Archive for April, 2007

No Train Tracks Here

Monday, April 30th, 2007

chloe.jpgFirst and foremost, happy birthday Kathy! I first met you and a lot of Courtois folks on your 30th. I will never forget it!

So, this weekend, for about the first time since last August, I didn’t feel like I was standing on the railroad tracks staring down an oncoming train. Or feeling like I had just been hit by a train. Or just that old familiar feeling of wondering whether I feel like a zombie or a walking train wreck. In other words, we went to Houghton Lake for the weekend and I pretty much did whatever the heck I wanted. A lot of it involved the computer and the Internets and working on various web sites and flash and image processing so it wasn’t really that different from being in school. Except that I don’t have to turn any of it in for grading this week.

Whew! What did we do? I’m not sure, in retrospect, it all seems kind of like a big foggy mish-mash. Hiked at Beaver Creek Saturday and bumbled around at the Reedsburg Dam on Sunday, mostly I walked with Chloe and the Twinz picked up trash. The Beautiful Gay is not all that crazy about hiking out in the back woods so she did pretty much exactly what she wanted to do, which I think was mostly cleaning up after the rest of us slobs. And cooked a great dinner Saturday night and didn’t even want me to help although I was such a darn slug I wouldn’t’ve been much help anyway. (Thanks Gay!) The Twinz of Terror hung up birdhouses and planted baby trees that they dug up out on the Scenic Trails and I dunno what else. Campfire on the “beach” Saturday night. Lotsa talk, much needed.

click on the pic or here for the slideshow. Love.

Could it have been a cougar?

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I was incredulous when I first heard that Becky recently encountered a cougar in the yard at The Houghton Lake Group Home. In broad daylight at something like one in the afternoon, no less. Well, I dunno, if I’d heard that some flibbertygibbet or other had seen a cougar in the yard at The Houghton Lake Group Home right in broad daylight, I’d have just gnauffed and gnauffed and gnauffed. But Becky is just about as far from being a flibbertygibbet as a person can get. But still, a *cougar*? Say what? It just did not compute.

There was much discussion and some people got onto the Google and they came up with the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy. With a front-page article about cougars in mid-Michigan. Hmmm.

And then we were driving down old 27 after hiking at Beaver Creek and somebody said something about the cougar and suddenly I remembered the aminal I encountered on the nearby freeway a few years ago. I was driving my old Island Blue POC down from the Yoop to The Planet Ann Arbor. Mouse was asleep on the middle seat and Goose was asleep on the back seat. It was June and they had just finished up middle school and we’d been up there hanging around on the beach for a week or so.

We had left early that morning amid the usual barrage of octo-warnings about cops, deer, and speeding. You know, stuff like, “don’t drive it over 50 or the engine will blow up.” We were going down 27 near Houghton Lake when suddenly there *was* a big deer standing on the side of the road! I slammed on the brakes and if Mouse and Goose had not had seatbelts at least loosely belted around them, they’d’ve both lurched off their seats onto the floor. At any rate, it think it was a rather rude awakening. 😉

The deer didn’t jump out in front of me so I soon resumed my speed but the quick glance I got was enough to tell me that it was *not* a deer at all! But what *was* it? I have been wondering for *years* what the heck that aminal was. It was kind of dog-like or cat-like. It was way too big to be a fox or coyote and I *think* it was too big to be a wolf. I am also pretty sure that wolves are only in the Yoop at this point. *Cougar* didn’t even hit the radar screen. But now I wonder. It was certainly big enough. And the color was right.

I’m not really afraid I’ll meet up with a cougar at Houghton Lake but, when I walked early this morning, I have to admit that I occasionally scanned the swamp for big tan beasts. And then, I saw one! Over across the canal from me. Except that it wasn’t a cougar, it was just a deer getting an early morning drink of water.

Help! Grok Grok! Canya git Squeaky’s cheese back?

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Grok grok! Help! Some big ol’ birdie stole li’l Squeaky’s cheese! grok grok! ‘n’ we need help gittin’ it back! Grok grok!

Ol’ Baggy made me write that. Grok grok. She wantsya t’ play her stoopid ol’ flash game. Grok grok. She’s still purty bad at ol’ flash, so don’t especkt too much outta it. grok grok. There’s prob’ly all kinds o’ ol’ broken stuff in there. grok grok. ‘n’ ifya have a reggylar ol’ dial-up conneckshun, ya mise well not even bother cuz th’ ol’ thing is way too big! grok grok. Enyway, click here to play atcher own risk. Grok grok. Remember, Ol’ Baggy is behind this. Grok grokGROK!

It’s Baaack! (aka There Goes the Neighborhood #4)

Friday, April 27th, 2007

bulldozer.jpgIt was there before I went to California and when I got back it was gone. I don’t know where it went. Maybe it was called into service at the site of the Sky High Boondoggle. [I could be boiled in oil for saying that so shhh!]

I was beginning to think they were never going to clean up the mess at our entrance to the schoolyard. They finished the new “multi-purpose room” boondoggle sometime last summer but they never did anything about the mountains of dirt that were left behind. By the end of this winter, the whole area was just about impassable. You either slipped on the ice or sank knee-deep into mud. Or slipped on the ice and fell into the mud. (Click on the pic or on this link for a mini-slide show.) On the worst days, as I carefully picked my way over the ice and around the mud, I would think, “I should figure out who I can email to ask if they’re ever going to clean up this mess.”

The last time I got riled up enough to email somebody about a schoolyard issue was when the principal of the Haisley Fiefdom decreed that the woods behind my house be padlocked shut. It’s just a small woods but I like to walk in it a couple times a day. For the life of me, I could not figure out why anyone would lock the woods. Did they think terrorists would hide in there? This woods isn’t *big* enough to hide a terrorist.

That was quite a few years ago when I wasn’t so far removed from having kids at Haisley and I still knew a couple of those “PTO ladies”, so I emailed Jacqui. She relayed my message to the queen principal and the answer I got was something about how there was a whole bunch of science “going on” in the woods and if people’s dogs pooped in there the kids wouldn’t be able to experience it. The science, not the poop.

Say what?!? I’ve lived next to the woods for 22 years. I can’t remember *ever* seeing a classroom of kids in there “doing science” or anything else. And I know they aren’t allowed to go in there at recess. I wanted to say, “if the PTO has as much money in the treasury as it did when I kept track of the books, I think it should outfit all the kids in the school with rubber boots and spray the dog poop off of them with big hoses before they re-enter the school.” Instead, I made the relatively polite reply that I walked in the woods every day and I had never seen a lot of dog poop in there and anyway, what about cat poop and rabbit poop and raccoon poop and skunk poop and possum poop and groundhog poop and, well, you get the idea. The woods was soon unlocked and, to this day, I *still* do not see kids “doing science” in there.

I don’t know anyone on the PTO any more and this mud thing didn’t seem to be something to bother any of the PTO ladies about anyway. So, I would think, “when I get home, I’ll go to the district website and figure out who to email.” Then I would get home and get involved with laundry and homework and cleaning the blue toilet and blahgging and yadda yadda and forget until the next time I had to pick my way around the mud mountains.

This morning the bulldozer was back. It was there before I went to California and when I got back it was gone. I don’t know where it went. Maybe it was called into service at the site of the Sky High Boondoggle. I wonder if they’ll do anything with the bulldozer this time or if it’ll just sit there for a while like it did in February. I’m not holding my breath.

Too Many Darn Birthdays This Month

Thursday, April 26th, 2007


Besides the Twinz of Terror, it is also The Botanist’s birthday, which I didn’t know or forgot or whatever. After all, there are too many darn birthdays this month. Like Mouse, The Botanist’s birthday ends in a zero, click over to Archaeofacts to find out what the first digit is. Hail to The Botanist!!!! May he have many more good years!

Hellllooooo, Froggy! grok grok grok GROOOOOK!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

GrokgrokgrokGROK!!! I finaly got t’ be in one o’ Ol’ Baggy’s prodjects! Grok grok frdok. Th’ techer wouldn’ let me help with pixxy-lated punk. grok grok. So Ol’ Baggy hadta do that one all by herself. grok grok. But I got t’ be in Hello Froggy! grok grok. Ain’t it loverly? Ya c’n click on th’ beyootiful pitcher down there t’ git out t’ ol’ ababsurdo ‘n’ ya c’n click aroun’ jest a li’l bit. grok frgok. Ol’ Baggy didn’t git aroun’ t’ makin’ more’n five pages. grok grok. She’s too dern lazy. grok grok. OKAY, SO STOP GAWKIN’ ‘N’ LISTEN UP SO YA KNOW WHAT T’ DO!!!! FIRST, the pitcher below is jest a pitcher o’ th’ front page. So first ya hafta CLICK that t’ get a *bigger* pitcher. *That* pitcher has a *few* places ya c’n click. Th’ places ya c’n click are browse, search, top seller, yellow trumpets, ‘n’ home. BEWARE: those links don’t ALL werk on evry page. ‘n’ do NOT try t’ type enything in th’ search box er it’ll BLOW UP yer ‘puter!!! grok grok. Ifya can’t figger out what I jest said, I guess yer just dumb er sumthin’. Anyway, AFTER ya click th’ pitcher below ‘n’ git t’ th’ BIG pitcher, jest move yer mouse aroun’ t’ find where th’ ol’ hot spots are. grokgrok frgok.


20 Years Ago Today

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007


Or thereabouts. This was probably a day or two after the 24th but it was close. We’re all in the reading chair, which was in better shape then. 😐 The mousey who was supposed to be born in mid-May decided that she had had *enough*! Out! Now!! This presented a little problem. The plan had been that The Grandparents would be on hand to baby-sit the 2-year-old while the new mousey was being born. But we had expected to go a little closer to full term and this was early and The Grandparents were five hours away. A hastily arranged backup plan involved some particularly good neighbors kitty-corner through the backyard, Ann and her young daughter Becca (they eventually moved, alas).

Off we went to the hoosegow. The new mousey was indeed born before morning. She was 6 lbs. 2-1/2 oz. and I can remember hearing the nurses comparing her with a 9-pounder born around the same time. After 24 hours in the hoosegow, we were both bounced out. I was certainly happy about that and although the new little mousey had a lot of emphatic opinions about life, whether or not she was at the hoosegow was probably not one of them. Just now, I remembered that I walked out under my own steam, carrying the mouse! An old lady by the entrance asked if she could hold the baby but I told her Mouse was only 24 hours old and I couldn’t let go of her.

One of the most fun things was that, when we told aunt Jane (technically speaking first cousin once removed), she said, “let’s surprise Bubs and Harry and Radical Betty.” They were scheduled to return from some European boondoggle Sunday night, so on Monday morning, we trucked over to Chez Harry with the new little mousey. As long as I live, I’ll never forget Harry opening the door and asking, “girl or boy?” And then I put her in Radical Betty’s lap. Later on Radical Betty told me, “I fell in love with her immediately.”

Happy 20th, little mouse. Love, Moom.

Pickle-O Players

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

All yer gonna git outta me today is these goofy ol’ St. Louie tootlers. Sorry there’s no audio. They didn’t send me the mp3.


Nobody Put On Deoderant Behind Me

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007


Today we drove over to Kalamamalakazookman and watched Mouse in a production of The Women, by Clare Booth Luce, at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre. She played the second saleswoman. It was a wonderful play and Mouse did a great job with her role, although, as a seasoned actor, she pointed out some little glitches that she and others made. I didn’t notice them, well maybe one, but it wasn’t Mouse’s glitch. Back in the YAG days, I would’ve been around whatever play it was long enough to know when something got screwed up. This time I was just an audience member. Mouse’ll hate me for saying this but she was beautiful in 1930s garb! (She’s beautiful anyway, but. Grok grok. Duck ‘n’ run, Ol’ Baggy. gro grok.) I think when all is said and done, she’ll post pictures. I only have this one bad, grainy pic from after the play was over. This was a professionally run production and the actresses had to take off change out of their costumes and take off their makeup before greeting their fans. And mooms were definitely not allowed backstage. 😉

I Was Bad Today

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

karenpengo.jpgI switched from boots, ski jacket, ski band, and scarf to Chacos, tank top, sun hat, and sunglasses. Sunscreen? Skin cancer be damned. We all need a *little* bit of sunlight! And I went off to Ypsi to watch the co-captain of the Grand Blanc Girls Track team run and do the high jump in a track meet. Folks, that co-cap’n is none other than Pengo Janetto Cookie Tester Penguin Hoosh! Er, except an ill-timed lunch/dog-gate snagging expotition caused us to miss some of the jumping. Sorry Pengie 🙁

I used to be a darn good runner and jumper when I was a kid. I could beat most of the kids in my neighborhood, including some of the older boys. I was never one of the popular kids but I was always picked pretty close to first for any sport that involved running or jumping. I’m still a pretty good sprinter if you’re talking about a very short distance. But watching those kids run around that 400 meter track multiple times just made me feel tired today. The fastest runners are amazing but I’m always most impressed with the steadfast determination of the kids who are are going to be last and know it and keep going anyway.

I didn’t really know what was going on most of the time although Karen did her best to keep me on track. Hmmm, I’m rather punny today. 😉 As if it wasn’t enough to have Hello Kitty and my Flash game rolling around in my head, I was actively distracted by people-watching. The kid with the wheels in the bottoms of his shoes. The guy with “YOU BIG DUMMY” and a picture of Redd Foxx on his t-shirt. Say what? Multiple women with shirts that said “Fubu.” Anyone know what that means? I know what wetsu means.

The Grand Blanc girls did a great job and although I don’t think Pengo was first in anything, she was up near the top. Me? After being outside all day, I’m hot, tired, sunburned, and very aware that this is Pengo’s last year in high school. As of June 8th, all of the kids in our little branch of Fin G4 will officially be adults. Next fall, both of Karen’s kids will be at MooU and mine will be in California and Senegal. Initially, I hedged a bit about attending this meet, thinking I had too much homework to do. But I quickly came to my senses and realized that there was no way I could miss it. Go Grand Blanc! Go Fin G4-ers! All of you, not just the ones in Grandroobly’s little branch of Fin Family Moominbeach.

Protected: To keep The Commander from fainting at the sight of yet another pair of dilapidated footwear, this post is password protected. The password is “ugly old bag”. Enter if you dare. :-)

Friday, April 20th, 2007

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A Few Things, Well One Thing

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

First of all, to anyone who, like me, is half-listening to the news today, Mouse is in Kalamazoo and is fine. A student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College wrote something threatening in his blog and they shut that school down for the day. Mouse does not attend KVCC and her college was not shut down. I just talked to her, the reason for the call being totally unrelated to the news. The person of interest in the case has already been apprehended. (UPDATE: and released, since he was able to convince the police he was just joking around.) I’m sure this kind of stuff is happening all over the country.

Maybe more later, maybe not. I’m immersed in creating an absolutely loverly little Flash game featuring a frog, a mouse, and a piece of cheese. I’m sure y’all are just dying to play it. 😉

Counting Sheep Prime Numbers

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Who do we know? Hint:


Political Blahg?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Eh. Not really. I may not be in the anti-gun camp but that doesn’t automatically make me pro-NRA. I see most political issues in RGB, not B/W. It’s pretty hard for me to put my opinions down on paper out in cyberspace. So I usually don’t. Cheers!

Love, Moom

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I do not shoot guns.

But I am not in the anti-gun camp.

Back in about 1995, some piece of scum was walking around randomly bludgeoning Planet Ann Arbor women and leaving them for dead (and some did die).

I like to walk. Outside. Alone.

Was I #$%@ed off?

You darn betcha!

I told a neighbor (who I’m pretty sure is anti-gun) that if every woman on the planet learned how to shoot and took turns patrolling the streets and parks, that piece of scum would no longer be a menace.

She didn’t disagree.

On the other hand, I didn’t panic last summer when a neighbor barricaded himself with a gun and the police locked down the neighborhood. I’m pretty sure he only intended to kill himself. He’s alive and I see him around and he doesn’t scare me one iota.

I don’t know what makes a person go postal and start shooting everyone in sight.

I don’t believe that outlawing guns will keep people from going postal and shooting everyone in sight.

I think guns will be always be available to anyone who really wants one.

Outlawing guns would just make it hard for reasonable, law-abiding citizens to get one.

I don’t see how that solves anything.

Random mass killers have been around since the beginning of time and they’ll be around until the sun goes super-nova.

It’s kind of like people going the wrong way on the freeway.

It’s dangerous out there.

I can’t believe I actually miss when the news was focused on a has-been talk show host and the death of a faded glamour girl and the paternity of her infant daughter. Who I hope to heck doesn’t get exploited somehow.

Be careful, little chickies.

¡Atención Beach People!

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

I will be skulking in the general vicinity of Birch Point Beach Between August 1 or 2 and August 7, so take that into account in your summer vacation making plans, if at all possible so I can maximize my visiting time. I’m just finding that the Northern California Pacific isn’t as swimmable as good old Lake Superior for my purposes =)

Reddy Kilowatt Lives Here

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Hmmm, the oven is on. I did not turn it on. The temperature is less than 150, on but not on enough to make the indicator light come on, and the top rack is all the way up at the top of the oven. I did not put the rack up there. I won’t say whodunnit but apparently the oven has been on with the top rack in that position since Thursday night. Wonder what the lucky-shucky bill will be like next month…

Mad Dash To Da Yoop and Back (Say ya, eh?)

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

When Mouse was a little girl rodent, I never quite knew what would come out of her head next and one day on the way home from nursery school, she said that she wished we could take our whole house with us when we went north to Houghton Lake or Siberia. I guess that would make it easier to pack. Although I don’t really mind the 5 hour drive (4-3/4 hours on a good day), my own personal fantasy is to hop into a little booth, push a button, open the door and be in Siberia. Just like that.

I wasn’t quite sure that I had time to travel anywhere this weekend. I have a *lot* to do in the next ten days. But we hadn’t been up there since mid-February and I like to check up on my octogenarian in person once a month or so. It was a quick trip and I spent a lot of it chained to my MacBook flipping back and forth between PhotoShop, Flash and Illustrator. But it was fun too.

Kenny’s Pitchen, Clyde’s, Glen’s, waterfront, post office, newspaper, Alberta House. And yesterday afternoon, we moseyed down the street to the Norris Center to attend the Spring Show. I haven’t been to the spring show since I was a kid. It used to be at the armory in those days. One year Jim managed to leave Woofie in a fertilizer spreader (or some kind of machine). This potential tragedy was averted by our friend Ginny, who recognized Woofie and delivered him to our house and I think Pengo has him now.

This year, the spring show didn’t look at all promising when we first walked in. In fact, the ambience bore a strong resemblance to that of the Kinross Mall. But The Commander was in fine form and chatted up just about everybody in the place, from the VFW guys to some hospital flea market ladies. We talked to the Sault High robot team and a groundwater stewardship person using, of all things, Anny Hubbard paintings in her display. And I won’t tell you what The Comm told the police at their booth.

Home again today. I’ll get back up there in May, which’ll be an exciting month even without classes. Aimée will be home from Africa and driving through the Yoop and The Comm will be traveling downstate with me for a little visit. I think I am about done with this rambling, higgledy-piggledy blahg entry. The next ten days will be intense, Henry is in the back yard, the sun is over the yardarm, and I guess I better go scrounge some food out of my barren kitchen. And I guess I was popular today because both of my kids called me at the same time. How was your weekend?

I’m old and forgetful and I’m not gonna do that and you wouldn’t want me doing it anyway.

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

I wonder if *I* can use that excuse to get rid of a telephone solicitor.

Well, if he doesn’t watch it, he’s gonna get chopped.

Friday, April 13th, 2007

When you are an octogenarian, you can say just about whatever you want.