Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Trouble in River City

Monday, July 29th, 2019

I’ve talked about the Bird List before. It is a [usually] loverly email list where people can post sightings of birds in their own backyards or wherever.

When I was a kid bird watchers were often portrayed as the Epitome of Nerdosity. On TV at least, think the Beverly Hillbillies character Miss Jane [Hathaway], who occasionally dressed up in a boy scout-ish khaki outfit in hot pursuit of the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, which is an actual bird, if I am not mistaken.

Actually bird watchers or Birders in today’s lingo are all over the map including but not limited to nerdy people. I am a nerdy person but I am not a Birder. I identify as a Casual Nature Observer. And so although I have been on the Bird List since back in the Wild Wild West days of the intertubes, I have never contributed to it. I use it to learn about places to hike, etc. If an unusual species for our area is sighted, I am all about it. We once saw an ibis. We failed to see whooping cranes both times they were posted.

Usually the Bird List is extremely focused on BIRDS and very polite. Over the weekend someone got a bit incensed that disclosing the location of a nesting site incited many people to come out to see (and photograph) the birds. That caused the nest to fail. A list member who is very knowledgeable used an unfortunate choice of words that managed to pit “birders” against “photographers”. And it went from there.

Fortunately things calmed down and eventually someone with a lick of sense opined that pet CATS probably kill more birds than birders disturbing nests, not that anyone should disturb nesting birds. Except in my back yard. I mean, I OWN the property and if they decide to nest there – in one of our loverly birdhouses – they need to learn to put up with my comings and goings.

So the pic is my afternoon break beachwalk from telecommuting to Cubelandia. And wouldn’t you know, my new work laptop arrived this morning. Building Mom I/M’d me when I first faaaaared up my laptop in the Lyme Lounge. I told her where I was and thanked her for locking it up until I get back. Hopefully I won’t get a BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH (WITH CURSOR) that I can’t recover from while I am telecommuting this week.

BBQ chicken (or not)

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

Lemme see, grocery stores yesterday and today: Kerrytown (Planet Ann Arbor farmers market/Monahan’s Seafood) yesterday morning, Best Choice (Hoton Lake) yesterday afternoon, bonus trip to Best Choice on the Flote Bote noon-ish today (second pic, more cherry brats), St. Iggy Family Fare (just north of the Big Mac bridge) for more stuff than I thought we needed but we probably do need it.

I have been to enough grocery-type stores in the last two days that when we finally got to the moomincabin this afternoon and discovered that we did not have KETCHUP (or cider vinegar or brown sugar), I decided I was NOT going to go to another grocery store to get those ingredients to make BBQ sauce for the chicken I bought in Iggy, even though the park store is only a few miles up the road. Nope.

What the heck, the GG is coming up with another strategy involving balsamic viniagrette and paprika and bread crumbs and I dunno what else. We will still be cooking the chicken on the grill but it’ll probably be more like baking than grilling. It is actually almost too hot here to run the oven. The first thing we did when we got here was open all the windows, put the screens in the doors, and turn on the mini-fan.

We had the best time at Hoton Lake with JimC and The Beautiful Becky. I was so focused on our upcoming sojourn at the moominbeach that I didn’t really have anything for US to eat at Hoton Lake. I figgered we would go out to eat. Instead, THEY FED US!!! We had the most loverly omelets this morning, so good that I am only now getting hungry again. I think it took her like five minutes to cook them.

Then we took a LOVERLY morning flote bote ride! All of the people on the bote who used fishing poles have licenses. Those who fished caught Weed Fish. Those are the best kind of fish because you don’t have to worry if they’ll die while you are trying to dig the hook out before you throw them back. We were going slow-as-she-goes when I took this pic of dragonflies doing the deed on one of the fishing poles. It was as hot as Hades and eventually we sped up and I dunno where the dragonflies went.

As we were leaving (1:00-something), the Hoton Lake “crowd” was fixing Bloody Marys with ZingZang (which I have never tried). It was gorgeous there and I wanted to try a ZingZang Bloody Mary but I had to DRIVE. Plus, I need to be butt-in-seat tomorrow morning in the Lyme Lounge, hooked up to Cubelandia.

We arrived at the moominbeach to a beautiful afternoon and after we jumped around unloading all our crapola and flushing the water heater (the GG does that), I shelled peas down on Bill’s Birch Point Beach Bank Bench. It was a beautiful beach day and C*Q*L skipped in and out. Life is good.

That sure was a good idea!

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

I was slow to drag myself outta the rack this morning and indecisive about going to the farmers market. The GG got up and I asked him what he thought. He said, “Go ahead and go”. (I think he was trying to get rid of me for a while.)

I had two things in mind: shelling peas and swordfish kebabs. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find either. It’s very very late for shelling peas and the swordfish kebabs often sell out before Saturday. When they’re out, they’re out. GUESS WHAT? I found BOTH! Plus I got lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and a couple of gorgeous eggplants.

We mobilized and hit the I75 SUV Speedway, driving tandem in the Ninja and Frog Hopper and arrived at Hoton Lake before noon. Best Choice Cherry bratwurst for lunch thanks to JimC and The Beautiful Becky and those were sooooo good that I made a run over there to get some to take north. Probably shouldda got more…

Gorgeous rain storms in the afternoon, then JimC talked us into schlepping up to Grayling to watch the start of the Au Sable Canoe Marathon. This 120-mile race (Grayling to Oscoda) starts at 9:00 PM and runs overnight. 9:00 is a wee bit too close to my bed time for comfort but I went along with it and ended up having a good time although I probably won’t go out of my way to watch it again.

I’ve been told to shut down because there’s a light show across the lake and my screen is keeping people from seeing it. G’night and typos be damned 🐸

and cousinal

Friday, July 26th, 2019

So last night was a cFam party. Tonight we met up with some FinRegen cousins at The Griz on The Planet Ann Arbor. No babies or little kids this time although we had grandparents-to-be among our crowd. Congratulations to them🧡🧡🧡

That is about all I have to say. Home now and chilling out for one last high summer evening on The Planet Ann Arbor. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. It is always hard to leave The Planet to go to the moomincabin. And then it is excruciatingly hard to leave the moomincabin to go back to The Planet. I am a dual citizen. My deepest roots are at the moomincabin but I have grown some deep roots here on The Planet too as happens when you work and raise your children somewhere. My dad was from the yooperland, my mom from the Detroit area. I have managed to make my life in the best of both worlds.

Sappy? Yeah. Okay, shaddup KW. Will I make a quick trip to the farmers market tomorrow morning or not? I may not make that decision until tomorrow morning.


Thursday, July 25th, 2019

I almost didn’t go to the party. It happened 40 minutes north of us and I had to take part of the afternoon off work and I have sooooo much to do in order to blast off to the Great White North in a couple days. I couldda stayed here and gotten some packing done.

I am so glad I went to the party. It was a cFam party. Not everyone was there. That wouldda been fun I guess but we number at least 50 people nowadays. This was The Lord and Lady of Linden and most of their kids and grandkids (except for the Seattle fam for hopefully obvious reasons). And our niece J and her girls. Cousins and second cousins. And us.

I had so much fun. I started out being my shy self sitting in the kitchen drinking a bit of whine and catching up with the Lord and Lady of Linden. The younger kids were bouncing off the GG in the living room. I’m uncomfortable when people try to get young children to “say hi to Auntie” or hug me or whatever. I would rather little kids approach me if they are interested. I recently (randomly) read something that rang true for teaching children that it’s okay to not want to be smothered by some evil-smelling old person that they don’t know and it turned out that J USES it with her children. “Do you want to hug, wave, or high-five?” That works for me and it would probably have worked for me as a child who sometimes encountered benign but unwanted physical attention from well-meaning folks. As most children do.

The children in this new generation of the cFam range from infants to incoming college freshmen. They are all wonderful and a few of them are spontaneous huggers. Once I gained my party feet, I especially enjoyed talking to their parents, the children of our generation. All intelligent successful adults and wonderful thoughtful parents.

I started nudging the GG a half hour or more before I wanted to leave. I knew it would take him a while to extricate himself. We got home a while back and it’s late for a School Night but I can’t help but bask a bit in the loverly Planet Ann Arborness of my own back yard, which is live with the sounds of insects and birds and with faaaarflies winking and blinking around. Life is pretty dern good tonight, knock on wood.

Bullety brain

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

— Cubelandia: I have spent at least a week navigating my way through a labyrinth of custom processing functionality in a wee little corner of our product. I now have a document that tracks every bit of this crapola. What it does (if I can figger that out) and where it was specified (or not…). My pretty little document is strewn with “pictures” and annotated with detailed questions. All wrapped up in a speshul little package for FZ when he returns in a few weeks. Which is when I return. Except I haven’t left yet. Got done with that at 4:00 and circumnavigated Cubelandia via the parking lot while I pondered what to start on next. When I got back, the dev team was a-knock knock knockin’ on my door. Problem solved.

— Mail: Got home and @tmotu was waiting for me at the door. Oh dear, I really need to be spacified when I get home so WTF was he doing haaaannnnggging around by the door. Well, I received a package today and HE WANTED TO OPEN IT! What was in the package? A couple of new iPhone charging cables and a solar charger. He was sooooo excited! I said, “Go for it!” You almost can’t ever have too many of those things.

— Food: What’s for dinner? I wasn’t sure if there was ANYTHING for dinner tonight. It is a dance trying to empty the refrigerator before a vacation and still have enough to eat without having to go out to eat all the time. We’ll squeak by for tonight and I might even get a wee leftover lunch tomorrow. I have a lot of stuff in the freezer but that’s gonna be packaged up to take to the moomincabin.

— Neighbors: Henrietta has been haaaannnnging around for something like 15 minutes now, eating up a storm and seemingly oblivious to our presence. She seems to be avoiding crossing the line into full sunlight. Not sure exactly what’s she’s thinking. Is it because she’ll be more visible to predators in the sun or is it simply that it’s cooler in the shade?

— And that’s all. Except WHOA! I finished my 2019 Goodreads reading challenge. A beach urchin has suggested that I extend it to 100. We’ll see. I’ll blahg about that some other day.

Stairway to nowhere

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

I guess we all take turns as restless sleepers. This morning it was the GG’s turn. This was okay. I start up a waking/sleeping cycle around 4:00 AM or so most mornings. I am used to it and it’s almost kind of comfortable for me.

The problem is that sometimes crazy REM dreams accompany this Batscope stuff and it can be worse when I am dealing with a restless sleeper. This morning it was BIGTIME Shoreline Dreams albeit most of the action took place *inside* the moomincabin, not on the beach. My parents were alive and mom was burning some sort of plant in the sink and I dunno what that was all about but I wanted to go upstairs. Problem? The stairs/ladder had collapsed!

I won’t bore you with any of the other details of the dream (I can’t actually remember all of the details). This is not the best pic but it is not a dream. It is a real pic of the ladder that we use to get to the second floor of the moomincabin. My parents added a second floor to the cabin the year after I gave birth to my first daughter. Their first granddaughter of four. The writing was on the wall that the moomincabin needed more space.

In a lot of ways I love what my parents did but I kind of wish they wouldn’t have cheaped out quiiiiite as much as they did. This ladder is not in any danger of collapsing like it did in my dream. It is very sturdy. But it is not “to code”. I/we are thinking we want to change this somehow. I am not sure we will get rid of the interior ladder but some of us want to build an outdoor staircase leading to an actual upstairs *door*. Myself? I would like an upstairs *bathroom* but that is probably a pipe dream.

Soooo fun tonight. npJane came over for Shed Beer. Alas, Shed Beer didn’t actually happen because we had storms rolling through so we had to decamp to the Back Room. After much talk, I cooked rainbow trout from Monahan’s and various sides and I think we all ended up happy 🧡🧡🧡

24-hour time in a MAGA KAG world

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

I think it’s about time to do a Book Blahg. The other day somebody was asking me if I was reading anything good but after the wandering conversations that had taken place that evening, about all my brain could pull out was something like b-b-b-b-b. Ahem, not that I am, ahem, the best person to go to for, ahem, book recommendations… But I do read and here is what I’ve been reading.

First, two “normal” books. I am oblivious to most TV series (that’s plural) but somehow, well, “somehow” being via a couple of PACNW blahggy friends, “Big Little Lies” got onto my radar screen. I have not watched any of the series but I did read the book. I was a little leery because it sounded kind of soap opera-y* but I found that I liked the characters a lot and the author told a good story without getting overly dramatic, etc. I LOVED the setting, which was a beach community in Australia. I’m told the TV series is set in Monterrey? Why? I know how far away Australia is but we have a lot of ocean beach towns in the USA. Surely they could pretend one of those was in Australia? Nothing against California, just…

When I finished that, I discovered that “What Alice Forgot” by the same author was on my Goodreads to-read list, so I devoured that. I enjoyed it a lot but I think I liked Big Little Lies better. I have to say, my brain was working overtime trying to figure out how the amnesia thing worked.

Before those books and after that awful snake book, I read “The Chain”. This was a scary book about “chain kidnapping”. It would be a spoiler to say anything more about that but I looooved it. Much better put together than the snake book and great characters.

I am now in the middle of a very weird book titled “Bunny”. At first it seemed almost too weird even for my weird tastes, so much so that I put it down for a couple days. Finally I forced myself to pick it up again and now I am having *trouble* putting it down. I don’t think it would be everyone’s cuppa. Goodreads reviews are variations on “Bonkers” and “WTF did I just read?” with various references to Stephen King thrown in for good measure. This book has turned out to be totally up my alley and filled my hankering for a weird book like the snake book did not.

When I do finish it, I will have read 51 books on my 52 book Goodreads challenge.

*Don’t get me wrong. Back in the day I was a HUGE fan of Dallas and other boob tube shows of that genre. We even had a Fisher Price cowboy hat person that beginning talker Lizard Breath named “JR”.

Yes, there used to be a refrigerator there

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Yesterday was such an exciting day and when I left off my chronicle of yesterday’s events, I expected the only thing left was Shed Beer with Mouse but that turned into Back Room ‘hattans because rainstorms. But…

We had a sorta surprise visit from a wonderful set of travelers from a western state. Our niece and her three beautiful young daughters, 8, 5, and 2. Sorta surprise? We knew she was traveling to Michigan (most of the cFam lives in Michigan, including her mom, dad, and paternal grandparents). There was talk of her stopping here on the way over to Megalopolis (Detroit metro area) but it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that we knew for sure she would be able to visit.

J is almost exactly 10 years older than Lizard Breath and when Lizard Breath was a baby, J visited us for a week a couple of times during her school holidays. The GG had helped a lot with J when *she* was a baby so she was very comfortable staying at our house. She was a great help with LB. Oh, not that LB was ever any kind of problem to deal with, just that it was nice to have an extra pair of capable hands to help get her in and out of her car seat, etc.

We don’t see J a lot because western state and I was amazed at how well she remembered our funky little house. And that there was a REFRIGERATOR there where those red shelves are now, not to mention the WINDOW. Yes. There was.

The plan was for them to stop for a very short visit (grandma was *anxiously* awaiting their arrival) and I am soooo glad they did. There was a bit of angst on our part regarding their departure because severe storms were about to move in. We were anxious for them to get on the road and out ahead of the storms. But of course, a last-minute bathroom break was in order. When you are traveling with children and there’s a bathroom opportunity, you don’t mess around and that’s about all I will say about that.

We asked that J or her mom text us when they arrived safely. In the end, the GG was antsy enough that he called J and they were on their way in the door so we stopped worrying.

BTW: I cleaned and decluttered the entire chitchen including these shelves today. I am still not happy with these (cheap) shelves. I guess I need to get motivated to look around again… I probably won’t get rid of them, just move them outside.

Yellow umbellifers and subwoofers

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

I made it to the farmers market when it opened this morning but I also overslept. What woke me up was a text message from a beach urchin who wanted me to pick up a certain yellow umbellifer from a certain vendor. Okay, I am getting up. NOW! She told me where the vendor was located but not who it was. This can be a problem because most vendors are assigned space on a first-come-first-serve basis so their location can change weekly. Then I thought about the location I was told and… Oh! Wait! Does she sell out of a truck? Yes. I KNOW her! It’s Jenna Janna. We were WCC classmates. She *is* in the same location every week and she was there today and she had a bucket full of beautiful yellow umbellifers.

Among other things, I went inside to the fish market. I was looking for swordfish kebabs but they were out BUT they had some LOVERLY sashimi-grade tuna steaks. Two of them! Thinking back to last night’s tuna steak, I said, “I’ll take ’em!” (To freeze and take to the yooperland where you can’t usually buy things like that.) They were expensive as all getout but I had eyeballed the price and their size and figured they were a little on the high end but wouldn’t break my bank. Then my ears heard this total: $292. Whaaaaa? How much??? $82. Oh, okay. That’s much better. And we had a laugh about sticker shock at the fish market. (I estimate the two of us will each get two meals out of these things so it’ll amount to about $20 a person per meal.)

Most people I encountered this morning were pretty groggy so I think a lot of people were up late with the heat and storms and many folks lost power. Victoria of Protective Fish lost power and only got a few hours of sleep and said she needed to put some mascara on to make her feel human (trust me, if you knew Victoria, it would be funny). The GG didn’t get up until after I got back from the market.

Mid-morning I was humming along amid various cleaning-cooking-laundry prodjects. I was sitting in the still relatively cool backyard shelling peas (really surprised to see them this morning, it’s late for them) when I was asked out on a date! Where to? The Dump! I hemmed and hawed a bit. I had things to do. He said, “Oh c’mon, Garbage Woman, it’s yer fav-o-rite place.” It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. We dumped off a HEAVY load of the dirtiest cement blocks you can imagine. I guess the idea was to schlep them over NOW in the Frog Hopper rather than get Moon Unit all dirtied up when she eventually lands. And oh. When we got to The Dump, my date did not have any money so *I* had to pay for the date! (He was lucky I got cash at the market ATM this morning.)

I guess I will just post this. I have more chores to do this afternoon but am refraining because the GG is out cold on the couch in the back room and it is open to the chitchen and I don’t want to disturb him with all my banging around. To look forward to? Possible thunderstorms later in the afternoon / evening and Mouse coming over for dinner and a Shed Beer.

Oh but wait! How could I forget the anniversary of the moon landing? What were you doing on this date in 1969? I was SICK! Yes. I was at the Piedy cabin with all the other beach teeny-boppers and we had Ag’s little black-and-white (I think) TV on and I would NOT admit that I was sick (fever and sore throat cold virus). I think I even went SWIMMING that day! In Lake Superior! I wouldn’t admit that I was sick because I sooooo wanted to watch the moon landing with my friends rather than my square, uncool old parents. For the record, I was also sick when John Glenn orbited the earth in 1962. We were watching it at school (where did we get a TV from?) and I threw up all over my desk. TMI? 🐽

The answer is below the Numbrix

Friday, July 19th, 2019

So, about as hot as it gets. We are practicing Art Fair(s) Avoidance this weekend. Well, the GG did walk through the fair(s) yesterday and today going to and from the Honda dealer where my loverly Ninja was undergoing surgery to fix her A/C and brakes. $1600+. Yeah. I think she is angry at me. Maybe she doesn’t realize that she is not being displaced by Moon Unit’s eventual arrival. I am not quite finished with her and her manual tranny.

Hot Hot Hot! Yes. I tried to sit in the back yard for 20 minutes or so this afternoon between work and walking over to Knights. I do not normally sweat a whole lot but at one point my arm had been resting on my plastic Adirondack chair arm for a while and when I lifted it up, there was a significant amount of water there. I was also concerned that my sweat would compromise my MacBook trackpad (dear Apple, please harden your laptops against the teensiest tinsiest bits of H2O…) but I had a dry dishtowel at the ready in case any beads of sweat got within two inches of it (dear Apple…). TMI.

Practicing Art Fair(s) Avoidance means not going downtown so we snagged tonight’s reservations over at Knights, the neighborhood pub, early in the week. That was a good thing because it was slammed. I had my eye on the tuna special. I mean tuna steak, not tunafish salad. When we were ordering, the waiter told us there was ONE tuna left and if anyone wanted it, let him know NOW! I raised my hand and the waiter RAN to reserve that one last tuna steak for me. It was LOVERLY and I took half of it home as usual. I don’t think we are going to the Griz for lunch tomorrow (because Art Fair(s) Avoidance) so it’ll make a good lunch.

As we were getting toward the end of dinner, my iPhone proclaimed a severe thunderstorm warning. We decamped to the Landfill for a nightcap of porterization and watched a beautiful storm roll through. It was one of those storms that dumped a lot of rain and threw a few little thunderbolts but didn’t drop tornadoes or hail or trees, at least not here. The worst of it was probably north of us. A comfortable storm that cooled us down a bit.

I am up waaaaay past my bedtime but I kinda don’t care. It’s the middle of summer and the last weather prediction I remember seeing says it’ll be 97 tomorrow. I give myself a pass at that temp although I will still probably resist closing everything up and turning on the A/C. And I do want to get to the farmers market when it opens tomorrow morning. At seven. The birds will wake me up but they are of no help getting me outta bed.

G’night, KW

I don’t have much so here’s a Throwback Thursday like all the cool kids do

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

I don’t exactly know when I took this photo. It was filed under 2010 but I think it might be earlier than that because I think Radical Betty was in some adjacent photoooos and she unfortunately died in 2009. I can’t remember exactly why The Commander was taking a swing at me. I’m sure I said something to warrant the threatened attack. Whatever year it was, it was during an era when we had a HUGE beach!

And again, that is a Great Lake in the background. It’s Its name is Superior. Technically our beach is on the Upper St. Marys River (no there is no apostrophe in Marys) but it’s all the same water. The point is, if you do not know the Great Lakes, you should not swim in them without education and strict supervision. They are not like the oceans but they are big bodies of water that can be very dangerous and if you don’t know the geography of the beach you are visiting, you can get into trouble very quickly what with dropoffs and riptides and undertows and whatnot. I am anually horrified at how many city folks drown in Lake Michigan because they have NO CLUE!

The moominbeach does not have dropoffs or riptides or undertows. Its geography is mild with a shallow sandbar system. It is a good place for children to swim. But. It doesn’t take deep water or dropoffs or riptides or undertows to drown people. A small child can drown in a half-filled cooler right out in your backyard. We always like to say the only rule at the moominbeach is WE DON’T THROW SAND! But we do have a few other rules and one of them is, if you want to swim ALWAYS ask an adult to watch you.

So that’s the end of my public service announcement. Good night.

I wanted to write my whole post in emoji…

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Or at least the title. And not because it’s Emoji Day. Because this morning I discovered something momentarily shocking although I have been expecting it to happen for YEARS now so it also made me laugh out loud because honestly, HOW STOOPID CAN YOU GET!!! Anyway, I wanted to post about it but it falls into that ever-lovin’ I-can’t-blahg-about-it blahgging category so I thought it would be a cool challenge to “code” it into emoji. The problem is that there are no emoji characters for witch or bitch and devil implies quite a bit more intelligence or wile or whatever than what we’ve got going on here. And I couldn’t find an emoji for blocks either.

This discovery may mark the end of a rather dark era but for other unblahggable reasons, I suspect that era will not be over ’til the Fat Lady Sings.

Anyway I spent my entire day rattling around down in a little corner of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth trying to untangle the history of various pieces of custom functionality. When did we first install this? What did we change and when? This is a low priority prodject but it *is* on the roadmap and I need to sort it out *now* before FZ rides off into the sunset. Yes, I could just ask him about it but if I spend enough time untangling it myself, I will be able to ask him “intelligent” questions and understand the answers. Then when he is gone I will be a legitimate SME on this topic.

Try as I might, I cannot think of anything else to say or how to end this gracefully. Whenever I write anything, I channel Mr. Pfifer (silent P long i, he hated when people called him “Mr. Piffer”), 12th grade “honors” English. Three-page paper? Introduction, body, and conclusion. Great teacher and I feel “naked” if I don’t have all that stuff but this is just a stoopid old blahg, so who cares. And with that I’ll end this emoji-free blahg with one of my fave conclusions 🐽

Love y’all, KW


Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

I would normally be sitting out in the back yard at this time of day, especially after today’s grueling commute. Art fair(s) week traffic anyone? I am not outside because there are pop-up Tstorms rollin’ on through. Just little ones but even little ones come with rain. And lightning.

Apparently this summer is going to be a real summer. I can’t actually remember what last summer’s weather was like. I spend most of my time in A/C, driving and at Cubelandia. Nowadays we have central A/C here at the Landfill but rarely use it. We have a lot of shade and a “whole house” fan and that takes the edge off the worst days. Not sure what we’ll do if we get the predicted mid-90s later in the week. I reeaallly reeaaallly like to have the house open (screens) to the outdoors but others may disagree with me.

This is the Great Lake State and weather is such a mixed bag. When the beach urchins were babies, we endured a couple summers where the temperatures hovered in the 90s or once in the low 100s for weeks. No central A/C then. Just a couple of crappy window-type A/C units that were noisy as all getout and prob’ly tripped circuit breakers. I will never forget the day my Mouse had a 104 degree fever (it was roseola and she was A-OK) and her temperature matched the outdoor temp. I think we even put her in a plastic kiddie pool for a bit, which I would NEVER do with a feverish child in cooler temperatures.

But Jeebus, this yoopergal was not really built for that kind of crap. I mean, I remember Radical Betty walking the moominbeach in JULY wearing glubs and complaining that “we only get a little BOX of summer”. And then there’s an old yooper joke: Summer was so nice last year. It happened on a Wednesday.

The Planet Ann Arbor is usually a lot warmer than the yooperland and we are having a beautiful rainstorm right now and this terrible photo might give you an idea of my chitchen in the dark in a rainstorm. The only lights I have on are some LED strings. Look up to my colored glass collection*. This is at the purple/red end of my spectrum (actually there are clear pieces to the left but they are hard to see in the pic). Green and blue are at the other end. It isn’t a perfect rainbow (I don’t have anything orange) but it’ll do. DO NOT look at the bottle of Weiman’s glass stove-top cleaner.

*I am not actively collecting glass vases, etc. A few of these pieces were given to me for my wedding, some are artifacts from my parents or the GG’s. The purple stuff is from my Mouse for xmas because I needed some purple.

Unexpected compliments

Monday, July 15th, 2019

I got an unexpected compliment today. FZ yelled over the wall today that some people are able to write things that make sense and that was a good thing. And he was talking about meeeeee. Which was very flattering. And then he commenced to start lobbing things over the wall for me to essentially re-write.

This is okay. It is part of his knowledge transition plan in preparation for executing the dreaded R-word, which is happening within the next year… Alas… I did not scream when I heard this but I wanted to. I love everyone I work with but me and FZ communicate in kind of a particular way. We are both very detail oriented and we come up with questions not everyone has thought of. He is MUCH MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT OUR PRODUCT THAN I AM and that is why I will miss him sooooo much.

Lest you think I let this compliment go to my head. FZ is a VERY good writer but it isn’t his job to write functional specs and those beasties have some kind of particular writing requirements. After I caught my wits, I yelled back over the wall to say, “You have to know that almost everything I write starts out as Word Salad.” I think it’s called Process Writing (or was when the beach urchins were being taught to organize their thoughts into pieces of writing way back when). You begin by simply capturing your thoughts willy nilly and then edit any number of times. Getting rid of extraneous words and whatever and rearranging it all into some kind of logical order. For my job, that usually means bullet points interspersed with tables and pictures of various sorts.

Y’all are kinda going, “but I can’t usually even understand yer blahg.” It’s okay, the GG frequently says that and sometimes I’m not even sure I understand it. And so many times I edit it in the cold clear light of the next morning to remove run-on sentences or repetitious crapola or whatever. Or sometimes I just leave all that stuff. I write at the end of the day and with the distractions of cooking dinner and catching up with the GG and whatever else is going on, it can be hard to write coherently.

Then I came home and got another unexpected compliment. A beach urchin said that she doesn’t remember ever not having a home-cooked meal as a child. Now. It is not true that we fed our kids home-cooked stuff every day but we really did do it most of the time. Did she always eat those home-cooked meals? No, she certainly did not. Of course, there was a lot of filler stuff like Kraft Mac’n’cheese and ramen noodles around here for many years. Microwaved pepperoni was extra speshul… But she gets that I tried. And maybe that’s why the beach urchins are such good cooks now (although I didn’t teach them anything) and why they work hard to feed themselves and their friends with fresh food. 🧡🧡🧡

P.S. Oh yeah, after a few years of procrastination, we pulled a certain trigger today. The Engineer may know what we did if he is watching from the Party Bote Edmund Fitz. The rest of y’all’ll have to wait [wink wink]. Except for Stargazer.


Sunday, July 14th, 2019

These are my veggies from the farmers market yesterday. Meat/seafood purchases are not as photogenic.

Of all things, the bird email list has been lit up by sightings of a whooping crane (or two?) for the last couple weeks and pelicans the last couple of days. These are unusual birds for our area (and whoopers are rare anywhere) and they have been seen at Fourmile Lake so we took a drive out there this morning. We saw geese (of course) and an egret and sandhills and an eagle (well, I didn’t see the eagle but others with scopes and fancy cams did). I declined to use the GG’s binoculars. I mean it was all cool and we talked to some nice folks but I am not anything like a serious birder and I regularly see all of those bird species at work, sometimes close enough to photograph with my iPhone. And why would I take pictures of a Canada Goose unless it was doing something weird because they are everywhere. Were they endangered at one time?

A trip to the Plum Market both to buy a few groks and to check out a certain vee-hickle with an onboard diagnostics reader. It was emissions stuff so it was fine but the truth is that most of us (in our fam) are driving OLD cars and prob’ly need to upgrade. Why (besides $ of course) are we procrastinating? I dunno. As the Orange Baboon always says, “We’ll just have to see what happens.” Well that’s one of the things he says, when he is not telling American citizens to return to their home countries and “fix” them. What a frickin’ idjit.

Hot here but not insufferably so and it is summer so it’s supposed to be hot. Because you know what we have to look forward to here in the Great Lake State.

Mooooooon Uuuuuuunit

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

Yeah. Up early to walk and then hit the farmers market right around when it opened. Lemme see… Basil (which we could prob’ly grow but aren’t), tomatoes, potatoes, red onions, broccoli, aaaaaand… big bag of shelling peas. I swear that last year I could not get shelling peas by this time of year so this bag was a big bonus. On the other hand, I think we were getting local sweet corn by this time last year and there wasn’t any today so sounds like crops are a bit behind. Also bought some non-veg stuff… Rainbow trout and whitefish from Monahan’s, whole chicken from Sparrow, and stuffed cabbage and potato pancakes from the Polish folks.

That was followed by a morning of chores and a particularly loooooong errand and then Lizard Breath joined us for lunch at The Griz with Janel. She had a baby shower to attend in A2 this afternoon which I had totally forgotten about probably because of my general schedule fogginess this summer. I somehow thought the shower was in August but that is when the baby is due, fer kee-reist. I am not ready to retaaaaar yet but it sure would make planning summer vacations a bit easier if I didn’t have to put in for time off. Anyway I didn’t quiiiite realize until mid-afternoon how HOT it is today. It was not all that hot this morning and we spent quite some time this morning in A/C.

The upcoming baby is via a middle school thru college and beyond friend of Liz’s and his wife. I always have to ask these rude questions. Do they know the sex? Did they want to know the sex? Do they know the sex but haven’t told anyone?

Those are extremely rude questions but note that I didn’t (and wouldn’t EVER) ask the PARENTS. My child either didn’t know the answers or didn’t ‘fess up. That is totally okay. It is totally the parents’ business! And these parents will be wonderful!

I know that some people go to great lengths to do a “gender reveal” sometimes to the point of accidentally blowing up their car (that was all over social media this week) but I know that others would rather keep it private or wait and see or let the child decide or any variation on all of that. That let the child decide option sounds crazy to some people but sex is not ALWAYS binary and sometimes babies get assigned the wrong sex at birth. Read Middlesex. It’s about that but it’s also a very good book.

I am curious about these issues because ultrasounds, etc., were just beginning to be “normal” when I had my children. I did not have one during my first pregnancy. This even surprised my child, being the one who was not ultra-sounded. Everything was fine and there didn’t seem to be a reason to have one. I was grateful for this non-intervention. I had one during my second pregnancy but not for any specific reason. A nurse talked me into it during the doc’s vacation and I was grumpy about it but ultimately felt okay because we could see that the baby was well formed. I suspected that the technician probably knew I was carrying another daughter but we did not want to be told. The point is that technology exists now that didn’t when I was having children and I’m curious about what young parents think about it.

I “knew” both times that I was bearing daughters. How did I know? I do not know. But I did and I was right.

Did you know that Frank Zappa named his daughter Moon Unit?

The Lord High Grumpess

Friday, July 12th, 2019

Man oh man, I was soooooo grumpy today. We are trying to strategize our plans for the rest of the summer and I am trying to figure out if I have over-committed myself or what. I don’t think so. I just hope I can stabilize my remaining vacay plans for the duration.

And then we met downtown at our longtime fave Friday night dinner restaurant and what the heck? It took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get service for ANYTHING. We typically order two drinks. When we order the second, we also put in a food order. I used to sometimes have a whine to end the evening but I am good with the two drinks nowadays. Tonight I put our first two EMPTY glasses at the edge of the table and it was a while before even doing THAT got the attention of a server.

When it did get their attention I told them we also wanted to order food. He asked if we knew what we wanted. Well, I did but at that exact nano-second, the GG was on the phone and I didn’t know what HE wanted so the server went away and I think we got the drinks but it took a while for us to put in our orders. Getting the check? They put the check down by The Man (the GG) and left even though I was waving my debit card around like crazy. And then didn’t come back… The GG finally took the check up to the bar and I can tell you that they did not get as good a tip as I-e-I-e-I usually give. I dunno. I like that restaurant but the service has been on a downward spiral throughout the year and I am not sure what’s next.

We walked a bit through the annual Rolling Sculptures car show. I am not the slightest bit interested in car shows but I had a bit of fun telling somebody with an old Corvette or whatever that when we buy our next vee-hickle (soon), my main specification is that the color will be anything but brown. And I told him why, which is that when you keep cars as long as we do, a old brown car will look like sh*t rolling down the road. I think his Corvette was a beautiful shade of baby blue and he laughed.

And then we ran into another loverly gentleman who owned the vee-hickle in the pic and I am not sure what it is. He had been an automotive engineer who worked on emissions systems for a couple auto companies and it turned out that his career was somewhat parallel to the GG’s in some ways.

I am gonna publish this typos be damned so I can get back to reading my booooook and watching faaaaarflies.

If I hear ice cubes clinking this weekend, it’ll definitely be my brother wondering what kind of vee-hickle we are thinking about buying… 🐽🐸

Noooo froooog in blooooo

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Came in and out of the chitchen umpteen times this afternoon dealing with dishes and garbage and what not and finally looked over at my laptop and whooooaah! Noooo frooog! The frooog is not really bloooo. That’s an effect of the color I have that particular string of LED lights set to. (I think he got it at Ace Hardware…)

I remember my daughters’ ages because I was there when they were BORN! Becquet? Hmmm… She was riding a bicycle today. She was obviously new at it and there were training wheels but still I had to ask the question: Is she going into kindergarten in the fall? No, she’s only four. There are plenty of good pre-school options here on The Planet Ann Arbor and I’ll bet she is enrolled in one of them.

I did send a 4-year-old to kindergarten but a couple things were different back then. 1) The age cut-off date was December 1. 2) My child turned five in October. (Becquet has a March birthday so she wouldn’t have been eligible to start at four even with the old cut-off date.) I wasn’t worried about sending my child to kindergarten but apparently the teacher, when we did our kindergarten “interview”, thought we were nuts sending a small-for-her-age 4-year-old off to kindergarten. At our first kindergarten conference, she ‘fessed up about that thought and told us she had been wrong. Our little munchkin fit right in.

I was glad not to have to wait another year for her to start school. I had a January birthday but was probably ready for kindergarten (academically at least) the year before I was legal to go and The Comm tried to get them to let me go a year early (because I was probably driving her nuts). It was a non-starter.

There was no pre-school available* for my “gap year” so she enrolled me in ballet and tap lessons (which I wasn’t particularly talented at) and I probably harassed my little brother most of the rest of the time. Oh yeah, there was Sunday School which was pretty benign since we attended a mainstream Methodist church. But it was only occasionally academic and I craved academic “stuff”.

Although ultimately I think it was okay I didn’t get sent to school early, I was ALWAYS bored by the academics the school served up and the REVIEW that happened for WEEKS every fall. Gimme more homework. Yes, really. In 9th grade, I FINALLY got tracked into what then passed for today’s AP classes. (I am not in favor of rigid “tracking” systems but it did help me *personally*.) My 4-year-old kindergartner did just fine all the way through school and is a wonderful, responsible adult.

I didn’t talk to the neighbor for a long time because she had to catch up with Becquet and I needed to go and fling various undergarments. I didn’t tell the neighbor that although I’m sure she would’ve laughed. I just said I needed to change my clothes.

*In recent years, I told a beloved childhood/facebook friend about the lack of pre-schools available when I was a young five. She said, “Oh but I went to pre-school at the Episcopal (I think) church.” I think that would’ve been open to any paying customer so I can only imagine that the Comm, who could be kind of a snob in those days, had some issue with whoever was teaching or running the school. But who knows.

Chekhov’s gun

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Remember a couple days ago when I clumsily mentioned this when talking about a novel I thought was pretty awful?

Have you ever heard the rule of thumb that when a gun is introduced in a story (no matter how benignly) it will eventually get USED in some kind of a climactic moment?

Well. I can now put a name to this. It’s Chekhov’s gun and here is a link to a discussion about it. I’m sharing it without having read it.

Two things:

1) I found the Chekhov’s gun reference in my *next* book (after the Snakes) when the main character eventually used a GUN that she purchased in an early chapter.

2) I do NOT know why I couldn’t remember the Chekhov reference because even though I am not exactly a literary giant, I did hang around with the YAG theatre guild for a number of years and it was certainly discussed a number of times and I betcha any of the serious Yaggies know the whole thing by heart. Me? I was busy keeping up the admin side of things, the necessary part of running a non-profit org that the executive/artistic director couldn’t really do and was a wee bit paranoid about, at least the tech part that I introduced…

Sharing without reading/watching? Posting without knowledge? One of the annoying facebook shares I have endured in the last few days was a video knocking down AOC (google her if you don’t know who she is). While I don’t agree with everything AOC (or anyone) stands for, I admire her GREATLY for her courage in giving us straight talk and I think we DO need to let our younger citizens take the lead in terms of the future. We will not be around. I will may blahg about this in relation to a horrific event in my own family’s relatively recent history some other day. Seeya then, Kassandra.

So a recent facebook share (by a high school classmate with an advanced degree no less) was a Fox News clip showing a border patrol official who tried to dismiss AOC’s claims about the horrific conditions she encountered when visiting the border detention centers. I admit that I didn’t watch the whole clip (4:46 minutes, no thank you) but I got the gist. (And not all of Fox news is bad so please don’t go there.)

One of my more intellectually challenged high school classmates made a random comment that it was horrible that AOC swore on a Quran when taking her oath of office. Of course this is not likely true as AOC was raised as a Catholic. Not to mention that according to the constitution, a specific book is not required for swearing to office and a religious test is not a requirement to run for office in the United States. As another classmate [bravely] pointed out.

The point? Read/watch and THINK before you share ANYTHING you find on the internet. If you have time to watch a 4:46 minute video, you have time to think about whether it is true or reasonable or whether there’s another side to the story that is not portrayed. And even time to research it.

And look up what our Constitution has to say. I know how hard that is because I struggle with it too. But it’s important to understand the basis of the laws of our beautiful country.