Archive for October, 2007

Things you can do with Photoshop but probably shouldn’t ;-)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007




Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

“5.6 earthquake in the Bay area,” blared my clock radio at 5:30 this morning (note to self, turn down the volume on that thing!). That was what woke me up from a dream in which I was trying in vain (I’ll spare you the details) to get a picture of an outhouse in a rest area near St. Ignace with the words “GG Men” on it.


Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

First of all, check out Mouse’s blahg for her latest African adventure. After you’re done with that, you can always return here for your daily dose of blather from Kayak Woman.

He was walking toward me up the pitch-black street. He was hunched into a hoodie that completely shrouded his face. I quickened my pace and put my hand on the phone in my pocket. Ready to… Well, ready to do what? I’m not sure. Dial 911? I’d be lucky to be able to get the dern thing unlocked in time to dial 911. My worries were for naught. He walked right past me without a glance. Just another person on his way to wherever.

I am an exercise addict. Since I can’t usually throw on skis or fling a kayak out in the water without endless packing, schlepping, and driving, most of the time I walk. I moved my daily walk to early in the morning back when Mouse was in middle school. Interactions between the two of us on school mornings more often than not turned into something resembling World War III. She was old enough to get herself up and off, I got back in time to say goodbye before she left (or drive her to school), and I got my walk over and done with and could get onto other things. Hey, I wasn’t all bad. When she was driving herself to school, every winter morning I’d start up The Indefatigable when I got home from my walk so it’d be all warm and defrosted when she had to leave for school. Grandroobly style! Anyway…

Around here it’s dark at least when I start out for probably seven months out of the year and it’s dark when I get home maybe four of those. I like the dark. It’s a (knock on wood) quiet neighborhood and, at that time of the morning, most people who are out are upstanding citizens thinking about their own agendas. Several pairs of walking women, some joggers, dog-walkers, people hurrying to catch various buses. Sometimes on recycle day, a bottle-picker or two will be making the rounds. This fall, a teenage couple makes out at one of the Pioneer bus stops every morning. That’s a bit unusual, the Pi-hi kids usually stand there like zombies. Anyway, we all pretty much mind our own business with an occasional “good morning” or “seen any skunks down that way today?” being our only conversation.

About once a year or so, I encounter someone who makes me just a bit nervous. And that someone could even be a skunk. Yesterday morning, it was a hooded figure striding toward me out of the dark. No dog or backpack or briefcase and I couldn’t see his face. As I said, he was apparently harmless. Then, when I got up this morning, before I walked, I read an article in the A2 Observer about a local man, a fellow west side resident, who was mugged recently, while walking home in the late evening. On a narrow stretch of sidewalk next to a tall hedge on West Washington. I know that place! It’s not on my daily walk but sometimes I walk home from downtown on a wintry early evening. In the dark. I know who this guy is (the muggee, not the mugger). He’s one half of the Gemini duo (twin brothers) who have, for many years, written and performed music for children and families. A gentle soul. He’s a familiar face and, although he certainly doesn’t know my name, he always returns my smile on our occasional random encounters.

So, I am always very aware of my surroundings but, this morning, I was extra watchful. Would the “hood”lum appear again? And there’s always the fear of skunks. Is that aminal a cat, rabbit, or skunk? I usually slow down until I can see it better. Anyway, I was walking in the area of the “hood”lum. I was past where I had seen him the other day. And then. A male figure came striding toward me out of the darkness. He didn’t have a dog. Actually, he didn’t have a hood either. At first, I thought he had a big backpack on. I skirted out toward the middle of the street. As he got closer, I realized that there was another little face peering around his, looking over his shoulder, intently interested in whatever lay ahead. A baby in a backpack! Been there, done that. “Good morning!” I said to their happy-looking faces. Somewhere in my neighborhood today, a mom was getting a little extra sleep.

To those who worry, I am always VERY aware of my surroundings!

Knock on wood

Monday, October 29th, 2007

All I can say is that this week started out about 100% better than last week did. Hopefully it’ll stay that way. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood. I’m not going to try to jinx myself by writing anything more. Click on the pic below for evidence of yesterday’s southern Michigan autumn rambles to the Geology Center and Haehnle Audubon Preserve.


Extra Cheese but No Whooper

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

pumpkinveehickle.jpgDoesn’t the old green honda serve as a great Halloween vee-hickle?

Even though there are no beach urchins or Halloween aminals around the landfill any more, we still celebrate the occasion with quite some ado. I don’t exactly know why we have *three* pumpkins though. That just seems like more carving to do. And we have to stuff the GG’s old prison suit. Okay, I’m kidding about that. We do have a prison suit. I don’t know whose it was or how we obtained it. It’s some kind of old Courtois artifact and the GG has never been in prison. Anyway…

It was a beautiful fall day here on The Planet and its environs. We headed out Dexter Road, picked up our pumpkins, and angled off over to the Geology Center. The last time we were there was with Mouse. It was one week before she left for Africa and I think it’s safe to say we were all a little stressed out. The Geology Center served as a little no-stress for a while that afternoon. We walked down to the floating bog when we were there with Mouse but today we hiked the “lakeview” trail. You can see the lake through the trees so I guess that’s fairly accurate. It’s pretty anyway. After that, we cheesed our way over to Haehnle Sanctuary to watch the cranes come in. Amazingly enough, we eventually found the place, pretty ridiculous that “we” got lost, since we’ve been there multiple times before.

We walked around a bit and saw cedar waxwings and robins and some other birds that I don’t remember. We only actually *saw* two sandhill cranes come in, although we heard others while we were in the woods. Supposedly there is a whooping crane hanging about Haehnle this year. According to UM bird listserve contributors, this particular whooping crane was raised in Wisconsin and trained to migrate via an ultralight airplane. The whooper apparently doesn’t arrive until after 6 PM and we didn’t wait for him. Most of the sandhills also seemed to be late today. It was quite warm and sunny and the speculation was that the birds stayed out longer than usual. Every other time I have ever been to Haehnle, it was cold and/or windy and we have always seen plenty of cranes.

Gotta go. I have *never* backed up this beastie, it turns out. Bought it last January. Yes, that is bad. And I have heard rumors that CS3 isn’t necessarily compatible with Leopard. Until I track down the truth, I am not going to upgrade. Not having CS3 would be disastrous. Hopefully, we’ll (I’ll?) get our pumpkins carved and our dummy stuffed in time for Halloween. Seeya later.

“But computer hell is dad’s favorite place!”

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

sunset.jpg“Well, areya gonna stand in line for Leopard tomorrow?” asked some classmates Thursday night. Huh? Wha? Oh yeah. I forgot. They were talking about the newest Mac OS operating system, which was released yesterday. I watched a video of it last weekend for a while until I got bored. You can make stacks and things. It’s cool, I guess. I always wonder if things like that will confuse intelligent people like The Commander. Anyway, I replied something like, “Naw, I don’t even have time to install it right now. Maybe I’ll ask for it for xmas.”

Except that I had also totally forgotten that The GG had already *ordered* a family pack of Leopard! It came bright and early yesterday morning. Did I install it? No. Why? Because I had a to-do list about a mile long that did *not* include “install Leopard” and because I don’t like to install new operating systems without doing a backup and I haven’t done a backup very recently (have you?) and every time I have to do a backup, I have to *find* the back-up drive and then look up the instructions for doing the backup. So I don’t do them very often (do you?) and therefore live a dangereuse life.

So the GG came home last night and loaded up the Leopard installation disk into my old 12" G4 PowerBook’s drive. It belongs to him now because I can only manage one computer at a time without sinking into a big mucky morass of version hell. Actually, it’s hard enough for me to manage documents on even *one* computer. Anyway, the spinning beachball of death promptly revved up and nothing happened and nothing happened and nothing happened and I’m not sure what act of force he finally had to use to extract the disk but the final diagnosis was that the poor old cyberbeastie doesn’t have enough memory to install Leopard.

Next, he tried to install it on his 17" iMac. I keep thinking of that iMac as the “new” iMac. And I guess it is, if you compare it to the old strawberry iMac. But it’s actually four years old now, if I’m remembering right. Anyway, that machine couldn’t even read the installation disk. *Then* he started heading over toward my MacBook! “No you don’t! I need to back that thing up first!” I did let him put the installation disk in the disk drive and apparently the MacBook could actually read the disk. But that didn’t do the iMac any good.

The initial call to Apple tech support yielded a 15-minute wait for help. No thanks. Eventually he got through to them and the verdict was that the installation disk was bad for whatever reason and he could go out to the Apple store and exchange it for another one. So that’s what he did, after the football game began, of course. Just *try* to get to the mall before the football game. He’s back now and it’s silent back there where the iMac lives so I have no idea what is going on or if he will be able to successfully install Leopard or not.

Me? I can wait. It turns out I might not even be able to back up my MacBook right now because apparently there might not be any space on our backup drive. Anyway, he’s backing up his iMac now and pacing around like crazy and I hate pacing so I’m going for a walk!

Anybody else have Leopard? Didjer installation go smoothly? How often do you back up your cyberbeastie? What about all you Windows people? Do you have Vista? Do you like it? Do tell.


Friday, October 26th, 2007

ufp.jpgY’all do *not* wanta hear about my life this week. Work and school and meetings and coffee dates and frogs and talking toilets and cleaning my house little bits at a time and I even wielded a vacuum cleaner for a bit. The Beautiful Gay would be proud. Anyway, I think it’s about time for an Unfinished Prodject post! So here it is. I have not made much progress on my Unfinished Prodject lately. I crash landed back here on The Planet Ann Arbor on August 30th and before I had time to catch my breath, great big bug-like aliens swooped down and kidnapped me and I’ve been orbiting The Planet Zephron III ever since. Today I thought to myself, “I will just get my Unfinished Prodject out and work on it for a few minutes while I read various blahgs and check my bank accounts and do the scary firmware software update that I keep canceling out of.” And, so I did. And then I thought some more and I thought, “I bet if I bring this thing to Monday Coffee or Wednesday Coffee, I can sew and gossip at the same time and my coffee buddies will not even care if I work on it.” Grok grok. Ol’ Baggy is th’ best ol’ gossip aroun’ th’ planet here. ‘n’ Hoton Lake ‘n’ Fin Famly Moominbeach too. Grok grok. Anyway, this is what I have. Actually, I have just about one more square but it isn’t quite finished and it would make an odd un-square-like shape if I added it in. The colors are more or less random. I mean, obviously the basic color is blue but I have some little surprises too. This is not the final placement of the squares. It’s just random. But then the final placement will probably pretty random too, so who knows. Mouse is a better sewer than I am and if you haven’t been following her blahg, pictures of her and Africa (and some of Madrid too) and fiber art projects and drawings and aminals are here and here.

Yikes! Suzie’s birthday! The Beautiful Suzie! Not that the other Suzie’s Suzies are not beautiful too! Happy birthday Suzie. Love you.

P. S. Will somebody hit me when I do that stupid apostrophe thing?

Shooting Star

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

6:50 AM today, just to the right of “The Rion,” in the southern pre-dawn sky. Good luck omen? Oh, probably not, although one would like to think random little events like that are. Beautiful? I have no words!



Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Dear Blue Toilet,

I agree with your sentiment. My life can be hard and people don’t always listen to me either. But toilets do not sigh or hiss or groan or trickle or gurgle. At least not all on their own. You are a toilet. You are supposed to be silent. Until somebody flushes you.

Sincerely yours,

Kayak Woman

Cloopin’ Gloppers

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

They smell like licorice! And cheese!
Send forty Who-Bubs up the trees
To snip with snippers! Nip with nippers!
Clip and clop with clapping clippers.
Nip and snip with clipping cloppers!
Snip and snop with snipping snoppers!
All for you, the Who-Bubs clip!
Happy Birthday! Nop and nip!

From Happy Birthday To You by Dr. Seuss


Monday, October 22nd, 2007

I have a really hard time remembering birthdays but Julia’s is easy. She’s our niece and being 10 years and one day older than my Lizard Breath, they almost share a birthday. A special cousin. I have my own special cousin who almost shares my birthday. He’s three years and a day older than me and my earliest memory of him is when I was three-something and he was six-something (plus a day) and we were riding in the back seat of some cigar-smoke-filled Fin G2 person’s car somewhere near Brimley, fighting over who got to hold a leaky old package of smoked fish. I love him *anyway* 😉 grok grok! It’s th’ ol’ Grinchie! grok grok

Julia is a different sort of special cousin. At 10, she was old enough, careful and gentle enough to be trusted to help watch my baby. Play with her and pick her up and get her in and out of her car seat. Believe me, any new mom will tell you what a great relief it can be when someone you trust is around offering to deal with those blasted car seats! Although Liz probably doesn’t remember this stuff very well, she loved Julia and all the extra attention.

We were here on The Planet Ann Arbor and that’s an hour or so away from Julia and her mom. She became a teenager and had lots of other things to do. And so did Liz and Mouse. It got so we would see Julia mostly at the Courtois xmas party or maybe sometimes at Houghton Lake or whatever.

Julia grew up into an intelligent, beautiful young woman who now lives in Colorado. Liz and the GG have visited her there. It’s been eons since I’ve been in Colorado. Happy birthday Julia. We miss you and we love you!

Straight Talk

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I dunno. I have a couple of environmental rants percolating: developers and their damn “logging roads” and bans on clothesline drying. I may still get into those one of these days but I just droven my cute little blue honda civic down the I75 SUV Speedway from Houghton Lake for about the umpteen millionth time this year and my brain is dead.

So, I’ll just write about the weekend instead. I drove up to Houghton Lake on Friday morning, the plan being to meet the GG there on his return trip from the Yoop and circle tour of Lake Superior with his mother-in-law and her sister-in-law, aka The Commander and Radical Betty.

I took the Lansing route and drove past evidence of the Williamston, MI tornadoes of the previous night. Mouse, I’m sure the fabric store is or will be all right. I left sunny skies and warm weather but, by the time I got to Houghton Lake, it was chilly and raining cats and dogs. I stopped at the Best Choice Market for feta spread (thank you, Jim C, for pointing that out) and other groceries for the weekend and, because I stopped there (also to get gas and the Clare rest area for…), the GG, who left later than I did from the Yoop, got to HL before me. That was okay, he knows how to turn on the utilities. Anyway, we hung about the cabin for the afternoon and I worked on various coding and Illustrator projects. Joanny arrived in the middle of the night with David, Dennis, and Jenny.

Saturday morning, the GG and I headed up to the Mason Tract to hike and, if you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen those wonderful boring pictures. Home to the cabin for more work, with Joanny and family heading out for a Circle Tour of Houghton Lake. Spent the evening and this morning hanging around with all of them. David and Dennis did a wonderful job of raking leaves. Joanny and I reminisced about skiing with little kids and babies back in the “old days”. I miss those days too. And I miss when I would be at the ski ranch and my *brother* would appear out of nowhere. I mean when he was still alive and would drive up to ski for a day, of course. With Karen, dogs, and kids and usually some big friggin’ truck. Love you bro’. Love you Joanny, too!

Home now. Busy week ahead. That is all. Oh, except for we all have to stick together. Dunno where that last came from. But.

Oh, and, am I wrong or is this Jay’s birthday????

Blue Gatorade

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

dnr-pathway.jpgIs what *some* people need to go hiking in the Mason Tract. Me, I just need water and a little dark chocolate. And my trusty old Canon powershot. Today we hiked from the Chase Bridge boat launch up around the Thayer Creek loop and back. When we got to the Thayer Creek loop, we each took a different direction and met halfway around and then back at marker 8. I’m not exactly sure how many miles we hiked but somewhere around 12. The Mason Tract is not the most difficult trail on earth. It is fairly flat and well enough traveled that there’s a beaten path, and it follows along the South Branch of the Au Sable River.

I don’t have too much to say about hiking today except that it was a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous fall day and I took a *lot* of pictures. I was focusing on close-ups of decay. Just plant life. We saw very few aminals in there today. Usually I flush at least one deer on the Mason Tract. And once, a long long time ago, we were hiking with the beach urchins in the winter and there was a strange noise up in a tree and there was a huge porcupine up there.

Oh heck. The sun is over the yardarm. The GG is babbling about random news articles he’s finding on the web. He and Joanny are debating it. I’m trying to stay out of it all, not very successfully. Click here or on the pic for Mason Tract pictures.


Octo Circle Tour!

Friday, October 19th, 2007

gooooose.jpgSorry about yesterday’s big, long rambling entry. I guess that’s what you get from an old bag grok grok who’s been “home alone” for a week! And I was. Mom alone! It was great! I did my own thing and I got a lot done. And I wasn’t lonely. I had classes and work and coffee dates (unfortunately, a near miss with Jane) and fell asleep with the TV on every night. But by the end of yesterday, I was really pretty roto.

Now some of you are wondering “where in tarnation was the Grumpy Growler?” Well. How many guys do you know who are excited about going on a road trip with their mother-in-law? Hmmm? Because that’s exactly what the GG was doing the last week. Not only that, he took on his mother-in-law’s sister-in-law! Yes. The GG chauffered The Commander and Radical Betty on a little road trip around our favorite Great Lake, Superior!

Don’t get me wrong. These octo-women are very capable of driving. But The GG, being one of them thar government slackers, has way too much vacation time stacked up. He likes a road trip and I like my house to myself so I can work, so I didn’t really want him hanging around. Although I am more and more often working or networking or whatever *outside* the home. Hmmm. Anyway, the stars lined up just right and every time he or The Comm called me from the road, I could hear Radical Betty laughing in the background. Especially when Froggy usurped the phone. grok grok!

Do y’all think I married the right guy? Hmmm? He took a bunch of pictures and I’ve posted some of them for The Commander and Radical Betty and anyone else who wants to look at Lake Superior. I know I always do. Click here or on the goooooose for more.

Rabbits and Chumbys and iPhones. And plenty of blather.

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

You think you are on the cutting edge of technology despite yourself (and the computer graveyard in the basement) and then you go to class and you actually learn how to use your iPhone, at least some of the finer points involving the browser, which is manipulated via “gesture” events, rather than the old standby “mouse” events, click and hover, etc.

Kee-reist, I just deleted a long thing about how the whole dern thing worked. My eyes were glazing over writing it and you would’ve clicked away immediately. Geek that I am, I do know when it’s all just too much. And this post is prob’ly too much but it’s late and it’s been a long day and I’m just gonna download some of the stoopid grok grok thoughts in my brain.

We bought our iPhones on the eve of one of my many odysseys to the Yoop this summer and I don’t think I ever wrote anything about my first day with an iPhone that wasn’t pretty cryptic.

It was a Sunday afternoon of torrential rain when we bought our phones. The rain continued throughout the entire next morning and maybe beyond but I’m not sure because I drove north that day and the skies cleared as we headed up. Anyway, after early Monday morning coffee with MMCB (she took the first accidental picture with my phone), Mouse and I ran a mega-bunch of errands all over town, getting absolutely *drenched* in the process. I forget exactly when I got home from that marathon and I *think* she then went to work or whatever. I quickly packed my car and did some chores and then headed over to Day-Twa Metro to pick up Uber Kayak Woman at something like 2 PM and we hit the I75 SUV Speedway and cruised north. I can’t exactly remember when my iPhone actually received a call. I *think* is was from the GG on the way to the airport. The next call was from Gr8gerty, who was at Houghton Lake and called just about when we were driving by there. We couldn’t stop that time. We needed to get to the Yoop…

I didn’t even expect that the *phone service* would work at the cabin but when I got there that night, not only was I able to call my own personal troll, I was actually able to go on-line with the iPhone and even posted a quick blahg entry. I didn’t understand the Edge and I certainly didn’t understand why it seemed to be available up there on what used to be the remote shores of Lake Superior the Upper St. Mary’s River. New phone? iPhone? Internet access? On the beach? Garden hose water? Outhouses? Say what? It does not compute.

I did learn how to use my phone by cranking around to do whatever I needed to do. When I first showed the class my iPhone, there was a sort of general gasp. Now, a young man in the class has an iPod with most of the iPhone functionality. He is more actively exploring the device than I ever have. Our class activity tonight devolved into general hands-on demonstration sessions with the iPhone/iPod. I think that was okay with the instructor. The iPhone breaks all of the previous standards for browsing the web on mobile devices. We’re on the cutting edge here and not everyone in the class can afford to buy an iPhone, therefore it’s hard for them to know how to code for them. Uh, I can’t afford one either, but, I was irresponsible enough to buy one anyway. We don’t need to talk about the computer graveyard in the basement again, do we?

Speaking of glazing eyes, I’m sure this blahg entry is doing that to you to but it’s late and I’ve just turned in my internship midterm report. I spent a lot of time working on that, editing and nitpicking and tweaking. And about all I have left in my system is blather. Er, maybe that’s what’s *in* my midterm report. Anyway, that’s whatchyer gettin’! Grok grok. Ol’ Baggy is always good at blatherin’ away at any ol’ random topic. Grok grok

Rabbits and Chumbys? I have no time but check ’em out!

Dear Barnes and Noble,

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

You know. I like your store just fine. You have a nice cafe and you’re my first stop for computer books. Except that they’re usually cheaper when you get them used on-line. But more often than I’d like to admit, I buy them from you because I’ve been wiffle-waffling about them for months and all of a sudden I need a book yesterday. Like when I did the Volcano Mama Php Crash Course. Or whatever. Even Amazon can’t deliver a book yesterday. You have a whole lot of other interesting stuff too and if I ever get done being a student and whatever else I am in my ever-morphing career, I might actually get around to looking at some of that stuff.

Actually, I tried to do that today. But I had to leave your store without buying anything and I’ll tell you why. My daughter and I were going back and forth on email today about various books on a particular topic. I won’t say what it was. It’s a secret. I was hanging out in the WCC library before my Illustrator class when she sent me an email with several Amazon links in it. I didn’t have time to look at them before class but *after* class I thought, “If I don’t take the freeway home, I can stop at Barnes and Noble and maybe I can look at these books right up close and personal. It’s on the way, after all. I can look up the email message on my iPhone and link out to the books on Amazon to find out the titles and authors. That oughtta make it easy.”

Um, not! Why? Well, you guys have wifi there at Barnes and Noble. That’s a good thing. But it gets complicated. See, my iPhone can access the Internet in either of two ways: a wifi connection or the Edge, the iPhone’s own little connection to cyberspace. The problem that I seemed to have was that when I tried to surf the web with my iPhone, your wireless seemed to usurp my Edge connection. I’m not sure about the technical details of how all that stuff works. And it *wouldn’t* have been a problem anyway, except for one thing. YOU CHARGE FOR WIFI!!!

Now, if I were planning to spend an hour or so at your store and sit around perusing books and drinking coffee, I would bring my Macbook over there and, I dunno, I might not mind paying a small fee for wifi. I think it was $2.95 or something. But that wasn’t what I wanted to do today. Actually, I almost *never* have time to sit around in a cafe perusing books. I did do it once, with Sandy. It was fun. I hope to do it again sometime. Today, I was making a QUICK stop and I wanted to look up books QUICKLY from email links on my iPhone, look at the books, decide what to buy, and leave. I certainly didn’t want to pay $2.95 (or whatever it was) to do that. So why the heck were you blocking me from the Edge?

This won’t stop me from shopping at your store. I like your store. Next time I’m in this situation, I will make sure to access the Amazon links from my iPhone *before* I get there and type the book title and author into my iPhone “notes” application. But y’know? Not everybody is in there to try to steal bandwidth. Again, my iPhone doesn’t *need* your wifi to go on line. So why the heck are you blocking me?

You may have lost a sale today. I may be back. There’s also Borders and there’s always Amazon.

Sincerely yours,
Kayak Woman

P.S. Borders is a great bookstore too and there is a branch in Arborland on the way home from WCC. But the Arborland parking lot is worse than the Barnes & Noble (*marginally* worse) and it can be a toss-up about which one I’ll stop at. And I avoid downtown unless I’m the first person down there in the morning. Just had to add that little PS 😉

What’s wrong with your ankle?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

So asked one of my new co-workers. I was expecting this at some point. Er, nothing. Uh, it’s just that my knee-high stocking has fallen down. She seemed a bit embarrassed for asking. She shouldn’t’ve been. Remember about Business Casual vs. Shabby is the New Black? In this case, the stocking didn’t just puddle around down at my ankle. It slid down in such a way that the top of it flared out making it look like my foot had grown a kind of vertical “cuff” of skin around my ankle. Like a two inch cuff. It’s hard to describe but it was *really* weird looking! I’m still in the period of being shy and feeling out how to let the [cough] harmless but wild weirdness side of my personality and sense of humor come out at my job. One of these days I will flip over to my [cough] other side and people will know where I’m coming from. And maybe they’ll want to chuck me out the door. ‘course, this is just a short-term internship and I’m only working about 12 hours a week, so it’s possible that by the time we get to that point, I won’t be there any more anyway.

This all brought back memories of being, I dunno, about 14 maybe, and spending the day with my friend Helen and her mom at their church bizarre bazaar. Church bizarre bazaars were big events in the thriving community of Sault Ste. Siberia when I was a kid. And they were actually fun. People set up booths in the basements of the churches where they sold all kinds of interesting hand-made things. And there was tea and coffee and cookies and tiny little sandwiches. I think today’s restaurants might take a tip and offer similar little tea sandwiches as an alternative to those huge sandwiches that always make me feel like I’m carrying around lead for hours after lunch.

So Helen and I were at the bizarre bazaar pretty much for the duration. Her mom was working at it and I think we were supposed to be helping but, for the life of me, I can’t remember that we did anything constructive. I was dressed up in an delightful little outfit that involved a short jacket and *short* mini-skirt in a purple cotton flowered print. And nylon stockings. People did get dressed up for those teas, in a Saturday afternoon way, but, looking back, I have to wonder who I was trying to impress with that get-up. *Boys* probably. Except that boys were in very short supply at church bizarres bazaars.

About halfway through the day, I randomly happened to notice that there was a huge LUMP on the back of one of my calves, underneath my stocking. I was totally freaked out! Somebody said, “maybe it’s a blood blister!” YIKES!!!

I forget exactly what happened next. I think that for a while, I walked around being freaked out and wondering what it was. Even though there seemed to be nothing at all wrong with my leg. The lump didn’t hurt and my leg worked perfectly well.

Finally, I gathered up my courage and headed off to the Ladies Room. With quite some bit of terror, I peeled off my stocking and found, dun dun dun, a big clump of DOG FUR!


Monday, October 15th, 2007

I am a sssssssssnake! In the Chinese zodiac, that is. It’s an interesting concept that the Chinese zodiac is based on a yearly cycle (actually 12 years, if I have it right), instead of the regular horoscope monthly cycle (also based on 12, hmmm). Why do I know all this? Because my latest Illustrator assignment involves a design based on my Chinese zodiac aminal. So I’m researching this. I’ve found profiles of myself here and here. (Y’all can get your own profiles at these sites too, not that you are particularly interested in doing that.) Here are a bunch of people — famous people, that is — who are also snakes: Clara Barton, Liz Claiborne, Charles Darwin, Mary Baker Eddy, Elizabeth I, Fannie Farmer, Anne Frank, Mahatma Gandhi, Ellen Goodman, Carole King, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe. Honestly, Elizabeth I is the one I think I admire the most. But whatever. According to one of the profiles, I am most suited to be married to a rooster or an ox. But I am married to a horse (same birth year as me but born a few months later). Actually, he does sometimes engage in what I think of as horse-like behavior. Oh well.

Some of the stuff in these profiles just totally NAILS me. Some of it is just a bit off. And some of it, I WISH I could say matched me but, sadly, it doesn’t. But I wistfully aspire to it.

And then. How does this all interact with being a Capricorn (me, The Commander, Richard Nixon, The Grinch, Martin Luther King, and a surprising number of friends of mine here on The Planet)? And what about being an INFJ? Which I apparently am, even though people who haven’t known me very long think I am an INTJ and so did I, until I took a free (and prob’ly quick and dirty) on-line test. But if my profile is accurate, is that why I always feel like I’m so far out from other people even though I feel like I can understand them? Hmm…

At least I am not a Taurus. 😈

What zodiac sign (Chinese or regular) or jung type or whatever are you? Do you fit the profile?

I dunno. It’s all interesting but every morning I still have to just have to get up and do life. Sometimes it’s all good and sometimes it’s just a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day. Some days are just like that. Even if you don’t have to wear railroad pajamas. And sometimes on one of those terrible, horrible days, something happens that turns it into a wonderful, fantabulous day. All in a split second. Sigh.

Dreaming of Rossport

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

rossport.jpgI think I was about nine when my family took a trip around Lake Superior. I got to miss a couple days of school to do it. I couldn’t have been 10 because, when I was 10, the International Bridge opened and we could go to Canada without taking a ferry. I remember when the International Bridge opened because we drove over it the first night it was open. We drove over the Mackinac Bridge the first night that was open too and I actually remember that. I was only three. Actually, I probably was 10 when we took that trip around the lake because the International Bridge opened on Halloween (I *think* I am not making this up) and we went around the lake earlier in October.

Anyway, I remember Grandroobly driving our vee-hickle (was it the Corvair?) onto the old ferry to Canada to start that trip. Early in the trip, we stopped at a rest area on Highway 17 North and my little bro’ made friends with a little French-speaking girl. “Well, how did you communicate with her,” the parents wanted to know? “Oh, all you do is just put your mouth a different way.” I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t meet a friend at that rest area too. Always self conscious, I wondered who would want to talk to an ugly, geeky kid with glasses. And I was probably more focused on “just go to the restroom, don’t talk to strangers,” knowing me. Miss you bro’. Anyway.

I get Rossport, Terrace Bay, and Marathon all mixed up in my mind these days. I remember that we stayed in a motel in a town that smelled to high heaven of sulfur. Certain people are at the Rossport Inn tonight and when they called, I asked them about the smell. No smell. Now that I think about it, it was Terrace Bay that we stayed at that smelled so awful. It was okay. You get used to stuff like that after a while and I still sort of remember that motel. And the *fancy* (in my eyes) motel we stayed at in Fort William/Port Arthur Thunder Bay the next night. I’ll never forget the fountain out in front even though it’s probably long dead by now.

Grandroobly didn’t like to stop a whole lot on trips and we made tracks the third day to stay in a motel room in Houghton, back in good old Michigan. He liked the scenery but he didn’t particularly like stopping for gift shops and mine tours, etc. (Uh, I can be a bit like that too.)

You guys, I want pictures of that amethyst mine!

In which I revert to my usual dunderheaded self.

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

That sure was a long diatribe yesterday, wasn’t it? I was so mad, I was ready to take on the world. Today, I am just a big klutz!

I am “mom alone” this weekend and I kind of had a hankering to go to the farmer’s market and then Jane (my cousin) emailed suggesting tea and so we made a plan to meet for tea at 8 AM today at the Kerrytown Sweetwater’s. Except that Guess Who got onto autopilot and arrived at the ASHLEY STREET Sweetwater’s promptly at 8, which is where we usually meet for tea and the only Sweetwater’s that I could think of.

It was still pretty close to eight and Jane wasn’t there yet but she isn’t usually late, so I started wondering. Am I in the right place? I must be, this is where we always have tea. Of all things, I DID NOT HAVE MY COMPUTER WITH ME! Did you read that? I take my computer EVERYWHERE, whether I think I’m going to need it or not. It’s amazing how many times I use it to look stuff up. Like somebody’s TELEPHONE NUMBER. Like Jane’s, which wasn’t in my iPhone because I was too lazy to port the numbers over from my old phone. Or how about EMAIL MESSAGES with important information in them? Like the exact Sweetwater’s where we were supposed to meet. And there are a few people left on the planet who don’t have cell phones yet and Jane is one of them.

So, there I sat, effectively dead in the water. I looked up her phone number online and called it in vain, knowing that she wasn’t home because she was probably sitting with tea somewhere over in the Kerrytown vicinity. I thought about driving over to Kerrytown. I still didn’t remember that here was a Sweetwater’s over there and I couldn’t think what cafes *were* there. Sweet Lorraine’s? Hmmm. I think it *used* to be there. I looked it up on my iPhone. Livonia and a couple other places but not Ann Arbor.

Defeated, I dashed home, fired up my Macbook and read her message again. Sweetwater’s in KERRYTOWN! Oh yeah, there IS a Sweetwater’s in Kerrytown. It was about 8:20 by then. I made a MAD DASH down to Kerrytown. By that time, Jane had figured out that I was probably at the ASHLEY Sweetwater’s, had them put her tea in a to-go cup and walked over to Ashley. Where I wasn’t! Because I was wandering Kerrytown!

I am home now, and we’ve connected by phone. I’m settled into a day of homework and 15 minute slices of housework. Maybe a few errands. After the football game starts, thank you very much. Jane? She ducked into the garden store on Ashley and has a bulb-planting project ahead of her. After starting out the day like that, there’s no way to go but up! Right?

Jane, I definitely owe you one!!!