Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Lock Her Up!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Another day, another “scandal”. Sigh…

Who done what? What did Hillary do? What did Ivanka do? Were their “crimes” equal? What is a server anyway? I mean, I know what a server is (sorta) but how many of the Orange Baboon’s “base” or whatever it is know what a blasted server is?

Guess what? I am NOT saying we should lock Ivanka (or Hillary) up. I don’t think we should lock ANYBODY up for what I strongly believe are deficiencies in the average person’s understanding of the security issues surrounding email and computer use in general and a lack of clearly defined requirements and communications for proper use by the organizations they work for.

If you are one of my nine readers, you might remember that I work for the online banking industry. Lemme tell you, we are Light Years ahead of the US federal government when it comes to computer security issues. (You are happy about that.) Even though I am a designer and therefore have absolutely NO ACCESS to anything resembling client/customer data, my work laptop is TOTALLY LOCKED DOWN. I cannot connect to public wifi at all (thank you zeus for the iPhone hotspot, it saved my life on that LSD trip to Fla). I cannot access anything remotely related to social media except for the company facebook facsimile. Email? I can’t say I have never emailed someone at work from my personal address. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a well-defined rule about that. But when I am using my work laptop, I use my work email to communicate with people about work stuff. The point being that I am trained (over and over) to do that.

I once found an article about “her emails” discussing the sometimes extreme difficulties federal government employees can face in using the technology we (taxpayers) provide to them, which is spotty at best. And yes, that includes the Secretary of State. I never understood why “her emails” (Hillary’s) were such a big deal. She is a baby boomer (an older one than I am) and I am gonna guess she is pretty savvy about navigating the basics of email and web-surfing but doesn’t have a clue about internet security issues. I’m not sure if we want our elected officials to spend a lot of time learning the intricacies of internet security. That isn’t their job. And even I don’t know that much about internet security. My company pays a lot of people (well) to take care of security issues and communicate policies to its employees (like meeee).

I give Ivanka a bit less leeway on this issue because she is a member of the Millennial Generation. She was born three years before my first-born (I looked up her bio today). We had a computer in our house by that time. I don’t know what the Trumps did but certainly by the time Ivanka was in middle or high school, she was using a computer to do at least some of her homework. Hillary was definitely doing her high school homework the same way I did mine, writing it out longhand on lined notebook paper. But still, Ivanka is probably not an expert on computer security issues and why should she have to be to do her “job” (or whatever being a pretty face next to her father’s fugly mug is called). What was she thinking? Maybe something like, “Daddy will take care of this” or maybe she really doesn’t understand how this looks to the teeming mass of American citizens who voted (or didn’t) for “Daddy”. Ugh ugh ugh.

Where I get off the train with all of this is that the Orange Baboon spent his whole “presidential” campaign riling his “base” up about Hillary’s horrible “crime” of keeping a server in her basement. If I were Ivanka, who well knew her father’s campaign strategies, I would definitely make sure I was carefully separating my personal email from my “work” email. But I am not Ivanka. I am far from perfect but I grew up in a family that was honest almost to a fault so I do not understand all of this stupid crapola. I guess that’s why we don’t have political aspirations in my fam.

Sorry to be polly-tickle again but Jeebus!

#MakeAmericaRakeAgain

Monday, November 19th, 2018

It is winter (or so says the weather if not the calendar) so do NOT leave the Ninja in the street overnight.

Problem 1… I needed to get the Ninja into the driveway this morning so I could egregiously idle it before leaving for work to melt what looked (from the front window) like a wee bit of snow. Why? Because I DO NOT SCRAPE ICE/SNOW OFF VEEEEENDSHEEEELDS unless I have absolutely no other choice. No problem. I will just drive it into the driveway before I take my 0-skunk-30 walk and egregiously idle it after I get back.

Problem 2… This morning, the Ninja’s windows were TOTALLY ENCASED in a thin layer of opaque ice/frost/whatever. I could NOT SEE A BLOOMIN’ THING! And, at 24 degrees, it was definitely not going to scrape off easily or quickly.

Somehow, despite being almost totally blinded by the ice/frost/whatever, I managed to navigate the Ninja into the driveway without hitting anything or anybody. (Oh, okay. I checked for dog-walkers on the sidewalk before I did this and opening a couple of windows allowed me to at least locate landmarks. Curb? Check. Big tree? Check.) Was it the best parking job I have ever done? No, it looked like a drunk had parked it.

The Ninja has old-fashioned egregious idling technology, meaning that SOMEONE (aka meeeee) has to go outside and physically start it up and then I don’t want to lock it because I am (for NO REASON because there is another key) afraid I will get locked out with the car running. The Commander once got stuck at the bank (my dad’s bank) with a vee-hickle in that situation and she was pretty p*ssed off not only because she did that but also because she had to call her 16-year-old new driver (meeeee) to drive another set of keys down. I bet my dad and his colleagues were laughing their you-know-whats off inside the bank. Anyway, the Frog Hopper has much newer technology, the kind where you can click it on with the key from inside the house and the engine (AND THE DEFROSTERS) start up and it stays locked. My next vee-hickle (am I ready for it?) will absolutely have that technology but I will have a hard time giving up my cute li’l Ninja.

P.S. I WISH I had come up with today’s title/hashtag but I did not. I am sorry. I know that Trump-bashing is not popular with some of my readers but. I. Mean. Really? I love Cananananada’s response with the forest Rooooomba. I’m trying to find it but I am not able to find a direct link to the video except on facebook. But the idea is that folks in Finland are shown raking leaves in the woods while Canucks are cleaning them up with Roooombas.

Musical Musings, 1 or whatever out of 10 gazillion

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

So, KW, you spent a good part of your youth practicing musical instruments, mainly the flute but also the “puano” and some dabbling into other instruments. It’s true. And… I can certainly sing in tune but although I probably don’t have the worst voice on earth, I am not a trained singer. The one instrument I struggled with was the clarinet. I could not get the “hang” of the reed for the life of me. I was upset. My college professor was concerned. About halfway through that class I suddenly got it. I’m not sure which one of us was the happiest.

Why do I not “do” music for a living? I have an education in classical flute performance. For extremely complicated reasons, I did not pursue a higher music degree or try to find a job playing (or teaching) the flute in any capacity.

One of the things I didn’t like when I was a young musician was whatever challenge system was imposed upon us kiddos. I joined the Sault High band as a 7th grader. The junior and senior high schools were connected by a long hallway in those days and there was a sorta junior high music type thingy but I remember being PDQ sent over to join the high school band. Mr. Diecke was the band director then and he knew I was good at the flute. I also took piano lessons from his wife, in the house my parents eventually owned and I sold a few years ago.

I didn’t challenge *anyone* as a 7th grader. I hung out in the ragtag back of the flute section. I mean, I was NOT gonna challenge Vivian, our first chair junior, who was really good and as a 7th grader, I so admired her. In 8th grade, I got brave and challenged a couple people (including a high school senior, did I really do that? yes and I won) and moved up into something like 4th chair. I was in 8th grade… I didn’t challenge Eileen, who was two years ahead of me, until I was a freshman and she was a junior. She had kind of inherited 1st chair because Vivian had graduated. Eileen was good but I thought I was better, so I challenged. Alas, I didn’t get it.

Our new kinda idiot band director had instituted a system for challenges where the two people in question went behind a bunch of cabinets and played one after the other. The band students got to vote. Of course I always lost. The band kids knew who was playing and I was only a freshman so of course they voted for the junior. The last time I challenged, the band director told me I should try it again. You are better, he said. I’m sorry Mr. O’Stupid, I am done. Your challenges are not fair. I didn’t bother challenging again. Why? I decided to maintain a good friendship with Eileen and support her and then after she graduated, I took over the first chair position.

Trending in California

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

I did not ask for permission to post this photo, which was texted to me a couple days ago from San Francisco, so I hope it is okay that I posted it. They are not wearing these things inside but they are certainly wearing them outside. I thought I heard (a few days ago) that the Great Lake State was actually getting smoke from the faaaars. I’m not sure about that. About the only smoke I have smelled around here is when I drive by Zingerman’s Roadhouse on my way to work and they are faaaaring up the barbecue pig-roasting thingy. Scuttlebutt has it that the Orange Baboon is (or has?) traveled out to the left coast to offer his condolences. I wonder if those who have lost their homes and/or family members will welcome him?

Besides that, I had a slodgy kind of day with chores and Turkey Day shopping and not much to write about but… They were talking about Aaron Copland’s classical composition “Fanfare for the Common Man” just now on National Petroleum Radio so I will write about that instead. What grabbed me about the NPR story was that they were interviewing American people of various ethnic backgrounds (including but not limited to older Caucasian males in case you mighta been wonderin’).

I love Aaron Copland’s fanfare composition too and I also have a personal story to tell about Aaron Copland. I was a rising high school senior playing the first seat flute position at the Interlochen All-state summer camp. [Delete the long story about how hard it was (for a yooper flute player) to get a spot at the Interlochen All-state camp let alone get first seat.]

So, Aaron Copland was a guest conductor at our camp that summer and we didn’t play “Fanfare for the Common Man” (that I remember) but whatever he was conducting, at one rehearsal, his fly was wide open. Of course, we were all stoopid high school students then, so we were laughing our you-know-whats off. But y’know, Common Man? Yes.

In case you aren’t familiar with Fanfare for the Common Man, here is Copland’s classical version and here is Emerson Lake and Palmers version. I love both of them. (Not sure those links are working so you may have to google.)

SqueeGrok

Friday, November 16th, 2018

So the GG was going in and out the door like nobody’s business early this morning and I finally asked him if he would please faaaaar up the Ninja to egregiously idle it so I wouldn’t have to scrape the frickin’ ice off the windows. Oh yes! He obliged. The problem was that he did not turn on the defrost settings!!! !!! !!! Say what? It was okay, I politely (I hope) pointed out his error and he scraped the back window, which was the biggest problem, and I trundled comfortably off to Cubelandia.

I dunno. After our daily Standup Meeting, I sorta felt a bit of wanderlust like maybe I wanted to telecommute for the afternoon. I have very little time to spend home alone in the Landfill and I kinda wanted a little change of scenery. Amazon Woman was fine with that so I trundled back home, stopping at my fave grokkery along the way, buying the beginnings of our Thanksgiving mini-feast and squeaking quietly at a known employee.

Back in the day, when teenagers and young 20-somethings were afoot, we left our door unlocked most of the time, even throughout the night. Our children’s friends were welcome to come in without knocking at any time. They learned to squeegrok in a certain way when they entered our home. I don’t really know how that got started but it worked out well and I soooo miss those days, even though I don’t think those days are actually over yet. At least I hope not.

So, I got myself porterized over at Knight’s tonight. Our reservation was a very early one but that worked out and I didn’t even have to hang out with the carpet sweepers, like I kinda did the last time. I actually observed an employee use one of these things tonight. The place was pretty busy when I got there. It was SLAMMED by the time I left.

G’night! KW

Wintry mix time again, ho hum

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Not our first snow for the year but today was the first time I had to make a serious driving decision. Like, I think I will take the Frog Hopper today because this weather situation could go any and every direction maybe within a given hour. It wasn’t just that the weather apps were screaming alerts at me, it was also that it just plain felt like a bad moon a-risin’ out there when I took my 0-skunk-30 walk. Windy and kinda fugly and creepy in general. In the end, the crapola that Zeus was hurling down at us was white but it melted when it hit the pavement. So the driving was fine albeit slow as all getout and I couldda droven the Ninja.

This isn’t early for snow here but I think I am still PTSD-ing from the 2014 Polar Vortex Winter and its little return the next November. 2014 was the winter that Canada came down here, got drunk, and fell asleep, or so said some comic at some point. We had a glacier in our backyard into mid-April, a cold summer followed, and then the dern snow started up again in November. For a couple weeks! I don’t really remember much about winter 2015 but I know it wasn’t as bad as the Polar Vortex Winter or mini-Vortex that November.

And then there is the San Francisco fashion of the day, which consists of a pretty dern serious looking mask. A beach urchin is out there for the weekend and has sent a pic in which she models one. The family forensic anthropologist asked a good question about the quality of said mask. I wouldn’t have known to ask but yes, it is the real thing.

I am not a scientist and I am not well-versed in climate change in general. My very humble opinion is that November Snow in the Great Lake State is a normal phenomenon (although there may well be other things going on around here that are not normal). From what I have read about the California fires, things have changed a lot over the last 20 years. Delete long incoherent rant about the ignorant, illiterate [my opinion] Orange Baboon and the (mostly) literate sycophants who are enabling him in an effort to bolster their own political careers. C’mon guys. And it is mostly men… … …

Naval Observatory Master Clock

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

What’s wrong with this picture? I’ll let you guess (you may need to embiggen) but I’ll give you a big hint by recalling a story from my childhood dining table memories. We were the proverbial mid-century modern family who had dinner at the dining table EVERY single blasted night. I was served a BIG glass of milk every night. “Milk is good for children!” Roight? I don’t dislike milk and I am not particularly lactose intolerant (except for an excessive cheese-eating episode when I was like 18 months or so that I still remember – more seeze mom!) but an 8 oz. glass of milk for dinner? Yuck. I was a sorta “picky” eater but one of the things I would definitely eat was Minute Rice. So many times The Commander made that available for me if she thought I might not like some of the other stuff she had so expertly planned and prepared. I think partly by not being force-fed things I didn’t like at the dinner table and offered alternatives that I did like, I was able to evolve into a fairly adventurous adult eater.

And then there were the times when I was an older elementary age kid and would kick my little brother under the table. When he protested, I would try to blame *him* for kicking me. Oh man, I think this kind of behavior is a blasted *thing* among siblings. To this day, I’m not sure if my parents knew what was going on or not. In any case, bro, if you are still reading this, I am sorry and I love you. But I think by now you are far enough away that you aren’t reading. (Readers, don’t take this crazy stuff tooooo seriously.)

One day, long ago in that far away teensy-tinesy dining room, The Commander noticed a dead house fly that was stuck in our white lace curtains. She mentioned it and our dad said something like, “I’ve been looking at that for a month now”. Everyone totally cracked up laughing, including The Comm.

So, when I got home from Cubelandia today, the GG of all people was asking how to reset the clock on Gertrude, my super-duper double-oven stove. There had apparently been a short power outage today. I was dumbfounded. I have reset Gretchen’s clock about a gazillion times. You hit the “clock” button, punch in the time, and hit “start”. No brainer. He had apparently done that exact thing umpteen Brazilian times today without success. Turns out he was trying to enter the time in 24-hour time. Nope. Gertrude does not do that. Her time is reset now and her oven lights are turned out.

Once upon a time when I worked over that That Darn EPA, our computer operators had to dial a 1-800 phone number to the Naval Observatory Master Clock every morning. That is how they made sure the time was set properly on our real-time computer system. Nowadays, I use my iPhone and I bet the EPA does a similar thing.

Ain’t it purrrrrty?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Actually it *is* kinda purty except for all the warnings about possible Black Ice I was getting on my phone this morning. I didn’t totally believe them so I womanned up and drove the Ninja over to work *anyway* and I did not hit black ice anywhere. I saw some gorgeous sky vistas on my way there but couldn’t stop to get pics.

Customer service? I waited forever at the prepared foods counter at the Plum this weekend. A couple in front of me was buying multiple foil trays of stuff to take to some kind of event. They had about a billion questions, some of which required that the counter staff person leave for eons to get an answer. So I waited. Was I antsy? Yes. Did I get mad and blame the counter staff person? No I did not. As near as I could tell, she was dealing with high-maintenance customers. I mean, at one point I think they were asking something like “how do we heat this up”? Macaroni and cheese? Really? You have to ask that?

They left and the counter staff person kind of rolled her eyes as she apologized for how long I had to wait. I commiserated with her.

My first “career”? Running a cash register summers at “Your Tempo Store”. This was up in the yooperland back in the days of mechanical cash registers where you had to punch rows and rows of numbers in for the price and the department number and the tag number and you had to calculate the sales tax and make change in your head. My fingers *still* kinda remember the department numbers but not the tag numbers, which changed all the time. Man oh man, if you are working as a checkout gal (we were mostly female then), there will always be strangers that come in and something weird will happen that you can’t help them with and they’ll get angry. But I also got people that always came to my register if they saw me there because I was smart and fast and cheerful (and maybe even kinda purty, but that was a looooong time ago). Once an old farmer brought in all of his kids to meet me. I loved it!

And then I worked at That Darn EPA (for a gov’t contractor) and I spent a lot of time dealing with people’s IT problems at The Window. I was terrible for about a month and then I *owned* the place and even though my job evolved and someone else had the responsibility for The Window, I turned into the main Problem Solver and I always enjoyed solving problems for the window people.

Oh YAG how I loved you. As the administrator of a youth theatre guild, I saw it all. I loved the kids (most of them). I loved the parents (most of them). I will [almost] always cut a kid a break for bad behavior. Parents? OMG! “Why didn’t my kid get the lead role? He/she’s been acting in commercials since he/she was 2” (an exaggeration but still). [Disclaimer: There are YAG parents who I *still* occasionally hang out with because they were/are TOTALLY cool!]

So glad I do not have a client-facing job these days. We have some top-notch client support folks at Cubelandia. They are PAID WELL! HELLO! If they need to reach waaaaaay farrrrrr back enough to talk to a business analyst about a client need, they do and I do my best to help. But the unspoken rule is “the web development team does not deal with clients”. There are good reasons for that but… Whew!

One more. I will never forget the time at “Your Tempo Store” when a cashier a few stores down the plaza had a customer who exposed himself on her checkout counter. One of our managers told us that if that happened at our register, we were free to hit the “customer’s” male member with our stapler. We had big staplers made for stapling paper bags shut (with the receipt stapled onto it) and I don’t think most people would want to be hit by one of those.

I’ll tradeja a yooper-type snowblower for an aubergine glass vase

Monday, November 12th, 2018

’tis the season to be… Oh well. How jolly can you be when stress dreams about creating BAI files invade your REM sleep. Jeebus. And then I got over to Cubelandia and I thought, I’ll just do that cute li’l quizzy I have to do by the 29th. And so I went out to Corporate Classroom City and (yikes), there were TWO more quizzolas I had to do! The first li’l quizzy was just a simple, acknowledge that you’ve downloaded and read the PDF. The second two… Well, they were not about BAI files (which I know inside and out) but they *were* about ACH files, etc. (which I also know inside out). Still, reading a bunch of Corporate Buzzword Legalese Word Salad and taking a quizzy at the end? Not my fave. But then! I aced both quizzolas. 100% on each! I’ve always been good at multiple choice. So not a bad start to the day. P.S. EVERYBODY was complaining about TWO extra quizzolas getting sneaked onto the roster over the weekend. C’mon.

And then the whole whaddya want fer xmas thing came up in the late afternoon. Well, I already knew what the GG wants but he had spec’ed it all out for me and I get to choose to drive the Trash Trailer over to Lowe’s or drive over there *with* him and (I guess) use my own debit card to pay for it even though it all comes outta the same bucket.

I’ll let y’all guess what he wants for xmas. In the meantime, he snagged my old coot’s yooperland snowblower from the Group Home at Houghton Lake and hauled it down here in the Trash Trailer. No flat taaaarrrs this trip, thank you very much, although I wouldn’t have been there to panic because I was hanging out down here on the loverly Planet Ann Arbor. He was having trouble getting it started but eventually he did and I dunno what’s next exactly but I suspect this old snowblower will go back to HL.

My old coot decided he was dun dun dun with shoveling when he was 75. Oh, he still did a lot of detail work. But I think he was sick of doing all that grunt work every single dern day up in the yooperland. Hmmm… If I am accurate in my mathematical calculations, the old coot would be 99 now. The young man I bought [late season] tomatoes from at the farmers market last weekend made it a point to show me a phone photo of the guy who GROWS them. He is 94 and was a pilot in WWII, like my dad.

All I can think of that I “want” for xmas is an aubergine glass vase to add to one of my mini-collections. I’m sorry. I may think of some more bits and pieces but I do not NEED much of anything. I know I am a broken record here. The problem is that I have to pick the vase out myself. I saw one at Treasure Mart a few years ago that was perfect. I did not buy it… I do not know why. It was $55. The GG thinks that’s a lot for a vase. I disagree but that, plus the fact I had walked down there, made me hesitate. Oh and I wasn’t looking for an aubergine vase… … … Alas, I still regret it. Still, I need to pick out my own vase. We’ll see what I can find.

Daughters

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

That is just about all. I don’t have a whole lot to say, at least not anything that they would want me to say on them thar intertubes. It is soooo scary to decide that it is time to have a child. And then, you have one, and you go insane with love for that child and then kinda want another one but you think something like how the heck could I love another baby as much as I love this first one that I already have. But you go ahead and have another one and, oh boy, yes you love the second one as much as the first. That’s how it all works. And then 30-something years later, here we are hanging out for lunch at one of the neighborhood breweries together commiserating about the current political situation and laughing our you-know-whats off about whatever. This was a girl kinda thing. The GG was rattling around Up North in Snow Country somewhere. He is home now along with the Trash Trailer.

Forestry

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

I am quite puzzled by one of “our” president’s recent ham-handed tweets about the devastating California fires. Has he somehow suddenly acquired forestry knowledge? Has he ever actually set foot in an actual FOREST? What the bloody hell?

I have lived in a forest every single damn summer of my life. We have never had a fire there but I can remember times when we were worried about fires. There was a period of time when I was about 10 and things were very dry and we were nervous. Eventually, huge rain storms came through and we were okay. There have been forest fires in the yooperland since then and we are always on guard. If we smell smoke, we are checking it out PDQ.

My dad began his college career intending to major in forestry. There was an interesting blip in his freshman career at the University of Michigan, so he switched colleges and majors (and met my moom) and then World War II interrupted things a bit more and he became a pilot and flight instructor. He was eventually scheduled to fly to the south pacific but then we dropped the bomb and he did not have to go. Some of us think that the reason he wasn’t sent to the south pacific earlier was because he was greatly valued as a flight instructor and not someone the Army Air Corps wanted to lose. I knew my dad as a humble man who never talked about that kind of stuff but if it’s true, I am glad because he survived service in WWII and that is how I am alive and we have the beautiful forest property in the pic.

Garbage day in the ‘hood

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Aaaand… Guess what else? Just a month ago or so, we were on our LSD trip to Fla and it was hot hot hot all the way down and back and I was actually enjoying the heat. I was hoping for an Indian Summer when we got back here but I don’t think we’re gonna get one.

I was not all that happy about doing a Snow Drive to work on November 9th but it was actually okay. The ground has not frozen yet so the roads were mainly wet and not slippery even for my Ninja’s performance taaarrrs. And *everyone* seemed to be driving sedately this morning. I did not have one frickin’ tailgater.

Yes, this looks like a lot of garbage. Butchy’all have to remember that this is The Planet Ann Arbor and at this time of year we are not only putting out our garbage and recycle carts, we are also putting out our compost carts, which are full of leaves. So. In front of the Landfill, there are TWO compost carts, both full of leaves and other yard waste and even a few kitchen scraps. And there is the recycle cart. And out of the frame on the right is the garbage cart. Interestingly enough, there is hardly anything in the garbage cart, two almost empty bags of garbage that I put out there because they were stinky enough that I didn’t want them in the chitchen.

Of all things, I posted this pic on facebook and someone actually *challenged* me about the amount of garbage I was putting out. Jeebus!

Beep-beep, Beep-beep, yeah!

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Where the heck was I before I got all political for a few days?

Well, hey, last week the sun was not coming up until I got about halfway to work in the morning. This week, I keep thinking that the sun will go down as I am just about in my driveway. It hasn’t happened yet but it will soon. Of course, it is my GPS that tells me when the sun rises and sets by turning light or dark. The sun rose at 7:16 and set at 5:20 today.

I am one of those weird people who doesn’t mind the time changes. I was thinking our change to DST originally had something to do with farmers but maybe not so much and here’s an interesting history of daylight time from timeanddate.com.

That said, in the 20th century and maybe especially the 21st century, I’m not sure DST is relevant any more. When I was a kid, the issue was framed by by energy conservation. I don’t know if turning on more lights, etc., in the morning balances out turning on more lights in the evening. At this time of year, in the Great Soon-to-be-maybe-White North, we are dark so much of the time, I’m not sure it matters when the sun rises or sets.

When I was a “kid” in the *eastern* yooperland, for some bizarre reason, the Powers-That-Be decided that we were more aligned with Wisconsin than our lower peninsula (why?) and they changed us to the Central time zone for a year. Oh man, that was a “wonderful” year during which the sun didn’t rise in the eastern yooperland in the winter until after 9 AM and, since I had to be at high school for what they called Zero Hour, you know I walked across the tundra at the end of Superior Street (my street) in total darkness. I sometimes hitched a ride with The Commander, who taught at my high school then. But I didn’t always want to ride with my mom. Even then I enjoyed walking in the dark. But not on the days when it was 32 degrees below zero. But I still did it.

But still, no one (including me) in the eastern yooperland enjoyed waiting until after 9:00 AM for the sun to rise and that ridiculous decision was reversed the next year (some counties in the western end of the yooperland are in the Central time zone and always have been (look at a frickin’ map!)). I dunno what kind of changes might be upcoming about time zones but I sincerely hope that people will carefully analyze how those changes will affect people in various time zones.

New moon rising

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

I (as always) went to sleep before the election results were in so I woke up with some trepidation about looking at anything beyond the weather on my phone. In the end it was an email from a Democratic party “bot” (“Tom Perez”, who?) that gave me the news that blue took back the House. I sent a small contribution to Hillary Clinton’s campaign back in 2016 because I wanted some swag and now I get emails from the Dems. Oh, don’t getcher undies in a bunch. I get spam email from the GOP too, probably from visiting conservative news sites. Because I doooo do that, don’tcha know. I am just trying to understand… … …

After I fact-checked that welcome little bit of news, I womanned up and did a search for Gretchen Whitmer, who was my choice for the Great Lake State’s governor. SHE WON! I had kind of expected her to win but I still felt relief. I dunno if she’ll be successful at her campaign “promise” to “fix the damn roads” but I have been impressed with her since she served as a state senator. She declined to run for governor in 2014 because her children were too young. By the way, I think that it is GOOD for people (of any gender) to decide their children need more attention than a job. Assuming they can afford not to take the job, that is, but that would be a whole ‘nother blahg entry.

When I heard Gretchen was running in 2018, I think I screamed with joy. Okay, I didn’t really scream. But she is an Amazon Woman, a lot like my supervisor and, er, I think she’s around the same age as my supervisor (who would probably be a good governor but I think she much prefers to be an engineer). My hopes are high that Gretchen will be a positive force in our state. If she manages to fix the damn roads, that’ll be a plus because they are awful and it’s noticeable when you are driving up from Fla and you cross into Michigan from Ohio and you immediately wonder if your wheel bearings have gone bad again. Bumpity clunk. But not sure she will be able to manage that longtime uphill battle…

Oh man, I sound like a FAN, don’t I? I don’t know what Gretchen will accomplish as governor. I have an idea how hard being a state governor might be. Enough of an idea that I know I could never do it.

I finally got rid of my “I’m with her” Hillary Clinton magnet and replaced it with Lady Liberty. I AM WITH LADY LIBERTY ALWAYS!

A new moon is rising today. I mean astronomically. Check your moon app 🌚.

🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
Today’s title is brought to you by the faaaar-drill I went through at my normally quiet but deep-thinking job in case you might have interpreted it differently. I was seriously running around like a chicken with its head cut off this afternoon.

Photo disclaimer: Yes, I still have a Hillary Clinton magnet on my fridge. I supported Hillary (and like her) although I wasn’t crazy about her as the blue candidate of choice in 2016. I love (and am amazed) that our country elected a [partially] black person as a two-term prez. I would love for our country to elect a woman for prez. I didn’t think Hillary was the best choice (but I DID vote for her). I believe that we need a better gender balance of folks in positions of authority everywhere but my thoughts on how to achieve that are very complicated so I won’t go there today. “I’m with her”? “Her” is Lady Liberty!

I do not know if I will wake up happy or enraged by election results but my voting experience today was smooth. I got there at about 6:35 AM, cutting my 0-skunk-30 walk short a bit. The polls open at 7:00 AM here but they were letting people into the building at 6:30. I was number seven in line and number eight was a young neighbor who went to Haisley with Lizard Breath and now works at Horiba. Of all things someone got there ahead of Mr. Mxyzptlk so he was 2nd in line. He is almost always number one.

The Beautiful Jackie fumbled a bit at my last name, which she was trying to read on my driver’s license. I’m thinking maybe my license didn’t “swipe” successfully but I wasn’t “processing” fast enough to notice exactly what happened but it got worked out PDQ. (Hmmm, it just occurred to me that she probably knows me by a different name, not the one on my driver’s license.)

Despite being voter number 7, I was the FIRST person to finish and approach the dreaded ballot-eater. And wouldn’t you know, it took something like five tries for it to eat my blasted ballot. I was sweating bullets but eventually it *ate* my ballot and did NOT spit it back out with ERROR ERROR ERROR. Instead I got an American flag screen saying I had successfully voted or whatever. “Whew!” I picked up an “I voted” sticker and walked out and WOW, was the line long by that time.

It was kind of stormy outside but I sat on the bench outside the school entrance and posted my voting status on face book. “Voter #7”. I also, with some trepidation, put my flame suit on and added that I wasn’t afraid to say that I “went blue”. I guess I was “running an experiment” as we sometimes say around here. Most of the folks who liked or commented on my post are people who I know agree with me about the Trumpian Bombasty. I know that a couple do not but they made polite comments and I love them despite our polly-tickle differences. Several others I am not quiiiite sure about but they simply “liked”. 99% of the affirmed Trumpers I am friends with on facebook did NOT like or comment on my post. I dunno. Taking the High Road, I have to guess they like and respect me enough as a person to sit on their hands when I make the rare political post, one that they disagree with.

I am not very optimistic that the election will go the way I want it to but I love y’all *anyway*. -KW

Go blue (and I am not talking about the University of Michigan’s football team)

Monday, November 5th, 2018

I’ll rant about today’s epically bad online banking experience some other day.

Today I am gonna rant about polly-ticks. If you are not inclined to “go blue” tomorrow, move on. If there is no way I can persuade you to “go blue” tomorrow, move on.

I am gonna go blue! I am gonna go blue all the way, even though here in the Great Lake State we can no longer “pull the big lever” to vote a straight party ticket. I am gonna fill in all those little ovals with that felt-tip pen. I am gonna vote blue the whole way.

Every vote for a Republican candidate is a vote for the Orange Baboon*. Every vote for a candidate registered in a third party is a vote for the Orange Baboon. (Remember, I told you to bag out if you didn’t want to listen to my rant.)

I do not like the Orange Baboon. I do not like him on a train. I do not like him in the rain. I did not like him yesterday. I did not like him in 2016 or 2012 or even 1996. My opinion is that he is not an appropriate person to head our beautiful country. I think he should have stuck to building licensing “luxury” hotels (or whatever it is he and Ivanka do besides design handbags).

I get taaarrrred of “people” constantly telling me that I get my opinions from NPR or Nancy Pelosi (!!!) or wherever. I listen to NPR (I love the Sunday puzzle and jazz). I am not a Pelosi fan (whut?). My opinions have not changed all that much throughout my life. If anything, it’s the Republican party that has moved away from me. Way way way to the right and with this administration into the twilight zone.

There are things that are “broken” in our great country but the Orange Baboon is not going to fix them with his ham-handed edicts and his divisive rhetoric, Twitter or wherever.

Example: Immigrants. This is a very complex issue and maybe immigration rules need to be revisited but suddenly issuing a travel ban that affects legal USA residents and causes them great difficulties upon re-entering the country is not how to handle that problem. And let’s clarify some vocabulary while we’re at it. “Caravan”? “Invaders”? So there’s a ragged bunch of people who are *walking* from Guatemala to our southern border. This is an “invasion”? And has anyone looked at a frickin’ MAP? Where is the “caravan” and where are our troops? The ones who are surely much more heavily armed than the “invaders”. And what is an “invasion” exactly? This is a conversation we should all be having. And I have left out the child-separation policy enforcement because I just. Can’t. Go. There.

So I do NOT like what is going on now. I think Trump has hoodwinked a whole bunch of uneducated, illiterate down-on-their-luck people into thinking he is their savior. And quite a few intelligent, educated folks too, for reasons I do NOT understand. I agree that we need change in this country but Trump is NOT our savior. He is in this for himself and that is all.

So, I am gonna go blue tomorrow. I am not optimistic. If you have read this far, please WAKE UP if you are planning to vote for Trump surrogates tomorrow! They are not good for our country. My mother The Commander, once staunchly Republican, would be marching in the streets at this point.

*And someone once suggested that calling Trump a baboon disrespected the baboon species. I’ll talk about baboons some other day 🐽

G’night and whoever you are inclined to vote for, please vote tomorrow!

A little bird[er] drama

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

It started out innocently enough, at least for us.

I watch birds as I watch all of nature but I am not a birder. I can identify a random handful of bird species, think robin, blue jay, great blue heron, Canada goose, sandhill crane, chickadee. And probably some others. But do NOT ask me for a bird ID. Nevertheless, I have been subscribed to a locally based birding email list for about a billion years. It is a great community of people and for me it’s a chance to learn about places to go hiking, etc.

And then there is Swan Corners. It is a 4-way stop intersection out in the “county” (Washtenaw) that is surrounded by ponds. Most years a pair of swans nests and raises goslings there and usually one or more of the family is killed, either by natural predators, illness, or automotive vee-hickles running into/over them. I follow Swan Corners on facebook.

Today the birding list and Swan Corners intersected with a kind of a big bang. A RARE BIRD (Spotted Redshank) showed up in the ponds at Swan Corners two days ago. It was still there this morning and by then it was BIG NEWS! I was trying to figger out a Field Trip with the GG that didn’t involve Bed Bath and Beyond and he is a bit more of a birder than I so I suggested checking out the Spotted Redshank at Swan Corners. Huh? He was a wee bit foggy so I backed up and ‘splained it all again. Yeah, that’d be a good thing to do. So we went.

I don’t think he *totally* appreciated what was going on at Swan Corners until we got there and he saw the umpteen bazillion vee-hickles parked along the road AND ALL THE PEOPLE STANDING THERE WITH THEIR CAMERAS AND SCOPES. At that point, he was, “Park over there!” He jumped outta the Frog Hopper and ran over to where all the birders were standing and worked the crowd until someone who had a scope trained on the cute li’l birdie gave him a look.

I never really know how to talk to enthusiastic birders so I hung out in the Frog Hopper. It was probably a good thing to have somebody staying with our vee-hickle. I mean, while we were there, everybody was kind of parked haphazardly on the iffy-looking road shoulder but I heard that later on there were so many people and vee-hickles there that the sheriff came out and started ticketing cars that were not “properly” parked, which would be difficult to do in that location.

I was kinda wondering how the sheriff handled his encounters with this “mob”, an enthusiastic but orderly group of mostly (although not TOTALLY!) affluent, older, well-educated tax-payers “armed” with expensive gear – scopes and cameras, I mean. A bunch of friendly people sharing a passionate interest with each other. I’m sure the sheriff had to pick his words carefully.

I found out later on that there was a wee bit of birding-list drama in which the original folks who *found* the bird were accused of not sharing the location *immediately*. Sheesh! Those who found the bird have been on the list as long as I have and c’mon, they are only out there to pursue a passionate interest and share knowledge. One of them is a long-time beloved dean at our own Community High School, who I am sure is enjoying having more time to bird and do other things in her retirement.

After our visit to Swan Corners, we meandered around a bit more in the southern part of the county and then, of all things, I caved in and took the GG to Bed Bath and Beyond and we now have a new set of sheets (and an extra set of pillowcases because we didn’t read that there were pillowcases in the sheet package).

Oh and then Sessions brewpub for a wee lunchette in the afternoon. The beach urchins were speculating that yesterday’s meanderings would end up with soup at a pub. It didn’t but I made sure we did that today.

Country roads, take me home

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

It was a small kniffie and I was not the recipient but man oh man, I think I am more tired than the recipient if that is possible. A very temporary disability resulted from the kniffie but it didn’t prevent the recipient from walking over to Home Goods in Maple Village today just so you know how minor this was.

Yer fav-o-rite blahgger? Exhausted! I crashed and burned last night and when I woke up I was totally confused by the time until I finally surfaced enough to grab my iPhone, which I knew would tell me the correct time. No, KW, it is *tomorrow* that the time changes to Eastern Standard.

I did NOT get down to the farmers market until 8 AM today. Actually it was four minutes *before* 8. I sat in the ninja and played with my phone for those four minutes because the parking meter started up at 8 and the parking app would not let me pre-pay, a first-world problem if ever there was one. But I did make it down there and got my $20 worth of fresh, shelled lima beans and some “emergency” swordfish scallopini among other things. Wonder how much longer that farmer will have those lima beans…

Anyway, the reason for the walk over to Home Goods was a sudden obsession with buying new sheets. For the monster bedroom, that is. Did I want to go over to Bed Bath and Beyond to look at sheets? What? Drive all the way over to Arborland on my day off? A football Saturday? To look at sheets? Are you serious? No way, José! Why can’t we just order them on the internet? Because someone wants to feel them before buying them. I get that but I still didn’t want to drive all the way over there. I finally talked him down off that ledge and we took a beautiful, slow drive out in the county instead. And for those who need to know, Home Goods did not have a large sheet selection. I knew that they wouldn’t but nobody listens to me. As much as I *hate* to shop, I am dern good at it and I know these things.

I really wanted to hang out at the Landfill tonight but what do you schedule the day after some kniffie work, even minor kniffie work? Well, you schedule dinner theatre in a neighboring town. Of course. I think the beach urchins thought we were nuts. We enjoyed the food, the play, and our companions were wonderful old and new friends and now we are home and I am trying to get past the Second Wind I get if I stay up “late”.

Enough gibberish. Typos be damned and g’night!

Duplicate data setting

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Yes, our mouse daughter cooked dinner for us tonight. She baked seasoned chicken thighs and made a wonderful delicata squash salad. And there is some apple pie that she left with us. I had some tonight and will probably do the typical pie-for-breakfast thing that the FinFam clan often does.

I don’t usually need help with anything much. I am a pretty dern strong person who kinda loves to run her own life. Today I was happy to have someone help me/us out for a bit and my Mouse rose to the occasion. I probably could have managed it all myself in the end but it was so nice to be able to randomly surf my laptop while someone else figured out dinner. And it was so nice to have my Mouse in my house. <3

I spent most of my time today telecommuting from Livonia, picking away at making “pictures” of difficult functionality with FZ and answering error message questions from K-shun, one of our top-notch developers. And then driving home from Livonia to the Planet Ann Arbor, ugly traffic jam on M14. Jeebus.

G’night, KW

Work hangover on a muckity muck day

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

I met up with MMCB1 for coffee yesterday (MMCB2 is on bubbe duty until further notice) and after a recitation of all the latest Ain’t-It-Awfuls, we were getting up to leave and she was going through her schedule for the next couple weeks. Taiwan next week and the week after. “And then it’s Thanksgiving.” I think I SCREAMED when she said that! Even though I KNEW all too well that turkey day was coming up.

This weekend, if all goes well, I will cook up some Make-ahead Gravy and freeze it in two parts, one for Thanksgiving and one for xmas. And we’ll go from there. At least Thanksgiving does not require the stress of gift-giving. Because I just dunno what to give independent, successful 30-somethings with their own independent lives and collections. [That was not a hint, just an observation.] Somehow The Commander managed to send me and my family gift packages for gift-type holidays until, well, I’m not sure when she couldn’t really manage that any more but it was probably after my brother died and dad got depressed and [more] frail and fell and [eventually, after stuff I don’t wanna remember] died nine months later. I was 51-52 when that stuff happened. The Comm’s packages were always full of thoughtful gifts but I certainly understood when she stopped doing it and it was also right around the time I started flinging.

This is November 1. It was raining lightly when I took my 0-skunk-30 walk. It was raining pretty hard when I drove to work. It rained pretty hard all day and it was still raining pretty hard when I drove home. And it is still raining pretty hard a couple hours later. I am still in pluviophile mode but it’s supposed to rain catz and dogz tomorrow too and then? I haven’t looked any further than tomorrow. I guess I should be glad it’s not snowing because it certainly could be at this time of year but it is a whopping 42 degrees, so no snow, thank you Zeus or whoever.

You do not really want to know about the work hangover. It was just that FZ and I were “yelling” over the wall about some “pictures” (flow diagrams, more or less) that I had sent him. “Am I in the weeds or not?” No. But. Maybe. And then we both kinda went, “hmmm…”. I was about to ask another question but I stopped myself halfway through… Nope, I won’t ask this today. I’m gonna go home and I’ll let it percolate overnight. He agreed and I am soooo glad that one of my main work buddies is such a mensch, as my Jewish friends say. He respects my intelligence even though I am a *woman*. I know that doesn’t happen in every employment situation and I wish I knew how to change it… … …