. Junk Birds? I’m not sure.

When am I leaving? I do not know. I am an Early Bird but I do NOT think I will blast outta Dodge at 0-skunk-30.

Am I packed? NOOOOOO I am not packed. I am PRE-packed. That means I have a LIST. It also means anything not on the list that I think I might need/want is placed such that I will TRIP OVER IT. I can’t pack perishable food in hot weather until I’m ready to put it in the car. That is all.

I don’t really have a lot to pack anyway. Clothes, food, technological crapola, and a few books. Food is always the issue. I ALWAYS take food up to the yooperland. It is plentiful there but there are certain specialties that I like to schlep from The Planet Ann Arbor or Best Choice at Hoton Lake.

Pandemic traveling? Food is horrendously difficult and stressful to pre-pack. Any other year, if I need something I can schlep to Meijer (15 minutes) or the park store (five minutes) or wherever. The last year UKW came back to the moominbeach to spend time with us, we had so many people to feed we were at Meijer every other day. At one point we felt compelled to tell our cashier that the two of us were really NOT eating and drinking all the food/booze we were buying.

This year I do my best to schlep everything I think we (the two of us who isolate together) might need for the duration we’ll be there so we can stay OUT of stores. I will say that all of the ice packs I acquired by accidentally buying 18 cranberry goat cheese loaves online will help me keep everything cold.

COVID cases in the eastern yooperland? Zero or close to it UNTIL NOW!!! Nine or seven in Chippewa County depending on how you are counting. Small number? Yes. But we all know how that goes, roight? Stay outta the damn bars, people.

I ended my afternoon with whine and an early dinner in the back yard with my rodent delivery person. Dinner was a gogi (beef) burrito from H.O.M.E.S. brewery, picked up curbside. She dropped a few more grocks and also returned a book (Ursula Under, which I’m taking to the moomincabin library). I gave her tubes of After Bite and Sting Kill since she now lives in the woods. I had extra because after I couldn’t find any in my house LAST summer, I went “Pig Wild” and bought five tubes of each online.

‘hicken the garden sentinel

Monday, June 29th, 2020

It was the end of a not-terribly productive day at TeleCubelandia, I think a function of needing a bit of vacay. I shut down my laptop and started scrolling Twitter on my phone…

And almost fell out of my seat. Say what? Mitch McConnell is exhorting people to wear masks? Huh? I don’t follow Mitch and am not a fan, although that’s not why I don’t follow him. After all, I DOOOO follow the Bad Orange Man. Another person I follow is KellyAnne’s husband, a Lincoln Project founder and fellow disparager of the Orange Baboon. It was he who retweeted McConnell. Almost can’t believe I’m saying this but GO Mitch!

A few tweets down, the New Jersey governor tweeted that restaurants would NOT be opening as planned. This is good news and more governors should follow. I know I am probably harping on this way too much for some of my six readers but I never did think opening restaurants to indoor seating was a good idea. If EPIDEMIOLOGISTS are still struggling to understand COVID’s rules and how to avoid becoming infected, why do we think RESTAURANT OWNERS know what to do?

Oh well. It was hot enough here today that I moved my TeleCube into the back yard as soon as there was enough shade to sit back here and I am currently spending cocktail hour watching the second batch of robins, who are about to fledge, and a few other garden birds and aminals. Baby robins are flapping their wings like crazy.

‘hicken doesn’t really have much of a garden to protect this year. My three pots of impatiens (the only plants I don’t [usually] kill) and an overgrown raised bed of chives and things. I am NOT a good gardener. I will NEVER BE a good gardener. I’m not sure I even ENJOY gardening. But I would like a nice-looking yard and I wish I could hire somebody like Lotus Farms or whoever to do some gardening/landscaping here. Alas, that’s another topic on which we are a house divided 🐽

P. S. Did I spell epidemiologists correctly? Somehow it looks weird to me. Maybe because it’s in CAPS?

P. P. S. ROBIN FLEDGLING! Just now and right next to me. Pic tomorrow.

Prepping

Sunday, June 28th, 2020

Chores: laundry (including masks) and mop chitchen floor plus all the stuff I do pretty much every day. If you are at my house (someday when “this” is over) and you put down a water glass that you intend to use again, it will probably not be there by the time you’re ready to use it.

Grock lists: Argus, Plum, and Meijer. (Delivery, pickup, and Rodent Delivery)

Packing lists: food (frozen, perishable, and shelf-stable), supplies, clothing that I might forget if I don’t put it on a list, a few books, dry bag. I refrained from actual packing today but put a few things (masks) in places where I will TRIP OVER THEM! That means I can’t fergit them, roight?

Randomness: figgered out how the heck to put gasoline in Mooon Yooonit. Yes, we have owned that vee-hickle for almost a year and I have NOT ONCE filled up the tank. I will have to do that in a few days. And BTW my gas-filling status means that I hardly ever drive Mooon Yooonit. It’s still basically a brand new vee-hickle to me even though we’ve had it for a year and it is all junked up with North Country Trail crapola and probably chain saws and thangs. And about a bazillion old water bottles. I will have to add a P-bucket to it because I am not gonna use public restrooms because droplets and Terlet Plumes. Although we don’t know yet whether Terlet Plumes spread COVID and I’m probably pretty well immune to anything else they might spread.

Oh and cash please? I have had the same five one-dollar bills in my purse since March 12 or whenever it was. I have not used cash for anything since then, except for tips to Argus delivery folks. I have a special envelope of five-dollar bills for them. I was SOOOO SCARED to go to the drive-through bank the day I got those. Seems like “science” is now saying that we are no longer terrified about catching COVID from money or cardboard boxes or surfaces in general although it is a possibility. We are still advised to WASH OUR HANDS after touching anything potentially contaminated and I DO!

Fatigue

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Oddly, I am not all that fatigued by the protracted period of isolation. There are times I feel frustrated that I have to plan ahead for food/supplies but overall that hasn’t been a problem. I miss being able to take off at the drop of a hat and grab my own grocks but it’s also been fun to learn to navigate pick-up and delivery at various places plus the online ordering I was already doing for some things anyway. Again, The Planet Ann Arbor is a food cornucopia and the folks I’m dealing with for pickup/delivery are REALLY GOOD!

I MISS my beach urchins! I get to see one of them via Rodent Delivery but I haven’t seen the other one since February 15th. It was a Saturday and the GG was outta town and she came over and we walked downtown for lunch at the Griz, then hit up Literati books, THEN hired a *Lyft* to take us to the Plum. That was my first Lyft and also my last, although I doubt it’ll be my last ever. But those are all things I can’t imagine doing now. Mingling with… People I’m not isolating with?

I woke up feeling discouraged this morning. Watching COVID numbers sky-rocket in states where elected officials didn’t take the virus seriously, kow-tow-ing to the Orange Baboon instead. Watching COVID numbers creep up in states (like mine) where elected officials DID take the virus seriously but were pummeled from both sides of the situation for making excruciating decisions and started to “open up”. Watching the continuing Trump/Pence Dog and Pony Show.

I became ANNOYED as I read news stories about how a popular bar in East Lansing became a COVID super-spreader. You can google the bar’s name but I will tell you that I believe it was called Dooley’s (or sometimes Drooley’s 🐽) when I was a student at Moo-U. (And yes I went to that bar then.)

So, bars opened up. STUDENTS lined up at this place. Social distancing was not practiced. A lot of these students (ah-hah) were from the Grosse Pointe suburbs of Detroit. Rich kids. They had a big party AFTER the bar. Guess where the virus numbers are now spiking? Grosse Pointe suburbs. The bar struggled to enforce The Rules. Who was responsible for enforcing distancing rules at the after-party? And it isn’t limited to kids who were at the bar/party. Because then. Some of those kids had a bonfire a few days later and OTHER KIDS from the Grosse Pointe ‘burbs went to the bonfire and now THEY HAVE IT and have taken it home to THEIR FAMILIES! Kee-reist. A bonfire kid’s moom was quoted as saying, “Maybe she shouldn’t have gone to the bonfire?” Duh. A lot of college students are not inherently responsible. I know. I was one once.

BARS should be closed everywhere, indefinitely. They should be able to sell food and drink for curbside and delivery and MAYBE outside seating although that’s not gonna work very well when Old Man Winter returns to the Great White North. And I know that you can’t legally tell an 18-year-old child what to do but I think families CAN have discussions about what is or isn’t appropriate behavior in a house the PARENTS OWN during a pandemic. My children are lots older and on their own but THEY are worried about US! And knowing them, they would have been just as considerate if this had happened in the days they *were* college students 🧡

Mickey Mouse for president!

Friday, June 26th, 2020

Doesn’t the GG look a little like Mickey with those big ear thingies on?

The last time we drove to Crazy Old Florida for FUN was the April after the last presidential election and if you know me at all, you know I am not crazy about the Orange Baboon (to put it mildly). We met up for dinner with The Beautiful Susie and Mr. Ed. It was always interesting to try to take them out to dinner because they don’t really go out to eat. So we were at the Ringling Art (not circus) Museum on Sarasota’s FSU campus and I asked them where we could go out to eat. Uh, I dunno. We could eat at that Italian restaurant we ate at when we first met 20 years ago. Okay let’s do it! It was a great restaurant and I’m sure there were viruses lurking there but nothing that threatened any of us.

It was there that our SWEET Mr. Ed inadvertently brought up polly-ticks and IMMEDIATELY tried to back off. He is a Bernie Bro’ and although I am not, my suggestion that Mickey Mouse would make a better prez than Trump got a laugh and seemed to forestall any potential arguments. The GG, for his part, kept his trap shut and didn’t mention “socialists”, whatever they are.

Our beautiful Susie died that fall, just after Hurricane Irma. It was somewhat sudden. She was having various health issues at the time we were down there and I don’t know if they were related or not. She was the first cFam sib I met and although I love all my in-laws, Suze and I hit it off bigtime, although she was a wee bit skeptical about sharing her big bro’ at first. More on that some other time 🐸

The GG did his work today oh boy oh boy. We have four trash-type carts. One for garbage, one for recycle, and two for compost. He cleaned ALL of them out today plus at least one vee-hickle and the driveway and I dunno what else. This one is one of the compost carts. They were all dirty but the GARBAGE cart stunk to high heaven! I won’t try to describe why but it involved little plastic bags (think newspaper delivery bags) collecting at the bottom and mingling with other bits of debris over a few months until a mass of bacteria was growing down in there. I knew it needed to be cleaned out but was procrastinating. I can only guess that what was in there would have set off my gag reflex big time.

P. S. Contrast our Suzie/Ed restaurant experience with the one we had later that week with FlaMan. We were on our way to pick him up and the GG was bugging me to look up restaurants, like “he won’t know where to go”. Oh, no. I knew better. And I was right. Hey FlaMan, what restaurant do you want to go to? Cody’s Roadhouse! was the immediate answer. We ate at the bar and the bartender topped off my second glass of whine with the rest of the bottle having observed us for the duration. (I love FlaMan as much as I loved The Beautiful Susie but for different reasons and she was easier to spend time with.)

Time to clean out

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

The freezer, that is. Yes, I have a side-by-side. A refrigerator is a refrigerator aka it is what it is. What was I looking for yesterday? Whitefish fillets. Waaaaaay back in the beginning of you-know-what, I ordered a couple pounds of whitefish fillets (and a ton of other fish). A while back I thawed the whitefish just enough so I could separate the fillets and put half back in the freezer. They were in a ziplock bag.

Yesterday I wanted to cook the other half. I could not find the bag for the life of me. Everything is stuffed in there higgledy-piggledy and if I’m not careful, things fall out. On my head, if I’m down there rummaging through the bottom bin. (Bad light for a pic. Click and click again to embiggen and then maybe you can understand the scope of the mess.) I had to pull everything off every shelf before I finally found the fish.

This is the result of pandemic shopping. In normal times, I tryyyyy not to keep extra food around. It’s easy enough to get food. Just throw on a backpack and schlep over to the Plum Market. Or hop in the Ninja and head over to the Westgate Kroger or the Jackson or Saline Road Meijer. Quick trips all!

Back in March, shopping was impossible and for a short period we were totally reliant on Rodent Delivery. I tried to use shopping services at the big stores but pickup / delivery times were totally unavailable or a week in the future. Gradually I re-thought how to shop.

The small specialty stores were the first to offer curbside. After a couple months my fave Plum began curbside / delivery. Things I couldn’t get at any of those places I ordered from Amazon and some other “interesting” places. I still used Rodent Delivery but gradually became less reliant on her. Today I got an email from Meijer promoting their new liqwire pickup / delivery service. That’s one of the things I get from there if Rodent Delivery is going there but I thought, “yeah, but when can I pick it up?” Turns out if I had wanted it today, I could’ve picked it up this afternoon.

At any rate, in the beginning I filled my freezer and then I felt like I was rationing food even though we really haven’t had any trouble getting, you know, more food. It’s time to start eating it up and only replacing it when there’s some empty space in there (or we crave something particular).

I think I will try Meijer’s pickup service (they also deliver but the Ninja needs to be droven once in a while). According to their website, even the Sault Ste. Siberia location offers curbside. That’ll come in handy if we are up isolating at the moomincabin and need to make a liqwire or TP or potato chip run. Not sure about TP though. How is that supply chain holding up these days?

If Meijer works out I will use it but I will still order from all of the other little stores who came through for us early on. I shop at those ANYWAY. I can only get pre-breaded swordfish scallopini from Monahan’s, the GG will only grill Sparrow’s whole chickens, and I just plain love the Plum Market. I’ll never forget the time The Comm spent xmas here near the end of her life and she was so amazed at that place that she would STOP in the middle of the aisles, blocking traffic and waving her cane cudgel around in the air, pointing at things. Yeah, yikes is right! 🐽

P.S. We’re not out of the virus woods yet. Stay home, stay home, stay home and wash your hands. This “opening up” stuff is total crapola. Google “texas surprise party covid” if you are thinking about having a family party or maybe you’ve already seen an article about it.

Disorganized navel gazing

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Wednesday morning is Virtual Barry Bagels with MMCB. We began, as we usually do these days, with COVID talk which eventually segued (thankfully) into “how are your kids?” She has one, I have two, they are similar ages and know each other from middle and/or high school although they were never close friends. Oh, I don’t mean they disliked each other. Liz was three grades ahead and Mouse (same grade) ran with a different crowd. (If she reads this, she will probably hate that I said that, especially the use of the phrase “ran with” and the word “crowd”🐽 So that’s as far as I’ll go.)

Just about the time COVID started to hit the fan, MMCB’s son got a new job and moved to a different state. He works in college-level athletics in a hands-on capacity and just as he moved, his new school shut down/went virtual. So far he is still employed but I’m sure there’s a bit of worry there. But he’s much closer to The Planet now and his mom is happy about that and knowing what I do about him, I suspect whatever happens, he will land on his feet.

The truth is I don’t usually have a whole heckuva lot to say about my kids. They are both 30-somethings, good citizens with responsible jobs. They don’t ever ask me for money and I don’t get calls to bail them out of jail, etc. Actually I have to practically shove money down their throats. What is there to say?

We veered off into the topic of parents who are constantly interfering with their adult children’s business. I don’t THINK I do that. I had to mention that I don’t really know much about my kids’ jobs, even though I have probably asked them both about a gazillion times. One of them works at an art museum and the other is a grocery worker who happens to work at my long-time fave store. Before COVID, I would frequently visit her there as I made my rounds. What their titles are and how much they get paid and what they actually do? I don’t really know. I enjoy hearing them talk about stuff that happens at work but I don’t feel an urge to get overly involved. I think that’s a GOOD THING.

Speaking of Barry Bagels, I wonder if they do curbside. I kind of have a hankering for a tuna bagel… I mean we usually just drink coffee there but tuna salad on a tomato basil bagel with lettuce and tomato sounds good right now. I guess I am finally getting some version of my regular pre-COVID appetite back – not that I haven’t binged on potato chips a few times 🐽

P.S. This is already too long but someday I’ll have to [re]tell the story about The Commander and Radical Betty commiserating about their [then] “wild” children aka me and my cousins. They drank a bunch of whine, walked the moominbeach, and The Commander fell in the lake and COULDN’T GET UP! Much laughter from everyone including The Commander.

Breaking the rules 💩💩💩

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Here’s Mr. Covid Hair with his John Bolton mustache. He was at the moomincabin and it was HOT! Hence no shirt. I cropped the pic. You’re welcome.

HE GOT HIS HAIR CUT TODAY! I am not a happy camper. Yeah, I know #ThatWomanInMichigan “opened up” hair salons and barber shops, etc. I am a HUGE fan of hers but I think it’s too early for that. Our cases have seen a slight uptick in the last few days. They aren’t sky-rocketing but I think we still need to be careful.

Mr. Mustache claims that I am listening to “fake news” and not interpreting the “numbers” right. I don’t know if ANYONE is capable of interpreting the “numbers” accurately, given how little we STILL know about the virus. I do NOT listen to “fake news”. And if he keeps pushing the envelope, he is going to find himself living alone in an apartment for the duration.

He goes to Tina to get his hair cut. He loooooves Tina. I’m sure I would looooove Tina. I’ve seen pictures of her but I’ve never met her. But no matter how much you love somebody, if you can’t control who they are in contact with, they can infect you. And vice versa. The virus doesn’t give jack-doodly about your relationships. Oh, you shared a womb with somebody? You guys can get together. We’ll spare you. NOT NOT NOT.

Fair is fair, so here is yer fav-o-rite blahgger with her COVID hair. Actually this is not a recent pic. I took it in March 2019 before I got my last haircut. It looks about the same now. I usually just pull it back outta my face. Mine is kinda like Kellyanne Conway hair (shaggy) except not bottle blonde although it kinda looks that way in this pic. Not true! Mostly white/gray.

I am also wearing an expression that used to scare the bejeebus outta the LSCHP when he was my boss. I suspect it’s not unlike the one my Grandaddy wore when he was “collecting” from people who weren’t making loan payments. The Commander and Grandroobly bunked with my grandparents for a brief period when they first moved to Sault Ste. Siberia and she remembers it. I do not. He was always kind and gentle with us little beach urchins.

Anyway, I’m not getting mine cut and he STILL has his blasted Bolton mustache!

Are y’all sick of me posting about robins yet?

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

This is our third set of robins this year! Our first set fledged the *minute* we returned from Memorial Day weekend meaning we got pics of the juveniles. A couple weekends ago robins were building a second nest in a different location and I thought I saw yet another pair starting a nest in a *third* location.

I watched as the second robin sat on her eggs. At one point I guessed correctly that they had hatched and they are now big enough I can see them poking their heads up from my vantage point across the yard.

The third nest is “around the corner” and I didn’t notice it was progressing and then kind of forgot about it. Yesterday the GG was home from his Geology Tour and as he was about to get the grill ready he noticed the third nest directly above it. And they were hatching! One egg left to go and we can’t tell how many hatchlings. And yes he moved the grill.

We haven’t had robins in years. The GG made a prodject to make the holes smaller on all the birdhouses to keep out the “junk birds” (“house wrens” or “house sparrows” or whatever). I was annoyed at first but apparently when they use the birdhouses, the robins don’t nest near them. Too close for comfort. Robins have “open” nests BTW, they don’t (that I know of) use birdhouses. We also had a set of chickadees in one of our houses. They are small enough to get in the diminished holes and do not qualify as “junk birds”.

And yes, he went off on a Geology Tour. I am a bit reluctant about him traveling around but he was either at the moomincabin or in the Lyme Lounge out in the woods and the few trips he made INTO stores, he was masked (or so he said). The yooperland is not a COVID hot spot (KNOCK ON WOOD!) and we needed a little break from each other, as we do 🐽🐽🐽

Fathers…

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

We don’t really celebrate made-up holidays like Mother’s/Father’s Day in any kind of big way. Since both our beach urchins live within an easy driving distance we usually gather just to have an excuse to grill some steaks and party a bit. Not so much during this pandemic year. We could’ve probably done something in the back yard with *physical* distancing but people’s schedules were iffy and thunderstorms were a possibility although they didn’t happen. It’s okay. I miss the beach urchins, especially the DayTwa one (because I haven’t seen her in person since February), but it is what it is and there was a facetime between that beach urchin and her dad this morning and many text messages off and on throughout the day.

So here are a few pics of the fathers in my life and my kids’. First up, we have The Gumper (my father-in-law) scrutinizing Lizard Breath at Hoton Lake with the GG (her father) in the background.

And here we are at Hoton Lake with the GG and both of our urchins, one of them pretty dern fresh. Yes, we took her to the moldy old Hoton Lake cabin when she was three weeks old.

I couldn’t pick between two pics of my dad so here are two of him with the older beach urchin.

Finally here is my brother. He died in 2005 but he was father to two daughters. Both of them have earned phds, Pengo just recently. I know he would be proud.

Mr. Bare Bear Nature

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

I follow various North Country Trail groups on facebook and sometime this morning, a post flew by with a bare bear in close proximity to a tent. The tent looked vaguely familiar but I didn’t think about it much until the beach urchin who is camping this weekend texted a picture of that post. It is her tent and they were out hiking when this pic was taken and their food is locked in their car.

I finished a long read today, The Women’s Room, by Marilyn French. I think I will give it four stars on Goodreads but I kinda want to give it five only because I read it umpteen bazillion years ago and it sorta felt like an old friend in a way. It more or less documents aspects of the various “movements” of the 1960s and early 1970s from the point of view of a woman living through those years as an adult.

The narrator is older than I am. I was a very young adult when the book was written. Did all of those “movements” change my life? I could/maybe write a “book” about that albeit a very disorganized one. My life has been a mixed bag of missed opportunities (being too shy to grab them) and very lucky lightning strikes. One of the beach urchins once asked us (her parents) if we had any advice about how to find new career opportunities. Me? I had no good advice. I fall off cliffs into jobs. What I didn’t say was that once I fall into a job I OWN IT!

I do think that it may be easier to find good employment as a woman now. It is in my company but not sure it’s true everywhere. And I married a guy who is happy to pitch in with household chores and child care duties. When my first daughter was born, the GG did almost all of the diapering and bathing for quite some time. He was a whole heckuva lot more experienced than I was, since he had 11 nieces and nephews at the time.

My life has always been pretty darn good and the times when I thought I was “poor”, I was really not so much. I just couldn’t always buy luxury crapola. Now that I can [sorta] buy stuff without thinking about it, I couldn’t be bothered (well, except for Copper River salmon🐽). You may not be able to take your money with you but you can pass it on, not that I plan on going anywhere any time soon.

Doorbell rings…

Friday, June 19th, 2020

The doorbell frequently rings at this time of year. It’s usually young college students who are trying to get me to sign on to the clean water act or whatever. I am totally on board with clean water, especially being a Lake Superior beach front property owner. What I don’t agree with is exploiting young idealistic people to go DOOR TO DOOR to harass people for money.

A year ago or so, a young woman came to my door to bug me for money or sign a petition or something. It was something like 9:00 PM and even though the sun hadn’t yet set I was about to put my “women’s bedclothes” on and hit the rack. I told her in no uncertain terms that it was too late for anyone to be knocking on doors and that there were probably plenty of summer jobs that would pay better. She said something like “my mother says that too”. Sigh.

I haven’t had any door knockers this year. Until tonight. A young woman rang the doorbell. I went to the door. She was passing out polly-tickle flyers. I said something about COVID. She looked a little crazy at me and asked if I was under quarantine. I explained that I didn’t have COVID and wasn’t in quarantine but that I have been ISOLATING since March because I don’t WANT TO GET COVID.

I was wondering what the you-know-what was she coming to my door at all. She didn’t seem to understand the vocabulary. Quarantine is when you think you may have been exposed to the virus and need to hang out at home or wherever until you have reached a certain period of time without having symptoms. Isolating is hanging out in your home so you don’t come in contact with people who have COVID, asymptomatic or not.

Sorry, I am so taaaarrred tonight!

Trump fatigue

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

This photo was sent to me from the yooperland. I was annoyed at first because the photographer always sends me these crappy downsized sorta pixelated photos. I have photoshop and I can optimize full-size photoooos for the web myself, thank you very much. But then I decided it was okay it was fuzzy because somehow that felt appropriate for Trump.

Being the far-left liberal that I am (not), I was happy about the two Supreme Court decisions handed down this week. I do believe we need to *reform* immigration laws. I do NOT believe people who were brought here as babies and know no other country AND are contributing members to our society should be deported without some dern good reason. I don’t get the anti-trans thing at all. I mean, I know some of these people… And I guess that’s as far as I’m gonna go with that other than to say that sex and gender identity are not binary traits. Neither is skin color.

I doubt that my idea of reforming immigration laws matches that of most of my right-wing brothers. Also, regarding “sex and gender identity”, I know I am probably not using accurate vocabulary. I am just a baggy old bag who grew up when we shoved topics like this waaaaaay under the rug and didn’t EVER talk about them.

Five months to go until us “socialists” have an idea about how the next four years will go. I wonder how long poor old Mr. Bare Bear here has been forced to associate himself with the Orange Baboon, who is no friend to the bare’s bear’s habitat. Likely that sign has been there since 2016. I knew those of us who are not INSANE were in trouble fall of 2016 when we took a little ride out into the county and saw big Trump signs everywhere. I have not seen more than a few ratty ones from 2016 yet this year but it’s early. I’ll have to be on the lookout for them.

P.S. Sex talk? I was 15. I had my first boyfriend. I was in “luv” with him and my parents knew it even though I didn’t discuss it with them. They were worried about me. (Pssst. He was from the “wrong side of the tracks”🐽) I was sitting in our shabby little Superior Street bungalow doing my geometry homework in front of Lost in Space re-runs and The Commander startled me out of my mind by entering the room with the question, “KW, do you know what sexual intercourse is?” The pencil I had in my hand flew across the room. Er, yes I did know what it was, and no, I wasn’t engaging in it. But I answered with a simple “yes”. TMI🐽🐽🐽

To mask or not to mask…

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

It isn’t a question for me. I AM MASKING. At least I would be if I ever went anywhere public. Walking at 0-skunk-30 it is really easy to keep faaaarrrrr away from other people. I do mask when my Rodent Delivery Service does a drop and I mask when I do a curbside pickup and I have masked for a few VERY small socially distanced gatherings in the landfill backyard.

We are “opening up” and the Great Lake State (for NOW) seems to be doing well at keeping things under control. I credit #BigGretch for that but also all of our citizens who have been following “the rules” and the businesses who have pivoted to keep serving their customers in inventive ways. Still, I am not going out to eat. I did a little exploratory drive-by downtown last weekend and there were way too many people oot and aboot for my comfort level and not as many masks as I would have liked to see despite the growing body of evidence that masks are an effective tool in stopping the spread. And again, how do you eat or drink through a mask? You don’t. You have to take it off.

The big grokkery stores have opened up their bottle return musheens again. I will not be returning bottles any time soon. Meijer sent out an email today saying there were long lines at the bottle return. I had anticipated this and I don’t even wait in line to return bottles when there isn’t a randomly deadly virus hanging about. We don’t have all that many returnables anyway and I know there are orgs out there I could donate them to but so far I’ve been too lazy to make contact.

And then there is the weird WTF stuff. I have been adamant about not using public restrooms since the beginning of COVID. If I can’t use Eco Terlet, give me a bucket or a deserted two-track road. BucketP and RoadP are fine with me. An article I read recently said 1) COVID can be shed via fecal material and 2) when you flush a terlet, minute particles of whatever go EVERYWHERE. I encountered the second factoid many years ago when a beach urchin read an article in the newspaper and thereafter made sure to close the lid on the Blue and Only Terlet before flushing *every* time. I admit that I kinda rolled my eyes at the time🐽

The thing the article (the one *I* read, not the old way-pre-COVID one) was fuzzy on was whether COVID spread in that manner could actually infect someone or was it just “dead” virus (not sure what the correct term is there and don’t feel like looking it up). Another one of the many things we don’t yet understand about the virus.

At any rate, it was one of those articles I kinda wish I hadn’t read but it did make me think I am right not to use public restrooms. Not that I have used anything but Eco Terlet, the moomincabin terlet, or the Great Outdoors in months.

Who’s the messiest?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Another photoooo courtesy of my cousin the Grand Poohbah (nicknamed after Winnie ther Pooh) and I asked for permission this time, my usual modus operandi. This is yer fav-o-rite blahgger working on a “crib quilt” on the moomincabin deck. The small child behind me is now my Rodent Delivery person and don’t be fooled by her outfit. There is a bathing suit underneath that t-shirt. Maybe even her “two-pee” but I can’t tell. But she is not bear bare.

My cousin Pooh is a much more prolific fiber artist than I am. She makes a quilt for every new baby that comes along, family and friends’ babies as well as the teachers she subs for while they are on maternity leave. Her paying career in this phase of her life is long-term sub in her local school district. She is a very popular sub, which doesn’t surprise me at all because she is one of the most intelligent, creative people I know and relates very well to children. Unlike her older (by a few months) cousin (meeeee) who would be a TERRIBLE teacher. As an old friend of mine who was trained as a teacher but didn’t pursue a career as one once said, “I would want to KILL the kids.” (Of course I would NEVER kill a kid. I don’t even always kill things like Murder Hornets.)

I posted a fugly of my [mostly unused] studio yesterday and she sent me an old pic of one of her migrating studios from a much earlier year. I gnoffed at how messy it was but Been There Done That (and there again…). I think all Creative Types (as BFF archaeologist calls them) struggle with how to organize their constantly evolving stash of materials, supplies, books, and tools. Not easy.

Speaking of creative types, I bagged TeleCubelandia early today because my Rodent Delivery Service (RDS) was coming over to deliver whine, pick up a cooler and some ice packs, and drink whine with me. We were well socially distanced (more than six feet) in the back yard. So glad it’s warm enough outside to meet that way. We’ve been staying away from each other in person since March 12 and we’ve been doing fine but it is soooo nice to meet with folks in person again, even at a distance. And we DO meet at a distance because we are all convinced that this virus is not finished with our planet yet 🧡🧡🧡