Archive for August, 2008


Sunday, August 31st, 2008

I give up! I’m throwing in the towel. I am dead in the water for the weekend. Except that I am not *in* the water. That is, it is an absolutely *gorgeous* weekend for paddling on this lake and I DO NOT HAVE MY KAYAK HERE WITH ME! Why? Because I was too “stressed out” or whatever it was to pack properly for this trip. Just to taunt me, kayakers have been paddling by our waterfront all day. This is the first time I’ve ever even seen more than the occasional kayak around here. Usually I’m just about the only one.

To add injury to insult, I really am crippled today. I love crocs. They are comfortable shoes. For puttering around in the garden or running errands or whatever. Power-walking four or five miles? Hmmm. I made it. I didn’t limp back into the yard. But I have two blisters now and, to top it all off, my poor old horrible feet are now ultra dried out and cracked up from going barefoot all weekend and some of *those* cracks hurt. It’s okay, plain old Vaseline helps with that. Except I *forgot* mine this weekend. I was wondering why I had two tubs of that stuff in the Blue and Only Bathroom. It’s because one of them belongs in my traveling “cosmetic” bag or whatever you call it. Yes, I am a mess. I am a walking train-wreck. I am so at the end that when the pontoon boat went out this afternoon, I went with it. I can’t walk and I can’t kayak and I canNOT sit around the cabin all day because, if I do, I will spend too blasted much time on the internet. Heck, I was even on the internet a couple of times while we were on the pontoon boat but I did refrain from posting anything.

Last but not least, I don’t usually post full-size digital photos, mainly to save bandwidth. But this cute little froggy with his bug breakfast was just too cool. So, click on the picture and then click again to get him really close up. Apologies to my web guy for using server space. [And ssshhhh, don’t tell Froooggy about this. He’s asleep. Zzzzzz. Snxxl. Grokka. pip-pip-pip-pip. Hic. Grokka. Zzzzzzzz.] Say what? The sun is over the yardarm? Okay, okay, I don’t really feel like a ‘hattan yet but I’m workin’ on it.

Note to self: buy a kayak (or two) to keep here at Houghton Lake. If we ever get done hemorrhaging money on whatever the current crisis is. Regurgimators. Rickety old vee-hickles. You name it.

A mystery guest glahgger speaks up

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Crap shows are bad. Boats are good.

Chef chris

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

In which Kayak Woman discovers (and

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Note to self: buy some new sandals. So said the woman who calls herself Kayak Woman and *thinks* she is such a big ultra-outdoors-woman. She said it one week ago as she and various island-conquering comrades successfully managed to negotiate a steep and slippery downhill slope without losing their footing or balance. It took some doing and it was at the bottom that KW made the little mental note. After breathing a big sigh of relief.

I loved my Chacos but I knew the end was coming. I have owned them for a year and a half now. The straps were getting a little frayed around the edges and the soles were starting to wear through. But of course, I went back to megalopolis and life went on and I continued to walk umpteen gazillion miles a day in those Chacos and, um, wear them to work. And then we came up here to Houghton Lake and, wouldn’t you know it? I did not pack a second pair of footwear. Who needs it? I have my Chacos.

Today. After we had already made a Best Choice/Home Depot/WollMort/BP run around the lake. I was walking along the road and all of a sudden, it felt like my sandal was sort of flapping around broken and, guess what? It was! spectacularly so. Almost completely split in two. Like, what do I do? I managed to limp back to the cabin but then, for a few minutes, I couldn’t think through what to do next? Super glue? Duct tape? Nope. My beloved Chacos were just not gonna last for the rest of the weekend. So. Back over to WollMort (in a borrowed pair of The Beautiful Gay’s gorgeous non-hiking sandals). Did *not* want to go to WollMort again. A sea of SUVs and, oh, the humanity. As luck would have it, I spotted a Dunham’s! It’s right next to the Tractor Store. And there, I was able to score the most obnoxiously colored pair of Crocs on earth. They’re radioactive pink. The picture doesn’t really show the color very well. Other choices were UM or MSU colors. No thank you. I already have some Crocs (lavender) and I love them. I knew they would last the weekend and beyond. Can I hike, for sake of argument, Beaver Creek in them? I’m not sure. I did a 3-mile test drive this afternoon. Oh, and I got onto and a new pair of Chacos is heading my way sometime this week!

Oh yeah, and randomly, I surfed over to earlier today before this whole terribly exciting incident occurred. Can’t remember why.

Buzz Saw

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Lemme see, what did we have today? A little road rage on the way home from work. A little twit (sorry kids, that’s as polite as I can get) cut in front of me as I was *patiently* (REALLY!) waiting way back in the left turn lane at the Jackson/Maple light leaving room for other vee-hickles to exit and enter various driveways. I was NOT sitting there waiting for, oh well. What’s the point? I honked and acted like a 2-year-old and she gestured and acted like a 2-year-old back. I am not at all proud of my behavior. Really. What *was* my problem?

The truth is, it has been a hard summer in some ways and I am really, really, really road-weary. And at the same time I really, really, really did not want to work today because I wanted to get on the road early today. Yes, the road again. Because we are now once again in the Great White North, albeit this time we have only gone as far as Houghton Lake. Yes, we were in the Great White North last weekend too, at Fin Family Moominbeach. And I am tired. And road weary.

It is really, really, really hard to be going through the first year of a new job and not having any vacation time, etc., especially when your blasted husband lives on the edge of use-or-lose. That means he has so much vacation time built up that if he doesn’t use it by the end of the year or whenever, he loses it. And that’s okay with me, he has definitely earned every scrap of it. The problem is that he is always kind of expecting me to just up and leave work whenever he wants to go north or wherever, just like I used to be able to do during all the years I was a volunteer or theatre guild administrator or student. Get up and leave Friday morning? Okay. Not any more. To be perfectly honest, thanks to my more than generous employer, I have a better than adequate number of vacation hours available to me right now. But my work ethic gets in my way sometimes. I like this job. It is a wonderful opportunity and one that I really didn’t expect to find at this somewhat late date in life. I had stuff to finish up today and I took a day off last week. I didn’t feel right about asking for more time for the Labor Day weekend. I knew that if I had to deal with driving home through rush hour traffic, then driving up to HL, I would be a frazzled mess. I just wanted to go home and relax crash out on the couch at eight PM, get up at 0-dark-30 tomorrow and drive up then.

We kind of argued about it this afternoon. “Can’t you leave early?” “No.” I felt guilty and defeated. Then I heard a little bird of the corporate sort coming around whispering some good news to all of us: it’s a holiday weekend, take off an hour early. That made all the difference in the world. Suddenly it seemed possible to go home, throw a few things *back* into my old LL Bean duffle bag and pack my electronical crap and get on the road. The GG (who was off work already) could grab a gyro or something to eat in the car. It worked, we’re here, the traffic wasn’t that bad. Cool off, Buzz Saw Woman.

Dogmomster will probably comment about how awful it is to be a contractor and have to start over on vacation every time your contract house is bought out or whatever (I probably don’t have the details right). I agree. It is horrible and it is a practice that needs to change. I have worked for a contractor. The difference is that I worked for the same contractor for 15 years. I didn’t ever have to start over at zero on that stuff, it just took about 100 years to get to, oh, about what I get right now…

And, yes! That is a self-portrait! I remember making it! Dooya like my square nose? And that is a *bow* on top of my head. What were you thinking?

If the buzzing doesn’t stop, I’m sending it back. I mean that.

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Quick update: to yesterday’s comments. Yes, absolutely *all* comments are welcome from people I know and I approve every legitimate comment from those I don’t know. I moderate the first comment from *anyone* so that I can keep spammers out. Sometimes if you are commenting from a slightly different ID or whatever, WordPress will trap you into being moderated, even if it’s not your first comment. But I am never very far from the Internet and I will approve you as soon as I see your comment.

Okay. The fridge. It’s just like the old one. The only thing that’s different is that there’s not a whole bunch of crap affixed to the front of it. Yet. Ho hum. The truth is I don’t really care. If it keeps things cold, it’s fine. More than a few people that I interact with seem a bit flabbergasted by that. Most women at least care about the color! Well, yes, actually, I specified white. I do not need a lavender refrigerator and fortunately, the GG did not bring a lavender refrigerator home. Whew! That was a close one.

The truth is that I am a bit jaded about buying appliances. When you are a young kid with a baby on the way and you buy a nice but sorta rattle-trap house, you don’t have any money left over for appliances. Or you don’t think you do. So you clean out the ancient refrigerator that’s already in the house. The one that the previous owners didn’t want to take with them. And you make it last for, lemme see, 13 years, until an ice storm related power surge *finally* takes it out. Rrrrrr-click. Rrrrrr-click. I’ll never forget that noise. I liked the new refrigerator I got out of that adventure but, really, I didn’t have any *choice* because there were only one or two refrigerators that would *fit* in the refrigerator spot in my ugly, cluttered, knife-filled kitchen. I’ve blahgged before about the whole washing machine buying thing where the GG went over to Big George and took apart every washer on the floor to make sure that we didn’t buy one with the controller that the old lemon had. Fun? You try spending an hour in an appliance warehouse. And then we ran into Faz on the way home and that was a whole ‘nother bunch of business about the Haisley School ice cream social pizza sale. (May Faz rest in peace.)

People. I know that women often obsess about their appliances. Me? Every single blasted time I have *ever* had to buy a major appliance, 1) I was totally overwhelmed by the choices, and 2) when I found something that I thought was really cool, it was either a) too expensive, or b) didn’t fit into the space, or c) you name it. I couldn’t get it. Blah. Seriously, I have gotten to the point where I couldn’t care less. I have used all manner of refrigerators throughout my life. They’re all pretty much the same when you get right down to it. So. My litmus test? Does it keep things cold? Go for it.

Automotive vee-hickles? Different thing. Heck, I am a road warrior. You betcha, I have opinions! And they are not [usually] based on colors and things. No pink or lavender, though, please. And maybe a bit less of that “banker green” color. The main thing is that my vee-hickles have to be reliable on the road. Auto manufacturers, take note.

Crap Shoot

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Who are you for? What are you for? I am going to vote for Obama, I think. Republicans, don’t quit reading yet, please! I think Obama is a wonderful person and I loved his race speech last spring. The one about his white grandmother, et al. I think that we need to address that issue in this country in a way that doesn’t continue to oppress those who are not WASPs but still not induce guilt in whole generations of WASP-type people who had no hand in the oppression of people who are not WASPs. Like me. Didja get all that? But that is not why I am going to vote for him. And I’m not sure that he’s any better than any of the other candidates. I think that McCain is a good person too. I can’t imagine spending, what was it, five *years* in a prison camp. He knows some things that most of us cannot even imagine. Will they help him run the country? I dunno. And I admire Hillary more than I thought I might a few years ago. ‘course she’s not running. I’m not sure that *any* of these people have what it takes to run our country with all of its hugely complex issues. If there is a person on earth (or somewhere in the universe) that does have what it takes, they are certainly not running. I vote less *for* a person than *against* things that I don’t think should be on the political platform. Sorry. I have my litmus tests. *Those* do not belong on my blahg. And putchyer flame throwers away. I have my flame-proof clothing on.

If you *want* to, tell us who you are planning to vote for. And why. No proselytizing, please. And no flaming. Of me or anyone else. If you don’t wanna tell, I’m cool with that. Sit out there and watch the boats go by or whatever you do wherever you are. Love you anyway!

I don’t know the women in the picture, I stole it from the A2 Snooze, but I do so want that Macky-Nack Bridge hat-type thing. Where can I get one?

Fly Honda Express

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Yes, I am a road warrior. It comes naturally enough. I think it’s in my DNA somewhere. I remember before the I75 SUV Speedway existed, at least in the Great Lake State. In fact, the Mackinac Bridge didn’t exist when I started bopping up and down from Da Yoop to Megalopolis, where my maternal extended family lived. We took a fairy ferry (yes I really did type “fairy” there). We didn’t have child car seats or seat belts back then and there was no McDonald’s drive-thru and any rest areas that existed were putrid outhouses. It took something like 11 hours to drive from Sault Ste. Siberia to Megalopolis in those days. We would leave at three in the morning in order to catch the first ferry. I can remember being woken up and dressed in my cute little wool plaid skirt from Canada and bundled into the old black Ford. I can remember hanging out with my dad on the deck of the ferry across the Macky-Nack Ditch Straits of Mackinac. My brother may have been on the last of those ferry trips. The bridge opened three months after he was born.

Eventually, the I75 SUV Speedway was finished through to exit 394 and if you miss exit 394, you are at the International Bridge. It is a good idea if, when you get to the International Bridge, you haven’t smoked so much pot that you’ve forgotten that you’ve already crossed the *Mackinac* Bridge because, after you cross the International Bridge, you will encounter the nice folks at the Canadian customs and if there is “stuff” in your vee-hickle they will not be amused. They don’t do that at the tollbooth at the north end of the Mackinac. And, no, I have never been in that particular situation! What were you thinking? But there are people out there who get confused.

So, time fast forwards like it always does, ho-hum. And suddenly I was “grown up” (say what?) with two little beach urchins and I found myself in the jet set! Make no mistake. I was in the jet set that involved an aging minivan filled with stuffed aminals and other crap. Heck, for a while, we had our own outhouse in there. A dry-wall bucket topped with a potty seat! Hey, it’s better than peed-up seats, eh? Grinch, maybe you are in the wrong business.

All the best parenting books and magazines always seem to say the same thing, along the lines of, “if you are taking road trips with babies and toddlers, you need to stop frequently to let them, [oh, I dunno,] run wild or eat or pee or whatever.” Kee-reist! If you have a five hour drive that you do frequently, sometimes it is better to just hunker down and go for it. In my not-so-humble-opinion, the fewer hours on the road the better. You are less tired when you get to your destination. I mean, if somebody says they need to stop, I do, I just don’t encourage it. I *do* try to combine bathroom stops with gas/coffee/whatever stops.

That’s not to say that we don’t sometimes just take a slow trip up north or wherever. If we can manage the time, we take the old highways — that’s where you see most of the beautiful scenery. But if I’m heading up there after working a five-day week and have to drive back on Sunday to be at work on Monday, I will be flying the Honda Express.

Love you Marquis. Thanks for inspiring me to write this. The Marquis has a wonderful blog which is often about bicycling. Go there or be square.

Dear Jennifer,

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Jennifer Granholm, that is. Esteemed governor of the Great Lake State, aka Michigan. Jennifer, can we talk? Yaknow, the Zilwaukee bridge on the northbound side of the I75 SUV Speedway has been closed all summer. I know that and every time I take a road trip, I know that I can make a calculated choice about whether it’s worth it to take the risk of getting stuck in a trenormous traffic backup or go the Lansing route. Which is a little longer but a lot less insane without the huge numbers of monster trucks that insist on passing on the right. And yes, I also know that we are in yet another energy “crisis” (how many of them have we had now?) and I should prob’ly not be going on all these road trips. But. Hello? Whaddya do if you have property and octo-women up in the Great White North. To the best of my knowledge, there is no passenger train that goes up there and flying? You can’t get there from here. I’ve looked into flying to da Yoop and that’s prob’ly a subject for a whole ‘nother blahg post but the gist of it is that it would prob’ly take me longer than driving and then I’d have to arrange for ground transportation at the other end. Not to mention that it would probably leave a bigger footprint than me and my Cute Little Blue Honda Civic anyway. I don’t think so.

Yesterday, we were heading down the southbound I75 SUV Speedway. We were making really good time and I took what I *thought* was a calculated risk and made the asinine (as it turned out) decision to *continue* all the way south on the I75 SUV Speedway instead of going down through Lansing. It took us SIX AND A HALF BLASTED HOURS to get home!!! That’s at least one and a half hours longer than usual. Why? Because the SOUTHBOUND Zilwaukee bridge is now closed!!!! WHO KNEW??? Where was this advertised? The fancy lucky-shucky sign just south of Grayling — BEFORE the freeways split — proclaimed the message, “STAY AWAKE”. Fine. That’s really good advice for anyone driving a motorized vee-hickle. But what about programming the fancy lucky-shucky sign to say, “SOUTHBOUND ZILWAUKEE BRIDGE CLOSED”? Hmmm? Because I had NO idea about that until I was TRAPPED in the resulting jaffic tram. Er, traffic jam. Er, whatever. If I had seen that on the sign just south of Grayling, I wouldda grabbed the steering wheel away from Mouse and swerved us off onto US127 and on down through Lansing. Yes, there *is* a construction sign somewhere between Bay City (where the slowdown started) and I675 (the detour). Guess what. If you are in the left of three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic that are barely inching along, you cannot see it.

Jennifer? Not fun. Most of us cannot travel via helicopter or limo or whatever. And, energy crisis or not, I do have to make road trips to the Great White North. Frequent ones.

The photo does not have anything to do with this post. I just thought anyone who didn’t know Fin Family Moominbeach might be confused about our kayak/canoe trip to the island that I wrote about yesterday. The quick and dirty red arrows point out our approximate points of departure from the beach and landing on the island. It’s about a half mile between the two and you can kayak it in calm weather in about, oh, I dunno, six minutes or so? Really.

Oh. Just for Grandmothertrucker, when I talk about “monster trucks”, I am talking about big-profile SUVs, not 18-wheelers. And I’m even stereotyping about that. Crazy drivers inhabit all types of vee-hickles. Godspeed, young Grandmothertrucker.

Love y’all, KW

Persistent Northwest Wind

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Okay, enough of the phone pic posts for a while. I promised photos from our exciting island expotition yesterday, so here they are. And it was exciting, at least for the folks who supervised from the beach and were ready to call the Coast Guard. I guess it was pretty exciting for us too. Thank you VERY MUCH Jan and Pete for standing at the ready with your motorboat in case we needed it!

Radical Betty expressed a desire to explore the island this weekend and after getting rained or winded out multiple times, the severe storms of yesterday morning cleared and the wind calmed and off we went. The major mission involved taking a look at the remains of the old stone lighthouse that used to be out there and it was a rousing success after braving a climb up a steep and slippery slope and a trek through guano-covered raspberry bushes.

I have kayaked around the island a bunch of times in the last few years but I haven’t really walked on the island since about the dark ages. Back then, there was actually a path from the landing to the lighthouse and at least one of the walls of the structure still stood. The structure was visible from the Doelle end of the beach until one day when Radical Betty was walking down there and realized it was gone. Fallen down.

Seagulls have always roosted (is that the right word?) on the island but back in the early 80s or so, cormorants started taking it over. Their guano destroyed a lot of the trees, as you will see if you click through the slideshow.

While we were out there, the wind came up and it was a fast ride in to shore and a bit of a squirrely ride for me in my little Walden Vista. It’s a great little boat but it is not really made for whitecapped waves on Gitchee Gumee. Even the little whitecaps we had yesterday. It was okay but a rudder would’ve been handy. But we made it and then swam, to wash off the guano. Oh, and I got in trouble because I did not have my [$600!] phone out there with me so that I could be contacted with the news that the wind had come up. Which I already knew. Go figger. Anyway, The Commander is supposedly making a breakfast, so I think I will end this clunky little description of our island trip. Maybe I’ll tweak it later. Or maybe not. Anyway, you can click here or on the pic for more photooooooos.

Updated to add that, in addition to Mouse’s frog stow away passenger, she had a real live toad in her kayak. We considered liberating him when we got *to* the island but decided he’d be happier at the beach, so we took him *back* too.

Fire at porter’s

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

New unfinished prodject

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Kayaking to the dancing crane cafe

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

We were *gonna* go the island

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

*FINISHED* prodject

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

THANK YOU, MOUSE!!! For all your help and reknitting the heels 15 times or so!

yassa poulet

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Kenny’s Pitchen — cameo appearance by Radical Betty

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Rain day?

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Crossin’ th’ Macky-nack Ditch

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Grok grok! Ol’ Baggy needs t’ kleen ‘er windsheeeld.

Froggygraffic evidence

Thursday, August 21st, 2008