Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Additional heirlooms

Monday, November 18th, 2019

These stepped jiggers were a staple in our little branch of the finFam. They were around when I was a kid and when I was a young adult, The Comm always managed to conjure one up to gift to her children. I would bet that DogMomster has one even now but whatever.

So, after The Comm died, she left two of these things. One that she kept at “Grandma’s Other House, the Real House, Where She Lives Some of the Days” (aka The Dillon house as opposed to the summer moomincabin). The other she kept at the moomincabin. I absconded with the one from the Dillon house.

The moomincabin jigger spends the summer at the moomincabin but I bring it back to The Planet Ann Arbor when we close the place down for the winter so it can over-winter here in the Landfill Chitchen.

As it turns out, although these are not valuable in terms of huge amounts of dollars, they are now very rare. They sell for around $100-$120. I think The Comm used to get them at Cutler’s, a fancy chitchen store in Petoskey but I didn’t see them there the last time we hit up Petoskey. Since they are from Denmark, I also wonder if my Danish Detroit grandmother Bolette had something to do with this.

But I dunno about that and I never will. Bolette was my step-grandmother and she always let me help her wash the dishes and when she asked me questions about school, she LISTENED to the answer. She had been a teacher and never had children of her own but she acquired some when she married my grandfather. I’m not sure those adult children were always fun to get along with but I know that I was so when we visited her house on Mark Twain, we did the dishes together. I knew what grandmothers were all about because I had Grandma Margaret in Sault Ste. Siberia and I loved this Detroit grandma even though I called her Bolette instead of Grandma.

And then, a beach urchin came across a new bunch of search terms and I have found a couple of stepped jiggers. They are not very expensive so I’m going for it when I can find them.

Iceola Crapola

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

This is November. This is the Great Lake State. The Great Lake State gets snow in November. We got 11 inches of snow last Monday. That is six days ago. I’m not entirely sure that it was 11 inches but there was plenty of snow. It did not melt the next day. Or the next day. Or the next. Or… Finally. Today. The temperature rose (for a few minutes) up to something like 36 degrees. The sheet of ice that has covered our street for the last six days finally started to get a little soft and melt. A bit. It is probably below freezing again by now so all of that mushy crapola out there will be ice again by morning.

It’s okay. The main roads are fine and I’ll be driving Mooon Yooonit again this week, continuing to learn her sneaky little AI tricks. I figgered out how to turn off the “stay in your lane” beeper a couple days ago. If I go outside my lane, I am doing it for a goddamn good reason and don’t need a beeper to harass me. I still don’t know how to make the rear veeeeendshield viper spray but I’ll get there. It has plenty of gasoline for the time being so I don’t have to figger that out right away. Don’t tell anyone but I figgered out how to change the “mode” from “eco” to “sport”. I haven’t switched it yet but I’m thinking about it. I don’t drive it like a race car in any way shape or form but I hate the accelerator hesitation that I think the “eco” mode enforces. That makes me miss my manual tranny, which I also don’t drive like a race car.

Another Sunday chicken dinner here at the Landfill. With a faaaar and a couple of fun guests. Rice and salad and baked brie w/ crackers and Halloween candy to go.

Center of the universe

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

There are those who would say that the heart of Ann Arbor is the corner of Main and Liberty. Or maybe Liberty and State. I dunno. The Oscar Tango is on the corner of Liberty and Ashley and there is the Fleetwood Diner across from our window seat at the OT. I think we are pretty close to the center of the universe here.

Stepped jigger

Friday, November 15th, 2019

And here I’ve been calling it a pyramid peg measure. No wonder I couldn’t find it. A beach urchin managed to find a few things close to my beloved stepped jigger and I used some of the terms that showed up on her found items and googled a bit further and there. On. Etsy. I found MY jigger. The same jigger that my parents used as long as I can remember. I snapped it up immediately and I am hoping to find more of those jiggers so I can gift them to my daughters and nieces.

We had a window seat at the Oscar Tango tonight. It is the eve of the Umich-Michigan State football game. The weather is not expected to be wonderful. Sunny but cold. I am not crazy about this weather. I reeeealllly want the snow to melt and it kind of isn’t doing that. Think intermittently icy sidewalks. Not my fave. As for the football game? I have a complicated relationship with Umich and MSU but at the bottom of my heart I am a home team fan and I live on The Planet Ann Arbor so I am always for maize and blue (uMich). On the other hand, I could not care less about football.


Thursday, November 14th, 2019

I do not have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but man oh man today was as gray as all getout and the sun set before I got home from Cubelandia so, with the cloud cover, it was effectively dark when I got home. I had my headlights on and I am still figgering out how Mooon Yooonit’s headlights work… And the intermittent veeeendsheeeeld vipers.

The Planet Ann Arbor latitude is 42-something. It is below 45, which is at Gaylord Michigan. We get short days in the winter but they are nothing like the short days in the northern Norway city of Tromso. Tromso is at 69 degrees latitude. It mostly stays dark in the winter. But they deal with it by getting out into it.

That’s kind of what I do here. I walk in the morning dark and when the skies are clear at this season I can see Ursa Major/Minor and Orion in the sky. So beautiful. Inside I do not light my little house up with lots of bright incandescent lights. I prefer strings of LED lights and maybe a faaaar.

This is kind of hard to explain but I like to live with the light that’s available at my latitude and as much as I miss the late night summer sun, the dark is beautiful in its own way and it doesn’t make me SAD.

Learning to drive again

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Okay, now that we have had a significant snowstorm and the roads are still recovering from it, my summer days of hopping into the Ninja and purring over to Cubelandia without thinking much about it are over. There will certainly be (knock on wood) many days throughout the upcoming season that will be Ninja-able but not without careful checking of the weather, etc.

I HAD to go to Cubelandia today (because Cabin Fever and Too Many Weather Reports🐽) so the plan was that I would drive Mooon Yooonit. The roads were okay mostly today except for a few spots where ice managed to bond with the pavement. I have not droven Mooon Yooonit since August. So, okay. I had to learn to drive all over again today with a new high tech vee-hickle. The last new vee-hickle we bought was the Frog Hopper (in 2011) and it was a loverly vee-hickle but aside from a back-up cam and heated seats and remote start, I can’t think what the heck it had that was hi-tech.

I managed to figger out how to remote start Mooon Yooonit this morning. I did it with the key fob and I had to Google it. Apparently I can also do it with my iPhone but that would’ve probably meant downloading an app. And that would’ve probably been okay. Except. It was frickin’ cold (10 degrees F) this morning and I figgered in order to *connect* my iPhone to my vee-hickle, I might need the vee-hickle ID and I did NOT want to dredge that up this morning. So. I used the key fob and it worked perfectly. (I wonder if The Pensioner knows how to do that.)

And then. I went out to get IN the car and when I unlocked the door, I apparently hit the wrong button because the BACK GATE opened. And hit the Ninja. (Mooon Yooonit was backed up waaaaay too close to the Ninja.) Fortunately, it is designed to stop when it encounters something. I hope there was no damage to the Ninja.

I did manage to switch the radio from Patriot Radio to WEMU.

Then I got over to Barry Bagels for coffee. I pulled into a parking place and for a split-second I thought “how the heck do I turn this thing off.” Duh, the button I pushed to start the car also stops the car.

Leaving from Cubelandia at the end of the day I had another incident with the back gate. I must’ve hit the button that opens the back gate but I didn’t notice that it was wide open until I was going out of the parking lot. There was beeping but the dern thing beeps if it thinks you are changing lanes (which I hate). Okay. I need to learn the buttons on the key fob better but I was not happy that hitting the back gate button did not immediately start closing it.

Oh where is my gas cap? Mooon Yooonit needed gas today but I was distracted enough with all of the other stuff (plus it was colder than blue blazes) that I couldn’t deal with it. The dashboard told me I had 58 miles left and I knew that would get me to Cubelandia and back. But I don’t even know where the dern gas cap is on Mooon Yooonit or how to open it. So I begged the GG to put some gas in Mooon Yooonit this afternoon. He was more than happy to do that and I’ll figger it out some other day.

I did NOT put my laundry in someone else’s vee-hickle!

Living with a weatherman aka cabin fever

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Once upon a time, I lusted after the concept of telecommuting. Now that I can telecommute just about any time I want to, I appreciate the freedom to do so but it isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

A few years ago, when The LSCHP was still around at Cubelandia, we did a major reshuffle and almost everyone telecommuted for something like six weeks. At that time there was no pensioner around so I had the Landfill to myself. I [mostly] loved it.

Then last winter we had a week or so of Deep Freeze. As cold as it was, the roads were [mostly] fine and I could’ve easily gotten over to Cubelandia. But. One of the managers said something like “let’s treat this as a disaster preparedness exercise.” It was optional to telecommute but I did participate.

So it is November and we’ve had heavy snow and it is DEFINITELY not the first time we’ve had heavy snow in November. But we got a LOT more snow than was predicted (8-11 inches depending on who you talk to). Plus there was apparently a layer of ice on the roads under all the snow that fell so the roads were still awful this morning. Even the GG proclaimed the roads to be bad after a morning test drive of both vee-hickles.

Yesterday while I was telecommuting, the GG slodged down to the *new* “dinosaur” museum to see whatever new exhibit was opening, then spent a good amount of time snowblowing and messing around with automotive vee-hickles, etc. Today? Well. I think The Pensioner provided me with a weather report no fewer than six times this morning. Um, I know the weather report. I have checked it umpteen times since 5:30 AM. I have an iPhone XS with FIVE weather apps, plus WEMU public radio. Duh.

After a morning of very productive work (yay!), I strapped some Yaks onto my second pair of boots (the ones without the Kahtoolas) and walked over to the Plum, hoping to meet up with a couple of my fave employees, which I did. It took one of those people 1-1/2 hours to drive to work (from Ypsi) yesterday and something like 2 hours to drive back. When I got back home from my trip to Plum, “patriot radio” was on. Grrrrrr. But I held my tongue and listened for a while because I continually struggle to figger out why the Orange Baboon appeals to so many people. I didn’t get enough data today to get anything close to an understanding but I noticed that the only clips/quotes they put on the radio were ones where he actually sounded somewhat rational, like someone had very carefully scripted him. Alas, that is not always the case.

The Pensioner finally nodded off (I think) and now after a sedentary day he has hoofed it over to the Plum himself. Politically we seem to be a house divided these days but unless he gets a yen for a Trophy Wife, I think we’re in it for the long haul. Excessive Weather Reports or not.

They weren’t lying this time

Monday, November 11th, 2019

When I got up this AM (before 6), it was not snowing that I could tell. By the time I left for my walk a quick shower later, fugly wet stuff was coming down. The sidewalks were okay for sandals without ice cleats but I brought (and used) an umbrella.

Given the forecast (all day snow), I bagged Cubelandia to telecommute. By the end of the day, this is what it looked like. And who the heck is that Yooper who keeps blowing my snow? I thought I married a guy from Royal Joke.

I follow the Planet Ann Arbor police department on facebook and this is what they had to say:

“Good Morning Ann Arbor. The first snow of the year and look at all these crashes. SLOW DOWN, snow is not new to our area. Please be careful, 4 x 4’s remember you can start quicker than most cars but you don’t slow down any faster!!! The ice treats everyone equally!!!!”

Exactly. And no, snow is not new to our area. I think I saw that there were something like 77 crashes this morning. And 50 this afternoon as I was putting my new Kahtoola ice cleats onto my 2-year-old snow boots to test them out on a Woods Walk. I bought new Sorel snow boots two years ago and have maybe used them once or twice. I think this winter will be a bit different.

It’s Veteran’s Day and I am a wee bit annoyed by some of the surrounding rhetoric but not sure I can accurately put my thoughts into words but here’s “the tip of the iceberg” of my *extremely* complicated thoughts. OF COURSE we appreciate those who have served our country. That would include my dad and father-in-law and a number of other relatives. I believe I can support military folks who are prepared to give their lives for our country’s “values” even though I question the “values” so many people seem to espouse in our current political climate. The freedom to disagree with someone else’s values is part of what freedom means to me. I’m not sure that saying “thank you for your service” to every person who looks remotely like they may have served in the military [or not] at some point in time serves any sort of purpose. I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion.

Calm before the storm?

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Leaves are blown, sooper dooper yooper musheen tested, YakTrax at the ready. What will we actually get? Will I decide I want to telecommute? I reeeeaaally don’t want to telecommute. But I don’t like driving the Ninja in snow and I have only droven Mooon Yooonit a handful of times so I’m nervous about taking her out in the snow too, even though she is AWD.

At one point this afternoon I smelled matches and wondered if the GG had lit the first faaaaaar of the season. I was a bit confuddled because *today* it was in the mid-40s, which is usually too warm for us to have a faaaaar. And. Nope. Turned out the smell was from running a “small grinder” down in the Landfill Dungeon. Uh, could you please double-check that small grinder for me just to make sure nothing’s burning?

Is it time for xmas lists? Yes, yes, it is. One person in the family came through in spades. I had promised to come up with some things for meeeee (even though I need nothing). So far, I have come up with exactly one item – a scarf (Chico’s) that is leopard print bordered with red and hot pink. No, it doesn’t sound like something I would normally like. I’m not sure why it speaks to me. Sorry you guys, I’ll keep looking for more stuff. I have asked that the GG not throw catalogs into the recycle for the time being. Normally I don’t even look at catalogs these days and am happy to have them go into the recycle before I see them. I went through all of them this afternoon and ended up throwing them all into the recycle. I had a hard time letting the Pendleton catalog go (blankets) but we have soooo many blankets already. As the Fin Fam does. My dad loved to gift people with blankets.

Today marks a date that most Yoopers commemorate, at least quietly to themselves. It is the 44th anniversary of the night the great lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior in a monster storm. This year audio of conversations between Soo Traffic and the Arthur Anderson (and maybe other boats, I haven’t listened to the whole thing) seems to be all over the internet. I believe my younger brother listened to parts of this conversation that night. He was a student at Lake State, the college across the street (and back yard) from my parents’ house and he lived with them. We owned a fancy radio in those days on which you could listen to ship traffic conversations. I’m not sure that’s possible in these days of perceived terrorism. But my brother talked of listening to the search for the Fitz on that radio.

God Speed (again) to the Edmund Fitzgerald and its 29-member crew and God Speed (again) to my brother (1957-2005). Hope they are all partying together somewhere on this day.

Another one rides the bus

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

I have ridden the bus when I was the only person on it. Not much theatre to be had in that situation. Today we took the 32A home from lunch at the Griz and it was one mini-play after another.

That gentleman up at the front on the right was a character in the first play. A tall skinny angsty-looking teenage boy got on at the transit center and tried to use a transfer to pay his fare. That did not work. I do not know why. I have never used a transfer. Apparently he could not cobble together 75 cents any other way. He and the bus driver got off the bus and there was some discussion that I couldn’t hear. They got back on the bus and the next thing I heard was the gentleman up there on the right saying he would pay the kid’s fare along with a bunch of stuff about it being xmas, etc. (which it is NOT, thank you very much). The kid thanked his benefactor and headed toward the back of the bus. His benefactor followed up with, “You need to thank Jesus.” Okay. Kid passes me muttering, “I did thank Jesus.” He got off up by the Crescents neighborhood and I bet he didn’t tell his mom anything about that bus ride.

We got to Kerrytown and the gentleman in the seat right in front of me was waiting to board. Directly behind him was a “tower” of, um, possessions, I guess, carefully covered up with garbage bags. The tower was taller than him. The bus driver let him get on and he rolled the tower on with him (I think there was a walker or something underneath it all). Problem. The GG *had* been sitting in the seat right in front of me. This new gentleman needed that seat so he could sit with his tower. So the GG moved.

Of all things, we got to Miller Manor and ANOTHER gentleman was waiting to board with a similar arrangement of garbage bags except much shorter. Or maybe this time it was empty cans. Tower or not, this arrangement also required a special seat. The one the GG had moved to. The GG saw it coming and skedaddled to yet another seat. At least all of this activity kept him awake. He has been known to snooze on the 32A. (You can’t see this new guy or his stuff very well because he’s in front of the tower.)

We got off at our neighborhood and all three of those gentlemen were still on the bus, apparently continuing on to the Westgate Kroger.

This is tangential but I can think of exactly one time in my life when I cashed in returnable bottles and cans in order to buy food. It was when the GG and I were first hanging out with each other and I lived in an upper flat on Seventh Street. We were both gainfully employed so I can’t remember what was going on but there was this one week that we were both a little short a few days before payday. I suppose I could’ve used my credit card (the GG didn’t even have one then) or maybe the grocery store didn’t take credit cards then? I can’t remember although I do remember I used to write checks for groceries. *Anyway*, there were a ton of bottles and cans in the garage at Seventh Street so we hauled them all out and returned them (at the Westgate Kroger) for something like $27.00. I made lentil soup and we paired it with some smoked salmon Sam (archaeologist, not dog) had brought me from Alaska. It was sooooo good.

Navel gazing

Friday, November 8th, 2019

But also answering questions I have often been asked over the years.

Lemme see… No I have never changed my birth name. It is my name. I use my birth name and the GG’s somewhat interchangeably. My birth name is my official name. It’s the one on my driver’s license and financial accounts and paychecks and tax forms. I wholeheartedly supported giving my kids the GG’s name. I used the GG’s name informally all the years I dealt with the kids’ schools and extracurricular activities. I used it for all of my volunteer “jobs” except when I had to sign something official. Once an elementary school PTO prez rather timidly asked me which name I wanted to be called. I understood his hesitation because this can be a sticky issue on the politically progressive Planet Ann Arbor. I thought about it for a split second and said, “You can call me Mouse’s Mom if you want” and that immediately defused the issue. I know a lot of people stress about this kind of thing and I know of women who have changed their name back and forth multiple times to accommodate whatever winds they thought were blowing them around. Not me. I yam who I yam and I love being part of the cFam but at the bottom of it all I yam Fin. And no, my once somewhat conservative parents were not particularly happy about my name decision but we’ll go there some other day.

Retaaaar? Me? Why? I love my job. They pay me well and they treat me with respect. I love driving over to Cubelandia (and it’s an easy zen-type commute [usually]) but if the driving is bad (snow) or I have a cold and am not too sick to work but don’t want to spread my germs around or I want to go up north to hang out at the moomincabin in the summer, I can telecommute. And when I do drive over to Cubelandia, there’s no one sitting around hovering over a time clock waiting for me to punch in. Why would I want to quit? I have had a different career trajectory than a lot of folks. I quit working [outside the home 😛] when my kids were in elementary school and did volunteer work for 14 years. I didn’t really want to quit forever but I wasn’t sure how to make my way back into the work force. In fact there were isolated moments when I agonized about that. It’s pretty hard to make a five year plan or whatever when you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up. In the end, I totally fell backwards into the career I have now.

I thought there was a third question but I can’t remember what it is. Probably something about the dern yooperland but I can’t think what so we won’t go there tonight.

P.S. The snow in the pic is from yesterday morning. That dusting of snow completely melted by about noon yesterday and today was dry and sunny.

All right you guys. Time to re-learn your winter driving skills 🐽🐽🐽

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

I was greatly relieved that the snow didn’t start until around the time I got up this morning. We worry about our kids forever and both of the beach urchins had relatively long drives home last night. They are good drivers. I worry more about the other people on the road. They got home fine (actually those who drove to Ypsi got home before the rest of us were even outta the stoopid parking structure).

This is what I walked in this morning. Bee-yoo-ty-ful ain’t it? The sidewalks were fine. The roads were fine. For me anyway, apparently there were some slippery spots in places. For the first time this season, I went out and started up the Ninja to warm it up a bit. No ice on zee veendsheeeld but I wanted the snow off the back window and I didn’t feel like brushing it off.

The Ninja isn’t the best snow vee-hickle so when there is serious snow, I either telecommute or drive whatever AWD vee-hickle we own, Mooon Yooonit for the time being. This morning Ninja was fine. I heard on the radio that there were patches of ice here and there. Not on my commute. Except that it did HOSE traffic enough that I had to take a crazy detour down to Textile Road and back up.

As I was driving down to Textile I was driving something like 42 in a 45 mile zone. I was being careful (like most other sane people were) because of our first significant snowfall. The car behind me was not satisfied with my speed so he/she/they gunned it and sped around me. Okay. Then it tried to pass the car ahead of me. That did not work out all that well because there was a car coming the other direction. Oops. Fortunately there was no head-on collision.

The point is… We are heading into winter. Remember your winter driving skills. The main thing is to sloooow down.

I went to see Bob Dylan and all you get is this parking garatchkey pic

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

So, back in late September, we were sitting on the moomincabin deck on a beautiful warm evening and the mean old grunchie old grinchie said he’d come to The Planet Arbor to see a certain musician (Liz, who? I’d text her but she’s prob’ly driving right now). Liz was googling a bit and that musician wasn’t on the schedule anywhere but then, “Hey Bob Dylan is coming to Hill Auditorium on November 6.” I am not a big concert goer but before I knew it, I had bought six tickets.

And so that concert was tonight. Various “people” were nervous about various things and around 3:57 this afternoon after some Kexting, I emailed Amazon Woman and FZ to say that “people” at home were stressing and my commute is a mess this week so I was leaving early. The only thing I was stressing about was that there was the potential for various beach urchins to face a bloody *snow* drive getting to and from the concert. It was as gloomy as all getout all day and the clouds had that full-of-snow feeling.

It all went off without a hitch. I had made a reservation for six at Knights *downtown* (some “people” were confused about that but I headed that off) and so we had a leisurely dinner there and then walked over to Hill. Dylan was Dylan. At his age he has been known to kind of “phone it in”. He did a bit of that but he also kind of warmed up. I was kind of hoping for Lay Lady Lay (and I heard a couple others shout that out when a song seemed to have a quiet opening). We didn’t get Lay Lady Lay but it was worth seeing and I’ll maybe write more about Dylan as his music has touched my meager little life some other day.

It was totally verboten to even have a cell phone *open* at Hill tonight and we witnessed a few people receive a warning but they all apparently got the message and no one got thrown out. Because of that, all you get is this pic of us stuck in the old Jacobson’s parking garatchkey. At the time I took the pic we were finally moving. When we were still up on the fourth floor, it was total gridlock. It took us a whole half hour to get outta that garatchkey and we weren’t even porterized tonight so we were unable to find any secret exits into an alleyway somewhere. On the other hand, we didn’t get stuck in the elevator either.

And now I am home and it is late enough that I am having a Second Wind so hoping sleep comes easily.

G’night, KW. Typos and Word Salad be damned.

P.S. The Grinchie would come to see Ray Davies of the Kinks! If Ray ever shows up here, I will be there even if I can’t drag the Grinchie down here to go with me. (There’s a kind of a history there 🐸)

Voting experience

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

Well, I was #1. Mr. Mxyzptlk was nowhere in sight. He is usually first. I hope he’s all right but he seems a healthy sort. Maybe he voted absentee? This is the first year our state has had absentee voting for no reason. I still like to visit the polls. Usually one of my old Haisley Mafia buddies Kathy or Jackie are working.

Of course being #1 means that the poll workers are re-learning their jobs, since they only do them a few times a year. I know that feeling and empathize with them. But my ballot jammed the Ballot Eating Musheen. Error code 5. I didn’t think it would help to tell him what Error code 5 meant in my online banking world. Anyway, the musheen screen proclaimed “ballot counted” and after standing there wondering what I should do for a few minutes, I decided to trust that it was an accurate message and galumphed on home to get ready for Cubelandia.

We did not have any people to vote for this off-year. In fact there was only one thing on the ballot. School district capital bond proposal. Yes or No. I struggled with this but ultimately voted no. I am a strong supporter of public education and this is probably the first time I have ever voted against a school millage or bond proposal.

When I was a kid up in Sault Ste. Siberia, I spent my first two high school years in an ancient, crumbling building. It was built for 600 students and we had to stuff at least twice that many into it. I was particularly afraid of being trapped on the third floor in a faaaaar but we’ll go there some other day. A couple of millages failed before our city finally passed one and we built a brand new high school on the outskirts of town. I attended that school my junior and senior year. We’ll talk about trudging across the tundra at 32 below some other day.

That experience plus the generally crappy funding our state has provided for education in recent years made this reeeaaallly hard for me to vote no on. But. It was one BILLION dollars and goes on for the next 30 years. I did not vote against this proposal because of the money. I can easily afford the increase in property tax. It’s the 30 years that gets me. Equitable school funding is an EXTREMELY complicated issue and we are FAR from solving it but I was eventually swayed by the number of people who pointed out that building contractors with connections would be licking their lips if this passes. Building improvements are necessary and not always funded by the state budget (I am told). Not all building contractors are bad (and I know some good ones) but there’s gotta be a better way than this gargantuan proposal.

And we’ll talk about air conditioning in northern schools some other day 🐽

One o’ them thar boring bullet point days

Monday, November 4th, 2019

I wanted to tell a story today. A good *old* one. But I couldn’t tell it without a certain photoooo of me in a certain ski outfit. And I cannot find that pic tonight (MUST get photooos organized…). I also did not manage to get a pic of Mr. Golden Sun making a gorgeous exit. Why not? Because I was driving in a long line of vee-hickles across a bridge over a couple freeways (and once a homeless encampment in the woods between them but that’s long gone).

So. Did KW change her clocks this weekend? Yes, she did. Actually the only clocks she has to change are for Gertrude (easy as pie) and Ninja, also pretty easy. She is guessing that Mooon Yooonit changes her own clock. So 2019.

You do not want to know about KW’s work today. Not because it was bad. Simply because it would be boring. She finished up a lot of loose ends and that was about it but she expects to fall into a rabbit hole tomorrow.

Hem hem, there is a fun *event* scheduled for us a couple days from now and I somehow managed to make dinner reservations for it today. I have used this system before but this time I flubbed the number of people and ended up calling to make sure we got it right. Of course, the restaurant was only to happy to oblige my request to *increase* the number of diners.

My commute home looked hosed AGAIN so instead of committing myself to sitting in a long queue, I took a longer route. It was *much* less congested and I arrived home *earlier* than I would have if I had taken my usual route.

It is never funny that so many people are homeless but honest to jeebus, when our Indian colleagues say something like “Lots of people are homeless in India” while giggling like crazy… India may have a lot of homeless people (it has a lot of *people*) but I still think that India will be the next to take over the world. That said, I think my colleagues do care about homeless folks, both here and in their home country. But they laugh when we ask about how India handles the homeless because, well, I am outta words.

Back of my hand

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Mystery/crime is not my usual preferred book genre but it can be a great palate cleanser. The GG stumbled upon a series of such books set in the eastern yooperland (Sault Ste. Siberia over to Paradise). I read TWO of them this weekend and I had a great time. Alex McKnight is the main character.

It is interesting reading a book set in an area you know like the back of your hand. Like when McKnight was trying to find a house in SS Siberia and the route involved driving 14th street north from 3-Mile Road. I knew *exactly* where that was and I *got* it when he reached a dead end and had to backtrack a bit. From that dead end, our hero stumbled around a bit and ended up a bit to the west in Bad Boyfriend’s childhood neighborhood in Algonquin (as the western end of our little city is often referred to). He found the house on a fictional street (Hickory) but traversed familiar streets to get there.

For those of you who think you know the Sault Ste. Marie area, 14th Street is the street immediately west of and adjacent to the new Meijer store. I take that street every time I go to the recycle center and I have NEVER hit the dead end. Why not? Because I have been familiar with that area since I was old enough to be able to look out a car window. It was part of the beloved “long cut” my family would take when returning to town from the moomincabin after a Sunday afternoon visit. Well before I learned how to drive, I knew the whole city like, well, the back of my hand. And I have known where to turn to go down the hill before that dead end FOREVER.

I think Hickory Street was an intentional piece of geographical fiction but there were other little discrepancies that I had to gnoff at. Like there has NEVER been a truck stop (or ANYTHING!) at the I75/M28 interchange and if there had been, it is highly doubtful that it would ever serve 100 trucks at a time. Yet, the more I think about that, I’m sure it was also intentional fiction.

Then there were the decisions about whether or not to name a known business entity. I did a double take at Horns Inn and then cracked up when I realized (because east side of town and aminal heads EVERYWHERE) that it was The Antlers, a popular Sault barrroooom/restaurant for many many years. Why did he not call it The Antlers, when two pages back he referred to the Keewadin Casino and Big Bear Arena by their real names? Also interesting was that a couple of prominent area Native American surnames (LeBlanc and Parrish) were assigned to characters but none of the Sault names were in any way familiar to me. Not a complaint, just puzzling. Apparently the author did spend time in the area and I can’t help wondering if he felt the need to ask various people and/or businesses if it was okay to use an actual name or if it was simply a literary choice. Or maybe just to give yooper natives like me a chance to guess 🐸

I expect to read more of these books. I have not yet heard mention of the South Side (my childhood neighborhood and where my grandparents lived). I hope he has worked that area into one of his books somewhere.

Happy Time Change, y’all whose time has changed!


Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

A text message came in from Pengy earlier in the week asking if I knew where Terwilliger was. I would’ve been totally bewildered by *who* the heck Terwilliger was except that she had helpfully sent an identifying emoji 🐢

Oh yes, it was one of Grandroobly’s stuffed aminals. He had a few in his later years including Terwilliger. I didn’t remember that the turtle or any of Grandroobly’s aminals had names!

My dad had occasional moments of confusion in the last couple years of his life but it was never full-blown dementia so that’s not why he received stuffed aminals as gifts. I can’t exactly explain why those seemed to be appropriate gifts. It just somehow fit the moomincabin/family culture.

I have first-hand experience witnessing people who *are* in serious stages of dementia with their loveys. When The Comm was in a rehab facility a while back (2011), I spent a lot of time there telecommuting (or trying to). She had roommates in various states of mental capacity from feisty, sharp-as-a-tack Mona to Mumma with her baby doll. One afternoon I was telecommuting down in the solarium with The Comm in tow. The Comm went off to dinner and as I was finishing up my work, Mumma wandered through the solarium with her baby, gave the baby a “bath” in a wastebasket, and wandered off without the baby and one of her tennis shoes. I picked up the shoe, pulled the baby out of the wastebasket, and deposited both on Mumma’s bed before decamping to my luxury camping site up on the escarpment (aka my mom’s house).

My dad was never anywhere near Mumma’s state but he did acquire a few stuffties and I have saved them. Back in June, we dumped out a bunch of stuffed aminals on the back room floor to try to sort some out for the GG to take to our great-nieces in Colorado. They don’t need any more *stuff* than any of the rest of us but their moom GRACIOUSLY accepted some new “pets”. At that time, I believe I sorted Grandroobly’s aminals out and schlepped them up to the moomincabin. My thought was that if any of his grandchildren wanted any of his aminals, the cabin would be the best place for them to collect them. But maybe it would be better if I kept them here for the winter and schlepped them up for the summer.

Whatever I decide, it was a reminder about how hard it is to get rid of stuffed aminals and I am so glad I didn’t donate Terwilliger.

P.S. I *could* telecommute back in 2011 and it worked most of the time but I cannot tell you how much EASIER it is now!


Friday, November 1st, 2019

I kinda wanted to wear my Halloween tights downtown tonight but I didn’t because it’s the day *after* Halloween. Then I was walking up Liberty and a man my age or older (or maybe younger, I can’t always tell) was wearing a *dinosaur* suit. Oh yeah, it’s the Planet Ann Arbor, so why the heck didn’t I wear my orange skull and crossbones tights?

I have to say that if tights are part of your Uniform (and they are definitely part of my Winter Uniform), the company that made my Halloween tights makes the most comfortable tights ever. I am a pretty average sized person so I can find tights that fit fairly comfortably but I have still experienced the pulling/tugging problem. Snag tights claim to be able to fit anyone. Check it out. I had to kind of guess at the size but what I ordered fit beautifully. I am planning to order some of their solid colored tights (raspberry, red, aqua, purple).

The one issue I had was that somehow I managed to order from the Euro site, so they took FOREVER to get here. Apparently they also have a US site. When I order again, I will make sure I order from *that* site and we’ll see how it goes. Whatever happens, I have lots of decent tights so it doesn’t really matter how soon they get here although I was anxious to get the Halloween tights in time for the holiday.

Speaking of holidays. Okay, Halloween is over. That means that I will turn around about three times and it’ll be Thanksgiving and then I’ll blink a couple times and xmas will be here. I am kinda not ready…

Orange is the New Black

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

This is my nod to a Halloween costume in 2019. I wore them to work. The Pensioner was a bit skeptical but heck, if FZ can show up in shorts and a tie-dyed t-shirt, I can certainly wear orange skull-and-crossbones tights. And you shouldda seen the getup Amazon Woman wore to work today. We do costumes. Or we don’t. It’s our choice. We DO have cider and donuts!

I post this next photo most years. It harks back to the years when I spent a lot of time making Halloween costumes. This particular year (1989) was probably my tour de force. Fairy costume for the older beach urchin and puffalump mouse costume for the younger. When we dropped the fairy off at kindergarten, her teacher said, “those wings won’t last through the morning”. Well. Hahaha! They were used many times after that and they are still in the Landfill Dungeon and I suppose I could actually wear them myself. Maybe next year… (P.S. We loved her teacher.)

Here are some of our decorations. The Pensioner did 99% of the work while I was slaving away over at Cubelandia to “pay the rent”. We are wondering if the masked mannequin is a little over the top. I think some kids are okay with it and some maybe not. I think it helps when I tell our trick-or-treaters that I am freaked out by it whenever I encounter it in the Landfill Dungeon.

I’m kind of amazed at how many trick-or-treaters we are getting tonight. The weather is just about as fugly as it can get without snow. Rain and wind. But there seem to be plenty of intrepid kids and parents out ANYWAY. Umbrellas galore both for kids and parents. I always buy more candy than we can possibly get rid of even though The Pensioner hands it out in fistfuls. I’m not sure how much we’ll be left with at the end but I am pretty sure I can put whatever leftovers we don’t want in the QA Food Cube at work and people will eat it.

Love y’all, KW

Blacker than the ace of spades

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

Well, that wouldda been this morning. With rain. Walking was okay but it wasn’t raining very hard yet. By the time I needed to leave to meet MMCB for coffee it was raining HARD! Of course I had an “accident” doing the Breaking My Neck Getting Out the Door dance. My car key ring snagged the storm door handle. You know. When you are going about a bazillion miles an hour and your purse (or car key ring) snags on something and YANKS YOU BACK! Yes. In my scramble to disengage my key ring, I hit the PANIC button. HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! I FINALLY got that turned off. Good thing the neighbors were up and about because our driveway is about two feet from their bedroom window. And they have a BABY who I can only guess sleeps either in their room or the OTHER bedroom two feet from our driveway. But Jeebus. Oh, and there is currently a Noise Maker attached to our storm door so that was also screaming.

Anyway, Mr. Golden Sun does not rise until, hmmm, it was 8:05 this morning, and we were under heavy cloud cover so it was still pitch black by the time I got to Barry’s Mr. Golden Sun wasn’t rising [Youtube link that comes with an ad].

When I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia, whenever we would go “down bote”, i.e., drive down to the Soo Locks to look at whatever ships were coming through, us kids insisted we end our drive by going by The Oldest House In Town. Now, this house was not actually the oldest house in town. The oldest house in town was (I think but don’t grade me on this) the John Johnston House, which was built in 1794 according to WikiP.

The John Johnston was then and now a historically preserved tourist attraction. One of those places you can walk through and marvel at how people lived back in those days. Of course we lived not all that differently than that during our summers out at the moomincabin when we were kids. Except we had lucky-shucky and running water (cold, out of a garden hose). But we used an outhouse and heated with wood, etc.

*Our* Oldest House In Town was a long abandoned Victorian structure complete with a turret. It was situated in an overgrown yard. Spooky as all getout except that we were in the safety of our parents’ vee-hickle. But The Comm always used to say, dramatically, that it was Blacker then the Ace of Spades.

I don’t think our oldest house in town is there any more and I’m pretty sure nothing new has been built in its place. In another city maybe somebody might have tried to restore that old house but the yooperland is not a particularly wealthy area in general. I think a lot of yoopers who do have Big Bucks (and there are some) are more likely to buy property where they can build fancy new McMansions with a river view. Sigh.