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“I have some memories if I can really hang them on my hook here”

Monday, March 6th, 2017

I apparently tweeted the title approximately five years ago. I know that because my cute li’l timehop app coughed it up a while back. It was Late Life Commander-speak but I cannot for the life of me remember what she was talking about at the time. This kind of conundrum argues for a paper journal where a person can provide some context without hurting someone’s feelings by broadcasting it all over the internet. And, with very few exceptions, I do NOT like to hurt anyone’s feelings. I could do that as a kid living across from Lincoln School but I wasn’t really good at it even then, I mean that it never made me feel very good about myself. The part of my personality that can be deliberately hurtful is still in there but it is buried in a deep dark place. Usually. I occasionally make exceptions. I am human. Sigh.

The thing is that The Comm had a great sense of humor about the “word-search” problems she developed the last couple years of her life so I feel like it’s okay to talk about them when the spirit moves me. Cataract surgery (at 88) and the ensuing drugs provided some of the funnier substitutions. Like when she realized how well she could see and said, “Well! If I want to skate, I will just skate!” Yeah, that would be great but I don’t remember The Commander EVER skating at all. Maybe when she was a kid in Garden City? Not in Sault Ste. Siberia. I knew that *drive* was the word she was searching for and, uh, no moom, you are not going to be driving quiiiite yet.

It wasn’t more than a few weeks after that escapade that Radical Betty died and a whole bunch of relatives descended upon the Moomincabin. The Comm had endured cataract surgery on her other eye by then and at one point she started going on and on about how she didn’t need her tricycles any more after her cataracts were removed. The rest of us were kind of eye-balling each other behind her back, laughing behind our hands and whatever. Finally Uber Kayak Woman graciously and compassionately explained to The Comm that she had been calling her trifocals “tricycles”.

Laughter ensued, as it usually does at the Moomincabin, with full participation by The Commander. A few weeks later, she entertained the opthalmologist by talking about her “tricycle” mistake.

In thinking back on that weekend, I realize how hard it probably was for The Commander. Radical Betty was one of her best friends in life. Imagine if you are a kid and your mom and your dad’s sister love each other and are constantly having fun together and laughing and making fun for you and your siblings and cousins, organizing expotitions to wherever and on-the-fly community dinners at the Old Cabin and creating tables out of driftwood on the beach. Perfect for serving Beer Lunch on the Beach.

That weekend, my generation (G3) and the next (G4) kind of rolled over The Comm. We were busy and we were having fun despite the reason for all of us being together. And we were commandeering her kitchen, etc. Although The Comm never minded people using her kitchens (town or cabin), I think that for that event, she felt a little bit left out. I’m sorry Moom. I love you 🐸

Froggy(ies) go(es) to the Quiet Water Symposium

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

This is not Froggy. This is his identical twin, purchased via eBay a number of years after I obtained Froggy at Meijer (that is the ugliest aminal I’ve ever seen, said the young male checkout person). Froggy himself was snoozing away under our table. He was taaaarred. We did get him out eventually when our cousin Teri arrived.

Here’s my Boardman River jigsaw puz the *first* time someone put the perimeter together. I actually think the same person did it the second time too. She was next door with the NCT Jordan 45 group. Note our collection of (mostly) turkey feathers and a bunch of skulls and bones that used to hang in The Indefatigable aka our 1992 Jeep Wrangler.

My old coot’s bearpaw snowshoes (and I think those are his boots too?) always make an appearance at the QWS.

I *randomly* managed to capture a couple of things in the next pic. One was the Mackinac Bridge on our TV slide show. The other is that the GG took a page from another (Canadian) group from previous years, and we covered our tables with Hudson Bay blankets, including the red one that was my Baby Blanket.

These three guys are some of the folks that make the world go ’round. Missing are Stan and Kay who had some car/road issues that defy description and didn’t make it this year. Boy did we miss them.

Froggy and Froggy have some other friends, Fawn, Baby Moose, and Bucky Beaver. And yes, there’s a Stormy Kromer hat up there on that hiking pole.

Finally, here we all are. This is our Hiawatha Shore-to-shore group plus a North Country Trail official.

These folks are all wonderful friends and I love them dearly. Bob and Pat, Greg, Tom, and Ken. What I didn’t post was the pics that showed all three North Country Trail groups that had booths at this year’s QWS together. Jordan 45 and Chief Noonday. We are starting to connect with other NCT chapters in a positive way.

Channeling Bucky Beaver in Spartyland

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

When I woke up at 0-skunk-30 this morning, it was to hear The Pensioner clearly speak the words “Bucky Beaver”. In his sleep. I will not even begin to try to ‘splain that one except to ask you to please not let your mind stray into the gutter. He was having processing dreams about real beavers, the aminal kind, the ones with big flat tails who build damns dams out in the wetlands.

Anyway, I walked through campus this morning during the magic hour and Sparty was well lit by the rising sun so I got a halfway decent pic of him. Even though I attended this mega-university back in the Jurassic Age, I didn’t really register exactly where Sparty resided until last year.

I am absolutely, positively certain beyond any shred of a doubt that this sidewalk artifact directly in front of Sparty did not exist when I was in attendance here.

I did not do a selfie. I continued on along the Red Cedar River until I got to Farm Lane and then I hung a right and walked on down to the pavilion to meet up with my North Country Trail friends. Before I entered the main display area, I whipped into a phone booth toilet stall and swapped out my ugly old black leggings (hey, it was COLD out this morning!) for my #redplaidnation skirt. I guess the next pic is a selfie of a sort.

That’s about all I have tonight because after a day of being a “booth babe”, I am dead taaared. Even though I didn’t have to work very hard at booth-babing this year because Bob and Pat and Greg and Tom and Ken and the GG (who talked everyone’s ears off all day) did the heavy lifting and I could pretty much be introverted if I wanted to. A few other highlights? Our booth and at least two presenters (and various East Lansing area establishments) were porterized and then my Mac uber-cousin Teri materialized and we had a quick but loverly visit and walk-about and we got to say hello to her daughter at college on her iPhone. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to get a photo of her and talk to her more about our family and tell her about the time I met up with our mutual cousin Maija, etc. We will *have* to get together this summer. That is all.

Oh, I guess I have enough energy to talk about the puzzle tonight. This puzzle.

This is the third year we have put this puzzle out at our booth. Each of the first two years it got done eventually. A lot of people are interested in it and a few people put a couple pieces together. Occasionally we get a person or group who does some serious work on it. This year someone put the perimeter together and then it languished for quite a while. I picked at it a bit to try to get it started and then somebody did a whole bunch of it and then I returned from a presentation and it was *done*. And then a little kid dismantled it… But then… Miraculously, it got put together AGAIN! The hands in the photo belong to the folks who finished it the second time. Once again, no pieces have gone missing!!!

G’night. We seem to be switching back and forth from Harry Potter to some “golf” “comedy” with Adam Sandler who I know next to nothing about…

An annual pilgrimage

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

When I woke up at 0-skunk-30 this morning and looked outside, I saw a thin covering of white. I hope y’all don’t mind if I said the f-word. I was alone in my bathroom when I said it. It was 5:30 AM and I was facing up to the fact that I would have to dredge out some YakTrax to take my walk. I knew Old Man Winter wasn’t done with us but I didn’t quite want to admit it. BTW, the big light in the first photo is *not* the rising sun. It is a streetlight. The sun did not rise for another 45 minutes or so but when it did…

Voila! *Here* is Mr. Golden Sun. This is just after I parked in my own personal parking space at Cubelandia. It is beautiful but make no mistake, it was colder than blue blazes today.

I worked a half day today and then we drove over to the MooU Pavilion (via Cleary’s Pub in Chelsea for lunch) to set up our North Country Trail table at the 2017 Quiet Water Symposium. There was a lot of futzing with these tubes and I do not know who owns the truck behind the futzing.

This is how we left our display today. There’s a lot of stuff under the table that we’ll get out tomorrow. Froggy will keep it all safe overnight.

Back at our cute little “economy” room in Kellogg Center. I cannot crash like this in the late afternoon.

I had to *drag* myself out at 6 PM but I managed it and here we are at Beggar’s Banquet having dinner and a wonderful time with our long-time North Country Trail friends Pat and Bob.

Back at Kellogg now, chilling out for the night and saving our energy for the Quiet Water Symposium tomorrow.

Love y’all,

Don’t look now but a man is sneaking up behind you with a doorbell

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

No, it’s not the guy on the couch in the Man Cave in the pic. Woops. Don’t notice that guy. Nothing to see here. Move along.

First, yesterday we lost W1.5 (to retirement!). He was a very valuable employee and probably one of our eldest employees. We will miss him.

Today I got into work and heard the Benevolent Despot say, “When is your last day?” to Building Mom. Building Mom is going on a cruise for the next week and I tried to believe that I missed the last part of the sentence, “before your vacation”. Alas, we are going to lose Building Mom too. She is probably one of our youngest employees and she is leaving not because there has been an “incident” or whatever but because she has decided that she needs to focus more on getting her bachelor’s degree. We ALL support her in that endeavor although we will *greatly* miss this young Force of Nature. As we have experienced previously, it is not easy to find someone to handle that job. I wouldn’t want it… And that’s why I was nervous about the doorbell.

The last time we lost a good Building Mom, we ended up with a period of time during which I and a few others manned Building Mom’s desk on a sorta rotating basis. I was not very good at it. Louie-Louiiiii was maybe too good at it. We are facing another of those periods of time and I do not want to sit over there again. Like other professional IT folks I work with, we are all willing to do stuff that isn’t strictly in our job description from time to time. I sat over in that office once in a pinch. I do not want to do it again. So, when the guy with the doorbell snuck up behind me, I was skeptical. But no, he just wanted to make sure that me and my neighbors could hear the doorbell he was installing across the road from my cube. So that when someone comes to the door, they can ring the doorbell and *someone* will “help” them whether or not they know what they are doing… … …

And so I did hear it when he tested it. Fortunately there is another doorbell installed at the other end of my street.

Lamb or lion take yer pick

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

March came in spiky like the rest of our winter has been. Warm temps and thunderstorms last night (Feb. 28) and more thunderstorms early in the morning. Temps were still warm and continued to be that way throughout my walk and most of the morning. Then the wind blew up and it will drop into the 20s(?) overnight tonight and maybe some snow but I am not going to fret about that possibility. I got home from work and there was *not* an adequate supply of orange juice. I *forced* myself out into the wind to walk over to the Plum Market to get more orange juice. I needed to do that.

We had a rather difficult day at work today. I cannot describe it except that in one meeting I was in, we went off on tangents about, lemme see, getting drunk doing the lime-tequila thing that most people do in college and goofy iPhone ringtones (you don’t wanna know) and I fergit what else. At the end of that meeting I, who tried to at least keep my brain on an even keel, had enough information to move forward. After a later meeting, one of the tangent-goers complained that he’d had too many caffeinated soda drinks today. Oh, that explains it.

I blame the whole thing on W1.5. Today was his retaaaarrrment luncheon. He specified the cake (Zingerman’s carrot cake) and the Benevolent Despot took that hint and provided Zingerman’s sandwiches, etc.

I am gonna miss W1.5. He has been one of the more valuable folks at my work as we transitioned a legacy system to the web world. But I’ll see him in the neighborhood. I saw his wife this morning. We both walk at 0-skunk-30. It wasn’t long after I began working with W1.5 that we figured out that I knew his wife from walking. Also that his son and our older daughter were in the same “advisory” in our beloved alternative middle school.

When I first got my full time job over there, I struggled a bit because I didn’t have a whole lot to do at first. W1.5 tried to help me understand that that was typical for a systems analyst working for our product. After all these years (almost 10!), I have earned the informal title of SME (subject matter expert). I certainly understand how things work and why there are “slow” times. I have also learned to use the “slow” times to catch up with maintenance work, etc.

Miss you W1.5 but seeya around the neighborhood!

Jamet Street

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

This is the last exit on the northbound I75 SUV Speedway before the Mackinac Bridge. I have been entranced by this sign ever since I can remember. I’m not sure who/what Jamet Street was named after but every time I saw the sign, I thought about my childhood friend Janet. She and Helen were sorta my first friends. I am facebook friends with Helen but not sure where Janet is these days. But Jamet and Janet were spelled almost the same and my young phonics/spelling-ruled brain always noticed it.

As I was thinking about this today, in my house and not just passing by the sign, I realized that I did not see this sign my whole life. Because until I was three, we had to take a ferry to get back and forth across the Straits of Mackinac. There was no I75 SUV Speedway and we probably took US27/23 up through Cheboygan. I’m sure Jamet Street existed but it didn’t rate a great big exit sign and I’m not even sure we traversed it to get to the northward ferry.

I have two very vivid memories from that era (before the age of three, therefore before bridge). 1) When I was really young, we visited an aunt, uncle, and cousin(s?) (was Terri born yet?) at Houghton Lake and I can remember a mileage sign somewhere north of there – 100 miles to the straits. (Actually, I have a vague memory of being at Houghton Lake and I’m probably remembering the sign that was still there when I was a young adult and The Commander probably told me about how my WWII pilot dad would drive like crazy to go 100 miles in an hour…) (He was an expert driver but not sure how true that was with a baby (me) in the car but…) 2) I was on the ferry walking on the deck with my dad, with my hands in my pockets just like him. And then a long drive down two-lane highways to Grandaddy and Bolette’s beautiful art deco house in Detroit, having good times shopping in the Big City and hanging out with my beloved Mac cousins.

What I can’t remember is whether the I75 SUV Speedway was built in the area of the Mackinac Bridge when the bridge was built. My memory is blanking on this big-time although I suppose I could easily google it. How did we approach the Mackinac Bridge before I75 or was I75 built in the area when the bridge was built? I don’t actually think it was but I could be wrong.

Nowadays, we have a beloved young family member named Janet and the GG *always* wants a photo of Jamet street to text or post somewhere. Neither the GG or Pengo were around back when I was a kid and first noticed the sign. The GG was alive and living in Royal Joke with the cFam. Pengo was not born for many years after that.

Facebook annoyances of the weekend

Monday, February 27th, 2017

I’ll start with the benign one. One of my more, hmm, shall we say “melodramatic” “friends”, (i.e., someone I have not seen since high school) posted a picture of a man I didn’t recognize along with a name I didn’t recognize and did some cryptic caterwauling about how it was too soon, in other words, he died. No explanation. No link. No nothing.

Here I was, peering at the pic and racking my brain trying to figure out who it was. Was he from my high school? He didn’t look familiar and the name was definitely not familiar. Turned out it was an actor named Bill Paxton. I. did. not. know. who. he. was. I know. I live under a rock, albeit an “amethyst” rock. I don’t know actors. Oh, I know Marilyn Monroe and Dash Riprock, etc., the ones who are more or less household names. Mr. Paxton? No clue. Apparently he was a wonderful actor and I’m sorry he died and I wish his family solace. But please, if you are posting something like that, provide some context, all right?

Stop reading right now if you are not a social progressive or do not want to hear the views of one. This is about using the bathroom with transgendered people.

Another facebook friend from high school (one who I greatly love and respect) shared a meme asking folks about sharing a bathroom with a transgendered person. I don’t usually reply to anything remotely political on facebook but this one struck home because I do that very thing all the time. I have a co-worker who used to be a man. I do not know her history because it is not discussed at work – as it shouldn’t be! This is a very valued employee, a talented and gracious person. A major asset to our team. And, incidentally, when I broke my dern pinky last year, she was one of the folks who made me feel better about it by talking about the *multiple* fingers she has broken in her life and *caring* about my stupid little accident. I do not know what kind of hell this woman went through to sort herself out (she has adult children) and then transition to who she is today but she does not in any way, shape, or form creep me out.

Other people replied with various things. One person said that she didn’t think she would always even be able to tell if a person was transgendered and I agree with that. Another said that she didn’t want her grandchildren to have to deal with a predatory man disguised as a woman. What? Yes. Sure that *could* happen. But what’s different about that than any other episode of perverts in the bathroom? My co-worker would be the LAST person to harass a child! The kicker was when a male high school friend commented about how hard it was for 13-year-old males to share a *male* sports locker room with 18-year-old males. I’ll bet there were some difficult issues with that situation (sounded like there were some bullies) but I wanted to ask something like, Were any of those guys transgender?” I didn’t think so and I did not ask. I did not want it to escalate. I like and respect this male high school friend. He does a lot of good in the world and I’m sorry that we seem to disagree on this.

I do not know how to effectively argue these kinds of things. I just want for people to get along and try to understand each other despite their superficial differences. I believe that if you get to know someone different than you and learn their story, more often than not, you may actually change your opinion about “their kind” or whatever.

If you’ve made it this far, know that I didn’t really mean to get down into the dark today. The pic is from yesterday. How brown can it get? It is beautiful in its own way.

Landfill Menagerie

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

I have blahgged before about why I don’t own a whole bunch of living aminals. Pets. I love dogs. I love cats. I love aminals. I think the GG agrees with me that we really do not want to live with aminals in our house. We don’t have to worry about them getting out and harassing people and we do not have to clean up after them and we can travel whenever we want without worrying about them.

I remember that every time my brother left the moomincabin with his dog Sam, the parents (and I, if I was there) would swing into action to vacuum up the dog hair. No one was allergic! We all loved Sam! But he shed fur like dogs do and no one wanted to live with dog fur all over everything. It’s hard enough to deal with *sand* in the moomincabin. I remember sleeping in sandy sheets when I was a child. As a young teenager, I learned to wash my feet before I went to bed. I washed them in the kitchen sink, which was the only place we had running water in those days. I still wash my feet at the end of the day, sandy or not.

I love dogs and cats but I knew from early adulthood that I did not want to deal with the responsibilities of pet ownership on any kind of long term basis. We’ll talk about guinea pig and some of the others some other day.

The aminals in the pic are a small part of the Landfill Menagerie. Mousie’s shadow there indicates that Mr. Golden Sun was out in full force today and he is heading north. We did not do anything much except read today. River ride in the late afternoon. It was all okay. I needed a slow day like today.

Not enamored of today’s weather

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

It’s February and this is Michigan and I’m not sure why I am so p*ssed off at Mother Nature and Old Man Winter today. It wasn’t really all that cold today. It started out somewhere above freezing but last I looked, we were down to 25. Old Man Winter spat little snowballs at us all day but not enough to stick anywhere, so no icy roads or sidewalks or whatever. At least not here. Ask someone in the yooperland or the northern lower and you will probably get a different answer. But it was a penetrating cold and there was a dad-blasted wind and when we walked downtown for lunch today, I felt like I was being blown away crossing a couple of streets where the Planet Ann Arbor has (against all good advice) allowed big 14-story buildings to be built. Wind tunnel anyone? Jeebus!

As much as we love Saturday lunch at the Griz, we mixed it up today and went to the Blue Tractor instead. I have been to the Blue Tractor a few times now and today is the first time I noticed the actual Blue Tractor. I think the GG and his sibs had that tractor when they were kids but it was red and there was something about spark plugs that I didn’t understand.

Anyway, I was not enamored of the weather and I am also trying to figure out how to ride the bus, so we took the bus home. Er, actually we took the bus to the Plum Market and did a wee bit of grokkery shopping, then walked home from there.

I did walk down to the farmers market this morning. I was ecstatic that the Goetz Farm was there with their “spicy mix” lettuce. I bought two bags of that and some teensy radishes and scallions. This vendor has a farm south of here in Riga, a beautiful little burg that we visited a few weeks ago on a Sunday road trip down into Ohio.

Fake log in the faaarplace tonight is making me feel a little bit warmer.

Five years

Friday, February 24th, 2017

It was five years ago today that I got the news that The Commander had entered a new dimension. It was a Friday, like today. I was not with her and I will forever feel guilty about that. I had spent over a month with her up in Sault Ste. Siberia. We got her settled into hospice care at the assisted living facility she never totally adjusted to (failure to thrive was her hospice diagnosis, basically, she was refusing food and meds and asking demanding to die).

Of course, once she got settled in with hospice and started feeling a bit better, she rallied a bit. I made the excruciatingly difficult choice to return to my home and job on The Planet Ann Arbor. At the time, I had no clue how long she would live. I felt like I was trapped in the Groundhog Day movie.

I will never forget the day I drove down. The temperatures were summer-like (like they were today) and I walked over to the Plum Market for some groceries and I cried the whole darn time I was in there. To this day, I do not know why, exactly, just one of those mixed-up emotional things. I have not cried at the Plum Market since that day but I am teary-eyed now as I write this. Oh, it’s okay.

I did not see The Commander again before she died. The GG went up the next weekend and got into a little mix-up with a deer on the way home (at mile marker 206) and the Frog Hopper was in the body shop for a few days and then it was all over. I was working from home that day. I can’t remember why but I think it was snowing. The GG was taking a nap and I kind of stared him awake with the news.

We didn’t drive up that day. The weather was terrible and what would be the point? So we walked down for dinner at the Oscar Tango and saddled up for the journey the next morning.

Five years later, we have had a spiky kind of winter with a February spate of summer-like temperatures. A huge thunderstorm rolled through town today. The GG and Chicks (our OT server) both happened to be taking naps during the storm. I was at work and all I can say is that the storm disrupted work for about an hour. The Tall Boss finally told all of us to go home early and The Benevolent Despot skedaddled pretty much around the same time.

I’m sure The Comm cannot order our weather from over there on the other side but I like to fantasize that she hurled a few lightning bolts at me today! Love you Moom. Five years.

I ain’t no boy scout and I ain’t gonna dress like one

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

I got home today to a barrage of questions. You have that red plaid skirt, right? [Actually I have two.] And that red plaid jacket. [The one I was wearing today.] And you can sew, right? [Affirmative although I am on a BIGTIME hiatus.] So you can sew a North Country Trail patch onto your red plaid skirt(s)/jacket?

What the heck? Well, we are gearing up for one of my fave events, the Quiet Water(s?) Symposium, which happens next weekend over at the MooU Pavilion. And the GG seems to be thinking I need to dress up like a poster girl for the Red Plaid Nation. NOT SO FAST! I am not what you would call a Fashion Plate but I do have my standards.

1) I *will* be wearing *one* of my red plaid skirts. It’ll be the biz-caz one that is tailored and lined.

2) Everything else I will be wearing will be black. Except for my red shoes.

3) I will *not* be sewing any kind of patch onto my red plaid skirt or any other article of clothing, even temporarily.

4) I will *not* be wearing my red plaid jacket with my red plaid skirt. Why? Well, duh, because the plaids are totally different. Corollary: I would *never* buy a matching red plaid skirt and jacket. I wear my red plaid articles of clothing one at a time with black basics. Black is my best friend.

5) I will *never* wear a Stormy Kromer hat but that wasn’t one of the questions.

I am not the most extroverted “booth babe” you’ve ever encountered. I don’t stand there and stick my face out and say, “Hi, would you like to know about the North Country Trail?” But I love the trail and the friends I have made since we’ve been involved with it and I love to talk to the people who stop at our table if/when they have questions. So, if you want to come and visit us at the QWS, I’ll be the gal in black with the red plaid skirt.

All aboooooard!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

I keep overhearing people ask W1.5 what he’s going to do when he retires, which is next week. I know that it’s a fair question but I feel for him because, as he keeps saying, he doesn’t have a specific plan. I know about this, at least vicariously, through the GG’s “retirement”, which has been going on for about 10 months now.

Today I suggested an activity that W1.5 could do in his retirement. My tongue was firmly in cheek because I *know* W1.5 is not going to do this thing. So… First, you drive down to the train station (Amtrak goes through here). You take the train over to Battle Creek (look it up on Google). You walk from Battle Creek to Augusta. (I’m kind of afraid to ask how many miles that is.) You eat lunch somewhere and you walk back to Battle Creek. You take the train back to the Planet Ann Arbor. (Hopefully you won’t fall asleep on the train and miss your stop.) No, W1.5 will not be doing that. We both knew that. And we gnoffed about it.

When my old coot retired back in about 1980, The Commander was still working (as a high school teacher), and I remember her telling me that he was walking at least 10 miles a day. He had a buddy to walk/ski with in those days. Alas, that man died way earlier than my old coot did. I have not “married my dad” but I seem to have married a guy who likes to hike and drive around on the back roads just about anywhere. Like my dad did. So there are some similarities.

And so this morning, this vee-hickle was parked in a weird way outside my house. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first. I took my walk and the vee-hickle was still there and then I noticed that the taaaaars were kinda backed up against the curb. I think this vee-hickle rolled during the night.

And so now I am kinda wanting to take a train trip. But where? Maybe Chicago. We’ll see…

Followups and a cautionary tale

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

This is an “old” pic (8 days ago) that I just needed to post (plus I didn’t have any good pics from today). We were in the Yooperland on M123 between M28 (Eckerman) and Trout Lake heading back down south after a weekend at Tahquamenon.

So followups? Yes, that is an “I’m with her” thingy on my fridge the other day. I *was* with her, meaning Hillary. Was she the best choice for democratic candidate? Maybe not. Did I vote for her because she was a woman? No I did not! I am *not* wallowing in the loss of my preferred candidate although I continue to be horrified by our elected president (again, if you voted for him, I love you anyway, I just don’t understand). Instead, I have broadened the meaning of “her” to include entities like Lady Liberty and Mother Nature and The Commander and Radical Betty and every other badass woman I have ever known, in person or from afar, real or symbolic.

A cautionary tale? First, a disclaimer. I *love* to communicate with people via text or facebook direct message. That means people that I know, like friends and family members asking if I’m on for Thursday coffee or giving me news about what’s going on in the Great White North or wherever. Occasionally, when I make a new facebook friend, we may have a short convo about how/what we’re doing now. That’s okay too.

I had a weird experience last fall when a facebook friend I knew billions of years ago direct messaged me via facebook with a message that disturbed me a bit. I won’t say who it was or what the message said (you wouldn’t know the person anyway). Just that I was sitting in the Grizzly Peak on a beautiful Saturday afternoon having lunch and beer/whine with my husband of more years than I am strong enough to count and then… I got a facebook message from this person. It was benign so I replied to it with something benign. And then I got another one. It wasn’t quite NSFW but it wasn’t appropriate. I. Did. Not. Reply. To. It.

I have not unfriended or even “blocked” this person in any way. I don’t do that kind of thing. It reminds me of junior high behavior. I just don’t engage with the person any more. In the last couple weeks, I have received two *more* direct messages from this person. Both of them are links to the same cute aminal video. I do not watch cute aminal videos. I did not watch this one. I did not respond to those messages. I can’t figure out if the person even knows that they have sent me the video. Did the person unknowingly send the cute aminal video to every single facebook contact or was it just to me? And why did I receive it twice? I do not know.

The thing is that I suddenly realized that I have absolutely no obligation to answer a random facebook message from someone I haven’t seen in 40 years and don’t know very well. Friends and family? Message me any time you want!

P.S. For reasons that won’t disclose, I am NOT afraid of this person. The person poses no threat to me in any way shape or form. It is someone who seems lonely (and maybe ill) and does not know how to appropriately reach out to people. Better to reach out to family or friends than a person from 40 years ago that you never had a relationship with in the first place me.

Watching garlic toasts like a HAWK so I don’t CHAR the HECK out of them like I did last night. Sheesh.

Monday, February 20th, 2017

So we had a couple of very warm sunny days over the weekend and here is a fort in the woods. I would like to think that children made this little fort but not sure if was kids or parents or kids and parents or what. It doesn’t matter. I just love to see it.

When I was a young hooligan spending my summers on the moominbeach, one of the things us kids did was make forts in the woods. Also on the beach. The forts we built on the beach were made in a kind of log cabin style out of pulp logs that got loose from the big paper mill log booms upstream from us and washed up on our beach. Forts weren’t the only thing that got built on the beach. Throughout my childhood, The Comm and Radical Betty and Bubs and whoever built tables and things out of pulp logs and driftwood. Places to eat lunch or serve cocktails or where my dog Tigger could get a wee bit of shade on a hot day when she was older.

And then there were the little nooks and crannies we made forts out of in the woods surrounding our cabins. The old stack of logs outside the Old Cabin that we would play “train” on and once sat there for most of an afternoon waiting for my new puppy Tigger to arrive. The puppy I was terrified of until I saw her asleep. She cured my fear of dogs forever.

And there was the cluster of cedar trees down by the pond, and the triangle of old dead trees in front of my parents’ cabin and the old dog run behind the Mullin cabin, where Doc Read used to let his dogs run back when my old coot was young. And more but I can’t remember them all. I’m sure there are still good fort building spots in the woods but they aren’t the same ones we once had.

Lazy Sunday

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

After my walk and a simple moomincabin-style KW & GG brek, I was sitting in my usual spot on the green couch and I looked at the sky and WOW!

A little while later, npJane texted me to say that the cloud patterns reminded her of the sand ridges under the water at the moominbeach. Yes.

Yesterday was a pretty huge work day for me even though it was only routine chores. Today I just couldn’t get it going. We took an hour’s drive out along the river and into the county and I did a couple of runs for provisions of various sorts and then I just kind of hung out until Lizard Breath came over. And then we still hung out, soaking up as much sun as we could possibly handle, knowing that Old Man Winter is nowhere near finished with us yet.

We celebrated the sun with a wee ‘hattan and here is yer fav-o-rite blahgger reaching into her fridge for some ice, etc.

I’m wearing my preferred after-work-down-home outfit. Tie-dyed t-shirt, polar-tech vest, and long tiered skirt. You can’t see my smartwool socks and you’ll have to guess whether/what I’m wearing under that stuff

I hope it’s okay if I am lazy sometimes. I sure was today. I think I needed it.

Love, KW

And the skies were not cloudy all day

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

I got this photo when I began my walk down to the farmers market this morning. The farmers market doesn’t open until 8 AM in the winter months so I was walking down as the sun was coming up.

After *many* chores this morning, we walked down to the Griz and it was something like 65 degrees when we walked through West Park (in FEBRUARY!!!) so there was still ice on the pond but I bet it won’t be there tomorrow.

At the end of the day, I sat outside on the sunny side of the house and watched the sun go down. The setting sun was so brilliant, I had to dredge out my summer beach hat to be able to sit out there and read.

I finished a book tonight. I’m kind of sporadically getting back into reading. I was reading The Time Traveler’s Wife last weekend and I could not put it down. I loved that book. I can’t exactly say why. I loved the characters and it was just weird enough overall to appeal to my wild sci-fi side. I finished that book earlier this week. The book I finished tonight was Olive Kitteridge. Oh man. I hated just about every single character in the book. I *got* that it was basically a series of short stories with Olive as a major or minor character. I did not like her. I did not like most of the other characters. I still could not put the book down. And then, when I got to page 634 (on my iPhone), I totally changed my mind. At least about Olive. I did not like her all that much better but, well, I dunno. I guess I’m still thinking about it… Which means it was probably a good book (it did win a Pulitzer…)

Yes, that artifact is a diaper

Friday, February 17th, 2017

It belongs to our newest great-niece, who joined us at the Oscar Tango tonight along with her moom and grandparents, aka The Uncly Uncle and The Beautiful Gay. I cannot count (at the moment, anyway) how many great-nieces and nephews we have nowadays throughout all of the branches of the Cfam. There are five in this branch.

Anyway, this newest little gal (a little over 4 months) had a very long day beginning with an airplane ride and then a visit with a small cousin here on the Planet Ann Arbor and she was pretty darn dead taaaaarrred by the time her folks dragged her over to the Oscar Tango to meet up with us and our friends of porterization. And she needed a diaper change, which happened very discretely in grandma’s lap. I stayed back a bit, both because I do not ever try to force myself upon aminals or small children, better to let them come to me, but also because I have been fighting light cold symptoms all day and did not want to pass them on.

Home via our own personal uber of porterization. We had planned to walk but with all the extra fun, it was a wee bit later than usual when we left the OT. Farmer’s market in the morning for lettuce and other winter veggies and a couple bags of badass woman coffee, something like that anyway.

G’night! KW! (Typos be damned!)

Who have you misled anyone lately?

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Lemme see… misle, misled, have/has misled and we’ll throw in the “ing” version just for good measure. Misling. Boy oh boy has it been a long time since I have conjugated a verb. I am channeling Mrs. Loye and Mrs. Pratt big-time right now, including a bra/hanky incident that I was told about by my generation’s version of “my posse don’t do homework” boyz but prob’ly isn’t true.

But wait! What word are we talking about here? Let’s start with the past tense. In this alternative language, the first syllable is “mi”. It is accented and the “i” is the long version of the vowel. The second syllable is “zeld”. The e is actually a schwa (remember those?) and I thought there would be an ASCII version of that character but some quick searching didn’t turn one up. So, clear as mud? In this alternative language, “misled” is the past tense of “misle” (and if you learned phonics like I did with Miss Cox and Mrs. Bishop, you would know that *usually* means a long i sound and a z sound to the s).

Back in the Jurassic Age, The Commander was reading a news article out loud to Grandroobly. Why I do not know because he could certainly read. It was about polly-tishuns though and the word “misled” was used a bunch of times and every time The Comm read “misled” out loud she pronounced it with a long i and a z and a schwa. Like the past tense of “misle” would probably be pronounced if “misle” were a real word.

Somehow or other they both understood the article even with the mispronounced word. Eventually they discovered their error but, being my parents, instead of being embarrassed about it, they went on to invent a whole new conjugation for the non-existent word “misle”, and we were all misling each other left and right for a while there, laughing uproariously every time.

So. Almost every article I read about Mike Flynn’s “resignation” and his “misling” of Vice President Pence on Tuesday (was it Tuesday?) contained multiple instances of the word “misled”. You might guess how I heard the pronunciation of that word in my head every time I read it. I guess if we can have alternative facts, we can also have alternative words. Anyway, these moments are the times that I miss my folks and we’ll talk about the “droven ins” some other day 🐸

Tahq is the new Mouse

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

When I say Mouse, I mean Disney World of course. I have been to Disney World ONCE! I know what that is like. I doubt that Tahquamenon Falls will ever get to that point but boy oh boy the place has been hopping the last few years. Our lovely DNR friends scheduled a lantern-lit snowshoe hike last Saturday night and the place was so packed that people were parking out on the M123 highway. Our DNR friends outfitted uncountable numbers of people with snowshoes including an extended family from Malaysia (overheard from one DNR gal to another: “I just put child-size snowshoes on the grandma.” I saw mini-gram heading out and yes, she was child-sized. Who knows what her history is…). Everyone seemed to be having a good time but our friends were exhausted when they stopped by our (DNR) rental lodge later on after it was all over. We had fun with them but we could tell that they needed more help to handle the numbers of people that showed up. Of course, the temperatures were in the upper 20s. Two years ago they were 20 below zero.

I am very happy to see people from all over the world head up to Tahq. I hope that the area infrastructure can handle the influx. Lantern light snowshoe trail notwithstanding, there are far more snowmobilers up in the Tahq/Paradise area than snowshoers and they are probably (still) the folks that create the most winter tourism. So here are some snowmobile pics.

We are driving up on M123 here and snowmobiles are on the side of the road.

This is nowhere anywhere near as scary as it looks. Everyone is going slow and being careful.

We stopped to get gas, etc., and almost every other vee-hickle in the lot was a snowmobile. I have to say that the store attached to this gas station has a fantastic inventory where you can get things like little knit glubs in September if you need them.

And here we are at the Upper Falls, where umpteen bazillion people have parked their snowmobiles to get lunch at the brewery.