Archive for September, 2007

“It’s been a year of change”

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

sawdust.jpgThe Grinch voiced my own thoughts about the last year. He was thinking about people and situations that I’m not familiar with but I understood what he was saying. The year of change for me was actually earlier than this year. Major changes. People were dying at a rate that my heart couldn’t quite keep up with. So I just kept trucking on. And on. And on. Somehow, this year was the year I actually *felt* the change. I can’t write about it yet. That’s okay. This weekend we closed the Fin Family Moominbeach cabin on L. Superior. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend and we were happy to be able to stay at the cabin and party with Radical Betty and Grinch. It could’ve been a lot worse. It could’ve snowed. It’s been a good summer. A particular piece of lavendar beach glass predicted that, along with my own optimism. I could hardly leave the beach today. I just made my brain focus on other stuff. We’re back on The Planet now. Life does go on and I will make the best of it. Change is good. Usually. It could go a little slower sometimes. Click here or on the pic for more random pics. Actually, the Roger Blough (aka Big Butt) was the first boat I saw when we opened the cabin back in May and the last boat I saw today. The Ryerson made a few particularly appropriate appearances. Thanks, bro. Love, Kayak Woman.

Don’t mess with Mother Nature

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

This plant (and a few others) are growing through the pavement on the Ganzhorn Gash. Yesterday, we walked the rocks. Today, we walked the nature trail through the old Read Corporation land. Life goes on.

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Global Warming?

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

I always thought that here in The Great White North, when it got to be October (or almost), it was pretty much bug free. But here I am on the beach, checking my email and eating the other half of my chicken salad sandwich from Karl’s yesterday and there are tiny little bugs crawling all over my nice, white computer. They are not bothering either me or my food. Hmmm…

Rock Walk

Friday, September 28th, 2007

rockwalk.jpgWe walked to Cedar Point today. I can’t *exactly* remember the last time I walked to Cedar Point. I remember walking over there with Jane and the GG once when my kids were still high school/middle school aged. I know I’ve walked over there since then. I just don’t have a good memory of when. I have *kayaked* over there a whole bunch of times.

Thirty years ago or so, I think I knew every blasted last rock on the way to Cedar Point and back. I knew just where to put my feet, bare or with Bass 100s or whatever. Today, I recognized some of those same rocks but the water is so low that I didn’t clump along over the big rocks. I walked unfamiliar, smaller rocks that were under the water all those years ago. Nowadays, I am much more likely to recognize some of the big boulders I kayak over to get to Cedar Point. I’m still pretty fast at rock walking but my center of gravity has changed somewhat since the Beach Urchins were born. I used to scamper with quite some abandon but now I watch where I’m putting my feet next. Especially when I’m carrying a camera. Or two.

The Grumpy Growler engaged himself in something that falls into the category of Having Too Much Fun. The only thing I shot was a camera. Two of them, actually. I got distracted with rocks. So, if you click on the picture (or here), what you’ll get is a whole bunch of pictures of rocks and a few other things. No captions. I saw the alligator rock but I didn’t take a picture of it. I guess I just wasn’t ready to do it. Anyway, make whatever you want out of this little slide show. And remember, this is not your best friend in middle school’s Cedar Point! Love y’all, KW.

Business Casual vs. Shabby is the New Black

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

The Kayak Woman method of choosing appropriate clothing for the day typically involves getting up and figuring out what the weather is and throwing on the appropriate number of layers for the temperature, adding peripherals as necessary. Peripherals being things like ski band, scarf, balaclava, socks, boots, umbrella, little KMart gloves or heavy duty mitts, sunglasses, whatever. I am pretty good at guessing this stuff. Black is *the* color. That way, other than socks and gloves, I’m not usually mis-matched, even though I often dredge out my clothes in the dark. “Shabby is the New Black” is the style. I buy stuff that’s comfortable and fits and looks, well, okay on someone who is no longer as young, thin, and blonde as she used to be. Some of it is pretty generic, other stuff is a bit weird. I wear things for a long time. I don’t mind a few little rips or tatters. I do hate when — like is happening right now with one of my Chico’s tank tops — single threads get loose and drag along my bare arms. It makes me feel like I’ve got a few loose hairs and I go absolutely crazy trying to pull them out.

I’m pretty happy with my own personal minimalist style. If you know me from 30 years ago or so, I wasn’t always this way. Actually, I was a darn clothes horse back in the day. But I am no longer particularly young, thin, or blonde. I have *loathed* shopping ever since they changed the “cut” of the Calvin Klein jeans I used to wear. “Shabby is the New Black” is now what gets me through the day. But then. All of a sudden, I got a job in an actual office. Now, don’t get me wrong. Nobody at my work told me anything about dress codes or what is and isn’t appropriate to wear to an actual job in an actual office. They didn’t have to. I wasn’t born yesterday and I have a pretty good idea what “Business Casual” is. I know that it is *not* “Shabby is the New Black”! Even here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

So, I dredged my closet. What do I have that will be appropriate? Hmm. You won’t see me in casual slacks, skirts, or twin sets any time soon. All of those things look great on other people. They just do not compute for me. But I do seem to have plenty of presentable outfits that, while not *exactly* “Business Casual”, will work. I think. Okay. What’s driving me nuts is stockings! Until it gets down to about 40 degrees (and that would be the high temperature for the day), I am not comfortable wearing pantyhose or tights. Having been a teenager in the pre-pantyhose age of miniskirts and garter belts, I APPRECIATE pantyhose. GREATLY! But I hate wearing them. Until it gets cold enough that they can serve as long underwear. On the other hand, I really don’t want to expose anyone to my beat-up bare feet. Not pretty. And close-toed shoes are another issue for me. It’s okay. I’m not wearing my Chacos. I have some perfectly acceptable and comfortable Bass (?) sandals that The Commander sent me 10 or 15 years ago when she was mortified at whatever version of beat up velcro sandals I was wearing at the time.

So, to complement my nice sandals and what I hope are presentable outfits, I am wearing those little knee-high L’eggs (or whatever) stockings. They cover up my ugly, beat up feet. As knee highs, they come up high enough on my leg so that there’s no gap between the tops of them and my skirt. Well. Theoretically anyway. In reality, the blasted things will NOT stay up! So I am forever tugging on them to pull them up, knowing that within minutes they’ll be puddling down around my ankles again. I wonder who is watching me tugging at those ridiculous things or wondering what the heck I’m wearing. And I am telling you, when I get out of work at the end of the day, even before I start my car, those darn things are OFF MY FEET!

We won’t even talk about hair…

Am I back? I think I’m back…

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

*Apparently* my host has fixed its problems. I was not happy with the customer service except for one person who seemed to actually understand and care and not just be telling me the issue was on my end or spouting company you-know-what. I still want to move. I have another host that is significantly cheaper and provides decent service. However, I have been unable to *successfully* move my blahg to it. I *think* it is a WordPress version issue of some sort. I’m not out of ideas but I don’t have time to hack. Sheesh, I spent all last weekend on this dern beastie while everybody else played outside in the sun. I couldda been kayaking! So, for now, so people like The Commander don’t have to beat their brains out to get at “the computer” aka my blahg (:twisted:), here I am.

Hugs and maggots,
Kayak Woman

Vacuum Cleaners are NOT Hatracks!!!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

That is all.

Welcome [back] to the real world, Kayak Woman.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

One of the reasons I haven’t been more on top of the recent issues with my blahg is because I actually have a part-time job. It’s an internship with a financial services company in town. It’s interesting work and I think I’ll be able to bumble my way through it. I think. My co-workers are really nice and, amazingly enough, I don’t feel like everybody’s mother. I will not be blahgging about my job. If I do, it’ll be tangential stuff like how today was the first time I was able to bumble my way into the building without waiting for someone else to arrive to help me get in (“Help, I’m neeewwwww!” :-(, or whatever), not the details of what I do or who I work with. I think it’ll be fun and I am going to take every opportunity to learn absolutely as much as I can from the experience. Not to mention that I hope I can contribute something to the company and the people I’m working with and for.

D.O.R.

Monday, September 24th, 2007

And y’all know what D.O.R. stands for, roight? (Note: don’t read this if you are squeamish about dead aminals. No pics though.)

I will guess that y’all are sick and tired of hearing about Server Hell, and as much as I want to get this dern blahg moved to somewhere besides a subdirectory on Mouse Nest, I DO NOT HAVE TIME RIGHT NOW! (Purehost, areya readin’?) So I will write about something else. I read it in the Planet Ann Arbor Snooze. I can’t find the article right now and that’s typical for the mlive site, which makes me enter my zip code, birth year (it’s called “date not needed”, okay?), and gender every time I want to find something on it. And that makes me so tired, I don’t even want to begin to navigate the site and then I usually can’t find what I want. Unless it’s absolutely earth-shaking news like “Shaky Jake Dies” or something. (Jake, we loved you. Rest in peace.)

Anyway, the gist of the article was that the county (or whatever) is no longer removing deer carcasses from the sides of the local roads. They are moving them *off* the road. It’d be a hazard not to. But they are then just left to bloat and rot and do what aminal carcasses do. The explanation was complicated but it involved funding and contractors and the fact that the deer were all previously dumped into a mass grave and that raised various environmental concerns. Like I said, I don’t have the patience to can’t find the article. Google it if you want.

So, some woman was complaining about having to look at decomposing deer carcasses on her way to work or Meijer or Costco or wherever. When I first read it, I was thinking something like, “yeah, “they” should be removing those deer carcasses. What a horrible thing to look at.” Then I started thinking… (Yes, that’s always dangereuse.) Why NOT leave dead deer by the side of the road? MAYBE, just MAYBE, if somebody is flying down the road going twenty mph over the speed limit, fiddling with the radio sound system and eating an Egg McMuffin with their cell phone plastered to their ear, and they see a DEAD DEER (!!!), they MIGHT JUST SLOW DOWN? Maybe? Doya think?

I dunno. What DO you think?

Y’all are lucky I didn’t post a picture of the burn I have on my hand from last week when I dropped the lasagne as I was getting it out of the oven. Not pretty. Neither was the lasagne. But the oven got cleaned! 😉

Raise your kids to be eagles, not buzzards!*

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Everybody asks, “How is Mouse?”, usually followed by, “Do you hear from her?” As near as I can tell, the answer to the first question is, “fine!” and “yes” to the second. It was two weeks ago today that we drove her over to O’Hare and she landed in Africa the next night. She’s living with a family in Dakar and has various “siblings” and I won’t post what little I know about her family over there in the interest of respecting their privacy. They sound nice and that’s all I care about. There are also aminals around and she likes aminals. And yes, I do hear from her. She has called me fairly frequently either from her cell phone or a phone store. I have not yet successfully completed a call or text message *to* her, either from the blasted landfill landline or my iPhone. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong. I’ve also received text messages and fairly frequent emails. She did not take her computer over there — a last minute-ish decision based on input from others who have been in Africa in recent years. But there’s an internet cafe very near her host family’s house. I am still in server hell but I can code html like nobody’s business, so I’ve added a link to her blahg at the top of this temporary page. Do I miss her? I have no words…

And I *mean* it when I say server hell. I have been trying in vain to move my blahg into a subdirectory on my other host, in preparation for moving the domain name over there. I am following the directions to the letter and even support at the new host says it looks like everything is right. I can get to the database through the cpanel. I could even manipulate it. If I wanted to. I think I would be CRAZY to do that, even though I know a considerable amount of MYSQL. But if you go to the index page, all you can see is a wordpress error. I WILL GET THROUGH THIS!

Well, er, I obviously wrote the last paragraph before I got my blahg uploaded to a subdirectory on mousesnest. Anyway, I am moving forward. But I don’t have a lot of time, so…

*A wonderful quote from a very wise Piedmont clan dad.

Elvis is alive and riding in the back of an old Mustang. Er, wait, maybe it was an old Studebaker.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

tree.jpgIt was really windy all night and the tree that hangs out over the water finally fell over. I spent all day hanging around on this poor, tired, old beastie, coding the cif site (don’t ask) and trying to figure out how to move my blahg. Unsuccessfully, I might add. The Twinz of Terror took out the boats and docks and whatever. And just when I went to go out for my afternoon walk, a parade of old jalopies came driving by. 177 of them according to some old coot down by the point. And Elvis was riding along in the back of one of them. Maybe we should’ve droven The Indefatigable in that parade. I wonder if it would qualify. Sam, do you remember when we were driving that old van of yours that time and we got mixed up in the vintage vee-hickle parade? Anywho, it’s been a work day and my brain is fried and I am incoherent and we are only a little bit into the yardironarm for today. And for a while I thought that I couldn’t even fetch out to my server but it turned out to be that I wasn’t connected to the wifi here. But now I am. Sayonara. Hopefully, I’ll be more coherent tomorrow.

Retro Technology Day

Friday, September 21st, 2007

I’ve been exploring moving my glahg blahg. In between coding for one of my internships, working on my Illustrator project (watch for Muksaslooie to show up one of these days), going to work at my other internship, going to class, packing, driving to Houghton Lake, and I forget what else. A very nice, helpful woman at Purehost (thanks, Jamie! :-)) helped me secure a copy of my blahg database and I was able to download the rest of the files with no problem. But don’t hold your breath on me moving, at least for today. As of now, the sun is over the yardironarm, it is hot and windy and just a bit threatening here at the Group Home (I mean the weather is threatening, not the people or the dogs) and I’m gonna enjoy the weekend as much as I can given the amount of work I have to do. It’s not totally a bad thing to be reduced to old-fashioned technology once in a while. Gotta keep up those html/css skills. Cheers!

and onward into the night…

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

purehost.com is now telling me it might be two (count ’em) *weeks* until they fix the problem. And, at the beginning, they were telling me it was something *I* was doing wrong. I am not impressed. Sorry, purehost.com, y’all should’ve had a backup system in place. This is the 21st century. I’m trying to dredge my database out of them now. It ain’t pretty at this point but I think it’ll work out in the end. Knock on wood. Or whatever you have. Stay tuned.

Love y’all, Kayak Woman.

Glahg down!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Yes, I am having problems with my blahg. As you can see, it’s still here, it just loads very slowly or not at all. My host, which is purehost.com (long story about how I got there) is having problems with the server that houses my blahg. It only (so far) seems to affect the php pages on my site, straight html pages seem to be fine, so far and knock on wood. So, here is one in case you can’t get to the real blahg. With a beeyootiful gradient background.

I am trying to be patient with this but some of y’all know how I am… 😉

What disgruntled me the most was that the first person I wrote to tried to throw the problem back at me. It must’ve been a problem with my browser. Or my internet connection. Or my operating system. Not. I *mainly* use the latest version of Firefox on the latest version of Mac OSX *or* whatever the heck browser/OS the iPhone runs on. And I *usually* use a comcast cable modem via the wifi in my house. And sure, it could’ve been a problem with one of those things. But. “Usually” is the operative word here. There’s Houghton Lake and WCC and the Green Guy Cafe and the beach and any number of waaaarrless internet cafes. And the GG gets online at the EPA on who-knows-what. Sorry guys but the problem ain’t on my end. I was also less than impressed when they called my issue “resolved” and closed the ticket. NOT!

I hope this gets sorted out soon. They won’t give me a time estimate. If it is *not* fixed soon, you can be sure I’ll be going through the painful process of moving hosts this weekend.

And if you *did* get here, scroll down to see what Lizard Breath is up to. She had the wonderful fortune to post just as the you-know-what was hitting the fan.

Sayonara, Kayak Woman!

Justafewthings

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Just thought I’d drop by and check-in about what I’m doing via my Moominmamma’s webspace.

California, California… I’m currently still working for Childhood Matters and Nuestros Niños. For those of you who don’t know what we do (or what I do), we produce two radio talk shows on parenting (one in English, one in Spanish). I was the Assistant Producer for the past year, now I’m the Communications Associate, and do um… lots of different things related to operating a non-profit. Those of you who have young youngsters should visit our website – I honestly think we have good information for parents, and all of our shows are available for free on our website. I’ll stop plugging our work now…

My roomie and long time friend Jess and I have been living in Berkeley for the last year and are now trying our hardest to move across the bay to San Francisco, but it’s been more than a little difficult since the housing market here is both expensive and cutthroat competitive (and we’re both busy).

And what do I do in my spare time in the wonderful Bay Area, you ask? Well, you know, hang out with friends, explore, go to the beach. And a lot of rock shows. Just Sunday, Jess and I went to this (clickheredoitnow) on Treasure Island in the middle of the Bay. Treasure Island and this great festival bookended our summer – if anyone wants stories about Sasquatch I’d be happy to tell them. But for now just imagine Jess and I with four days and nights to make it to George, WA and back.

For a first time festival Treasure Island was amazingly well orchestrated. They had parking in SF, and shuttles to take all concert-goers to the island, since there’s not much space for parking there. We hardly had to wait either coming or going, and there was free ice cream while we waited to leave. It was big, but didn’t feel big, and I have to say I’ve been waiting to see certain of these bands for years. Best of all, there were two stages, but they staggered the performances so we never had to choose between two bands!

For anyone who cares, here’s some music gobbledygook. Modest Mouse was as great live as I’ve been hoping since the age of 15 (16?), although they played too many newer songs for my taste. The highlight was the encore, in which the band played one of the new songs, and while in the instrumental portion Isaac Brock starting inserting lyrics from an older album into the song – pretty incredible if you’re familiar with Modest Mouse. I definitely left feeling like I’d be willing to pay to see them again. Other highlights include M. Ward who put on an all around good show, Two Gallants who I’ve been listening to since moving here (they’re from SF), and one of my all time favorite bands, Built to Spill. Doug Martsch played an amazing solo version of Car, the song that makes everyone love Built to Spill. I don’t think they played that last time I saw them play in Chicago.

We go to a lot of smaller shows too, but I don’t think I need to get into the musicky details or you’ll all ask that I never post again. Other highlights in the life of Elizardbreath include cooking (gotta go make spaghetti sauce) and eating, sleeping, watching The OC on DVD (I know, I know, it’s awful), reading, speaking Spanish, my cousin Renee’s birthday beach bonfire, and planning a trip to visit my SoCal pals in October.

Lastly but not leastly, I was saddened to learn last night that Shakey Jake died. My dear old dad pointing Jake and his bowties and guitar out to me (most likely from the fresh and healthy atmosphere of the Fleetwood Diner [ha. {not.}]) is quite possibly one of my earliest memories.

This was pretty long, but I’ll be happy to see many of you at Christmastime, and keep in touch. Hope you weren’t bored :-).

I brake for Jake.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

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Dead at 82. May he rest in peace.

Loading, loading, loading. Loading, loading, loading.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

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More later…

Slow Down, fer Kee-reist!

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Driving across town from my house to WCC is like running a gauntlet even on a good day. Theoretically, I could take the freeway around but I don’t because the exit I have to get off at is so painful to deal with. And it’s not because it’s one of those World War II bomber plant era exits where the people who are merging on to the freeway have to cross paths with the people who are exiting. It *is* one of those kinds of interchanges but that’s not why I don’t use it. I’m not afraid of playing chicken with 18-wheelers. Er, actually I am but I do manage to do it. Anyway, the problem is that when I get off at this particular exit, I have to wait in a long line of traffic to navigate a labyrinth of five or six lane intersections. It can take ten minutes to move maybe two-tenths of a mile. When “they” built that interchange 50-plus years ago, “they” couldn’t possibly have envisioned the number of vee-hickles that would be on the road today.

So, I don’t *take* the freeway over there. I *do* take the freeway home. Y’all do even begin to want to know the convoluted details about that. Anyway, I drive surface streets over there. Today was worse than usual. I made it over to the S. Main/Stadium intersection. A *major* intersection, which, on a *good* day, might take three minutes to get through. Today the light was broken. Flashing red. I’m not sure how long it took me to get through that light. It was okay, I was way early. Then there were a few just plain *weird* things like when I got trapped by a big truck blocking the way out of a side street and had to follow a golf-cart full of bleached blonde women. What *is* it with the golf carts, you guys? There was one going up and down the road at Houghton Lake over the weekend too.

I was *finally* almost all the way to WCC. I made my last turn before the entrance to the college. It took a while for me to process what I saw next. A young woman was standing on the right side of the road, looking distressed and talking into a cell phone. As I got closer, I realized there was an animal at her feet. A rather large animal. Deer, I wondered? No. Alas, it was a big, beautiful yellow dog. Eyes staring straight ahead. Dead. About 100 yards further, a minivan was stopped on the side of the road.

I don’t know what happened there. Did the minivan hit the dog? Did the dog belong to the young woman? Was she walking it? Or was the dog a stray? Did it run out into traffic? Did she hit it with the minivan? There’s a high (45 mph) speed limit on that road and there was a lot of traffic and I didn’t see if anyone was in the minivan or not. If the girl did indeed hit the dog, she was definitely doing the right thing by stopping and calling the police or the dog’s owner or whoever. But I don’t know what happened.

People. Fer kee-reist. Slow down. Leave early. *Watch* where you are going. Look at the sides of the road. I’m not saying to not ever speed. I can’t say I never do. But please, pay attention to your surroundings, not to mention the road conditions. Don’t be over confident.

I know that if I had hit that dog, I’d have had a hard time even continuing on for the day. I didn’t and I went on to go to class and then coffee with Jean, who’s daughter just passed the bar exam! Yay Megan! But that dog on the side of the road put a shadow over my life today. Please, y’all, slow down.

Blahglahglahgl

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

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“Dad says this is okay but we don’t think it’s safe.”

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

safeforkids.jpgSo said the five-year-old, sitting on top of that wall there, holding tight to her little three-year-old sister. See the wall I’m talking about? The one that’s at least six feet above rocks and water. Not very deep water but still. I know. There are no kids on that wall. I just took the picture today. The fishing expotition happened umpteen years ago. Like about 18, maybe? We had arrived at Houghton Lake that afternoon and the GG drove the kids around to one of the canal bridges on the road around the point to “fish”. I walked over and met them and, as soon as they saw me, The Speaker (i.e., the older one) piped up with, “Dad says this is okay but we don’t think it’s safe.” Well, I didn’t quite think so either but whaddaya gonna do? I’m a mom. I wouldn’t have perched two miniature little girls on a thin little wall with a six-foot drop down to rocks and water. But they lived. They didn’t catch any fish but I’m not sure they would’ve known what to do with them if they had. And I mean *everyone* there. I’m not sure the GG has ever caught a fish. Grandpa Garth used to do a lot of “trolling” in the time I knew him but I never saw him catch anything. Then again, maybe it was because there was no one at the cabin who was interested in *cleaning* his catch. 😉