Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Mama said there’d be days like this…

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Oh, don’t worry, it was just work crapola. I mean the technical kind, we almost NEVER have personnel drama.

Specifically, one of the most boring parts of my job is to update user documentation, turn it into PDFs and publish on a “portal” where, uh, users can get to it. That’s not to say that our users ever DOOOO access it but still. So I made my PDFs and published them. I always download them to make sure they UPLOADED successfully. Things were going well until the end of the day when I actually looked past the FIRST PAGE of one of the PDFs. Guess what. ONLY THE FIRST PAGE was available. It was followed by a long stretch of blank white space. WTF? I will probably have to file a support ticket. I can only hope I get a support person who understands this issue… … …

Then there was the whole thing where the normally stable moomincabin WiFi went out for a bit and I couldn’t access ANY work stuff for a while. I thought my account was locked out but then, MIRACULOUSLY, I was back in business.

In the middle of all that, various facebook friends were talking about online voting (NOT absentee ballots). I think that we should not rush toward online voting. I work for the online banking industry. As a user experience designer, I am very far removed from security issues but I know they are taken very seriously by our global corporation.

One of the things I would be concerned about is TESTING. We employ teams of quality analysis folks who BEAT UP on our product like crazy trying to find issues with it.

Who will implement a system for online voting? Who will design it? Who will code it? And who will test it? The company I work for makes MONEY doing what we do and you have got to know we would not be making money if we sold products that didn’t work or were insecure.

We are still a collection of united states. Who decides who creates online voting systems?

Drizzly gray and boring

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

And a pretty darn good writer’s block to boot!

Lemme see… When you have writer’s block, the rule (my rule anyway) is to just start writing anything and see where it gets you. So. I am wearing Smartwool leggings for the first time since I dunno, maybe about June? I’ve been dreaming of rain and then when we finally get it, it’s a light chilly drizzle and I had to turn up the gas stove this afternoon to warm up. This place is NOT winterized at ALL. No insulation or central heating source. Fortunately it was somewhere in the mid 50s so no danger of being seriously cold. Breaking weather news is that frost is possible in the western yooperland overnight but I don’t think it’ll make it over here to the eastern end. And yeah, I knoooowwww it was only last week that I was complaining about hot weather.

In a meeting with Amazon Woman this afternoon she was kvetching about how the landscaping at the late-model house she had built a couple years ago was, well, not up to snuff. As she was describing lawn and tree issues, etc., I looked out my picture window at Mother Nature’s own landscaping. Tall pines everywhere and the only grass we have here is the beach grass that grows on the bank. I don’t think we could mow that if we tried.

Fearful of pandemic grocery shopping, I have once again schlepped more food up here than we can begin to eat. I am again missing two summers ago when Uber Kayak Woman was here and we had a cabinful of young relatives and their friends and she and I made so many trips to Meijer for TONS of food and booze and beer that we felt compelled to tell the cashier whose line we kept ending up in that REALLY, the two of us were not eating/drinking all of that stuff by ourselves.

This week? Lemme see, homemade pizza when we got here Sunday, BBQ frog jam chicken Monday, lasagna last night, leftover chicken tonight, shish kebab tomorrow night, leftover lasagna Friday, and leftover shish kebab Saturday. And we’re apparently not closing the moomincabin this weekend after all but I am taking ALL food back to the Planet Ann Arbor, perishable or not.

I don’t think my writer’s block rule got me much of anywhere but when you are a daily blahgger, that’s part of the territory🐽

P.S. Here I am kvetching about the crappy little bit of chilly drizzly rain we’re getting while my western friends and relations are facing down scary dangerous wildfires. Praying in my own godless way for y’all to get rain too! Heavy drenching rain!

Those birds that run on the beach

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

First, obviously we had a beach again today. It was pretty much dead calm this morning and I was able to take my usual walk. And I got this sandpiper pic. I don’t think it’s all that great but the GG is all excited about it. As I have said before, I am a random iphoneographer and I don’t really do wildlife. To get this pic, I stood stock still and held the button down for a burst, then picked out the best of the best and apped it via Instagram. It was a total pain in the you-know-what.

When the GG first starting coming up to the moomincabin with me, he asked The Commander what those “birds that run on the beach” were. The GG had been all over the place and the cFam has always owned a cabin at Houghton Lake but they do not have a beach there and sandpipers need a beach to, y’know, run on. He was entranced by the sandpipers and for a while when we were still in an *acquisitional* phase of life, we collected sandpiper crapola. We moved on to other crapola (frogs, yikes) but now we are in a *deaquisitional* phase of life so we aren’t collecting anything, i.e., don’t send us sandpiper or frog crapola 🐽

I had to work today so the GG spacified me by walking to “town” aka Sault Ste. Siberia. My dad walked to town all the time when I was a kid but he only walked one way. When he was young, he *ran* to town and I remember him telling about once when he was running in the dark and another guy was running the other direction and they ran *into* each other. Is that REALLY true? I dunno and I can’t ask…

Walking to town involves an old railroad grade and some roads and when I was a kid walking it with my dad, there were deer trails and an old logging road through Lewie’s land and ravines and an old abandoned house (the old Forrest house) in one of the ravines and one year a stinky cow carcass.

Today the GG was walking to and *from* town (my dad never did that). As he was on his way back, it seemed like rain was moving in so I texted him to ask if I could pick him up. Yes, Five Mile Road, west of White Road. Things have changed a lot since I used to walk that route with my dad but even with recent years’ developments (ugh), I knew where to pick the GG up so I was right where the old railroad grade crosses the road as he was walking up to the road.

Rain? We never seemed to get any.

You can’t walk the beach if there is no beach

Monday, September 7th, 2020

This storm was not anywhere near as crazy as the 2010 Labor Day Storm (a small comfort in this Hell Year). But the water in Gitchee Gumee is much higher now than it was 10 years ago and we had NO beach this morning. I mean that the waves were coming in all the way up to the bank.

We both rose later than usual. For me it was because the wind soothed me. Others worried about trees coming down but slept anyway. That COULD happen but it is not a regular event here. The only tree I have ever seen fall did it on a day of dead calm. Me and The Comm and Radical Betty were having a takeout lunch and whine on the deck and a birch tree suddenly sorta imploded down into itself in a spiralish kind of way. It was the strangest thing and it made the strangest sound.

Anyway, me and the GG set off in Mooon Yooonit to check out the mega-storm in various locations up the shore. We stopped at the Iroquois lighthouse and walked down along the boardwalk. The wind was blowing MEEEEE around and we also got a bit sand blasted. We stopped again at Big Pine (a picnic park) and the Shallows near Naomikong Point. We investigated Bark Dock and then turned back and inland to traverse some Forest Roads.

We were probably not even a half mile down the road when we encountered treefall across the road. The GG did NOT have a chainsaw with him but these were lightweight branches and he had other tools that he was able to use to dispatch the mess in a relatively short time. Another vee-hickle came up behind us and I told the young driver “he forgot his chainsaw” and we laughed and then he and the GG talked at what I did not think was a proper social distance but they probably interacted for less than a minute, so…

From there we got onto the Avery Grade road and took that until Government Ranger Road. (He kept talking about “Government” Road and when I proclaimed “Ranger” Road, he was like, oh, I thought it was government road.) I’ve known Ranger Road since I was a child. It was a “roller-coaster” road then 🐸

Up Ranger Road to Dollar Settlement, hung a right and then another right and took Tower Road up onto Mission Hill and over to the Spectacle Lake overlook. Until we got to the overlook, the only other vee-hickle we encountered was a border patrol truck. We do NOT totally agree on polly-tickle issues but we both spent quite a bit of time speculating upon what the border patrol thought they might encounter on Tower Road. Us? Baggy old WASP-y looking American citizens in a late model Toyota SUV? We passed the border patrol vee-hickle with a friendly wave and they didn’t detain us.

All of the freighters in the St. Marys River were hunkered down in parking places this morning. The Kaye Barker was in view in our “parking place” (sorta). A bunch of others were down by Drummond Island. As the wind has lessened, the Kaye Barker has finally left to continue her journey up into Lake Superior and the first of the Drummond boats is approaching the Soo Locks. We may see one or two of these boats pass by our place but I expect most of them will pass us after we have retired for the night.

Engage clutch and shift

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Again I have shifted from my beloved Planet Ann Arbor home to my equally beloved moomincabin on the shores of gitchee gumee.

In this pandemic summer, schlepping food is particularly difficult. I miss being able to pick up last minute things at the St. Ignace Family Fare on the way up. I did my best to get everything I needed down on the Planet Ann Arbor. Somehow I managed to forget lasagna noodles. As luck would have it, my next door cousin found lasagna noodles in the Old Cabin and I am good to go.

We arrived this afternoon to beautiful weather on the beach and spent some good time with relatives down there. We did porterization on the bank in the late afternoon because we expect the weather to take a dive over the next couple of days.

We have already started to take a weather dive as we are having thunderstorms this evening, hence the candles. I am enjoying these greatly. The Planet Ann Arbor has been hot hot hot and dry dry dry for a few weeks.

The king was in his counting house, counting out his money

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

The GG spent the morning emptying two half-gallon glass vodka bottles. Although he is currently arising from a wee nap, he did not spend the morning drinking a gallon of vodka. Those bottles contained coins, mostly pennies if I have it right. (Wish I had thought to get a pic!)

They have been hanging around the Landfill as long as we have owned it. I more or less ignored them for many years but when I started to get into serious flinging, I kinda wanted them gone. Problem? Well! Some of those pennies might actually be worth something. That is hoarder thinking and I don’t subscribe to it. If some of those pennies might actually be worth something, then somebody should go through them all and figger out WHICH pennies are worth something. My guess? None.

For whatever random reason, TODAY was the day the GG emptied the vodka bottles, sorted the coins and rolled what he could. I am reasonably certain that he didn’t try to find valuable pennies. He seemed bent upon (finally) getting rid of them. Yippee-i-o Ki-yay!

I THINK this is a step toward creating office/studio space for yer fav-o-rite systems analyst/fiber arts dabbler and I am happy about that. I did NOT do anything toward that end today. Instead I slowly picked away at packing for our next moomincabin boondoggle. That involved cleaning the refrigerator, partly in order to organize the food we will need (I think) to take to the moomincabin for the neverending pandemic summer. And yes we can get contact-free grocery pick up at the moomincabin may likely DO that. But it’s harder there than it is here and I want to be ahead of the game.

At the end of the day, the GG was counting out these weird money-looking pieces of paper. That got me thinking, “Do I have any cash?” I THINK I do. Since COVID, I have hardly used cash at all. I used it once at the Big Mac bridge because the vee-hickle I was driving didn’t (yet) have a MacPass transponder. I wore a mask to hand the tollbooth attendant four dollar bills. Since then the MacBridge authority has asked people to wear masks when they drive through the toll booths.

Other than that? I give a $5 tip to the Argus folks who deliver produce and local food and I braved a drive-thru branch bank early on in the pandemic to get five dollar bills because you can’t specify your denominations at an ATM.

I am not afraid of drive-thru bank branches any more. I am definitely afraid of virus spread via opening up schools at any level. My mom was a high school teacher and if this had been happening back in the day I would be scared to death for her.

And so goodnight.

Empty nesters

Friday, September 4th, 2020

I guess today was the day to clean out bird nests. There were two intact robin nests, this one being the most photogenic, the other one had poopy looking stuff in it. The third robin nest was taken over by a house wren (sparrow?) after the robins fledged and they made a mess so not photogenic at all. And the wren/sparrow babies didn’t make it because some other bird attacked them. Then there was the house the chickadees nested in. I KNOW the parents were feeding babies in that house but I didn’t see if or when they fledged because I think we were outta town. The GG did find a small unhatched egg in that house but it didn’t look like a chickadee egg. House wren/sparrow?

My lunchtime read today (sent by a beach urchin). A guy gets tired of being sent out to buy rice every day (by his wife) so he tries to order it in bulk. And gets a TRUCKLOAD of rice. Actually it was a lorry-load, given that this happened in India. I can’t figure out how to link to the actual story (@nameshiv) but let’s just say that it took *hours* and the involvement of many people before it was all over and it sounds like he will not be out buying rice for a while. I have had my own pandemic shopping snafus but 18 cranberry goat cheese logs can’t begin to compare to a lorry-load of rice. I work with a lot of folks on the Indian subcontinent and I love them and they are soooo much fun and I can totally believe this story.

We have had an empty nest ourselves for quite a few years now. “We” (the GG) took over the older beach urchin’s bedroom long ago and I am about to take over the younger’s. Oh not that all of her stuff is still in there, just that I need to sort out what *is* in there. Some of it is my mother’s and grandmother’s stuff…

When we took our first daughter to college… I was okay with leaving her at college, maybe a weeee bit nervous but I sucked it up and she was FINE! I had a YAG (youth theatre guild) audition to manage when I got home that evening. The GG was sitting in her bedroom as I was getting ready to leave for YAG and I made sure he had a ‘hattan before I left.

By the time she came home for the first time a month or so later (I drove over to Kzoo in my loverly Honda Accord and picked her and some friends up), he had completely rearranged her bedroom. Man oh man was she upset. He was at Houghton Lake that weekend and I encouraged her to call him there. Like, I did NOT do this. She gave him some hell but then she went through college and study abroad in Spain and lived in SanFran for six years or so and then moved to Detroit (yes, really) and after several dwellings there, I don’t think she cares much about her childhood bedroom any more.

Bark bark bark!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

A childhood/facebook friend has recently adopted a beautiful “rescue” dog. Five years old so not a puppy. My friend works remotely (and has since years pre-COVID) and deals with customers on the phone. Guess what? The dog can’t tell when friend is talking to the dog or into the phone and makes dog noise to get my friend’s attention. This will get sorted out and my friend is already working on strategies.

I don’t have any aminals but I had a similar issue this morning. I started up our daily “standup” meeting and almost immediately the GG began a LOUD convo with one of his brothers. Amazon Woman is on vacay so I was RUNNING the standup and I had to excuse myself for 30 seconds to close the door between the GG’s Upstairs Lair and the Green Couch (my current office, which WILL change).

I mean, meeting online is not new for anyone on my team. We’ve always had remote workers and have been meeting online forever. But we’re also globally multicultural. Our Indian colleagues are FLUENT in English and they can pick apart English grammatical errors as well as the best of us. But during meetings, my crappy old mid-western American English ears need to be totally focused to decipher their accents. I bet they have an equally difficult time deciphering my own American Great Lake State sometimes sorta Canuckian accented English.

It all worked out okay. I shut the door to the lair and I could hear again. Eventually the GG spacified me by schlepping out to the mousehouse to refill the hummingbird feeders. He took his kindle and a beverage or two and hung out on the mousehouse deck reading for a while, leaving me to sort out the rabbit hole of the day.

Beautiful socially distanced evening in the back yard with npJane. We sat more like 20 feet away from each other than six. All measurements are arbitrary and I don’t trust any of them but as far away as possible and fortunately npJane seems to agree with me.

npJane texted me last night about a meeting and I decided to JUMP on it this time with a couple do-able days before we head back up to the moominbeach. Early in this beautiful summer it was okay to punt socially distanced back yard get-togethers but we’re into September now and who knows when Old Man Winter will start dragging his icy finger across our beautiful landscape, making these outdoor get-togethers impossible. So I said, Thursday (today) or Saturday. Today it was. So much fun!

The TeleCubelandia version of breaking your neck trying to get out the door

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

You know, when you’re finding your shoes and grabbing your laptop bag, lunch, purse, phone, keys. Aaaannnnddd… You get out the door and lock it and you don’t have your keys. Or you get halfway to Cubelandia and you don’t have your phone. Once in the Dark Ages, my then cube neighbor drove all the way in (a 30 minute commute) with an empty laptop case. “I thought it seemed a little light.” Oh, don’t worry, her laptop wasn’t stolen. She’d been using it at home and forgot to pack it up.

I don’t have to do fall out the door in six pieces any more. When I feel like getting down to business, I sit down on the Green Couch (that is GONNA change!), pick up my laptop and faaarrr it up. I mean, sometimes I still lose my phone if it slides down between the Green Couch cushions…

Anyway… If the GG is home, he brings me coffee. Yes really. If not, I go without. Yes really. Today… I scheduled a 9:00-9:30 AM grocery pickup slot at the Plum Market, which is less than a half mile away so I can nip over there and back in no time. Except. Yikes! Wednesday morning is coffee with MMCB, 8:45-9:30. How could I have forgotten that? Well, we had a shorter chat today albeit it a vociferous one as neither one of us are crazy about the color orange when it is applied to skin and hair on the same person. And then I hustled over to the Plum.

When I got back iDeep was waiting for me on chat from India and he put me through my paces with questions about things he had found in every obscure little corner of our sprawling application. Thinking on my feet? Yes. It was okay, his job is to test our product to make sure it looks and functions as our team and I designed it and we’re all very friendly. But it did send me down a rabbit hole a bit later. A warm fuzzy one thank you very much.

I’ve kind of lost my train of thought, if you can even begin to call this a train of thought. Stream of consciousness? Maybe. More like random blather.

The pic is from something like 6-8 years ago. I am kayaking down at the Doelle end of the moominbeach and I was experimenting with Hipstamatic filters that summer. This one uses the Salvador 84 lens with Big Up film. I wish the top of that one tall lacy looking pine tree was in the frame but when you are in a kayak, even on flat water, it’s pretty hard to stay still enough to get the exact photo you want. I still like it. When you take umpteen gazillion photooos, a few of them actually turn out.


Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Some of the latest moominbeach “buzz” has been idle speculation about whether the latest drone can get out over whatever’s left of the ruins of the Back Light. I know almost nothing about drones (although I am intrigued by them) but my guess is it’s a little too far? That might be “kid miles” speaking but in any case, if it’s not, that area is the last place I would want to lose a drone because can I just say swamp and dense vegetation and I’m not sure the old path is even locatable these days.

When I was a kid, there was no usable road in to the old range light keeper’s house aka Doelle’s. An old two-track that runs behind our cabins went almost all the way down there but it was not navigable for most vee-hickles so the people who owned the house had to ferry things down there by bote. They would put in at the old Stevens place, which now belongs to Our [much friendlier] Northern Correspondent. Hence they were not there very often. We did not have a particularly friendly relationship with that set of neighbors but that’s a story for another time.

There were two range lights, front and back. The Front Light was up on the bank next to the beach and the Back Light way back in the great grey-green greasy limpopo swamp. Neither of these lights had been functional for many years.

One of the Great Beach Adventures when we were kids was to walk back to the Back Light. We would walk the old two track down to Doelle’s, cross the first “bridge” (logs) and somewhere in there (I wish I had pics), a sort of sidewalk began and we hung a right turn toward the swamp and the old back range light. For a while we walked on panes of pavement but soon enough the path deteriorated into moss and mud and muck. Nevertheless, it was an identifiable trail and we persisted! Because at the end of what seemed like an endless walk to a little kid, WE WERE AT THE BACK LIGHT! And guess what! We could go INSIDE the Back Light! And climb the stairs! And walk around outside at the top and we could see the lake from there!

Eventually our elders deemed the Back Light unsafe to enter, not to mention climb the stairs. The first pic is my dad outside the Back Light on a winter snowshoeing junket. Much easier to get there in the winter with skis or snowshoes.

I’m not sure when the Back Light collapsed but probably not long after this. The front range light met its demise when I was a teenager and some local teenage delinquents staying with their parents at the afore-mentioned Stevens’s rental cabin vandalized it beyond repair. Radical Betty claimed she HEARD the collapse of the Back Light and I have no reason to disbelieve that.

The second pic is npJane posing in front of the collapsed Back Light. She wasn’t sure if she remembered this event or dreamed it but I had evidence 🐸

Nowadays there is a somewhat reasonable road in to the old Doelle house from the OTHER end of the beach. We were all very upset when the road was built and I even sprinkled some of my brother’s ashes on the seat of one of the bulldozers. The house is in a great state of disrepair and various attempts to repair it seem to have stalled. I am resigned to the idea that some day someone with beaucoup bucks will buy the property, tear the old house down and build a mansion or whatever. Whoever it is, I hope they know about WINTER up in the yooperland.

I’m not sure it’s possible to find the path to the Back Light nowadays. Certainly the old beginnings of it have been destroyed by the new road. Progress anyone?


Monday, August 31st, 2020

Got to mouse’s house. Didn’t stay long, just dropped something off and got a quick masked mini-tour because I’m a COVID Chicken.

I took a few pics of this beautiful house in the woods but none of them were worth posting (I wasn’t trying very hard, being exhausted after one of those work days that starts out slow and accelerates into the tower of Babel). So you get this cute little book, which was a gift from a former co-worker of hers who sounds like a very sweet, thoughtful person.

What I wish I had thought to take pictures of was the last part of the route we took to get there but I was kinda hanging on for dear life as the GG was going about five mph faster than I would have preferred. And yes, five mph MATTERED on this road. It is a narrow gravel road out in prime glacial hill territory and we turned off the highway such that we approached from the northern end of it. As we barreled up and down steep hills and zigzagged around all over the place, I could only think something like, “This is GORGEOUS but the road’ll be a MESS in the winter!”

And it will but when we left, we headed south, and the road quickly became a lot flatter and straighter and it was a short drive to a nice paved road. I have to say I have probably played a role in this child’s choice to live in the woods. I chose MY house based on the (small) woods behind it and I dragged us all up to the moominbeach to stay with the grandparents every summer, in the forest on the shores of gitchee gumee.

Richard Scarry? OMG! Have you ever heard of the dreaded Cat Family Book? I can’t exactly remember the REAL title, something like Best First Word Book. It’s in the Landfill Dungeon and I am too lazy to look for it. Lizard Breath went nuts over that book as a toddler/pre-schooler. There’s a thin little story to it but every page has MANY captioned pictures. You couldn’t just read the thin little story, you had to read every dad-blasted word on the page. She would catch you out if you didn’t. Well, granddaddy got a pass…

Once when we arrived at the moomincabin with our usual BIG bag of books, The Commander pulled me aside and whispered, “Didja bring the Cat Family Book?” I replied, “No!” and she reacted with, “Thank GOD!”

What is the GG doing? Troubleshooting the $%&# CO monitor from the Lyme Lounge – for the THIRD time. He had brought it into his upstairs lair in the Landfill and it started beeping about 3:00 this afternoon, just when he was taking a nap. It didn’t wake him up but it annoyed the hell outta me so I closed both doors to the lair, which allowed him to continue sleeping and me to work without dropping the F-bomb every three minutes or whatever the interval between beeps is. Margaret, you warned me this might happen 🐸


Sunday, August 30th, 2020

I was NOT okay this morning. Oh don’t worry, it was temporary and [mostly] trivial.

First, I could not get the house WiFi to work. I made a half-hearted attempt to re-a-start the “switch”. Nowadays I am never sure which switch operates the “switch” but the one I tried LOOKED like it was doing the job. But. Not. I decided to bag it. I have bad karma with certain kinds of tech issues and the GG would be home later and I can get to the internet on my phone via the 5G cell network. (Is that the thing nut job conspiracy theorists say is transmitting the coronavirus?) And it’s Sunday so I didn’t have to work. I DO need WiFi for that. Anyway, he eventually got home and the WiFi was miraculously back on all by itself without any intervention from him. Maybe Comcast or Xfinity or whatever it is was down? I do not know.

Feedly was down. Actually it STILL seems to be down. Feedly is the app I use to get people’s blahg updates. I circumvented that by going directly to the 6-7 blahgs I follow that are still active after all these years. I used to follow quite a few mommy blahggers (in a lurky kind of way) but, as I had always predicted, they mostly dropped off as their kids hit adolescence and/or their marriages failed and/or they “went back to work”. [Subtweet deleted, you’re welcome 🐽]

We won’t talk about smoke alarms or CO monitors. At least the smoke alarms stopped beeping and the CO thingy is out in the Lyme Lounge so I can hear it but only faintly and the driveway neighbors had their central A/C going all week so they probably couldn’t hear it at all. The GG is home now and is working on fixing these issues although I bet the CO thingy isn’t fixed for good. Interesting that he didn’t fix the smoke alarms until I pointed out the lack of batteries. I left a big ladder right underneath one of them that he couldn’t possibly have missed since it was in the doorway of his upstairs lair.

Finally… Jeebus H. Mackinaw Kee-reist! I checked twitter this morning (after I checked the weather) and holy crapola, the Orange Baboon was rage-tweeting left and right. Badmouthing everybody and his brother with a special focus on Portland, whining about college football, you name it. 90 tweets beginning at around 6:00 AM. The Washington Post helpfully counted them so the rest of us could ignore him and go about our business. Why oh why do people think he is an acceptable president? Mad as old King George III (I’m still reading the Poldark books).

So the Happy Hippie is home from his 10 day boondoggle to the Boundary Waters and back. This trip featured a 6-day/5-night backpacking tour along the North Country Trail with the UU and some wimmin 👀. No cell service except for a few minutes at a high point midway through the trip. I do not backpack. Shower pre-hike, whine after. I did enjoy my 10 days of spacification on the Planet Ann Arbor and am making progress around here, slow as she goes.


Saturday, August 29th, 2020

People have been texting me seascape photooos all day. South Carolina and two locations on Gitchee Gumee, which is not a sea, just a great big lake. There is a difference. And the moominbeach is not technically on Lake Superior. It is on the upper St. Marys River at the point where it widens and heads northwest into Whitefish Bay (listen to the Gordon Lightfoot lyrics), which IS part of Lake Superior.

Anyway, this is the moominbeach back in the day with a big storm going on. See that little towheaded kid there? That’s yer fav-o-rite blahgger! She is six years old! She had two bathing suits that summer, one a blue abstract floral pattern (she liked that one), the other a kind of red/white/black thing with huge buttons. She wasn’t crazy about that one, at least not the buttons. Back in those days we were always told not to swimP. “It’ll ruin your bathing suit!” It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that that old saw came from my parents’ childhood when bathing suits were often made of wool or something. Guess what? We swimPd ANYWAY. Why bother getting out of the water to go up and use the stinky old outhouse?

Another Fake Rule we were told over and over was that we couldn’t go swimming for an hour after each meal. Why? We would get a “cramp”. I know this is also false and I suspect the hour was to give the adults a little break. Because a Real Rule that we had was we NEVER went swimming without an adult watching us. And we never did. But I can’t remember EVER having an adult turn us down even on the days they had to wear winter jackets to sit on the beach without freezing to death. In August or whenever. Once on Labor Day when snowflakes were in the air…

This surf may look dangerous for a young child to swim in but it was really not (as long as there were adult lifeguards on shore). The moominbeach bay is shallow and there is a sandbar system close to shore. Until you get to the second sandbar you can’t get anywhere near over your head and there are now no riptides or undertows. My six-year-old self is probably not even at the first sandbar in the pic.

I have lost my train of thought. The GG is with his twin brother tonight and we porterized ourselves via facetime. I picked up Plum Market and Whine Castle curbside orders today and picked away at my chore list, which includes carving out a new office space since I cannot slouch on the Green Couch forever as much as I like to watch the birds. But that also means flinging and that is hard at this point because I am dealing with stuff that belongs to other people. Anyway. I have eggplant/pattypan squash parmesan in the oven. There’s enough for a few meals or sides or whatever.

Photo from the Sherman Archives.

G’night. KW

Did you see the moon last night?

Friday, August 28th, 2020

It’s a waxing gibbous moon and won’t be full until next Wednesday but my little old iPhone XS didn’t do a terrible job with this (lightly apped via Instagram) photooo.

Seeing the moon like this always reminds me of an old song that was on the radio when I was in high school back in the Jurassic Age. I didn’t remember the name or band (and probably didn’t know it then) or most of the lyrics but the refrain always kind of “woke me up”. “Did you see the moon last night? Hung like a Chinese gong.” [Drag out gong something like gah-a-ah-a-ong.] Hey, now we have The Google! The song is “13 Questions”, the band is “Seatrain”, and the lyrics (except for the refrain) are gobblety-gook. Oh, and hey, The Google lyrics call the moon a Chinese “ball”. Um, noooo, I do not think so. Gong gong gong gong! The moon may be an orb but to our eyes, it HANGS in the sky like a GONG! Nevertheless, I liked the song then and I still do.

And then it raaaaainnnned. And rained. And rained. And rained. And we needed it. Most weather apps were predicting rain starting sometime during the night. It did not. It was a hot sticky night. The rain finally began just about the time I was gonna get up and take my 0-skunk-30. Thunder was involved so I bagged that. And then it stopped. And I thought oh crap, we’re not gonna get anything good. But then. It started again and rained HARD off and on into the afternoon. Thunder rumbled the entire time even when it wasn’t raining. We NEEDED it. Did I already say that? It is FINALLY a wee bit cooler!

And so, work all day, Argus order delivered in the afternoon (eggplant parm is in our near future), Plum order to pick up tomorrow morning. Lots of chores on the weekend schedule. The Happy Hippie Hostel is far enough away that I don’t have to kick the boyz out yet 🐽🐽🐽

Missin’ Gitchee Gumee

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

First, note to self: please dredge up the original of this pic and RE-SCAN it with yer blasted iPhone so it is a decent size! You post it over and over again.

I’m not sure how old the beach urchins are here, maybe going into 5th and 2nd grade? I don’t think we’re quiiiite at middle school. I do well remember that hugely oversized t-shirt era. I think these were girl scout day camp shirts and I don’t really remember but I sorta think the camp directors just bought XLs and passed them out as one size fits all. My kids were minis but not everyone was.

I was not gainfully employed when this pic was taken and so was able to take my children to the beach for more than the 2-3 weeks I got off per year in my Childhood Job. When I was working that job, I remember anticipating my couple weeks on the beach for the whole blasted year and then all too soon it was over and I was back here on the Planet Ann Arbor sweltering in the swampy heat, holding back tears for not having gitchee gumee in my front yard.

On the other hand… Since I was a child, I have wanted to live on the Planet Ann Arbor and I love it here and I have grown to love summers here too, HOT as they can be. Like this week… Nowadays I WRENCH myself back and forth between the planet and gitchee gumee. I don’t think I will EVER relocate to the yooperland or even spend entire summers there. Since I became a full-time forever telecommuter, I can work from there whenever I want and maybe next summer will be different. This summer, with the pandemic, I have struggled a bit with staying there for extended periods of time. Grocery pickup is fine but I don’t have all of the options that are available to me down here on the planet and I’m pretty sure Amazon Prime doesn’t deliver there, at least not down our road.

I’ll have to blahg about that old girl scout day camp some day. It was a fabulously rustic experience for the kids and we were all sad when it bit the dust.


Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

I woke up to it. I bagged my walk because thunder. There was enough rain that I didn’t have to water my flowers. We got a little more mid-morning. I un-muted myself during the daily stand-up so the folks in the meeting could hear my thunder (again). Most of the storms skirted the Planet Ann Arbor, oddly heading southeast from the Traverse City area.

After the second mini-storm Mr. Golden Sun shone down the rest of the day and last I looked it was 88 here (felt like 94 though). I can handle that heat and am still steadfastly refusing to turn on the A/C. Funny that I can manage to concentrate enough to do my job at HOME without any A/C but over at Cubelandia, the few times the lucky-shucky went out, it was too hot there to work. Once when that happened, the BA team, then led by the LSCHP, decamped to a “wings” joint down the road for a design session enhanced by beer/whine. That’ll never happen again and nowadays, *I* am the BA team…

I can’t remember the last time it rained here but my fave MLive weather guy is predicting that rain is going to ramp up in the near future.

For a minute just now I thought I heard thunder again but it turned out to be somebody with big woofers or whatever they are in their vee-hickle.

The pic? It’s a new Hipstamatic (not to be confused with Instagram) lens and film. I play with Hipstamatic occasionally. What are those birds? I was dumbfounded by them at first because hummingbirds sometimes buzz my impatiens and I thought the cam had captured one. But probably not. I think this particular “surreal” lens/film combo added the birds in because it detected flowers? Maybe? Whatever.


Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

It’s getting put in today. I am not there but my cousin is. This is her pic. I’m sure she doesn’t care if I post it. It’s obviously just a quick-and-dirty point-and-shoot but that doesn’t matter. No need to get all artsy to get a pic of a fiber optic installation crew.

My cousin saved the day. The fiber optics crew we’ve been expecting at the moomincabin all summer came today and for unknown reasons that I can’t fathom, our cabin was not on their list. What was even weirder about this was that the Old Cabin *was* on their list. This is odd because the moomincabin has had a DSL and wi-fi for going on 10 years, i.e., I pay them monthly. The Old Cabin does *not* have a landline or internet. They use ours (and I am HAPPY to let them).

I’m not sure what the confusion was or what criteria gets you on the “list” but all’s well that ends well. My cousin was THERE (I did not know that) and I was HOME to get her phone call (but what the heck, I am ALWAYS home) and she was able to ensure that we got on their list and then sent me the pic to verify that they installed it.

Into the future

Monday, August 24th, 2020

The powers that be have decided to close our beloved Cubelandia building on the last day of this month. If you haven’t been following along, it is the BUILDING that’s closing. No jobs were lost (for now butchya never know) and everyone in this small backwater office is now a full time forever telecommuter. I have mixed feelings about that albeit largely positive.

When we left back on March 12, we knew the writing was on the wall but I actually expected to work at the office the next day. So I left everything there, not that I had much. I got the “stay home tomorrow” text when I got home that afternoon and haven’t been back since.

As part of the closing process, Amazon Woman scheduled a limited number of people to go to the office to clean out their cubes each day beginning last week, AFTER a professionally done COVID cleaning. The logistics were such that no one was scheduled on the same day as a neighbor and I am glad I didn’t have to figure all that out although the fact that our building has been underutilized for years may have made it easier.

Today was my day.

So here I am at Cubelandia for the last time. I doubt if I have ever posted a pic of the building before.

I was all set to take my last Zen Commute this morning when I had a “panic attack”! I couldn’t remember the 4-digit code that opens the door! I have had the same code for 13 years 🐽. All the way over there I tried to remember it. Does it start with a 5? When I got to the door I knew it didn’t start with a 5, it starts with a 3. Still it took me two tries to get the door open.

I dunno what you think of when somebody says “cubicle”. Probably not something this huge. I think these may have been built to hold a LOT of hanging file folders and maybe a printer or whatever. All I have ever used in mine is a laptop. I have NEVER used the phone. Well, almost never. The first couple years I worked there every time I answered it somebody was looking for the “court”. Either that or Brooooosie was hanging out monopolizing my time and a co-worker was calling to give me an excuse to end the conversation. (Brooooosie did that to everybody, not just meeee.)

I walked outta there today with one grocery bag of stuff. There were designated places to dump off office supplies and cables and power-strips and the like and I did. Then there was the Garage Sale, which is in the lunchroom, where you could dump off anything you didn’t want to take home, like knickknacks. If you embiggen the next pic, you might be able to see the glass knickknacks that I put into the Garage Sale. Those loverly artifacts were given to me by Broooooosie a few years ago when we renovated and moved cubes around and he was told to get rid of some of his stuff because it was overflowing into the aisle outside his cube.

And I am out and this is the last time I will ever park in My Own Personal Parking Space. Such a beautiful day. Look at that little green lens flare. Sayonara Cubelandia.

Are we having fun yet?

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

The CO monitor in the Lyme Lounge is beeping again but it seems to be quieter so I’m ignoring it. Today one of the FOUR (yes, really) Landfill smoke alarms within about a six foot diameter space started beeping: “hallway” and three adjacent bedrooms.

A number of years ago we were out of town and a tree fell on our house. Actually when our neighbors alerted us by email, we were sitting in Penny’s Kitchen in Sault Ste. Siberia with my mother, watching an April snowstorm dump a foot of snow or so. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

As part of the process of repairing the tree damage, we were required to upgrade our smoke alarm system. I have NEVER been crazy about the new system. It is hard-wired, okay. But we also have to use batteries, okay. I don’t really understand how it all works but one of the problems is that with the alarms as close together as they are it can be difficult to tell which one is beeping unless you are standing directly underneath it. I GET the reasons for this but since we never close our interior doors, it seems like overkill in our particular situation.

So today one of them started beeping. At least it wasn’t 3AM. I figured out that it was the one in my bedroom. I grabbed the kitchen stool. The alarm is on the ceiling. There is NO WAY I could reach it with that stool. What should I do? I needed a ladder. What kind of ladders do we have and where are they. Bingo! I found a nice sturdy late-model ladder in the She-Shed.

I climbed up and got the battery out. A few minutes later? Beep beep beep. Oh dear. Except it wasn’t coming from that smoke alarm, it was coming from one of the GG’s lairs. I dragged the ladder into the lair and climbed up and removed THAT battery. Aaaannnnddd… You guessed it. A few minutes later the alarm in mouse’s old bedroom started beeping. I was about to drag the ladder into that room when. It. Stopped. KNOCK ON WOOD BIGTIME there has been no beeping all afternoon. They seem to communicate in some rudimentary way that I also do not understand.

Oh yeah, there was a little problem about batteries. I could not find 9-volt batteries in the Landfill to save my life. We may have some but if we do The Pensioner has squirreled them away somewhere. I used to always keep batteries in the kitchen. I ordered some from Amazon and I am going to keep my own stash from now on. He can do whatever squirreling he wants but I HAVE to be able to get my hands on batteries. In the meantime, Rodent Delivery Service brought me four 9-volts after work today. I feel guilty about asking her for stuff like that on short notice but then again, I have lent her the Ninja a couple times recently as they catch up on some automotive repairs so I guess I have actually been returning the favor a bit.

I have been lobbying for one of those Nest alarm systems for years. I’m not sure what all they do but I think you can use your phone to tell the alarm to shaddup if it runs out of battery at 3AM. Seems like a really bad thing for anyone who is normally asleep at that time to be up on a ladder. The Pensioner is not a Nest fan because $$$ and I’ve never argued even though I disagree (ya gotta pick yer battles). I think I will put it on my xmas list this year. He LOVES to spend money at xmas 🐽

Some things not to buy for a while

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Oh we’ll probably needs eggs again fairly soon. Today I made my first successful swipe at the freezer since pre-COVID. Everything out. Everything back in. In some kind of organized fashion. I know I’ll still lose things in there but it’s better than it was. At least there’s a blasted light!

Next up, refrigerator door. Everything out. We have three jars of horseradish, three thingies of sriracha, and I didn’t count how many mustards because I only got to the top two shelves today. There were two on those and I’m gonna guess more is lurking on the bottom shelves. I’ll get to those tomorrow. And then there’s whatever is at the moomincabin…

Two grocery orders today.

1) Delivery from Meijer. I’m not even sure which Meijer. I shop at two, both within delivery range. One is the Jackson Rd. Meijer, which I use used on weekends. The other is the Saline Rd. Meijer which is was on my way to/from Cubelandia. I had Cameron again and he’s fine. I hope these young folks (most of them are young) are getting paid a living wage because they are a lifeline for us baggy old Covid Chickens. They had pretty much everything I needed wanted except pita chips but I just added those to my afternoon Plum order and all was well.

2) Curbside from Plum. I know a weeeeee bit about the internal workings of the Plum. I wanted pitted Kalamata olives and what I really wanted was the olive bar olives. I know that self-serve food is not available as usual but I asked my personal source if they had any pre-packaged things from the olive bar. Yes but. They do but they didn’t show up when I searched and I couldn’t find a reasonable way to ask for them so in the end I settled for some in a jar. They’ll be fine. Then I wanted chicken thighs and I searched for “chicken” and I found thighs but then I was astounded when Carolina chicken salad popped up! That’s the salad with grapes and celery and walnuts, etc. and pre-COVID I bought a mid-sized container of it just about every weekend I was home. I crossed my fingers and ordered it and voila! They HAD IT!

Y’know, people are sooooo STUPID. At the beginning of COVID, Plum dumped all of its make-up “testers”. Guess what people started doing. If you guessed “opened up the for-sale make-up”, you win the prize. I dunno what the make-up section looks like nowadays but they did have to figger out how to keep customers from messing with it. Me? I do wear make-up but it hasn’t much changed since 40 years ago and with the pandemic, a little Cover Girl foundation is about it. Occasionally a touch of eye makeup but not often. My “routine” takes all of 30 seconds and I don’t think the GG can tell whether I’m wearing it or not. And I have been ordering it online for a few years now.