Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Labels are important

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

When I was in high school, I learned definitions for terms like “communism”, “socialism”, “democracy”, “republic”, “monarchy”, “dictatorship”, and others. I also learned all about the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) and how that division kept our government’s balance of power.

Nowadays… I could probably remember how to solve a quadratic equation if my life depended on it. I definitely know how to structure almost any kind of writing assignment and that’s largely how I make my living (don’t refer to this blahg as a shining example of my writing).

I do not remember a lot of the civics/government lessons of my youth. I so wish I did. I wonder how many folks my age remember their civics/government classes. Some of them prob’ly do but they also may not remember how to solve quadratic equations.

What does communism (or whatever system you want to talk about) mean and how does one decide that this or that American politician is a communist (or whatever)?

I do NOT like the Orange Baboon, not one blasted little bit. I really don’t like the kind of person he has always shown himself to be and I think he is a terrible president but I will not label him as, say, a racist (among other things). Whether or not Trump is racist, I am not sure that labeling him as such is going to help those of us who cannot stand him to get rid of him.

Please, please, please, everyone. When you click over to news articles on facebook, please do not share them without reading them and thinking about them and the language they include.

Oh, and this is April in the Great White North. This pic is from the GG up in Gaylord. I am home on The Planet where there is no snow.

Love y’all, KW!

Note to self…

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

…Read the LABEL the next time you buy garbage bags, especially if you are buying them for the chitchen. Last time I bought “tall kitchen garbage bags”, I either totally spaced out the presence of the word “Febreze” on the box or had my eye on some regular unscented garbage bags and grabbed the wrong box. It turns out I HATE the smell of Febreze! Now I am working my way through 40(!) Febreze scented bags. The smell doesn’t really bother me much until I get enough garbage in the bag that something starts to stink. To my nose, the interaction of Febreze with, say, chicken bones, makes it WORSE. Wanna mask a bad smell? Douse it with a chemical scent! (Not!)

Hmm… I finally figured out that Febreze garbage bags are probably what the GG has been smelling the last few weeks… He keeps asking “do you smell something?” He asks me because I [normally] have a Super Nose.

We’ll interrupt this terribly important blahg entry for a Twitter play.

Setting: The Landfill Chitchen (the OLD FUGLY one):
College Age Beach Urchin: Moom, what is that smell in the refrigerator?
KW [without looking in the refrigerator]: Old dead broccoli.

Febreze is not a smell I have encountered before.

The Commander used to tell a story about how they took me to a pig farm when I was a young toddler and apparently I did something very funny with my nose (I can’t remember how she described it). Well, wouldn’t you react negatively to pig farm odors if you hadn’t been to a pig farm before. Why were we at a pig farm? I do not know! I think “we” knew the farmer somehow but I don’t EVER remember my family EVER going to a pig farm again.

For the record, I usually freeze chicken bones and other food-based garbage items until trash/recycle/compost pickup day. Which requires a ziplock bag… I am trying to reduce my use of throwaway plastic bags of all sorts… But that might be an entry for another day except to say I *am* using far fewer ziplocks than I was even last summer.

And no (since I have once again been asked the question), I will not vote for Trump EVER, even if his opponent is labeled as a “Communist”. MAGA MAGA MAGA Dump Dump Trump! (To be clear, by not re-electing him, not by impeachment.) Why do I feel a need to hold my nose right now? 🐽🐽🐽

Paperorplastic paperorplastic paperorplastic

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Years ago when the beach urchins were small and I schlepped them over to the Westgate Kroger to do the grocery shopping, there was a guy working as a bagger over there who seemed to have Tourette’s Syndrome or something. One day, in addition to his typical tics, he must’ve asked me 20 times “Paper or plastic?”. Over and over and over again. I looked at Elsie, the Uber Cashier who was somehow related to The Burkes (who lived next door to us then). I whispered, “Is he stuck?” She just rolled her eyes.

No that wasn’t “nice” of me but I don’t think the beach urchins were old enough to “get my drift” (but ya nevah know) and I knew Elsie would. Tourette’s or not, I think this man had multiple issues going on and I am glad Kroger was willing to employ a harmless if rather difficult person. Since the Plum Market moved in I don’t shop at Kroger much any more. I kind of think that both Elsie and the paperorplastic guy have died…

I do my best to take my own bags to the grocery store. Backpack, Chico bags, and others. I have been doing that for years. I hate when I get to a big grocery store and don’t have my own bags and the cashier bags umpteen gazillion items two to a plastic bag. I can use a certain number of plastic grocery bags to line small wastebaskets but I would rather not take plastic grocery bags home at all… Especially not to the moomincabin…

…but I do not have a dog… NPR posted an interesting article about the issues surrounding plastic grocery bags. The gist (one of the gists) is that if plastic bags are banned at the checkout, people who typically re-use those bags buy small plastic *garbage bags* (in boxes) to pick up Rover’s poop and line their smaller wastebaskets. And then there’s the whole thing about if we use paper grocery bags, we are cutting down trees to make them. But then what do we do about the giant bag fields in Kenya or the garbage patches in our oceans?

I do not have an answer. The pic is my own mound of outerwear for the various temperatures we endure around here in the winter. None of it will be garbage for a loooong time. It is on an ugly green armchair in our front living room and consists of three jackets, a LOVERLY pair of Smartwool leggings, a long wool skirt, I dunno how many scarves, three balaclavas, a bomber hat, my cute red hat, my purple skiband, and glubs. When I am suiting up in the dark in the winter, I have to use my iPhone flashlight to find my purple skiband because everything looks black, even with the LED twinkle lights that keep The Landfill at a twilight zone level of light throughout our long winter nights. Yes of course I could turn on a *regular light* but that would take all the fun out of it.

The obligatory annual crocus pic

Monday, April 8th, 2019

I took the pic a few days ago. Today was the first day in I can’t think how long that I did not have to suit up to walk and then head over to work. I put on a tank top (and skirt and tights) with a lightweight red plaid jacket on and waltzed out to the Ninja without any kind of hat or glubs. 57 degrees! This afternoon, I am in the Landfill backyard wearing a tie-dyed tshirt and polarfleece vest (and maxi skirt) watching mourning doves do nesting-type activities. In an old bluejay nest. We are not finished with Old Man Winter yet but I’ll take what I can get.

So now I am reading Middlesex. I am enjoying it although there is some squickiness and I’m not sure it would be everyone’s cup of tea, especially not “stodgy” old “church-going” people but I read a lot of stuff like that. A long time ago before ebooks, I read The Virgin Suicides by the same author. Again I enjoyed it (except for some squickiness). They are both set (largely) in the Detroit area, which makes them especially interesting. How many popular novels are set in Detroit or even Michigan? Not very many.

I actually started reading Middlesex a loooooong time ago, again, back when I didn’t read on my iPhone. I’m not sure what happened that I didn’t finish it. It went missing, probably via a beach urchin biblioklept. Then… A few years later, we were at The Commander’s house. I mean “Grandma’s Other House, the Real House, Where She Lives Some of the Days” aka her house on Dillon Street, not the moomincabin. The book Middlesex somehow surfaced (I can’t remember how) but tucked in between the pages of the book was my Sunday School Kindergarten Graduation certificate. I do not know how it got there and didn’t even really remember the certificate or whatever it was. It seems like an odd book to bookmark with someone’s Sunday School Graduation certificate given the subject matter of the book. Wheeeeee!

For whatever reason, I didn’t continue the book even then but now I am. This is my fourth book since the ivory carver trilogy and I am up to something like 23 or 24 books out of my Goodreads challenge for the year, which is 52 books.


Chainsaw guy

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Relatively quiet Sunday on the Planet Ann Arbor. We headed down to Swan Corners mid morning, about the time Sunday Morning Jazz starts on the EMU NPR station. I love Sunday Morning Jazz. It is usually old old old jazz. I do not know all that much about jazz but I like certain types of music running along in the background of my life and I love old jazz on Sunday morning.

We eventually found a pair of swans at Swan Corners today. They were digging down into the water dredging up nesting material. I didn’t even try to take a picture. I knew my iPhone wouldn’t do the situation justice. In fact, I didn’t take any photos throughout our little jaunt through the back roads, purring along in the Ninja. There was plenty of beauty in the bare bones of the trees in this early spring season but it isn’t all that easy to photograph. Instead, it was an audio trip! Every time we encountered the least little bit of water, we heard a chorus of amphibians. I can’t count how many times we stopped to roll down the windows and turn off the radio to listen.

Later at the Landfill, our Mouse came over for dinner and laundry. We had a wee bit of chainsaw business back behind our backyard. A tree fell over onto our crappy old tin shed last summer and the GG has a permit in place to build a new shed. He asked our Mouse to hand the chainsaw over the fence to him so he could rip up parts of the fallen tree and here he is doing the deed in his chainsaw chaps.

Why hand the chainsaw over the fence to him? Well, because getting into the woods requires walking down the block and around the corner to the entrance. As Mouse said, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea for him to be walking around the neighborhood carrying a chainsaw… I agree but I can’t help remembering that before we bought the Landfill more years ago than I am strong enough to count, he walked around the neighborhood checking out the (then) neighbors with a small pair of binoculars. Who lived here? Could they pay their rent? After all these years I would say yes, mostly at least. It is a wonderful neighborhood to live and raise children in.

Farmers market pasty intrigue

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

Of course I bought lettuce from our Blissfield friends. I bought potatoes and onions and Emergency Swordfish Scallopini, and a whole chicken and some tenderloin for tonight’s stroganoff.

I wanted to buy some stuffed cabbage but I could not find the Polish folks. I did find pasties. It wasn’t Uncle Peter’s pasties. It was a woman from Copper Harbor who was using her great-grandmother’s recipe from Cornwall, in England.

Of course I had to ask if she had driven down from Copper Harbor to do the A2 farmers market. Of course not. She lives in Plymouth now. Okay. What happened to Uncle Peter’s pasties? I didn’t ask that point blank but I mentioned Uncle Peter. Oh myyyy. He is not doing that business any more. I won’t say anything else about that although I got a few unasked for details about it (a divorce…). Today’s pasty woman said, “Wait until you taste *my* pasties.” And they do look good.

The GG left a sorta battered Protective Fish with its creator Victoria so she can refurbish it and I eventually caught up with him watching a couple of Little Brown Birds trying to kill each other. I tried to watch this for a while but eventually I couldn’t watch any more and so retreated to the Ninja to work on the xword.

The Witch of the Great White North

Friday, April 5th, 2019

The freaky expression is mostly because I don’t really have any expertise at taking selfies. I can’t quiiiite figger out how to get the eyes right somehow… Not really looking for help here, just ‘splainin’.

The GG somehow likes my hair like this. I think it looks scraggly as all getout. I grew up wanting long hair but The Commander kept getting me what she called “pixie” cuts. Moom, I am NOT a pixie. I thought long hair would make me a beautiful girl. Except that I was also kind of what we used to call a “tom boy” in those days. I mean I could beat most of the boys in our south side Sault Ste. Siberia neighborhood in running and jumping and other street games and prided myself on that. So not sure how all of that fits together.

Alas, junior high came along and I stopped playing in the streets because it wasn’t “cool” any more. I walked downtown to the junior high carrying my clipboard and books in my left arm, flute in right hand. I grew my blonde hair long and did my best to follow the latest fashions. This was helped by trips to visit my Detroit grandparents where The Comm and I shopped at the downtown Hudson’s store where she worked before she was married but I also sewed a lot of stuff myself. (Don’t get me wrong, none of this made me “cool”.)

So just before I got up at 0-skunk-30 this morning, the GG muttered “Timothy Leary” in his sleep. I’m not sure what that dream was all about but tonight he streamed the Moody Blues song a while back and has segued from there through may tunes from the 60s to Sky Pilot. YouTube has a ton of Viet Nam helicopter footage set to 60s rock if you ever have some idle time to fill and a few tears to cry.

Viet Nam was scary as hell when I was a teenager. Nobody wanted to go over there. My second boyfriend in high school was old enough to get sent to war but he was in college so he had a deferment and then got a high draft number so he never had to serve. The GG squeaked by because the war ended before he graduated from high school. I fergit what his draft number was but I didn’t know him until quite a few years later so it wasn’t important by that time.

I am off on too many tangents and I cry when I hear songs like Sky Pilot so I will quit for the night.

Bankin’ biz

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Meet Trunky! She is in the bankin’ biz. She belongs to a beach urchin and the GG dredged her out and filled her up and fixed her ears? Maybe? Back in the day, the beach urchin would fill Trunky up with coins and then hit me up for cash to exchange for Trunky’s coins.

I would then get the job of rolling the coins and taking them over to deposit at the Maple Village bank branch. That was okay. Back in those days I spent a lot of my time counting cash and coins for various non-profit orgs and taking it all over to the bank to deposit. The bank branch I used then has since closed and I wonder if Eleanor the teller is still around the neighborhood. I was on a first-name basis with her. She may occasionally wonder about me too. After I got out of the non-profit treasurer biz, I rarely had to do anything *inside* the bank. Almost everything I ever need to do can be accomplished online nowadays. Oh, once I went inside to get a cashier’s check from her. To buy a new vee-hickle! It was a fugly, snowy day and she and I commiserated about what an awful day it was to buy a new car, one that the Honda dealer had to dig out of a snowbank (it was a stick shift and nobody else wanted it).

Did I ever exchange Trunky’s coins for non-profit treasury cash? Yes, probably, if it was handy and I didn’t have any personal paper cash. I usually counted and removed treasury money out of the Landfill PDQ. I always made a fair trade though and Trunky never came out even one penny ahead. I was more interested in bookkeeping and counting money than embezzling or even commingling funds. I am much more interested in the DATA involved than trying to abscond with a few twenties (or more).

If you are one of my few regulars, you’ve heard this before but it never fails to amaze me that I, a banker’s daughter (and granddaughter), a college MUSIC MAJOR, ended up in the on-line banking biz, even though I don’t work at a bank or deal with money. LOL!

PS. Don’t look at the shirt…🐽

Toilet Tornado

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Who created this piece of art? I do not know. The GG has been on the move this week, dredging through old files and paperwork and I’m not sure where he found this artifact but he presented it to me along with a notecard that included a control file from my childhood job at That Darn EPA and a bunch of camping-type receipts and other ephemera from our honeymoon trip through Cananananada to the beautiful maritime provinces. I do not want to keep all of it but I haven’t sorted through it yet. I didn’t even know we still had all of that stuff.

So my first thought was that one of the beach urchins created this after our encounter with the Toilet Tornado. But I dunno. For one thing, this is a watercolor and I’m not sure the beach urchins had mastered this kind of skill, at least not around the time we were hit by the Toilet Tornado. Also, this pic is on water and there are boats. We ran into the Toilet Tornado in our loverly Island Teal minivan, the POC, on the freeway.

I do not know who painted this beautiful pic but I will (again) tell the story of our encounter with a tornado on the northbound I75 SUV Speedway, July 4th weekend of 1997. We were headed north for a long weekend at Houghton Lake and the moominbeach. There were weather warnings. We got just north of Flint (yes, *that* Flint) when things got fugly. The sky was black as all getout and the radio was blaring tornado warnings and faaaar engines were sitting on top of highway bridges, waiting at the ready.

I was driving and there was a rest area and the GG said to pull in. I was freaked out, so I did. I saw a guy walking around with a coffee cup. How can he be so nonchalant? I was ready to go hide underneath a crappy old rest area toilet. The GG told me to drive OUT of the rest area. I was not happy about this but we got onto the freeway entrance ramp and he said, “Stop here.” The tornado rolled through at that point. It rocked the POC a bit but that was about it. A highway sign near us broke off and I will never forget seeing a young woman running, crying, out of her overturned car on the freeway.

Mouse was behind me during all of this and I reached back and grabbed her hand at the beginning of it. I could see Liz back in the 3rd minivan seat and I wanted to reach her but I couldn’t. For miles after that we drove slowly through blinding sheets of heavy rain and eventually my mouse let go of my hand.

When we reached Hoton Lake that night we called home and left a message on the answering musheen (remember those?) to check on all of the stuffed aminals and let them know things were okay.

“Gogol was Goggle-eyed!”

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

So, when was it that I finished reading the ivory carver trilogy? I wrote about starting this trilogy a while back (when the moon was full) and I absolutely devoured it in full-tilt Outlander style. I remember wondering what to read after my Martian binge (“The Martian” and then Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles”, which I read as a teenager and apparently remembered *nothing* of).

I started in on the first book in the ivory carver series (“Mother Earth, Father Sky”) because… 1) it is on the bookshelves at the moomincabin. 2) I knew that an eastern yooperland woman wrote it (which is probably why it’s at the moomincabin) and I very recently learned that she is the s-i-l of a North Country Trail friend. Mars to prehistoric Alaska? Somehow it worked for me. Kayaking (ikyaking) around to various beach communities is kinda right up my alley although my kayaking is just for fun and not a skill I need for survival.

I am a wee bit surprised that when I google the ivory carver trilogy, the info about it that shows up on the sidebar labels it a young adult series. As it turns out, when one of the beach urchins was about 13, she read the first book while we were at the moomincabin for a few weeks. She recently told me that she was a little surprised that she was “allowed” to read it then. When I finally read it, I understood why. Although it is not exactly what The Commander used to call a “potboiler”, there was sex and violence aplenty. Not to mention slavery.

Not sure if I can put my feelings about this into coherent words right now but… YA lit has evolved quite a bit since the Jurassic Age and I know that difficult topics are often included. This is apropos because a lot of teenagers experience sex and violence aplenty. And slavery.

I loved reading books to my children from the get-go and I did not shy away from children’s books that some people might think were a little iffy, like Gorky Rises. It’s kind of an LSD trip of a book – Frog mixes a magic potion that makes him float up into the air – but I chose to read it to my young children as a fantastic adventure. I certainly never prohibited my children from reading whatever book they wanted to read as children and nowadays I snag a lot of my books from their Goodreads posts.

Knowing this beach urchin, I am pretty sure she could handle the ivory carver trilogy at that age. I know I could have.

One of the “fun” characters in the ivory carver series is a combination of the Orange Baboon and Dr. Smith of the old Lost in Space TV series.

Aaaapple Cup Apple Cup Apple Cup

Monday, April 1st, 2019

Something about the title is making me remember one of the beach urchins toddling around yelling “Yeeeeellow cup! Yellow cup! Yellow cup!” It was time for me to regain a bit more control over my body and she absolutely REFUSED to use a bottle. Perish the thought. The yellow cup worked and nowadays I’m kind of wondering where all of those old plastic sippy cups went. Probably got chewed up enough that I threw them out.

So, the Little Boots Diner is one of those places that puts out a random assortment of coffee mugs, which is always fun. A couple years ago I ended up with a Queen of Everything mug there. It would’ve been even better if it was a QOFE mug but I don’t think a QOFE mug would be appropriate at a family diner. I did once see a safe sex themed mug at a breakfast place but that was a “hip” breakfast place down in Dee-troit. Even though it did not contain a swear word, it probably wouldn’t make the cut at Little Boots.

Anyway, The Apple Cup was pretty appropriate since we bought our first Apple computer back in 1979 and haven’t looked back. We still own our original Apple II+ plus a second one that we got from somewhere. They both still work… … … We have stacks of Apple laptops and iPhones.

That said, I am a little grumpy that my current MacBook Pro is doing some weird things that I don’t have time to debug. One is that it keeps telling me (like three times each time I power it up) that there’s something wrong with iCloud and I need to sign in to fix it. 1) I only use the cloud (I think) to store my most recent 1,000 photos or whatever. 2) I have tried (a few times) to sign in to fix it and I immediately get a text message on my iPhone that someone is trying to access my account from some random city. This is not user friendly. And then there’s some weird sideways sliding when I try to change to the Photo app. I used to be able to correct this but… hmmm…

Nevertheless, I am not ready to switch to the Other Side. I have a loverly Dell laptop for work. I have gotten to be friends with Windows over the years. The thing is that I don’t own my work laptop. The Mothership owns it. If I have an issue with it, The Mothership reaches in and fixes it. And every few years, they throw a new musheen al me. I’m not sure owning a Windows musheen would be all that easy without The Mothership. Kinda like owning a GM instead of a Honda. My late brother worked for GM but became a huuuge Honda fan before he died 🧡

The main point here is that Little Boots Diner is a wonderful diner. Fast and friendly. Go there if you are ever in the Houghton Lake, Michigan area.

Home again home again bumpity clunk

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

We had breakfast at our fave Little Boots Diner this morning. We both got the Gun Slinger Quesadilla (with ham). I took a box for the final third of mine for breakfast tomorrow. The GG ate all of his.

After Little Boots, the GG was apparently reading my mind because we took our fave detour to the west of Houghton Lake, the Reedsburg Dam area and the Muskegon River Dam. A nice slow drive over a lot of frozen dirt roads. I wish I had taken a photooo of what we were driving on. Not to mention the snow drifts we had to blast through on the Long Point Road over adjacent to the bay. Mostly bone dry pavement everywhere though.

Laundry at the Group Home and then we headed south on the I75 SUV Speedway. We were pulling the Lyme Lounge so the GG was driving and I read Caucasia the whole way (good book so far).

When we got home, I had to pull the Ninja out of the driveway so the GG could back the Lyme Lounge into the driveway. Problem? The Planet Ann Arbor got dumped with a bit of snow last night and the Ninja was covered with snow. We didn’t have time to egregiously idle it and I didn’t want to scrape it. But I needed to SEE to back it out of the driveway. I used my scarf to remove some snow off the back window and, after I faaaared the Ninja up, I held my breath as I turned zee veeensheeeld vipers on. Against all odds, they were not frozen and cleared zee veeeensheeld without burning out the engine or whatever. Unfortunately, after I pulled the Ninja back into the driveway, I managed to stall it and couldn’t get it going again. I knew I had done something stooopid with the clutch and the GG went out there and immediately started it.

So we got home and I hit up the Plum Market for groceries and my fave employee (one of my faves, that is) helped me find the new (reduced) olive bar. And then my beach urchin sneaked up on me when I was in the checkout line. She gave me a sneaky hug and the [wonderful] checkout gal was like, “you’re her mother?” Yes.

Springing the Lyme Lounge into Spring, an annual ritual

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Except I did not wake up all that happy this morning 🐽 First, I woke up at that Batscope Hour after some sort of weird/bad dream. Fortunately, my dream did not feature an explosion like the GG’s weird/bad dream did. Waking up, I experienced some extreme where-am-I-ness. Oh, yeah, I am at Houghton Lake. Then. I heard a NOISE! Whut? Did we lock the door? Maybe not, as there was a possibility of late-arriving family members. Ohhhh… Yeah… It’s the ice-maker. Note to self. Turn off the ice-maker before bed tonight.

I did not notice any snow at that time. I think maybe I didn’t want to know if it was snowing. I’m not sure if I went back to sleep or not but I suspect I caught some more winks before it was getting close to wake-up time. And that’s when I noticed the snow. I let myself sleep late (7:00 AM). I did not walk. I didn’t have my Yaks with me and don’t trust my worn down Keens on potentially slippery conditions.

So I was grumpy about not being able to walk this morning. And I was grumpy because we needed to drive to Gaylord today to pull the Lyme Lounge out of mothballs in the UU’s garatchkey and I did not want to drive on slippery roads. We decided to wait until the temperatures warmed up a bit so we spent a quiet morning here at the Group Home, eating our leftover breakfasts from Sophia’s yesterday morning. I finished my booooook and I’m not sure what the GG was doing.

It snowed the whole dern morning and it seemed like the temperatures were stuck around freezing forever. Finally in the late morning, the GG alerted me that he was egregiously idling the Frog Hopper. I pre-grumped that I did not want a fast ride on slippery roads. As it turned out I didn’t have to worry. Not only were the roads not slippery (at all!), he seemed to be in the same slow back-road freeway-avoiding mode as I was. Thank you!

So we took the old highway [mostly] up to the UU’s house, snagged the Lyme Lounge and returned [mostly] via the old highway (with a stop for a light lunch at the Paddle Hard Brewery in Grayling). So all in all, a comfortable trip. I never get tired of rattling around the Great Lake State’s back roads and old highways. It is hard to get through Grayling without taking the freeway for a bit but we’ll go there some other time.

What you cannot see in the pic is that to the right of the Frog Hopper’s nose, the UU’s driveway slopes very steeply downhill. We had to navigate that driveway today and when I posted this pic on Facebook, some relatives were concerned that it might be slippery. I am here to tell you that it was not slippery at all. Only wet. One of the other things I had been [grumpily] worried about this morning was the UU’s driveway. Gaylord is located in a snow belt. They get blasted with lake effect snow all winter and vertical driveways are difficult and dangerous to clear.

I’ll tell y’all about the book [trilogy] I finished another day. I felt a serious book hangover coming on so I FORCED myself to find my next book. I have (tentatively) found one but haven’t read enough of it yet to get to know the characters. So we’ll see.

I did finally get a walk in when we got back this afternoon. I needed that!

Hoton Lake or bust!

Friday, March 29th, 2019

The GG keeps razzing me for not going north for six months. No, I have not been north for six months. A lot of complicated factors go into that. Like a vacay-eating LSD-like trip to Florida in October and the fact that I dooooo “pay the rent” so to speak. Okay, we don’t pay rent or any kind of debt and I am not the sole breadwinner and I get a lot of paid time off but still.

I took today off work. I needed that. We drove to Hoton Lake. On the way up we hung out with FlaMan in Grand Blanc. Breakfast at Sophia’s, just down the street from where my brother and his family used to live. FlaMan is a favored customer there. And then a few little shopping expotitions on the way back to FlaMan’s place. While the GG was in Kroger, I hung out in the Frog Hopper with FlaMan and became enlightened at great length about nose trimmers and, uh, boogers, and a few other things that are TMI even for this blahg. I always enjoy spending a little time with FlaMan. He has some different perspectives on life than most of the folks I know and you never quite know what he is going to talk about next.

We continued north to Hoton Lake and after a stop at Best Choice grokkeries, we landed at the Group Home and ended up (unexpectedly) spending a few hours out in the front yard basking in beautiful warm sun. Eventually we burned a fake log in the faaaar pit just because it was easy.

So, there is very little snow in the yard but ice has pushed up along the sea wall as it always does. It was so warm this afternoon and the sun so strong that we watched and listened to this ice wall erode.

Here is the GG relaxing a bit after a long morning.

And here is yer fav-o-rite blahgger madly arguing about polly-tickle stuff on social media reading a booooook. (Yes, there is a spot of whine there.)

And here is Mr. Golden Sun shining down and melting the ice off of our own Hoton Lake. The North shall rise again. But snow is predicted for tomorrow 🐽

G’night, KW

Marching along

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Since I have pretty much NOTHING today… Well, except that we just 30 seconds ago experienced a Rube Goldberg-style almost-disaster here in the back yard. All is well and I couldn’t describe it if I tried. You had to be here. But I have nothing, so I will post a few pix from Marches past. (HELP! I do not know how to pluralize March and The Google is giving me crap websites.)

So first up is March 2012. The Commander had died that February. That March was hotter than Hades. I mean really. Like sustained 90-degree temperatures for a few weeks. Flowering trees bloomed, as you can see in the photooo. That is unheard of in March. BTW, the photo is apped, that streak of light is not coming from The Commander over on the other side.

2013 was the year we had to empty out The Comm’s safe deposit box at the bank in Sault Ste. Siberia (because PNC was closing the branch). When we went to do that, the bank manager said, “I have pictures of your grandfather in the basement, do you want them?” Yes, I did. Here’s a good one of him helping some young ladies at the children’s savings window.

2014 deserves TWO pictures! Number one, this was the Polar Vortex Winter and this is what our front yard looked like that March. I had just shoveled a whole bunch of cement/snow that the plow left at the bottom of the driveway.

2014 number two: We gutted The Landfill Chitchen! Yay!

I don’t really have anything for 2015. I’m sure stuff happened but I don’t have any good pics.

2016: here’s one result of a loverly thunderstorm here at The Landfill. The storm rolled through at about 3:00 AM and the GG got up to you-know-what and while he was up doing that a spectacular lightning bolt hit a tree in the woods and exploded it. The piece of shrapnel in this pic augured itself into the ground without harming anything. Another one shattered the Frog Hopper’s roof and many others landed all over the neighborhood. I’m glad I wasn’t outside when that happened.

2017: Sigh. This is the LSCHP in all of his St. Patrick’s Day costume glory. Although we have moved on with our work and the LSCHP is thriving in a new job, I frequently find myself channeling him when I am doing design work. If you see him, give him a hug!

I didn’t find anything interesting for March 2018 and I am still living through March 2019. Tonight the back yard is warm enough to sit outside so we are soaking it up Big Time. It won’t stay this warm…

G’night, KW.

Plotting and planning

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

We are here in the Cozy Room. It’s where we eat dinner when it’s too cold to eat outside or even in the back room. Last night we watched a lot of YouTube videos by our fave Iris Dement[ed] throughout the years on the GG’s mothership.

The GG is actually plotting something here. It is a new shed for the back yard. When we bought this place back in the Jurassic Age, it came with a crappy tin shed (but not a garage). The previous owner (who put up the shed) told us that various young boys would P off the roof on their way to the elementary school behind the woods behind our house. I have never witnessed that particular kind of thing happening from our shed but I have seen some other weird stuff in the woods over the years.

At any rate, our existing shed is absolutely awful and we are going to build a new one and the GG has even talked to the city about it. Because zoning…

Well, we are now arguing about polly-tickle stuff so I am gonna bag it for the night. I am sick and taaaaared of people telling me that the Orange Baboon has a working brain. I hope our country survives his term of office, which I refuse to call a presidency.

When your [adult] children discover embarrassing artifacts from your past, what do you do?

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

You POST them on yer stoopid blahg, OF COURSE!

So over the weekend when I happened to have both beach urchins’ attention, I pulled some artifacts from The Commander out of the top shelf of a cupboard. They are planters and I will blahg about them some other day. The beach urchins (of course) found my childhood recipe box, which was adjacent to the planters. Ain’t it cute? (The Comm is correcting my language wherever she is).

I LOVE this recipe box. It isn’t exactly my “style” any more. I mean, my “style” for collecting recipes now involves a motley disconnected mish-mash of digital media: recipes I’ve typed (or scanned) into my computer, the NYT Cooking app, and The Google to randomly look up recipes on the fly. But I still have this box and have carried it around with me forever.

Back then I occasionally copied recipes onto index cards by hand and here is one of the cards the beach urchins found in my childhood recipe box. This must’ve been before I learned cursive because the recipe for Easter Puffs (not shown) is written in cursive. Cursive was a rite of passage we earned in third grade. Or was it fourth? Also I misspelled “Starlight” as “Starlite”. I was a top-notch speller from the get-go so not sure if that was an error or if I was being creative.

I can’t remember if I (aka The Commander and I) ever made the Starlight cake or not. I think I was mainly entranced by the name. It came from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I hope that posting this photo online doesn’t violate any copyright laws.

Copyright laws or not, The Commander made sure that Betty Crocker cookbooks like the one I grew up with rained on me in the last years of her life. I think she may have given her copy to one of her grandchildren (or maybe *I* did) but she managed to snag my grandma’s copy (I think) and one or two others from other relatives and I have TWO. Both of my copies are duct-taped together, which is fine with me.

Some other day I’ll post a pic of the “recipe” The Comm wrote for me for cooking bacon 🐽🐽🐽

Rip-roarin’ Monday mornin’

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Took mah walk, did mah chores, put mah face together (it takes 30 seconds tops). Drove over to Cubelandia. Hmmmm… Hardly any vee-hickles were in the parking lot. Cubelandia’s parking lot is way overbuilt for the number of people that work in the building but this was actually pretty eerie. Is it Monday? Is it a work day? Is it a holiday? Yes, yes, and no.

I went inside to find almost total darkness. A few emergency lights, that was all. And that eerie lack of white noise when the HVAC system is out. I said [in an “outside” voice], “What the heck is going on?” No answer. FZ’s vee-hickle was outside but he was not in his cube. I could hear voices in the distance but I couldn’t immediately find a human being in the flesh. Finally I spied Building Mom, who was using a low tech procedure to try to lower the temperature in a sensitive room, i.e., she was holding the door open.

I high-tailed it for home. I had meetings to run at 10 and 10:30 and I knew my laptop battery wouldn’t last that long. During the meeting(s), Nikio reported that the lights were back on so I trundled back over to work.

In other [unrelated] surreal weirdness, there was what looked like shattered glass all over the Notorious State/Ellsworth Roundabout when I went to work (the first time). Or maybe crushed ice? Except that EVERY OTHER ROAD SURFACE I encountered today was Bone Dry and the sky was brutally sunny. So. Do I drive over this? If it’s glass will it shred my taaaars? I traversed it with no issues and 20 minutes later when I drove home, it had actually dissipated quite a bit. So… Ice? I mean, did a mini-micro storm dump a bunch of ice on the NS/ER? Did an ice-hauling truck (is there a such thing?) dump a load of crushed ice? I do not know.

Shortly after I got home, the GG arrived with The Grand Poohbah and The Marquis. They had all eaten breakfast at the Fleetwood and were here to take a look around my renovated chitchen as they are planning their own renovations over/down in The Lou and undoubtedly will want to avoid any mistakes we made. I had fun interjecting comments into that conversation and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do so when it happens, I hope they post a lot of photoooos.

Finally, this is not the best pic but maybe it shows how “ugly” it gets around here a few weeks before all of these bare deciduous branches start to sprout new leaves. It may be ugly in a way but to me it is also beautiful. The turning of the seasons. Turn turn turn…

Chainsaw massacre

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. We are not near open water here on the Planet Ann Arbor so the sea or lake gods do not [usually] determine our fate or fortunes. We are more at the mercy of whatever happens on the frickin’ freeways.

So despite this beautiful sunrise, for most of the day we were under cloudy skies but warmer, so not complaining. I jumped around at grocery stores and a gas station in the morning and then we headed over to Chez Harry, chainsaws in hand, to deal with some deadfall in his wooded back yard. That is to say The GG took “our” chainsaw over and cut down the tree or whatever it was. He was wearing his chainsaw chaps and was spotted by npJane and the Marquis. npNane and the Marquis split the wood with the cFam logsplitter. I hung out inside Chez Harry with the Grand Poobah where we transferred some family photos and looked at others while Harry engineered lunch for himself and Bubs. So much fun.

Back at The Landfill I spent a bit of time sitting outside reading this afternoon. For a while it was warm and sunny enough that I went inside to get my sunhat. Alas, after I came back outside with my hat, clouds moved in and it got chilly and I eventually beat a retreat. Kiddos and friends for dinner tonight. So much fun. I love to cook food for more than two people sometimes and I got to do that today and most of it was actually eaten! Yaaaaay!

We’re with Harry!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Eventually we were with Harry but not until a whole bunch of other stuff happened. Like I went to the farmers market this morning for the first time since before xmas. I bought a whole bunch of Emergency Hangers at the meat market and a couple kinds of fish plus some Emergency Swordfish Scallopini at the fish mongers. And stuffed cabbage from the Polish folks ’cause hey I could make this stuff but it’d take me all day and you guys do it so well and you can run my plastic card through your Square thingy to boot. And some experimental sourdough olive bread. Aaaaaanddd… waaaaaay more lettuce than we can possibly eat, from the Goetz Family Farm. Red leaf, Bibb, and some sort of spring mix from their hoop houses. No e coli is lurking in that stuff but I was still washing lettuce all morning because regular old dirt of the gritty sort.

After jumping around washing lettuce and doing other chores all morning, we made a Kiwanis Run and guess what? WE GOT RID OF THE CHAIN! Yaaaaaayyyyy! The Chain was in the Landfill when we bought it. I have been wanting to get rid of The Chain forever and a few years ago it seemed to ALMOST make the cut of Things to Take to Kiwanis. But. Not. Today I was sitting in the Frog Hopper doing the xword while the GG was unloading our stuff. I heard him ask the volunteer if Kiwanis wanted our chain and I jumped out of the car yelling something like, “We’re getting rid of The Chain”? The answer was YES and the volunteer asked me if I wanted The Chain. Oh, no no no no no…. I actually wanted to take one last picture of it but the volunteer was already walking away with the basket it was in.

From there we went to the Griz for lunch and then home and and and… I sat outside in the sun this afternoon for the first time since I don’t remember which month. The temperature was in the 40s but I was bundled up with a balaclava and the whole works. I was warm and it felt sooo gooooood.

And then… We headed over to Paesano’s for dinner to celebrate my aunt Bubs’s birthday with her and Harry and a couple of her children. It ends with a zero but I won’t tell you the other number. I’m just glad we were able to help celebrate. If we lived on that side of town, Paesano’s might be our quick let’s eat out restaurant but we don’t live over there so ours is Knight’s. Paesano’s is loverly though and I had duck something or other. And then we retired to Chez Harry for a bit of pudding dessert and a mead nightcap. And then Harry did his usual post-8PM thing (dozing off on the couch) and I was envious of that so I nudged the GG and we trundled home.

And so good night and I hope The Chain finds a good home. I am only sorry it didn’t find one many years ago.