Archive for December, 2008

Goodnight

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

mewebcamI am taaarred this New Year’s. In a lot of ways, it hasn’t been a bad year. A year ago, I was beginning my new career. It is a good job, with a wonderful boss and co-workers. After a year, I am sort of feeling like I know what I’m doing. I am tired though. I still haven’t quite achieved a balance between my personal life and my career. It’s harder when you are 50-something than when you are young. That’s okay. I’ll get there. For the moment, I am looking forward to a weekend of skiing up in the Great White North and hanging around with The Beautiful Gay and the Twinz of Terror. I need it. A weekend of play and not thinking too much about the future or anything else.

So, click here or on the pic for my best shot at cobbling together the last year in pictures.

Love y’all so much and Happy New Year!!!
KW

Silent night, holy night

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

xmas1These photos were sent to me by Paulette, a longtime face-to-face friend of mine who is an occasional commenter here (and I hope she doesn’t mind me posting them). This is how the hardware store in the beautiful little burg named Brimley, located a few miles from Fin Family Moominbeach, decorated for Christmas. I’m not sure if these decorations are actually *from* the 60s but this is what Christmas decorations often looked like in small Yooper towns back then. I would know. I love how there’s a nice orange, plastic sled right next to Joseph so he can make a quick getaway if need be. And Rug Doctor behind the three (yes, there are three, I cropped one out) wisemen? Maybe they’d’ve done a better job with Dr. Rug than I did a few summers ago here at the Landfill. I dunno. Times are hard everywhere and likely worse in the Great White North and somebody at that hardware store is trying to capture the spirit of the season. I’m not sure that I could say they haven’t been successful.

Other than our loverly Ace-Barnes store down the street here, I am not an aficionado of hardware stores. Some people (I won’t mention any names) get all geeked out at hardware stores and have been known to visit them multiple times in one day. I get geeked out at office supply stores. Unfortunately, I have enough office supplies to last me into the next millennium and then some. I’ll be buying a mailing box (or two) in the next few days but that’s about all and it isn’t very exciting.

xmas2Anyway. The hardware store in the pictures has been in existence my whole life. I think I remember being there a few times or more when I was a kid. Not recently. My last memory of that store is not a particularly good one, although it is not the store’s fault. The beach urchins were little kids and we had some serious laundry to do. I was thinking I had once done a load or two of laundry at a laundromat over in Brimley and of course, I thought, “that’s close, we’ll just go over there”. A learning curve followed. First. I had a lot more laundry this time than I did the previous time when it was undoubtedly just me and the GG. And I had no quarters. Guess what? The change machine was broken. The attendants said, “Oh, just go next door to the hardware store to get change.” Roight. I did. The hardware store had like $3.75 worth of quarters on hand. Okaaaaaayyy. Not a good sign. I took the $3.75 and went back to the laundromat and realized that I had NO LAUNDRY DETERGENT! What was I thinking??? Guess what? The laundry detergent machine was broken. I took this as a sign that this place was not ready for me and I packed the laundry and the little girls into my vee-hickle and we high-tailed it into Sibera for a viable laundromat, picking up laundry detergent at the park store on the way.

After that, I turned into Uber Washer Woman. I would hit up my friendly neighborhood 1st of America National City PNC branch for four rolls of quarters before I even left for the north. I would hit the laundromat right at the crack of 8:00 AM, when it opened. I would usually use three triple loaders plus a regular washer or two for delicates or whatever. And I was at the ready for folding when things came out of the dryers.

I don’t know whether the Brimley hardware store is regarded as a good or bad store in this day and age. But it has been there for a very very very very long time and I hope it has enough business to last through the oncoming economic storm.

Time to banish xmas to the garage

Monday, December 29th, 2008

xmasgarageExcept that we don’t have a garage. When we bought our house here on the Planet back in 1984, for the $65K that we paid, you could pretty much get a garage or a basement but not both. I took one look at the woods behind the house and decided I didn’t care which one I got. Although we have almost never had any fewer than three vee-hickles, I think the basement comes in handier than a garage would have. Unless you think about how much stuff gets stashed down there to save forever. Sigh.

The xmas holiday is over. Storm after storm after storm. Snow, ice, rain, wind. You name it. Struggling to get to the grokkery store. Struggling to buy the perfect gifts. Falling flat on my face sick as a dog with a gastro virus two days before the day.

I went back to work today. Actually, I went back to work Friday, the day after xmas. It was surreal. There was hardly anybody there and nobody from my team. The lights were out until forever. I wasn’t at 100% yet and I almost fell asleep in my cube a couple of times. Even though I was actually doing real *work*. I left to have lunch with the beach urchins and NpJane. There was no way I was gonna go back there after that. I will take four hours vacation for that day. Today was better. But we’re all marking time until the blasted *next* holiday. Which, of course, is New Year’s. I am ready for it all to be over. I love the early days of January. They’ll be here in just a few days.

I’m making turkey tetrahedron tonight. I got sick after eating Thanksgiving dinner a week ago tonight. It wasn’t the food. It was a virus. Nevertheless, I didn’t think I would ever want to eat turkey again. I am tonight. Tetrahedron is in the oven. I promise. I am outta steam. Love y’all. KW.

A generation lost in space?

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Is this a time warp or what? It is 2008 and I am watching re-runs of Lost in Space, one of my favorite prime time TV shows in 1965. It is *set* in 1997 and I’m watching it on my MacBook. There they are on my little screen, the Robinson parents, Will with the nefarious Dr. Smith and the robot, and a close-up of Dr. Smith’s villainous visage. Click the pics to enlarge. I made my own blasted gallery this time.

space1space2space3

I kind of vaguely remember watching the prime time series but a few years later, when I was a high school sophomore, the re-runs that played every afternoon on Detroit station WKBD became the background noise for doing my geometry proofs. WKBD, which, according to the Wikipedia article on WKBD, “was carried on cable systems throughout Michigan, even deep into the Upper Peninsula”. Yes. Indeed. Deep into. The snow and all that. It’s true. And I might add that before cable TV came to the Great White North, we had two channels, CBC and CBS. Cartoons and other kid programs were few and far between so you can bet we did *not* grow up glued to the tube.

I don’t know how geometry is taught nowadays but we had the old-fashioned kind, where you had to do formal proofs at the blackboard in front of the whole class. Mr. Smith was our strict, old-fashioned teacher. I was terrified to get up in front of the class and I was pretty scared of Mr. Smith too, although he is not to be confused with the aforementioned Dr. Smith. And, after nine years of being mostly bored in math class, I found that I had to work at those proofs a bit. Did I want to be prepared for that class? You betcha! Although I do remember spending a lot of time doing whatever I could to *not* attract enough attention to get called on. Anyway, there I sat, at a big round folding card table with my book and papers spread out and Lost in Space re-runs on the boob tube. I can even remember my favorite snack: potato chips and an orange.

Oh yeah. Nowadays you can buy your own robot B9 replica.

If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes?

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

coldLemme see. Last Sunday it was two below zero (Fahrenheit) and the Planet Ann Arbor was choked with snow. This morning it was 50 with dense fog. Our huge piles of snow and ice are melting quickly into ragged, moth-eaten heaps but there are still big chunks of boilerplate ice in the mudpuddle lake down at the bottom of our driveway. That made dragging the handy-dandy A2 Garbage Cart and recycle bins out into the street a barrel of laughs this morning. At least for anyone who may have been watching me. In the last week, we have had absolutely every kind of precipitation you could possibly imagine. Accompanied by the associated walking/driving conditions.

If I could order the weather, I think I’d order today’s weather a little more often. I got home from slithering the fog-cloaked neighborhood streets at 0-dark-7:30 this morning and dragged a rather reluctant GG out for a river ride. (“It’s 7:30? [grumble-grump-snarfle] I thought it was only about 6.”) I could’ve just gone by myself but I wanted a driver so I could be free to take some pictures. He pulled himself into consciousness and after snagging coffee from the Zeeb Road McDonald’s drive-thru, we were good to go.

fogEverything looks so ethereally different in these atmospheric conditions. I love looking at the different patterns made by the bare branches of of the trees in silhouette against the snow and the shadowy trees off in the background. And the gnarled stumps left over from trees that stood tall in some previous generation.

The pictures are from last Sunday and today. If I had been on foot, there’d’ve been a whole lot more. I was lazy and used my iPhone. It is what it is and it adds a weird pink-ish, rainbow-ish chromatic aberration into a lot of photos. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in the fog photos. In a weird kind of way I often like the aberration but it got a little cloying in these photos. Oh well. I do have a better camera and I could’ve dredged it out. The crane is by the Huron River at Delhi (*Del*-high), where they’re in the process of restoring the old Delhi bridge. Click here or on the top pic for last Sunday’s bitter cold, sunny weather. Click here or on the bottom pic for today’s dense fog.

Oh, and what’s in the forecast? Heavy rain, what else? Followed by more snow and I don’t even know what else. It’s winter and this is Michigan and if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. Or is that six months? Whatever. Now, I wish we would *get* some of that heavy rain. It might help melt some of that boilerplate ice down at the bottom of the driveway.

Sayonara,
KW

Vegetarian (or not) Lasagne by KW with help from a few others who have gone before

Friday, December 26th, 2008

froogI was asked in the comments yesterday how I had the energy to put together a vegetarian lasagne for the annual Courtois holiday party when I was lying on the Green Couch sucking ice chips and feeling like you-know-what warmed over. The truth is that I didn’t put that lasagne together. I’m sure there are a few people who are relieved to hear that. The sauce was pre-made (by me, when I wasn’t sick) and frozen and I gave Mouse the directions for putting the lasagne together from my horizontal position on the couch. And so today I am posting my lasagne “recipe”. Or whatever you want to call it.

I didn’t make up this recipe. Actually, I am not all that great a cook. I can follow a recipe on a good day if I don’t get too distracted. I am not one of those people who can make spur-of-the-moment magic out of the contents of a neglected refrigerator. Like say, a rutabaga, some wilted arugula, an anchovy or two and some grapefruit-pomegranite juice. Not me. Sorry. I think I started with the Moosewood Cookbook lasagne recipe about a gazillion years ago. My lasagne is also influenced by The Commander and Radical Betty, who each had their own successful lasagne recipes back in the days of community dinners at the Old Cabin, when there were multitudes to feed. And in those early days, I was a fussy enough eater (don’t tell the beach urchins) that I didn’t even like lasagne.

“My” “recipe” isn’t written in stone. Add the Italian sausage or not. Substitute another kind of ground meat. I think The Commander used good quality ground beef and I think Radical Betty even used ground veal or something. Get creative with the vegetables. Carrots and/or zucchini instead of or in addition to spinach. Or whatever you can dream up. Probably not rutabaga.

The sauce can be made ahead and frozen. It’ll be okay. The noodles do NOT have to be pre-cooked!!! It’ll be easier to put together if they’re dry and they *will* cook when you bake the lasagne.

Don’t be daunted by the ingredient list or the procedure. Make the sauce one day. Make the filling and put the dern thing together the next. Or whenever you want.

Merry Christmas again and goodnight from the laziest cook on earth,
Kayak Woman

P.S. Don’t kid yourself. The commenter who brought this post on is a master at making lasagne herself. A better cook than me any day of the week and one who feeds multitudes on a regular basis.

Have yourself…

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

xmasmorningOh, I give up. I hate the song but here I am, Moom alone sitting in the blue chair (blue *chair*, *not* blue toilet, mind you). And I am having my own little Christmas. Or I was. The GG is hopping around now and Lizard Breath has just made an appearance, a repeat performance of the Christmas she and Mouse slept with their alarm clocks, which were set for something like 3:00 AM. I suppose for someone who lives on the left coast, it is not that far from 3:00 AM now.

Anyway, for a while, I *was* sitting here alone in the dark and quiet but now everybody is up and so now I get to watch people open their presents and wonder like I always do if I’ve done it equally or not. And I haven’t. Because people need different things and, in any case, there’s no point in buying a bunch of crap for somebody who lives in California. Better to go shopping, then buy online and ship. For years, I haven’t felt “ready” for Christmas but this year is probably worse. But there were far more important things to do this December than futz around shopping. And then landing flat on my back for 24 hours at the end of it all kind of took the wind out of my sails.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you! And rolling pepper pots too!

KW

Cheerios with milk. And orange juice.

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

cheeriosBetter. Probably at about 98% anyway. That’s good enough. I feel kind of like I’ve been knit back together. Those cheerios in the bag are what I ate at the annual Courtois party last night. Mouse packed them for me. The red cup has water and ice cubes in it. That is all.

Obviously I did somehow manage to make it to the party. After spending almost the entire day on the couch, progressing slowly from sucking on ice chips to actually drinking water and finally eating a few cheerios. I was feeling okay by the time we left, just tired and no appetite, but the drive was agony. Bad weather and rush hour traffic turned a 35 mile trip into more like two hours of bouncing around on the bumpy old slush-covered Michigan freeway. I was exhausted when we got there and after scanning the room, picked out the corner seat. A big leather chair with wide arms, so no one could get near me in case I was still contagious. I stayed there on my “throne” pretty much all night. Even took a much-needed nap at one point. Even worse driving on the way home. I am not sure what was coming out of the sky. “Wintry mix”, probably. But not as much traffic. Finally home, I spent another night on the couch and this time I slept like a rock!

So. Sorry you guys for being such a bump on a log. Seeya at Houghton Lake sometime in the new year. I’ll be in fine form by then. Gastro bugs are what they are and, all in all, this one wasn’t too terribly bad. I’ve had worse. Today? Hmmm. First of all, I could not find ANY towels in the Landfill. I thought that every towel in the house had been washed yesterday so a scavenger hunt may be in order. And the place is a rat’s nest in general. Boots and coats and wrapping paper and stuff all over the living room. And I wrapped the package in that Fedex box that y’all were so curious about yesterday. I think the GG must’ve asked me about five times if he I wanted me him to wrap it. No, no, no, no, and no. I won’t say who it is for but it is mine to wrap. Done. Onward and hopefully upward.

P.S. Check out the Marquis’s cute little video in honor of your favorite blahgger. Plenty of little flashes of Pooh if you look closely. It was probably playing in three rooms here at the Landfill before I went to sleep last night.

And yet another link! To the frizzlefry blog for pics of the party.

have yourself a merry little christmas. pass the ice chips please.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

i love the blue and only toilet but i have spent waaaaay too much time with it in the last seven hours or so. now flat on the green couch. yes, the one everybody in the gg’s family has been sick on. sucking on ice chips to stay hydrated. eet’s a virus. mouse just got over it. thanks, little one, for taking care of me last night. capital letters? hey, i’m typing one-handed, i don’t need no stinkin’ capitals. and, btw, the song in the title is my *least* favorite xmas ditty. makes me want to rip out the speakers when i hear it. sorry. over and out.

Over the river and through the woods…

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

fosterbridgeYes. This is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving number three. It’s all Mouse’s fault. She didn’t get any turkey this year, even though we’ve already had two thanksgivings. First, there was non-Thanksgiving. That was back in October. The Commander cooked the turkey and darn near everything else and UKW and I just about had to pick her up and throw her into a snowbank to get her out of the kitchen so we could do the dishes. But Mouse wasn’t there and we didn’t get any leftovers because The Commander squirreled them all away for herself. No turkey. No leftovers. No turkey tetrahedron or turkey-lettuce-cranberry wraps. Then there was real Thanksgiving at Dogmomster’s and that was a fantastic feast of duck breast and fruit-filled pork roast along with some of the traditional trimmings. But again. No turkey. No leftovers. No turkey tetrahedron or turkey-lettuce-cranberry wraps. It was all good. Life kicked into overdrive about then anyway.

But Mouse has been asking about Thanksgiving. And I thought what the heck? I can cook a turkey any old time I want. Holiday? I don’t need no stinkin’ holiday. And so. It is an interesting feat trying to conjure up a Thanksgiving dinner on a work day. I did the mashed potatoes and the dressing and the green bean casserole (yes, I made that) yesterday. I made the gravy a month or so ago. It’s okay, I froze it. This morning I manhandled the turkey, stuffed it with cut up clementines, put it into a roasting pan and stashed it in the refrigerator with instructions for Mouse to put it in the oven at three o’clock. When I got home from work, the turkey was well under way but there was still time to throw the side dishes together, ready to warm in the oven while the turkey rested and got carved.

Holiday? Well, hmmm. I guess we can conjure one of those up if we want to. Mouse is finally getting her appetite back after about a week or thereabouts, so I guess that is something to celebrate. Oh, yeah, maybe two holidays. How could I forget? 3:59 PM today, text message: “just landed early! Waiting to deboard…” A long, lost passenger arrives at good old frozen Dee-troit Metro from the beautiful city of San Francisco. Holiday? Celebrate.

It looks like we’re in Sault Ste. Siberia!!!

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

subzero

The GG said that as we slithered into the TarJay parking lot early this morning. And it does look a lot like Sault Ste. Siberia. We slogged around in snow and ice and slush all day today and, yes, it is a lot like it was when I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia. When I did my usual early morning walk, it was around 20 degrees Fahrenheit here. A couple hours later it was down to about nine. And now it is below zero. San Fran folks, are you ready for the Great White North?

Chugga chugga chugga chugga clang clang clang!

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

trainwreckThe image I wanted to post today showed a crazed person digging through my kitchen trash receptacle. Unfortunately, I was caught in the act and he put the trash can down before I could get my iPhone open. Digging through the trash looking for “valuables”? Wonder who he got that trait from? 😉

It’s okay, the train wheels will do since I am a walking train wreck. Lemme see.

Walked.

Backed the CLBHC out of the driveway and got it stuck in the sludge the plow left behind but a little Yooper style rocking got it out. Backed the Ninja out a little more quickly and was on my way.

Jackson Road Meijer. Five bags of grokkeries and still didn’t get everything on the list.

Home to put away grokkeries and discover that my Mouse is a wee bit under the weather.

Dispatch Nurse Froog to take care of her and…

Park on State Street. Urban Outfitters.

Repark on Main and William. Peaceable Kingdom. Kerrytown and Farmer’s Market. Tried to hit 10,000 Villages and 16 Hands and some other artsy stores but they didn’t open until 11 AM! I turn into a pumpkin at 11 AM during the xmas shopping season.

Ace Hardware. Arbor Farms for bananas (Mouse) and Canadian bacon (not the movie) that I couldn’t get at Meijer for whatever reason.

Home to check in with Nurse Froog and squirrel away my latest acquisitions.

Border’s @Oak Valley.

Home *again*. Whew!

Forage for lunch. Declutter back room. Vacuum back room. Discover a BURNED SPOT IN THE BRAND NEW CARPET!!!! Declutter Liz’s room, inadvertently throwing out some “valuable” crap. Hence kitchen dumpster diving. Food prep. Clean refrigerator. Futz around with photoshop.

Walk again.

Knight’s for dinner. Gotta go.

You! In the blue! Do you need help shoveling?

Friday, December 19th, 2008

snowbankI wasn’t even anywhere near my house. I was walking — vigorously — along past some other people who were shoveling their sidewalks a couple blocks away. I felt just a teensy bit insulted. Did he think I was some weak little old lady who can’t wield a shovel? He wasn’t a young kid looking for money. More likely an enthusiastic volunteer. Like I *still* am for my truly elderly neighbors, when I have time. I met his offer with as much humor as I could muster but I let him know that *my* sidewalk was already shoveled. And then when he said something about, “at least you can walk now”, I replied with a cheerfully emphatic “Yes!” and then couldn’t stop myself from adding that I had also walked early this morning. Early. Before *anybody* had shoveled their sidewalk. Including me.

Of course the honest truth is that I didn’t do one iota of shoveling today. It was a work day for me but not for the GG, so I let him have the honors. Me? This marks the first day that I have officially taken advantage of my company’s friendly work-from-home policy, other than a couple of hours here and there. Oh, I could’ve driven to work this morning. There was a lot of snow but not too much for the Dogha. But what the heck? It would’ve taken me a whole blasted hour to drive my little eight mile commute. What was the point? I am not a brain surgeon. Nobody is gonna die if I’m not in my cubicle. Nothing I am doing at the moment is scheduled to be finished until after the holidays. So. Work from home. The little breaks spent socializing with co-workers? Laundry. Lunch? Walked Slogged over to the Plum Market to pick up dinner. That’s where the 10-foot snowbank in the pic is. If I were still a kid, I’d’ve climbed it. Come to think of it, why the heck *didn’t* I climb it? Mañana.

White Christmas? I’m thinking so but you never know around here.

In which I look like a snow-covered old bag making a duck face.

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

abominablesnowmanI twittered or tweeted or whatever you want to call it this morning something like, “freakin’ out”. And I was. Freakin’ out. But only because this is the first year in about umpteen million that I have had a full-time job at the same time as I have tried to provide an over-the-top Christmas holiday experience for the beach urchins. I do not know how I managed it in the old days. It was probably because when kids are little you can wrap up just about any old kind of plastic crap. Little kids will usually be just as excited about opening up the package as what is in it.

But you have been hearing me grouse about all this stuff all month and I won’t put y’all through that again, er, except that I already have. But then. I finally looked at Twitter again this afternoon (I had forgotten all about that “freakin’ out” tweet) and AgateGal had reported on an occurrence of Thundersnow!

I have experienced thundersnow a couple of times in my life but my favorite [and first] was once when we got 10 inches of snow overnight and I had to drive my old VW Jetta over to my contractor job at the EPA at 5:30 in the morning or whatever. It was still snowing to beat the band and my vee-hickle was kind of okay about driving *through* that stuff but I remember whenever I came to a stoplight I would just plain run it. There was nobody else on the road and I knew that if I stopped, I would not get going again. The defrogging system was totally crap at on that vee-hickle at that point, so zee veendsheeld vaz all frogged up and I couldn’t see jack-shit. So I opened the windows, which all the blasted engineers always say will defrog zee veeendsheeld but, in my experience, always just makes the interior of the vee-hickle cold and doesn’t do jack-shit about defrogging zee veendsheeld.

Anyway, I was slithering and sliding and galumphing along through 10 inches of snow with the radio on and the windows open. I was wondering what the you-know-what I was doing going to work at that time of the morning in a huge snowstorm. What was I trying to prove? That I was a blasted Yooper? I am cool. I can do snow. Or not. Anyway, I got to the intersection of Plymouth Rd. and Barton Drive and the light turned red. There was NOBODY anywhere. I didn’t stop. I whaled through the red light. And, through my open window, I heard a loud clap of thunder. My first thundersnow. Life turned surreal at that point and I broke down and started laughing out loud.

We’re s’pos’d’t’ get that kind of snow overnight. We’ll see what I do tomorrow.

I am here. The news is good. That is all.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Er, at least the news is good in my little corner of the universe. I know it isn’t for so many people. But I will take what I can get for the moment. We have snow here. I love snow. I don’t even mind driving in it but they didn’t even plow Stadium Blvd. this morning and The Ninja was not happy about how I was driving it. At least not at first. Trying to get up the post office driveway (to mail the penultimate college tuition check) was instristing, to say the least. But I am learnin’ that vee-hickle’s capabilities and I think we did better than a lot of the other folks on the slippery, slithery, slidey, UNPLOWED!!!! roads this morning. Hey, Planet Ann Arbor: I shoveled my blasted walk this morning (and salted it too, unlike most of those snowblower guys). Why can’t you plow your major streets? Hmm? Those pics down there are a WordPress “gallery”. If you click on one, you’ll get a new page with a *slightly* larger pic. Er, maybe you have to click twice. What’s up with that? I’ll have to code my own blasted popups as usual… Grrrr.

My favorite snowplow

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

snowplowActually it’s probably my second favorite snowplow. My favorite snowplow has two ginormously huge, horizontal blades. It can plow a whole blasted street all at once. If it comes across somebody’s vee-hickle parked on the side of the road, it can lift a blade right up over that vee-hickle and put it back down in front of it. I saw that thing coming along Portage toward me one snowy morning a couple years ago and I scrambled right up on top of the nearest snowbank. We do not have snowplows like that or even the one in the pic on the Planet Ann Arbor. Our snowplows are kind of like regular dumptrucks with a wimpy little blade underneath the front. Or sometimes they just send out a salt truck. I am not really complaining because we do not always have *snow* here! Sometimes we have whole gray, ugly, bitterly cold winters with watery looking suns and no snow ever. This year? Apparently not. Anyway, that snowplow is up in Siberia and it is plowing out the parking lot for the St. Mary’s Procathedral or whatever you call it. UKW and I walked by it last weekend.

I walked out of my office at five today and I swear it was not snowing. By the time I had faaared up the Dogha, parked just outside the building, it had started up bigtime. Two to five inches overnight tonight and I have a lasagne in the oven awaiting Sam (archaeologist, not dog) and her accomplice, aka my hard-working web host guy, who are slithering and sliding their way into town from Hotlanta. Sam is partially an old Yooper just like me and no stranger to ice and snow and they’re in a trusty old 4-wheel-drive truck. But still. Safe driving, you guys, hope to see you soon. And all you Seattlearea blahggers, stay warm and get some Yaktraks!

Mrs. McDuck

Monday, December 15th, 2008

silverbells“Do you have your shopping done yet?”, asked the nice *tall* young guy at the store I shouldda been at last week. When somebody asks me something like that, I am tongue-tied. My brain kicks into high gear and fires off in about a billion different directions. I have a full-time job. I go outta town every other weekend or thereabouts. I *hate* shopping when everybody else is shopping (or even when everyone else is *not* shopping) so that cuts out just about every bit of free time that I have, i.e., evenings and weekends. I don’t know what people want although *actually*, people have given me *very* good lists this year, thankye veddy much! I craned my neck up at the tall young guy and mumbled something relatively benign and my errand was successful in the end but, yes, I shouldda been shopping a long time ago. Now I am in panic mode. When will I get it done? Will anything that has to be ordered on line arrive in time? Heck, how many times will I have to go to the blasted grokkery store in the next 10 days or whatever it is? I guess Mouse will be home [again] in a day or so. She can at least help with that. She certainly did over the weekend. And what the heck! She can even buy booze now!

And then there is the stress of “what does Moom want?” The Moom who has everything and then some. Time, maybe? Space, probably? Material goods? Yeeeeeeeeeek! Is it okay if I ask [again] for a new shower head? One that isn’t 40 years old that I can actually adjust [the direction of] *easily* [like I couldn’t this morning — *no*, I couldn’t — and yes, the bathmat got soaked. Again]. I am trying, you guys. I remember being a kid and waiting with great anticipation for presents under the xmas tree. I remember being a rather selfish young woman, hoping again for presents. I remember loading up my little beach urchins with more stuff than they could manage. Now? Stop this holiday! I wanna get off! I just heard the Ninja come in. I’m sure I could dredge up more to say but I’m done for now. You guys. I am trying.

A winter’s day-ay-ay, In a deep and dark December

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

ashmunbridgeIt’s the old Simon and Garfunkel tune, so sing it to that.

Clunkity-clunkity-clunkity ka-whomp. Our rocket ship has landed back on the Planet Ann Arbor after a whirlwind junket to Da Yoop. A swirl of dark and cold and ice and snow and a capella African singing and snowplow dodging and cousins almost literally bumping into each other walking in a snowstorm on a dark street in the early morning. (i.e., “Ma’am, do you know where I can get coffee at this hour in the Sault? Oh, it’s YOU!” HUG!) Purple abominable snowmen and visits from Grandma Moses and salties from Cypress and yassa poulet and loud crazy green aminals and gin margaritas and rock samples and bacon runs and did I mention dark and cold and ice and snow? And constant scrambling to keep track of keys and gloves and hats and phone chargers and YAG bags and debit cards and various and sundry computers and other pieces of lucky-shuckial crap. And I did mention snow and cold and ice and dark, roight? I imagine The Commander is feeling as if she’s been hit by a tornado. And Mouse? Lemme see. Mouse came home from the first third of her senior year in college at 6 PM on December 3rd, left the house approximately 12 hours later to fly to San Francisco, landed back on The Planet at 8:30 or thereabouts on December 11th, and got dragged out of bed at 6:30 the next morning to participate in our little rocket trip to Da Yoop.

Since I have *zero* xmas shopping done yet and have no idea about what *I* want for xmas, the next 10 days or whatever it is are gonna be a drag race. Emphasize the word drag because I *will* be dragging. Click here or on the pic for a few snow and cold and dark and ice pics [grainy iPhone pics] from a rugged little city on the Canadian border at the eastern end of Lake Superior, up in the Land of the Ice and Snow.

“You used to live on Cotey’s Hill”

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

nowsleddingSing it to any tune you want, the made-up tune of a little kid singing to himself about a friend who’s moved away. The Engineer was about six or seven and I don’t remember who the friend was or any of the other words to the song.

Cotey’s Hill was our neighborhood sledding hill. We would walk the eight blocks or whatever it was through the snow, dragging our sleds and saucers and pieces of cardboard along behind us. The Big Dipper and Orion lighting up the black northern sky. Trudge up the escarpment and fly down. Hit the bump halfway down and go airborne.

I don’t know why there is a “No[w] sledding” sign there now. I don’t know when they put it up [or who added the dubya]. I don’t know what excuse they used. I bet it has something to do with safety though. There’s a street down there! With automotive vee-hickles! We can’t let our precious little children shoot out into the street on their sleds and get hit by those automotive vee-hickles! They might get hurt.

Guess what. There has always been a street at the bottom of Cotey’s hill. It’s kind of a backwater. Once and a while an actual motor vee-hickle goes by. Besides that, I don’t remember once getting all the way down to the street. Most of the time, we’d just give up after we hit the bump, lying on our backs in the snow, laughing helplessly until we could catch our breath enough to pull ourselves up and trudge back up to the top with our sleds and saucers and pieces of cardboard. Do it all over again. I suppose sledding accidents happen but I don’t have a memory of even one.

Yesterday afternoon, I deviated from my two usual Sault Ste. Siberian walking routes — the locks and the airport. I re-found my old sledding hill and wandered through the time warp that is my frozen northern childhood neighborhood. Click here or on the pic for s’more.

P.S. I am guessing about how to spell “Cotey’s”. I really have no idea.

Rocket trip

Friday, December 12th, 2008