Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

I married you for better or worse but not for lunch

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Yeah, so a couple days ago I was sittin’ on the Green Couch watchin’ all the dogz go by (and talking to India). What the heck? It sounded like everything in the refrigimatator was falling out onto the Landfill Chitchen Floor! Bumpity bumpity clunk. Huge rummaging sounds. I HATE rummaging sounds. They drive me absolutely crazy. So.

“What are you LOOKING FOR?” Chicken breast. Okay, I KNEW we had a package of chicken breast. It had been delivered a few days ago and I REMEMBERED putting it in the freezer. Tired of all the bumping and banging around, *I* went out to the chitchen and had a bit of a look. I COULD NOT FIND IT! Later in the afternoon after a conversation with my personal grocery shopper, I looked again. It was in the back of one of the shelves (it’s a side-by-side), tipped up so the top of the package was flat against the back freezer wall. A whole chicken (that *I* did NOT put in there) was pinning it in there and the bottom of the breast container was WHITE, so it blended in with the back wall.

And then there was a weird laundry prodject going on most of today. I was in the middle of an intense meeting with India et al and the GG picked that moment to start making phone calls to check in on his siblings, etc. I could NOT concentrate on my meeting with that going on in the bathroom background and the Landfill is a small house so I asked him to please go outside or somewhere. He went down to the dungeon. Okay, that’s fine. I had laundry in so when the meeting settled down a bit I texted, “As long as you’re down there, could you switch the laundry around?”

I didn’t keep track of whether he did or didn’t schlep laundry but later on I realized that all our laundry was upstairs but the laundry musheens were still, uh, running down there… What?

“Oh, I didn’t tell you about that!” Uh, what? He was out hiking around our deserted city yesterday and he found a BACKPACK in the woods. SO HE PICKED IT UP AND HAULED IT HOME! Before you get toooo freaked out (like I was), this backpack had been out there for something like six months, so not likely a virus vector. He found some identifying stuff in it and was able to figure out and verify that the owner works at the downtown Ahmo’s.

It was also filled with DIRTY WET STINKY CLOTHING! So what did the GG do? He WASHED the clothes. And then drove it down to Ahmo’s so they could return it to their employee, which I was NOT a fan of because I think he actually went inside. I asked, “WHY DID YOU DO HIS LAUNDRY?” Apparently this is a young (?) man with four children and two or whatever jobs *and* a history of losing things. Oh, so you were just being a good Samaritan right? Yes. Okay. Love you buddy (but glad you didn’t involve MEEEEE in this prodject).

Maintaining a social distance – from India and the yooperland

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Every morning I spend at least an hour talking to folks on the Indian subcontinent. I love these young men. They are smart and they are funny. I remember a few years ago when there was a going away party for someone over there and they were giggling to beat the band telling us “we had alcoholic party”. I’m not sure whether the GG is crazy about listening to our morning meetings. American and Indian accents with a wee bit o’ Russian thrown in from you-know-who or maybe you don’t. Yingling and yangling talking over each other like a bunch of wild aminals. But also fun. Once we get past all the virus crapola.

So now that my workday is done, the GG has joined an online North Country Trail meeting. I am not involved in this meeting but I can hear it and I am loving the voices of all my beloved trail friends. Pat/Bob, John, M-Carol, Tom, and I’m not sure who else. Some people I don’t know. There is apparently an “Eric” but he does not have a Russian accent. This group is going through the usual crapola that my team does every day. “Who’s making that noise? Can you mute?” as Gabe’s dog barks or Maggie’s clock chimes or we hear Indian street noise or… And then there is stuff like “Hey KW, if you are *talking* you are on *mute*.” Etc., etc. And somebody on the call actually just asked what the point of muting was? It’s so nobody can hear your dog or your clock or, well, whatever else it is you might be doing. Chewing? *Noisily breathing*, like the LSCHP used to do? Or worse…

The pic? I wish I was in a bar drinking a margarita and the pic kind of represents my fuzzy brain during this excruciatingly difficult time. But I am not. All the bars in the Great Lake State (and other states) are closed for an indefinite period of time.

Namaste and may the force be with you.

No you can’t have mine!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

We’ve had a few Landfill “Twitter plays” since our self-imposed isolation (or is it quarantine?). This afternoon’s?

[The GG starts putting his shoes on.]

KW: Where are you going?

GG: Wyandotte Electric. [holds up some sort of Lyme Lounge-related lucky-shuckial thingy that apparently needs replacing]

KW: Where the heck is that?

GG: [gives location, then, anticipating next question] There’s a big counter with a guy waaaaay over on the other side and I hold this thingy up and he gets me one.

KW: [silently thinks, “and you use your debit card, etc.”]

[A little while later, the Ninja returns. KW grabs the Clorox wipes she’s been rationing, ready to wipe down the front door handles and Ninja door handle/steering wheel/stick shift/key/whatever.]

GG: It was closed.

KW: [silent whew]


I buy Clorox wipes all the time. I mainly use them to wipe Eco Terlet’s rim on a daily basis. I currently have this half used up canister and an unopened full canister. I bought the full canister 12 days ago, when I ventured into the Saline Road Meijer on the way home from work and, hmmm… the aisle was largely empty. I was already concerned about virus exposure but just sorta getting a handle on how to deal with it, like I actually did not use Meijer’s hand sanitizer that day. Otherwise I wouldda bought two canisters (but probably not more than that). I also sometimes buy Clorox wipes on Amazon Prime (because I am lazy and hate shopping) but as you might know, they are not available there now. Oh, I’m not all that freaked out about Clorox wipes. I have Scrubbing Bubbles and other cleaners and I can use them with a paper towel to clean Eco Terlet. Man oh man, life has changed so much in the last couple weeks. The last time I was in a grocery store after that trip to Meijer was three days later and I used hand sanitizer on the way in and out that time.

Long and lonesome road

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Oh where the hell am I today. The GG finished the taxes and took a walk to mail them to our accountant and then down through downtown with many admonishments from meeee to not patronize stores or restaurants. He was down there before all of the bars and restaurants closed for the duration, which was at 3:00 PM today and probably not soon enough but thank you to our governor. I’m pretty sure he didn’t go into any stores but he did extract cash from an ATM…

He continued on down by the river and I can’t exactly remember where this pic is from but I see the railroad tracks and what looks like a freeway overpass. He was not all that happy this morning as his planned trip to hike a part of the Pennsylvania North Country Trail with a couple of his girlfriends next weekend got canceled. Normally I wouldda been “Go meet your girls and I’ll hang out on The Planet Ann Arbor.” This time I did NOT want him to go. I was vociferous about this! I was anxious about this all morning until he finally ‘fessed up that the trip was canceled and I was GREATLY relieved. His girlfriends had a reservation at a hotel!!!

I don’t want the GG *OR* his lovely girlfriends to get That Virus! I hope they are able to reschedule this trip and if they can I will totally support it.

I think we need to send out a Virus Primer to everyone in the United Snakes. Today is the first day that I have heard medical experts being quoted as saying that asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic people are probably spreading the virus. This is VIRUS 101 and I don’t need to be medically educated to know how viruses work.

STAY HOME STAY HOME STAY HOME. And here is the long and winding road waaaay pre corona fucking virus. Of everything, the long and winding road always led me to the moomincabin and eventually it led the GG to my homeland where he got along with my family, especially my Moom. Love you buddy.

Dishpan hands

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

I am NOT faulting how our grocery stores have handled the panic buying. I KNOW they don’t have systems in place to do anything but react to the constantly changing shopping conditions. But in a perfect world, we would have closed all grocery stores to customers. I mean don’t let the general public in the doors at all. Let people order online, by phone, even by handing a paper list to an employee. Groceries would be available *outside* the doors. *Reasonable* rationing would be in place. If you know you can come back again when you are outta terlet paper, then maybe you wouldn’t feel like you had to buy a year’s supply.

Same kind of thing with restaurants. We have driven downtown a couple times (not getting out of the car) and I am amazed at how busy our downtown is. Restaurants and bars are all open and people are all over everywhere. Our governor has banned all gatherings of over 250 (or is it 100?) people for the duration. I don’t see the difference between a planned gathering or a busy restaurant. And do NOT get me started on the bars. Yes, these kinds of drastic changes would be difficult for businesses. But they would likely save lives.

Us? We did various chores off and on throughout the day and took a long drive “down south” where the land flattens out a bit. Not that The Planet Ann Arbor is mountainous but it does have glacially-created hilly terrain. It was a glorious sunny day and I guess I will take it.

My skin is normally on the oily side and we won’t even talk about my hair, let’s just say I STILL shower at least once a day and ALWAYS wash my hair EVERY day. Despite that, the happy birthday hand-washing is taking its toll and the backs of my hands are getting chapped. Fortunately this is a small thing because oily skin and an ancient tub of vaseline (that I liberated from the moomincabin to use it up) is mitigating it.

We turned off NPR jazz a bit before five o’clock when our grocery/whine delivery person arrived so we could hear each other talk. (The store is out of chicken in all form factors but apparently not whine – or shrimp.) When that person left, I was gonna turn the radio back on but then I read that the Orange Baboon was scheduled to speak at five so we turned on satty-lite radio folk music instead. I did not want to listen to that idiot rave about the economy and how wonderfully he and his “team” (or whatever, I mean Jared Kushner? really?) has responded to That Virus and blame everybody on earth (“fake” news, Obama, you name it) for his own shortcomings.

Squirrel Cow

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

We went out for a Mooon Yooonit drive in the county this morning. My anxiety level was high (the cup-and-a-half of coffee this morning prob’ly didn’t help with that) and I was hoping a drive would be calming but it wasn’t particularly even though it was niiiiice and slooooow like I like country drives. (Thank you @tmotu.)

After a very minor discussion about radio stations – 60s vs. Willie’s Roadhouse – Willie’s won. When the heck did I start liking country music? I sure didn’t like it *in* the 60s. Acid rock, yeah.

It’s very hard to get good photos at this time of year unless you are walking, which we weren’t today. The main color scheme is brown and gray, at least it is this year. Some years white is also featured. Up close and personal, little bits of green are sometimes visible.

This Cow Palace had a pasture or whatever with a bunch of cows mostly lying down. I knew I couldn’t get a good pic of the actual cows with my iPhone unless we *stopped* the car and I got out and got closer, etc. I am always iffy about doing that kind of thing because I wonder if the farm owners might see me. Do they know I’m just a simple “tourist” or maybe a spyyyyy 👀? We were out in Washtenaw County Trump country so who knows.

This isn’t the best pic ever but when I saw the cow on the white barn, I made the GG inch back and forth until I got the best shot I possibly could without getting out of the car. It is what it is and I am committed to iPhoneography so bite me if you don’t like it.

As we were heading back toward home on Huron River Drive, I suggested we make a swing through Downtown Planet Ann Arbor and then the Plum Market parking lot. I wanted to assess how many people were oot and aboot with the virus afoot. Downtown was surprisingly busy and I silently saluted the Oscar Tango and the Griz as we passed by them. The Plum parking lot looked full too. Apparently they ran out of chicken sometime in the morning.

A mid-afternoon glass of whine and a goooood booook (Last Bus to Wisdom – Ivan Doig) finally settled me down. Making spaghetti now.

New normal?

Friday, March 13th, 2020

I did one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life this morning. I think maybe holding my brother as he left life on earth may have been harder but I was in some other space at that time.

What the heck did I do this morning? I made a grocery list. I have made so many grocery lists in my life I couldn’t count them if I tried. This one I emailed to the beach urchin who works in a grocery store and she went to at least three or four stores to fulfill it. She was worried about me going to the grocery store with the corona virus afoot and finally convinced me to let her shop for me. I venmo-ed her a bunch of money and a list that was excruciating to make and we have a ton of food here today.

I won’t try to detail her long winding journey but the big “cheap” grocery stores were sold out of all kinds of stuff, even including things like chicken thighs. Upscale stores like Whole Foods and Plum (her store) not so much. We suspect that’s because they are more expensive. The GG also walked down to Kerrytown to pick up some specialty stuff, including the chickens he likes to grill. He was happy to take hand sanitizer with him and Sparrow is a low density store.

Today I woke up to the news that our governor ordered all public schools to shut down beginning Monday until I fergit when. I think a couple weeks but that could change. Other entities have posted updates throughout the day. The farmers market is closed but Argus Farm Stop has partnered with local farmers so folks can order food online and receive it curbside. The Library is closed. Literati bookstore is closed. Knights Steakhouse is not closing but it is expanding its services on Monday to provide curbside service for takeouts. I could go on and on.

I am soooo fortunate to be able to afford the upscale grocery stores and plan to pay it forward by donating to organizations who can provide food to needy public school students who might go without while the schools are closed.

I telecommuted today and will probably do so for the duration. Amazon Woman is encouraging it. We had tentative plans to eat downtown tonight but I wimped out and instead we grilled one of the two chickens the GG bought at Sparrow today and porterized ourselves at home. Our friends were worried that eating with us might deplete our food supply. I hope I discouraged them from that idea because we have plenty and the means to obtain more. A good time was had by all, the Amish do pay taxes, and I discouraged any clinking of glasses in toasts, instead encouraging “May the force be with you” or “namaste” gestures.

Google “Italians singing together” if you need a ray of hope in these scary times.


Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Okay. So I am nervous enough about That Virus that I am obsessively washing my hands. I know that this is important but it is driving me a little crazy because, well, talking about bathroom habits is TMI but suffice it to say that I am freaked out thinking about what have my hands touched last and do I need to wash them. This leads to Escher-like handwashing thoughts.

I would like to think that Cubelandia is relatively safe. We certainly practice “social distance” there. We are in a highly underutilized building and I am in a “neighborhood” of 8 cubes. ALL OF THEM EXCEPT FOR MINE AND NIKIO’s are empty. And Nikio only comes in to work on Mondays and Tuesdays. Purell is everywhere and the cleaning crew cleans table surfaces and door handles and whatever every night. I don’t think we’ve had anyone returning from overseas lately but I don’t interact with the other team that shares our building so who knows. I still sing happy birthday to myself in the Cubelandia bathroom multiple times a day.

We’ve been talking all week about working from home and this afternoon when I got home, I received a text from Amazon Woman ordering *everyone* to telecommute tomorrow. This is not because there is any kind of problem on The Planet Ann Arbor (knock on wood!). It is because we are an online banking company and we are trying to be prepared for everyone to work from home. We have done this before, at least at Cubelandia. That was a few years ago when we renovated the building. This time the directive came from corporate headquarters.

And then… I have not been to a grocery store since last Sunday. I was able to buy everything I needed/wanted that day including terlet paper. I think it is nutso to hoard terlet paper but who knows. Here we are though. A beach urchin is volunteering to buy me groceries and convincing me to prep, at least lightly. Oh man, I am taking her up on it even though I am extremely averse to stockpiling groceries!

But I have to say that I am now worried about the supply chain. When I drove by the Saline Road Meijer this afternoon, the parking lot was slammed.

It’s hard to make light of COVID-19 and I may regret this but… MooU (and a whole bunch of other state universities) suspended in-person classes yesterday. Was this a good decision or not? I thought so but news from East Lansing was that after the announcement there were long lines at every bar in town, which sounds like a better way to spread a virus then to attend a class together.

So glad our Quiet Water Symposium happened during MooU’s spring break but also hoping COVID-19 was not lurking there then.


Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

This will be (mostly) polly-tickle so if yer taaaarrred of yer fav-o-rite blahgger’s rantin’ and ravin’, go click over to Pandemic News or somewhere.

So, “Sleepy Joe” as the Orange Baboon sometimes calls him won The Great Lake State democratic primary. I’m not sure why the OB calls him that but most of the OB’s nasty nicknames don’t make a lot of sense to me. BTW, his name-calling is one big reason I can’t stand him but the purpose of this rant is not to list 10 100 things I hate about Trump. I know that politicians (if you can call him a politician) name-call but he does it spuriously and 100 times a day.

What follows is my OPINION and it could be WRONG even though if it’s on the internet, it must be true, roight? I think that the reason Biden won our state is because Michigan democratic voters realize that Biden is probably our best bet to 86 Trump this fall.

Warren is a woman. I am sorry. A woman cannot beat Trump. I am a woman. I am a highly intelligent woman (except when I am not, which is frequently because I am also HUMAN). I would love for us to elect a woman to the presidency. Warren is not it at least not this time around and I am glad she dropped out.

Oh Bernie. I dunno exactly what to say here. I think he won the 2016 Dem primary in this state because a lot of people HATE Hillary. I know a lot of people love Bernie and his ideas but I also don’t think he can beat Trump. I do think we all need to listen to what the Bernie supporters are saying, especially those of younger demographics. They are the ones who will have to live with whatever policies we put in place now.

I did not “warm up” to Bernie or Biden (or Warren, although I do like her dog) but this year the goal is to Dump Trump. I can only hope we can turn out the vote for Biden to accomplish that. With any luck we can move on from there.

I have more to say but I’ll stop now.

That’s a Protective Fish in the pic. I titled this “Fush” because the youngest beach urchin loved Pepperidge Farms goldfish when she was still an emergent speaker of the English language and she would always ask for “fush”. Don’t ask me about the time I (her aunt and babysitter for a couple hours at the moomincabin) had an argument with her about a doggone juice box. Of course she won! As she usually does! Although she doesn’t usually sound like a foghorn anymore 🧡

My election experience…

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Now that we’re back on DST, it’s dark in the morning again. This morning it was also wet. Not raining but everything was dripping a bit from overnight rain. It was almost a little spooky and I wish I had thought to get a pic. At least there was no damned ICE!

As I rounded the back corner of Haisley, SANTA CLAUS was hanging out in front of the school enthusiastically welcoming arriving voters! Oh not really Santa Claus, more of a Santa Claus-like persona, a big African American guy in flame-colored clothing. I knew right then that my voting experience would be fantastic!

It was 6:45 AM when I took my place in line behind Mr. Mxyzptlk, keeping a bit of distance because you know why. He is almost always first in line but he was second today so that means I was third. In the last moments before the polls officially opened, I was looking at a display with all of the teachers currently teaching there. The only name I recognized was Mr. Weindorf who didn’t teach either of my kids. It’s been a while.

There was Purell on the counter. Duh? Even though (last I knew, but…) there have been no *confirmed* coronavirus cases in the Great Lake State, I worried about the poll workers. I know Jackie and Kathie personally and some of the others are familiar to me.

Voting was smooth. There was no problem with anything including the ballot eater. I think things went pretty fast throughout the day but that may be in part because there were only two thingies to fill in on the ballot. Presidential candidate and WCC millage.

I voted FOR the WCC millage because WCC totally and unexpectedly enhanced my life in a huge way. I voted for B or B for presidential candidate and I ain’t going any farther than that. I’m sure you might guess that I took a “blue” ballot. That doesn’t mean I favor “socialism” or “communism”. It means I want the Orange Baboon OUT. And make no mistake, I am not forming my opinion about the OB based on what Nancy Pelosi or NPR or any other people say. I listen to what he says and watch what he does and form my own opinions. Like I have always done throughout my life.

I forgot to get my “I voted” sticker. I bailed out the back door that was propped open because it was HOT in the room.

The “but…” from a couple paragraphs up? Two people from the Bay Mills Indian Community returned to the yooperland after a trip to DC and think they may have been exposed to the coronavirus. They have self-quarantined as they await test results. Although there are apparently other unconfirmed cases in the Great Lake State, I kind of expected the first case would be “down south” like Washtenaw County (my county) or Wayne or Oakland or… I have many friends and family members in the Bay Mills area and it’s where our beloved moomincabin is located. I so hope they are not contaminated.

P.S. There was no sign of this crocus even two days ago.

Into the time musheen

Monday, March 9th, 2020

I don’t think Old Man winter is done throwing snowballs at us yet but we have had some decent weather lately. But then there was the year (2012) The Commander died.

This photoooo is NOT from this year. This photoooo is from MARCH 2012! An interesting month during which the temperatures on the Planet Ann Arbor rose into the *90s* (yes really) and stayed there for a couple or three weeks. Our flowering trees flowered. That doesn’t usually happen until late April or May. Of course the other thing that happened in 2012 is that *after* all the trees flowered, April brought some freezes. That didn’t matter too much for our city’s ornamental trees but it wreaked havoc on state-wide cherry and apple crops et al.

Then there was the Dexter Tornado. I got on the freeway one hot afternoon, heading home from Cubelandia. The clouds looked a little threatening like maybe a bit of rain. As I approached the Jackson exit, the sky was BLACK to the west of me. Hmmm… I can still remember seeing a small plane in the air and hoping that the pilot was on his way back to the Planet Ann Arbor airport.

As fugly as the weather looked, I wasn’t thinking TORNADO until I got home. I was puttering around in the Landfill Chitchen when the GG texted me “TORNADO?” What? And then I think I heard sirens. The tornado was confined to the Dexter area but we got a good enough storm to make all the birds go silent. You don’t realize the birds are silent until they start up again.

2012 was a year of magical thinking for me and I remember thinking that The Comm had somehow arranged for us Michiganders to have a nice warm spring. Although 90 is a little bit “warmer” than we normally want in MARCH so maybe she was messing with me a bit.

Orange ya glad I didn’t talk about polly-ticks tonight? My driver’s license is in my jacket pocket so I have it when walk over at 0-skunk-30 tomorrow to vote for B or B and I WILL wash my hands THOROUGHLY when I get home. Love y’all, KW

Spring forward

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

While yer fav-o-rite blahgger was paying the rent and applying Purell to grocery cart handlebars 🐽, the GG was having his own fun up in the great white northern lower. That included springing the Lyme Lounge from its winter quarters in the UU’s garage. We don’t have a garage here on The Planet Ann Arbor. When we bought our little house umpteen bazillion years ago, for the money we could spend we could either get a garage or a dungeon. We chose dungeon and I think that was the right decision. (And yes, we couldda traded up but this is kinda MY house.)

Besides the coronavirus, my beach urchin and I also discussed pollyticks yesterday. We have a primary coming up in the Great Lake State in two days. I am *terribly* conflicted about who to vote for and all I can tell you is that one of the names of the person I will end up voting for begins with B. I am not happy about either choice but the Orange Baboon has GOT TO GO!!!

But this all got me reminiscing to a time when I was a young adult (pre GG and kids) and my dad, a bank president in our small town, was solicited to do exit polling at a presidential election. He agreed without understanding what he was being asked to do and then kind of freaked out. He was not inclined to approach members of the general public to ask them questions and I understand why since I think I have inherited that trait from him.

It turned out okay though because his brother-in-law, my uncle Duck Duke (retaaaared Air Force colonel), was more than up to the challenge so he got my old coot off the hook. A dinner at the Dillon house was planned after Duke’s shift at the polls and he had some good stories to tell about his adventures with interviewing exiting voters.

The coda to this is that we did not have enough bourbon to make manhattans that night. I, being barely old enough to buy booze, was sent to Neville’s to buy, well, “Jim Crow”, is what The Commander told me to buy. So I drove over to Neville’s and rather timidly asked for a fifth of Jim Crow. The woman behind the counter LOUDLY replied, “We have Jim Beam and we have Old Crow but we do NOT have Jim Crow.” I bought Jim Beam.

I miss those folks so much sometimes. They used to vote for republicans back in the day. I am SURE they would be HORRIFIED by the Trumpian Bombasty and what the GOP has turned into.

Beautiful tests

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

A beach urchin stopped by for a bit today to do some laundry and drop off some compost and garbage. Why garbage? Because her garbage cart blew away a couple weeks ago and various entreaties to the landlord to replace it have fallen on deaf ears. It’s okay. I rarely have more than one kitchen-sized bag of garbage per week so there’s plenty of room in my cart.

First thing out of her mouth upon arrival? How about that coronavirus? How about it indeed. We talked viruses and preparedness and face-touching and the incompetence of the Orange Baboon et al. I saw a news clip in which the CDC director fell all over himself to praise the OB for his leadership and decisiveness and I fergit what all. Are we really living in North Korea now? My beach urchin’s day job involves interaction with the general public so…

But then we lightened it up a bit. One of the things going into the laundry was some fabric pieces long stashed in a drawer that became rodent-infested. This can’t totally be blamed on a crappy apartment because I have intermittent problems with rodents here at the Landfill. Anyway, she stated the opinion that the fabric was probably virus free at this point. Virus? Oh yeah, *hantavirus*! Right.

So way back when we first heard about hantavirus it was pretty scary. All of the usual questions swirled in my head, particularly how was it transmitted. As it turned out it *is* a scary disease but it is not transmitted from person to person, only from infected rodent droppings so it’s pretty easy to avoid.

When hantavirus was still scary, I returned to my “childhood” job at the EPA after a vacation. I happened to be feeling just a wee bit rocky from a mild gastrointestinal virus. I wasn’t feeling too sick to work so I went in and the first thing my Chilean friend/colleague said to me (in his Spanish accent) was, “Have you heard about thees theeng? Eet ees coming from thee west!” Jeebus! Yes, I had.

Last I knew we had no coronavirus cases in the Great Lake State (that could change any moment if it hasn’t already) but people are *still* making runs on toilet paper and Clorox wipes and things. I stopped at the Saline Road Meijer on my way home from work Thursday and I wasn’t even looking for Clorox wipes although I do use them to clean Eco Terlet. I was heading back to where the orange juice was and happened to pass the household cleaning aisle and though you can see it isn’t totally empty, people *have* been buying this stuff.

I’m going shopping tomorrow morning and I *do* have toilet paper on my list. I hope I can find some! If not, I guess there’s always Amazon Prime…

At the bar

Friday, March 6th, 2020

I had a reservation at Knight’s for 6PM tonight and I got there pretty close to on the dot. Our table was not quiiiite ready yet so I checked in and schlepped over to the bar to see what my chances might be for getting a ‘hattan. As you can see, I did get a ‘hattan. You might guess by the size of that ‘hattan why Knight’s goes by @strongdrinks on Twitter and why that ‘hattan lasted me all tonight. You might also see Yul back there. That’s not his real name. He just looks like the actor.

We have been going to Knight’s forever, for family dinners and sometimes just for a drink. That would be pretty much since we felt like the beach urchins were old enough to be left home alone for a while or were at a friend’s house or whatever. Yul has been there the whole time. He doesn’t seem to age. Knight’s has always allowed people to stack up behind bar seating to order drinks and stand, which is what I did tonight. Almost every time I have ever done that I/we have made temporary friends with other folks seated or standing at the bar. I was just starting to talk to the women to the right of me tonight when they called my table, which happened to be a booth directly behind where I was standing. A few minutes later I was porterized.

Whenever I go to Knight’s I remember my Forsythe Middle School science fair days. Thursday was always our prep day. Friday was student setup day. Saturday was judging day. Sunday was prize day and Monday the day all of the students toured the fair. I dunno who runs the science fair nowadays or how they schedule things but for us, Saturday *night* was dinner at Knight’s and we hung out behind the bar seats having fun and being as loud as we could be until our table was called. It was soooo much fun.


Thursday, March 5th, 2020

The GG sent me this pic, apparently thinking I needed something to post about. Apparently he is bored with the usual drivel? He often says he can’t understand my blahg and I understand *that* because sometimes *I* don’t understand it either. Actually I’m pretty sure he doesn’t *read* my blahg all the time. Anyway…

So he sends me this pic of his identical twin with a cat the cFam once owned. I bet the cat is just craaaaayzee about the hat, don’t you? The pic came in an email with the caption “Bob with Sam the cat” but the file name is “Bill60s-044.jpeg”. So, which twin is it? A quick glance tells me it is Bob and it is but the file name made me do a double-take.

They are “identical” twins and yes they look a LOT alike. They look so much alike that the GG had his own Weird Encounter at last weekend’s QWS event. In which a woman came up to our booth and acted like she knew him and. He. Didn’t. Respond. At least he didn’t respond like she expected. This woman was with another organization and later in the day someone at her booth connected the dots. Oh yeah. She works with the UU. The GG’s identical twin in Gaylord.

There’s some speculation that the Twinz of Terror are “mirror twins” but this turns out not to be a scientifically recognized term. I think that in a pair of two true mirror twins, wouldn’t the internal organs of one be on the wrong side? Which wouldn’t likely be a good thing.

I looked up “mirror twins” and whether or not the Twinz are “mirror twins” I found a good, readable Scientific American article about twins in general.

A geneticist quoted in the article maintains that what makes twins “identical” is that they are monozygotic. That means they originated from a single fertilized egg that split. He maintains that no two human beings are truly identical and I don’t disagree. Still, my Twinz are hard to distinguish unless you know them well.

When I first met the GG I was extremely jaded about boys. And yes they were boys back when I was a 20-something. Do you really like me? Can I trust you? Really? He pulled a picture out of his wallet of… him… with a beautiful woman and two little boys. He told me it was his brother. Yeeesh. I was not terribly impressed. Still he seemed really single somehow so I persisted. And then we went to Hoton Lake one weekend and I met his twin brother. The one with the beautiful wife and kids. And Sam the cat.

All the cool TikTok kids have them

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Or whatever. I didn’t buy this thing because the cool TikTok kids have them. And I didn’t buy it because of the coronavirus and I’m not sure how it would protect me from that anyway. I bought it because my MacBook lives in the Landfill Chitchen. It hasn’t taken a drink in a while but no matter how hard I try to keep the keyboard clean, food particles and other detritus get onto it. The color is actually more turquoise/teal to match my chitchen backsplash tile of courserous.

Apparently the cool TikTok kids *do* have them though. I know this because Amazon Woman has a tween – a sixth grader at good old Slauson middle school. So I caught that AW had lime green keys on her work laptop. We have Dells and they are black including the keyboard.

I am not a TikTok or even a Snapchat user and I don’t ever expect to be although anything can change and, like my mother, I will be at least trying to keep up with technology until my last breath. If there’s ever a good reason for me to use TikTok or Snapchat or whatever is next, I will be ON IT! But now I am remembering the journey the beach urchins took as they grew up with increasingly sophisticated tech communications.

Prodigy. Who remembers Prodigy. We were using a dial-up modem in those days. Lizard Breath was like five or so and she made a friend on Prodigy, not that the friendship lasted very long. And once a WOMAN approached the GG as a possible romantic interest (no photos then!). She backed off and was warmly friendly when he told her about his wife and two daughters.

Family email addresses. In the beginning, most families (including ours) had ONE email address. Online communication technology was so new then that I doubt most of us were thinking too hard about privacy issues. But it was so fun (not) to read a whole long email chain between your tween and her friend (on *that* family’s email account) sending forwarded jokes to each other or whatever 🐽

Then there was instant messenger. The beach urchins had friends all over the city and I loved vegging out on the couch in the back room after a YAG rehearsal while they used the family computer to I/M their friends. When the older beach urchin first went to college I thought I would be cool and use I/M to talk to harass her. After a couple of months I came to my senses and realized that this was not a NORMAL way to communicate with a fledged adult child.

Of course she had her own personal computer by then. It was expensive for everyone in the fam to have their own computer but that’s where were were heading at that point.

Twitter and Facebook? I don’t think most people my beach urchins’ age use either as a main communication method any more. Twitter is my main news source and Facebook has been taken over by its originally intended demographic by their parents and grandparents and all of their political crapola.

That’s as far as it goes for me because that is the end of my social media technology for now. Although I think I have actually encountered Snapchat. Like the time C*Q*L was flipping through filters with us both in the pic and there we were with huge pink eyelashes or aminal ears or whatever. What fun!

Picking my nose (er, not today)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Although I am FAR from being an expert on communicable diseases, I have a life-long habit of approaching them from a *scientific* point of view. I go CRAZY when people say they have “the flu”. The flu? Do you have an actual strain of influenza or did you spend the night with your toilet or is it just a bad cold? If you have not been tested for “the flu”, you have no clue whether you have “the flu” or not. If you spent the night with your toilet, it’s almost certainly *not* “the flu”.

And do NOT get me started on that old wives tale about getting sick from going outside in the cold with wet hair. What the heck? I do that every cold day of my life. I have had my wet hair freeze many times although nowadays I usually cover it up with a balaclava. But that’s for comfort, not because I think frozen hair is gonna make me sick. Because cold weather and frozen hair do not cause communicable illnesses. VIRUSES do!

Every time one of these “new” viruses emerges, I want to know some things. What is the incubation period? How is it transmitted? When are people contagious? Are they contagious before they experience symptoms? I am FAR from having expertise on this stuff but it seems to me that one of the things that makes viruses survive is that they are capable of transmitting themselves via a seemingly healthy person. “Oh hi! How are you? [hug] [kiss]” And make no mistake, even for a person who needs a LOT of personal space, I do this ALL THE TIME.

I also touch my face umpteen bazillion times an hour. Do you?

No thanks to the ridiculously incompetent Orange Baboon and Mother, I think I am FINALLY starting to see dribs and drabs of potentially accurate information about COVID-19 filtering through them thar tubes. I’m not necessarily seeing anything comprehensive and I’m not sure all of it has been thoroughly vetted yet but it sounds like the virus isn’t transmitted through the air unless someone coughs or sneezes directly into your face and their virus-infected “droplets” land in your nose or mouth or eyes. More likely you touch something with COVID-19 “droplets” on it and then, you know, rub your eyes or pick your nose or something.

Whatever ends up being true, I spent most of today thinking about washing my hands and touching my face. I don’t usually think too much about these things. I get colds once in a while but my immune system kicks *ss and I quite cavalierly pull public bathroom doors open by the handle with my bare hand and don’t think about it again.

Today… I made myself think about what I was doing with my hands [almost] every single second. Was my nose itchy? I have a box of Kleenex in my cube and every time my nose was itchy, I scratched it through a Kleenex. I did keep the used Kleenex on my desk for hours. I wonder if coronavirus prevention protocol requires a new Kleenex every time you touch your nose or not. And this is all knowing that the only two places I went today were my house, which is highly unlikely to be infected with COVID-19 and Cubelandia, which, at this time, imma gonna guess is not infected.

While the newest coronavirus is concerning, I am more freaked out about the lack of accurate information our government seems to be willing to provide. Or even understand. You don’t have to be an actual accredited scientist to understand how viruses work. We don’t need a scientist for president but we do need someone intelligent enough to understand a Virus Primer. Not to mention being willing to read one.

Biiiiiiig Skyyyyyy

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Just a mile or so south of yesterday’s skyline pic, I captured this beautiful sky. MooU was originally an agricultural college (I am not fluent with its history) and there are big fields like this one to the south of campus. It was pretty darn cold when I took this pic but Mr. Golden Sun was shinin’ down on us. After a weekend of sun followed by warmer temps and some rain, all that snow we got last week has pretty much disappeared. That is *usually* typical in the SE Lower Great Lake State as we get into late February and March. Not always so in the yooperland…

You do *not* want to know what I did at work today. Let’s just call it untangling gnarly html to try to make it support assistive technology.

Instead I will tell you about this year’s Quiet Water Adventure Symposium Weird Encounter. I have a Weird Encounter most years. This year I went to a presentation and sat down in the front row. There were two empty seats on my right and three or four on my left. These were folding chairs. A man and his wife arrived and he asked if the two seats to my right were taken. I said they were not and they sat down. The man (in the seat next to me) immediately started man-spreading to the point that I had to angle my legs to the left. Um, nooo, I do not want your leg touching mine…

Somebody somewhere behind us asked a question and this caused my man-friend to pivot to look back at the questioner. In the process of doing this, his hand was kind of on my KNEE, which fortunately did not last long.

Then… The host was about to present an award to the presenter. As he was leading up to this, My Guy suddenly asked meeeee, “Are *you* getting the award?” Whaaaaaat? Meeeeeee? Nooooooo. Oh man.

As the presentation began, I was thinking what I should do. I was NOT afraid of this guy. Not at ALL! But I didn’t really want to be sitting that close to him for the next hour. Heck, I don’t even usually like to sit that close to the GG, fer kee-reist. So. Do I shift my butt over one seat to the left? Or do I just endure the boor and his leg. And then. 30 seconds into the presentation, he and his wife… LEFT!!! Whew!!!

You may be wondering what it takes to win this particular award. What it does NOT take is a baggy old day hiker / occasional kayaker who likes a shower in the morning and whine after the hike. What it DOES take is a woman who takes a solo kayak ride down the west coast from Alaska to Mexico, planning and preparing for MONTHS before hand. And make no mistake, she did have some outside support along the way, some of it arranged and some serendipitous.

What does this woman do for her day job? She runs(?) a non-profit org in Chicago that works with inner city youth, getting them out on outdoor adventures as part of an effort to give them some tools to gain confidence and help overcome the obstacles they face in their lives. She dedicated her presentation to three former kids in her program, all of them dead via gunshot. I am in AWE of the woman who won the award.

In which East Lansing suddenly sprouts a skyline

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

Okay… We go to MooU once a year to help run a North Country Trail (NCT) booth at the Quiet Water Adventure Symposium. Which you know if you are one of my nine Reglear Nucular Taggers because I’ve been blathering about it for the last couple days.

MooU is also the alma mater of both the GG and I with the disclaimer that we did NOT know each other while we were in attendance there. I believe there were 45,000 students at that time? Anyway. This is a photooo of the western end of the section of Grand River Ave. that runs through MooU. I once knew the 3-4 block Moo-U section of that street like the back of my hand. In the Jurassic Age, it was a series of student-y shops. Campus book store, Hosler’s where I bought “cool” clothing when I could afford to, and I fergit what else but if you were around in the Jurassic Age, you might remember the kind of businesses that catered to college students at a large university.

The stores have changed over the years but (until now) not the skyline. Hosler’s is long dead and I dunno how students buy textbooks nowadays but guessing online for the most part although the bookstore may still exist. But still, the skyline consisted of one/two/*maybe* three story buildings and there was a parking lot behind this particular block. I mean a surface lot, not a big structure.

This year? Friday night. We were meeting friends at Beggar’s Banquet for dinner after setting up our booth at the agriculture pavilion. As we approached our planned parking space in front of the union (and we could only park in front of the union because it is Spring Break), I did a huge double-take! Where the heck did those umpteen story buildings come from? They were not there last year! We have stuff like this all over downtown Planet Ann Arbor (home of ANOTHER large university) but our downtown is a a lot bigger than East Lansing’s downtown and draws a more diverse crowd. Many of our umpteen story buildings are geared toward “young professionals” (whatever the f*ck that means), not the upscale (?) student housing that I suspect this behemoth is.

The old parking lot is gone too. The new behemoth covers the entire block now and there are businesses on the *backside* too, topped with more apartments. I can’t describe it well. I am kind of speechless about the whole thing.

We and our NCT friends left our hotel this morning for breakfast at the Lansing Fleetwood Diner, then we somewhat sadly went our separate ways. They were all off to visit grandchildren. We were off to Flint (yes, *that* Flint) to re-supply FlaMan and help him out with a few things. We 🧡 FlaMan and glad we stopped there today! Then south to The Planet where I caught up with Mouse @Plum and wished Joyce a happy bday (and was talking so much at the checkout that I flubbed my debit card payment TWICE – get a GRIP KW!). Tomorrow is Monday. Hi Ho!

Penguin Hoosh

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

There were plenty of “rangers” to run the booth today. And I mean rangers. You shouldda seen our guys all dressed up in their khaki “uniforms” with all of their badges. They love to schmooze. I do not. I also don’t all that much enjoy looking at the other booths. It’s mostly the same stuff year to year. I don’t ever buy anything and the last thing I need to collect is paper brochures and stuff.

So since we had so many uniformed schmoozers, I attended presentations most of the day. A year in the boundary waters. A kayak trip down the west coast from the Alaskan border with Canananada to the US border with Mexico. Two provincial parks in Ontario, Algonquin and Killarney. Then there was the last one of the day, kayaking some of the areas of the Shackleton trip to Antarctica. All were good, this one was my fave, in part because of the exotic location and, well, Shackleton himself.

One summer when the beach urchins were young, a lot of the beach folk read the Shackelton book “Endurance”. That included me and at least those of the beach urchins old enough to read the book independently. Our presenter didn’t say anything about the stranded crew eating penguin hoosh but they existed by eating sea aminals (and their own dogs, I think) and penguin hoosh was one of their go-to dishes, if I remember right. We had a penguin lover amongst us and her already long moomincabin nickname grew to add “penguin hoosh” to the end of it: Pengo Janetto Cookie Tester Penguin Hoosh.

We finished our evening at Pizza House and boy oh boy after a breakfast of two McDonald’s hash browns and a lunch of granola bars, pizza hit the spot. I did have to remind myself over and over and over again that this is the GG’s *thing* and I should expect, well, I won’t say what. Just that while everyone else was *talking*, I was absorbing most of what was going on. It’s a good thing I am able to entertain myself.

G’night, KW

Fun “fact”: not sure if this is really a fact but there are Shackleton’s Shackletons [jeebus with the apostrophes KW] in my hometown and one of them was a good friend of The Comm and Radical Betty and she maintained that Shackleton of Antarctic fame was a distant relative.