Archive for January, 2009

Continuing the ice theme

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

I am actually entertaining (if you can call it that) guests tonight here in Chez Landfill. There is a good raging faaarrrr going in the faaarrrplace here, no thanks to me. So I will leave you with this winter photo of Fin Family Moominbeach from back in the 1990s or whenever.

icebay

[updated] Tailgaters and black ice and, er, the good ol’ Celtic sixth sense

Friday, January 30th, 2009

crashMissed call. 12:19 PM, EST. The GG. I didn’t notice it for four hours. I keep my phone on vibrate while I’m at work. I must’ve been away from my desk when he called and then I was in and out of meetings all afternoon. My intermittently and therefore uselessly prescient brain immediately thought, “accident!” I squelched that with, “if it were really important, he would’ve called back. Or texted. Or emailed. Or something.”

No texts. I checked my [personal] email. Lotsa spam but nothing from the GG. I figured it was nothing. Then I surfed over to Twitter. Yikes! Accident was right but fortunately everyone is all right. Our nephew and his wife were driving to Chicago today on the I94 18-wheel Slogway. They hit a patch of black ice near Jackson and I’m not sure exactly what happened but they spun and/or rolled at least once. I am not sure I actually even want to imagine it. Thankfully, they were okay and managed to crawl out of their jeep, which, if I have it right, was on its side at that point. Minutes later, another vee-hickle hit the same patch of black ice and slammed into their jeep. The driver of the that vee-hickle was taken away by ambulance but, if I have this right, she was conscious and will probably be okay.

All of this gave the GG a mission, which was to drive over to Jackson (thank god *he* didn’t hit the black ice) and get them to a rental car place and they apparently continued on to Chicago.

Black ice is just about the scariest driving condition there is because you can’t SEE the ice! You are driving along and the road is wet or maybe even mostly dry and all of a sudden, you are totally out of control. It can happen to anyone.

I am so glad that Chris and Kelly are okay. The first time I ever saw Chris, he was driving a Big Wheel and I was six years away from having my own children and I don’t have any words beyond that. I hope the other woman’s injuries are not too serious. This is a horrible winter for driving here in the Great Lake State. A lot of vee-hickles have to share the roads here and all the plows and road salt in the world are not going to prevent black ice from forming. Everybody please be careful. Including the nincompoop who tailgated me all the way from South Maple to Lohr today.

Update: As the GG’s comment says:

Jeep rolled three times and ended up on its side. a second car spun out and hit the jeep after chrisand kelly got out. a woman passenger was ejected from the back window of the other car. after a few minutes she regained her senses and was able to stand up. bill drove c & k to jackson to rent a car. they were on their way to chicago after two hours delay.

Click here or on the pic for a few more. I honestly don’t know if I’d have had the presence of mind to take pictures after something like this!

No, ya can’t skate on this

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

snowmotracksI sometimes forget that not everybody grew up in the frozen north. When I mentioned being out on the ice on Houghton Lake over the weekend, MTCB asked if you could skate on it and I was a little dumbfounded at first. It was an honest question from an intelligent, physically active person. Who grew up in New York City and, despite living out here in the boondocks for a gazillion years, hasn’t ever really taken to winter sports. Unless you count ascending a long practically vertical snow/ice covered driveway in a 4-wheel drive vee-hickle.

Ice primer anyone? Houghton Lake is the biggest inland lake in the state, in terms of surface area anyway. It doesn’t get very deep for the most part. It freezes over completely most winters. Occasionally we get a wimpy, warm winter and the ice is dangerously thin. Not this winter. It’s thick almost everywhere, from one to three feet if I have my rumors straight. There are ice shanties and snowmobiles everywhere and cars and trucks too. It’s safe. Actually, we drove out onto the lake last weekend and parked there to attend the Tip Up Town festival. Not that I would recommend that anyone cavalierly take off for a random jaunt around the lake. It is possible that there are thin spots or soft spots or whatever. If you don’t know the lake geography (and I don’t), stay on the safe side.

I’m told that there were years that you could actually skate out on the lake. That the lake froze in such a way that the ice was perfectly smooth and no snow fell on top of it or it blew off or whatever. I have never seen it like that. This year, like most years, there is a few inches or more of snow on top of the ice and a lot of it is chewed up by snowmobiles. You can walk out there or you can ski but leave your skates at home. And by the way, although I am not a huge fan of motorized sports, I am happy to see so many snowmobilers out there this year. When gas prices topped $4 a gallon last summer, we were up at Houghton Lake early in the summer and it was eerily quiet around there. As much as I hate huge crowds of people, the tourist industry is huge in the Great White North and the economy depends on all of those crowds. It’s a good winter and I hope people are making some money.

Off to rouse the GG and head over to Chez Harry!

Last one to leave Michigan turn off the lights?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

myguysI stole the title from agategal on Twitter, except she lives in the Pacific Northwest, so I substituted Michigan. Because the truth is that we’ve been saying that in Michigan for at least 30 years now. We are a downtrodden state, albeit a beautiful one. But what I can never figure out is how, during the last 30 years when we first started saying that somebody better turn out the lights here, so many acres of farm and forest land et al have been razed, paved, landscaped, and covered with big ugly McMansions. All chock-a-block around a circular street or whatever. If our state has been in such a bad way all these years, who could afford to buy those things?

We here at the Landfill. Just. Plodded. Along. Through. All. That. Somehow. Somehow, we were able to buy a small house 25 years ago that has worked throughout the years. When we first moved in, I couldn’t believe how much space there was. One baby and then a second. All the way through grade school, I could keep the place under control. Teenage years? Total chaos. It wasn’t until they were *both* gone for a couple years that I could even begin to get a handle on the mess around here. I have a loooonnnng way to go but this will be a great place for us in our dotage or whatever you want to call it.

I dunno. I am not an economist, I’m really just reminiscing here. My state and many others are in deep trouble now and, for all I know, maybe we will be directly affected by this stuff too. Not yet and I hope we will slide through. But you never know. I hope everyone else is weathering this storm and my heart goes out to those who are not.

Oh yeah, those are the guys I have to live with there in the pic.

Hey Peeves, where are ya when I need ya?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

crosseyesSo, first of all, sorry about that rant yesterday. It was Margaret who hit the nail on the head. I have never been very graceful about accepting unsolicited advice. The Commander might be able to tell you about that. If I need to know about something, I read about it. And believe me, as a mother of two, I have definitely read up about viruses. I don’t know it all but I have a basic working knowledge of what they are, how they are transmitted, how to (try to) avoid them, and how to treat them. Or not, which is *usually* the case. Although I know of some otherwise healthy adults this winter who’ve developed secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia. Not me, not this time, thank the gods. And if any of y’all ever catch me giving you unsolicited advice, PLEASE HIT ME!!! Fer Kee-reist!

So, I got home from a busy day at work today and as I was washing my feet (yes, I do that) and changing into what MTCB calls “comfortable” clothes, I was thinking, “this is about the time that solicitors ring the dern doorbell.” It honestly feels like they watch me drive into the driveway and wait a couple minutes until they’re sure I’m changing out of my half-baked attempt at business casual and then ring the bell. Startling the bejabbers out of me, of course. Like, I’M UNDRESSED!!

I swear, I am prescient. Today’s poor excuse for a human being was not quite so johnny-on-the-spot. I had already changed and was tryyyyying to do a little vacuuming. And laundry. And de-cluttering. The doorbell rang. Clean-cut young white kid who, when I said, firmly and not quite politely, “NO THANK YOU!”, didn’t. Stop, that is. I shouldda shut the big wooden door right then but I didn’t. I’m too dern polite. Really. It was some kind of kids’ wheelchair basketball scam. He shoved this booklet or something at me. I took it, thinking, “I’ll take his blasted propaganda and throw it in the recycle bin and he’ll go away.” I shut the glass door. He panicked! “Ma’am!!! It’s not FREE!!!” I re-found my courage. “Okay, then take it back and NO THANK YOU, like I said in the first place.” I shut the big wooden door and locked it and I could hear him swearing at me on my porch.

I do NOT need this kind of crap. Any time. ESPECIALLY after work! I do NOT like solicitors. I do not TRUST them. How the heck do I know they aren’t gonna get their foot in my door and strong-arm me down into the basement and kill me or something. Sorry. Find a new way to make a living. I do not need magazines or bathtub liners or replacement windows or any of your other crap. This is MY HOUSE and I didn’t invite you here.

G’night. And grrrrrr. –KW

P.S. Love you Wise Guys. You know who you are.

Goin’ int’ th’ bag. Not.

Monday, January 26th, 2009

brillianceI am done. Finished. Being sick, that is. For this round, anyway. Knock on wood as always. And I am about at the end of my rope with people everywhere from family members to people I run into at the Plum Market after umpteen million years warning me that I could get pneumonia and telling me how to avoid getting the common cold. I love y’all dearly but…

Yes. I was sick. Twice. On December 23rd (a whole blasted month ago), I woke up in the wee hours running like hell for the Blue and Only Toilet. I caught that yucky gastro virus directly from my daughter, who had just about completely recovered from it that very day. One horrible day of sucking ice chips, a second day of cheerios and ice water, three more days of being okay but with a very low appetite and I was fiiiiine!!! For about, lemme see, a week. Then. Whaddya know. Hello! Respiratory virus. The common cold. The two illnesses were NOT related. It was a NASTY respiratory virus. Two days off work with a low-grade fever. Cement in my respiratory tract for one of those days, giving way to intense coughing, sneezing, and blowing my nose, which has gradually but steadily subsided to the point that today, I only had two wimpy little coughing spells.

I do not and did not at any time have pneumonia. It was a baaaaaad virus and I know pneumonia is a possibility with cold viruses. But people who have pneumonia do not get up at zero-dark-30 in subzero temperatures, put their snowpants and stuff on and powerwalk around the neighborhood for an hour like I was doing by about day five. And they do not ski up and down hills for eight miles. The respiratory virus was in no way related to the gastro virus. It was coincidence that they occurred so close together. I am a FANATIC handwasher and I work in a sizable cubicle in an underpopulated building with absolutely spotless bathrooms. Believe me, we get an email from our overworked underpaid building receptionist if even a scrap of water is left standing by the sinks. The Commander is now doing a happy dance. She HATES puddles. And I keep windex wipes in my cubicle for my lucky-shuckial devices. How did I get it? The virus, I mean. I dunno.

I love you guys. REALLY! But I am FINE! And this is one day that I wish all those random people I keep running into around town were reading my blahg. So they’d quit bugging me.

Who me? Outta steam? On crabby lobster weekend? Say what?

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

sunsetbranchesI am toadily roto (ducking now). Despite frigid early morning temperatures again today, we dragged ourselves out to ski. If I ski even three days in a row, I get into the right space of glide. Sigh. I am not there yet this year. In a rather ironic twist of life, the last time I got back into glide was when Grandroobly was dying and I would drive out to the Algonquin ski trail every afternoon and ski the eight-mile loop. It took me (am I remembering this right?) an hour and a half or so and I am a “classic” skier, not a skate skier. Grandroobly was an excellent cross-country skier up into his early eighties when he stopped due to worries about knee injuries. Maybe not a good idea but I only have an approximate idea about what was like to ski in Grandroobly’s ski boots. And the Algonquin Ski Trail probably isn’t the most exciting trail on earth but it is beautiful in its own way and it takes about five minutes to drive there from The Commander’s house and there is almost always plenty of snow in Da Yoop until, well, I dunno, about April maybe? I may be exaggerating a bit, there isn’t usually enough snow to actually ski on in April. I mean, enough snow might fall but, by the time you get your skis on, it melts.

Anyway, we got a good little ski in today and then we finished packing up and hit the road. The driving was great today. Brilliant sunshine and dry pavement and not tooooo many 90-mph speed demons out there on the I75 SUV Speeeeeeedway. I got off the freeway at North Territorial and took the “back roads” the rest of the way so we could check out the deer population on N. Maple and see the sunset over the Urine River. And now. Laundry and groceries and a spec review tomorrow and life just goes on and on bumpity bumpity bump. Just like many of the freeways in our beautiful, long-suffering Great Lake State.

P.S. The “big” guy (aka adult) in yesterday’s parachute pic is the UU, aka, the GG’s identical twin (Uncliest Uncle, get it?). The two bigger boys are his boys and the small boy is Grandmothertrucker’s oldest, and he’s 26??? or 27??? now. So. Bumpity bump. Or maybe hippity hop is better.

Tip Up Town, USA

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

tipuptownAre we lazy or what? Well not really. I did get out and do my usual pre-dawn walk. In my snowpants and my balaclava and I can’t even remember how many layers. It is spooky walking in the dark up here when there are huge snowbanks on the sides of the road. I am invisible in the dark and so when I see a vee-hickle coming along, I have to either scramble up a snowbank to get well out of its way, or duck into a driveway, if there’s one nearby that’s shoveled out. Anyway, it was bloomin’ cold and we were all slow about getting out and so we didn’t ski and I always feel guilty when I don’t ski when there is plenty of snow but I dunno, sometimes it just isn’t the right thing.

But it is Tip Up Town (TUT) weekend and we went there instead! We didn’t stay a very long time because over on that side of the lake it was bloomin’ cold and windy and we were fairly well dressed but not perfectly and so. TUT happens every January here on Houghton Lake. It is an ice-fishing festival and this is the 59th year, so that means it began in 1950, if I’m calculating accurately. By the time I began attending TUT in the early 80s or so, you’d’ve almost never guessed that there was ice fishing involved. It looked almost more like a snowmo fest by then. But ice fishing is in the roots of the fest and it is still an important part of it.

This looked like a wonderful year for Tip Up Town. There is a ton of snow here and it’s really cold and snowmobiles are everywhere. They are flying by the cabin on the highway out on the ice and there are so many of them in the downtown area that driving an automotive vee-hickle can be a bit difficult. And there is ice fishing. And I am gonna ski tomorrow if I have to go by myself. The picture is from a Tip Up Town back in the 1980s. 1987, I think. Click here or on the pic for more Tip Up Town pics. Mostly from today but maybe some of y’all can spot a couple of older ones. And there are some people I don’t know. Like I am not sure who that woman with the pink flask is and I am not sure where she got those Mardi Gras beads.

Way, hey! Blow the man down.

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

disasterareaOr blow the Dogha off the road, in this case. Not really but there were some dicey moments on the I75 SUV Speedway tonight. Wind, snow showers, traffic, traffic, traffic. I was not in a good mood. It is sooooooo hard to work all day Friday and then drive up to the Great White North at night. In the winter. With all the other yay-hoos that are going north too. And I packed this morning before work and then when I got home, I couldn’t remember what I packed, etc., etc., ad nauseam. I know, I know, make a *list*, KW!

But we’re here at Houghton Lake and I was thinking that one good thing is that these days, we don’t have to hope and pray that the rickety old oil furnace will start. Back in the old days there was about a 50/50 chance. If it did start up, maybe by the end of the weekend the place would be warmed up. If not, much tinkering ensued and more than a few trips to Northshore Hardware, and maybe an actual call to a furnace repair guy, knowing that he’d just laugh.

And after we got the furnace going and the lucky-shucky on, we had to pump water out at the old hand pump and haul it inside in buckets. Actually, I kind of miss that part. We’d be all excited about getting up here and it’d be colder than blue blazes outside (and inside) and the sky would be bright with stars and we’d be tromping in and out the door with our buckets, splashing water around.

It was really hard to tear the old place down but the infrastructure was disintegrating beyond repair and the whole place was kind of rotting and sinking into the ground. So now we have this big beautiful structure with running water and reliable heat year-round. And two bathrooms, which is more than I have in the Landfill. And waaarrrrless internet and webcams and the whole works.

I’m tryin’ t’ blahg ‘n’ people are buggin’ me, so click here or on the disaster area sign for a little water pumping slideshow from back in the old days. 2003 to be exact. There are 10 pics, for those who wanna know.

No Mouse, I am not going to take this down

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

babymouseIf I have this right, the rumor is that my little mouse child earned honors on her SIP, aka senior project at Kalamazoo College. Congratulations!

Mouse’s SIP involved directing the play “The Gloaming, Oh My Darling”. The play was performed in the Dungeon Theatre. Er, not to be confused with the rodent-infested Landfill Dungeon here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I went to the play. Here is my blahg entry of that day. I don’t know what else went into that SIP. I am thinking there was prob’ly a lot of writing involved, too.

Mouse started doing theatre stuff at the age of seven. I’ll blahg about that some other day. Actually, I’m sure I have, just not sure where that entry is. She has played all kinds of roles, from “tree #3” (for example) to major Shakespearean roles. And she has done just about every kind of backstage stuff, from stage manager to costume design and, well, I’m running outta steam.

Congratulations, my little mousey.

 

Six Mile Road

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

6mileFirst of all, the photo is from one of our northern correspondents, Paulette. It is Six Mile Road, looking westward just past Birch Point Road. It reminds me of the sunrise I saw this morning as I was driving downtown for breakfast at The Broken Egg with MWBB. In my earliest memories, Six Mile Road was gravel. I would be in my parents’ Ford or my grandparents’ Stude[b]aker (the “b” was missing in that vee-hickle’s later years, The Engineer would prob’ly remember that) and I can remember the sound of the gravel pinging away at the underside. When we turned on to Birch Point Road, I could hear the sound of the pine trees sussurating in the wind [thanks, Sam, for the word]. Those are the earliest sounds in my memory, from when I was literally six months old or so.

Amongst my readers, all 10 of them, I’m aware that there is a rather wide variety of political opinions. Many of my readers are family members, mine and the GG’s. I love them all and respect each individual’s views. I am rather apolitical myself. I’ve said before that I am a very independent voter. I tend to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I like Obama. He’s the first candidate in many years that I voted *for* and I am glad that he won. I *hope* that the Obama presidency means that our country has finally gotten beyond the racism that has plagued us since forever. But he isn’t a messiah and we have a *lot* of problems and some of them were not even caused by George W. Bush as much as some would like to blame him and I am still apprehensive about the future but I’ll stop with this train of thought. Mostly because I am relatively ignorant.

I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who actively taught me not to be prejudiced against people who didn’t look like me. And they voted Republican during those years. Go figger. But I also didn’t have much experience with people who had black skin until I moved downstate. Up there in the frozen north, I can remember only a few black folks when I was growing up. One was elected senior class president in our high school. Another was my 7th grade math teacher, who used a paddle, but hey, that was a common practice in junior high in those days. A third was Ethel, the town brothel owner, who insisted on paying taxes on the income from her illegal business. That used to make state-wide news back in the 1980s.

The black folks that I remember made a life for themselves in a frozen northern outpost where there were prob’ly some people who were prejudiced against them. Sigh. Onward, with hope.

Sunrise on the western edge of Lake Erie

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

lemp03What did I do yesterday? I froze my you-know-what hiking trudging around down at Lake Erie Metropark. MLK Day off? Yes, those slackers over at the EPA got MLK Day off as a holiday and so did I.

Some of you did community service work yesterday. I think that whole thing was a wonderful idea. It never seemed to me that giving people a holiday in the name of Dr. King knowing that many of them would drive “up north” and run their snow-mos (or ski…) was appropriate. Nevertheless, I did not do any volunteer work yesterday. Unless you count some slodging around down in the landfill dungeon in an attempt to reduce my lifetime carbon footprint. The thing is, I am all for volunteer work. The problem is that I have already done umpty-nine-thousand gazillion hours of volunteer work in my lifetime. Cleaning toilets at the nursery school. Helping kindergarten kids make art projects. Reading with at-risk elementary school kids. Sleeping (or not, mostly) overnight in musty old girl scout “camp cabins”. Running trenormous middle school science fairs. Balancing long-neglected non-profit organization bank accounts and getting their tax records in order. Talking panicky, high-maintenance theatre parents down off the ledge.

Sigh. I still don’t know exactly how I ended up with the “real” job that I have now. I really wasn’t looking for a full-time career going into it. I had to sit myself down and do some serious talking to myself. But I like my job and I even kind of like the full-time schedule and I hope that, in this age of dire economic crap, it continues at least for a few years. Except that it leaves me very little time to do other stuff. Important stuff like slodging out the long-neglected Landfill Dungeon and making rocket trips to the Great White North to check up on my octos and shoveling snow.

When I have a day off, any day off, even just a regular weekend day, what do I do? Well. If I am not rocketing up to the Great White North, I am here at the Landfill, picking and slodging away at the clutter, running errands, cleaning the Blue and Only Toilet, shoveling snow or whatever needs doing. When I am finished with all of that, you can bet that I am doing something that re-energizes my spirit. Hiking, skiing, kayaking, or maybe just slugging around. Selfish? I dunno.

I have done umpty-nine-thousand gazillion hours of volunteer work in my lifetime. I will probably do more some day. Yesterday? I had the day off and I froze my you-know-what off hiking trudging around down at Lake Erie Metropark and that’s where I got this gorgeous sunrise photo. Those boidies out there are mostly swans plus some ducks. I was chilled the whole rest of the day after that trudge but I needed to be on a Great Lake. I couldn’t get to my own beloved Superior. Erie was the only one I could get to but I love it down there and it was worth it.

Welcome to Gabriel Joseph!!

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Welcome to our newest great-nephew. 9:24 AM today. 7 pounds, 2 ounces, 20-1/2 inches. Mom and baby are doing very well and everybody looks really happy as you can see for yourself if you click here or on Gabriel’s picture. Lemme see, this brings the Courtois family G4 up to eight! Right? Am I missing anyone? I hope not! Congratulations to Susie, Mike, and Datura and Welcome Gabriel! (And here I was gonna bore y’all with our bonechilling hike trudge along Lake Erie today.)

gabriel

No, I don’t wanna go to Lowe’s

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

hoarderNot today. I did not feel like standing around considering this or that piece of lumber or lucky-shuckial cord or cable or toilet seat or whatever. I can’t sit around and surf the internet at Lowe’s because they block phone service for some odd reason. Why the heck does Lowe’s care if I wanna use my phone in their store?

Besides all that, I was on a roll of sorts at the Landfill this afternoon. And yes, that is the Landfill Dungeon there. At least, it is one room of the Landfill Dungeon. Yes, it looks like a tornado hit it! And actually, one once did, sort of. It was a Friday afternoon, hmm, maybe 10 years ago or so? The sirens went off and the sky turned that loverly dark green color. I couldn’t get the GG to come inside because he and Hans were engrossed by two cecropia moths mating on Hans’s sidewalk. Across the street, workers chipped up an entire tree. Maybe they couldn’t hear the siren? Meanwhile, inside the Landfill? Total bedlam as the beach urchins threw every stuffed aminal they owned down the basement stairs. We didn’t get an actual tornado that day, but the aminals are still down there, although they are now packed into plastic garbage bags.

And then there was Hurricane Ike, which got the carpet damp, which is why all of those shelf units are in the middle of the room, even though Hurricane Ike is long gone and the floor has been dry ever since.

Believe it or not, I actually made some progress today. I filled a Plum Market bag with craft supplies to take over to the Scrap Box and threw away some little bits that just weren’t worth saving. And I started the excruciatingly painful process of sorting out my fabric stash. I managed to weed out some pieces to give away and I even managed to actually throw a few little pieces out. I am about five percent of the way through my fabric stash. I did not do anything with the stuffed aminals. I don’t know when I will have the psychic energy required to deal with those.

I am on the warpath. I have said this before. I am not going anywhere near the other side any time soon but I am determined that my children will never have to clean up a houseful of “valuable” old sludge after me.

Black and white

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

blackwhiteFirst of all, THANK YOU for all of the comments yesterday. I think that even beat Dogmomster’s 12 trombone post from a couple summers ago. We were up at the moominbeach and I’ll never forget The Commander’s rather horrified reaction, “*Why* under the *sun* does she need 12 trombones?” Anyway, I am not really one o’ them thar “comment whores” or whatever you call ’em. I enjoy getting comments but I am okay whether I get ’em or not. I don’t comment on other blahgs all that often myself unless I actually have something to say that isn’t just a bunch of blather. I blather enough right here on ababsurdo. But yesterday was a fun run!

Actually, I was just a wee little bit out of sorts yesterday. It was *not* birthday related or work related or weather related, although I did give myself a pass on my pre-dawn walk yesterday morning since it was something like 15 below zero (Fahrenheit). Whatever it was, I didn’t feel like going out or doing anything. Birthday festivities? Blah. But I dragged myself out of my funk. We bundled up into balaclavas and snowpants and hoofed it over to the neighborhood pub, where we met up with some characters who call themselves Arctic John and Polar Diane and we ran into some old Haisley Mafia buddies and there were double nickels everywhere (what the heck was up with that?) and it was all fun and I’m about ‘hattaned out, thank you very much. Oh, and my little mousey made a surprise trip home for the weekend, albeit not specifically for my birthday but she did join us old fogeys for dinner at Knight’s.

Today? Everything is black and white. I’m sorry. We have no color here right now. Except for my snowpants. They’re purple. Click here or on the pic for pics of the little black and white walk we took in the park down by the dam today.

Look quick

Friday, January 16th, 2009

How old *are* you guys anyway?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

snowsheepThus spake my long-suffering boss today. It was below zero (Fahrenheit) this morning and all of us gals of a certain age had been cackling about how, when we were all in high school back in the Jurassic Age, we were prohibited from wearing pants to school. We had to wear articles of clothing that ended in skirts. And, yaknow what? When we were in high school, the fashion of the day was mini-skirts. And I do mean mini. How high up the thigh could you get away with without having the old-fashioned *male* high school principal corner you in the hallway and tell you that your skirt was too short. And then there were those damn garter belts. No panty hose in those days. You had to wear this blasted garter belt that hooked up your nylon stockings, the ones that were usually full of runs or maybe even, uh, unclean, since we had to wash those things by hand… And with our micro-mini-skirts, it was almost impossible to keep that particular piece of undergarment from showing when we were in a sitting position. And when it was minus 28 degrees (Fahrenheit), we walked to school in those outfits, usually without the assistance of appropriate coats, boots, hats, and gloves, whatever. We wanted to be fashionable. We could’ve worn pants underneath our skirts and taken them off at school. That was allowed, at least up in Da Yoop it was. But who would be caught dead wearing some lumpy-looking old pair of pants *under* their bee-yoo-tifful micro-mini-skirt.

Thank heaven those days are gone. The schools these days have some rather different issues with dress codes, which I won’t go into, mainly because I have always ignored the whole issue as much as possible since I had my own kids. Clothing was *such* an issue when I was a kid that I remember swearing that when I had my own kids, I wouldn’t fight about it. I didn’t. And guess what. My kids dress more tastefully than I do.

And yes, I work with a bunch of other old bags. Very, very intelligent, creative, wonderful old bags. And our long-suffering boss is younger enough than us that he wasn’t quite there for the dress code wars of the 60s. But he’s not *terribly* far behind. And he deserves a medal for having to put up with trying to herd us old cats around. Mrrrrrooowwww.

Time, space, and whirled peas, please

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

branchlaceOkay, lemme see. What else? A new kitchen. But first! Total de-clutteration of the Landfill, you know, to let the “energy” flow again. Total DE-RODENTIFICATION of the Landfill, which (although no recent evidence) I am convinced cannot happen until total de-clutteration. What else? A flame-thrower mounted on the back of the Ninja just for my own personal tailgaters. Get a life, you guys. A whatcha-ma-callit booth that I can step into here at the Landfill, press a couple buttons and emerge intact with all of my clothes and lucky-shuckial crap at Fin Family Moominbeach or Command Central or Houghton Lake or Callyforny. Beam me up. Or west. I actually *enjoy* the drive to kzoo, so we’ll leave that out. Smartwool socks. Some new slippers like my old slippers. You know, those fuschia polartech ones with the leather bottoms. The ones that are developing holes after like 20 years. I dare you to try to find a decent equivalent.

Material goods? Do not thrill me. I am done collecting. I have all that I need and too much more. I am not enamoured of jewelry and all that stuff any more. I just have to keep track of it and feel sad when I lose things. And I do. Lose things.

So, I just do not know. Time. Space. Whirled peas. Please.

Party like it’s 1999! Or January!

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

podpeopleKnow what? I usually *like* January! At least the beginning of it. By the end of it, I may be a little tired of slodging along, especially if it’s one of those years that I have to wear my blasted snowpants all the time. Purple Pillsbury Doughgirl anyone? Yes.

But January, to me, if I am not sick or something — and I am *usually* not, fer kee-reist — is a time to sort of sit back and decompress from the stress of the holidays. We try to get out and ski or, if there’s no snow, we hike. If the weather is too dreary to do either of those things (or we are just lazy), we drive out into the country. I always have a camera or two with me these days. I don’t pretend to be any more than a rank amateur point-and-shoot type photographer but I do enjoy it.

Weather? Thees ees Meeeeecheeegan! You get what you get. This year, we are getting snow and snow and more snow. And supposedly we are going down into the deep freeze for the next few days. Below zero. That’s Fahrenheit, folks. Snowpants weather. Oh joy. I still like January but I’m gettin’ taaaarrred early this year. And I still have to slodge through February. And March is often a slodger here in Meeecheeegan. And April can be the cruelest month.

The positive? I went to a two-hour meeting at work today and forgot to take my Kleenex box with me. It was okay. I DID NOT NEED IT!! Yay! I am still coughing a bit and blowing my nose but I am back to walking full-tilt boogie at zero-dark-thirty in the morning. Et al.

Check the comments for my January 9th entry to see The Commander’s correction of my version of the early days of her marriage.

And now, a few links with pictures from the last couple of Januarys:

keaalgseo

Monday, January 12th, 2009

killemallI guess ever since I first had any kind of rudimentary understanding about how genetics worked, I could never figger out what the big fuss was about skin color et al. People can study their family’s geneaology from here to kingdom come but most of us can only go back a few centuries at the most. Before that? Who knows which individuals made their way through the British Isles (where my ancestors are originally from). I only know teensy little bits. Or not. Macbeth anyone? Daniel Boone? What might be hanging about in my DNA besides the usual Celtic crap? Who knows. Anyway, I suppose I’m done with that subject for this round. I don’t have the answers or even the questions.

So I’ll blather about dolls instead. My kids, like those of some others who commented yesterday, weren’t really all that interested in dolls in the grand scheme of things, orange baby and Leona Millie and some of the “colored” dolls (pink doll, green doll, etc.) excepted. Oh, there were the Barbie years. Yes. I know. My opinion? Body image, schmody image. Folks, in my pretty humble experience, ages 3-5 were when the kids were interested in Barbie. Why were they interested? Because all the other little girls would bring their birthday Barbies in to nursery school for show and tell. So yes my kids had Barbies. It’s all about ownership at that age and actually, I rather enthusiastically supported it.

They had Barbies and Barbie cases and a Barbie dreamhouse and all kinds of clothes and accessories. And what did they do with them? I don’t even know. All I know is that the whole business was one great big mess and we were always losing the shoes and we had a couple of Barbies whose heads kept popping off, so there would be Barbie heads rolling around.

When the older beach urchin was in about 2nd grade, I found a Barbie case down in the dungeon full of *spy* equipment! Every remote control device in the house was in it. Hmm. It was within the next year that they happily sold off their Barbie stash lock, stock, and barrel, at the one and only garage sale we’ve ever had. They were tired of playing with her. I don’t think they really knew what to do with her. It was hard to deal with the clothing and it was much more fun to make goofy looking aminals and puppets talk and do crazy things.

So, what about that body image thing? Sheesh! These kids were somewhere around six and eight when they voluntarily got rid of their Barbies. They weren’t thinking about their weight or whatever in those days. They were more interested in running around like hooligans at that time of their childhood. Playin’ spyyyyyy. Etc. Gimme more o’ that fluorescent orange mac ‘n’ cheese please, Mooma!

G’night! KW