Archive for March, 2008

In which I am dragged from orbit, only to spiral to a rapid vaporous death into an engorged red sun.

Monday, March 31st, 2008

“When I was a kid, I walked 20 miles to school *each* way through six-foot snowdrifts.” blah blah blah and isn’t there something about how it was uphill both ways?

When I was a *little* kid, I “ran like the Red Queen” to school at Lincoln Elementary. It was right across the street! “Stinkin’ Linkin” as I forget which jokester called it at one of the few high school reunions I’ve managed to get to. He was having a good time and he was funny and I laughed but, although I have some bad memories of Lincoln School, there were plenty of good times too and you just can’t beat being right next to the school. After all, the *playground* is there too and you can play there even when you aren’t in school.

Walking to the junior high (we only had one) and the first two years of high school could be an adventure. Nowadays, that walk for me happens quick as a wink. Back then, I dunno. I would start out at my house on Superior Street and walk down to Easterday (about six blocks) and wait (and sometimes wait and wait and wait) for my friend Helen to meet me there. We would walk a block over and cross the Johnston Street bridge and in another block and a half or so, we were there. I remember walking down there in -32 degree (Fahrenheit) weather and I remember walking through deep snow and I remember skittering along on a half-inch of ice. It was real fun when the water in the power canal was warmer than the air. Icy fog, anyone? Back then, I was wearing mini-skirts and garter belts to hold up my runny old nylon stockings. Cute? Not. Get a ride to school? Say what? Buses? The buses brought in the country kids. Anybody inside the city limits walked.

Oh yeah. You are wondering about why I stopped after the first two years of high school? No, I didn’t quit. Sheesh. That was the year that, after about a gazillion failed millages for a new high school, one finally passed and for the last two years of high school, I didn’t have to walk across the canal any more. I walked across the tundra instead. Oh, yeah, I did have my driver’s license by then but I was only allowed to drive to school when I had to go to a piano lesson afterwards. I think my favorite coat was a cute little fake leopard-skin thing with almost no insulation. And stockings again, or maybe we actually had pantyhose by then. Whatever they were, they were not up to subzero temperatures. But I did NOT get frostbite!!!!! Ever!!!

These days, everybody drives or gets driven to school. If the unique little snowflakes of The Planet Ann Arbor are more than 1.5 miles from school, they can take a bus. If they are closer than that, they usually get driven, if a “safety bus” is not an option. I am guilty too! I didn’t drive my kids to elementary school because the school is on my block. They had to pass by the deep, dark, scary woods to get there but they didn’t have to cross a street. Middle school and high school? We had some dealings with the middle school bus but I have to admit that I did a lot of driving too.

Why do we do this? Is the world *really* so much more dangerous than when I was a kid that we have to drive our kids everywhere? How did you get to school when you were a kid? Whatever age you are.

Spam Dichotomy

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Yes, this is my basement.So, can I sit down now? Maybe not. I did sit some of the day but I got a lot done too. But not everything I wanted to. But who the heck ever does?

In my new front-loading washing machine that a week ago I didn’t know I would own and had no knowledge of such things, I have washed a down comforter, a wool blanket that probably hasn’t been washed in about 30 years, and a few other random loads of laundry. [Looks around furtively, what else can I wash?] Oh, the GG is washing his sleeping bag. Goooooood idea! I have been leaving the door open when the washer is not in use on Mac’s and Webmomster’s advice and I’ll look for a little rubber sock snagger thingamajig on Jay’s advice. Of course, the dryer decided to malfunction right at this exact moment in time and when I put my first load into it this morning, I couldn’t shut the door. I suppose it was probably miffed about having to share that great grey-green greasy limpopo corner of the Landfill dungeon with a new beast. Anyway, it’s just that some little hooky thing that helps the door stay shut had wandered off. But hey, it’s okay, I can keep it closed with an old, dead computer. I knew there had to be a reason why we’re storing all that old, dead computer crap.

And then, the GG commenced to take my stove apart. It’s an old, old stove. Well, it’s not as old as the old wood stove that I remember my Grandma making pies in when I was just a little kid in the Old Cabin. But. My stove was here when we bought the Landfill. Unlike some of the other appliances that were here, I *liked* the stove. I got along with it immediately! It was probably not that new then (1984) and it is definitely not new now. One burner has been persnickety for quite a while now. If you turn it down, it doesn’t always exactly *go* down. I’m not sure we can fix this stove. It’s okay. I can live with one persnickety burner. If it goes into a general failure mode, that’ll be a different story. I have not been very much impressed with the new stoves I’ve encountered. The ones with the digital controls. My moom’s stove and the Houghton Lake stove. I am a pretty good computer geek and I can beat my way through most of that stuff if I have to but, honest to god, the old dial-oriented controllers are better. I love my stove. I won’t replace it because of one persnickety burner after 24-plus years. Stove? Please do not enter a general failure mode!

Last week was a firedrill. I moved my blahg and I dunno what else. Oh, I guess I worked. And went to the grocery store. And got gas. Sigh. This week will be crazier. But it’ll be fun. Because I’m going (with my work colleagues) to a usability conference over at WCC, which is also my school.

Love y’all. I hope that I have directed all the bad appliance/veehickle karma over here to the Landfill this week and that y’all are able to hike or ski or kayak or whatever you want to do without fussing around about your blasted washing machine. Or dryer or refrigimatator or stove or terlet or whatever.

Delirium Wilderness

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

robot.jpgWe’re not really in the Delirium this weekend. It just kinda feels like it. Lemme see. Got up and on the road to Kalamazoo by seven this morning. Almost ran outta gas right where I thought was in the middle of nowhere. The Indefatigable’s gas gauge hasn’t worked in years and someone made a miscalculation. By a miraculous stroke of luck, we made it up a hill and saw that an exit was coming up in a mile and somehow whatever little bitsy bit of gasoline that was in the tank got us to it. Somehow. Whew. Grabbed Mouse from her new apartment and headed up to the Cooper Cafe for Bluegrass Breakfast. In the Cute Little Blue Honda Civic (y’all know the rest), which she has had over there since Wednesday. Back to futz with outlets and other little details at her apartment. Yes, y’all, The Indefatigable lives and Mouse will have it in kzoo until summer. I am not happy with this plan but Mouse seems to be and so I will live with it for the time being. There is a method to the madness. Or at least madness.

Back to The Planet Ann Arbor about 15 minutes before the new washer got delivered. Yes, Webmomster, it is a front-loader. Am I happy with it? I dunno yet. What I was immediately *not* happy with was that the door opened on the wrong side for me. We’ll figger it out. I’m all for high-efficiency appliances and I am ECSTATIC that I can actually wash sleeping bags and comforters, etc., at home. But my bottom line is always, IS IT RELIABLE OR NOT??? Our first washer? Definitely not. The one we just replaced? YES, yes yes yes! But after 10 good years, it was time.

And then. Because we weren’t tired enough from driving to kzoo and back, et al, we schlepped out into our vee-hickle again and shot over to EMU for the Great Lakes regional robotics competition. Our nephew was there as part of the Thunderchickens! They did not win in the end. Their robot was heads and shoulders above the others and I am not kidding because I was right down there front and center taking cheap little videos on my digital cam as they racked up points during the second round. And racked them up and racked them up. Alas, mechanical/electronic/whatever issues (hey, speak slowly, I’m blonde) kept their robot from moving in a couple rounds. I am still proud of them. This is a wonderful competition and it was a drag that they didn’t win but but but but. I’m running out of steam and you know the drill about what great kids they all are, blah blah blah. They are, but they are sick of hearing that over and over again. I know.

Home now. Can I sit down tomorrow? I may need to! At least for part of the day. OH!!!! It wouldda been Grandpa Garth’s birthday! Thanks, Kathy for reminding me, I think the GG remembered too. Happy birthday, Gumper. I love you! Click here or on the pic for our delirious road warrior day.

quick iPhone update

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

mile 115, where we almost ran outta gas. 20.36 gallons, 20 gallon tank. $60.88 $68.80. Way to go, Stormy!

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rrrrrr clunk . . . . ticktickticktick rrrrrr clunk . . . . ticktickticktick rrrrr clunk

Friday, March 28th, 2008

mudslush.jpgThat is NOT an unbalanced load.

Ever hear of the seven-year itch? Well, how ’bout the 26-year itch?

Siiiiirens in the niiiiiiight. And flashing lights too. Doo doo doo doo doo….

I do not own enough underwear to make it until Tuesday.

Sandals in the snoooooowww… Don’t change my settings… doo doo doo doo doo…..

Call me when you’re done taking all the controllers apart.

And I don’t have time to buy any.

Snow aaaand slush and iiiiiice. Don’t clear my cookies… doo doo doo doo doo…

16 years is long enough. It is time.

Let it melt. Plowing and shoveling and snowblowing just makes it worse.

Cranes crashing through bridges and truckloads of water bottles in the woods.

Stormy Kromer hats do not go in the basket. Keys go in the basket.

Mmmmmm. Nice, cold coffee, right out of the pot. Good morning!

I have a swift in my hot little hands. Toldja I knew where it was.

My brain on drugs

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

gearhead.jpgI did a double-take when I saw a Faaaarrfox tab that said, “loading, loading, loading.” I’ve been seeing that thing more often than not in the last year or so and it has always meant that my website pages were loading s-l-o-w-l-y. Again. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam. As in click on “home” and then go down and futz around with the laundry for a while and when you come back up, it *might* be loaded. Or maybe it’ll be timed out. I’m a little jumpy about that but this time *my* website had loaded quick as a wink! It was my online bank! I just closed the tab. I’ll get back out there later. I know they will fix it pretty fast. They can’t afford to lose customers.

Like Purehost apparently thinks it can. To reveal at last the name of my long time web hosting service. Officially at least, I may have accidentally name-dropped it before. And it’s only one of my host services anyway. I have other sites at Bluehost which is great.

I still don’t have my email configured properly on my computer. I mean, my *real* computer. It’s configured on my iPhone, much easier to deal with than Mac OSX Mail, and I have webmail at my new host. We’ll get that figgered out eventually. But my pages actually load now. They don’t take five or 10 or 15 minutes to load. They don’t lose the connection. I’m sure there’ll be days when the new host has problems. Everyone does. My bank, for example. It can’t be anywhere near as bad as Purehost has been for the last year or so.

It’s a long story. The issue is an ongoing problem with what they are calling something like “connectivity issues with mysql databases”. Well, sorry Purehost, but most blogs and many content management systems use mysql databases. How many blogs are out there? 10,000-million? Are you supporting blogging software or not? Someday in another blahg entry, I’ll make a list of random and bizarre things that random “tech support” people told me in my many messages to Purehost asking what the #$%@ was going on. I’m too taaarrred tonight. I encountered a few good people along the way who were willing to answer my questions honestly. You guys, I’m sure there’s somebody out there who’ll hire you if you ever want to leave Purehost.

What I can’t figure out is why Purehost is always sending out html-formatted email messages talking about how wonderful their web design services are. Or their ecommerce stuff. Which is probably *not* using mysql. If they can send me messages about all the “wonderful” stuff they can do, why can’t they send me a message saying, “we’re having trouble dealing with mysql?” I don’t know what complicated business decisions drove all of that but I’m outta there. I didn’t *choose* Purehost in the first place but that’s a whole ‘nother long story.

I’m gone from Purehost now. THANK YOU my friend and new webhost jcb. You are wonderful and I am honored to be one of your ragtag bunch of renegades.

Hello World!!!

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

In which I have a new host, a new version of WordPress — one that my database seems to connect to just fine — and a REAL tech support guy!!! Cheers to jcb!

See you on the dark side of the moon

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

ababsurdo is moving. When? Tomorrow evening. Where? I’m joining up with a bunch of renegades. I think I’ll fit in just fine there. I have had it with my current host provider. I’ll tell you about it later. Hopefully everything will go smoothly. If not, you may not see me for a couple days. Hang in there. Your daily dose of blather will return soon enough. Oh yeah! Email? If you email me within the next couple of days and it bounces or whatever, try again! Or try anne at ursamajorwebworks dot com 🙂 Ciao, Kayak Woman

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Easter bunnies and duckies and chicksies and lambies and cowsies and froggies

Monday, March 24th, 2008

goodfriday.jpgOkay, I can deal with the concept of an Easter cow, I guess, especially if it is made out a cute, furry, lavender fabric. But an Easter FROG??? I think I have an Easter hangover.

Since when did this amphibious green slimehopper become elevated to the status of an official Easter aminal? I kid you not. Mouse and I celebrated Christmas Holy Saturday slog-slithering through the thick layer of icy slush that clogged the streets of the Planet Ann Arbor single-handedly jump-starting the ailing US economy. Tarjay, Bed Bath and Beyond, and the Westgate Kroger, where we completely overwhelmed the uscan. Everywhere we went, there were frogs mixed in with the cute little yellow and pink and lavender bunnies and chickies and duckies and lambies. And cowsies. People, do you have any idea how dangerous the concept of an Easter Froggy is? Make no mistake. These are cute little green froggies and people are all oohing and aahing all over them and cooing crazy things like, “oooh, look at the cute little froggies, wouldn’t one of those be perfect for little Madison’s Easter basket?” People, do not be fooled. These slimy little rapscallions look adorable in the store. They will look up at you with their big, buggly eyes as you take them through the checkout. “Oh, pleeeeese take me home!” they will squeak. Beware. When you get them home, they will show their true colors. Just wait. They will steal every motorized vee-hickle they can get their greasy little green hands on and return them with green, slimy stuff all over the seats and windows. When they get bored with whatever rusty old street vee-hickles you have to offer, they’ll peer out into the back yard and grok, “Hay, whare’s th’ flyin’ musheen?” If you don’t have one, they’ll go steal one from the Coast Guard. Next they will proceed to rummage the “cubberds” for intoxicating substances of various sorts. You know, frog juice, laundry detergent, listerine. After a bit of imbibing, they’ll be lounging around in the laundry basket singing ribald little ditties at the top of their lungs and grokking around for all the other poor little aminals to serve them more drink. And the outlandish wardrobes. Frog clothing preferences make the neighborhood drag queen’s attire look like business casual. Lemme see. A shocking pink second head of hair. And he begged and pleaded with us to buy him a neon blue one yesterday at Bed Bath and Beyond. Babushkas and fancy shawls. Harry Potter glasses. Mardi Gras beads. Folks, please take my advice and stick with a nice little pink bunny for little Madison’s Easter basket.

I think I have some typos and stuff but since it is (still) taking at 5-10 minutes to load each page here, I’m gonna just let ’em be. Let it beee-eee. Let it bee-eee. Let it bee-eeee. Let it bee-he-eee. Dum de dum de dum, grok grok grok.

March 23

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

megrandroobly.jpgI am just all over the place today. I am writing and re-writing. I can’t say what I want to say. I’m not even sure what I want to say. And my host service keeps losing my posts. It’s okay, I’m saving copies off-line as I write. I’m getting all too used to this. Alas, I had a rather slow start today. It began with what are rather typical nightmares for me, distorted shorelines and dashed dreams. It is Easter but it is also March 23. Two years ago today, March 23 fell on a Thursday and I was driving up the I75 SUV Speedway to Siberia for the second time that week. I knew that Grandroobly was dying and I got the confirming call just north of West Branch.

I am not all that sad about my dad’s death. I was there through the surgeries and the ICU and all of that at the Henry Ford Hoosegow and I was there during his first week at Tendercare watching him and wondering if he had the will to win the struggle to regain his mobility. And I was there the last few days at War Memorial in a room littered with cans of Ensure. At various times throughout the whole ordeal, medical professionals would discuss his mental state. Did he have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia? I dunno. Yes, there were times when he was confused. He had moments of confusion in the years before he fell, too. He was almost 87 years old, fer Kee-reist. On Black Tuesday, two days before he died, The Commander and I consulted with Doc Rob and the surgeon and finalized the decision to continue with comfort care only. No feeding tubes or other invasive procedures. That afternoon he told The Commander (for the umpteenth time) that he was just going to get his jacket and then they could go home. She replied (for the umpteenth time) that he couldn’t get up because he couldn’t walk. He barely had the strength to talk by that time but he gathered everything he had and quite indignantly proclaimed, “Well you just go and do whatever you need to do and I’ll *walk* home!” Not that day. On the other hand, he recognized my beach urchins and was able to tell them he loved them and kiss them one last time. End of life.

Ramble ramble. We have never observed Easter in a religious way but, when the beach urchins were little, the Easter bunny always paid a visit so, on the other end of the spectrum, I’m remembering little beach urchins excitedly hunt for eggs and rip new stuffed aminals out of packages and overdose on Easter candy. I didn’t buy *any* Easter candy this year. By the time I even thought about it, I figured it would be too late and the Westgate Kroger would probably be pulling all the Easter candy off the shelves to make way for the next holiday. What *is* next? Memorial Day, maybe? Chocolate wreaths anyone?

We’re having Thanksgiving today. Mouse was MIA for the winter holidays this year, so I’m doing turkey to make up for it. Not that she wasn’t well taken care of in Senegal. She had a blast over there. I’m doing this for *me* as much as anyone. I’m fine with the concept that my beach urchins aren’t home for every single holiday. It means that they are successfully grown up and living their own lives. Bloom where you are planted, et al. But I do miss the old days with the colored eggs and the candy and the stuffed aminals and the Easter baskets.

Me? Heck. I shook off the dream and buried it like I do with all of them. Blasted through the wall to consciousness. A shower and a pre-dawn walk in the snow. And more snow this afternoon, maybe. To think that just a few years ago, we kayaked on Easter morning and it was 80-something degrees and I got sunburned.

Yeah, that’s me and the old pilot over there in the cabin back yard. I haven’t got the faintest idea what he’s doing. I better call The Commander because it’s been almost two weeks and I’m sure she’ll greet me with, “Where the hell’ve’ya been?” 😉 And THE LANDFILL TAXES ARE DONE!!! YAY!!!!!

Happy Easter, y’all! Love, Kayak Woman

Happy birthday Bubs!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

beachcrew.jpgSay who? Some may be wondering. Everyone who grew up on Fin Family Moominbeach knows that Bubs is my aunt! That’s not her real name but it’s the name most of us have always called her. I probably have this story a bit bass-ackwards so somebody who knows it better, please keep me honest! Bubs was named after a friend of Grandma Margaret. Bubs’s older brother Don, who was approximately 13 at the time of her birth, may not have been crazy about that particular friend. Probably he thought she was a gossipy old biddy. Anyway, it was the old biddy herself who was the first to inform him about Bubs’s birth, as he was walking home from school if I have this right and I my not. When he first saw his baby sister, he said something like, “that’s not her name, her name is Bubs!” Somehow that stuck. I’m not sure exactly what he had in mind but that name fits Bubs in some sort of strange way. And she is married to my dear Uncle Harry and together they have been called “Bugs and Horsey” by someone who didn’t *quite* understand the names “Bubs and Harry” very well. Even though they are his grandparents. But, fer kee-reist, were *your* grandparents called something like “Bubs and Harry”?

Bubs is the much younger sister of Grandroobly, his older brother Don, and Radical Betty. That’s her in front in the pic. RB, Don, and Jack (Grandroobly) are behind her. Bubs is the mom of a few of my more frequent commenters: Pooh, Jay, and Jane. Yes, that makes them my cousins. Beloved cousins. As all of my cousins are. I will not say which birthday Bubs is celebrating this year but it does *not* have a zero in it. Bubs has the internets and I know she reads my blahg from time to time but I doubt she is a daily visitor. Like most of us MoominFin gals, Bubs is BUSY! Reading, writing, thinking, traveling, volunteering, etc., etc. Did I mention she is an *expert* gardener? With a thriving greenhouse.

Love you Bubs! Happy birthday!

I’m dreamin’ of a green Easter

Friday, March 21st, 2008

whiteeaster.jpg

So I get a little break here.

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

doorz1.jpgThe Commander has another one beat. Er, I guess she didn’t actually *beat* this one, Arthur C. Clarke, sci-fi writer. He was 90 and she’s only 87. She did beat Kurt Vonnegut and I forget who else. I’m beginning to actually feel like I’m synthesizing information at my work. I know this because it wakes me up in the middle of the night now. Back in the fall, when I was still a student with a very part-time job I was still dreaming about shoreline stuff (and other awful stuff I won’t ever talk about). After I started working full time, I wasn’t dreaming much at all for a while. Now i am dreaming about work. Honestly, it is better than some of the horrible stuff that invaded my dreams last fall. I would be halfway through my early morning walk before that stuff got out of my head. Onward! I feel pretty successful that both of my children have found mothers away from their birth home. Mouse’s moom in Africa and Liz’s moom/boss out there in Berkeley. Some other mooms might feel jealous about their kids forming relationships with other moom-like figures. I feel like I have done something right somehow. Against all the odds of me being not the best moom, other mooms actually love my daughters. That is pretty cool somehow. Not sure how/why. Love you girls. I am sooooo taaaarrrd of having my host service tell me that they can’t figger out why my site loads so slowly. I’ll tell all after I move and I’m in the process of doing that but both me and my new host are busy this week. We’ll get there. And then I’ll tell all some. Hey, Ol’ Boy, areya listening? ’cause this was your type of blahg entry. And against all odds, I had to drive The Indefatigable today. You don’t wanna know. It got me to work and back and I was even brave enough to take the freeway. The part that I *didn’t* like was how much play is in the steering wheel. Sigh. Kevin? Kevin? Keeeevvvvviiiiinnnnn!

Africa and California

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

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I have pictures from my digital cam that the GG took to California and the GG’s digital cam that Mouse took to Senegal and various iPhones. They’re all in my iPhoto. And Jane’s Bali pics are in there too! So, I’m not sure whether these lizard-like things are from Cally-forny or Dakar. Someone tell me pul-eeze. 🙂

<?php $person = ‘moom’; echo “<p>$person is tired</p>\n”; ?>

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

foggybottom.jpgSuper Tuesday again here. Honestly, most Tuesdays, I can kind of skip out of my class early because, as a mere auditor, I am not doing the project (sigh) and there’s really not much point in my staying around while the prof works with individual groups. Tonight, I had to stay until the bitter end. I think I would’ve died if Kate hadn’t shoved some peanuts into my hand. Um, like I don’t have enough cash on me to use a vending machine. Kee-reist. At that moment, I was kind of missing the stars-n-stripes hat guy that was in my first class over there. One day he came in an hour and a half late and loud. Drunk? High? I dunno. He kept disrupting the class and then, for a while, he quieted down but I could hear him harassing the quiet young Muslim man next to him with inappropriate questions about religion. Rambling on, he began talking about his own southern Baptist upbringing and he got a little louder again and then proclaimed that he had been Excalibur in a previous life. Yes, the sword. What did you think? And THEN, he proclaimed that he needed to leave for a while. He had been in the classroom for about 10 minutes by then. When he came back, he passed out packs of peanut M&Ms to “all of the ladies”. The boys didn’t get them. I guess they were outta luck. I never saw him after that. I thought he was entertaining but I’m sure the teacher didn’t and he definitely didn’t belong in that classroom and he didn’t return. For whatever reason. Hopefully the teacher was able to kick him out! That ain’t always easy in this day and age of entitlement for everyone for everything whether they contribute anything or not. Sorry, I’m cranky tonight. Anyway, tonight was the introductory lecture on Ruby (the computer language) and I was pretty much fascinated with it, especially after Kate gave me those peanuts and I could actually concentrate. Note to self: yes, you are right, a large amount of food before class would probably be a bad thing but a *snack* might do the trick!

We’re the ones with the caribou antlers.

Monday, March 17th, 2008

These antlers don’t belong to me. They belong to Sam the Archaeologist. A double shovel.

caribou.jpg

She schlepped ’em outta northern AK in a small bush plane. I can’t tell that story properly. It’s not my story. Maybe someday Sam will. Or not. It’s up to her. The antlers have been with me since about the Jackson Road apartment. I like to get on my high horse about how “things” are not important to me. And mostly they aren’t. But I’ll never get rid of those antlers unless Sam decides she wants ’em back. Er, I also can’t get rid of about a gazillion stuffed aminals and puppets but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, Sam and jcb came over from a more central location in the state tonight. Mouse made yassa poulet and we drank two-buck chuck and generally yucked it up. Oh, and ol’ doc burns and I collaborated on a secret prodject. Er, doc did most of the work. I was a basket case this evening. Is this just about enough blather? Sayonara, Kayak Woman.

Where am I?

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I asked that as the GG woke up from a deep sleep on the way home from Somewhere in Megalopolis to The Planet Ann Arbor earlier this evening. I had actually taken a WRONG TURN! and was going SOUTH on US23 instead of north. It was an easily rectified mistake but sheesh! It is a route I have probably driven about a thousand times over the years. No, I wasn’t drunk and I am not too old to drive. Reminded me of a certain flute-testing trip to Ohio Indiana. Anyway, it was an event-packed weekend and today, we attended a wedding and baptism. That’s our nephew and his lovely new wife on the left and on the right is Grandma Joanny and her beautiful little newborn granddaughter. As much as Joanny loved bringing up all four of her boys, I think she wished for a daughter too. Life goes on and this is her second beautiful granddaughter. And things are a little fuzzy here because we’re all having a great time.

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I shouldn’t admit to this but I did play a little church-type hooky during the services this afternoon. I was sitting next to my b-i-l Jim during the wedding and we managed to do a little web surfing. I hope it was unobtrusive but probably not because at one point, I dropped my iPhone and had to scrabble around under my seat to find it. You guys, I know this was rude, but The Commander will tell you that I never was a good church sitter and today I wanted to watch the Thunderchickens win another competition. That’s our nephew Little Jim’s robotics team (er, he is *not* little, he graduates from high school this spring and goes off to a prestigious college). The team won a regional in St. Louis and so they get to go on *and* their team is mentoring a smaller, less experienced inner-city team. Here’s a link to the winning round in St. Louis and here’s the Thunderchicken website. Of course we hope the Thunderchickens win the national competition (again, they won in 2006) but we are proud of them whatever happens.

But we were really there for the wedding and baptism and reception. It was beautiful and one of the best parts was meeting up with all the other crotchety old Courtois aunts and uncles (um, that would be *us*). The Beautiful Gay and I only had one knock-down, drag-out fight over a glass of wine and I managed somehow to refrain from stealing those big, sparkly red rocks she had around her wrist, so we’re doin’ pretty good there, aren’t we girlfriend? Or heck, we could duke it out at The Group Home sometime. 😈

Jenny has been a part of our family for a while now but today was our official welcome. We love her and we wish happiness and the best of luck for Dave and Jenny and their newborn daughter.

Er, I also did just a little wee bit of church text messaging with Sam the Archaeologist.

and Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Those are *my* socks in the pic! Froggy stole them immediately upon learning that the yarn color was “Froggin'” (or something like that). Mouse’s friend Amanda made them and she gave them to me yesterday! And by the time I got done with that blasted post yesterday, I had forgotten to put them in there and I was so exhausted from writing and editing the post that I didn’t have the stamina to go back and add them. You’d be exhausted too, if it took five minutes or more to load each page related to writing a blahg entry! But thanks to Amanda for the beautiful socks! And we’re off for another adventure this afternoon. Tell you later.

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Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

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click pics to enlarge

Say what? It’s March? Geez, I musta been hibernating! With the bears. Yeah, nice and warm down there in that den. A little noisy with all the snoring and occasional grrring and some farting and stuff. Yeah. You guys know I’m not that interesting. [Er, here’s where the blahgger stops to open up a sticky and copy her text there just in case her fantabulous host server decides to crap out again right in the middle of a blahg entry. You know. So it doesn’t get saved and all of her wondrous prose is flushed down the nearest toilet on Mr. Gore’s information superhighway and she has to start all over again. Like yesterday. Just thinking about yesterday’s post is making me save to a sticky again. This is the last time I’ll share that information though. Just wanted you to know.]

We were down one for Christmas this year, with Mouse in Africa. It isn’t the first time and I’ll bore you some other day with my own little epiphany that you don’t have to be in your parents’ house for Christmas to happen. And be fun. Er, maybe it isn’t boring. It does involve a murder. Don’t worry, it didn’t happen to anyone I know. Anyway. I’m not very sentimental about holidays any more. You either get together with every last 4th cousin seven times removed or you don’t. Holidays can be fun but they last one day. Everyone cannot always be there. I try to make whoever is in my house have a good time and great food and call everyone else or trade dog and ugly pictures with them on email or whatever. And then life goes on. It just does. I’m sorry.

Somehow this year, I got this totally sappy idea that I would make up a Christmas stocking for Mouse to open up on the drive home from O’Hare on March 10th when we picked her up there on her flight home from six months in Senegal. Of course, that didn’t happen. I went back to work and still haven’t figgered out how to fit shopping into my schedule. Mouse didn’t end up coming into O’Hare. That whole thing got screwed up and it’s a long story but we bought her a flight from her *new* point of entry (Miami, Fla) to good old Daytwa Metro. Heck, it was cheaper than driving to Chicago and buying a hotel for the night, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

So, Mouse didn’t get much in the way of Christmas presents. Unless you count the $400 phone call. But I don’t. I call that a disaster. Don’t worry about this Mouse, I’m just being dramatic. Her host family was Catholic so they did celebrate Christmas and she was there for that, although I think she had to turn in a paper that day. I didn’t put a Christmas stocking together for her. And then, today, we were in Tarjay, *after* driving to kzoo to take stuff to her new apartment. We were buying stuff for her apartment and I realized that we were *doing* Christmas! In March. It was fun. We didn’t buy a whole ton of stuff today but we’ll be back. I needed this. I love buying my kids things! They don’t ask for much, except for an expensive college education. The one that I think I actually shoved down their throats. And they constantly complain that I spend too much money on them. It’s okay. You guys are the best kids ever and I love you. I love Christmas whenever it happens and I don’t need to shop for anything for myself. Grok gork gork.

quick iphone update

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Every time I get a coffee at mcdonald’s I think about the time I was driving The Commander and Grandroobly home to Siberia and we got hamburgers at the houghton lake mcd’s and as I pulled back out into the street, Grandroobly’s HOT coffee spilled all over him. The air had a bluish tint to it for a while but it eventually faded.

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