Archive for August, 2006

“C’mon Soo! Buckle Down!”

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I was in 6th grade and it was my first football game ever. The Sault High Blue Devils were on the field, and I was totally amazed to hear Grandroobly yelling something like that, at the top of his lungs, no less. My grandfather (Grandroobly’s dad) was also with us. My cousin Mac was on the team, which was probably why we were there. I don’t remember Grandroobly going to many football games. The bank was open on Friday nights and that meant he had to work.

It was all very exciting. I mean, I don’t remember doodly-squat about who the other team was or who won and I sure didn’t understand the game. But it was a night game under those big lights and everybody was yelling and screaming and jumping up and down, all of which I *loved* to do, and they probably bought me popcorn or whatever and maybe even root beer at the A & W afterward.

I have occasionally disparaged football players here on this blahg, calling them neanderthals and whatnot. But my feelings are really a bit more complicated than that. I do think that young athletes, particularly in popular spectator sports like football, are often made into heroes before they have the maturity to handle the responsibilities that go along with stardom. In the worst cases, some of these kids get to thinking they are above the law, sometimes encouraged by coaches who have lost sight of the ball, so to speak. Too often the local newspaper headlines read “Football Players Caught Stealing Beer from 7-11” or “Star Quarterback Crashes Brand New Cadillac Escalade: Driving on Suspended License” or “Coach Hosts Party for Team, Alcohol Served” or (ugh) “Girl Alleges Gang Rape by Football Players.”

I also know that the athletes that make headlines like this are a small minority. Not all football players are inherently evil or even stupid. If my cousin and his friends ever made the newspaper, it was for helping the team win a game. Most coaches are not corrupt. And to be fair, I have met a few pretty sketchy music directors in my day, so this stuff is not limited to the world of athletics. But football is a high profile activity and I think that the participants should be just as carefully coached to be good citizens and compassionate, fallible human beings as they are in the fine points of the gridiron.

The real reason I don’t go to football games is that I’m simply not that interested. I still don’t understand the rules very well. I don’t care enough to learn. I’m not a very good spectator in general. Sitting around watching something for hours on end is not my bag. Concerts and plays fall into the same category. If I have to be at such an event, I much more enjoy the excitement and activity that goes on behind the scenes — a backstage kind of gal who likes to help keep things running smoothly. I still like to yell and scream and jump up and down but I need to have a better reason than because it’s what everybody else is doing.

It’s football season again. If you like football, go and have a great time! Yell and scream and jump up and down for me! I will be following the U of M schedule very closely so I can be as far away from the games and the crowds and the traffic as I can get. Kayaking, hiking, reading, writing, thinking, programming, knitting, beading, and slugging around on the beach if at all possible.

Coffee Coffee Coffee

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Okay, only two coffees. But that was enough and I am jittery.

First, Monday coffee with Marci at Barry’s has been changed temporarily to Wednesday coffee with Marci at Barry’s because I have a class Monday mornings. One large coffee. All kinds of world problems solved.

Then Mouse said something like, “I want to go to Treasure Mart, the yarn store, and Gap.” She wasn’t exactly asking me to go with her but the first two errands sounded interesting. I hemmed and hawed to myself. Do homework or go shopping? She made it easy by suggesting I could skip the Gap. Sold. We were walking into the yarn store and there was Vicki, paying some guy who had replaced her windshield in the parking lot. Ohmigod! Vicki! Out of the blue! I sent Mouse into the store without me and Vick and I stood there and began gabbing uncontrollably about the horrible years we have both just been through. “Are you okay?” we asked each other. “I am always okay — on some level,” we reassured each other.

After a couple minutes, we moved it over to a neighboring coffee shop. Talked about our families and our friends and our lives and reminisced about when she still lived in the neighborhood and our kids went to school together and we walked every day and could enter each other’s houses without knocking.

Old friends, new friends, cousins, in-laws. I need them all. Not necessarily in any order. I probably didn’t need that double cappuccino though!

Grok grok! Y’know, that stuff sounds a lot like th’ ol’ bags in that stoopid travelin’ funeral book. Grok grok. You shouldda blahgged about that cute hippo instead. Grok grook. I c’n just hear yer bro’ sayin’, “Kee-reist!” ‘n’ I c’n hear Grandroobly sayin’ som’th’n’ too but it ain’t fit t’ post in my blahg. Grok grok frgok!

Uh, *your* blahg? Froggy?

Yay For The Haisley Manatees!

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Or how about the Haisley Tigers? Mouse’s first grade class situation would take a whole ‘nother entry, probably best filed under “rants,” and I can’t think of any reason for going in that direction today. But I remember one day when there was some sort of vote about naming the class. Or maybe it was just Mouse’s table being named. I don’t really remember the details but Mouse came home disappointed because her idea, “The Haisley Manatees,” was voted down by a majority of students who favored “The Haisley Tigers.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with tigers. I don’t think Mouse has ever met an aminal she didn’t like, with the possible exception of the “bad aminal” that used to frequently glue her into her bed back in the day. But I’m gonna guess that manatees are cuter and more interesting than tigers and Mouse has actually *met* a manatee. His name is Snooty and it turns out he is still alive! He lives in an aquarium in the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Florida, and we met him when we were down there visiting Grandpa Garth and Grandma Sally a long time ago. I think I enjoyed the South Florida Museum a lot more than Disney World, where I got sick. I recovered quickly and y’all do *not* wanna know!

For quite a while after that trip to Florida, everything was manatee around here. Well maybe that’s not *quite* accurate. There were still mice and frogs and ostriches and cockroaches and venus fly traps and, well, I could go on forever. But manatees became a favorite. One time the GG made aminal faces on some easter eggs and one of them somehow got named “Snooty,” which I could never quite understand because it didn’t look any more like a manatee to me than any of the other easter egg faces. But boy was he in trouble when he accidentally gave the egg away. “You gave Snooty away!” I hope nobody ate that egg. It had sat on a shelf in the back room for a couple months (or years?). Sometimes I can’t even believe some of the stuff that happens around here. 🙄

What brought up that little bit of nostalgia was this story about Marvin the manatee, who managed to swim all the way up the Atlantic coast to Cape Cod. I hope he makes it home.

And while I’m off on tangents, Haisley School itself is now home to The Haisley Huskies. It used to be the home of The Haisley Hawks but that was squelched by a former principal, in spite of the fact that the school was home to an extensive collection of stuffed hawks and owls and things. Birds of prey don’t make appropriate mascots for our young students, you know, even though those stuffed birds of prey were collected by an even earlier principal. I guess that was kind of recursive, I know some of y’all are scratching your heads, “Whaaaaa?” Sayonara!

Back To School

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Today is the first day of school and I have three classes, which will probably kill me. Two of them are on Monday, a morning class and a night class, and that will probably kill me too. Yes, that means I have to drive over to WCC twice on Mondays. And then a third class on Tuesday morning.

  • INP290 Web Design Practicum (Mondays, 9-12): project management and everything else under the sun, probably including the kitchen sink
  • INP275 Web Database (Mondays, 6-9): database theory, MySQL, ColdFusion, and I dunno what else but it’ll probably kill me
  • INP203 Designing User Experience II (Tuesdays, 9-12): *lots* of reading and writing and critical thinking and probably group projects too

Crazy? I dunno. After the last year, I need a big distraction and this will be one and I am excited. And now, when I go to classes, I have *friends* in them and even the people I don’t know become friends pretty quickly. It still feels like the more I learn, the more I don’t know, but I’m no longer afraid to speak up in class, like I was two years ago.

Bzzzzzzzzt

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

“Don’t touch *anything*!” said the nice, friendly fireman. And here I’d been thinking I had nothing to blahg about today.

I kind of wanted to go kayaking this morning but when I got up it was raining cats and dogs and the GG was feeling a little “slow.” I thought, “okay, this is probably the last day I’ll get to slug around for quite some time because school starts tomorrow morning, bright and early.” So I parked myself in front of my powerbook and worked on Sockzilla while studying the WordPress codex. I may not be able to knit and play the flute simultaneously but I *can* knit (or play the flute) and read more or less simultaneously.

It has rained on and off all day but it’s been a quiet, warm sort of rain without any wind or lightning. Actually, a perfect day for slugging around not being terribly ambitious. And then. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt. All the lights dimmed and flickered and the microwave started blinking. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt.

What was *that*? I unplugged my powerbook. It sounded like it was coming from the schoolyard. Could the construction workers over there have hit a power line? I was a little leery about going outside but finally we did. A fire truck was just pulling into the neighborhood and it parked in front of Madison’s house. The buzzing started up again, along with a spectacular mass of multi-colored sparks and flames behind Madison’s house. (Madison was safe and her house was narrowly missed.) The flames and buzzing continued intermittently as neighbors gathered and the firemen put yellow tape up everywhere.

There is some dispute about whether lightning struck or a dying tree got weighted down by water and simply fell over. I certainly didn’t hear any thunder. Whatever the cause, the tree fell onto some high-voltage power lines and the whole mess landed in Madison’s backyard. To quote the fireman, “it’s arcing all over.” A telephone pole a block away was broken and a garage over on Duncan, a couple blocks in the *other* direction, was on fire. Our friend the fireman said that he didn’t even want to think about how much voltage was going into the ground back there and that anything in the area could be electrified. At that, I turned around and walked back to my house, which was not electrified. At least it hadn’t been when I left it.

UPDATE: It was Alice’s garage and it didn’t catch fire but a live wire came down in her back yard and burned a big trench in the lawn and the fire was headed toward the garage.

Sockzilla

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

The sock that ate…? Maybe not. But this is my sock. Or this is what it looked like a few days ago. I no longer have the luxury of knitting on the beach. The [k]nitty gritty: I’m using Trekking XXL sock yarn, color 155, which is a nice beachy bunch of colors, and my needles — all five of them — are double pointed bamboo size 1s. What pattern am I using? It is called Mouse Says and this is how it goes:

  1. sockzilla.jpgMouse says: Cast on and do this until…
  2. Mouse says: now do this until…
  3. Mouse says: oops, you made a mistake, it’s on the heel so I’ll pick it out for you.
  4. repeat step 3 once or twice
  5. Moom does the heel for the *third* time and *this* time, she shows Mouse her work *every* single dad-blasted row to make sure she hasn’t made a mistake. Again.
  6. Mouse says: do this until…

I’m not entirely sure what the next “until” is at this point, something about trying the sock on my foot with the needles still in it and then a bunch of ssk and k2tog stuff. I can vaguely remember this stuff from when I used to knit, back in another life. I never did socks then, they seemed boring and utilitarian. But times change and sock yarn is more exciting now. Some of it even stripes itself, so no need to mess around switching colors, etc. (My yarn doesn’t stripe itself, it’s just sort of variegated.) Anyway, I better finish at least one of these things before Mouse heads on back to school or I will not know how to do the second one. Onward.

glarg

Friday, August 25th, 2006
  • I am sick and tired of finding rodent crap in certain cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and I am going to empty them and clean them and not put anything back into them. This is a recurrent phenomenon and I don’t want to live with it any more. I don’t like traps, too often they don’t scribble the cute little scurry mousket all the way and then I have to drown it.
  • I am sick and tired of software applications et al that try to be too smart. Microsoft Word is the prime example with its infuriating desire to impose its own random ideas about how to number lists and things. But web hosts that offer WordPress blahgs as part of the package and then don’t give you easy access to the files can be just about as bad. I have encountered two of those today. Give us slow old hand-coders a break, wouldja please?
  • Php is also gonna drive me crazy. I tried to un-comment one sniggly little thing in my blahg index file today and, in so doing, managed to blow the whole dern thing away. I had to reinstall WordPress to get it back. I needed to upgrade anyway. Sigh.
  • bulldozers.jpgI dunno what those survey guys were doing on the “construction road” in between the two sides of the deep, dark, scary Haisley Woods or why Haisley School is suddenly housing school district offices. I hope the Ann Arbor Public Schools, in its infinitely superior wisdom, has not decided to convert the “construction road” to a “real road.” If they do, I suppose I will have to go and lay my old bones down in front of the bulldozer. People, we need *less* concrete around here, not more. Negative freeways and inside out cities. grok grok
  • I won’t even begin to mention the heat or the new shambling mounds at the Carbeck Landfill* or high fructose corn sugar or garlic down the garbage disposal or the dwarf planet Pluto or gephyrophobia or lithium ion batteries or all the stuff that’s in the news that is too controversial for my random little blahg.

* NOTE: I am NOT bragging about my horrible house-cleaning skills! I am having a *problem* with all of this! Compassion, please. Empathy, if you will.

To Tag Or Not To Tag

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

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A while back, Mouse found a cool web site that graphs the html tags on a web page. That picture up there is what it did with mine. “What in tarnation is that big round thing at the top?” Mouse and I wondered. Looks kind of like a blue and gray dandelion gone to seed. Well, I figured out that that dandelion-looking thing is my tag categories. Go to the right sidebar and scroll down a couple-three times.

I’ve been thinking about this tag and category thing ever since I converted my blahg to WordPress back in May. At first, I got so excited about having categories that I went a little wild with the tagging. I created categories left and right and tagged everything absolutely to death. I had entries with five or six tags attached to them. And then one day, I got kind of overwhelmed by it all and stopped. Just like that. I was just plain tired of figuring out which tags described my entries the best. I found that the little WordPress search engine was just as helpful at finding things as tagging. Except when I’m trying to find something from the years of ababsurdo archives that I may never get around to converting to WordPress.

So, all you blahggers (and non-blahggers too), what do you think? How are you using categories and tagging? Or not using them. Do they help you keep things organized? Or do they just make things messier? What about tag clouds? And stuff like del.icio.us (grok grok, whadabout amph.ibio.us? grok grok frook) and flickr and technorati. And while we’re at it, let’s take it to a meta-level and tag tags.

Expotitions to Birch Point

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

“Didn’t we used to walk over here and eat lunch?” “Is this place only accessible in a kayak?”

Yes, we used to walk to the Birch Point range light. We walked there at all times of the day. Early in the morning or in the evening during the northern sunset that goes on forever. Yes, sometimes we packed a lunch. We would sit on the big cement block to eat.

To get there, we would walk down to the beach and head down past the stream at the Stevens Attie end of the beach. After Morgan’s Piedmont’s, was the first of two rocky little peninsulas with a kind of little cove in between them. This little point was fairly easy to walk around on the rocks but if we wanted a bit more adventure, there was a path through the woods, so we often took that instead. Then we made our way through the little cove, which featured narrow sand and gravel beaches, lots of docks to climb over and places where we had to walk on stone walls that people had built along the front edge of their lawns. For a while, somebody was using an abandoned dredge pipe for a dock and if nobody was home there, we would crawl through it out to the end and back. After the cove, there was a point that we really couldn’t easily walk around but there was a beautiful path through the woods. Then a sand beach and… Birch Point! Our destination!

One time I tried to recreate the whole experience for my kids: Lizard, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, and Mouse and Valdemort, who would have been about 3 or 4. We got down to the end of the beach and around the first point and were making our way through the cove. We got to the Cullis Doelle Armstrong cabin house, where there is a rock wall to walk, and everything was going pretty okay.

Until Zoe came along. I’m not sure if this Zoe was Zoe I or Zoe II, we’re up to Zoe IV these days. All Zoes are friendly St. Bernard dogs with no ill intentions but the kids didn’t give this Zoe any time to prove herself. Mouse and Valdemort climbed straight up either side of me. I could tell that Lizard Breath wanted to climb too but there was no climbing terrain left. Everybody was screaming bloody murder except for me. I was standing there feeling something like stupifaction or whatever. What on earth do I do now? Zoe’s owner called her home and I made an executive decision to scrub the expotition. We headed for home and as we passed one cabin, a terrified elderly woman came outside and asked us if there had been a bear! Well, not that day, thank fate for small favors.

It isn’t that easy to walk over to Birch Point any more. The paths through the woods are gone, filled in by cabins or houses. The water is low enough in recent years that it’s probably pretty easy to walk on the rocks around the points. But the world just isn’t the same. Back in the day, I think the neighbors on our way to Birch Point figured we were just urchins from over on the beach and they probably knew our grandparents. We never bothered anything on anyone’s property, we were more interested in the adventure involved in an expotition to Birch Point! Times have changed though and I’m not sure that the neighbors these days would be all that happy to have people walking along their walls or climbing over their docks.

So, yes, you can walk to Birch Point, but I’m more likely to paddle a kayak over there these days. And then again, maybe I should try to walk over there again…

The Last Last Day

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

A summer of ten days. Ten days on Gitchee Gumee. Ten days on the Planet Ann Arbor. Ten days on Gitchee Gumee. Ten days on the Planet Ann Arbor. And so on. Kind of like a rondo if you want to think in terms of musical forms. This is the last day of the last ten day stint on Gitchee Gumee. It was a gorgeous day, windy and sparkling sun, and this is what we did:

  • Got up, took a shower, walked the beach, ate utility food, checked email and blahgs, all the usual stuff.
  • Took a little kayak ride down to the old sunken dock and back.
  • Took Froggy up the lighthouse at Iroquois. And down the boardwalk. And into the bookstore. grok grok.
  • Penny’s Kitchen with Froggy. grok grok.
  • Glen’s uscan. Not with Froggy. grook grook.
  • Wave kayaked up and down the beach.
  • Beach sitting, knitting, beer, watching people on the beach through binoculars, watching birds through binoculars, watching boats through binoculars, watching planes through binoculars, watching windmills through binoculars.
  • Dinner with all that’s left of Fin G2.

Not very eloquent today. grok grok. When th’ heck areya ever… whatisit? Eloquent? Whadduz that mean? It was a gorgeous day, windy and sparkling sun. I don’t wanna go home. Seeya in the next episode.

That’s What You Get For Leaving Your Sweater On the Beach

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Bug bites! Yeah. I parked my sweater on the back of a beach chair and took a rather windy kayak trip to Guano Round Island with Doug and Charlotte. We actually beached and got out onto the island. “Conquering Poop Island,” is what Doug called our little expotition, I believe. I haven’t been on the island since I was a kid, when there was actually a path out there, and we would walk over to the old ruined stone lighthouse. The lighthouse fell over many years ago and the island is *very* quano-y with abandoned bird nests, bones, and carcasses everywhere. Loverly ;-). We made it back safely despite every effort by the southwest wind to blow us down to Doelle’s. They went to town to visit the locks and I slugged around on the beach. The wind is warm today but it’s pretty strong and I got a little chilly so, of course, I put on my sweater. And my wrist started to itch. There are not a lot of bugs around this summer and I didn’t think much about it at first, just kept scratching at it and finally went up and put some Afterbite on it. Okay. Back down to the beach. Then the middle of my forearm started to itch. Scratch, scratch, scratch, Afterbite. Back down to the beach. *Now* it’s the inside of my elbow. Hmmm. Could there be some kind of biting insect stuck in the sleeve of my sweater? *Finally* I took off my sweater and pulled the sleeve inside out. Lo and behold, a red ant!

Go Ahead, Make My Day!! :-) :-)

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

So, this morning, I was walking the beach and I ran into the colonel. He didn’t have his weather radio with him this time but that’s beside the point. A little later, I met up with his sister-in-law. *She* said that he had not been quite sure of my identity and therefore made an inquiry in which he described me as “about forty,” among other things. Forty?? FORTY??? Bwaaaaa-ha-hahahahaha-ha-ha!!!

Grok grok! Forty?? FORTY??? Grok Grok! He mustaben smokin’ sum’thin’! Grok grok grook! I’m gonna go see if I kin git some o’ that stuff too! Grok Grok. Dum de dum de dum. Hop hop sproing hop hop. Grok grok frookGROK.

Rainy Beach Day

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

rainydayknitters.jpg
Knitting on a rainy day at the cabin (Mouse and Terri)

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Freighters blow their horns in the foggy channel. Long-short, long-short: your signal is understood.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Terri takes a solitary beach walk in the calm, warm, misty, early morning. Until she reaches the end of the beach, where she hears a voice squawking along behind her. As she turns back toward the cabin, she encounters a stocky colonel marching along with his weather radio. “Rainstorm coming in from the north,” he says authoritatively and continues marching.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Mouse and Kayak Woman head off to the grokkery store grok grok. As they emerge from the tunnel road, they spy a “garage sale” sign and see Bugs and Horsey eagerly approaching the sale, which turns out to be sponsored by Dave and Gina. We are in a deacquisitional mode, so we continue on to the grokkery store grok grok. On the way home, we see that the old Norlin house, where I sometimes used to go on overnights as a kid, is on fire.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

Sally and Anastasia mitigate a situation at the lighthouse bookstore while various other people read, knit, blahg, cook, draw, and eat. Conversations career wildly around, driven by MacMullan blindsides: “Is that a junior frog?” “Say what?” grok grok. “Is it a mammal?” (“it” referring to a snake) “!!??!” We won’t say what the GG is doing, only that it involves driving around in the backwoods with John and Diane, having too much fun.

Grok. Grook. Grok. Grook. The frog clock ticks loudly on a quiet, rainy Saturday at the cabin.

No Words Today

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Except to say thank you to the friends and family members who arranged this and to Little Traverse Conservancy:

naturetrail.jpg

Quick Berkeley Update

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

I dunno if Isa wants this blahgged, maybe not. But I’m sure people will want to know (i.e., “Is she in Callyforny yet?” “Where’s she gonna live?” etc., etc.). The Lizard got to the bay area a week ago. Yesterday, she found an apartment in Berkeley and is likely moving in as I write this. I don’t think that the decor will feature twelve trombones but I’m sure she’ll come up with something equally, uh, cool. Congratulations, little Lizard! grok grok. Yeah, I can’t wait t’ faaarrrr up m’ flyin’ machine ‘n’ head out there. grok grok grook. Excuse me a minute. (Froggy! Laundry basket! Now!) Sorry about that.

Where’s the Beef?

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Sniff, sniff. What is that *smell*? “Hey, are you guys hiding a cow over there somewhere?” I asked Bugs and Horsey. They aren’t. And we don’t have one either. But a strong cow manure smell is permeating the entire area. I do *not* think it is a dead fish or a septic tank leak or the “sawdust” that collects on parts of the beach. It is most *definitely* cow manure. My nose knows. It has to be coming from some farm out on Six Mile Road or somewhere in that vicinity. Hopefully the wind will change soon.

Grok grok. Where’s th’ beef? I wanna go cow riding! grok grok.

Yarn Store Foray Below the Bridge

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Who: Kayak Woman, Mouse, Commander, Radical Betty

Where: Alanson, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Mackinaw City

The Dutch Oven and Yarn Shop in Alanson has, hands down, the most comprehensive selection of yarns in the north country and the octo-women were blown away by the buttons. Not sure where they got blown to. But. I bought one button for $8.50 for my wire and bead knitted bracelet. Mouse bought buttons and The Commander went wild and bought yarn for a hat. We also got some coffee and a Mouse breakfast and few baked goods to take home. Next we were off to a store of unknown name, purportedly in Harbor Springs. We could not find any yarn shop but Radical Betty asked just the right passer-by, who told us it had moved to Petoskey. Harbor Springs wasn’t a wasted trip though. We found a frog store there. Couldn’t begin to afford anything in it, but. Then we headed over to Petoskey, stopping at the Indian art gallery/store along the way. I won’t say what was purchased there ;-).

alanson.jpgfroggallery.jpgindianhills.jpg
Commander and Mouse in Alanson, Frog Gallery, Indian Hills Gallery

We looked for a Chinese wedding basket at the basket store in Petoskey but didn’t find one. Headed up to search for the yarn store and found it right down the street from the Mitchell Street pub. Not as much inventory at that store but lots of spinning wheels and some big looms. A bit of initial age discrimination was dispelled when the youngest of our party was observed answering all of our questions about roving and sock yarn and spinning and whatever. We had lunch at the Mitchell Street Pub and then went next door to Ethnic Creations, thinking maybe there’d be a Chinese basket. No such thing but Mouse emerged with a skirt and two pairs of earrings.

petoskey.jpgmitchellstpub.jpgethniccreations.jpg
Radical Betty disappears into a Petoskey yarn store, Mitchell St. Pub, frog guards Ethnic Creations

We were tiring out by this time but we still had one more stop to make, in Mackinaw City. This time, we had a name (Cynthia’s) and a vague description (“it’s in a house”) but no address. But Mackinaw City is a small town and we found it. Owned by a Beaumont Hospital nurse, this place is jam-packed with yarn and all kinds of colorful stuff. Eye candy. I think Mouse emerged with some more yarn. I refused to purchase anything more. I want to finish the socks I started yesterday to determine exactly how knitting fits into my life at this time. One more stop (besides paying the bridge toll) was gasoline. We stopped at a British Petroleum and I got out of the car and found myself back in about the seventies! Was this pump self-serve? How did I operate it? Where did you put the credit card?

cynthias.jpgbp.jpg
Cynthia’s in Mackinaw City, and pumping gas in the twilight zone

Well, that’s the nitty gritty. Mouse’s Nest may have some more eloquently expressed opinions. Are the octo-women hooked (again) on knitting? We’ll see…

Nor’wester

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

wind01.jpgwind02.jpgwind03.jpg
Click on images to enlarge

We seem to be in the midst of a three-day blow here. The water is low enough that the highest waves don’t come anywhere near the bank but I did end up flinging a couple of kayaks up over there anyway. Back in the day, winds like this would sometimes cause rafts to come loose from their anchors and float in to shore. And sometimes people would have to run down to the beach in the middle of the night to secure boats and things. That always provided a bit of excitement.

It was a bit too windy on the beach today to sit down there, so we sat in the little hollow in front of the Old Cabin:

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Click on images to enlarge

Knitting Blahgger?

Monday, August 14th, 2006

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Yes, I did change the picture

“Did you teach your daughter to knit?” I think I have been asked that about a million times over the years. I usually say something excruciatingly funny, like, “Knitting? I know how!” And I do, but I can’t remember who actually sat down with Mouse and taught her the first stitches. It might’ve been me but it was more likely The Commander, who is infinitely more patient about stuff like that.

I think it’s been about sixteen years since I have actually knit anything but I do enjoy hanging around in yarn stores (and bead stores and fabric stores). One day last week, I was going stir-crazy on The Planet Ann Arbor and, since Mouse is usually interested in a road trip, we headed down into Megalopolis on a little yarn store foray. We knew of stores in Plymouth, Royal Oak, downtown Dee-troit and Grosse Pointe.

We found the store in Plymouth and I purposely left my purse in my vee-hickle, thinking that I have enough unfinished fiber arts projects to last me the rest of my life already. I was not going to let myself be seduced by bright-colored yarns! No sir! Mouse made a modest purchase and we got back in our vee-hickle, critiquing the store and the clerk and whatever.

We didn’t have very good directions to any of the other stores, so I made the executive decision that we’d do Royal Oak and save the other two stores for another day when we were more prepared. If I was going to get lost somewhere, I’d much prefer Royal Oak, where I at least know some of the major streets and landmarks. Down in Dee-troit, I know how to get to the Henry Ford Hoosegow but that’s about it.

After some fiddling around, we found our destination in Royal Oak. Again, I left my purse locked in my vee-hickle. I was doing okay until I stumbled upon wire and bead knitting kits! I am pretty good at resisting yarn. Beads are my nemesis. The next thing I knew I was trucking along at a pretty good clip on a purse retrieval mission.

Folks, the above bracelet is the result of that kit. I made it this afternoon. I think it took me a little over an hour with only a bit of grokking from Mouse, who is now teaching *me* stitches. It isn’t quite finished yet. It needs a big clasp bead. I’ll find one.

Mouse is gonna get me started on a pair of socks next. What is this world coming to?

Large Suspension Bridges

Monday, August 14th, 2006

Say what? I *thought* I just heard on the radio that there was some kind of a threat against the Mackinac Bridge over the weekend. Sheesh, before we left, in the midst of all the talk about the terrorists over in Britain, some people were also arrested somewhere in Michigan for buying a bunch of cell phones. At least that’s what I thought I heard. They were apparently lodged in the Tuscola County jail. I did hear that — over and over. But I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Until this morning, when I heard “Tuscola County jail” and something about blowing up the bridge, apparently in the same news story.

Fortunately, we were blissfully unaware of any threats against the bridge when we drove up here Saturday night :-/